international-official-ball-rugby-league

139 Minutes Of NRL Without Throwing A Pass

By STEVE MASCORD IMAGINE playing 139 minutes of NRL and not throwing a single pass. We still like to think of passing the football as the key skill in our game. That’s what we do. We run up and down the field and we pass the football in such a way as to evade the numerically equal opposition, placing it on the ground as to accrue points. But is that really, in 2015, what our game is? American football derived, very slowly, from rugby union. In rugby union, the same 15 players run, pass, ruck and tackle. Once upon a time, they probably all kicked as well. Yet in American football, only a small number of players pass the ball. Only a small number of them catch. Some never even see a football from a closer vantage point than the sideline or a huddle. As rugby league becomes more professional and coaches search for an edge, we have seen the roles of players in different positions change. Interestingly, while American Football evolved towards greater specialisation, it could be argued that our game has actually gone in the opposite direction. A poster on the League Unlimited site in 2011 made the point: “…in the eighties … props were big and slow, second rowers might’ve been leaner and a little bit quicker, but both were generally used as battering rams up the middle. “The halfback almost always (was) the first receiver … the five-eighth would generally be the second receiver in a backline play and would be similar to a third centre. The centres themselves were classified as inside and outside.” These days props, second rowers and centres look the same and play similar roles, while the halves can also be interchangeable. Players are more easily defined by the side of the field on which they play than by the old nomenclature. So if everyone is now big and fast, should everyone not also have ball skills and use them? If you can’t imagine playing 139 minutes of NRL without passing the ball, let’s get you some help. That is, help from someone who has. “Not really, but I can’t change it,” says Canberra forward Mark Nicholls when I ask him if he is proud to have topped a poll we commissioned from NRL stats – of the most minutes played without throwing a pass. “When I did throw one, I put Toots (captain Jarrod Croker) over for a try. So let’s just say I’ve got a good strike rate.” The only other player with more than 100 minutes of game time without a pass was North Queensland’s Kalepi Tanginoa. But what does it mean? Is it a poor reflection on the modern game and an indictment against current-era coaching? Nicholls, a utility forward from Leeton who comes across as a rather thoughtful chap, agues not. Coach Ricky Stuart at no point instructed him to conceal the Steeden upon his person. “I hadn’t played first grade in two and a half years,” he explains. “When I got my chance again, I didn’t want to blow it. “Any young fella would take a while to get the confidence to throw a few passes. For me, when you finally get another crack, you don’t want to give the coach a reason to drop you. You just want to run hard and keep the ball safe. “It’s funny, because in NSW Cup I consider myself as someone with some ball skills. Not just a battering ram. But it took me a few games to feel like that in first grade. “For a few weeks there, I felt like I was playing up a grade, if you know what I mean. It’s a shame I got injured because after the Souths and Titans games, I was starting to feel comfortable at that level.” Just as players get more confident in using the ball, according to 25-year-old Nicholls, so do teams. It’s not your imagination – NRL sides are more adventurous now than they were in the opening rounds. “At the start of the year, the coaches have their structures and things are kind of driven by statistics and by completions,” he says. “Then, as the year goes on, teams look at each other on video and they see things that they might be able to exploit. That’s when team start trying things. “At Canberra we actually use the ball a fair bit in the forwards. That’s why we’re one of the better attacking teams to watch.” As well as asking NRL Stats who had played longest without throwing a pass, RLW also asked them to list those who had thrown the fewest passes per minute played. Now, bear in mind that NRL Stats consider a "pass" and an "offload" to be two different things. Basically, a pass is before the attacker has made contact with the defensive line and an offload is afterwards, creating second phase play. So, full disclosure there - some of the results may be skewed by that distinction. Tiger Brendan Santi has thrown the fewest passes per minute played, at a rate if 0.0038 passes per minute. By comparison, Sydney Roosters' Jake Friend throws 1.55 per minute. At South Sydney, George Burgess has thrown only four passes in 870 minutes of football. One of rugby league's greatest playmakers, Peter Sterling, is scared by the prospect of … [Read More...]

Far & Wide: July 27 2015

By STEVE MASCORD OFFICIALS are hailing this year’s Ohana Cup at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium as the best yet, with Samoa thrilling around 8000 fans in their 20-4 win over Tonga. The Hawaiian Rugby League are still trying to lure Penrith and Brisbane to the holiday isle, despite the reservations of the NRL, and plan to use next year’s event as a precursor to a state competition for domestic players. “We’ll shoot for four month competition starting next July,” says organiser Steve Johnson. The Western Corridor NRL bid boss also revealed he wanted this year’s game to be a double-header, with the United States taking on Fiji in the earlier game. But the newly rebranded USA Hawks weren’t … [Read More...]

WLF TV!

Danko Jones - Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

Album review: DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue By STEVE MASCORD THIS reviewer first saw Danko Jones opening for Hardcore Superstar in Manchester a decade ago. It was spellbinding, this swaggering braggart sweating all over the first 10 rows as he tore through impossibly catchy tales of road life. It was […]

Slash

SLASH, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, 2012

Live review: SLASH at Thebarton Theatre, August 28 2012 By STEVE MASCORD NEW Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. A Tuesday night in Adelaide. After just three songs, they are neck-and-neck. This reviewer did not set out to compare the Slash show at Thebarton Theatre last night to Guns N’Roses all-bells-and-whistles outing at the Hard Rock Hotel […]

Video: Eleven-year-old drummer nails “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”

WHITE LINE FEVER Podcast: Episode 79

LOUDMOUTH: January 2013

@Loudmouthcolumn DRUMMER Brian Tichy and guitarist Rob Caggiano have quit Whitesnake and Anthrax respectively on a seismic news day for hard rock and heavy metal. Tichy, who dislocated a shoulder in a mountain biking accident before New Years, wants to devote more time to his Something Unto Nothing (SUN) project with Sass Jordan – but […]

Janes Addiction - Perry Farrell

JANE’S ADDICTION: Something’s Shocking (1989)

By STEVE MASCORD “Camera’s got them images, Camera’s got them all, Showed me everybody, naked and disfigured, Nothing’s Shocking.” – From “Ted, Just Admit It”, Jane’s Addiction PERRY Farrell may not be a weirdo. He may  not be a freak, a pseud, a genius, a madman or a lunatic. By his own admission, he may […]

Hoad brothers

Kings Of The Sun Hit Back At Axl Rose, Search For New Singer

By STEVE MASCORD AFTER finally responding to Axl Rose 24 years after the Gunners front-man kicked him out of the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Kings Of The Sun drummer Cliff Hoad is looking for a new singer – to replace his brother. The Gold Coast rockers wrote themselves a little piece of Oz Rock history in […]

WLF TV: The Union – Luke Morley and Pete Shoulder interview

NRLbripar

NRL round five 2014: PARRAMATTA 25 BRISBANE 18 at Suncorp Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD SIX hundred and thirteen days after their last away away, Parramatta were teased, prodded and eventually rewarded by football fate at Suncorp Stadium. Coach Brad Arthur was in the job for the first time when the Eels beat Parramatta at the same venue in July 2012. During an enthralling 80 minutes on […]

international-official-ball-rugby-league

139 Minutes Of NRL Without Throwing A Pass

By STEVE MASCORD IMAGINE playing 139 minutes of NRL and not throwing a single pass. We still like to think of passing the football as the key skill in our game. That’s what we do. We run up and down the field and we pass the football in such a way as to evade the […]

Far & Wide

Far & Wide: July 27 2015

By STEVE MASCORD OFFICIALS are hailing this year’s Ohana Cup at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium as the best yet, with Samoa thrilling around 8000 fans in their 20-4 win over Tonga. The Hawaiian Rugby League are still trying to lure Penrith and Brisbane to the holiday isle, despite the reservations of the NRL, and plan to […]

Hall, Ryan2

The A-List: Ryan Hall (:eeds & England)

By STEVE MASCORD HE can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 45 seconds, once addressed his team-mates on how Pythagorus Theorum affects every day life and plays saxophone, piano, guitar and violin. Leeds’ 105kg Ryan Hall may or may not be the best winger in the world – his team-mates call him ‘WBW’ anyway – but […]

Jarryd Hayne

The A-List: JARRYD HAYNE (Parramatta, NSW, NRL All Stars & Australia)

He’s the current joint Dally M winner and he’s leaving for the NFL. But who is Jarryd Hayne, really?

Rugby_league_world_cup_logo

World Cup final: AUSTRALIA 34 NEW ZEALAND 2 at Old Trafford, Manchester

By STEVE MASCORD AUSTRALIAN players repeatedly claimed before the World Cup final that revenge was not a motivation. “Probably told a little white lie,” captain Cameron Smith admitted after his men reclaimed in ruthless fashion the trophy lost to New Zealand five years ago. Tim Sheens’ men brought their total minutes at the World Cup […]

Dorn, Luke

Australia Needs A Challenge Cup, Says Luke Dorn

By STEVE MASCORD OK, the NRL schedule is already so full that we didn’t even have a room for the All Stars game this season. But according to former Northern Eagles, Manly and Sydney Roosters utility back Luke Dorn, what it really needs is not more games, but more occasions. Standing in the players’ race […]

P1070312

Live Blog: SOUTH SYDNEY v SYDNEY ROOSTERS at ANZ Stadium

Fulltime: SOUTH SYDNEY 28 SYDNEY ROOSTERS 8 SOUTH Sydney overpowered their mortal enemies in a sizzling, incident-packed opening to the 2014 NRL season. Broadcaster Channel Nine reported the NRL launched an investigation while the match was still in progress into a tackle by Sydney Roosters’ Sonny Bill Williams and Aiden Guerra on Rabbitoh Ben Lowe, […]

Hoffman, Josh2

The A-List: JOSH HOFFMAN (Gold Coast, Indigenous All Stars & New Zealand)

By STEVE MASCORD JOSH Hoffman is said to have greeted reporters for his first media opportunity this year by saying “haven’t seen you guys for a while”. The smiling 27-year-old Titans fullback was a favourite of reporters during his six years at the Broncos. The Mackay product was always co-operative and good for a quote […]

Discord

DISCORD 2009: Edition 6

By STEVE MASCORD A COUPLE of weeks ago, British league legend Mike Stephenson let a pretty staggering development seep out onto the world, in the middle of his weekly magazine column. Stevo wrote in Rugby League Express that he knew of two Leeds businessmen who wanted to enter a team in the NRL. Not a […]

December 2014B

BONDI BEAT: December 2014

By STEVE MASCORD IT’S not overstating things that there has been something of a paradigm shift in out game as a result of the recently-completed Four Nations. I have a favourite saying about the warring factions within our game: the parochial populists and the outward-looking anoraks: if the meek are to inherit the earth, then […]

New_NRL_logo

THE WRAP: NRL Finals Week One

By STEVE MASCORD MY furry colleague at Rugby League Week, the Mole, last week wrote that Greg Inglis was unlikely to play in the World Cup due to his ongoing knee problem. So when the finals series kicked off on Friday night, a couple of hours before kick-off between South Sydney and Melbourne at ANZ […]

RLW 19 2012

RLW MEDIA RELEASE: Issue 19

POORE OUT, RAP FOR JT AND MANGO, DEFIANT SEARLE, STUART LINKED TO DRAGONS, TARIQ DETERMINATION, AGENTS OF CHANGE PARRAMATTA prop Justin Poore is set to leave the club before the June 30 deadline, the Mole reports in today’s Rugby League Week. Canberra are favourites to sign Poore, who hasn’t really settled in since moving from […]

The Big Issue

THE BIG ISSUE: #60

By STEVE MASCORD EVERY year, around this time, a column like this appears that critiques the NRL finals format. This year, the concerns are not on the field. Sydney Roosters and South Sydney have been the best sides all year and they are facing opposition this weekend in the preliminary finals that most people expect […]

The Big Issue

THE BIG ISSUE: #60

By STEVE MASCORD EVERY year, around this time, a column like this appears that critiques the NRL finals format. This year, the concerns are not on the field. Sydney Roosters and South Sydney have been the best sides all year and they are facing opposition this weekend in the preliminary finals that most people expect […]

Far & Wide

Far & Wide: July 27 2015

By STEVE MASCORD OFFICIALS are hailing this year’s Ohana Cup at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium as the best yet, with Samoa thrilling around 8000 fans in their 20-4 win over Tonga. The Hawaiian Rugby League are still trying to lure Penrith and Brisbane to the holiday isle, despite the reservations of the NRL, and plan to […]

therealsteavis - View my recent photos on Flickriver
international-official-ball-rugby-league

139 Minutes Of NRL Without Throwing A Pass

By STEVE MASCORD IMAGINE playing 139 minutes of NRL and not throwing a single pass. We still like to think of passing the football as the key skill in our game. That’s what we do. We run up and down the field and we pass the football in such a way as to evade the […]

NRLbripar

NRL round five 2014: PARRAMATTA 25 BRISBANE 18 at Suncorp Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD SIX hundred and thirteen days after their last away away, Parramatta were teased, prodded and eventually rewarded by football fate at Suncorp Stadium. Coach Brad Arthur was in the job for the first time when the Eels beat Parramatta at the same venue in July 2012. During an enthralling 80 minutes on […]

Rugby_league_world_cup_logo

World Cup first quarter-final: NEW ZEALAND 40 SCOTLAND 4 at Headingley

By STEVE MASCORD SCOTLAND deliberately maximised the embarassment of rugby league officials by announcing as the most important game in their history kicked off that their funding had been completely withdrawn. New Zealand cruised through the World Cup quarter-final at Headingley as expected, winning 40-4 to set up a semi-final appearance with England with centre […]

NRLmelsgi

NRL round six: MELBOURNE 28 ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 24 at AAMI Park

By STEVE MASCORD VICTORIAN junior Young Tonumapea called it dream-like experience while St George Illawarra coach Steve Price immediately started asking why his own nightmare was allowed to happen. Melbourne Storm produced the season’s greatest escape when Tonumaipea scored after the siren, with the ball swept from sideline to sideline, to beat the Dragons 28-24 […]

Melbourne - Craig Bellamy

Bellamy Says Some Aussie Clubs Still Don’t Take WCC Seriously

AS the World Club Challenge looks to return to Australia and then expand, victorious Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy last night admitted some NRL premiers still don’t take the concept seriously. Bellamy was speaking after the Storm held off Leeds 18-14 at Headingley, making them the first Australian club to win a WCC decider three times […]

December 2014B

BONDI BEAT: December 2014

By STEVE MASCORD IT’S not overstating things that there has been something of a paradigm shift in out game as a result of the recently-completed Four Nations. I have a favourite saying about the warring factions within our game: the parochial populists and the outward-looking anoraks: if the meek are to inherit the earth, then […]

US Tomahawks

American Civil War Wages On

By STEVE MASCORD YOU know how it was supposed to happen. The United States Tomahawks would shrug off criticism that they were just a bunch of Aussies who went to a bucks weekend in Vegas, capture the hearts of everyone at the World Cup, make the quarter-finals and with the glow of their success still […]

KC Stadium, 4.45pm

Four Nations: ENGLAND 28 NEW ZEALAND 6 at KC Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD THE Kiwis’ Four Nations title defence finished prematurely yesterday with no regrets but coach Stephen Kearney issued a stern warning to errant hooker Issac Luke and utility Thomas Leuluai admitted some of his team-mates may have resented Rangi Chase chosing to play for England. The World Cup holders were comprehensively beaten, 28-6, […]

Aerosmith

AEROSMITH: About To Get A Grip (1991)

By STEVE MASCORD WE HAD to break the ice, so we DID it,” a buoyant Steven Tyler explains, when asked how he spent his first night in Australia. The pretty blonde make-up woman next to him doesn’t bat an eyelid. “Yeah, we did it… and, boy was it good,” she says with an unmistakably sordid […]

WLF TV: The Union – Luke Morley and Pete Shoulder interview

Loudmouth masthead

LOUDMOUTH: July 26, 1989

Compiled by STEVE MASCORD DIESEL will drive your dollar twice as far next month following the announcement of a second show on the Rock N Roll Tour for the Hordem Pavilion on Wednesday August 16. What’s more, lasi time we looked there was still a cuppla seats left for the first gig on August 15. So […]

KISS 3

ROCK CRUISING: Going Overboard (2012)

By STEVE MASCORD ON the final night of Vince Neil’s Motley Cruise in 2008, shortly before the aforementioned peroxide imp was about to go on in front of a raucous crowd of heartland head-bangers, a representative of Carnival Cruise lines approached the stage manager. “I’d like to make an announcement,” said the uniformed official, smiling. “Sure,” […]

Motley Crue

MOTLEY CRUE: Feeling Minnesota (1990)

By STEVE MASCORD THE mercury in Minneapolis is plunging mercilessly past zero as Middle America wallows in snow. Vince Neil, however, is waltzing down the hotel corridor towards his multi-room penthouse in a sleeveless v-neck shirt and blue boxer shorts. His dirty blonde hair spews out from under a neatly reversed baseball cap, just like […]

Slash

SLASH, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, 2012

Live review: SLASH at Thebarton Theatre, August 28 2012 By STEVE MASCORD NEW Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. A Tuesday night in Adelaide. After just three songs, they are neck-and-neck. This reviewer did not set out to compare the Slash show at Thebarton Theatre last night to Guns N’Roses all-bells-and-whistles outing at the Hard Rock Hotel […]

Danko Jones - Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

Album review: DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue By STEVE MASCORD THIS reviewer first saw Danko Jones opening for Hardcore Superstar in Manchester a decade ago. It was spellbinding, this swaggering braggart sweating all over the first 10 rows as he tore through impossibly catchy tales of road life. It was […]

P1040238

MICHAEL MONROE: Finnish But Just Starting (2011)

By STEVE MASCORD THERE’s a neat news angle from this chat with Michael Monroe. But it’s only a fraction of the actual story. Read the full story at sludgefactory.com.au

Lazy Sunday night in Inglewood
WLF dinkus

WHITE LINE FEVER Column: Four

By STEVE MASCORD THIS time last year, Darren Lockyer and Jamie Peacock were tackling each other in the Four Nations. Yesterday, they met in London to tackle the vexed issue of rugby league’s eligibility rules. Of course, the retired captains of Australia and England (Peacock is still playing for Leeds) had a little prompting from […]

Travels

TRAVELS: XXVI

By STEVE MASCORD AS you might imagine, after five weeks attending matches, dinners and media events in Britain, one gains a few extra pounds – and a better understanding of the challenges facing rugby league here. What I am about to offer are a bunch of assumptions based on conversations with all manner of people […]

Puig Aubert

The Year Players And Referees Walked Off Mid-Game – Repeatedly

By LYLE BEATON A REVIEW of the French sporting press out of Paris during the early 1950s reveals an interesting story about rugby league and one of the strongest French club teams of the day, Marseille. The 1952-1953 season saw Marseille involved in something of a running battle with the French Rugby League hierarchy, as […]

Canterbury - logo

2013 Season Review: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

By STEVE MASCORD IN a way, these Rugby League Week year-enders can serve as historical records. You can leaf through old dog eared copies of the The Bible and relive what went right – and wrong – for your favourite team. But in the case of 2012 grand finalists, the Canterbury Bulldogs, the full story […]

retired - Phil McKenzie

Legend Q&A: PHIL McKENZIE

By STEVE MASCORD More than 20 years before Rangi Chase, Jack Reed and Chris Heighington, you were an Australian picked in a Great Britain squad.. “Yeah, way back in 1990, I was approached by the Rugby League over here and asked if I’d make myself available. I think that was before they even realised I […]

Hamish Neal

FIVE METRE GAP: Round Six & Rep Weekend

By HAMISH NEAL Like the way of the five metre gap in defence, reviewing the points from the NRL you may have missed from round six and the representative weekend. WITH the representative weekend taking centre stage last weekend, Five Metre Gap, will take this chance to assess some of the season’s action to date, […]

McCarthy, Tyrone

Fullblood: An Englishman Who Plays For Ireland & Lives In Queensland

By STEVE MASCORD PROFESSIONAL rugby league players get a bad rap. At best, they are seen as mindless automatons, oblivous to the nuances of life around them, trained wholely to run at brick walls and tackle semi-trailers. At worse, our football stars are portrayed as oafish, neanderthal hoons with no regard for anyone but themselves. […]

P1020444

M3: The Last Of The Great Hair Metal Festivals? (2011)

By STEVE MASCORD TED Poley has a sportscar. I can only assume he wants you to know this, since the lead singer of Danger Danger has insisted he be interviewed by Classic Rock standing behind it, with the motor running. We had encountered Poley after his band’s set at M3, arguably the last pure hair […]

Donor's Column

Protected: DONORS’ COLUMN: Number Three

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Canterbury - logo

2013 Season Review: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

By STEVE MASCORD IN a way, these Rugby League Week year-enders can serve as historical records. You can leaf through old dog eared copies of the The Bible and relive what went right – and wrong – for your favourite team. But in the case of 2012 grand finalists, the Canterbury Bulldogs, the full story […]

Don Furner/ABC

Raiders’ Complaints ‘Irrelevant’, Says Slater

By STEVE MASCORD MELBOURNE fullback Billy Slater has dismissed Canberra’s complaints about his involvement in a trial match as “irrelevant” while coach Craig Bellamy says he “can’t understand” his former club’s complaint to the NRL over the issue. A joust between the Raiders and Storm has erupted over Slater playing in a trial between the […]

Hamish Neal

FIVE METRE GAP: NRL Finals Week One

By HAMISH NEAL Like the way of the five metre gap in defence, reviewing the points from the NRL you may have missed from the first week of the finals. The now-legendary Geoff Toovey blow-up over penalty counts which earned the Manly mentor a $10,000 fine wasn’t needed despite the Silvertails narrow 4-0 loss to […]

sinbinsign1

SIN BIN: October 25 2013

By STEVE MASCORD THE most embarrassing bombed try in international rugby league history? Not according to those who saw Martin Offiah’s clanger 23 years ago. “Embarrassed to not score, but nothing wrong with a lil humble pie,” Sonny Bill Williams tweeted after his left foot slipped over the dead ball line as he attempted to […]

The Joy Of Six

THE JOY OF SIX: NRL Round 17 2015

THE BEAST IS COMING FOR YOU SO David Klemmer accidentally knocked out a NSW staffer who was holding a tackling bag? If he is on the field for a kick-off on Wednesday, Maroons players are best advised to stay out of his sight. The Beast Of Belmore has revealed he spots an opposition player from […]

Gold Coast - Luke Bailey

Getting The Journalism Wooden Spoon

By STEVE MASCORD COVERING a footy match seems a pretty straightforward task. I remember a Julia Roberts movie where the main male love interest was a sportswriter, depicted in the press box with a beer in hand and not a notebook in sight. Read the full story at footyalmanac.com.au

retired - Phil McKenzie

Legend Q&A: PHIL McKENZIE

By STEVE MASCORD More than 20 years before Rangi Chase, Jack Reed and Chris Heighington, you were an Australian picked in a Great Britain squad.. “Yeah, way back in 1990, I was approached by the Rugby League over here and asked if I’d make myself available. I think that was before they even realised I […]

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