I would rate the Tahs "As Expected". Did you really think Cheiks would turn them around within 6 games? He's having to muck out 3 years of Hickey-Foley manure from the stables, plus Link's rather pragmatic style before that.
I said before the season (on G&GR) that the 9 would be the crucial spot, although I assumed Barnes would be 10. I think Foley is doing fine at 10, but Kibbo is a bit hot and cold, and Lucas is much the same. Phipps may be the solution, but we'll see. A half back, a half back, my kingdom for a world class halfback!!!!
The Rabble also are As Expected. Did you really think Higgers would fix everything ...?
I think the Force have been verging on disappointing. Canes fans would be disappointed, once again.
Reds fans might be disappointed. While they have been winning some games, losing to the Force was poor, and they just don't look as dangerous as you'd like. Cue egg on face, but if they make the semis I can see a repeat of 2012 in going straight out. Especially if not hosting.
Crusaders likewise bit rocky given their powerhouse status, but then they do have a rep of starting slow.
Beale appears to have been well let down by the culture at the Rabble, sorry Rebels. Hill appears to have no real hold over the players. My inside gossip is O'Connor has been able to get away with some stuff that should have gotten him dropped, and would have at any other team with a strong coach. Why? Because they are so weak they seem to think they can't do without him. At the end of the day the team comes first, and any player that can't understand that should go. The Rabble will remain the Rabble until they get this.
As such, if JOC is getting away with it, clearly so will KB. He needs a strong culture and strong older players to keep him in line.
Contrast the Rabble with the Brummies self imposed grog ban. And again, why were they out on the turps after a flogging, and when Hill had apparently told them to stay in?
Best thing KB could do is come back to the Tahs, where Cheika will keep him in line. But he may have marked his card.
"Australian rugby’s worst-kept secret" - no, the ARU's worst kept secret. Couldn't keep it under wraps until Saturday like the Tahs apparently wanted. Whoops, pressed post on the press release early ....
Phipps apparently walked as the Rebs were talking to Burgo, who were talking to Burgo as Phipps was quibbling over money. However, why wasn't Burgo talking to the Tahs, who can hardly say Kibbo has nailed down his spot. 9 has been a weak spot since Whitts went. Burgo was decent, but too hot and cold. This suggests Cheiks didn't want Burgo, unless Burgo didn't want to go back to a Tahs on the rebuild (which seems strange given all the players are positive about what Cheiks has brought to the place, and he's hardly in a better spot to get a title at the Rebs). But then Cheiks has chosen Phipps (only the 2nd recruitment choice he has had input into after Chapman).
I agree I have never seen how Phipps cracked a gold jersey except for a very long injury list at the Wobblies, and even then. However, I can see Kibbo and Phipps keeping each other honest under Cheiks, if they both stay.
I just can't see why NSW suddenly has a problem producing decent half backs ..... oh, sorry, apart from the fact we seem to supply most other states .... :) I mean for ourselves. Perhaps we should just go grab some NPC player with an Aussie grandma. Seems all the rage ....