April 26, 2017
From The Couch Rd 8
From The Couch, Round 8
by Nick Tedeschi, Making the Nut
Tigers Trio Abandon Ship: The Wests Tigers could not have made a bigger mess of maintaining their best players and as a result James Tedesco is off to the Roosters, Aaron Woods is Belmore-bound and Mitchell Moses is on his way to the Eels. The Tigers made a meal of it from the start and in the end the fact they managed to keep Luke Brooks was probably a surprise.
If one line said it all it came in The Sunday Telegraph when a source close to James Tedesco said he left the Tigers even though the deal was $700,000 more with his current club because he wanted to be the best player he could and that wasn’t possible at the Tigers.
Aaron Woods supposedly chucked it in because he was sick of the drama.
The Tigers could easily have let Brooks and Moses go. They could even have afforded to see Woods off. But the fact they let James Tedesco go is unforgivable. If he wanted some mind-man like Joe Wehbe, give it to him. If he wants $3 million a year, give it to him. If he wants the club renamed the Wests Tedescos or demands the ex-Balmain Leagues Club be turned into a statue of him or asks that halftime entertainment is live jumps racing then do it.
There is nobody in the front office who should survive this. Nobody. This is the lowest point the Tigers have ever endured or are likely to ever endure.
Penrith Are Limited: The bubble seems to have finally burst on Penrith and not soon enough. They are a limited team and they are playing same. A team that was hammered into premiership favouritism for reasons this author has never seemed to understood. The Panthers have plenty of talent, no doubt, but they are lacking in top-end talent and the team seems a poor fit together.
Let’s start from the top. Anthony Griffin is a good coach but hardly a great one. Matt Moylan has been terribly overrated for a long-time and his move into the captaincy was perplexing. Nathan Cleary is a solid player and nothing more. He won’t lose a game but he won’t win many either. Paired with eccentric players like Te Maire Martin and Bryce Cartwright – both young – he has been given little hope.
There are some major defensive woes out wide. None of the prop forwards are living up to their billing. There is a lack of directness in their play, an apparent desire to play laterally at every opportunity.
The blocks are there for Penrith but they aren’t fitting at the moment and it doesn’t look like they will.
Titans Aiming to Recreate M*A*S*H: Has there been a team hit harder by injury than the Titans this year? Every week there seems to be a half-dozen Titans players go down, Gold Coast finishing with 14 players, the doctor too busy there is talk the staple gun may be required.
Go Go Gallen: It is hard to have too much love for Paul Gallen but his declaration that he will knock Sonny Bill Williams out surely means he has a country and a code behind him.
2017 Field Goal Update – 9: Anthony Milford slotted another matchwinner to make it nine field goals overall for the season.
Fun Fact #1: The 109th anniversary of the first premiership games of Rugby League played in Australia occurred this week on April 20 – just two clubs of the eight that day remain as standalone clubs while two more have merged.
Fun Fact #2: The two grounds – Birchgrove Oval and Wentworth Park – still exist but have not seen top grade Rugby League since 1942 and 1931 respectively.
Fun Fact #3: The only common surnames between Round 1, 1908 and Round 8, 2017 are:
Betting Market of the Week: James Tedesco’s $700,000 deficit between his Roosters and Tigers contracts will be:
$101.00: Lost forever
$1.01: Recouped in full and more in brown paper bags, Ford vehicles, Bondi property and a lifetime supply of Inghams chickens
Rumour Mill: With the Tigers exodus close to complete, there will be plenty of player movement as a result. The Tigers are chasing Ben Matulino, Russell Packer and Jacob Lillyman to bolster their pack while Blake Ferguson will come under serious consideration in the backline. Shaun Kenny-Dowall has been linked to the Knights while Michael Gordon has been touted as a potential Canterbury signing. James Graham is expected to be forced out of Canterbury with the Tigers and Knights both potential destinations. One chairperson is expected to be forced out over the coming weeks.
Robbie Farah Anger Level – Low: Robbie is pretty happy as the Tigers organisation officially imploded this week. A story about him telling Jason Taylor last year that “I am the least of your worries” no doubt would have brought a smile to his face.
What I Like About … Sione Mata’utia: Singing both the Australian and New Zealand national anthems on Anzac Weekend was something you don’t often see.
Game of the Year Nomination, Round 8: South Sydney – Brisbane, 24-25. Drama. Excitement. Brilliant tries. Exceptional footy.
The Coaching Crosshairs: St George Illawarra are incredibly about to extend the deal of Paul McGregor. Only at the Dragons. The Saints are no doubt vastly improved this year and playing notably better football but there is absolutely no need to extend McGregor’s contract when there is no market for him. The factors that should have led to his sacking last year also remain. He is currently in the throes of a feud with highest-paid player Josh Dugan. The Dragons just need to wait and see with McGregor.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Tyrone Peachey is Penrith’s most dangerous player. He has been close to their best this year in an awful campaign. Yet was dropped to the bench and given limited minutes against the Eels. It was a call that made less sense than starting Sione Mata’utia at halfback for Newcastle.
Beard Watch: There is probably no funnier moustache in the NRL than that of Kalyn Ponga. The smallest player in the NRL with the biggest babyface is trying his hand at facial hair to look grown up but comes off with a bit of bum-fluff and a setup that resembles a Year 8 student going to the school disco.
Correspondence Corner: Norths Tigers, I love a stat like that. How exciting! And the game is obsessed about what’s next but there is no doubt the drama helps keeps the game at the forefront of Australian sport.
Tony Monero, Wade Graham is probably a better option at hooker than Robbie Farah. I agree there should be 18 teams. I agree that the Saints should be based permanently in Wollongong. Agree one Sydney team should be enticed to relocate and that club should probably be the Wests Tigers.
Andrew Quinn, I can have Cook and could entertain two hookers but I don’t think Farah is going well enough.
Watch It: This week we have a treat … the oldest Rugby League footage in existence. We go back to 1901 … seven years before the game was even founded in Australia and the clash between Dewsbury and Manningham. Incredible stuff. Watch it here.