PLAYERS POLL: THURSTON BEST PLAYER, AFL CARROT, BETS ARE ON
IN FINDINGS sure to send shockwaves through the NRL, the annual Rugby League Week Players’ Poll has found one in five (19%) say they know of players having a bet on a game or games.
Conducted since 1986, the RLW Poll talks to 100 NRL stars to get their thoughts on the issues confronting them and the game.
This year’s result on betting shows despite the Ryan Tandy scandal that has rocked the code in recent times, players are still willing to risk getting into strife by betting on the footy.
“It happens . . . not every week and every game by any means, but it happens,” one senior player says.
“I know of one player who knew the Ryan Tandy sting (where the former Bulldog allegedly gave away the first penalty of a game last season) was going down and put something on it (a Cowboys penalty goal being first scoring play).
“Players are like anyone – they are always looking to make an easy buck.”
On the subject of Aussie Rules raids, it appears Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau won’t be the last to jump ship, with 25 per cent of players saying they would consider playing AFL in the next five years.
“I’m not sure that I’d be any good, but if they want to throw around big money then of course I’d think about jumping ship,” one player said. “That’s crazy money and you’d be mad if you knocked it back.”
In other findings from the 26th annual RLW Poll, the Melbourne Storm romped away with the unwanted new category of DIRTIEST TEAM in the comp with 49 per cent of the vote.
Many of the complaints surrounded the Storm’s controversial wrestling techniques, honed by coach Craig Bellamy’s use of martial arts tactics to slow down the play-the-ball.
“It’s dirty pool but you have to hand it to them, they are the masters at it,” one player grudgingly says. “They niggle and slow you down and get you in positions where you can’t move – it is annoying but effective.”
Bulldog Michael Ennis was voted biggest grub in a landslide with 51% of the vote.
And North Queensland’s stunning resurgence in 2011 was highlighted by a string of wins in the poll, including Johnathan Thurston, best player in the game for the third time, with 32% of the vote; Tariq Sims best new face in the game and Matthew Scott a runaway winner as the best prop in the game.
Plus Mark Geyer, The Mole and the usual feast of news, features and pictures.
Only in RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK, OUT TODAY ACROSS AUSTRALASIA AND GLOBALLY ON ITUNES WITH THE 26TH ANNUAL RLW PLAYERS’ POLL!!