From the Couch 2019: Round 13

From the Couch 2019: Round 13

By Nick Tedeschi @

Freddy Must Ring in the Changes: Queensland showed tremendous toughness to win the 2019 Origin series opener at Suncorp – but they didn’t really need it because any kind of finishing touch and they would have won by 30. The closeness of the score should not lull Brad Fittler into any false sense of security – the Blues need to make some changes. They were outmuscled through the middle and were exposed dreadfully on their left-edge. They were clearly a prop short and it was quite apparent that some of the young risks were not ready. Here are the changes the Blues need to make:

  • Tom Trbojevic will return and he needs to fit in somewhere. Wing is probably the best position but neither of those deserve the axe. Latrell Mitchell needs to go if his head is clearly not in the game as it wasn’t in Origin I. Otherwise, Josh Morris will be unlucky to miss out.
  • Cody Walker’s confidence was shot but he deserves a chance playing with someone who actually seems to be paying attention to the game outside him
  • Nathan Cleary is not going well enough. His kicking game was dreadful. Adam Reynolds should be the No.7 if fit. If not, well, prayers as we are going with James Maloney.
  • Boyd Cordner may get one more chance but he needs to be very close to being dumped. He has been average all year and there is a plethora of edge forward options
  • Jack Wighton should never have been picked and was impossible to use. Ryan Matterson, who can play in the forwards, is the obvious replacement.
  • Payne Haas made very little impact and had the slowest play the ball speed of any Blue. There are better options including Jordan McLean.
  • David Klemmer will be out. McLean should be in the team with Dale Finucane another middle option..
  • Angus Crichton is a shell of his 2018 self. He cannot keep his spot under any circumstances. Ryan Matterson, John Sutton or Joel Thompson should come into the mix though it would not be the worst to add another middle like Dale Finucane.

Eels Add Albatross To Neck For Three More Years: Parramatta have ensured they will be anchored in mediocrity for at least three more seasons by getting $2.5 million and burning it in the form of giving it to halfback Mitchell Moses. A two-time Willie M Medal winner who has been unlucky not to win it six times, Moses is capable of brilliance and manages to combine that one show of brilliance with about 15 performances that would not be acceptable from a fourth-grader playing his first game of Rugby League after quitting the chess team. He is a second-string half at best. The Eels just continue to dig their own grave. Chad Townsend would be more deserving of the cash.

2019 Field Goal Update – 19: James Maloney slotted a first half field goal last week to make it 18 drop goals in 12 weeks. Then James Maloney slotted a meaningless one to close out the Panthers’ win over the Roosters.

Fun Fact #1: The team with the highest winning percentage not to win a premiership this decade is Brisbane (3rd) while the team with the lowest to win a premiership is St George Illawarra (9th).

Fun Fact #2: The Wests Tigers from 2000-2009 were the only team with a bottom four win percentage to win a premiership since Newtown in the 1930s.

Fun Fact #3: Every team with the best winning percentage over a decade has won at least two premierships.

Betting Market of the Week: The feeling of Parramatta fans in three years, reflecting on Mitchell Moses’ $2.5M deal.

$8.00: Extremely happy – tremendous value for money.
$4.00: Blerg – plenty of rocks but a few diamonds
$1.01: Disgusted – sack everyone involved

Rumour Mill: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has got a release from the Panthers and is likely to sign with the Wests Tigers this week. The domino affect is likely to see Tyrone Peachey return to the Panthers. Rhyse Martin is likely to leave the Bulldogs after his disgraceful treatment with Penrith a potential home along with Manly. James Maloney will leave Penrith at the end of this year and it would not surprise at all if he ended up at Melbourne. The Titans are also a big possibility. Michael Gordon is some chance of a premature retirement after being diagnosed with a blood clot.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 12: Penrith – Manly, 15 – 12.  

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 13: North Queensland – Manly, 20 – 22.

Random Fact of Rugby League Stupidity: Jack De Belin’s grandfather Fred De Belin played for Australia with Bobby Lulham, who was involved in the most sensational scandal in the first 50 years of Rugby League when he was poisoned by his mother-in-law, with whom he was engaged in a sexual relationship with.

Worst Coaching Decision of the Week: It has received plenty of air but Brad Fittler deserves significant criticism for both his team selection and his rotation, particularly in the second half. Jack Wighton should never have been close to the team and he proved same. Angus Crichton was out of form and played as such. The second half rotations were particularly awful. Dragging Cody Walker was disgraceful and provided nothing. Wasting a second interchange getting him back on was just madness. Leaving Boyd Cordner on was concerning. The lack of fresh punch was just diabolical. He has plenty of credits from last year but this was not a good start to his sophomore year.

The Coaching Crosshairs: The drums are beating that former Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens is set to return to the NRL and Director of Football at the Wests Tigers. Sheens was recently axed as Hull KR coach and is set to return to the NRL. He has been linked with a move to Cronulla but looks set to prove a good fit with new Tigers coach Michael Maguire.

Beard Watch: Jahrome Hughes is currently donning one of the great combinations: a fully-fledged moustache and the tight headgear. What a look. Gary Wurth would be proud.

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