New NRL Season

Its a new NRL Season, but with the same old Channel Nine Bias.

RabbsIf you’re a Queenslander, although you get excited with the anticipation of the NRL season starting, the moment the telecast starts on channel nine, you feel deflated. At the sound of Ray Warren’s and Gus Gould’s voices the stress starts moving up from your gut.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the feeling that I get from listening to the NSW contingent of the telecast team, is that they feel they have an entitlement to the game. It’s their game and we are all just guests. The Sydney teams are all that matter, and the teams from Queensland, Melbourne, and New Zealand are just there to make up the numbers.

Every time you suggest bias to them, they are quick to say that it’s just perception, and that they are completely objective about the games… Bullshit.

On Thursday, they were tolerably, because the Rabbits played the Roosters and they were a bit undecided as to who they preferred. although there was a decided leaning to the Roosters, when it came to Gus.

But on Friday night it was palpably. It was all about what the Bulldogs had to do to beat the Broncos. The sideline comments from Joey Johns were all about the Bulldogs strategy, and Gus had the Broncos dead on their feet many times, ready to go down. Trying to will it from the box. Bad luck Gus.

But to the game.

Martin KennedyBen Barba had his own victory against his old side, and it was good to seen that he still had plenty of mates in the Bulldogs team after the match, as they shook hands and chatted as they walk off.

Some are saying that he should be the five eight and that Hoffman should be fullback. I don’t agree. The coach pulled the right reign I believe. With the stronger Hoffman playing there in defense, and Barba coming into the line in attack.

The Broncos forwards can take a bow. They held tough all night, and when the Bulldogs pack gave it everything after half time, the Broncos forwards absorbed the surge and held strong. Martin Kennedy looks like he’ll be a good buy. He’ll put some starch into the pack, if last night was anything to go by. Maranta, Copely and McCollough also had great games.

And what about the new “third man in” rule? What a joke. The players had done a fine job of self regulation last year, with very few incidents of injury from smashing a players legs. The way it is now, no one is game to tackle around the legs. We should actually change the name of the game now. Once upon a time tackling around the legs was a fine art in Rugby League, but alas no longer. The defensive arts are being slowly weeded out of the game, all in the name of speeding it up. What’s wrong with defense? It’s a great part of the game. Bring it back, too much favors attack now. It’s getting to be like a game of touch. Too fast.

And as far as anyone even considering for a moment that the Broncos last try was controversial, should give themselves an uppercut. There was no interference on any player. And as for players running behind other players, it happens at least a dozen times a game when forwards run through in normal play. So if we are going to penalize it at try time, lets do it all game. Or just leave it intil a player actually makes contact with another player. The refs showed good common sense last night. Good decision from ex players.

Freddy Fittler What?

Freddy Fittler, Foolish Flashback?

Freddy FittlerAll involved say that Freddy Fittler returning, not a stunt, that they are taking the NRL Auckland 9s Tournament seriously, and that Freddy is a genuine selection, aimed at the Roosters winning the tournament.

Sure. What genius said “I know how we can win the tournament. Now don’t laugh, and I know he’s 42, but let’s get Freddie Fittler back on the paddock.”??

If they are serious, and they believe Freddy Fittler is in the top ten players at the Rooster at 42, Then boy have they got problems in 2014.

The 9s tournament is a full on game, with enough players on the field to form a serious defensive pattern. That’s why they are having a 9s tournament and not a 7s tournament. Because they know that the public like hard defense and big hits. It’ll be fast and furious and I predict a Freddy Fail.

But, it’s having the desired effect, everyone’s talking about it, now there’s a lot of attention focused on the tournament, particularly on the Roosters first game. But really it has made the Roosters look like a bit of a joke, if Freddy is in their top 10 fastest and toughest players this year.

 

Rugby League World Cup 2013

Rugby League World Cup 2013 .. Bring it on…

Rugby-League-World-Cup-2013The running of a Rugby League World Cup is decided pretty much, on a willy-nilly basis, whenever the Rugby league International Federation (RLIF) decides to bung one on. However it does seem that they are getting their act together now that there are more teams involved.

The Rugby League World Cup was first held in France in 1954, in which England, France, Australia and New Zealand participated. England defeating France 16-12 in the final. That was one of two held in the 50s, there were two in the 60s, four in the 70s, one in the 80s, two in the 90s and 2 in the 00s. The last one in 2008 which New Zealand won. It appears that it will now occur every 4 years with the next one scheduled for 2017.

Italy Defeat EnglandThis year the Rugby League World Cup will be held in England. All teams have arrived in the UK with preliminary trial games currently taking place. A major surprise from the trials so far was when Italy defeated England 15-14 last Saturday

The first cup games will take place on Saturday 26th October. The full draw and ticket availability is here.

The Seven network has secured the television rights to the Rugby League World Cup and will show full TV coverage of all games on 7Mate between October 28th and November 30th.

World CupThe full 14 international squads are below.

AUSTRALIA

Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans), Darius Boyd (Newcastle Knights), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Andrew Fifita (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sutherland-Sharks), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels), Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters), Luke Lewis (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Brett Morris (St George Illawarra Dragons), Josh Morris (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans), Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders), Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos), Matthew Scott (North Queensland Cowboys), Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm), Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm), James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys), Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)

Head coach: Tim Sheens

NEW ZEALAND

Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Kieran Foran (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Josh Hoffman (Brisbane Broncos), Krisnan Inu (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Sam Kasiano (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Thomas Leuluai (Warriors), Kevin Locke (Warriors), Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Ben Matulino (Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons), Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Elijah Taylor (Warriors), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Manu Vatuvei (Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Dean Whare (Panthers), Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters)

Head coach: Stephen Kearney

ENGLAND

Carl Ablett (Leeds Rhinos), Tom Briscoe (Hull FC), George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos), Josh Charnley (Wigan), Rangi Chase (Salford Red Devils), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants), Liam Farrell (Wigan), Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants), James Graham (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Michael McIllorum (Wigan), Lee Mossop (Wigan), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves), Gareth Widdop (Melbourne Storm)

Head coach: Steve McNamara

SAMOA

David Fa’alogo (Newcastle Knights), Pita Godinet (Warriors), Harrison Hansen (Wigan), Masada Iosefa (Wests Tigers), Faleniu Iosi (Letava Bulldogs), Tim Lafai (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Joseph Leilua (Newcastle Knights), Teofilo Lepou (Marist Saints), Reni Maitua (Parramatta Eels), Penani Manumeasili (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Mose Masoe (Panthers), Suaia Matagi (Warriors), Arden McCarthy (Point Chevalier Pirates), Anthony Milford (Canberra Raiders), Junior Moors (Melbourne Storm), Edward Purcell (Warriors), Ben Roberts (Parramatta Eels), Iosia Soliola (St Helens), Sauaso Sue (Wests Tigers), Mark Taufua (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Ionatana Tino (Apia Barracudas), Daniel Vidot (St George Illawarra Dragons), Antonio Winterstein (North Queensland Cowboys)

Head coach: Matt Parish

TONGA

Sosaia Feki (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Glen Fisi’iahi (Warriors), Mahe Fonua (Melbourne Storm), Daniel Foster (Panthers), Sydney Havea (Liahona Old Boys), Siliva Havili (Warriors), Konrad Hurrell (Warriors), Brent Kite (Manly Sea Eagles), Samsoni Langi (Sydney Roosters), Siuatonga Likiliki (Newcastle Knights), Willie Manu (St Helens), Sika Manu (Panthers), Nesiasi Mataitonga (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta Eels), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Wests Tigers), Mickey Paea (Hull KR), Patrick Politini (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Nafe Seluini (Sydney Roosters), Ukuma Ta’ai (Huddersfield Giants), Jorge Taufua (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Jason Taumololo (North Queensland Cowboys), Peni Terepo (Parramatta Eels), Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters), Siosa Vave (Parramatta Eels)

Head coach: Charlie Tonga

FRANCE

Jean Philippe Baile (Catalans Dragons), William Barthau (Catalans Dragons), Andrew Bentley (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Kane Bentley (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Thomas Bosc (Catalans Dragons), Damien Cardace (Catalans Dragons), Remi Casty (Catalans Dragons), Vincent Duport (Catalans Dragons), Olivier Elima (Catalans Dragons), Morgan Escare (Catalans Dragons), Theo Fages (Salford Red Devils), Jamal Fakir (Catalans Dragons), Benjamin Garcia (Catalan Dragons), Tony Gigot (Sporting Olympique Avignon XIII), Clint Greenshields (North Queensland Cowboys), Younes Khattabi (AS Carcassone XIII), Kevin Larroyer (Catalans Dragons), Antoni Maria (Catalans Dragons), Gregory Mounis (Catalans Dragons), Eloi Pelissier (Catalans Dragons), Sebastian Raguin (St Esteve XIII Catalan), Mickael Simon (Catalans Dragons), Cyril Stacul (FC Lezignan XIII), Frederic Vaccari (Catalans Dragons)

Head coach: Richard Agar

FIJI

Peni Botiki (Saru Dragons), Jayson Bukuya (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Petero Civoniceva (Redcliffe Dolphins), Kane Evans (Sydney Roosters), Aaron Groom (Asquith Magpies), Ilisavani Jegesa (Nabua Broncos), Marika Koroibete (Wests Tigers), Apisai Koroisau (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Millard (Catalans Dragons), Ryan Millard (Burwood United), Kevin Naiqama (Newcastle Knights), Wes Naiqama (Panthers), Alipate Noilea (Collegians Illawarra), Tikiko Noke (Lautoka Crushers), Vitale Junior (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Ashton Sims (North Queensland Cowboys), Korbin Sims (Newcastle Knights), Tariq Sims (North Queensland Cowboys), James Storer (Collegians Illawarra), Kaliova Nauqe (Fassifern Queensland), Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights), Eloni Tui Michael Vunakece (Wyong Roos), Sisa Waqa (Melbourne Storm), Semi Radradra (Parramatta Eels)

Head coach: Rick Stone

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Josiah Abavu (Port Moresby Vipers), Paul Aiton (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats), Dion Aiye (Rabaul Gurias), Wellington Albert (Lae Tigers), Ase Boas (Rabaul Gurias), Jason Chan (Huddersfield Giants), Neville Costigan (Newcastle Knights), Israel Eliab (Port Moresby Vipers), Richard Kambo (Port Moresby Vipers), Roger Laka (Enga Mioks), Enoch Maki (Mendi Muruks), Larsen Marabe (Orange CYMS), Bosam McDonald (Sydney Roosters), David Mead (Gold Coast Titans), Mark Mexico (Lae Tigers), Jessie Joe Nandye (Whitehaven), Sebastien Pandia (Port Moresby Vipers), Francis Paniu (Rabaul Gurias), James Segeyaro (Panthers), Jason Tali (Mount Hagen Eagles), Ray Thompson (North Queensland Cowboys), Charlie Wabo (Mendi Muruks), Menzie Yere (Sheffield Eagles)

Head coach: Adrian Lam

ITALY

Christophe Calegari (FC Lezignan XIII), Gioele Celerino (North West Roosters), Chris Centrone (North Sydney Bears), Fabrizio Ciaurro (Brescia RL), Cameron Ciraldo (Panthers), Ben Falcone (Souths Logan Magpies), Sam Gardel (Souths Logan Magpies), Ryan Ghetti (Northern Pride), Aidan Guerra (Sydney Roosters), Gavin Hiscox (Central Capras), Anthony Laffranchi (St Helens), Joshua Mantellato (Newcastle Knights), Vitaliano Mauro (Salford Red Devils), Anthony Minichiello (Sydney Roosters), Mark Minichiello (Gold Coast Titans), Raymond Nasso (Sporting Olympique Avignon XIII), Dean Parata (Parramatta Eels), Joel Riethmuller (North Queensland Cowboys), James Saltonstall (Warrington Wolves), Brendan Santi (Wests Tigers), Kade Snowden (Newcastle Knights), James Tedesco (Wests Tigers), Ryan Tramonte (Windsor Wolves), Paul Vaughan (Canberra Raiders)

Head coach: Carlo Napolitano

IRELAND

Dave Allen (Widnes Vikings), Luke Ambler (Halifax), Bob Beswick (Leigh Centurions), Damien Blanch (Catalans Dragons), Danny Bridge (Warrington Wolves), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Liam Finn (Featherstone Rovers), Simon Finnigan (Leigh Centurions), Scott Grix (Huddersfield Giants), Simon Grix (Warrington Wolves), Kurt Haggerty (Barrow Raiders), James Hasson (Manly Sea Eagles), Rory Kostjayn (North Queensland Cowboys), Stuart Littler (Leigh Centurions), Tyrone McCarthy (Warrington Wolves), James Mendeika (Warrington Wolves), Anthony Mullally (Huddersfield Giants), Eamon O’Carroll (Widnes Vikings), Apirana Pewhairangi (Parramatta Eels), Pat Richards (Wigan), Colton Roche (Sheffield Eagles), Marc Sneyd (Castleford Tigers), Joshua Toole (St George Illawarra Dragons), Brett White (Canberra Raiders)

Head coach: Mark Aston

SCOTLAND

Danny Addy (Bradford Bulls), Sam Barlow (Halifax), Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants), Brett Carter (Workington Town), Luke Douglas (Gold Coast Titans), Dale Ferguson (Huddersfield Giants), Ben Fisher (London Broncos), Ben Hellewell (Featherstone Rovers), Andrew Henderson (Sheffield Eagles), Ian Henderson (Catalans Dragons), Alex Hurst (London Broncos), Ben Kavanagh (Widnes Vikings), Kane Linnett (North Queensland Cowboys), Rhys Lovegrove (Hull KR), Gareth Moore (Batley Bulldogs), Brett Phillips (Workington Town), Matthew Russell (Gold Coast Titans), David Scott (Featherstone Rovers), Mitchell Stringer (Sheffield Eagles), Alex Szostak (Sheffield Eagles), Adam Walker (Hull KR), Jonathan Walker (Hull KR), Peter Wallace (Brisbane Broncos), Oliver Wilkes (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats)

Head coach: Steve McCormack

WALES

Neil Budworth (unattached), Ross Divorty (Halifax), Gil Dudson (Wigan), Jacob Emmitt (Salford Red Devils), Ben Evans (Bradford Bulls), Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves), Daniel Fleming (Castleford Tigers), Ben Flower (Wigan), Tyson Frizzel (St George Illawarra Dragons), James Gurtjens (North Devils), Jordan James (Salford Red Devils), Danny Jones (Keighley Cougars), Elliot Kear (Bradford Bulls), Craig Kopczak (Huddersfield Giants), Rhodri Lloyd (Wigan), Peter Lupton (Workington Town), Rob Massam (North Wales Crusaders), Larne Patrick (Huddersfield Giants), Christiaan Roets (North Wales Crusaders), Matt Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Anthony Walker (St Helens), Ian Webster (Central Queensland Capras), Lloyd White (Widnes Vikings), Rhys Williams (Warrington Wolves)

Head coach: Iestyn Harris

UNITED STATES

Mark Cantoni (Dalby), Bureta Faramio (Mackay Cutters), Gabriel Farley (Southampton Dragons), Kristian Freed (Racing Club Lescure), Michael Garvey (Pennsylvania Bulls), Roman Hifo (Papakura Sea Eagles), Daniel Howard (Wentworthville Magpies), Stephen Howard (Tuggerong Bushrangers), Judah Lavulo (Cabramatta), Haveatama Luani (Wests Tigers), David Marando (Belrose Eagles), Ryan McGoldrick (Salford Red Devils), Clint Newton (Panthers), Mark Offerdahl (AS Carcassone XIII), Joseph Paulo (Parramatta Eels), Junior Paulo (Windsor Wolves), Matthew Petersen (Cudgen Hornets), Eddy Pettybourne (Wests Tigers), Craig Priestly (Southampton Dragons), Tuisegasega Samoa (Redcliffe Dolphins), Matthew Shipway (South Newcastle), Les Soloai (Featherstone Rovers), Lelauloto Tagaloa (Hawaii Chiefs), Taylor Welch (Chicago Griffins)

Head coach: Terry Matterson

COOK ISLANDS

Tinirau Arona (Syndey Roosters), Sam Brunton (Mounties Bundy), Daniel Fepuleai (North Sydney Bears), Jonathon Ford (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Anthony Gelling (Wigan), Isaac John (Panthers), Drury Low (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Keith Lulia (Bradford Bulls), Lulia Lulia (Shell Harbour), Hikule’o Malu (Warriors), Sam Mataora (Canberra Raiders), Joseph Matapuku (North Sydney Bears), Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters), Dominique Peyroux (Warriors), Rea Pittman (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Tupou Sopoaga (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Zeb Taia (Catalan Dragons), Brad Takairangi (Gold Coast Titans), Adam Tangata (Mounties Bundy), Chris Taripo (Sydney Roosters), Zane Tetavano (Newcastle Knights), Tyrone Viiga (Parramatta Eels)

Head coach: David Fairleigh

NRL Grand Final 2013

Sydney City Rooster V Manly Sea Eagles…Who Cares?

The two most disliked sides in the NRL will face off on Sunday in the NRL Grand Final 2013.

The unpopularity of these two teams dates back decades and they are hated by different segments of the Rugby League world for different reasons.NRL Grand Final 2013

The oldest reason for the hatred is held by other Sydney clubs (And Queensland), who’s dislike for the Easts and Manly stem from the days  they were the “Silver Tails” of the competition and, pre-salary cap days, they had a habit of cherry picking the best players from NSW and Queensland Leagues. Through their wealth and influence the chief executives and the power men of league invariably came from these two clubs, and it was believed that they ran the league to suit themselves. A belief which has some merit and a belief which is still held, in most quarters today.

Arthurson and QuayleThen if you were a Super League fan, these two clubs were at the forefront of dismantling that competition under the guise of “keeping the game for the people”. We all saw how that went, setting the expansion of the game back 20 years and still today, the game is dominated by the Sydney based clubs even though their contribution to the junior growth of the game, and their contribution to the coffers of the NRL, falls far short of the clubs coming from outside Sydney. In a nut shell these two teams appear to have had undue influence over the NRL and it’s predecessors for decades, and it doesn’t look like changing any time soon.

So, now to the NRL Grand Final 2013. Who really cares? Unless you are one of the minority who call themselves a Manly SonnyBillor Roosters fans. It is probably fare to say that most would rather see The Roosters beat the more hated Manly in the NRL grand final. Both teams are dominated by players pilfered from other clubs, states or countries so perhaps we can support our ex players.

Me? I’ll be at Bathurst having a relaxing week on The Mountain building toward the Great Race … Go the Holdens!!

I’ll probably settle in with a VB on Sunday night and watch the NRL grand final so .. Go the Roosters .. The reason I’m going Roosters? .. Sonny Bill can’t play for NSW.

Sydney Clubs Grand Final “At All Costs”

Cowboy’s Cop It Up The Arse Again …

Cecchin and PerenaraHow can six officials, assisted by the best technology available, miss a tackle count. It is unbelievable, it is indefensible, and an apology is simply not good enough.
I know the NSW officials and supporters of the Sydney based clubs will snicker and label what I’m about to say, a Queensland conspiracy theory rant, but seriously something must be done before the NSW-centric officials and media, destroy the game and send potential new supporters (and some old ones) into the arms of the other codes.
I believe that what happened last night, is symptomatic of a Sydney entitlement culture that is nurtured and kept strong by, not so much the administers of the game, but the people of influence who control them. They are so entrenched in the past glory of the Sydney based clubs, that they won’t allow the game to move forward or consider the continued arguments from teams and fans from outside the Sydney area. For them the Sydney clubs are paramount and must be protected and remain relevant at all costs.

That was seven tackles reffBut lets deal with last night’s Cowboys – Cronulla debacle first. On field referees Matt Cecchin and Henry Perenara unbelievably allowed play to continue after the sixth tackle had been completed. As the Cowboys defended grimly on their line, the referees dismissed calls from Cowboys players, who obviously can count, that the sixth tackle should have been called, allowing Beau Ryan to cross for a try on the seventh tackle.
That six senior officials, both on the field and those manning the technology, could all make such a crucial mistake, is beyond belief. It is unlikely that they were all being paid to allow the howler, so are they all just blithering idiots? Or could it be that they were so subconsciously willing Cronulla over the line, that they let play continue until the desired result transpired? For the life of me, I can’t think of another explanation for the error outside those three possibilities, can you?
Whatever the reason, it has wiped the same team from the finals race for the second year in a row. Last year they were denied justice by another howler, allowing Manly to score from a blatant knock-on.

CheatsIt is important to realise when trying to decide what course of action should be taken now, that the main play-makers for both sides, especially Cronulla, having ball in hand, would have been acutely aware of what number tackle it was. The count determines what type of play will be made next. Therefore by continuing on and claiming the try, Cronulla contributed to the farce and the dishonesty of the try as much as the officials did. In the interest of fair play and honesty, the try should be taken away from Cronulla and the game awarded to the Cowboy’s. In law if you are the recipient of ill-gotten gains and know about it you are guilty of a crime. Why should the Cowboys be punished for something they did not participate in. Why should the perpetrators be rewarded. Officialdom didn’t hesitate to strip players of points and grand finals when the salary cap was breached by the Bulldogs and Storm clubs. (Both Super League clubs just quietly, and therefore anti Sydney establishment) Why not now?

State Of Origin Streak

Queensland State of Origin Heros make it 8 for the Sunshine State

State Of OriginThere were two streaks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney last night. The first and most important one was Cameron Smith’s Mighty Maroons continuing their record breaking streak, to make it eight State Of Origin series in a row.

Streaker

 

The other was some fat dick head disrupting one of Origin’s greatest games in a streak which prevented Queensland from putting the icing on the cake with another 6 pointer. This would have made the score 18-10 instead of the final 12-10. Guys with his anatomy should never take their clothes off in public.

It was a game which will be remembered as one of the toughest, and a true origin battle. It had everything that a great origin match can produce. Tough and sometime brutal defence with many flashes of attacking brilliance, hard earned tries, a battle right until the final minute and not a king hit in site. Gallen wasn’t there and Merrin kept his hands to himself.

Queensland coach and past origin legend Mal Meninga said after the match,  “That was a true Origin game. True grit. They showed fantastic character and desire. I’m very happy for them.”

Maninga spoke of the team in glowing terms, “We’ve got a very talented footy side with some great players – some of the best players that have ever played the game – but tonight was all about character and effort.”

State Of Origin at it's best.Although Origin has evolved over the past 30 + years into one of the worlds great sporting spectacles, last nights game had all of the hallmarks of the great battles of the past.

There was the familiar Queensland story of a player continuing to play through pain. If you thought Greg Inglis was sedate, it’s because he injured his posterior cruciate ligament in the first half. He could be out for two months.

it was almost impossible to pick a man of the match for Queensland last night, but the Queensland Captain, Cameron Smith was quite deservedly name player of the series and awarded the “Wally Lewis Medal”

State Of Origin 2013

Will it be an Octopeat?

Its On AgainQueensland has today named an unchanged line-up for the deciding game of the Holden State of Origin 2013 series against New South Wales at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday, July 17.

The Maroons are unaffected by injuries and Coach Mal Meninga named the same side that performed a 26-6 demolition job of the Blues in game II at Suncorp Stadium.

While Queensland will stick with their winning formula and are on the verge of claiming an unprecedented eighth straight series victory, the Blues have already been forced to make changes due to injury with Jarryd Hayne replaced by James McManus.

It might not be the only change the Blues are forced to make with a number of key players under a fitness cloud. Captain Paul Gallen and forward Greg Bird were both sporting moonboots on Monday morning and are in doubt for the clash despite being named in the starting line-up.

In contrast, the Maroons will head into camp today full of fitness and confidence.

JohnathanThurston2Johnathan Thurston will be looking for a perfect preparation after struggling with a groin complaint in the opening game, before needing hospitalisation on the eve of game II – where he literally got out of his hospital bed to star for the Maroons. If Thurston – who is the only player to have played in every single game of Queensland’s seven year dominance, is fully fit, it could spell massive dramas for New South Wales.

Daly Cherry-Evans will reprise his role off the bench, as will Josh Papalii.

Jacob Lillyman has been named as 18th man and Will Chambers 19th to cover any possible injuries during the build-up.

ANZ Stadium is officially sold-out for Game III.

Queensland team for Origin Decider at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday, July 17

  1. Billy Slater – Melbourne Storm
  2. Darius Boyd – Newcastle Knights
  3. Greg Inglis – South Sydney Rabbitohs
  4. Justin Hodges – Brisbane Broncos
  5. Brent Tate – North Queensland Cowboys
  6. Johnathan Thurston – North Queensland Cowboys
  7. Cooper Cronk – Melbourne Storm
  8. Matt Scott – North Queensland Cowboys
  9. Cameron Smith (c) – Melbourne Storm
  10. Nate Myles -Gold Coast Titans
  11. Chris McQueen – South Sydney Rabbitohs
  12. Sam Thaiday – Brisbane Broncos
  13. Corey Parker – Brisbane Broncos
  14. Daly Cherry-Evans – Manly Sea Eagles
  15. Ben Te’o – South Sydney Rabbitohs
  16. Matt Gillett – Brisbane Broncos
  17. Josh Papalii – Canberra Raiders
  18. Jacob Lillyman – New Zealand Warriors
  19. Will Chambers – Melbourne Storm

Coach: Mal Meninga

State Of Origin 2013

Game 2 .. Lang Park Brisbane.

If the Melbourne Cup is the race that stops the nation, State of Origin is certainly the game that stops the nation. Nevertheless, in all the years Origin has dominated the mid-season sporting landscape, has there ever been a more eventful few weeks between games than what we’ve witnessed since the series opener on June 5?

It all began with that punch landed by Paul Gallen on Nate Myles which had the rugby league world talking and has quickly led to swift and harsh action being taken from now onwards on anyone that decides to use their fists in the future.
Injuries to Blues duo Jarryd Hayne and Robbie Farah had coach Laurie Daley scratching around for replacements while the pair raced the clock to be fit for Game Two. Farah succeeded, Hayne didn’t.
NSW prop James Tamou then found himself banned from the return clash after being caught drink-driving in Townsville, while the redemption of Hayne’s replacement Josh Dugan quickly lost its lustre after he and Blake Ferguson decided to celebrate at a Cronulla bar the night before the Blues went into camp.
Ferguson’s subsequent actions made him the second man banned from taking part at Suncorp. So much for the perfect preparation they enjoyed before taking a 1-0 series lead just a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, in Queensland, all the discussion has centred around whether or not the Maroons would stay loyal to the 17 that took the park in Sydney after they were largely dominated by the big NSW pack.
In that respect, they have sprung somewhat of a surprise for Game Two with prop David Shillington and back-rower Ashley Harrison dumped for rookies Josh Papalii and Daly Cherry-Evans. If anything, that makes them even smaller for this game, with Broncos prop Ben Hannant a shock omission after coming through last Monday’s NRL return unscathed.
That’s not to suggest the two newcomers won’t get the job done. Queensland coach Mal Meninga has been weighing up the perfect time to blood Cherry-Evans for more than 12 months now and believes the time has come, while Papalii has been exceptional for Canberra in 2013 and will provide plenty of aggressive impact.
For the Blues, Dugan has survived the scrapheap after his indiscretion and it will be interesting to see how he performs in his first Origin game since 2011 after attracting praise at St George Illawarra over the past month.
Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods makes his debut up front with good judges predicting a long and successful career in the sky blue jersey, while after all the negative publicity the Blues have endured over the past fortnight, the call-up of Nathan Merritt to replace Ferguson is the feel-good story of the contest. Merritt has long been on the cusp of an Origin debut and finally gets his chance when it looked like the opportunity had passed him by.
That’s the great thing about Origin. Be it Merritt’s big day, Paul Gallen’s newfound status as Queensland Enemy No.1, the Maroons’ search for answers or even the Dugan-Ferguson reunion that never was, you can always count on this game to make headlines. It’s not just about the game, it’s also about the countless subplots that come with it. And for NSW, the most important of those is the opportunity to end Queensland’s seven-year dominance. They’ve taken the first step  but can they get the job done in front of a hostile Queensland crowd? Either way, another chapter in the thrilling history of Origin is about to be written.
Watch Out Maroons: Is Queensland’s forward pack big enough to cope with the hungry Blues’ big men? It’s notable that the Maroons didn’t have a single specialist prop coming off the bench for Game One and the difference told early as NSW dominated to race to a 14-0 half-time lead. Both teams made exactly 167 hit-ups each in the series opener and split possession at 50 per cent but the Blues ran for 139 metres more across the 80 minutes. Queensland has actually downsized for the return clash with Josh Papalii (110kg) and Daly Cherry-Evans (84kg) replacing David Shillington (114kg) and Ashley Harrison (97kg). Will it be enough?
Watch Out Blues: It’s hard to believe that there were genuine calls for Greg Inglis to replace Billy Slater in the No.1 jersey before Game One of this year’s series given Slater’s performance in a losing side. While Inglis was relatively quiet, Slater was involved in everything and finished with a game-high 204 metres to go with two offloads and three tackle-breaks. He again presents as the main danger to the NSW defensive line this time around.
Plays To Watch: Okay, so Inglis didn’t have his best game in Sydney but the huge fend he put on Josh Morris on his way to putting Darius Boyd over for Queensland’s only try serves as a reminder to what he is capable of. The fact of the matter is that the Maroons love shifting the ball left to Inglis, where they have enjoyed tremendous success over the years. The Blues must be wary when Thurston receives the ball on that left edge, where he is a master at summing up the situation and either giving Inglis some room to move or catching the opposition winger rushing and in and throwing a cut-out to Darius Boyd instead.
For the most part, though, watch for Queensland to turn the ball back inside with monotonous regularity. While they may boast a much smaller team, the benefit of that is the ability to tire the big NSW forwards out which will open up opportunities for the likes of Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Daly Cherry-Evans late in each half.
Key Match-Up: Billy Slater v Josh Dugan. This was probably the heavyweight clash of the series opener with both Slater and Blues custodian Jarryd Hayne putting in outstanding performances. We expect more of the same from Slater, but what of Dugan in Hayne’s absence? Dugan has huge shoes to fill but NSW desperately needs him to step up to the plate if they are to wrap up the series now and avoid a pressure-filled decider. All eyes will be on the Blues No.1 to see how he responds to the events of the past week.
Where It Will Be Won: Through the middle where contrasting tactics will look to gain the upper hand. The Blues will be all out power and trying to steam their way over the top of the Maroons. Conversely, Queensland will need to hold strong against the blue tidal wave but provided they stand tall they have the opportunity to slice holes in the opposition defensive line with their little men as the NSW forwards tire.
The History: Played 95; Maroons 49, Blues 44, drawn 2. The Blues have won just two of nine games at Suncorp since Queensland’s streak began in 2006 and both of those wins came in dead rubbers. The last time NSW won a live game in Brisbane was in the 2005 decider.
Match Officials: Referees –  Shayne Hayne & Ashley Klein; Sideline Officials – Russell Turner & Steve Carrall; Video Referees – Steve Clark & Henry Perenara.

 

NRL 2013 Season Draw and New Rules.

NRL 2013 Season Kickoff .. Thursday March 7th.

The first 4 rounds of the NRL 2013 season will have a Thursday night game, and the Australian Rugby League Commission have implemented some rule changes ahead of the NRL 2013 season commencement.

Mahe FonuaState of Origin eligibility is one of the Commission’s changes in 2013. The new rule states that a player must live in either Queensland or NSW before the age of 13 to be eligible to play for that state. The only other way you can play Origin is if you are the son of an Origin player, then you can be selected for the state for which your father played. That would seem to exclude  Mahe Fonua, a born and bred Victorian playing for The Storm, from ever playing Origin. Or indeed any future born and bred Victorian or New Zealand player from doing the same. The rule used to be that if you were born in one state but played for a junior representative team in another state you could play for either.

Another rule change in the NRL 2013 Season is the change to “benefit of the doubt” when scoring a try. The on-field referees are obliged to rule on the try. If there is any doubt about the try, they can then go to the video ref, however the video ref can only change the decision if there is “sufficient evidence to suggest the original call was incorrect”, no benefit of the doubt.

NRL 2013 Season NewsThere is also a new ruling on the shoulder charge. It is banned. The new rule states that a player must attempt to make a tackle with his arms out in front of him for the tackle to be legal. This one makes sense. When I was a boy learning to play Rugby League, the shoulder charge was seen to be a sookie or cowardly way to tackle. I’m glad it’s gone.

Click here for the current  season draw.

There has been significant player movement during the latter part of 2012 and into 2013.

Click this link to see who moved to where.