THE BIG ISSUE: # 28

By STEVE MASCORD IT’S not unusual for grand finals be contested, and celebrated, in an atmosphere of vindication and even vengeance. In 2010, multiple St George Illawarra players and their coach made reference to the label of being “chokers” after the club’s first premiership. In 2003, Penrith coach John Lang said “you reward cheap shot […]

Cronk Tells Bellamy To ‘Snap Out Of It’

By STEVE MASCORD COOPER Cronk’s decision to confront coach Craig Bellamy and tell him to “snap out” of wallowing in self-doubt was the turning point of Melbourne’s season and put them back on course for a redemptive premiership. Bellamy commented after Sunday’s grand final triumph that Cronk “had a shot” at him as the Storm […]

GF For The True Believers, Says Hinchcliffe

By STEVE MASCORD MELBOURNE warhorse Ryan Hinchcliffe says this week’s grand final berth is for the 23,906 fans who turned out on April 25, 2010, to support the Storm after they were stripped of two premierships. While most of the Victorian franchise’s players have shied away from discussing the salary cap scandal in the lead-up […]

Reports Of Manly’s Demise Greatly Exaggerated

By STEVE MASCORD DES Hasler’s departure was suppose to leave Manly on its knees with players lining up to leave. So even though the Sea Eagles’ premiership defence came to a hault last Friday night, players hailed the year as a success as they qualified for the final four and stars like Brett Stewart and […]

Merritt: I Wish Maguire Was Here Years Ago

By STEVE MASCORD WINGER Nathan Merritt says he wishes coach Michael Maguire had joined the club “six or seven years ago”. While Merritt’s comments after Saturday’s 32-8 preliminary final defeat to Canterbury were interpreted as deeming the season a failure, the man who made his debut for the Bunnies in 2002 is excited about what […]

Dessy Lets His Guard Down Just a Little

By STEVE MASCORD THIS morning, at the grand final breakfast, we finally saw a glimpse of what makes Des Hasler great. Normally, we see the Canterbury coach begin every media conference with a statement – regardless of the question – insist his team is under the radar, dismiss probing questions cheekily and then say ‘thanks’ […]

THE WRAP: NRL 2012 Finals Week Three

By STEVE MASCORD WHO knows? Anthony Watmough might be right about Josh Reynolds and every other player in the comp hating him. But in a grand final week that threatens to be particularly anodyne, journalists love the unaffected 23-year-old Canterbury five-eighth. He’d win any popularity contest in the press box, hands down. Watmough told Reynolds […]

WHITE LINE FEVER Podcast: Episode 33

The Angels, Ryan Hoffman & Jonathan Wright

Second preliminary final: CANTERBURY 32 SOUTH SYDNEY 8 at ANZ Stadium

LIVE BLOG: Fulltime: CANTERBURY 32 SOUTH SYDNEY 8 TWO clubs heavily sanctioned over the past decade for salary cap breaches will meet in the 2012 NRL grand final. Canterbury, who were leading the competition when stripped of all their points in 2002 for hiding under-the-counter payments to players, qualified for next Sunday’s decider by beating South […]