NRL: The Monday Rubdown

The standard of refereeing, the application of the rules, and even the rules themselves are a significant point of contention with the Dr, and previous blogs outline these in some detail. They are bringing the game into disrepute, to recall a phrase I’ve heard somewhere in my travels …

The Dr was writing about the absurdity of the new shoulder charge and obstruction rules well before the season started, for example. And there is a host of other Keystone Cops blunders that simply boggle the mind.

Roxaaaannne ... gonna punch your lights out tonight ... Source: Daily Telegraph

Roxaaaannne … gonna punch your lights out tonight …
Source: Daily Telegraph

So it can be of little surprise that Sticky Ricky has blown up (not literally, but it was a close call) so early in the season. Underlying the unflappable facade tenuously erected after the Roosters Cock-a-doodle-did-them was a maelstrom of burning rage that would make him a fire danger in summertime.

The fact he didn’t spontaneously combust was a surprise to me. What didn’t surprise me was the fact that the powder keg actually blew. You can only take so much before the house cat starts to run away from you as you pull into the drive.

But is he right? I mean, is Parramatta getting the short straw?

Below is a chart showing the average ‘net’ penalties received by each team. Parramatta is last, giving away the most penalties relative to those earned. The Roosters are down there too, as are Manly, though both teams have the cattle to overcome setbacks in a way Parramatta don’t. But even they might struggle against better teams were they to cop 7 in a row, which they haven’t. That’s ludicrous.Penalties Difference

Are the Raiders that well-drilled that they have 11 more penalties than the opposition? The Bulldogs? The Storm, even? Here’s a sticking point in itself. The Storm are the team that has cynically bent the rules to such an extent that rules have been changed (no chicken wings, crushers, leg rolls, figure-4 leglocks, you get the drift … ). They constantly have their hand on the ball in the ruck more than any other team, even now, and still get away with it. Billy Slater was pulling legs so often against Souths that he will be supporting Billy Connelly on his next tour. It’s a laugh-a-minute, but the fans, and coaches, are fraying at the edges, and don’t find it funny at all.

I’m on Ricky’s side on this one, and as mentioned in a previous article, Daniel Anderson isn’t the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy. You can’t walk around as if you have all the answers and get it so badly wrong. Bill Harrigan can do that! Get it right. It’s not hard. As Norman Einstein might have said, it isn’t rocket surgery!

Actually, he (Albert) might have stated it thus:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

I think that’s what Ricky was trying to say when he spoke of bulls..t decisions …

Still, it got him fined for supposedly calling referee integrity into question. He did nothing of the sort, in actual fact. He called ‘stupidity’ on them. He called ‘Jedi mind tricks’ on them (as other teams are more skilled in influencing these insipid clowns). But he didn’t call ‘bias’. Not once.

His sin was to be less than eloquent and invoke the name of Daniel Anderson. I dare say he would’ve got away with his comments had he not done so. At this point, the Dr’s advice is to invoke The Castle:

“Tell ‘em … ta get stuffed!”

Tigers forwards not Braith-ing easy

Did I see the stats correctly? Did Braith Anasta really make 7 tackles? Last week’s post made the observation that all the top teams have halves that take on a significant load in defence, giving their big forwards a chance to have a breather and stay more effective in attack. I suppose Sironen made 30 tackles himself, but 7 tackles from a former back-rower?

While on this match, why did our ‘gun’ referees, including the video referee, take a disallowed try by the Dragons back for a 20m restart for the Tigers? If Frizell didn’t score, that’s fine. I’m all for burden of proof when scoring a try. However, Braith knocked the ball back towards the opposition line, called a knock-on in some circles, first. How did they miss this? Or am I missing something?

How did the Warriors get so close to the Raiders?

I mean, they were playing away, where their form has been nothing less than despicable. The Raiders were at home, where their form has been rock solid. Further, the stats show the Warriors with little over 40% possession. The Raiders ran over 1600 meters to the Warriors 1000. They had 1 penalty to the Raiders’ 5, and their metres/run fell woefully short of the Raiders.

How on earth were they leading for so much of the match? This type of commitment can only auger well for the rest of the season, and I expect the Storm to face a stern test next weekend, a match-up the Warriors always seem to lift for.

How close can matches get?

Underlying the tightness of the Broncos / Cowboys match, both teams made the exact same number of tackles, and a lot of them (364). Maybe that’s happened before, I don’t know, but interesting nonetheless.

In fact, the Rabbitohs / Storm match nearly did the same (335 vs 332), so maybe it isn’t so uncommon, after all.

Perhaps it means absolutely nothing when you consider the Roosters made about 30 more tackles than the Bulldogs, and still won in a canter, or whatever little Roosters do.

Remember – the game is about about combinations, and so are the stats.

Recap on coaches

Dragons are in the 8! After 3 games the coach was under media fire and about to be singing for his supper, an ineffective coach with no idea and a broken man. That’s what portions of the media would have had us believe as expounded upon in a previous massage … er, Rubdown. 3 games later they’re talking about him renegotiating a deal. Is the media kidding? Shirley you can’t be serious?!

Revisiting the Bulldogs’ draw

A few posts ago, the Dr made the observation that the bulldogs’ draw sucked. I mean, it really sucks. Facing Storm, Rabbitohs, Manly, Roosters and Sharks in consecutive weeks was the worst draw I could’ve dreamed of. At the time they had played and lost the first 2 games, and the belief was that they’d be lucky to win one of them. Given the stoic performances of the Sharks, that might just happen.

But guess what Bulldogs fans? From round 14 you face Cowboys, Manly, Roosters, Newcastle and Melbourne consecutively – another 5wk stretch where 2/5 will be an amazing result! … start making plans for 2014, in other words.

Let’s talk crowds tomorrow, hmm?


2 thoughts on “NRL: The Monday Rubdown

    • Proper attribution where it’s due:

      Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein. Joe Theismann, Former quarterback

      But Dennis Pavarotti is one of the greats, is he not? Right up there with the head of the NAB, Calvin Klein.

      Sent from my iPhone

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