The NRL Round 13 Rubdown – unlucky for some

Parramatta Powerpoint ‘fail’

When the Rubdown first addressed the travails out West, noting that poor attitude was far worse than poor performances and a hindrance to the recruitment program, I never expected the pace of bloodletting we saw in the last week. Release sure, but not this fast.

Poor performances do not undermine culture as much as poor attitude and indifference, and the former doesn’t totally discount improvement at some point. Poor attitude, well … that’s different.

Based on this elementary description of a set of six beginning on our 20mtr line from a scrum win, what is the logical 5th tackle play? if you get it wrong, you are free to look elsewhere.

Based on this elementary description of a set of six beginning on our 20mtr line from a scrum win, what is the logical 5th tackle play? if you get it wrong, you are free to look elsewhere.

A new roster and a broom are clearly required, so a positive step has been taken in that regard. The way in which it was done, however, was a calamity of Inspector Clouseau proportions. In their defence somewhat, the Eels were obviously restricted by the NRL common sense ceiling.

In the same way a corporation cannot have a higher credit rating than its sovereign government, NRL clubs cannot make MORE sense than the NRL. That would be the end of civilisation as we know it! That is to say, the NRL sets the bar for common sense (very low), which individual NRL clubs cannot breach. Or something like that … back to this point further down.

I’m sorry to have to say it, because I want to see Parramatta return to at least half of their glory days, but the approach to releasing players was cumbersome, unsympathetic, and borderline cruel. I think most people’s experience is that players (or workmates, or whomever, provided they are human beings) respond far more positively to encouragement than continuous criticism or belittlement. Ever wonder why Paul Roos and others have been so successful for so long? Instilling belief and confidence are far better motivators than looking for the “I’ll show ‘im” response.

Notifying each player individually would have been equally as boneheaded, but there are far better ways to communicate news with career-defining implications … I would have thought. But no point going through them now unless you’re Superman and can make the earth spin backwards … the deed has been done.

Referees continue up the creek, leave paddle behind again

Referees continue to set their own benchmarks, and not in a good way. The knucklehead-ometer is running in overdrive as on-field referees zone in and out of games, and video referees adjudicate as if their eyes are painted on.

The Cowboys final try included a knock-on evident to approximately 23 million Australians, and was seen from the International Space Station. Why were there so many replays in the first place? Did one of the ref’s fingers slip on account of oil from the chicken wings and beer they were spilling everywhere? A ludicrous decision that is being repeated weekly, or bi-weekly when Origin is on.

Apart from the Origin incident whose name shall never be spoken again because we are so damn bored by it, there was the ‘other’ incident that was sin bin-worthy, but ignored. Perhaps Cooper Cronk-ite’s dulcet tones and velvet cadences mesmerised the referee to the point where he was unable to call upon any bodily movement save drooling. It’s a very good question, but the better question is reserved for their boss.

Daniel Anderson’s comments on the referee’s decisions that weren’t (ie. sin bins that weren’t) indicate that his relationship with them is still too far skewed toward the coach end of the spectrum rather than the boss end. it’s almost like he’s ‘still’ arguing with them. This is a concern and, once again, we have a failure to communicate – anything, to anyone. Particularly between the referees’ boss and the pink clowns themselves.

Coom ere Slater and ah'll biiite oother ere!

Coom ere Slater and ah’ll biiite oother ere!

Their soft heads got another run when Ennis captivated them with his Jedi mind tricks against the Cowboys. A well-timed complaint, an ultra-soft penalty leading to a try, and all is well! These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

But wait! Rugby league players aren’t Jedi. I don’t know of any midichlorians in their blood streams. They can’t pod race, though they can piddle quite fast as the Wackerpacker has shown, and James Graham does look a lot like the Emperor. Maybe there’s something in this …

Moving onto forward passes … you can tell the planet has totally spun off its axis when Quade Cooper is pinged for a forward pass against the Lions, a code that has distinguished itself by ignoring such trivialities, yet the NRL starts to turn a blind eye to them. have I woken up in another dimension? 

The Bulldogs’ winning ways … or are they?

Warren Smith commented that the Bulldogs continued on their winning run over the weekend, as if to signify the charge into 7th spot was a precursor of things to come.

Not so fast.

As highlighted a couple of months back at the beginning of their horror stretch of the draw, round 14 starts it all again. Manly, Roosters and Storm will examine them in fine detail over the next four matches, with the Knights jammed in the middle of that pack along with a bye (which everyone gets anyway … though can the Knights be considered a bye too after putting eight points on the Dragons?).

Origin’s a breeze, bro

Screw you, Furns

Screw you, Furns

Can you imagine having both Blake Ferguson AND Josh Dragon in the NSW origin side only a couple of months after the breezer incident? Real life absolutely smacks the pants off art, though I think the Opera House had a version of that roof photo plastered all over it at one point.

It highlights a couple of things.

First, the Dr’s golden rule that everyone in rugby league is forgiven – always – for anything. Look at our current crop of commentators for a start. Lay low for a month or three and she’ll be right, mate. Never a truer word spoken. Ever.

Second, the choices open to NSW are legion. Josh Dragon is the media’s choice for fullback, clearly, but then there’s Mini, or Reece Robinson, or Brett Stewart, or Michael Gordon.

Which itself highlights a point made many times – this depth is unusual in the context of recent years, and is why the NSW team breaks the Queensland seven-year streak this year.

Second tier management

Ok, onto knucklehead street to wrap up. If you want a better explanation of the second tier salary cap and its mismanagement, read Phil Gould’s column or the interview with Ivan Cleary. Or, go to the NRL site and see it belted out there.

Nothing says second tier management more than this nasty, irrelevant relic, something nobody thought would be a problem, and therefore didn’t have the energy to worry abou.

The plain fact is this – the NRL could have ‘proactively’ whipped around the CEOs of each and every club and asked them whether they minded relaxing the rule for the remainder of the year due to unforeseen circumstances. Actually, there’s a funnier version of unforeseen circumstances here, but back to the NRL.

It’s hard to imagine there being half a dozen CEOs hiding a bunch of Sonny Bills or Barbas or Moylans or Slaters ‘just in case’ half their team was injured. You know, just so they could pounce unexpectedly on unsuspecting opposition.

No, there would have been a universal ‘Yes’ to the request while the details of a new policy for next season were being worked on, Moylan would’ve played for the Panthers, and they might have even won because of it. He’s a superstar.

Can he be selected for Origin now? Just asking …  


4 thoughts on “The NRL Round 13 Rubdown – unlucky for some

  1. “everyone in rugby league is forgiven – always – for anything”
    I would qualify that, “everyone who is considered indispensable in rugby league is forgiven – always – for anything”

    • I cannot argue with that, Dr Kayak, though I suppose I could raise the philosophical question of whether anyone is truly indispensable? Apart from me, of course.

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