March 16, 2020
From The Couch 2020: Round 1
From The Couch 2020: Round 1
Saint Peter, Patron Saint of Rugby League: When Rugby League soon realises the old Super League vision of being known and followed in China and the United States, it will be because of the resilience and fortitude of one man: Peter V’landys. With every other sport ducking for coronavirus cover, – some like the NBA justified, others like The Masters a little prematurely – Rugby League will keep on trucking.
It is likely now the most popular active sport in the world. Out of necessity comes invention, out of desperation comes opportunity. Rugby League’s time is now and Peter V’Landys is the man to lead the charge.
He is a scrapper. He is a fighter. He is a pragmatist. He knows the value of a dollar. And he protects what’s his with the vigour of a lioness protecting her cubs.
There is no reason for the NRL to play the sheep and follow the crowd. No player at this stage is infected. If the league follows the advice of public health officials – like staging games without crowds – then the competition should continue. This is a great opportunity to not only service a gagging fanbase but to showcase to the world the Greatest Game of All. NRL HQ should be offering games for free to ESPN and CBS and major broadcasters across Europe, Asia and South America.
Already Sky in the UK are in talks with Super League about broadcasting all games. Betting companies would happily fund as much content as possible.
PVL sees the opportunity for the game. He is rightly looking to maximise it.
His willingness to protect the competition while not endangering the wider community should be applauded. He listened to Wayne Bennett and his proposal to take the game to a single venue and attempt to quarantine players and their families. The latest proposal is from a resort in Townsville that says it can host all 16 teams. The league should also be looking at isolated country venues such as Cobar and Broken Hill if it will hold off the threat of a player being infected.
Onward Chrisitian soldier, onward behind Saint Pete.
Captain’s Challenge Fail: The only good thing about the captain’s challenge is seeing Clint Gutherson make hot-headed decisions to listen to fool Reagan Campbell-Gillard in the first 20 minutes in a completely meaningless situation. Outside of humour, it is a pointless and silly implementation.
The Punters Guide NRL Tips Sheet: Just sign up. Don’t be foolish. For $300 bucks you can be tipped into a squillion winners. Best of the week Round 1? Penrith. Next? Melbourne. Both go bang bang. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Let’s keep this column going and have you find plenty of winners.
2020 Field Goal Update – 1: Field goals don’t come much better than the debut one-pointer of 2020 when Michael Morgan slotted a 40-metre field goal … off a drop-out … on the stroke of half-time … to take the score from 12-8 to 12-9.
Fun Fact #1: South Sydney defeated Western Suburbs in 1918, the year the Spanish Flu epidemic hit Australia
Fun Fact #2: When Cameron Smith made his debut on April 13, 2002, John Howard was Prime Minister, Bob Carr was NSW Premier, Steven Bradbury had just won an unlikely gold medal, Kath and Kim debuted and Richard Morecroft still read the ABC News.
Fun Fact #3: Peter V’landys was a “speedy second-rower” as a junior according to teammate Gary Jack.
Betting Market of the Week: To happen first:
$1.60: Todd Greenberg sacked
$2.30: The NRL shutdown due to coronavirus
Rumour Mill: Blake Solly is expected to take up the role of NRL CEO, the rumour mill has it with Andrew Hill to serve as COO. There was strong speculation that another Cronulla player (not Bronson Xerri) was thought to have coronavirus but the fact they played Saturday night suggests that rumour was false. Wayne Bennett is expected to be signed by St George Illawarra to take over in the 2022 season. Valentine Holmes is expected to miss significant time with a calf injury despite little being mentioned in the call.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Justin Holbrook had an uninspiring debut as coach of the Gold Coast Titans. Holbrook played Jai Arrow reduced minutes, played Bryce Cartwright 80, had Cartwright and Ash Taylor defend on the same side of the field and started Brian Kelly on the bench. Yuck.
The Coaching Crosshairs: Stephen Kearney us cast and if it weren’t for this coronavirus sweeping the rounds, he would have been every chance to be sacked after another inept display. The new owners have no loyalty to him and his record hardly stands up for itself. Kearney is as good as gone.
Beard Watch: The Melbourne Storm mo is about as good as facial hair in the NRL gets and Ryan Papenhuyzen wears it as well as anyone.
Watch It: Hull FC coach Lee Radford was sacked after a loss to Warrington. He was sacked on live TV when he was replaced at the post-match press conference by big wig Adam Pearson. It was a damning end for a real warrior. Watch it here.