From The Couch 2019: Round 8

From The Couch: Round 8

By Nick Tedeschi at

Night of the Long Knives: Chris and Lynne Anderson have been patient. They’ve waited. They’ve talked to the right people. They’ve bided their time. They have consolidated power. And now they have moved, sacking four key football staff including Football Manager Gareth Holmes and Team Manager Andrew Farrar. It comes after only a token one-year extension of Dean Pay’s contract. The team continues to work through the salary cap debacle left in their lap by Des Hasler, Raelene Castle and Ray Dib. Make no mistake – this was a critical purge of staff who, for the most part, were viewed as part of the old regime. This is about clearing the decks and setting in motion the strategy for a new era, one that will help put to an end Canterbury’s long premiership drought. The Andersons know Rugby League but they also know what they don’t know and that is pretty important as they look to steer the ship right for the first time in a long time.

Never Mess with The Master: Wayne Bennett is the very best when it comes to getting the mental edge over another coach. The only bloke it hasn’t really worked on is Craig Bellamy and that is because Bellamy doesn’t give a damn. Anthony Seibold is the latest to make a run at Bennett. He angled for the Broncos job, then cracked it publicly when Bennett wouldn’t walk away and has since been sulking as the Broncos have gone from bad to worse. He had his big chance at revenge and Bennett put him in his place. He did so in the lead-in with his interviews and press conferences. He did so with the result. The highlight was Bennett supposedly kicking all non-players out of the dressing room and thanking them for what they did for him before going to a press conference and telling the world it didn’t mean anything. The Master.

The Warriors are Just The Warriors: The Warriors just cannot stop being the Warriors. No matter what positive steps forward they make as an organisation, they continue to mess everything up with ridiculous personnel calls. Just a few years on from signing Adam Blair to a contract probably 10 times his worth, they have gone out and recruited Kodi Nikorima. The same Kodi Nikorima who was on the outs at a Brisbane team that were giving nothing. They have decided to pay him in the vicinity of $700,000 a season. This comes around six months after telling Shaun Johnson – a former Golden Boot winner and one of the club’s greatest all-time players – that they would not pay him a million per. It is a decision that defies belief except it doesn’t at all.

Playing Out of Position: Five players that are being played out of position out of either necessity or stupidity.

Moses Mbye – Should be a hooker. Has too many mistakes and lacks the speed to be a fullback.

Jack Wighton – Ricky made the right move to get him out of the fullback position but his best go is at centre.

Josh Dugan – The only place he can be played is at wing. He cannot pass so is useless as a fullback or a centre.

Kodi Nikorima – Not a halfback by any stretch. Is a hooker out-and-out.

Tyrone Peachey – He is far too exposed defensively at centre while he doesn’t get enough ball. He would be better at five-eighth getting more protection in defence.

2019 Field Goal Update – 13: No field goals in Round 8 though we did see Cameron Munster attempt one of the more insane shots.

Fun Fact #1: No coach got fired mid-season in the 1960s

Fun Fact #2: The first coach to lose their job mid-season was Mike Stephenson in 1975, who left his post as captain-coach of the Panthers 16 games into the year. A week later Clive Churchill quit as Souths coach. Barry Harris and Bob McCarthy took over the Panthers and Rabbitohs respectively.

Fun Fact #3: Coaches sacked mid-season in the 1980s: Greg Hawick (Norths, 1985), Laurie Freier (Wests, 1988).

Betting Market of the Week: Bryce Cartwright’s best secret to winning Rugby League games:

$1.70: Unexpected flick passes to nobody on the first tackle
$2.30: Refusing to tackle
$3.00: Spreading contagious and once contained diseases to the wider populace

Rumour Mill: Phil Gould has been linked to a shock move to Canterbury to run the football operations at the club he coached to the 1988 title. He left the club on far from the best terms though and it would be a surprise to see the Andersons cede such power. Cameron Smith has been rumoured to be considering an Origin comeback to help the injury-ravaged Maroons. Manly are now favourites to sign Clint Gutherson. Jayden Brailey has been linked with a move to Newcastle.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 8: Cronulla – Melbourne, 20 – 18.

Random Fact of Rugby League Stupidity: Leo Abberton, who played three games for Glebe and Balmain in 1925-26, is the first premiership player when it comes to alphabetical order. Trevor Allan, who coached Norths in 1957-58, is the first coach.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Any coach that can play Darius Boyd in first grade, let alone name him captain, has lost the plot. Aging players go through form ruts. Few stop trying though. Boyd has done just that. He is putting in no effort in what is one of the most disgraceful showings I can recall seeing. The first three tries he refused to dive on two loose balls that he was first at before refusing to chase an intercept. Last Thursday was his 300th game. It should be his last.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Garth Brennan is a dead man walking at the Titans and it would not surprise at all to see him axed in the next few weeks. The team plays like it has not been coached. There is a terribly low football IQ, a total lack of creativity in attack and a failure of so many to understand what looks to be even the most basic concepts. Mal Meninga joined the club clearly to slide his way back into the NRL and taking over as an interim coach seems a good way of dipping his toe in without committing.

Beard Watch: It is not often you see a kid debut with a full-fledged beard but that is what we saw from new Manly winger Abbas Miski, who looked like Josh Mansour in a Manly jumper.

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