BONDI BEAT: December 2016

By STEVE MASCORDrlw-december-2017

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 in Australia and the 2025 tournament which will most likely (fingers, toes, tongues and all other appendages crossed) in North America.
The NRL, in turn, has chosen to consult Australia coach Mal Meninga. Now, there is a very good argument it should give David Kidwell just as much say but that’s another column.
Meninga, in turn has consulted his players. Before the England-Australia Test in London, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg was to address the Kangaroos about the options set to be tabled in Liverpool at the RLIF congress.
Here’s why listening to the players may not be such a bad idea: they like trips.
I surveyed a number of them at the Four Nations series launch about where they wanted the 2021 World Cup to be held and the US had sizeable support.
Before the London Test, Australia prop Matt Scott said he’d be willing to give up the post-season break mandated by the Rugby League Players Association in 2018 if it was possible to play a touring Great Britain side.
Scott head earlier told me he wished the Australian side was able to see more of Europe during the tournament.
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For what it’s worth, it is still likely to be a spring break in 2018 for the Aussies. There is a push for a full Kangaroo Tour in 2019 with perhaps an eight-team Federation Cup in 2020. That may be in America. The preferred structure is two pools of four teams, seeded, with a final.
Promoter Jason Moore has some different ideas on that structure.
But while NRL administrators are dominated by money and the clubs in in their concerns, empowering players who want to see the world might be the key to unlocking the potential of the international game at the highest level.
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AT the height of the is-Wayne-Bennett-rude controversy I called the RFL to find out exactly what the great man’s job entails.
When I asked Bennett at his now-infamous London media conference if his only responsibility was to coach the team, he responded: ‘That’s exactly right.”
Asked if there was anything else in the job description, he said: “No”.
I won’t go into who I called and who called back and who I thought would call back because there are some personal relationships at work. But suffice to say three people were involved, two of whom I spoke to, and after four hours I was told there would be no on-the-record comment.
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To me, Bennett is entitled to be himself. It’s not as if the RFL didn’t know what they were getting. I agree with colleague Paul Kent that if there was any additional abrasiveness during the Four Nations it could be a sign of vulnerability at the end of a difficult personal year in unfamiliar surroundings.
But the RFL needs to be accountable for the choice they made. They need to come out and say they only care about winning and support Bennett.
Or they need to have a word to Bennett about their bedside manner.
Or they need to explain why they didn’t have a word to him about his bedside manner.
To duck for cover and say nada says little for the courage or leadership at Red Hall. When the RFL challenged me on an aspect of my reporting about this issue, I challenged them back to have a go at me publicly because that would at least be be an on-the-record comment on the issue.
At the time of writing, I am still waiting.
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SOME of you, with an interest in such things, might find a look at the way the media was handled during the Four Nations somewhat instructive.
The Australians held media opportunities, on average, every second day at their hotel. There was an electronic media ‘all-in’ – usually involving NRL.com, Channel Nine and Channel Seven – followed by the same player speaking to print. That was usually just News Limited, Fairfax and Australian Associated Press but anyone covering the tournament was invited.
It was possible to request interviews outside this set-up.
I didn’t go to New Zealand media opps but I’m told they were rather weird – everyone speaking at once. What I mean by that is a coach and two players facing media representatives all at once, with questions and answers flying from everywhere. Also, the Kiwis openly labelled these as being for “travelling NZ media only” – not much help when you’re in Carlisle and there are still tickets to sell in Workington.
(It subsequently transpires this designation was only supposed to deter Kiwi journos at home, trying to cover such events over the phone – not locals)
The England media opps were just as complex but in a different way. England would have a ‘media day’ once a week. In my experience, a ‘media day’ involves reporters and players mingling and talking one-on-one.
But an England media day involved the coach and three players each sitting at a desk and speaking to everyone at once. The first part of each of these was open to radio, TV and agencies. Then the cameras were told to stop rolling and newspapers took over.
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The UK newspaper reporters would then collude to decide which day Mike Cooper or Josh Hodgson interviews would be run, agreeing all to quote the same player on the same day.
This system came a little undone when newspaper reporters from other countries, with other requirements, became involved. I approached with this philosophy: I would use answers to my own questions when I chose as I don’t really like being part of a cartel.
But even this approach causes some tensions.
While the England media manager could separate print from electronic, he could hardly dictate what day each story would run so it only took one dissenter for the system to fall apart.
As for one-on-one interviews, I made requests for players from Australia, New Zealand and England for Rugby League Week’s A-List feature. As I write this, I have not done a single one of these interviews.
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A way to raise money for the international game, aside from a second ‘property’ such as the Federation Cup, would be for funds from a sponsorship in all internationals to be handed over to the RLIF.
There is an idea out there that the referees in all internationals across the world should be branded with a sponsorship that goes straight to the RLIF.
You’d think, with there being relatively few internationals at present, it would be easy to achieve. Not so. Red tape abounds.

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BONDI BEAT: September 2016

rlw-september-2016By STEVE MASCORD

BECAUSE next year’s World Cup is in Australia, expect officials to pull out all the stops to have as many NRL stars sprinked across the teams as possible.
The new CEO of the tournament, Andrew Hill, has been working on eligibility rules for years and walking a diplomatic tightrope in his dual roles as RLIF secretary and NRL head of integration.
In one ear, he’s had NSW and Queensland officials stridently refusing to budge on their oft-heard refrain ‘you must be Australian to play Origin’ which translates to “son, if you play for that country we won’t pick you’.
Then there’s the NRL’s own investment in the South Pacific, which would be far more useful if those countries had their best teams on the pitch.
And finally, there’s been his empathy for the objectives of the RLIF and the countries frustrated by the likes of Wayne Bennett barring Anthony Milford from representing Samoa with no reason given.
Now Hill can be a little more unequivocal – and it wills start with new eligibility rules at the end of the year.
Origin players will hopefully be permitted to represent tier two nations without changing their country of election.
(These changes don’t help the likes of, say, Scotland for this year).
And Bondi Beat expects Hill to go door to door, if necessary, to make sure as many of the world’s best players as possible are on show next October and November.
The question is whether a Tongan side full of players born in south Auckland, Penrith and Logan City – to use an example – is a threat to England’s chances.
It probably is.
Full strength Samoa, PNG, Tongan and Fiji teams on hard grounds during an Australasian spring will present Wayne Bennett with plenty of headaches.
One suspects another big part of Hill’s role will be ease the concerns of his colleagues in Fitzrovia and Red Hall.
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LAST month we reported for you how RLWC chief executive Michael Brown was forced to resign after leaving an abusive voicemail for Penrith CEO Corey Payne.
Michael was browned off that Payne – the youngest chief exec in the NRL, only a couple of years out of playing – had claimed Pepper Stadium was snubbed for a World Cup match when in fact they Panthers had demanded half a million dollars to host one.
We thought that was typically rugby league.
But the follow-up is even less likely to happen in any other sport, or indeed field of endeavour.
Payne himself has fallen out with someone or another and is no longer involved in the game! The Panthers issued a media release referring only vaguely to “overseas business interests”.
Maybe he’s buying Salford off Marwan.
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IF there’re two things rugby league fans love to moan about, it’s refereeing and the disciplinary system.
We can have match fixing and chaotic international eligibility rules and Gawd knows what else but if Johnny Appleseed got two weeks when he should have got four, the sky is falling in.
Same goes for that knock-on Warren Whistleblower failed to detect.
Here and Bond Beat Towers we try not to get caught up in such minutae. We really do. But in the last couple of weeks we have seen things get a tad daft.
First, St George Illawarra’s Welshman-cum-New South Welshman Tyson Frizell is suspended for a week for brushing a referee as he walked past.
I’d have no problem with that on its own. We don’t want to go the way of soccer in this area. But the way it is enforced Down Under is woefully inconsistent.
Then, a couple of weeks later, Gold Coast Titan Ryan James breaks the jaw of Wests Tigers starlet James Tedesco. Sure, Tedesco was falling but James still copped a grade two careless high tackle charge.
He chose to challenge, as is his right.
After he is found guilty, he and his counsel take a deep breath and begin to gather up their paper when judiciary member Royce Ayliffe says “you’ve only been found guilty”.
You mean we can still challenge the grading? Yes. And what do you know, James gets downgraded to one and doesn’t miss a match.
You touch a referee as you walk past – one week. You break a star fullback’s jaw – none. I mean, really….
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ONE of the reservations many people have about the 2021 World Cup bid from America is that it does not come from the governing body, the USARL.
But have you thought about how many national governing bodies in our game CAN afford to bid for the World Cup?
Sure, South Africa made play for next year’s tournament but they used an external consultant with soccer experience all the way, Chris Botes, and basically just stood alongside him and nodded.
Even Leagues with the right business acumen in their ranks probably wouldn’t be able to attract the requisite government support
Steve Williams is the communications manager for the USARL. He recently told my Kiwi colleague: “We do not have any affiliation with Jason Moore.
“We weren’t consulted about the actual bid. This was a bid submitted to the international federation.
“We’re happy to partner with anybody who is willing to help promote rugby league in the USA.
“That being said, we are 100 per cent an amateur, volunteer based organisation so if something like this was to come along and let’s say the international federation did embrace it, we would expect them to also provide assistance and a plan to support any type of growth that would be expected.
“You’re talking about a 350 million population so … I’d consider it unfortunate if we weren’t structured properly to funnel (the interest) into development at some level.”
The places where we need to have World Cups – Japan, mainland Europe and North America – do not have viable local leagues who can submit applications.
It’s going to come down to people like Chris Botes and Jason Moore.
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JUST quick note to wish all the best for the departed editor of this esteemed organ, Joe Whitley.
He was only a young lad but I’m sure you’ll agree his flair for design, in particular, was obvious and abundant.
Good luck in your next endeavour, old chap.
@BondiBeat

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Far & Wide: Papua New Guinea, Malta, World Cup, France, United States, Canada

By STEVE MASCORD

Far & Wide

CONGRATULATIONS to Lae Tigers, who took out Papua New Guinea’s Digicel Cup with a 14-8 win over Angmark Gurias at the weekend.

The grand final was played in front of 15,000 rapturous fans at Sir John Guise Oval in Port Moresby at the weekend.
On a much sadder note, a man has died from injuries suffered when a riot broke out after the previous week’s preliminary final, won by the Gurias against Mt Hagen Eagles.
After an Eagles official punched the referee, fighting spilled into the streets. Joe Pidik was in a truck when he was hit in the head with a brick.

WHEN a group of developing league countries approached World Cup organisers recently about playing curtain-raisers during next year’s tournament, they were advised to put together a business plan.
Now, business plans don’t write themselves so the group – let by Malta – has asked for readers of this column to help out.
Far & Wide can reveals that if the curtain-raisers are played, they will have to be funded by the competing nations and will only be staged at the following venues:
* Sunday 29 October – Canberra Stadium – France vs Lebanon

* Friday 3 November – Canberra Stadium – Australia vs France

* Saturday 4 November – Sydney Football Stadium – England vs Lebanon

* Friday 10 November – Canberra Stadium – Fiji vs European Qualifier #3

* Saturday 11 November – Sydney Football Stadium – Australia vs Lebanon

If you would like to help out, go to generosity.com/sports-fundraising and type in “Emerging Nations feasibility report”.
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FRANCE are suddenly without a coach after Warrington assistant Richard Agar quit.
The change is linked to the election of Marc Palanques as president of the French Federation in July. He over from Carlos Zalduendo, who appointed Agar in February 2013.
On October 22, France will be Wayne Bennett’s first opposition as England coach when the sides meet at Parc des Sports in Avignon.
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FURTHER to our item last week about the Ohana Cup, plans for Wests Tigers to play a trial in Hawaii next year are gathering momentum.
Organiser Steve Johnson says the off-field work done by Canada, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa around the recent tournament in Honolulu was just as important as the two matches.
“Canada are moving their base somewhat from Toronto to British Columbia and are starting to look west,” said Johnson.
“This was a great opportunity for officials from the four countries to get together and talk about developing the game.”
The Hawaiian Rugby League have entered into a partnership with Wests Tigers.

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FAR & WIDE: World Cup, United States, Argentina, Chile, Brazil

Far & WideBy STEVE MASCORD

WITH all the discussion about where World Cup games will be, there has been precious little by way of explanation for how the draw will actually work.
The venues and dates were announced last Thursday and the big controversy was that Sydney only got two games because the NSW government refused to bid.
But a quick look at the draw poster, which can be downloaded from the tournament’s website, poses more questions than it answers.
England and Australia are in the same group and a literal reading of the draw would see them meeting in the quarter-finals which, of course, would be outrageous.
In fact, as was the case in 2013, the draw is seeded in such a way as to maximise competitive pool games – with more teams from the strong pools progressing than those from the weaker divisions.
With the pools being A, B. C and D, the quarter-finals will work like this: A1 v B3, B2 v D1, B1 v A3, A2v C1.
Three teams from pools A and B progress, with only one each from C and D. That means the match between Lebanon and France will be very important while Scotland will have to – realistically – beat Tonga or Samoa.
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THE word ‘Journeyman’ is misused in rugby league.
It does not mean someone who moves around a lot. In fact, it is tradesman who never becomes proficient in his craft.
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The origins of this are from when a master tradesman would set up a shop but those who were not quite so good would have to travel around for work.
A ‘journeyman’ in sport can actually spend his whole career at one club. It just means he never attained the status of being a master of his trade.
Junior VaiVai is a journeyman in the misused, rugby league cliché sense. He has played for Samoa but may play against them for NSW Country on a tour of Samoa at the end of this year.
But he has also been recently selected for the US Hawks, which means he is in line to play for the Americans in the World Cup!
Junior is currently with Wollongong Wests.
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RUGBY league’s America’s Cup has kicked off, with Canada beating Jamaica 38-2 in Levittown, Pennsyvania. The tournament continues.
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OUR friends at the Latin Heat report that The three-way tournament between Argentina, Chile and Brazil on November 12-13 in Miramar, Argentina looks more like reality each day.
Visit the Latin Heat website or social media accounts if you want to see what you can do to make it happen!

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BONDI BEAT: July 2016

RLW Juy 2016By STEVE MASCORD

I FEEL sorry for Andrew Johns.

Unless you live under a rock or follow rugby union (give me a rock any day), you’ll be aware that there’s a match fixing ‘scandal’ taking place in Sydney right now.

Two matches last year involving Manly are alleged to have been manipulated by players involved being paid A$50,000 a man.

Now, the way this has played out is a reflection of two things: the changing face of the media and journalism and the way authorities in Australia seem to behave out of political expediency.

Many fans have drawn a comparison between the so-called ‘Darkest Day In Australian Sport’ a couple of years ago, when we were told organised crime had infiltrated out dearest institutions and doping was rife.

Since then, we had had sanctions levelled at Cronulla and the Essendon AFL club but the scale of the cheating was no-where near what was initially touted.

From a fan’s point of view, this smacks of something similar.

Even as a professional journalist I can appreciate the cynicism and that’s because politicians and law enforcement in Australia seem to like to use the media to ‘smoke out’ offenders.

Apparently many of my colleagues were aware of these match fixing claims for some time but couldn’t get the story ‘up’ – that is, no-one would be quoted. This changed when the Daily Telegraph’s Michael Carayannis managed to get a line from a police spokesperson at the end of May.

Again, for whatever reason but perhaps as some kind of deterrent, further high-ranking police officers have been quoted since. In other parts of the world, I would imaging police would be far more reticent to talk but there is a ‘Wild West’ feel to the way things are done Down Under.

As for the change in journalistic practices, that is reflected in the way the story has been covered since it broke.

In the old days, naming groups of people – such as football teams – and individuals such as the ‘big punter’ and former brothel owner Eddie Heyson would have been considered actionable and therefore ill-advised.

But today, decisions are made based on what a news organisation can get away with. One former News Corporation used to say “don’t start a fight with anyone who buys newsprint (ink) by the tonne.”

The question asked is not ‘can they sue?’ but ‘are they likely to’ and ‘does that person have a good reputation that can be sullied anyway?’ Increasingly we see lines in stories like ‘the Daily Bugle does not suggest the players named in this story are guilty of any wrongdoing’ when the rest of the story suggests exactly that.

As a result, we have seen detailed allegations of exactly who is supposed to have done what and which games and clubs are allegedly involved, when such stories would never have been printed in the past.

What does all this have to do with Andrew Johns?

One report suggested Manly blamed a former great no longer on the club staff for introducing Heyson to the club.

Johns, who has a number of media gigs, stepped up and said such allegations were ridiculous and he had done nothing of the sort.

By responding to the allegations, he outed himself. The reporters no longer needed to refer to him as “a former great”. They could name him – and so in the next day’s paper he found the allegations against him spelt out in greater detail but someone who was not named.

It’s a great three-card trick – put allegations you cannot publish for legal reasons to the target of those allegations and if they are denied, you no longer have any obligation to protect the aggrieved party.

No doubt Johns felt his time at Manly was positive and he left on good terms (he’s now an advisor at Sydney Roosters). Now one of his former ‘mates’ is trying to blame him for match fixing and he has no idea who it is.

That can’t be fun.

AT the time of writing, it appeared Zac Hardaker’s likely new home would be Canberra, where Jack Wighton is the likely fullback.

(I actually once had a copy of Rolling Stone with Jack White of the White Stripes on the cover at a Raiders game one day. It was only after Wighton had left the stadium that I realised what a great photo opp that would have been),

Wighton, from Orange in the NSW central west, is a likeable lad. Perhaps too likeable as indications are that the curry he has been getting from fans on social media recently has been getting to him.

Wighton made a couple of ugly errors against Canberra but also engineered the win. “Forget all those voices in your head and listen to mine,” is what coach Ricky Stuart claims to have told him at halftime.

A move to the centres or even to stand-off would relieve Wighton of the burden of playing in rugby league’s loneliest position.

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WHILE on Stuart, there’s a juicy rumour going around that he is going to be the new coach of Lebanon, in place of Darren Maroon.

Maroon quit just a couple of weeks before the recent international against the Cook Islands when was told his position would be reviewed after the match.

He had previously believed he would be in the post until after the World Cup.

Now, Stuart has not always been painted as a fan of international football, with many a developing nation coach wishing he was more charitable about releasing players.

But if there is any duplicity there, it seems to almost be de rigeur ….. right, Wayne Bennett?

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ALL is not going smoothly with the World Cup.

Recently, governing bodies poised to send teams to the ‘Festival Of World Cups’ – students, women, armed forces, wheelchair etc, were contacted by the organisers

Each participant was going to have to find extra funds because various hoped-for revenue sources had not eventuated.

Meanwhile, Suncorp Stadium was awarded the final with little or no fanfare.

While on the World Cup, it’s a shame Cook Islands won’t be involved, purely from a playing talent point of view.

Brad Takairangi, Jordan Rapana, Tepai Meoroa and Zeb Taia have all been among the season’s top performers in the NRL.

But, as you may have anticipated, Rapana and Taia have already declared their intention to try to make the New Zealand side.

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No McNamara Decision Likely Until 2016

McNamara, SteveBy STEVE MASCORD
ENGLAND coach Steve McNamara is likely to be left waiting until early next year before he learns if he has kept his job.
Players rallied behind McNamara after he enjoyed his biggest triumph in the role on Saturday with a series-deciding 20-14 win over New Zealand at Wigan’s DW Stadium. His contract expired at full-time
“There is no time frame as such for a decision,” a Rugby Football League spokesman told The Telegraph.
“At some point in the future we will sit down with Steve and discuss how the team is going and where Steve sees it going. Both parties are happy with this process
“But as for when we will have more to say on the matter, it would probably be months rather than weeks. Perhaps early next year.”
donate2Because McNamara is based in Sydney with the Roosters, it is likely some preliminary talks will take place before he returns to Australia but last night’s statements basically rule out a celebratory short-term reappointment.
The scrum-half Matty Smith, named man of the match after his only appearance in the series, suggested McNamara should at least be retained for another year.
“Why change it?’ he said.
“We’ve got a young squad. He’s picked form players. He’s not picked players who are not in form. I think he should get it – especially for next year. Maybe see how we go for next year.
“It’s not all about the coaches.”
The RFL spokesman said last night no term had yet been discussed but given that there is a World Cup in 2017, an appointment of fewer than two years would seem extremely unlikely.
Next year England hosts Scotland, Australia and New Zealand in a Four Nations. While New Zealand were dramatically under strength in this series, their co-captain Issac Luke warned England would also be a tougher proposition.
“It’s going to be awesome,”said Issac Luke. “England will have big Sammy (Burgess) back, we’ll hopefully have a few guys come in and the Aussies will be trying hard to get back to number one.”
McNamara said: “We’ve got quality to add to our group. We’ve got experience to add. The signs are pretty good, particularly since we’ve finally got over the line in a major series.
“Internationals are too tough to make any sorts of statements about dominating for any period of time.You can’t do that. The team we have just played fought tooth and nail over the course of this series. Australia are a very strong team and are making steps to get stronger.
“So you can’t make outlandish statements.”
Asked how he views the post of national coach, the former second rower said: “It’s a huge honour, not just coaching your country but playing for your country, captaining your country. We’ve got our kit man, he’s the kit man who represents England and he’s the proudest man ever,
“When you are involved representing your country, it is the proudest thing you can do.”
England withstood a late rally from the Kiwis to lift their first major title since 2007.
Prop Tom Burgess said: “If we could get the attack from the first week and the defence from the second and put them together … that was our view on it.”
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JOY OF SIX: round one 2015

The Joy Of SixBy STEVE MASCORD

SEEING RED OVER MOSES
WHAT if Dallas Donnelly pulled up outside an NRL ground in his time travelling Delorian and went inside for a gander? What would he make of a competition where you are sent to the sin bin for punching someone but stay on the field for a deadset coat-hanger? How can we be SOFTER on an offence now than we were in the seventies? It defies logic. The ban on referee comments stifled the debate on Saturday night surrounding Mitchell Moses’ shot on William Zillman. Set of Six will debate it; Moses should have been sent off. Flailing fists deter parents from letting their kids play rugby league – do we think mum wants little Johnny to do his best rag doll impersonation every weekend?
BATTLE AHEAD
WELL may Phil Gould and Penrith oppose an external draft – they have more juniors than most other clubs. But one donatechange in the game that has gone un-noticed over the summer has been the rebranding of the state leagues, aside from NSW and Queensland. The South Australian Rugby League is now NRL South Australia – and so on. They are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Moore Park HQ. No doubt, the aim is to do the same with the NSWRL, the QRL and the CRL. The NRL wants to be to rugby league what the NBA is to basketball – that is, just about everything. It will take care of all development and clubs will be shells focused only on winning first grade matches and attracting fans. Set of Six likes the idea.
COCKY FOWLS NOT SCARED OF FOULS
LOTS of things have changed this season by according to Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan, one thing hasn’t. “It’s a little bit faster, sides are trying to find their feet. Sides don’t want to give away too many penalties away – bar the Roosters. They were quite happy to give penalties away and then defend ‘em.” The Roosters do not like accusations they deliberately give away penalties. Flanagan nominated Trent Robinson’s team, South Sydney and Parramatta as sides who had “put their hand up” over the weekend. The Sharks boss wasn’t sure how he’d feel going to Remondis Stadium last night for his first game back from suspension. “Surprisingly, I’m pretty calm about the whole thing,” he said. “It’s not about me. I’ve got a job here to do and I’ve just got to get on with it.”
HELLO 2015
SOME random observations about our first taste of premiership football for the year. One, the game IS faster and there IS amazonless wrestling, and the crowds like it. Friday night at Pirtek Stadium, particularly in the first half, was a revelation; the word “fickle” just isn’t in the dictionaries of western Sydney. Your correspondent was at Headingley, where they sing all night, eight days previously and the local Blue and Gold Army outdid their British cousins easily. A bulked-up Anthony Milford in the halves is a gamble. We won’t get reliable forward pass rulings until there are chips in the balls. Dane Gagai and Joey Leilua could be the centre pairing of the year. Pat Richards could easily realise his ambition of playing in the 2017 World Cup. Live free-to-air TV coverage on a Sunday should have happened years ago.
THE SHAFT FOR SHILLO AND SHANNON
TRENT Merrin was only “dropped” for Monday Night Football if you don’t count the game against Warrington, which he also started from the bench. He was in the starting side for round 26 last year, though – we checked. Two men who WERE dropped, by any definition, are big Canberra forwards David Shillington and Shannon Boyd. They were named in Canberra’s first grade side on Sunday – Shillington in the starting front row – but played NSW Cup. Coach Ricky Stuart admitted the hot conditions were in his mind but “there’s a few other reasons – nothing untoward in regards to the two boys. We made the decision earlier in the week.” Stuart reckons the quicker rucks this year mean “dropped balls and penalties are making a big difference between winning and losing.’
CARNAGE IN FRANCE
Dwrq4E1421835700EVEN a broken rib for Todd Carney took a back seat to the scoreline in the Catalans-Salford Super League game over the weekend. The match finished in a 40-40 draw – which in the Australian premiership would make it the highest scoring drawn game ever, beat three matches which finished 34-34.. In England, there’ve been higher scores in draws – and there almost certainly have been in France, too. After a tackle by Lama Tasi, Carney – who missed the opening two rounds through injury – tweeted: “Just got home from the hospital, Broken Ribs Fingers crossed I won’t be out for long.” Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous said the tackle was illegal. “It is not acceptable that there is a late tackle on Todd Carney that has left him in the hospital with a broken rib,” he told reporters. Oh, and the penalty which gave Salford a late draw was a tad controversial, too.

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