From The Couch 2019: Round 15

From The Couch: Round 15

By Nick Tedeschi @

Clowns in the Middle, Jokers in the Booth: It is hard to get a grip on how paid professionals can get it so abhorrently wrong but Sunday provided some of the worst officiating and video refereeing imaginable. Both Penrith and Canterbury survived but barely and no thanks to some pathetic officiating. The Panthers were carved up the most with an unspoken crackdown on the sin bin seeing Liam Martin dismissed for no reason before Jarome Luai followed soon after in a decision so wrong the ref could have awarded icing and three free shots and it would have been closer to the mark. Then down to 11, the Warriors were awarded a try where the winger clearly had his arm on the ground. The Bulldogs then copped theirs with an astonishing decision from perennial clown Ashley Klein to miss a clear knock on in an attempt to get the Sharks back in the game. Being a video referee is actually not particularly hard to the general incompetence is as alarming as it is infuriating.          

Say It Ain’t So: In the end, he played only 25 games for Canterbury. But Rhyse Martin will never be forgotten. Neither will the fools whose poor treatment of him be forgotten either. Martin was one of the few rays of light in a wretched 2018. He was to be the same again until Dean Pay decided to snuff that light out like the monster that he is, giving the Bulldogs’ best player a start in reserve grade and starting him in just five games this season. For security, Martin had no choice but to leave so the Bulldogs can continue to pay the likes of Adam Elliot and Sauaso Sue. His departure is a sad indictment of where the Bulldogs are.

Origin Selection Drama – Queensland: The biggest issue Kevin Walters is facing is finding a replacement for the injured Kalyn Ponga. Michael Morgan is the obvious choice, forcing a reshuffle with Dane Gagai moving to the centres and Kyle Feldt debuting on the wing. Shifting Cameron Munster back though strikes as far more effective with Corey Norman coming in at six. Of course, Ben Hunt could shift into the halves if Cameron Smith makes an unexpected return from retirement. Christian Welch will debut off the bench for Jarrod Wallace.

Origin Selection Drama – NSW: Half Nathan Cleary will be given every chance to prove his fitness but seems long odds to play. Adam Reynolds should get the nod but it is supposedly a battle between Wade Graham and Mitchell Pearce. Graham will likely get the gig with Ryan Matterson set to be his bench replacement. Astonishingly David Klemmer is set to be overlooked for Tariq Sims with Payne Haas also unable to force his way back.

Oh Jack: Canberra completely bottled it against the Eels. They jumped to a 16-0 lead and were cruising before Jack Wighton pulled out a classic Jack Wighton game and managed five errors in a match-losing performance. It will never make any sense how he has managed to convince the powers-that-be that he deserves an Origin spot. Canberra are never going to threaten the serious teams in the premiership while he is playing for them.

George Burgess is a Grub and Has To Go: George Burgess is a complete and utter grub. That is the only way to accurately describe someone who deliberately attempts to gouge another player – a former teammate no less – in the eye. Burgess should rightly be rubbed out for the rest of the season. He has likely played his last game for Souths and hopefully in the NRL. Perhaps during his time off he could perhaps do something productive like learning to catch.

2019 Field Goal Update – 23: Adam Reynolds slotted a field goal that proved fruitless in the Rabbitohs’ loss to the Tigers before James Maloney kicked another match winner for the Panthers on Sunday.

Fun Fact #1: The Rugby League News from June 26, 1920 (99 years ago this week) had a front page that featured no Rugby League but advertisements for ice cream, Rexona, Walter Pittar’s dentist and Edward Fay Ltd shoes.

Fun Fact #2: The first player featured in said edition was of Albert Rosenfeld.

Fun Fact #3: One of the major issues of the week was the clashing jerseys when Souths met Norths.

Betting Market of the Week: Things Darius Boyd would be afraid of tackling:

$3.00: Tackling Bag
$2.00: Own Shadow
$1.01: Any human being currently breathing

Rumour Mill: Chatter that Canterbury are pursuing Latrell Mitchell is absolute rot but the club is very much chasing the Trbojevic Brothers. The club is unlikely to secure them though. Christian Welch is in the frame to make his Queensland State of Origin debut in the decider. Matt Prior has been linked to a move to Parramatta.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 15: Sydney Roosters – Melbourne, 12 – 14.

Random Fact of Rugby League Stupidity: The first Burgess to play in the Sydney premiership was Bruce Burgess, who played for St George in 1950. He was never suspended for eye gouging.

Worst Coaching Decision of the Week: Anthony Seibold has copped plenty of criticism this year. Some rightly and some wrongly. He deserve every bullet sent his way for his decision to play Darius Boyd in the front line of defence. Boyd has zero courage. He refuses to tackle. It proved the death knell for the Broncos on Saturday night.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Garth Brennan has been in the gun for a long while and it is all set to come down soon with Mal Meninga to recommend Kevin Walters take over the head coaching role post-Origin. Brennan could be fired this week with an interim boss to come in over the next few weeks but Brennan is done and the job will go to Kevin Walters.

Beard Watch: If the NRL ever produces a remake of The Three Musketeers, Damien Cook is an absolute morale to be cast in the lead role

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