The NRL’s 12 Best Characters

By STEVE MASCORD THERE are times these days when it seems “characters in rugby league” is a non sequitur. We remember Allan Langer checking out the race results on the big screen at the SFS, Dallas Donnelly eating a goldfish and Kerry Hemsley dressing up as a bushranger. Today? Meh. But for all the suggestions […]

THE JOY OF SIX: Round 25

By STEVE MASCORD BARBA QUESTIONS QUESTIONS prompted by the emergence of a photo of a woman who claimed to have been punched by Ben Barba: How was this not a cover-up, given that the highest profile NRL player at the time was suspended by his club and we weren’t told why? If this allegation was […]

Origin I: Rude Awakening

By STEVE MASCORD IT’S 8.30, the morning after New South Wales beat Queensland 14-6 in the opening State of Origin match, and the phone rings. Your correspondent is not in the best of moods after a stuff-up on radio the previous night (more of that later) and has little patience for the ABC Canberra producer […]


By STEVE MASCORD STATE Of Origin is a con. Our greatest contest is built on a giant hypocrisy whose time is just about up. This column is not chiefly about whether its author was offended by Paul Gallen stiff-arming, then repeatedly punching, Nate Myles last Wednesday or about whether the incident was bad for the […]

Critics Of Origin I Stoush Missed The Point, Says Reynolds

By STEVE MASCORD UNUSED NSW reserve Josh Reynolds says critics of last Wednesday’s Origin biffo are missing a big point – there are still plenty of punches in NRL games that go unpunished. After sitting on the bench for the entire opening interstate encounter, the 24-year-old five-eighth returned to Canterbury on Saturday night and played […]

DISCORD 2013: Edition 24

By STEVE MASCORD SHOULD pre-meditation be taken into account when punishing incidents of foul play in rugby league? Last night on The Back Page and NRL 360, Jarryd Hayne and Robbie Farah each seemed to confirm Paul Gallen had mentioned Nate Myles in the lead-up to Origin I in relation to perceived sleights against the […]


By STEVE MASCORD IN last week’s Rugby League Week, Nate Myles raised the spectre of the “prowler” or “cannonball” tackle. During the round 11 game between his Gold Coast Titans and Parramatta, he had appealed to the referees to do something about the practice. During a remarkably civil on-field debate with rival captain Tim Mannah, […]

DISCORD 2013: Edition 23

By STEVE MASCORD THERE was an instance early in Origin I when pocket referee Shayne Hayne called a penalty for throwing the ball away – and fellow whistler Ashley Klein ignored it and played on. It illustrated that Origin is still “different” – but the striking charge levelled at Paul Gallen shows it’s getting less […]

The Prowler Drops By

By STEVE MASCORD THE prowler tackle made a comeback at the weekend, according to Gold Coast captain Nate Myles The Queensland prop could be heard making a complaint to referees Gavin Reynolds and Matt Cecchin about the practice of diving at the knees of players already held in tackles during the big win over Parramatta […]