From The Couch 2019: Round 17

From The Couch 2019: Round 17

By Nick Tedeschi at

Cameron Smith, Simply The Best: There has been no greater Rugby League player than Cameron Smith. Ever. There has been no more accomplished. No player has achieved nearly as much. There has been no more consistently great player. He has achieved everything there is to achieve in Rugby League and now owns the Rugby League record book. Words here though cannot do him justice. His longevity, his success, his ongoing standards of excellence say it all. For some reason, Smith has become widely disliked by some elements. This is nothing but pettiness. Smith pushes the line like all the truly great players have. He has won and has done it consistently. He has done it with class. He has done it at all levels. He has done it his way. There have been more brilliant players. There have been more transcendent ones. None though have been as great. Cameron Smith is simply the best.

Rise for Ted: James Tedesco has left no doubts as to who the next Origin star and who the next dominant Origin talent will be. He has been the best player the last two Origin series. Scoring the match winner with all the class of a genuine superstar just sealed the deal. The Blues are primed for a run of dominance on the back of Tedesco and Damien Cook. They were shaky this series but got it done, even with Mitchell Pearce in the team. Queensland have further to fall while the Blues will only get better.

Ashley Klein is a Dud: There is a big enough issue that Ashley Klein continues to operate in a dual role of on-field referee and video referee. He is terrible at both, making significant errors. Combined with his stubbornness, it has become a major worry. A bigger worry, however, is the fact Ashley Klein continues to get rewarded with big games. He has refereed the last six Origins and last year’s premiership decider. To say this is reminiscent of Greg Hartley’s remarkable and controversial ascent from reserve grade to Grand Final referee in two months is an understatement.

Power Rankings and Update – 1989 Jersey Sponsors:

1.Henny Penny – Newcastle – Delicious chicken joint with nine stores still rocking the Hunter. Fried chicken always wins.
2.Smith’s Crisps – Souths – Chip manufacturer that is the biggest in Australia. Hard to forgive them killing off Ruffles.
3.BHP – Illawarra – Now the world’s largest mining company but couldn’t save Illawarra as a standalone joint.
4.Penfolds – St George – Wine producer celebrating its 175-year anniversary. Its Grange 55 was named a Top 12 wine of the 20th Century.
5.City Ford – Easts – Funding the Sydney Roosters’ salary cap sombrero while making Nick Politis the most powerful figure in the game and ranked the 86th wealthiest in Australia.
6.Phillips – Balmain – Electronics manufacturer that has a diverse portfolio of interests in Australia, where it employs over 800 people.
7.Seagulls – Gold Coast – Major pokie den and club that is still supporting the game, though at a sub-premiership level.
8.Norths Leagues – North Sydney – See Seagulls though in a much more affluent area.
9.Masterton – Western Suburbs – Award winning home producer that has thrived in the western suburbs in Sydney.
10.Powers – Brisbane – Major player in the beer wars of the 1990s but never topped more than 14% share and sold out to CUB in 1993.
11. Support Services – Manly – Big-time player in the Australian security business.
12.AussieDuct Systems – Cronulla – Still alive but nobody has heard of them because they appear to be in the business of boring.
13.Calphos – Penrith – Went insolvent in 2017, a major surprise as it is unclear what they ever did.
14.HFC Finance – Canterbury – Financial services provider that seemed to fizzle out in the early 1990s.
15.Woodgers – Canberra – From what I can gather a small real estate company in Canberra that is today long gone.
16.James Hardie – Parramatta – Known as the ‘Killer Company’ for literally killing large number of people through asbestos. Remarkably still exists.

2019 Field Goal Update – 25: Adam Reynolds knocked over another matchwinner while Kodi Nikorima potentially broke a record for most misses. Jake Clifton also slotted a shock one-pointer to upset the Cowboys.

Fun Fact #1: Cameron Smith made his debut in 2002. The only person still active in the NRL from the game was Storm lock Henry Perenara, who is currently refereeing.

Fun Fact #2: Cameron Smith made his debut at halfback in the No.18 jersey. The only player to score for the Storm that day was little-known English forward Ian Sibbit.

Fun Fact #3:  Cameron Smith did not start kicking goals until his sixth premiership appearance.

Betting Market of the Week: ‘Live Decisions’ Ashley Klein supports:

$4.00: Bill Shorten’s Prime Ministership
$3.00: The continued legalisation of slavery
$2.20: The rise and rise of the Soviet Union
$1.04: Paul Gallen, good bloke

Rumour Mill: Wayne Bennett has been sounded out to coach Queensland in 2020. Kevin Walters is likely to have a club coaching gig and the Maroons are in desperate need of an experienced mentor. George Burgess is expected to sign with Parramatta next year. Brad Parker will be shifting to the Tigers in 2020. Canterbury have been linked to Andrew McCullough. Jordan Rapana is expected to return to New Zealand and sign with the Warriors next year.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 17: Brisbane – New Zealand, 18-18. Golden point on a great weekend of Rugby League.

Random Fact of Rugby League Stupidity: There have been 93 Smiths play premiership Rugby League.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: It makes no sense that Isaiah Papalii would be playing first grade for the Warriors. Zero at all. He was horrific on Saturday against the Broncos. He cost the Warriors almost single handedly.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Garth Brennan is expected to receive his marching orders from the Titans on Monday when Mal Meninga delivers the results of the longest mid-season review in the history of Rugby League. Titans players have clearly given up on Brennan if their most recent showing against the Panthers was anything to go by. It was as inept in execution as it was appalling in effort. It is highly unlikely Brennan will get another shot in the NRL as a head coach.

Beard Watch: It is tough not to like Payne Haas rocking the Abraham Lincoln.

Correspondence Corner: Michael Butterfield and Knight Vision, the frustrating part about the refereeing is there is no consistency week to week or within the same game and that the blatantly obvious is missed.

Tom, thanks for the correction! Balmain won 2/4 Panasonic Cups.

Watch It: There have been few more seminal seasons in the history of the Australian game than 1983. It saw Kevin Humphreys resign as boss of the ARL and NSWRL and Ken Arthurson and John Quayle rise to power, while Wests and Newtown were kicked out of the league. Watch the goings on from 1983 here.

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