Discord

DISCORD 2014: Can Duncan Thompson’s ‘Contract Football’ Save Rugby League?

By STEVE MASCORD EARLY in a recent Super League game, commentator Paul Cullen remarked: “We’ve been going for 10 minutes and there’s not a blade of grass that’s not been stood on”. Leaving aside the double negative, you can picture the sort of game Cullen was describing – touchline to touchline attack, from the outset. Now, I’ve already said that I could not remember a better weekend of football, given the comebacks and razor-edged finishes of the two preliminary semi-finals we had in the NRL. But plenty of blades of grass went undisturbed. The structured nature of NRL football could be one reason why the game is better to watch on television than live, in the view of all the people who also left seats at Allianz Stadium undisturbed. The physical nature of the sport, which is harder to detect from the stands, is highlighted by tight camera shots while the ball movement – a feature of Australian football – is rather limited. Result: you’re better off watching it at home. Step right up, Ben and Shane Walker. The brothers, both former first graders at a number of clubs, have turned back the clock almost a century and have employed at Ipswich Jets a style of football favoured by Duncan Thompson, who captained North Sydney to their only two premierships in 1921 and 1922. It’s called “contract football” and it works like this: you have a ‘contract’ to pass the ball to your team mate if he is in a better position to me. “If you played structured football, the way they do in the NRL these days, you make it easier for the defence to get three men into the tackle to do all that stuff I don’t like – wrestling,” Walker told Discord. “The way we play, we test the defensive like three or four times on a single tackle. The defence can’t get enough numbers in to wrestle and we play off the back of it.” Thompson, who died in 1980, once said: “Contract football is flowing football – it has no relation to bash-and-barge stuff – it is what rugby league is all about, or is supposed to be.” Ben Walker says he learned about it growing up in Thompson’s home down, Toowoomba, where it was passed down from generation to generation. He also says t works. “It would work better in the NRL, where you can train fulltime,” he said. “You need players who can catch and pass under pressure – but mostly just catch and pass. “That actually takes a lot of work these days. I have had our players say to me after watching an NRL game on TV ‘we would have towelled them up playing our style of football’.” The Jets fielded seven rookies in their final 17 man squad of the year; they made the finals this year and next year they will employ their free-flowing style even more. “I won’t say which NRL game I am talking about but one of those at the weekend, they played block play, block play, block play, kick. “You could have defended it with your eyes closed.” , MY MEMORY tells me Greg Mackey was a player who pre-dated my career as a journalist; someone from whom I sought an autograph but never a quote. The facts tell a different story; he was at Illawarra for three years that I was covering the game, albeit all of them as a casual reporter at AAP while still in highschool. “Bluey” was such a good player, I must have interviewed him many times. But I prefer to think of him as an untouchable footy hero, a flame-haired five-eighth who won a match with an intercept fresh off the plane for the Chatillon club in Paris – not before momentarily stopping when an “idiot” in the crowd blew a whistle. These were days, for me, when football players and administrators could do no wrong. If I knew about off-field “atrocities” and official incompetence, a rarely paid it any mind. I just lived for Sunday afternoon at 3pm when men like Bluey would take to Wollongong Showground and throw outrageous cutout passes, chip and chase from their own quarter and upend much bigger men. These, days, the fact that they lost most weeks seems inconsequential. Steelers legend Michael Bolt says he last saw Blue on Thursday, and he had “a cheeky grin”. That’s good to know, because it’s the way I remember him too. Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD … [Read More...]

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Six Highlights Of The 2014 NRL Regular Season

By STEVE MASCORD THERE Is something unnatural - even mean-spirited - about the finals. For 26 weeks, rugby league is just THERE. Some weekends, there aren’t eight NRL games but no matter how well or otherwise your team plays, there’ll be a match to watch again in a minimum of a fortnight That’s 24 matches in all – pain, sweat, ecstacy, danger, drama and heartbreak. Leave aside the commercial aspect and look at it as a football competition – 1920 minutes are played purely for the right to make the finals. Once there, the maximum number of minutes of football you will be afforded is 320. The mathematics, therefore, answer the most basic of questions: how much more important is a final than a … [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 […]

Van Halen – “You Really Got Me (live)”

From KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, February 18 2012

WHITE LINE FEVER Podcast: Episode 61

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

US Tomahawks

World Cup: UNITED STATES 32 COOK ISLANDS 20 at Memorial Ground, Bristol

By STEVE MASCORD AFTER 60 years of false dawns and half a decade of bitter civil war, American rugby league celebrated its finest hour in a midweek West Country rain squall at Bristol’s Memorial Ground. When Mike Dimitro’s American All Stars toured Australia in 1953, there were overtures for the United States to be invited […]

New_NRL_logo

Six Highlights Of The 2014 NRL Regular Season

By STEVE MASCORD THERE Is something unnatural – even mean-spirited – about the finals. For 26 weeks, rugby league is just THERE. Some weekends, there aren’t eight NRL games but no matter how well or otherwise your team plays, there’ll be a match to watch again in a minimum of a fortnight That’s 24 matches […]

amnrlogo

Rugby League’s American Civil War Ends; AMNRL Likely To Fold

By STEVE MASCORD THE battle for control of rugby league in America is over, with the establishment AMNRL telling the International Federation it will not be applying for full membership status. The decision leaves the breakaway USARL as the only governing body for the the sport in the United States. The AMNRL did not run […]

Discord

DISCORD 2014: Can Duncan Thompson’s ‘Contract Football’ Save Rugby League?

By STEVE MASCORD EARLY in a recent Super League game, commentator Paul Cullen remarked: “We’ve been going for 10 minutes and there’s not a blade of grass that’s not been stood on”. Leaving aside the double negative, you can picture the sort of game Cullen was describing – touchline to touchline attack, from the outset. […]

Discord

DISCORD 2013: Edition 49

By STEVE MASCORD THE London Broncos will be competing in Super League next year after agreeing to a ground sharing arrangement at Barnett – but what sort of side will they field? And can the NRL’s reported Wembley ambitions finally breath life into rugby league in the capital after 30 years of hand-to-mouth toil? Some […]

amnrlogo

Rugby League’s American Civil War Ends; AMNRL Likely To Fold

By STEVE MASCORD THE battle for control of rugby league in America is over, with the establishment AMNRL telling the International Federation it will not be applying for full membership status. The decision leaves the breakaway USARL as the only governing body for the the sport in the United States. The AMNRL did not run […]

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, […]

Warriors - Manu vatuvei

The A-List: MANU VATUVEI (Warriors & New Zealand)

By STEVE MASCORD MANU Vatuvei seems like a man who rugby league played a big role in creating. Raised on what the cliches always describe as the “rough streets of South Auckland”, the 27-year-old has been transformed on the field from a rookie described famously as a “clumbsy klutz” to a fearsome Test regular, and […]

Discord

DISCORD 2014: Can Duncan Thompson’s ‘Contract Football’ Save Rugby League?

By STEVE MASCORD EARLY in a recent Super League game, commentator Paul Cullen remarked: “We’ve been going for 10 minutes and there’s not a blade of grass that’s not been stood on”. Leaving aside the double negative, you can picture the sort of game Cullen was describing – touchline to touchline attack, from the outset. […]

RUGBY-LEAGUE-WORLD_AUG-14

BONDI BEAT: August 2014

By STEVE MASCORD JOURNALISM is full of new experiences, even after 400 issues of this esteemed organ. For the first time in my career, I am about to write a column which attempts to rebut another column written by the guy paying me for this column.  Most of you will know the back story. I […]

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: Number 49

By STEVE MASCORD FOR the first time, the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII will travel to Papua New Guinea post-season. The annual game will be played at Kopoko on October 12. A week later, the Kumuls hope to take on one of the teams taking part in the Four Nations – with England top of the […]

therealsteavis - View my recent photos on Flickriver
New_NRL_logo

Six Highlights Of The 2014 NRL Regular Season

By STEVE MASCORD THERE Is something unnatural – even mean-spirited – about the finals. For 26 weeks, rugby league is just THERE. Some weekends, there aren’t eight NRL games but no matter how well or otherwise your team plays, there’ll be a match to watch again in a minimum of a fortnight That’s 24 matches […]

Discord

DISCORD 2014: Can Duncan Thompson’s ‘Contract Football’ Save Rugby League?

By STEVE MASCORD EARLY in a recent Super League game, commentator Paul Cullen remarked: “We’ve been going for 10 minutes and there’s not a blade of grass that’s not been stood on”. Leaving aside the double negative, you can picture the sort of game Cullen was describing – touchline to touchline attack, from the outset. […]

Melbourne - Cameron Smith2

NRL round one: MELBOURNE 23 MANLY 22 in golden point time at Brookvale Oval

By STEVE MASCORD MELBOURNE coach Craig Bellamy revealed he would have given the job of kicking the winning field goal in an amazing comeback win over Manly to someone else if he’d known captain Cameron Smith had not booted one in his NRL career. The Storm trailed 20-0 eight minutes before halftime, levelled the scores […]

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 […]

RUGBY-LEAGUE-WORLD_AUG-14

BONDI BEAT: August 2014

By STEVE MASCORD JOURNALISM is full of new experiences, even after 400 issues of this esteemed organ. For the first time in my career, I am about to write a column which attempts to rebut another column written by the guy paying me for this column.  Most of you will know the back story. I […]

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

Two games left in the #NRL season #NRLprelim2 @TripleM_NRL
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 […]

New_NRL_logo

Six Highlights Of The 2014 NRL Regular Season

By STEVE MASCORD THERE Is something unnatural – even mean-spirited – about the finals. For 26 weeks, rugby league is just THERE. Some weekends, there aren’t eight NRL games but no matter how well or otherwise your team plays, there’ll be a match to watch again in a minimum of a fortnight That’s 24 matches […]

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 One 2014

1. REMEMBER THIS A CONCUSSION expert from Melbourne spoke to NRL chief executives in Auckland last month and spelt out the cold, hard facts of legal action from former players over concussion. The cost to the game, he warned, would be $3 billion. This would close the doors of Rugby League Central indefinitely. Sunday’s comments […]

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 […]