From The Couch 2019: Round 4

From The Couch 2019: Round 4

Culture Crisis at Broncos: We are just four games into the Anthony Seibold era at the Broncos but it is fairly clear that the club is suffering from a severe culture crisis. On the paddock, Brisbane’s football this year has been marked by two things: a lack of effort and a general thugishness. Off the field there is bitching and carrying on and now an administration who spent all last year bickering with the coach now not suspending James Roberts for getting carried out of a party unconscious for getting too much in him. This is a club that won seven premierships in its first 20 years and is now 13 years and counting without a title and is in arguably the worst state it has ever been in.

Wayne Bennett was no doubt on the nose with the administration. But the players played for him and he kept the club in some order.

Paul White and his minions, in what was nothing more than a power play, forced Bennett out to get Seibold. So this mess is on them. The former Souths boss may be a good coach. He may not be either. The word out of the Broncos is definitely pushing thinking to the latter with his personality closer to Des Hasler than Craig Bellamy.

Coaching is typically best reflected in effort. It is hard to picture a team trying less than the Broncos, particularly their skipper. Players are refusing to tackle. Basics haven’t been learnt. No player is playing for each other.

When a star player suffering an injury decides to go and get blind rather than rehab his injury, it says plenty. When the club is okay with that, it says plenty more.

One-Month One-Word Team Takes: 

Brisbane – Spineless
Canberra – Fast
Canterbury – Haslered
Cronulla – Grizzled
Gold Coast – Garth-ball
Manly – Underrated
Melbourne – Reliable
Newcastle – Fragile
New Zealand – Blerg
North Queensland – Worrying
Parramatta – Enthusiastic
Penrith – Distracted
St George Illawarra – Middling
South Sydney – Genuine
Sydney Roosters – Champs
Wests Tigers – Gritty

Golden Point is Dumb: Golden point is dumb. It is completely unnecessary. It takes away rather than adds to the spectacle that is Rugby League. We had three over the weekend. All would have been better left as draws. They were the deserving results. They would break up the ladder. The field goal is great but it is hard to get excited about the manufactured one.

Must-Read Journalism: Michael Chammas released some of the best long-form Rugby League journalism you could ever hope to read when he put out a two-part series on how Phil Gould courted Wayne Bennett at Penrith and then how the Panthers secured Ivan Cleary with Bennett heading to Souths. If you follow the great game then this is a must-read on

2019 Field Goal Update – 6: Corey Norman booted a match-winning field goal last week and then Sam Williams kicked a sealer. This week Nathan Cleary and Daly Cherry-Evans slotted golden point match-winners this week while Williams tried one just before halftime.

Fun Fact #1: Bronson Xerri  is the second player in premiership history to have a surname starting with X after Anthony Xuereb.

Fun Fact #2: Anthony Xuereb played 34 games for Penrith and Western Suburbs from 1991-94 … before making his international debut for Malta in 2005 at 35, a 24-22 win over Greece.

Fun Fact #3: The second least common last name letter is Z with just eight players in premiership history donning a last name beginning with the last letter of the alphabet. The first was Steve Zaccaria in 1943 while the most recent has been Will Zillman.

Betting Market of the Week: The most disliked Edwards in the Penrith region:

$11: Morvin Edwards
$6.50: Prince Edward
$2.50: Kenny Edwards
$2.20: Dylan Edwards

Rumour Mill: There is serious speculation this week that is not well with a prominent player who missed last week. While he was ruled out with injury, he is reportedly battling serious alcohol issues. There are significant dramas behind the scenes at the Knights with senior players being linked to a rather untoward organisation. Phil Gould is almost certain to walk out on Penrith soon with rumours linking him to Cronulla on the mark. Young Saints hooker Reece Robson is set to sign with Canterbury.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 3: Brisbane – St George Illawarra, 24 -25

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 4: Melbourne – Canterbury, 18-16

Random Fact of Rugby League Stupidity: The quickest way through the last 47 years is four players:

Paul Gallen – debuted v Jason Taylor in 2001 – who debuted with Ivan Henjak in 1990 – who debuted with Rod Reddy in 1981, who himself debuted in 1972.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: It would have been a decision with plenty of bottle but Anthony Seibold had to seriously consider hooking fullback and captain Darius Boyd. While his performance was again poor, it was his abject lack of effort and his attempt to avoid all contact that should have had the coach getting him off. It will be a true sign of Seibold’s mettle if he picks Boyd this week.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Garth Brennan will not survive May and is a good chance of being dusted in April. The Titans have clearly reached a decision that he is not their long-term coach. He has a roster more talented than their 0-4 record suggests. He has made some completely moronic decisions, primarily playing Bryce Cartwright 80 minutes while Jai Arrow sits on the pine for over half an hour. Putting AJ Brimson on the bench runs a clear second. Mal Meninga has sidled into a consultancy role and it would not surprise at all if he was handed the reins before season’s end.

Beard Watch: It is hard to go past Kotoni Staggs’ moustache as the best in the NRL. It is perfectly shaped, it looks incredibly unnatural and it looks from another time and place.

Watch It: More Boots ‘N’ All this week and we head back to the 1980s at some cracking grounds and some cracking tries. Vossy, if you are reading this, when are you going to bring it back! Fox League needs it on the schedule. Watch it here.

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