General Rugby League / NRL

It seems like every year at this time we have a big sudden death finals contest ruined by a refereeing howler. That was certainly the case in the Roosters v Bulldogs affair at Allianz Stadium tonight as on-field referee Matt Cecchin and video referee Bernard Sutton somehow conspired to award a try to the Roosters that was clearly never scored. At 8-4 there was little between the sides until the decision went in favour of the Roosters, who scored again from the next set as the Bulldogs were...
With more than half of the players and teams in the NRL officially in off-season mode it is time to hand out the playtheball.co.nz awards for the 2015 season. Enjoy. Player of the Year: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) No surprises here – Thurston has been hands-down the best player in the comp all season. He has achieved almost all there is to accomplish in the game barring carrying the Cowboys to a maiden title – and he’s still a chance of doing that this year. Team of the Year: 1. Roger...
I’m not sure what is more embarrassing – the half-filled Sydney stadiums in three of the NRL finals matches across the weekend or the fact chief executive Dave Smith is claiming it a success. The 130,000 fans that turned up to watch the four games live in week 1 of the finals was a record for that week but what Smith fails to acknowledge is that those figures were courtesy of a choc-full Suncorp Stadium for the Broncos v Cowboys all-Queensland fixture. The numbers for the other three...
If the season was to start tomorrow and all players were at full health here is my list of the top 100 players in the game today. 100. Anthony Watmough (Eels) 99. Mitch Rein (Dragons) 98. David Mead (Titans) 97. Pat Richards (Tigers) 96. Dylan Walker (Rabbitohs) 95. Jason Nightingale (Dragons) 94. Josh Manour (Panthers) 93. Pita Hiku (Sea Eagles) 92. Luke Brooks (Tigers) 91. Will Hopoate (Eels) 90. Akuila Uate (Knights) 89. Daniel Tupou (Roosters) 88. Glenn Stewart (Rabbitohs) 87. Lachlan...
The phenomenal interest in Jarryd Hayne’s rise through the NFL pre-season and his potential regular season debut has got me thinking. Hayne hasn’t even played a down in anger in the NFL yet Australia is already crying out for more #38 San Francisco 49ers replica shirts. His numbered-shirt is among the fastest selling NFL shirts in the US at present as well. The idea of having personalised playing numbers is nothing new – Super League used the concept in 1997 but the fad didn’t catch on...
Again this week I hear and read comments about the Warriors being in turmoil and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for them. Umm, what rock are you living under? The season ends this weekend. The light is shining brightly after that – is there another club in the competition getting a better haul of off-season signings than the Warriors? Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Issac Luke anyone?? I’m by no means a Warriors cheerleader. In fact, often I get told I’m too hard on them. Heck, they...
The Wests Tigers are making the right decision in trying to offload Robbie Farah. Their way of publicly handling that situation has been piss poor however. Farah, at the age of 31, is heading towards the twilight of his career. If his 2015 form is anything to go by, he may well have hit the twilight zone already. He also is one of the few remaining players that were at the club in more successful times, which is not always a good thing for a club in rebuild mode like the Tigers. By all...
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has “forgiven” his NRL side for their 28-12 loss to the lowly Gold Coast Titans on Sunday. Why? Because their season had been “stolen” from them by officials last week. What a pathetic excuse for a first grade coach you have turned out to be Ricky. Your team lost last week, not thanks to poor officiating but because they weren’t anywhere near good enough in closing out the match with a 10 point lead and less than 10 minutes left on the clock. Former test and...
A week ago the NRL were trumpeting their new television deal with Channel 9 as a huge win. A week on and it is clear the new television deal isn’t all that it was cracked up to be. The AFL this week announced a massive $2.5b deal that will usurp the total package the NRL will be able to get once they complete pay tv, digital and New Zealand rights by somewhere in the vicinity of $500m-$1b. Not only that, Fox Sports boss Rupert Murdoch went further to say that the AFL was considered the...
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...