Tag Archives: nrl

NRL Tips – Round 16, 2019

The plight of the Broncos this year has been annoying for me personally – especially on social media – but the Broncos’ now inevitable (probably long overdue) transformation into a western Sydney-style football club has been infuriating, as well as completely avoidable.

A western Sydney-style football club is a club that hasn’t won a premiership in a year starting with 201x. Their main traits can include:

  1. promoting grossly unqualified people into positions of administrative power
  2. paying unnecessarily large salaries to players who haven’t or cannot justify it
  3. appointing ex-players who have shown no managerial nous to coaching positions
  4. an impossible-to-justify track record of raising talented juniors up and then discarding them at 21
  5. allowing politics of the board/leagues club to suffocate any focus on actually winning games and premierships

See: Wests Tigers, Parramatta Eels, Penrith Panthers, Canterbury Bulldogs, Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans, New Zealand Warriors, Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders. All of those clubs will tick at least three boxes and most will tick all five.

There are two clearly dominant teams of the 2010s, the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters. How the other fourteen clubs haven’t seen fit to mould themselves into fourteen clones of of them is a mystery up there with “What the hell did Robbie Farah do to piss off the LRLF?” and “How the hell is Mitchell Pearce/Darius Boyd getting selected for Origin/first grade?”

It seems so obvious and, yet, rugby league.

Here are the tips for this weekend’s action:

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NRL Tips – Round 15, 2019

Here are the tips for this weekend’s action:

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Intrust Super Cup

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NRL Recap – May/June 2019

Just to get it out there, here’s a couple of thoughts from the representative weekend:

  1. It’s shit watching both Queensland teams be terrible. I have enough terrible teams in my life (thanks Broncos and Souths Logan), I don’t need my rep teams joining the list without some upside of the game overall. For example, Australia losing to Tonga would be a pretty big deal and worth taking an L for. Queensland losing does nothing for the game but perhaps someone should consider taking a women’s game, you know in the two team series, north of the border, possibly even all the way to Townsville’s new stadium?
  2. Speaking of favoured teams and the greater cause of rugby league, the London Broncos are looking pretty sharp and might just pull themselves out of the relegation zone. There’s even an extremely unlikely scenario where they might pull themselves into finals contention, being only four points off fifth-placed Salford. Despite having 50 put on them by Hull, Catalans should hold on to a top five slot, mostly due to the pushing and shoving in the group behind. Leeds need to be concerned but are lucky Hull KR are there. They just need to not be last.
  3. Wolfpack keeps Wolfpacking, which is nice. Toulouse keep Toulousing, which is OK if it’s against Toronto.
  4. International footy is a Thing and it has potential. Shout out to the Kiwi Ferns game, which was a blowout but still entertaining enough with plenty of big hits. Second shout out to the PNG Kumuls, who put up a sterling defence of the quality of the Queensland Cup, playing against a NRL 1-17 in Samoa. I had some thoughts on Twitter, starting here:

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NRL Tips – Round 14, 2019

The RLIF had a meeting in Singapore earlier in the week, revealing some details about what the international calendar might look like moving forward. Of course, the main outcome, that the powers that be have acknowledged the need for a calendar in the first instance, should be considered something of achievement.

We don’t know what that calendar looks like but I can guarantee it’s not what I would have done, not what you would have done and it will satisfy no nerd’s ambitions (“What about Niue?” I read, then looking up that country’s population. It’s 1,600 people by the way and probably won’t exist in a couple of decades thanks to climate change). That’s just the world we live in.

The meeting is coming on the back of

  • the reignited debate of how the NRL should deal with it’s obligations to fill a 192 game regular season while three interstate all-star games kill at least twelve, and as many as thirty-six (up to 18% of the product), of the entertainment value of those games,
  • the overly complicated qualification system for the 2021 World Cup slowly grinding to a close and how this might be made more efficient, simple and keep costs within reach of cash-strapped newer affiliates

 

  • and trying to figure out what, if anything, is going to happen for the 2025 World Cup. With Moore Sports falling out of the picture, a US/Canada host, if one can be found, is unlikely to be viable but no one has stepped into the breach just yet. With England hosting 2021, odds are that Australia will take 2025 unless there’s a miracle bid from somewhere else. The reality is that while the RLWC should be a cost effective international event for nations to hold, it is not and does not offer a great opportunity for return on investment unless you have something to sell the northern English and east coast Australians. We either need to accept that the World Cup will alternate between Australia and England for the foreseeable future or some innovation will be required in how the World Cup is formatted to make it more attractive to prospective hosts.

is fortuitous in it’s timing but offers no answers to any of the above, which are really quite large and important questions.

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Here are the tips for this weekend’s action:

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Intrust Super Cup

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Mitchell Pearce saved Nathan Brown’s career

Scene: C-Bus Stadium, Gold Coast. It’s the twenty-first of April and we’re in round 6 of the 2019 National Rugby League season. At around a quarter to three in the afternoon, the referee blows the whistle for half time.

The Newcastle Knights are down 22 to nil after the worst forty minutes of football in recent memory. The Knights conceded three long range tries to the Titans off the back of errors, compounded with extremely lazy defence.

The Knights fervently loyal fanbase has endured years of failure since the financial demise of Nathan Tinkler in 2014. The club’s ownership was turned over to the NRL and a horror run followed, including three straight wooden spoons and fielding an historically bad 1-22-1 side in 2016.

The club, under the new ownership of the Wests Group, signed Kangaroos prop, David Klemmer, in the 2018-19 off-season. His acquisition was seen to be the last piece of the puzzle to bring the Novocastrians back into contention, joining young superstar Kalyn Ponga and premiership winning halfback Mitchell Pearce.

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NRL Tips – Round 13, 2019 (featuring Origin hot takes)

I have now read every Origin perspective Twitter has to offer and have synthesised my own searingly hot take of Game 1, 2019.

Queensland played well but not exceptionally so. Plenty of opportunities presented themselves to blow the game open (Napa should be dropped for not grounding the ball properly) and the Maroons only won by four with the margin created by a fortunate interception. Will Chambers contained Latrell Mitchell, despite concerns that he would be unable to hold back the “world’s greatest player”, but should never be passed the ball ever again. His function is to be a decoy while Cherry-Evans cutout passes to Gagai, who pulled his usual superman transformation from Club Gagai into Origin Gagai. Ponga was bad in the first half, much better in the second half and turning himself into a flying speed bump in the dying seconds of the game (pictured below) probably saved the win for the Maroons.

The forward pack did their job, winning the metre battle and we saw some great work out of Arrow, Kaufusi and, to a lesser extent, Gillett. I say Gillett because I actually noticed he was on the field, which is a step up from his typical form at the Broncos. Cherry-Evans, Munster and Oates (foot going into touch aside) did what was expected of them. Cherry-Evans’ kicking needs a slight polish but this is unsurprising, given this is his first game in weeks.

Anyone telling you Ben Hunt played well at hooker did not watch the game. A hooker has two jobs: pass the ball and make tackles. I saw a small man getting carried by NSW’s starting forwards while “making” his tackles during the opening phase of the game (also a time in which dummy half responsibilities were being shared among six players) and I saw plenty of passes through the rest of the game go to ground before reaching a Maroon jersey. His two redeeming features were a single 40/20ish play and the fact that NSW cooked their rotations so he didn’t get smashed in the closing stages. “But he made the most tackles!” Spare me. If tackle counts mattered, you’d be rating Hunt higher than Cook and that makes no sense. I expect a starting hooker, probably McCullough, will take Hunt’s place in the 9 for game 2 and Hunt will move to 14. But here’s a crazy thought: you don’t actually have to play Hunt at all.

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Rating the 2019 State of Origin teams

It’s that time of the year again. The weather has just turned cold and the NRL season has built just enough momentum to be interesting and has now been brought to a screeching halt. It’s State of Origin time, the world’s only all-star game that the players actually care about. Naturally, the first question anyone needs to consider is: which team looks stronger on paper?

When it comes to assessing representative games, we don’t have access to the usual team rating tools and, even if we did, the gaps between matches and changes to the teams are so significant that Elo ratings aren’t particularly useful. This year, we can evaluate the Origin teams using Production Per Game (PPG), which is a player rating tool.

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