Two New Teams?
I realise ARL Commission chairman John Grant has his mind on expansion, but surely expansion was the last thing on his mind when he announced the Australian team to play New Zealand in the upcoming ANZAC test match? In the latest NRL senior executive faux pas, John Grant announced “At lock, Paul Gallen, from the Cronulla-Sutherland Hawks,” and “On the bench, Daly Cherry-Evans of the Manly Seagulls.” That’s right up there with CEO Dave Smith’s reference to “Benji Barba”! Hahaha! Perhaps committing public faux pas is a prerequisite for senior executive status at NRL headquarters? Sorry, did I say senior executive or senior moment?
City v Country – annual debate
You know it must be the start of representative season when we start discussing the merit of staging the annual City v Country fixture. Do we need to stage the game? Is it a true state of origin selection trial? Queensland don’t have a trial and they’ve won the past eight series. How can the game be justified as a state of origin selection trial when man of the match performances in the past haven’t been rewarded with state selection? Do coaches and fans really want to risk players getting injured in a meaningless game? Is it all about getting the game to country areas? I’m sure country fans would prefer to watch a bona fide NRL fixture scheduled in regional areas rather than scheduling a completely fruitless fixture. Is the City v Country game financially viable? Surely not, given the attendance to last year’s game at Coffs Harbour yielded a paltry 4,635 people. In fact, to save further embarrassment, the NRL has set ticket prices for this year’s fixture at Dubbo to as low as $5. So, why waste time and money? Solution: Schedule the ANZAC match on the Wednesday, the Under 20’s State of Origin on the Friday hence full NRL round commencing Saturday through to Monday. No more City v Country…please.
We can’t have a week go by without some refereeing controversy pertaining to the Obstruction and Stripping rules? For the record, I thought the decision to penalise Ben Hunt for a strip on Sam Burgess may have been warranted, HOWEVER, I wouldn’t have awarded it at THAT particular time of the game when both teams were tied with 3 minutes left on the clock. If that incident occurred earlier in the game, we wouldn’t have been discussing it. Those 50/50 calls, when the game is in the balance and little time left on the clock, should be treated conservatively. I would’ve preferred to see a scrum pack down, then let the players, not the referee, decide the game. As for the Tim Simona “no try” for obstruction in the Tigers v Titans match, I thought the referee got it correct. As soon as a decoy runner bumps into a defender, he immediately denies the defence the opportunity to slide across and “number up”. The penalty was justified irrespective of whether the sliding defence would’ve stopped the attacking play.
GI stands for Greatest Individual?
Well, if GI doesn’t stand for Greatest Individual, then surely, the try Greg Inglis scored against the Broncos last Friday night must be rated the greatest individual try of all time. I never thought anything would surpass the Eric Grothe try vs Bulldogs in the 1983 semi finals. Well, not in my lifetime. But this one does. It was breathtaking from beginning to end. It didn’t matter which team you supported, you simply had to stand up and applaud the very reason why this game can reach such exhilarating heights. I wouldn’t rate it the greatest try of all time (that’s a debate for another day), nor do I rate Greg Inglis the best player in the game right now (Daley Cherry Evans holds that mantle, in my opinion), but let’s just accept THAT try for what it is…. brilliant individualism and worthy of headlining any future NRL advertising campaigns. WOW!
Footnote: There must be something about Greg Inglis and Suncorp stadium and, in particular, the corner which he scored that amazing try. It just seems to bring the best in him every single time. It all sounds more and more ominous if you’re a Blues fan…
Ryan Tandy – another tragic ending.
On a somewhat more sombre note, Ryan Tandy’s sudden death as a result of a suspected drug overdose can only be described as tragic and incredibly sad. This has a similar tinge of sadness I felt when former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje came to his sudden demise. No doubt questions will be raised as to whether the NRL could have done more to rehabilitate Ryan Tandy for the indiscretions he committed thereby avoiding this terrible tragedy. But now is not the time for questions. We must simply pray for his family and many friends and pray that Ryan Tandy rests in peace.