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While things haven’t gone to plan on the field this NRL season for the Warriors they have raised the bar in terms of their conduct on and off the pitch. In an era where arguing with the ref has become commonplace and pushing blame onto officiating after losses the default reaction by most clubs, the Warriors have fronted up. Of course that won’t be of much consolation to a fan base still waiting for a maiden premiership but it will at least help set the bar higher for the code. The...
With three rounds to go in the competition I thought I’d examine the possibilities for the team of the year and how many positions could be determined by form over the final three weeks of the regular season. For each position I’ve listed four finalists as such in each position. As I look through it, most positions seem pretty well set at this point. Fullback Contenders: Lachlan Coote (Cowboys, Josh Dugan (Dragons), James Tedesco (Tigers), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters) So strong are the...
I know we are all prone to over-reacting when a side fails to live up to expectations. Calls for change are standard operating procedure and the Warriors are facing that kind of scrutiny now as they free-fall off the edge of the 2015 season. But hearing constant calls for Simon Mannering to be replaced as captain is flat out idiotic. There is no-one at the Warriors (or coming in 2016) that would hold a candle to Mannering as the club’s skipper. Mannering has been dealt a rough hand – he’s...
The Warriors will miss the NRL finals for the fourth straight year after a free-fall out of the top four over the past few weeks. As is always the case with a side that misses out on achieving goals, thought and planning is already starting to turn to next season and I hope the new administration, led by Jim Doyle, will pick up the lessons that seemed to have been missed in recent years. The Warriors don’t need to add any more attacking players to their mix – in fact they probably need to...
If Ben Matulino had punched Dragons five-eighth Garreth Widdop in the face instead of his borderline shoulder charge he would have received a lesser punishment. Matulino has been charged with a grade 2 shoulder charge after the weekend’s loss to the Dragons. If there was ever an example of the NRL completely over-reacting to a rule change this is it. Last week, Matulino wouldn’t have been charged for his hit because it wasn’t high or late. This week however, after threatening to crack down...
The NRL has announced a new television deal with Channel 9 to run beyond 2018. Some of the details around that agreement will be terrific for the game. The fact the NRL will take back the right to schedule fixtures in an even manner, rather than allowing Channel 9 to dictate which teams feature on their games will have a huge impact for the clubs with lower profile and will finally provide a level playing field. But this deal appears to have been done with little to no consultation with...
Rumours surfacing out of Sydney late last week suggesting the Warriors are struggling to fit under the salary cap for 2016 are off the mark. Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle, who understands the salary cap better than most after his time working for the NRL, says there is absolutely no way the club needs to offload players to fit under the cap. “We are realigning our NRL squad at the moment but there are no issues fitting under the salary cap at all,” Doyle tells playtheball. There had...
Let me start by explaining that I’m completely with the NRL in banning shoulder charges. Too many go wrong and the consequences, as we have sadly seen too closely this year, are not worth debating the issue. Safety of players must be paramount and I applaud the NRL for making the necessary changes to the rules. However, this week we have seen NRL boss Dave Smith promise a crack down on all shoulder charges with any tackle of that nature now earning an automatic match review charge and a...
The Daily Telegraph’s story around the likely plans for the next NRL television rights deal will be encouraging news for most fans. I remain a touch sceptical however. I like the idea of moving Monday night football to Thursday as has been suggested. Mondays should be about fans and supporters reflecting on the completed weekend of footy action. Media companies should be reviewing the round, without having to wait for a result on Monday to assess the ladder etc. It will be much tidier if...
With rumours of a major salary cap breach by the North Queensland Cowboys circulating rugby league circles on Tuesday I can’t help thinking the whole salary cap concept needs a major overhaul. I have no idea whether there is any truth to the whispers about potential breaches in Townsville and it doesn’t really change my opinion in any case. The salary cap, in its current form, is not working. Is the Cowboys roster any better than that of the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs or Broncos? Yes...
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