April 30, 2019
From The Couch 2019: Round 7
Gus Legacy Brutalised: Phil Gould had a blind spot. That blind spot was an inability to ever fully trust another coach. His time spent in charge of teams meant he just always knew better. He got rid of Matt Elliott before he got his ass moulded into his office seat. It led to him sacking Ivan Cleary. It led to him axing Anthony Griffin with the Panthers in the Top 4. In the end it cost him his job when Cleary was re-signed. Putting that to one side though, there is absolutely no question that Gould’s time at Penrith was a major success. The Panthers were nearly broke. Their junior nursery was a shambles. They had played in just one finals series in the previous six seasons. The club was near death. While Gould never lived up to his lofty promises – and despite his attempt to rewrite history, he did espouse his five-year plan – he achieved great things at Penrith. Let that history not be rewritten by his many critics in the News Limited media.
Coaches Doing What Coaches Do: There is a very simple reason coaches take the absolute piss out of everyone in the game with the naming of teams and the releasing of player health information – they can. The NRL allows it. And they shouldn’t. It is nothing but laziness and cowardice that has prevented the NRL from implementing a thorough and transparent system where a player’s injury status is constantly and honestly updated with clubs and coaches heavily fined and/or suspended for failure to comply. The NFL manages to make it work with 32 franchises with rosters of 53 spread across four time-zones. The NRL improved things a few years back with the 21-man squad announcement but it was merely scratching the surface. Stephen Kearney and Trent Robinson flat out lied to everyone last week. Craig Bellamy was fairly loose with the truth. The NRL can no long stand idly by and let this continue.
Cody Walker is an Absolute Jet: If there is one player I am cheering on to win both an Origin jersey and the Dally M Medal this year it is Cody Walker. Sure, his story is amazing, not debuting in the NRL until the age of 26. His style of play though stands without narrative. He is just an incredible footballer and it is finally all being optimised under Wayne Bennett. Walker makes everyone around him better. He is an exciting runner who creates more tries than anyone, a dynamic player who plays what is in front of him without ruining structures or playing selfish. He is a footballer’s footballer and he should be the first half Brad Fittler picks this year.
2019 Field Goal Update – 13: What an outstanding week it has been for the meaningless field goal. Mitchell Moses kicked it off by slotting a field goal to extend Parramatta’s lead from 50-6 to 51-6, in the process erasing a career of mockery and disdain. It was followed up by Anthony Milford hitting one late in the first half to give the Broncos a 21-0 lead. Brodie Croft kicked a match-winner too.
Fun Fact #1: Ben Cummins is just two games away from surpassing Col Pearce in second spot on the most games refereed list.
Fun Fact #2: Only 11 referees have officiated a single premiership game, the most recent being Peter Kirby in 2012.
Fun Fact #3: Newcastle are winless in 11 games under Jon Stone, the only team to have not won a game under a referee who has officiated them in 10 or more games.
Betting Market of the Week: Anthony Seibold’s least favourite topic of conversation:
$3.50: Wayne Bennett
$3.50: Darius Boyd’s contract
$3.50: Halves organisation
$3.50: Anthony Seibold’s contract
Rumour Mill: An enjoyable one out of News Limited is that Daily Telegraph journalists have been told to fix their horrid image by teaming with popular and positive Rugby League Twitter accounts, so be very wary when you see someone pump up Buzz Rothfield. Curtis Scott was not dropped for any on-field performance and it would surprise if he played for the Storm again if rumours are to be believed. Aiden Sezer is expected to seek a release to move to England. Dylan Edwards is being shopped around with North Queensland his most likely destination.
Game of the Year Nomination, Round 7: Sydney Roosters – St George Illawarra, 20 – 10.
Random Fact of Rugby League Stupidity: From 1908 through 1921, teams could score from a field goal by booting a loose ball from the ground over the crossbar. The rule existed until 1950 in the UK.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Garth Brennan deserves to be sacked for continually playing Bryce Cartwright 80 minutes while playing Jai Arrow somewhere around 50, week after week. Arrow is the Titans’ best player and by a long way. He should be playing an 80-minute Jake Trbojevic role. If the likes of Whitbred and King can’t play on an edge – and they can – then Brennan needs to rethink his rotations where his best player doesn’t spend nearly half the game getting splinters in his backside.
The Coaching Crosshairs: Nathan Brown has been told he has two weeks to get two wins or he will be out at Newcastle, bringing to an end one of the most sustained runs of mediocrity at a club in memory. Brown was told after the poor loss to the Titans. Craig Fitzgibbon is favoured to be the next long-term successor with Tongan coach Kristian Woolf to take over in the interim if Brown does get his orders.
Beard Watch: If Reagan Campbell-Gillard didn’t have a cracking Freddie Mercury moustache, would he be in first grade? He is a good example to average players: stand out with your looks, it will buy you time.
Correspondence Corner: Davey G, Clint Gutherson is incredibly likable. He is absolutely better than Moses, no risk.
Eddo, McGregor personifies what is wrong with clubs who refuse to get with the modern game.
CTPE, very harsh on Andy Raymond! He is Mr Monday Night.
Joey, I missed that call out. What did he say?
Michael Butterfield, Canterbury got away with so much against South Sydney. It was like we were watching Earl Hebner running the game.
Geoff, you may have found your answer in the centre in Patrick Herbert.
Watch It: Australia have played France on Australian soil just three times since 1981. One of those contests was at Parkes, where Brad Mackay led Australia to a 34-2 win over Les Chanticleers. Watch the highlights here.