FAR & WIDE: #3 2017

By STEVE MASCORD THE kerfuffle caused by colleague Robert Burgin’s RLW piece a couple of weeks ago is still rumbling on. So far, the mooted rebellion of a dozen countries from the RLIF’s rule is still very much underground. There is still at least some possibility many countries will accept the offer of a fully funded tournament next year. The way Far & Wide sees it, there is a very important line to be drawn. I openly opposed, for instance, Penrith and Brisbane playing a game in Hawaii two years ago. My reasons were this: NRL players had demanded that spring off and Great Britain had therefore been told to stay home. Also, to be honest I was not sure NRL players on an end-of-season trip could be trusted to do more good than harm in a new territory. But the main concern was this: expansion is too important to be done on an ad-hoc basis. It’s OK for soccer clubs to organise their pre-season and end-of-season games because soccer is widely played internationally. Rugby league still is not. International expansion should be part of an over-all strategy, not done in a piecemeal fashion by the competing teams – and in that respect alone I have sympathy for the RLIF in the decision not to allow Emerging Nations games to go ahead. The games were initially intended to be curtain-raisers but would the teams involved have actually have fielded true national sides? I doubt every player would have satisfied the grandparent rule and I doubt the best players would have been available. And it was not the best countries; some of them do not have the required domestic activity to be in the World Cup qualifiers and others do. But the RLIF did not block the tournament because of these concerns. The countries weren’t asked to stop calling the matches a “championship”. It was blocked because the World Cup asked for it to be blocked, citing exclusivity clauses. The countries involved were allowed to continue planning for several months only to have those plans blocked. That’s why they’re angry. And they are justified in that. Far & Wide would like to see any replacement tournament next year built into a proper structure. Perhaps a country without the proper bonafides could win a wildcard into the next World Cup qualification (although once there they would have to meet all requirements regarding the team they field). I know that’s what the RLIF want. Let’s try to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. … [Read More...]

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FAR & WIDE: #2 2017

By STEVE MASCORD FAR & WIDE’s favourite club, the Toronto Wolfpack, will make their full competitive debut this weekend in the Challenge Cup. We thought we’d be waiting until March 4 when they take their National League One bow against London Skolars at New River Stadium but now we don’t have to wait that long. The BBC will live stream the Challenge Cup third round tie against Halifax amateur side Siddal. Siddal is only about six kilometres from the Wolfpack’s UK base at Brighouse. The match will be shown on the BBC website at 1pm UK time on Saturday. The Challenge Cup is, of course, rugby league’s most famous knock-out competition and a good Cup run could see the ‘pack take on Super League opposition … [Read More...]

WLF TV!

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, 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 90

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 […]

BONHAM: Mad Hatters Tea Party (1992)

By STEVE MASCORD FOR TWO members of a gold status rock band, Ian Hatton and Daniel MacMaster aren’t exactly megastars yet. Bonham guitarist Hatton sits across from me in a Sydney coffee shop with vocalist MacMaster. Unless you were a bigtime fan, you wouldn’t even recognise either of them in the street. When it comes […]

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

World Club Series: SYDNEY ROOSTERS 38 ST HELENS 12 at DW Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD THE overall record of expanded World Club Championship matches was left at 60-8 in favour of the southern hemisphere by this 2016 opening night mismatch – but Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson launched an impassioned defence of the concept. The St Helens-Roosters clash at Langtree Park marked the 40th anniversary of the […]

WHITE LINE FEVER Column: December 2016/January 2017

By STEVE MASCORD THE real question in the current imbroglio between the NRL and its clubs is not who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong. It’s which group is worse. Firstly, the basics. The clubs are trying have Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant ousted. They have the required votes. What they […]

FAR & WIDE: #2 2017

By STEVE MASCORD FAR & WIDE’s favourite club, the Toronto Wolfpack, will make their full competitive debut this weekend in the Challenge Cup. We thought we’d be waiting until March 4 when they take their National League One bow against London Skolars at New River Stadium but now we don’t have to wait that long. […]

Sandow Coy On NRL Return

By STEVE MASCORD CHRIS Sandow says the quality of his football will determine whether he returns to the NRL when his Warrington contract expires at the end of next year. The former Parramatta no.7 is one game away from a Challenge Cup final at Wembley after the Wolves’ 20-18 success on Friday night at Halliwell […]

Castle: Is Origin A Defacto Salary Cap?

By STEVE MASCORD  CANTERBURY chief executive Raelene Castle has blasted the 11th hour call-up of Josh Morris as “not very reasonable” and suggested split rounds now operate as a de facto salary cap. Nineteen-year-old Reimis Smith – with an entire match the day before under his belt – had to drive to Canberra to make […]

FAR & WIDE: #2 2017

By STEVE MASCORD FAR & WIDE’s favourite club, the Toronto Wolfpack, will make their full competitive debut this weekend in the Challenge Cup. We thought we’d be waiting until March 4 when they take their National League One bow against London Skolars at New River Stadium but now we don’t have to wait that long. […]

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 […]

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, […]

The A-List: KEVIN PROCTOR (Melbourne, New Zealand Maori, New Zealand)

By STEVE MASCORD  ON May 27, 2014, the Canberra times breathlessly reported that the Raiders “sign James Tedesco and miss out on Kevin Proctor”. Subsequently, of course, the Wests Tigers and Italy fullback reneged on that contract with the Green Machine – thereby guaranteeing himself a lifetime’s worth of jeers every time the road gets smoother […]

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 […]

BONDI BEAT: December 2016

By STEVE MASCORD LETTNG Australian NRL players playing a role in determining the next 10 years of international matches might sound daft – but there could be method in the madness. The NRL itself will play a huge role, of course, in determining what is played – and where – between the 207 World Cup […]

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 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: #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: #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: #3 2017

By STEVE MASCORD THE kerfuffle caused by colleague Robert Burgin’s RLW piece a couple of weeks ago is still rumbling on. So far, the mooted rebellion of a dozen countries from the RLIF’s rule is still very much underground. There is still at least some possibility many countries will accept the offer of a fully […]

therealsteavis - View my recent photos on Flickriver

FAR & WIDE: #3 2017

By STEVE MASCORD THE kerfuffle caused by colleague Robert Burgin’s RLW piece a couple of weeks ago is still rumbling on. So far, the mooted rebellion of a dozen countries from the RLIF’s rule is still very much underground. There is still at least some possibility many countries will accept the offer of a fully […]

World Club Series: SYDNEY ROOSTERS 38 ST HELENS 12 at DW Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD THE overall record of expanded World Club Championship matches was left at 60-8 in favour of the southern hemisphere by this 2016 opening night mismatch – but Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson launched an impassioned defence of the concept. The St Helens-Roosters clash at Langtree Park marked the 40th anniversary of the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

BONDI BEAT: December 2016

By STEVE MASCORD LETTNG Australian NRL players playing a role in determining the next 10 years of international matches might sound daft – but there could be method in the madness. The NRL itself will play a huge role, of course, in determining what is played – and where – between the 207 World Cup […]

WHITE LINE FEVER Column: December 2016/January 2017

By STEVE MASCORD THE real question in the current imbroglio between the NRL and its clubs is not who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong. It’s which group is worse. Firstly, the basics. The clubs are trying have Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant ousted. They have the required votes. What they […]

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, […]

BONHAM: Mad Hatters Tea Party (1992)

By STEVE MASCORD FOR TWO members of a gold status rock band, Ian Hatton and Daniel MacMaster aren’t exactly megastars yet. Bonham guitarist Hatton sits across from me in a Sydney coffee shop with vocalist MacMaster. Unless you were a bigtime fan, you wouldn’t even recognise either of them in the street. When it comes […]

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

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 […]

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: 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, 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

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 […]

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

WHITE LINE FEVER Column: December 2016/January 2017

By STEVE MASCORD THE real question in the current imbroglio between the NRL and its clubs is not who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong. It’s which group is worse. Firstly, the basics. The clubs are trying have Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant ousted. They have the required votes. What they […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Fittler Endorses Maloney For NSW Job

By STEVE MASCORD JAMES Maloney says the endorsement of Brad Fittler as NSW Origin I five-eighth is no consolation for Country’s poor showing in what will probably be the second-last match ever against City. Fittler, who represented the Blues 31 times, reckons Cronulla’s Maloney is the stand-out candidate to wear the six jersey on June […]

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. […]

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 […]

White Line Fever column: December 2016

By STEVE MASCORD OVER the next four months, I have a book to finish. It’s working title is Fifty-two and the kind folk here at Scratching Shed have agreed to publish it. To those of you who pledged your support on Kickstarter, I thank you. Now, fifty-two is about to expose me to something of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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: 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 […]

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

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 […]