NRL

Meaningless NRL Review: Round 13, 2020

He did the Mash! He did the Munster Mash! It was a Sunny Coast Smash!

You know what I liked this week?

The nod by the NRL to the game’s Lebanese community, and paying respects to the tragedy that unfolded in the Beirut explosion.

You saw Tigers fullback Adam Douheihi was in tears post-game on Saturday (Which was also a combination of losing 44-4), and Josh Mansour draped himself in the Lebanese flag in a show of solidarity, which gave us this very neat photo:

From NRL Photos

Good thing he didn’t wear it at Cronulla beach.

On the other hand, we finally saw just about every player, coach and their partner get ratted out willy nilly for breaching COVID protocols.

Paul Vaughan, Wayne Bennett, Allan Langer, Ryan Whitley, Blake Duncan, Tevita Pangai Jnr, Starford To’a, Sim Sasagi….

It just shows that stuff like this was happening for weeks… it’s just now teams and members of the public are actually dobbing in offenders to the NRL for threatening the season.


Sydney Roosters 24 defeated St George-Illawarra 16 at WIN Stadium

9 years on from their last visit to Wollongong, and the Roosters are still knocking off the Dragons by 8 points.

The funnyness kicked off on the morning of the game, when Dragon Paul Vaughan was the first NRL figure stood down this week, for having an illegal breakfast at an Illawarra cafe, although much to my disappointment, he denied signing in under a fake name.

The lengths Dragons players will go to not play for Paul McGregor.

Still, I wish PV had signed in and gone for something like ‘Vaul Paughan’.

When it came to the actual game, the Dragons had their best chance since the 2010 Grand Final to knock off the Roosters on a day other than ANZAC Day, and despite tying the scores at the half, a 40/20, and completing somewhere around 90% with the ball in the 2nd Half, it took Matt Dufty scoring on a kick and chase in the last minute to ensure Easts didn’t shut them out in the 2nd Half.

It really was another mind numbing night for the Red V – Tariq Sims losing the ball cold on the opening set, which led to the Roosters scoring early, and their halves strategy was something for the imagination, given they brought on Tristan Sailor off the bench, and pretty much lumped everything on him, which worked for about 10 minutes before half-time, before it went foul.

A good tough win for the Chooks, who celebrated Mitch Aubusson’s 300th game by feeding him in to score in the 1st Half, and apparently the Dragons were also keen to see the Roosters win for Aubo, especially with the way they foolishly let that bomb bounce on their own 20 with the score at 10 apiece, leading directly to Joey Manu’s second try.

GENTS, THE BALL IS OBLONG.

IT CAN GO ANYWHERE, INCLUDING THE HANDS OF THE OPPOSITION IN STRIDE.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho had to shoulder the load without Jared Warea-Hargreaves in the forward pack, and he was also the Roosters first-choice kicker without Flanagan, but the unintended side effect for the Chooks was SST ended up playing so well that he was too knackered to attempt the final 2 conversions, which were missed by Drew Hutchison and Lachie Lam.

The big Kiwi played all 80 minutes, kicked 2/3 at goal, made 37 tackles, and ran for 306m.

Of course, it was also a big night for grubbery – Ryan Hall twisting Zac Lomax’ taped knee when Lomax scored in the 1st Half (Which he got away with due to a good record), Jake Friend planted a high shot on Adam Clune (Early plea), and then there was Jackson Ford, who went Wax On, Wax Off on Luke Keary by sweeping the leg as Keary scored the sealing try.

Considering Keary almost managed to concuss himself on landing, if blatantly tripping a player in the act of scoring apparently doesn’t quite constitute a sin bin, let alone a send off, then what the hell does.

At the very least, it does constitute a suspension.


Once Were Warriors 26 defeated Manly 22 at Brookvale Oval

It was Des Hasler’s 400th game as an NRL coach, but Friday evening proved as enjoyable as the 2007 Grand Final for the Sea Eagles, because they were bordering on awful once again, injuries included, and the Road Warriors cleaned them up in a spectacular opening 20 minutes.

It all kicked off quite literally on the kickoff, when they dragged Daly Cherry-Evans into touch, got repeat sets on the Manly line, and finally finished it off with Patrick Herbet running down Kodi Nikorima’s kick, exposing a weak point in Jorge Taufua’s game that several teams have had success with – The high crossfield kick..

Eliesa Katoa scored, George Jennings ran straight through the right edge and made it 16-0.

They played like a team free of the knowledge that Phil Gould and Nathan Brown were set to come in and help them rebuild in 2021, even though they don’t really need a rebuild.

The only time the Sea Eagles even looked remotely threatening was when the Warriors were down to 12 (twice) – First, when Karl Lawton was binned after 20 minutes, which led to the score going down to 16-10, and the other came on the 52nd minute with the Warriors leading 26-10, when Jack Hetherington once again flirted with the wrath of a referee by planting a cheap high shot on Marty Taupau, which he was lucky to only get 10 in the bin for, considering Taupau was concussed and didn’t return to the game.

So a blatant trip isn’t a send-off, a blatant high shot isn’t a send off… so, why do the rule makers even bother claiming the send off rule exists, when the officials won’t bother using it?

Hetherington has only been in First Grade for 3 seasons, and has now played 22 games.

After this latest indiscretion, which earned him 4 games off, he’s now missed a total of 10 games because of suspensions.

Penrith have got themselves a budding young headcase.


South Sydney 28 defeated Brisbane 10 at ANZ Stadium

We didn’t even get the Battle Of Bennett, because WAYNE just had to go to an Italian restaurant and enjoy a succulent Italian meal, in another apparent case of democracy manifest, putting Jason Demetriou into the head coaching gig at Souths 8 months ahead of schedule.

And if listening to Wayne’s bullshit excuse for his $20,000 meal wasn’t enough, it got even better, when the Broncos’ favourite 14th player Allan Langer, their strength and conditioning coach Ryan Whitley, and the head of rehab Blake Duncan were all stood down for 2 weeks for celebrating Alfie’s 54th birthday at the Caxton Hotel.

As soon as we heard Broncos coaches had been busted for heading out to the Caxton, the first thought was ‘Yep, one of them’s Alfie.’

The Broncos clearly missed the diminutive little man, because they let in what will go down as the two softest tries of 2020… The first was when Tom Nicholls ran straight through them OFF A TAP, and the other was Tom Burgess pretty much walking over the line with 3 defenders draped on his shoulder and sealing the game.

I reckon that try was the moment there and then that Darius Boyd decided to officially bail out of one of the Broncos’ TWO leadership groups.

If Darius had the balls, he’d bail out on the team and drag Darren Lockyer down to hell with him.

So as Red Hill spectacularly burns itself to the ground, the next crazy chapter is that Anthony Seibold won’t coach the Broncos for the next 2 weeks, as he had to stay overnight in Sydney to be with his eldest daughter in surgery, which will require him to spend 14 days in isolation in Brisbane.

If you ask me, Seibs has got himself in a good spot here.

First of all, he gets to spend 2 weeks with his family and forget about footy, and second, he doesn’t have to coach this sad sack of a Broncos team for at least 2 games.

Still, if Alfie and Seibs being made unavaliable was enough, Tevita Pangai Jnr managed to get himself stood down, and probably sacked as well, by attending the opening of a bikies barber shop…

Right as the New South Wales Police were getting read to raid the place.

You’ve got to hand it to TPJ, he really is the master of finding new ways to get suspended.

I actually got a laugh at James Hooper’s line that “You can’t put brains in statues.”

Seems you can’t put them in Brisbane’s front row, either.


Sunny Coast Storm 41 defeated Canterbury 10 at Sunshine Coast Stadium

As I previously mentioned on Sunday, I think we can pinpoint the exact moment the Bulldogs realised they were in deep shit.

It was a mere 5 minutes into the game, and Jake Averillo lined up dead in front to give the Dogs an early 2-0 lead.

It went as well as 90% of the Bulldogs’ season.

As far as worst misses at goal go, that’s right alongside Kyle Feldt missing from dead in front against the Roosters, and sparking an absolute avalanche.

Funnily enough, the exact same fate befell the Doggies, as the Storm ran on 4 tries to nothing in the next 20 minutes, starting with Josh Addo-Carr’s 90m intercept, before the Dogs finally scored on the half-hour.

Averillo didn’t finish the game due to a hip injury, although I reckon he also suffered a severely bruised ego.

After the Dogs actually managed to score again to cut the gap to 23-10 early into the 2nd Half, Lachie Lewis ended up in the bin and on report for doing the Munster Mash on Cameron Munster, and just for good measure, he clotheslined Josh Addo-Carr as well, as the Storm piled on more points.

It is quite ironic that Lewis almost ended up in the bin twice on a day where he played Munster, who holds the honour of being binned twice in a Grand Final.

There is one place he will end up this weekend – In the coaches box, watching his teammates.

Fox League had a camera shot of Craig Bellamy going batshit in the box after the Munster Mash, and if the lip readers are correct, old Bellyache was blurting something along the lines of “Sin bin that ****ing ***t.”

Apparently, the referee heard him.

Of course, the bigger problem for the Storm is that it wasn’t the clotheslining that finished Munster’s day, it was the same troublesome right knee that saw him miss a few games in June, after Josh Jackson’s weight brought him down in an awkward tackle.

So the Storm are going to go into a game against the Roosters in Sydney, without Cameron Munster and Cameron Smith.

Needless to say, with the injuries both teams have, the rematch of Round 8’s classic won’t exactly reach the same heights.


Newcastle 44 defeated Wests Tigers 4 at McDonald Jones Stadium

As soon as I saw Harry Grant needed knee surgery, I was straight onto the old FootyTips to change my tip to the Knights, because I knew there and then that they were getting the job done.

The only regret that I have was that I didn’t go to the local bank, take out a $50,000 loan, and plonk the entire thing on the Knights to cover the line.

The Knights had already put 40 on the Tigers in the previous meeting at Leichhardt back in Round 2, mere hours before the shutdown began, and 4 months later, they did it again, and so brutal were the Novocastrians, that Kalyn Ponga had himself a differential booster.

He went 6/9 off the boot, scored a double for himself, set up two more tires, put up 240m on the ground – Kalyn hadn’t been fed like that since he went to collect his takeaway from the Japanese restaurant this week.

Blake Green came in and made an immediate impact in the halves, but I’d contend he wasn’t even the best playmaker in the Knights team – It was Mitch Barnett, judging by his absolutely sick no look flick pass when he was going to ground.

It was an utter embarrassment for the Tigers, capped off by Billy Walters suffering an ACL and MCL tear, and what limited hairs Madge had left before Saturday definitely all turned grey.


Penrith 28 defeated Canberra 12 at Panthers Stadium

It’s official.

OAK —–> Canberra Milk

COP THAT CANBERRA.

When the game was there to be won, the Nathan Cleary-led Panthers cleaned the clock of Ricky Stuart’s Raiders, further cemented themselves as the real deal for 2020 contenders, and also joined the Premiership-winning 2003 Panthers in winning 8 games in a row.

Obviously Ricky’s Raiders didn’t give up after such a flat start, which was next to no surprise, but outside of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in the 2nd Half, none of them really showed up for the fight.

Well, I should include John Bateman, who definitely showed up and acted like a dickhead all night, put in a stinking performance to match, and managed to piss off the ever-frightening Viliame Kikau by getting in his face.

It only caused Kikau to turn green with rage, and spend the rest of the night destroying all in his path, while Bateman went around throwing high shots willy nilly.

Johnny picked a great time to flee back to England.

Despite the win, Ivan Cleary just had to say that the Raiders, apparently in no small part to referee Gerard Sutton, had been “Managed back into the game,” earning himself a $20,000 fine for apparently questioning a referee’s integrity.

Personally, he should’ve been having a go at the Bunker for completely mispronouncing Viliame Kikau’s name trying to make a decision.

Apparently Erin Molan wasn’t in charge.

$20,000 was the same numerical fine that Wayne Bennett was fined for his COVID breach.

Should’ve just gone to a restaurant, Ivan.


Gold Coast 30 defeated North Queensland 10 at Cbus Super Stadium

It is official.

THE TITANS ARE THE BEST QUEENSLAND TEAM, OR THE SECOND-BEST, IF YOU COUNT THE SUNSHINE COAST STORM.

But based on this year, we already knew that anyway.

It was like the futures of both teams intersected on Sunday.

The Cowboys from the North are drifting south at a rate of knots, and the Titans from the south are trending northward under Justin Holbrook.

There’s some great adventures ahead on the place that for long has proven to be Australian sport’s Bermuda Triangle.


Parramatta 14 defeated Cronulla 12 at Kogarah Oval

It was fitting that a game between two amphibian teams would be played in conditions better resembling the floor of Botany Bay.

Holy moly, it’s like every year we get at least one game played in conditions better suited to flippers than leather boots, and apparently this was the one for 2020.

Just as they did for approximately 5 weeks running in 2019, the Sharks lost a game despite scoring more tries than their opposition, as Shaun Johnson didn’t bother wearing goggles every time he attempted a kick at goal, which really cost the Sharks dearly.

Compare that to the kicks Mitch Moses had, which were right next to the posts every time, as the Eels had good success attacking up the middle on a day where points were like Liquid Gold.

Obviously the Sharks got some crap decisions, like the referee not spotting Blake Ferguson’s knock-on from his own line, which was right after Ronaldo Multialo walked on water twice, but I put that down to the referee trying not to drown trying to blow his whistle at the time, and what really finished off the Sharks was playing funny buggers in the scrum on their own line, and Parra made them pay big time by not only blowing it up and getting the ball, but earning the game-winning penalty after Regan Campbell-Gillard was tackled without the ball dead in front.

They say you should never understimate Sharks when they are underwater…. Well, whoever said that forgot that Eels can kind of electrocute you.

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