THE JOY OF SIX: Round 24



WE long ago just started assuming that Sam Tomkins is joining the New Zealand Warriors next year. But at one point, his coach at Wigan Shaun Wane was supposed to be going as well. Wane has now extended his tenure at DW Stadium – and had it extended by another year as a result of Sunday morning’s Challenge Cup final victory. And according to Wane, his fullback is going nowhere. “He’s a contracted player with us,” Wane told Joy Of Six. “I’m hoping he’s going to be here next year and I don’t see that changing”. Team-mate Blake Green said he had a gut feeling on Tomkins’ intentions but didn’t say what it was while Parramatta-bound Lee Mossop reckoned Tomkins was “a closed book”. What did the man himself say? Nothing. Media were kicked out of Wembley before he emerged from the dressingrooms.


MELBOURNE’S 60-point mauling of Parramatta only fuels the perception that we have a lopsided competition. This has led to a number of proposals for change, including the Eels coach Ricky Stuart calling for the return of reserve grade. But stats guru David Middleton recently conducted a study of average margins in premiership games going back to 1908. He also tried to assess the evenness of competitions in the salary cap era by looking at the number of teams who won 50 per cent or more of their games. The results, published in the current edition of Rugby League Week, show very little change over the years. The average margin in 1908 was 14 points, this season it’s 15.4. In 1925., the average margin was 6.7 points but Souths won the minor premiership by such a stretch, mandatory finals were introduced the following year!


THE North Queensland-Newcastle game was a microcosm for the debate over the shoulder charge rule and allegations of diving. Referees say the deterrent to players staying on the ground is that the video referee can only intervene if the offending player deserves being reported. The tackle on Brent Tate, which stunned the Cowboys centre, was worthy of a penalty only. Tate didn’t take a dive but the way in which it was dealt should have discouraged others from doing so, even though the lack of a penalty was somewhat unjust. On the other hand, Kade Snowden’s challenge on Ray Thompson would have brought stern action in any era, regardless of whether shoulder charges were banned. He clearly made contact with the head – Thompson suffered a broken jaw.


IF THERE is one inequality in the way we use the video referee in rugby league, it was summed up when Gold Coast’s Albert Kelly took an intercept defending his own line – something that is generally physically impossible – and streaked away from the Warriors defence. Nearing the tryline, it was as if he was looking for someone to tackle him. Why? Because if he had been pulled up short and the Titans scored on the next tackle, the video referee would not have the power to go back and check if he was onside. The old cliché, ‘what if this decides a grand final’, comes to mind. Video referees should be able to tip to referees in this circumstance. On the BBC on Sunday morning, we had the video referee mic-ed up and his discussions with the on-field officials broadcast. What do you think?


COLLEAGUE Peter Fitzsimons touched a raw nerve by going over the records of South Sydney coach Michael Maguire and prop Jeff Lima with wrestling and extreme tactics. Some would say if you go into a game with an injury, you have to expect it to be targeted. But most would argue that targeting a specific injury with an illegal tactic or manoeuvre is different than just running at someone and is beyond the pale. That being the case, should we take intent into account in handing down charges and suspensions? Is illegally attacking someone with a known injury a case of bringing the game into disrepute? We will only find out the level of premeditation years after players retire, when they start spilling the beans. If there are beans, media men and judiciary members will look back with a good deal of regret at have gone easy on the nastiness.


IT may seem like the longest shot in sport but South Africa are serious about staging the 2017 World Cup. Your correspondent witnessed a detailed presentation from the SARL in London Friday night, to countries attending the European Federation AGM. I’m not sure how much I can repeat but suffice to say the Africans are bullish and intend to use major stadia, 13 of which hold more than 40,000 people. Even with 60 per cent ticket sales, they are confident of turning a massive profit. And each country would get a fairly significant grant from the organising committee, which includes key members of the syndicate that attracted the FIFA World Cup. But in a country where the Olympic Committee still refuses to recognise that there is more than one rugby code, would anything like 60 per cent of tickets be sold? We can’t keep holding World Cups in England and Australia but 2017 is probably too soon to take a leap of faith like this.



NRL round three: GOLD COAST 16 MANLY 14 at Skilled Park


AFTER being carried off in his 250th game on a medicab after friend Richie Fa’aoso’s shoulder charge knocked him out, Gold Coast lock Ashley Harrison last night said: “He got me from a place where couldn’t see it coming.”

Manly replacement Fa’aoso admitted he forgot about the new ban on shoulder charges when he hit Harrison after passing the ball five minutes before halftime in the Titans’ 16-14 win at Skilled Park.

As he was being placed on report, the Tongan international attempted to apologise to his former Norths Aspley clubmate – but Harrison was unconscious. He approached the Queensland forward again after the match.

Fa’aoso, who could be the first player charged under the shoulder charge ban but is more likely to face a dangerous contact allegation because of a head clash, said: “It’s a contact sport but you don’t mean to hurt people like that.

“We might have clashed heads or something but I’m glad he’s alright. I’m sorry that he went off like that, especially in his 250th game. I felt pretty terrible.

“To be honest, you just forget about it (shoulder charge ban) sometimes. I’ve just got to wrap my arms around

“I don’t know if it was a bit late, I haven’t really seen it. I’ll have a look at it and hopefully I’ll be alright next week. If I’m not, I’ll just work hard and get back whenever I get back.

“He’s a good bloke, as long as he’s alright. I was very sorry for what happened.”

Harrison did not want to comment on what should happen to Fa’aoso and said he had no recollection of the incident.

But he did say: “I just know he got me from a place where I couldn’t see it coming

“The judicial committee, they’ll make their minds up.  Richie came up to me after the game, I’ve known him since I was a kid and he apologised.

“He said ‘sorry’, I said ‘no hard feelings’

“It’s rugby league, mate. These things happen. I got in the wrong place at the wrong time .”

Manly coach Geoff Toovey said the collision should not result in any more than the penalty which gave Aiden Sezer the first points of the match. “There’s not much in it, I think they clashed heads at the end of the day,” he said. “They got a penalty, hopefully that’s where it will stay.

“I’ve seen it on replay. There’s no problem with it at all … apart from that it’s a shoulder charge and they’re illegal now.”

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright and captain Greg Bird were also measured in their comments. “It was hard on us to lose a player for the game – we were down to three interchange players from an illegal shot,” said Cartwright.

“Maybe it’s something they need to look at there – an 18th player.

“He’s had 250 games. He’s been knocked out before. He’ll be right.”

The game was decided in dramatic fashion when Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans attempted a line dropout at 14-14 with four minutes left and Titans winger David Mead put a foot into touch and caught it, giving Sezer and easy penalty goal from in front.

“He’s pretty devastated with that but it’s a learning curve for everyone,” said Toovey.

Gold Coast led 14-4 at the 57 minute – then Manly roared back with three consecutive tries. But captain Jamie Lyon managed just one conversion.

The Titans lost another player, centre Brad Takairangi, to a hamstring injury in the second half.

GOLD COAST 16 (R James D Mead tries A Sezer 4 goals) bt MANLY 14 (J Taufua 2 T Symonds tries J Lyon goal) at Skilled Park. Referees: M Cecchin/L Phillips. Crowd: 13,168.

Filed for: SUN-HERALD

Final team lists:
TITANS: William Zillman; Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamal Idris, David Mead; Aiden Sezer, Albert Kelly; Ashley Harrison, Ben Ridge, Greg Bird, Nate Myles, Matt Srama, Luke Douglas. Res: David Taylor, Luke Bailey, Ryan James, Beau Falloon.
MANLY: Brett Stewart; Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (c), Steve Matai, David Williams; Kieran Foran, Daly Cheery-Evans; Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Anthony Watmough, Brent Kite, Matt Ballin, Brenton Lawrence. Res: Richie Fa’aoso, Joe Galuvao, David Gower, Tom Symonds.

Holden Cup: Manly 26-18

BONDI BEAT: February 2013

ON the surface of it, the current plight of the Newcastle Knights proves that the NRL and Super League are not that far removed from each other.
Soft rock kings Dire Straits are in Salford and Newcastle? No, it’s the other way around.
We Australians like to think we’re flying, with our $1.025 billion television deal and players coming from all places and all codes to lace a boot in our competition.
But Nathan Tinkler, the Knights’ moneybags owner, seems to be slowly going broke and only recently the members board asked him to give the club back to them. Hunter Sports Group, which has a massive tax bill and is bleeding cash and letting go of many assets, ducked for cover when it came to public comment and instead left those with no real knowledge of the clubs’ financial situation to face the media.
Sound familiar?
At Salford, the council refused a bailout proposal for the Reds who are a the subject of a winding up petition – of which several out-of-pocket players are a part.
It seems they might have nicer weather and a better national team in Oz but there’s nothing new under the sun-or-not in rugby league.
But there’s a big difference.
Nathan Tinkler was not allowed to take control of the Knights until he put up a $20 million bank guarantee – and paid off ALL of the Knights’ bills. Now, he may have amassed some more debts in his short time in control but the club will be immeasurably better off if he departs during this season than it was when it took the reins last than two years ago.
Compare that to the plight of Salford. Their tax bill is only Stg50,000 but tell them they had a bank guarantee and they’d cry with happiness and head to the pub.
This writer can’t say he feels sorry for Tinker, who once told a reporter: “You’re a f—ing deadbeat, people like me don’t bother with f—ing you. You climb out of your bed every morning for your pathetic hundred grand a year, good luck.
”There’s a tall poppy syndrome; you would have heard of that because you hang around with the deadbeats and the losers who have done nothing with their lives.”
I’d rather do something with my life for enjoyment than for cash, Nathan. When you do something for satisfaction, you are rewarded instantly. Is it only money that gets you out of bed?
Might as well sleep in a bit this year…
IT’s a measure of how much anticipation there is about the current season that when Manly put out a lame sponsorship announcement the other day, it was not only seized upon but ripped the shreds.
Normally, a press release saying the club was now called the “Kaspersky Sea Eagles” would be summarily ignored. How many times have clubs around the world tried to sneak their sponsor into the paper with such announcements, with the releases sinking without a trace.
But instead of being treated with the usual disdain, the media release received such a big run in traditional and social media that people thought Manly were actually changing their name! They had to put out a statement climbing down from the original announcement!
Do you know that Brisbane were recently “called” the Wow! Sight And Sound Broncos?
Please calm down everyone. The season will be here soon enough.
SOMETHING is happening in the United States – and it’s too hard to say whether it’s good or bad.
The AMNRL site, owned by the establishment competition run by David Niu, is gone. The USARL site – run by the rebels – remains. Breakaway side Boston 13s recently Tweeted that they hoped to have players in the Tomahawks squad for RLWC13.
At the moment, players from the breakaway comp are precluded from playing for the national side. Apple Pope had to quit his Jacksonville Axemen to retain the Tomahawks captaincy.
As we told you last month, there is also new activity on the West Coast. It should be an interesting lead-up to the Americans’ World Cup bow. We aren’t even sure if coach Matthew Elliott will be holding onto the job after getting a start with the New Zealand Warriors.
IN Oz there was a commericial in the early eighties for a non-alcoholic mixer called Claytons, with the slogan being “The Drink You Have When You’re Not Having A Drink”.
Every since then, “Claytons” has been local slang for something fake.
And from what I can tell, we may be about to see a Clayton’s Shoudler Charge Ban.
From what I am told by sources deep within the refereeing ranks, shoudler charges will be OK in the NRL this year as long as the arm of the defender is extended. In other words, the difference between a shoulder charge and a legitimate tackle will be defined as whether the arm is tucked into the body or not.
I’m also hearing that if there’s no penalty on the field, and no high contact, then the match review committee won’t even bother looking at it.
I’m sure Chris Sandow’s coach, Ricky Stuart, would prefer him to stick his arm out anyway.
SO, will this month’s World Club Challenge between Leeds and Melbourne be the final one in the old two-team format …. finally?
The clubs want to stage a six-team tournament at the end of next season, perhaps in a neutral venue such as Las Vegas or Dubai.
The RLIF, on the other hand, is keen on a tour of some sort (more news as it comes to hand) in Australia and New Zealand at that time.
A compromise would see three Super League teams travelling to Australia for a pre-season WCC next year, with the clubs leveraging the games as part of their stadium deals.
In the mean time, in a couple of weeks the Melbourne Storm will be setting up shop at Eton, which may be the poshest school in the entire world.
MY own thoughts on Rugby League World‘s World XIII last month were that St George Illawarra’s Brett Morris was very lucky indeed to get in.
He can do much, much more than he acheived last year; remember the way he started 2011 playing for the Dragons against Wigan. His twin brother Josh has moved way ahead of him and is now an outstanding centre.
While on Josh, if you think rugby league players just like to go to cheesy holiday spots and get rolling drunk in the off-season, Josh took a group of Bulldogs to the South By Southwest (SxSW) music festival in Austin Texas last year.
Would love to go myself.
Cooper Cronk’s ascention to being the world’s best halfback is richly deserved and a great advertisement for patience, given the men he has been lining up behind for the best part of a decade.
WHEN Fiji coaching director Joe Dakuitoga told me shortly after one of Petero Civoniceva’s “final” appearances at Suncorp Stadium that the big fella was going to play a year in the Queensland Cup to stay fit for RLWC 13, I had to check it out from the man himself.
“Tell him to get off the kava,” Petero texted.
But as it turns out, Joe was right and Petero was … well, it would be a massive co-incidence if he had never considered this possibility until the Fijians presented it as fact to a reporter, wouldn’t it?
One can only surmise that Civoniceva didn’t want to take the lustre from his various farewell matches but admitting he actually had more than a year left in his career.
In fact, he may even get another run at Suncorp Stadium if his new team, Redcliffe Dolphins, may the Q Cup final.
I THOUGHT last month’s edition was a cracker and I particularly enjoyed reading about France’s 25-18 win over Great Britain at Headingley in 1990.
I was a spot 21-year-old on my first visit to the UK back then and remember two things about the match very clearly. One, the French were sponsored by Jiffi Condoms. Two, I was taking a pee when they scored the winning try.
Don’t forget @BondiBeat is now on Twitter

DISCORD 2012: Edition 48


GIVEN the space this column has devoted to State Of Origin eligibility over the past 12 months, it’s as plain as the nose on the face of someone with quite a big nose that we have to address the ARLC’s decision on the issue this week.

The first aspect of the decision – that you must live in a state before the age of 13 in order to be eligible for that state – which is interesting is the way it surprised everyone.

Have you ever known rugby league to keep a secret like that right up until it was announced?

Once again, the commission has shown some grace by conducting its investigations, taking recommendations, and handing down decisions away from the glare of the media and the confusion of incremental leaks.

As Discord has said before, this sort united, organised behaviour is bad for beat reporters like us but good for the game.

OK, a few questions thrown up by the ruling.

1)      Can Greg Inglis still have his offspring born in Queensland and qualify for the Maroons if that child continues to live south of the border?

The question of what constitutes “living” in a state has not be explained. If you get straight out of hospital after being welcomed into the world and are then whisked to another state, who do you play for?

(NB: As a reader pointed out, Greg Inglis is a bad example for this question as due to the father-and-son rule, his son will automatically be eligible for Queensland)

 2)      What happens to players raised in other Australian states?

This is NOT a problem, in my view. If you were raised in Western Australia or Northern Territory, why SHOULD you play for NSW or Queensland? Wouldn’t it be great to see those states play curtain-raisers to Origin with NRL players involved? NSW and Queensland nicking those players previously was unseemly and destructive.

 3)      Will clubs steal Kiwi players under the age of 12?

New Zealand high performance manager Tony Kemp seems to think so but there appears to be a misapprehension across the Tasman that the clubs work for NSW and Queensland. They do not. Club recruiters work for their clubs and there is no reason they will start signing tiny kids to help State Of Origin teams. If clubs don’t sign 11-year-olds from New Zealand now, these new rules provide absolutely no incentive for them to start.

 4)      Can players represent an Australian state and a foreign country in the same year?

Sadly, the answer still appears to be ‘no’. What the ruling has done is ease the problem which caused us to back that change. It would have been nice – but for the time being this regulation will slow the terrible trend of players who go to Australia purely to play professional rugby league then representing Australia. That was hurting the game and now won’t happen as often. If you move with your family for economic reasons at a young age, you can play for Origin. If you go because an NRL club offered you a contract, you represent where you come from. There’s beauty in it….

 5)      Does the rule apply to Australia?

OK, you still have to be eligible to play for Australia if you want to take part in Origin. But what if you moved here AFTER the age of 13 and still want to represent Australia? Will you be eligible? Certainly, on residency grounds, you will be. That rule applies equally to all countries. So we’ll have the completely new situation of men turning out in green and gold who are unable to ever play Origin! The first man to do this will be one helluva player, though..

 6)      So, can Feleti Mateo, Akuila Uate, Jarryd Hayne and Tariq Sims go back to representing other countries at the World Cup if they miss out on Australian selection?

They haven’t told us yet. Please let us know. And please let the answer be “yes”.


DISCORD also likes – and campaigned in our own small way for – the abolition of Benefit Of The Doubt.

But how about what they’ve replaced it with?

If a referee makes a series of try calls on the field which are subsequently over-ruled by the video ref, but is otherwise officiating well, is having a shocker – even though no mistakes have actually been made – or are we supposed to overlook it?

Will it count against him in appointments? Will it dent his confidence to “go public” with his opinion only to be over-ruled repeatedly?

Personally, I believe the more up-front and transparent we are at all stages of the decision-making process, the better.

But these are all issues worth considering.


ON the shoulder charge, my understanding is that very little will actually change next season – in what will be seen by many as a softening of a stance that was unwelcome in many areas.

As long as the arm is out and not tucked in, all the same hits will occur. It’s like challenging a kicker. If you get there too late or don’t wrap your arms around him, you’re in trouble but people still do it.

Sonny, just remember to have your arm out when you smash blokes and you’re sweet.

Also, unless there is high contact, the incidents will not even be reviewed on Monday.


LAST week’s column appeared in, at last count, three forms so I understand it was hard for you to leave comments. You can find an unedited version of it over at

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DISCORD 2012: Edition 44

THE two biggest stories since last week’s Discord have involved Russell Crowe and the shoulder charge. They seem completely unrelated.
That is because they are completely unrelated – but I’m going to build a tenuous link anyway. South Sydney owner Crowe, who wants to sell out of the club at the end of next year, is an actor and his best known film is still Gladiator, the story of a Roman warrior from an age when people regularly watch others being executed, eaten, burned and mauled as entertainment.
Recently I was in York, where I learned from a plaque that the location of the racecourse was determined by its proximity to the execution grounds. You could watch someone being hung, drawn and quartered (that is, dangled from a noose until dead, cut open and disemboweled) in the morning and then head to the nags in the afternoon.
It could have been sport’s first double-header.
As a race, we have always had a disturbing ability to separate ourselves from the pain being inflicted before us in the name of entertainment. We still see things on the television news and don’t flinch when if the same events were to play themselves out in front of us, we’d throw up.
But we are repulsed by the very idea right now of watching executions and Roman gladiators for entertainment. Bull fighting has been completely marginalised in the last 20 years, as an example.
We are horrified that rugby league used to have no replacements, and men would play on with terrible injuries (check out Malcolm Andrews’ book Hard Men). We even look back two years and think of players ignoring concussion to stumble through matches as marginally less enlightened times.
At glacial speed, over thousands of years, our taste for finding entertainment in violence is disipating. Unfortunately, our love or war indicates we will never find complete peace but the things we do for amusement are getting more peaceful and civilised – slowly.
Rugby league getting rid of the shoulder charge is just another step along this road. I’ll miss it. You’ll miss it. Maybe it will make a brief comeback, maybe the decision has come too soon, given the outcry.
However, given trends in American sports it is clear that the NRL would have left themselves open to class action law suits from anyone serious hurt by a shoulder charge after doctors publically called for their abolision. Legally, the commission had little option.
In another 200 years, I’m willing to wager that body contact sport will have all but died out. We’ll look back on people breaking bones and getting knocked out to the cheers of thousands with the same sort of disdain that we look at ancient romans.
Yes, they will be banning tackles next. Yes, it is the death of rugby league – a very slow death that started long ago with the intruduction of replacements. It’s evolution, baby.
Make the most of the next couple of centuries, OK?
OH dear. Leeds sign Salford’s Joel Moon after missing out on Willie Tonga.
People calling for a smaller Super League are missing the point. We already have one – they just play against other teams sometimes. It seems that no-one will stay at Salford, Castleford, Wakefield and one or two others if a bigger club wants them.
It’s a terrible state of affairs which hopefully the new owners of the Reds can help remedy but which the RFL needs to address urgently.
On another note, next season is being called the longest ever with Super League kicking off on February 1 and the World Cup final set down for November 30.
I’ve heard ‘longest ever’, ‘best ever’ and ‘worst ever’ a lot in rugby league. We’ve been around since 1895. Can any historians out there confirm this to be the case? I guess it depends on how you define it – somewhere in the world, rugby league is on every weekend of the year.
FEEDBACK time and plenty of responses from our rugby union-loving (or should I just call them sympathisers?) readers.

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NRL round 10: WARRIORS 30 SYDNEY ROOSTERS 26 at Mt Smart Stadium


WARRIORS coach Brian McClennan late last angrily returned serve after his Sydney Roosters rival Brian Smith slammed the refereeing and claimed endemic flaws in the NRL had been exposed during an incident-packed Mt Smart Stadium thriller.

Smith started the media conference following a 30-26 by saying he was “angry and frustrated” before going on to say the “diabolical decisions” of match officials Steve Lyons and Henry Perenara could have impacted on the result and that there were competition-wide problems with officiating.

One of the tricolours’ major criticisms was that replacement Boyd Cordner was reported for a striking Warriors fullback Jerome Ropati in the head, only for Ropati to go off with a knee injury that now might end his season. After telling Lyons at the time “you referees have set a very dangerous precedent”, Anasta added “I shouldn’t laugh” when recounting the incident to reporters.

“He didn’t get carried off because he was concussed, he got carried off because of his knee,” Anasta said. But that account angered McClennan, who said the head knock may have contributed to the way Ropati fell. “The kid got whacked around the head,” McClennan said, “and then he’s come off with that as well as the knee injury. What’s their point?”

Ropati is out for at least two months and the incident is set to dominate discussion over the coming days. Choosing his words carefully, Smith said:  “I’m told it’s not a pretty look when I’m angry and frustrated so I’ll choose to be very proud instead … (of) … the complete resilience they showed to fight back after some diabolical decisions.

“The reversed decision on the lost ball, where referee Lyons clearly indicated he thought it was a lost ball … obviously referee Perenara decided we were going the other way. That hasn’t been happening in our season so far. The pocket referees have little or no input into that sort of stuff.

“That hurt us tonight.

“The fans here are fantastic in support of their team but we shouldn’t all get caught up in that. Coaches and players and referees and even video referees have got a job to do to stay balanced.

“There were too many of them (decisions) to mention tonight.

“The way the game ran tonight was encapsulated in the last minute and a half. They didn’t even know you should blow the whistle when the hooter goes.

“We were playing for the game and the two referees looked to me like they couldn’t wait to get off the field.

“There’s a whole untidiness to our game at the moment where teams are doing these sorts of things and laying down and not playing the ball and chewing the clock up. The encouragement is there in the way the refs are interpreting that.

“It was just ugly for the game.”

Discussing the Ropati decision, Anasta – who said a referee apologised for one gaffe near fulltime – commented: “They must have watched the Bulldogs game last night and just got paranoid about the shoulder hitting the head because it was nowhere near the head.

“We get criticised as captains for being aggressive towards referees or being critical. How can you hold your nerve when you’re playing for everything in the competition and you go up to the referee and there’s just no answer. You just get penalised for it. It can cost you a game.”

The lead changed five times in a game which saw some sparkling attack and a host of curve balls thrown at Lyons, Perenara and video referee Bernard Sutton – including a rare simulatenous grounding for BJ Leilua’s 21st minute try. “They squared it up anyway,” Anasta said at the media conference.

It was a promising debut for late Roosters inclusion Tautau Moga; Warriors half Shaun Johnson posted two tries including a superb 48th minute individual effort and centre Konrad Hurrell also finished with a brace.

WARRIORS 30 (K Hurrell 2 S Johnson 2 M Vatuvei tries J Maloney 5 goals) bt SYDNEY ROOSTERS 26 (BJ Leilua A Guerra T Moga J Waerea-HargreavesA Minichiello tries B Anasta 3 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Referees: S Lyons/H Perenara. Crowd: 16,220.

Filed for: SUN-HERALD

Final team lists:

WARRIORS: Jerome Ropati; Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Hurrell; James Maloney, Shaun Johnson; Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Elijah Taylor, Ben Matulino, Alehana Mara, Russell Packer. Res: Lewis Brown, Ukuma Ta’ai, Sione Lousi, Jacob Lillyman.

SYDNEY: Anthony Minichiello; Tautau Moga, Joseph Leilua, Shaun Kenny Dowall, Sam Perrett; Braith Anasta (c), Mitchell Pearce; Tinirau Arona, Mitchell Aubusson, Aidan Guerra, Martin Kennedy, Jake Friend, Jared Warea-Hargreaves. Res: Boyd Cordner, Lama Tasi, Brad Takaiurangi, Mose Masoe.

Toyota Cup fulltime: Warriors 26-18.

Shoulder Charges ‘Part Of The Game’

SOUTH Sydney prop Scott Geddes has questioned the NRL”s apparent clampdown on shoulder charges, saying the tactic is “part of the game”.

Brisbane back rower Ben Teo was tonight suspended for two weeks after he was found guilty of a a high shot on Wests Tigers’ Matt Groat but succeeded in having the charge downgraded.

Geddes said:  “I don’t have a problem with it (shoulder charges) to be honest – I’ve probably copped a couple in my time.

“I think it’s just part of the game, I think it’s exciting and fans seem to like it so I think it should stick around.

“It’s a man’s game after all, everyone knows what they’re getting into when they go out there and I think it’s exciting when it comes off.”

In round one Canterbury backrower Frank Pritchard missed a week following a shoulder charge on Penrith winger David Simmons.

However a week later, Warriors giant Manu Vatuvei escaped a ban despite making contact with the head of a Parramatta player when attempting a shoulder charge.

Geddes says if the NRL rubs out the tackle from the game it wouldn’t be hard for players to change their technique.

“I think players adapt to everything and if they do get rid of it I think we’ll get rid of it for good,” said Geddes.

“It’s just one of those things, they change the rules every year and it’s up for the players to adapt to it.”