The biggest disappointment this NRL season

Oliver Matthews Roar Guru

By , Oliver Matthews is a Roar Guru

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    With Origin a distant memory and everyone’s focus completely on the run into the finals there are lots of interesting stories to play out in the NRL this season.

    Will the Sea Eagles regain earlier form and stay in the eight? Will a JT-less Cowboys miss out on finals footy? Will the Panthers start to live up to expectation and hold onto their finals spot?

    At the other end of the table the intrigue continues. Will the Knights keep the faith with Nathan Brown and give him some more time to continue the reconstruction of the proud Newcastle team? Will the Bulldogs be hiring some legal specialists to find a loophole that will allow them to undo the new contract with Des?

    But one of the most heated discussions, especially among us disgruntled fans whose team’s players are already checking in online for their early holiday flights, is who has been the biggest disappointment this year.

    To be honest there have been some strong contenders. The NSW Blues almost made it onto the list after their recent capitulation but then I realised that actually they were never going to win in the first place – the Maroons are simply too good.

    The Tigers, unsurprisingly, are on the list too. From back office to playing field they have managed to demonstrate some truly impressive levels of poor performance but with the upheaval that they’ve been through it seems fair to leave them be for a while longer. Plus under Ivan Cleary’s management they do seem to be some signs of positivity in the back half of the season.

    How about the Warriors – surely one of the most consistently frustrating teams the NRL has ever seen? So much talent and yet the most irritating run of under performance over several years since their 2011 grand final appearance against the Sea Eagles. But did anyone really expect anything different?

    It can’t be easy being the other rugby side in the land of the All Blacks and like I say, we all knew that this was going to happen yet again.

    In the past few weeks the Dogs and the Titans have both made a strong play for most disappointing team of the year. Both on the field and off the field these clubs have shown some impressive commitment to messing things up. Both coaches and players are unsettled at these clubs and the results on the field are unsurprisingly suffering week after week.

    So who is it that has let their fans and the whole game down the most in 2017? Please come to the stage and collect your prize… drum roll… the Rabbitohs!!!

    Whether you are a Bunnies fan or not there is something annoying about an NRL where the Green and Red deliver such poor rugby league week in and week out. To make matters worse they have such an incredible roster that is jam packed with experience and skill. But this year this roster has been struggling week after week. Players like George and Tom Burgess have been playing far, far below their ability while club legends like John Sutton just seem to be out of ideas or energy.

    Sure GI has been missing for much of the season but look at the Cowboys – they’ve been missing Thurston and yet are winning games and are battling hard to stay in the eight. And what’s more damning for the Bunnies is that the Cowboys seem to give a damn. For so many games this season the majority of the Bunnies seem to be missing that “anything to win” mentality.

    They go through the motions but there doesn’t seem to be that do or die attitude that can see average teams win games they arguably shouldn’t. The Knights are a good example – they have a lack of experience and talent in many positions and yet Brown has got them working hard no matter and in recent weeks this has seen them win games and forcing the Tigers to fight hard to avoid the Wooden Spoon.

    Maguire however doesn’t seem to have any tricks left in his bag – the players seem uninspired and are definitely uninspiring.

    Not having talent is one thing. Not working as hard as you can for 80 mins and for each other is not acceptable. So many things are in the South Sydney team’s favour and yet the past two seasons has seen them underperform. The Rabbitohs have fallen quite a way from the grand final triumph of just a few years ago and what’s more worrying is that I really don’t see 2018 being that different.

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