From The Couch 2019: Round 18

From The Couch: Round 18 by Nick Tedeschi @

Brennan Mercifully Axed: Garth-ball is dead. Long live Garth-ball. The man who brought us the Ash Taylor Experience and who continually insisted on shoving Bryce Cartwright down our throat was mercifully shown the door two-thirds into his second season. It will be his last as not only were the Titans a miserable failure and his record abhorrent but Brennan failed at the little things like getting his team fit, having his players provide effort and heart, picking the right team and on and on and on. Garth Brennan turned out to be one of the least qualified coaches in NRL history and he was unfortunate enough to get his crack at one of the least desirable locations.

Titans Candidates, Assessed: Kevin Walters: Says he doesn’t want the job but what he actually doesn’t want is to apply. Big question marks over his suitability for the weekly grind. Mates with powerful figures though so job is his if he wants it.

Justin Holbrook: Best in the field and will pass them over, likely for Canterbury. Would stay at St Helens before taking the Gold Coast job.

Geoff Toovey: Had a good record at Manly. Not the most tactically astute but does provide experience and a clear grasp of a winning culture.

Tim Sheens: Probably past it now but he seems like an ideal fit. Perhaps a little loose with players, which would be taken advantage of by that playing group.

Trent Barrett: Failed at the Sea Eagles and would be highly unlikely to enter a similar scenario to Manly. Likely to wait for the Dragons job.

Craig Fitzgibbon: Highly rated assistant from the Trent Robinson tree. Hard to pass up a job in his spot but this is not a good situation and he likely has other options likely to present.

Adam O’Brien: Best assistant in the game. Will hold out for the Melbourne gig. He is viewed as Craig Bellamy’s successor and is merely getting experience outside the Storm now.

Adrian Lam: It is stunning his name is still floating around. More stunning Wigan signed him. Hard pass. No good.

Mal Meninga: Certainly shouldn’t take it but it would not surprise if he does.

David Furner: Did anyone see his Raiders stint? What about his half-season at Leeds?

The Walker Brothers: They aren’t wanted and their tactics likely won’t work at NRL level but this is the Titans and if one club needs to be weird it is the Titans. Would make the Titans interesting.

ARLC in All Sorts: Mark Coyne’s time at a Commissioner of Rugby League has gone as well and lasted as long as Mal Meninga’s foray into politics. He has made a complete fool of himself and the game with his reported behaviour in Singapore. What is reported though does seem a little light for passport confiscation and being detained in a foreign country for seven weeks, but be that what it is. His behaviour though could have some greater ramifications though. If Peter Beattie knew about this and didn’t report it before he claimed to have, this could take down the chairman.

An Historic Night: Rugby League cops a lot of criticism for a lot of things, much of it deserved. One area that Rugby League has always been at the forefront though is inclusivity. Rugby League struck another first when Belinda Sharpe became the first female to referee an NRL game on Thursday night. It is a truly historic moment in a game that really is for all.

Fun Fact #1: Mick Stone refereed Brisbane’s first premiership game.

Fun Fact #2: The Broncos’ first post-season game was a 38-14 playoff loss to Cronulla.

Fun Fact #3: Brisbane have a losing record against only one team – the Melbourne Storm.

Betting Market of the Week: Mark Coyne’s only crime in Singapore was swearing at police:

$41.00: Of course it was – he is clearly to be trusted
$1.02: Robert Allenby was just innocently kidnapped

Rumour Mill: There is expected to be a big change in the backrow at the Sydney Roosters next year. Angus Crichton looks likely to be released to return to Rugby Union with Trent Robinson very unhappy with his attitude. Tyson Frizell looks likely to join. Frizell is desperately unhappy at the Dragons, particularly with the club’s position on Jack De Belin, and has already asked for a release. Canterbury are reportedly eyeing Andrew McCullough. Cronulla have made a huge play to sign Jai Arrow.

Random Fact of Rugby League Stupidity: The first player in alphabetical order to play this decade is Brad Abbey. Daniel Abraham, Grant Adamson and John Adam preceded him.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: It is hard to understand why interim Titans coaches would stick with Bryce Cartwright. The duo had the opportunity to make a statement and they did not do so.

The Coaching Crosshairs: The machinations of Garth Brennan’s axing are likely to flow through to Belmore with Dean Pay likely to be moved on. St Helens coach Justin Holbrook is the hottest coaching candidate doing the rounds this year and the Bulldogs have had their hand forced with Brennan’s axing. Holbrook wants an NRL opportunity and he will take the Titans if he senses Canterbury are not all-in on him. The Bulldogs want Holbrook and now have to make the call to move on from Pay, a decision that should not prove all that difficult.

Beard Watch: Corey Harawira-Naera has a moustache that could have him as a 1980s wrestling heel. Butch Reed comes to mind.

Correspondence Corner: Davey_G, you are a wise man. The next coach of the Titans will be a gelding with Mal overseeing and the Nick Cotric tackle was clearly a dangerous spear tackle and anyone arguing otherwise is just playing with semantics.

CTPE, Cameron Smith is both the most accomplished and the greatest.

Knight Vision, you are not Pat Malone there.

Cam, Smith is about as decent a bloke and a good a role model as there is in the NRL. He is an ornament to the game.

Watch It: The 1978 Kangaroo Tour does not get a lot of love or recognition. Here is the third Test from the series, won by Australia. Watch it here.

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