Articles

What is it with Cronulla and the Sharks players that seem to think they don’t need to answer to anyone? Andrew Fifita and twin brother David are accused of threatening a referee at a junior football game over the weekend, which is disgraceful in itself. There appears to be numerous witnesses that heard Andrew make the threats and saw him physically restrained. I didn’t see the incident but if these allegations are proven then the NRL needs to hand down a severe punishment. There is...
The Warriors’ worst fears were realised at Mt Smart Stadium tonight with star halfback Shaun Johnson suffering a season-ending injury. As his teammates slumped to a disappointing loss to Manly, it is hard to see how the Warriors will win another game this season with the competition’s most irreplaceable player on the side lines. Most irreplaceable? Big call? Maybe so. I can’t think of a player more valuable to his side than Johnson is to the Warriors side of 2015. He might not be in the...
The NRL this week announced, amongst other things, that from next season the sport will use a shot clock to ensure re-starts in play happen without delay. Much has been made about the number of stoppages in the game these days – almost every possible try is sent upstairs for video referee review, while players take more time than needed to re-start play from scrums and line dropouts. The idea of shot clock will make sure teams don’t go beyond a reasonable time. I like the idea of tidying...
How they stand: Flying high until last Sunday when the Roosters shut them out 24-0, the Warriors sit in seventh place with a favourable run home. After an inconsistent start to the year they have recovered to win six of their last nine, and heading into Round 20 they rank equal third for the most tries scored in the Telstra Premiership. Statistically they also make more line breaks than any other team, but average a competition-high 11 errors per game and complete the third-fewest sets...
I’ve never quite understood the notion of sports organisations criticising fans for not turning up. Is it my ‘fault’ that I don’t want to pay to go see Madonna perform in New Zealand early next year? Could it be that I’m just not that big a fan if even a fan at all? Could it be that I don’t think the product is worth what it would cost to go? Isn’t this just a free market with basic supply and demand principles at play? The onus is on the performer (or in this case the NRL) to make me want...
The BPI (or Budge Power Index) The NRL ladder is congested and we are now starting the run down the stretch to the playoffs. Who will make it? Who will miss out? The Budge Power Index tries to make sense of it all, factoring in the draw, possible returns to form or drop offs and the like. Forget them, they’re done 16 Knights (16th, 14 points) 15 Tigers (15th, 14 points) 14 Titans (14th, 16 points) 13 Eels (12th, 18 points) These teams are done. No way back from here. The Knights and...
Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to an opponent. That was the case in Origin III last night. No matter what NSW came up with, even if they were at their absolute best, it wouldn’t have seen them run close to a Queensland side that was simply awesome. The Blues had their chance in game I, where they were the better side for the most part but failed to come up with the clutch play when it was needed. They won game II with Queensland off their game but the Maroons showed their true...
How is it that a player be named to play in a fixture only to be withdrawn just prior to kick-off and announce that he’s out of action for a month? That is what happened last night with Panthers winger Josh Mansour. The Kangaroos winger was named in the Penrith side to play South Sydney, put in the official program, accepted as a starter by the wider public only to be missing from the team sheet an hour before the game. Panthers boss Phil Gould then tweeted that Mansour would be missing for...
Seriously, how is it possible that Michael Ennis can play game three of this year’s State of Origin series despite being given a one-match ban? Ennis, the Cronulla Sharks hooker, will front the NRL judiciary tonight to try and beat a grade one high tackle charge that will see him suspended for a game if he’s found guilty. If found not guilty, then the issue becomes a moot point and the NRL can save face. Carry-over points from another minor incident earlier in the season, coupled with the...
Former South Sydney boss Shane Richardson was employed by the NRL earlier this year in a head of strategy role. In the months since he has been working away on a ‘whole of game’ blueprint that will effectively shape the sport moving forward. The blueprint will tackle contentious issues like the length of the season, State of Origin and test match scheduling, potential expansion and other such strategic plans. It goes without saying that this will be the most important piece of work the game...
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