Meaningless NRL Review: Round 7, 2020

Meanwhile, North of the Murray River

“But you let the Melbourne Storm in to Queensland!”

Yep, it looks like the Storm are going to have to suck out the soul of the Sunshine Coast Falcons for the next 3 months, because they won’t be getting back to Victoria anytime soon.

Plus, despite the fact that 3/4 of the team are actually in their home state, they can’t even visit their parents.

Hopefully they at least get to visit Clive Palmer’s giant dinosaur.

Anyway, that idea to move them up to Queensland turned out to be a more realistic idea than the Kangaroos playing the All-Blacks in a hybrid rugby game with potentially fully packed union scrums.

What would be the over/under on Kangaroos players not finishing that game – 7, 8?

In all honesty, that idea would’ve been worth a look at a decade ago, when the All Blacks had Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Ma’a Nonu (Plus Brad Thorn) destroying everyone, while the Kangaroos had the peak of that Queensland spine, plus the likes of Jarryd Hayne and Brett Morris at their absolute best.

Penrith 20 defeated Souths 12 at Kogarah

Nathan Cleary ended up on an IV drip due to cellulitis in his face in the days before the game, and he was cleared to play only on Thursday morning, despite resembling something that John Hurt would portray in a biopic.

Cleary did score the sealing try, but he did kick an awkward 2/5 off the boot, and no wonder.

He literally couldn’t even see the goals, let alone sniff them.

Still, Cleary put in what could only be described as an inspiring performance, sacrificing his personal looks to inspire yet another Penrith victory, keeping them within a point of top spot.

After back-to-back wins in games they were expected to win, Souths are back at square one for the time being, having questions asked about their legitimacy as a premiership threat, despite the fact these rule changes should’ve made Damo Cook and Cam Murray happier than pigs in shit.

Turns out they’ve got a hole in their forward pack the size of Sam Burgess and John Sutton put together.

Summing up the Rabbits’ dour performance, James Roberts was ‘supposed’ to play half an hour on his comeback… he only played at most 20 minutes, after being sin-binned for a professional foul on Jesse Crichton in the 68th minute.

Plus, Latrell Mitchell, who had already recorded 4 errors at fullback, finished the night in the bin for a leg pull, meaning in all, Souths played the final 12 minutes with 12 players, and 11 for about 2 minutes, which was the time when Cleary, aka Rocky Dennis, scored the sealer.

Still, WAYNE has his motivational tactics, and the latest example was for Alex Johnston, who actually scored a try, by having AJ receive the news yesterday that he wasn’t being re-signed at Redfern for 2021 for salary cap reasons.

Another Souths junior gone because of this pesky thing:

Now all Rusty has to do is somehow medically retire Dane Gagai, and Josh Addo-Carr will be able to sneak under the cap and sign for Redfern.

Formerly In Melbourne 50 defeated Once Were Warriors 6 at Kogarah

Jebus Mary and Joseph, that scoreline is as grim as Victoria’s health outlook right now.

And unlike Victoria’s rate of infection, not one person is shocked by this scoreline.

When you put a Warriors team on the verge of mutiny with a new coach against an angry Storm team coming off a defeat, you get root and stem destruction, and for the second time in 3 seasons, the Storm scored a half-century against the Warriors.

And they did it in absolute style, as Josh Addo-Carr can attest by providing an all-time face plant in the act of scoring.

That’s not a Flying Foxx, that’s a Flying Faceplant.

The only worry for the Storm was Cam Munster having his game ended before the half with a knee injury, which will absolutely see him miss the ‘yuge’ Roosters game, and it’s a shame for Eddie’s younger brother, because he’d easily been the Storm’s best player out of the break, a run of form Cam attributed to not being on the piss for 6-7 weeks, thanks to being prevented from visiting pubs or going to parties.

Usually I find my writing form suffers when I’m not on the piss – Swings and roundabouts.

The Warriors probably wish they were drowning their sorrows, because life just isn’t getting any better, narrowly avoiding losing gun trio Ken Maumalo, David Fusitua and Agnatius Paasi, who were prepared to pack up and go home due to the time away from their families, only to be convinced to stay by Pistol Pete V’Landys,

Even Roger Tuivasa-Scheck, shackled with having to carry his teammates every bloody week, was so frustrated to the point that he was suspended for a shoulder charge as the Storm were about to walk in another try.

If that wasn’t enough, the Roosters had to recall Poasa Faamausili after the Grim Reaper payed their forwards a visit on Friday evening.

In a post-game move that was met with a mixed reaction, probably because of who was doing it, Cameron Smith, Craig Bellamy and Ryan Hoffman all spoke to the Warriors after the game, probably to say thanks for being a punching bag, thanks for keeping the game going, and reminding them to be thankful they’re not the Broncos.

As an amateur lip reader, I could pick up part of what Cameron said:

“Hey, it could be worse boys…. you could get caught massively cheating the salary cap and have to play for nothing for 5 months.”

So the Storm will now venture into the Sunshine State and set up camp on the Sunshine Coast, as the only Victorian sporting team allowed into the state for the next 20 years, as the situation back home keeps turning into a sign of how ugly things can get if people get complacent about COVID.

As for the Warriors, well, every week they don’t have an all-out mutiny and fly home is as good as a win for the game.

Sydney Roosters 26 defeated St George-Illawarra 12 at Bankwest Stadium

If you’ve seen the Fox League ad, Victor Radley mentions his favourite song is Pub Feed by The Chats, with the chorus line of “All I want and all I need, all I crave is a good pub feed.”

7 minutes into Friday evening, I think Victor was saying “All I want and all I need, all I crave is a surgeon to fix my knee.”

For a bloke who had just had the shattering news that his season, and his hopes of an Origin debut, had been ended by an ACL injury caused by a decaying surface, Victor The Inflictor was in pretty good spirits in the rooms.

Morphine is known to do that.

If that wasn’t bad enough for a Roosters team who were without James Tedesco, Josh Morris and Nat Butcher, the next victim of a non-contact ACL tear was Sam Verrills, in his first start for 2020, barely 10 minutes (I kid, it was roughly 14) after Radley’s injury.

Jake Friend was meant to get a well-earned rest for the night… throw that in the bin.

A story that did the rounds on Fox League, and from Freddie Fittler on Channel 9, was that the Roosters had lodged a complaint to the grounds crew about the state of the field, with the main gripe being how sticky it was under foot.

After the game, Trent Robinson was asked about the alleged turf complaint, but he directly stated Easts hadn’t done such a thing:

“I only found out after the game that someone said we made a formal complaint about it, which is complete nonsense – We didn’t even mention it in the box…”

Still, stuff any accountability about who started that bullshit story, because the turf was fine enough for the Eels-Raiders game to go ahead, and Venues Live have decided to re-turf the entire venue, after only 5 players suffered major injuries by the end of Sunday.

In Tedesco’s absence, Joey Manu got the fullback nod, throwing the Dragons off the Brett Morris scent, and what a great move that was from Robbo, especially when Joey managed to kick & chase his own high ball, then pulled off a fully sick no-look flick pass to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for the try.

In terms of skill, that is right up there for one of the best of 2020.

It’s the casualness of the flick, and then JWH picking it up down low with the right paw to score that just makes it look awesome.

Still, with a deck of cards that had been stacked in their favour by fate, the Dragons cut back a 10-0 deficit to lead 12-10 in the 2nd Half on the back of Matt Dufty, and with their backs to the wall, it took Luke Keary taking the Red V to the cleaners to power the Roosters over the line, and it was all wrapped in a bow by Brett Morris scoring a hat-trick against the club that he, and his brother, and technically his dad, represented with high distinction.

Classic Josh Morris, scoring a hat-trick and claiming it was Brett.

Continuing the injury theme, Robbo casually mentioned that Isaac Liu broke a rib during the game, adding another forward to the casualty ward, and he also said Brett hadn’t been able to sit down in team meetings because of his back, yet he was good enough to score a hat-trick while out-leaping people claiming to be First Grade players.

A back complaint would also explain why Manu started at fullback.

So, the Dragons may have had a Saab and a Ford in their team, but even a Ferrari wouldn’t have been fast enough to stop Easts.

North Queensland 32 defeated Newcastle 20 at North Queensland Stadium

Well, there we go – Just make the Cowboys play Top 8 teams all year long to keep Paul Green in the gig.

In a bold fashion statement, the Knights wore their orange jerseys, presumably in protest against the mining industry destroying the waters of the Hunter.

I suppose orange also symbolised that they would be playing the role of traffic cones for the Cowboys to weave around.

Gold Coast 30 defeated Brisbane 12 at Suncorp Stadium

A visual summary of the South-East Queensland Derby:

I believe he had a Payne in his Haas after that one – Yageddit?

Now, I could join in the pile-on of kicking the living crap of the Broncos while they’re down, and believe me, I want to, but there’s enough people doing that, so this is all I can think of watching them get their hearts ripped out of their chests week after week:

The Broncos, and their fanbase, after 32 years of almost nothing but success, are finally experiencing a serious rock bottom point in their history that literally every other club and every other fanbase has gone through in modern times.

And even then, their current situation isn’t like some of the other clubs.

The Cowboys were a poorly run afterthought for their first 9 years, the Storm still have the tarring from the salary cap, The Eels had the salary cap and an entire decade of absolute crap on-field performances, Souths got booted out, the Roosters hit rock bottom in 2009, the Bulldogs cop a punch to the kidneys every week, Manly got smoked after the Super League and as recently as 2018, the Knights won a hat-trick of wooden spoons after the messiah Bennett left them a mess, Wests Tigers effectively lost Balmain in 2015, Cronulla have to live with drugs scandals and Scott Morrison supporting them, the Warriors legally didn’t exist in the Spring of 2000, and St George-Illawarra are still in an almighty hole.

Now, the people of Brisvegas can keep pissing and screaming and booing at this newly discovered reality, even if Darius Boyd says the team deserved to be booed, or they can suffer through it and go through an good old fashioned case of character building, as Anthony Seibold manages to get through every single year of his well-earned multi-year contract by clearing out the dead wood, caused by bad decision making from the higher ups at Red Hill, namely Paul White.

Still, tell that to the Courier Mail, who put the keys in the ignition and fired up the Sack Seibold express, but, results aside, sacking a coach with 3.5 years left on his contract and paying him $2,000,000 to do nothing is dumber than hiring him in the first place.

Not to mention it’s financially stupid, in a time where teams are trying to carve costs down to the bare bones.

Something else also happened on Saturday evening – The Titans managed to defeat their big brother at Lang Park for the 3rd year running, and they didn’t just beat them, they BEAT them.

Bloody good on them, and after years of being a Bermuda Triangle where local teams in major leagues have gone to die, it’s good to see that when you combine the efforts of the Suns, Gold Coast sports finally have something to smile about, even if it might end up being for a short time.

Parramatta 25 defeated Canberra 24 (Golden Point) at Bankwest

Andrew Voss had another wild stat before Saturday evening – This was the 59th meeting between the teams, and in the previous 58 (With the Raiders ahead 31-27), the overall score was 1193-1193.

Make that 1218-1217.

Still, forget about Golden Point and a damn good game, the highlight had to be Corey ‘Horse’ Horsbrugh producing one of the most brilliant emotional outbursts I’ve ever seen on a rugby league field, after taking exception to what Ryan Matterson did to his legs in the ruck, which caused a Lisfranc foot injury that has sadly ended his season.

If you didn’t watch the game, and want to understand why Horse flipped his lid at the Eels, this video provides some context.

How I looked playing junior footy







Deadset, if by some miracle Horse got back on that field, Matterson would’ve ended up looking like Michael Jackson after a surgeon was done reconstructing his face.

Still, what a contest full of some cracking moments – The Horse buck-jumping, Mitch Moses joining the Bankwest casualty ward with a calf injury, in a serious blow that the Eels overcame, Curtis Scott doing nothing as per usual, Josh Hodgson missing tackles, the Raiders getting a try off a blatant forward pass, which is life’s way of evening out Parramatta for that dodgy call on Tommy Turbo that helped them win against Manly, the Eels putting the hammer down to pump on 4 tries to 2, and after the Raiders managed to tie the scores from 24-12 down with two wild converted tries to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, the Eels, with Moses off the field, turned to their monarch in the No.1 to get the job done in Golden Point.


Cronulla 40 defeated Manly 22 at Central Coast Stadium

It seems the talk of Eddie Jones coaching a rugby league team has gone to Canterbury.

With the Sea Eagles down to a skeleton crew, the Sharks were on to receive a rare charity win from their eternal dominators, and by gee by jingo by crikey, they took it with two hands… if Sharks even have hands.

It all started in the halves – Shaun Johnson and Chad Townsend carried on from the Bulldogs win, Sione Katoa made it 5 tries in 2 games with a double, taking full advantage of Tommy Turbo being on the sidelines, Matt Moylan played like someone who wasn’t worried about getting rocked into the 25th century, and Wade Graham and the forward pack actually played well.

The Sharks had on ocean of opportunity to win, and win they did, and they can blow a bit of smoke up their arse to celebrate.

Wests Tigers 36 defeated Canterbury 6 at Bankwest Stadium

You can tell Harry Grant has spent too much time in Melbourne:

I reckon he could get a game for the Demons based on that kick alone.

I think there’ll be Tigers fans trying to make sure Cameron Smith’s career ends after 2020, because they won’t be letting Harry go back to Melbourne, or the Sunshine Coast, with how well he’s performed.

The Dogs had the chance to lift themselves off the bottom with the Broncos losing, but against a Tigers team they had the wood on last year, they were simply second best for the final 75 minutes.

That scoreline would’ve been worse with better goalkicking, but the real salt in the wound had to be seeing the Talau name dominate against them – Willie Talau played for the Doggies in the late 90s into the early 2000s (Including scoring in the losing 1998 Grand Final), and this time, it young Tommy Talau, lining up for Wests, who scored a double on the Berries, adding another string to a Tigers backline bow featuring a raging David Nofoaluma, who also scored a double to go to 8 tries from 7 games.

The caviar was Tommy’s second try to begin in the 2nd Half, which looked for all money like it was a no try, given he’d either hit the corner flag or put a limb on the chalk in real time, but the referee called it a try, and the Bunker let us marvel in Tommy’s sideline acrobatics.

Changing that corner post rule has made the game better.

Madge seems happier now that the Tigers are out of 9th, while Dean Pay was almost sent down Shit Creek (Located near Woop Woop) without a canoe during the week, never mind getting sent down without a paddle, and a performance like this will probably leave him wearing cement shoes while floating down Shit Creek without a canoe.

Especially with Will Hopoate gone for 6 weeks with a knee injury.

If there is a downside to a win, it was that it ensured the Broncos wouldn’t end the round in last.

Come on Wests, you let everyone down.

Tipping Performance

Another 5/8 this week…. I sure as heck don’t remember tipping the Tigers.

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