THE WRAP: NRL Round 23

NRL logoBy STEVE MASCORD

IF rugby league is good at anything, it’s internal fighting. But if it has a second forte, it’s slang and jargon.
Where else could you have the squirrel grip, the prowler tackle, the grapple tackle, the bomb and the chicken wing?
So when Wayne Bennett accused Melbourne and Sydney Roosters on Sunday of deliberately conceding penalties to buy time, it was instantly too much of a mouthful. It cried out for a slang term.
Your industrious correspondent immediately took to Twitter to find a snappier term for the (alleged) practice. The winner? “Tandying”.
A deliberately conceded penalty is therefore a tandy and someone who deliberately concedes a penalty is a tandier. The problem with the allegation is, of course, that we’ll never know if someone is  Tandying unless we have evidence the coach told him to.
In any case, the Roosters and Melbourne deny employing the practice.
“Wayne’s entitled to his opinion,” said Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
“I think our integrity’s intact as far as the way we play the game. We’ve been very strong in the way we’ve gone into each game. We weren’t happy with that. But it’s not a snapshot of the season.”
Likewise, Melbourne’s Cooper Cronk laughed off the allegation when he fronted the media at Newcastle Beach on Monday Morning.
“No, I’m not sure where that question’s coming from,” Cronk said when asked if his side deliberately conceded penalties. “Wayne’s entitled to his opinion.
“He’s a respected voice of the game but, look, I haven’t been a part of a side what wants to deliberately defend its line any more than we have to. “I think the game is hard enough as it is without making it harder for yourself.”
Cronk had his own criticism of the Knights regarding the illusive spirit of the game – an allegation that they wet the footballs before kick-off. “That may have happened,” he said with a smile

BEST OF ROUND 23: James Maloney’s 10 from 10 kicking performance in Monday Night Football. Doesn’t happen very often. WORST OF ROUND 23: Jeff Lima’s leg twist on Anthony Watmough. Ugly.
WEIRDEST OF ROUND 20: Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin’s claim that no-one is under any pressure inside the Broncos camp. Even though they’re linked with two fullbacks from other clubs and their halves have been told they’re in reserve grade?
WHAT I SAW: Melbourne winger Mahe Fonua arrive in Newcastle from Brisbane by plane just four hours before the game. He was in the programme – but clearly wasn’t playing.
QUOTE OF ROUND 20: “Is this an interview about the game, bro?” Sonny Bill Williams after being asked by Andrew Johns when he was going to make a decision on his future and whether he was going to the World Cup.

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