Chopping Block: Clubs facing Groundhog Day

Ron Swanson Roar Guru

12 Have your say

    Plenty of personalities on the Chopping Block this week, and sorry Warriors fans, you’ve got two candidates this week.

    Des Hasler
    It’s easy to pinpoint the players for the inept display against a hungry young Panthers side on Sunday, however any mug punter who follows the great game can tell you the Bulldogs’ boring game plan has been a problem area for 18 months.

    Rumours are coach Hasler spends 12 hours per day in his office. Ray reckons he must be catching up on sleep because he might struggle to sleep at home, and has the George Constanza set-up under his desk.

    Or that he is conducting some sort of spiritual exercise aimed at making sure he doesn’t kick dressing room doors down. Or is being brainwashed by his spiritual being to continue playing bland, dull, predictable footy each week and good things will come. Take your pick.

    My thoughts are he is still on the payroll at Brookvale Oval and is sabotaging operations at Belmore as payback for the Dogs snaring Tony ‘T-Rex’ Williams.

    One thing’s for sure, Hasler is not watching video of the attack and predictable style his side dishes up week in, week out. Word that rabid Bulldogs fans have started a petition to sack the embattled coach comes as no surprise.

    Rumours persist he promised Kieran Foran would sign with the club, which saved him his job. But with player unrest starting after Josh Reynolds announced his departure, the joint is starting to become rather toxic.

    With the all too powerful chairman Ray Dib and his cronies, who also played a role in the departure of the highly regarded Raelene Castle in the past fortnight, it’s hard to see Hasler escaping the axe if this current form continues.

    Sure, five finals appearances in the past five years is a decent return but this is not a club with a history of accepting mediocre performances or any sign of internal turmoil. Very unlike my next targets, which have made it an art form in delivering mediocrity and accepting it…

    Shaun Johnson
    Friday night was set up nicely for the Jekyll and Hyde mob from the land of the long white cloud, famous for producing talents such as Richard Wilkins, Stan Walker, Jon Stevens, Mark Williams – of hit single Show no Mercy fame – Ricky May, Keith Urban and of course Rusty Crowe.

    As harsh as this may sound, the No.7, who was destined to carry this club to its first title, displays all that is wrong with the New Zealand Warriors. His form mirrors that of his team.

    Unlike the Broncos game the week before, Johnson failed to run the ball, take the line on or attempt to show he is capable of lifting his side when they need it most.

    This happens more often than not. With the Parramatta Eels down on troops and the Warriors’ big men lining up to run off Foran and brush aside Mitchell Moses, Johnson gifted the Eels a runaway try and probable 12-point turn around.

    Shaun Johnson running with football

    (AAP Image/David Rowland)

    On tackle five and making a snap decision he switched to the Eels’ left side of defence, called for the ball, ignoring the side of earlier success and where his team had more numbers. With the defence putting pressure on him, he ran sideways in an attempt to pull off a low-percentage grubber in-goal, only to take an air swing which you would usually associate with an Under-12s half.

    He then showed zero urgency to defuse the situation he created, failing to attempt an intercept or to tackle Semi Radradra. Johnson just stood in no man’s land waving his arm around. Would Johnathan Thurston, Mitchell Pearce, Cooper Cronk, Karmichael Hunt or Ash Taylor show the same lack of urgency to at least rectify their error? No!

    That kick should have been put in the rack after it failed in Hamilton a fortnight earlier. Next, he kicked out on the full under no pressure just after half-time. And to put an exclamation mark on his night, he raced up a clear three to four metres offside to intercept the ball off his own line in the final 15 minutes or so.

    The Eels scored in the next set!

    Steve Kearney
    Issac Luke was exceptional in the Warriors’ loss yet the coach felt his form was so good that he failed to inject the 17th player into the contest. A player who could have slotted into the centres, back row or hooker.

    A player who is young, fresh and pretty quick around the park against a side running on empty, out of interchanges and had been down to 15 fit men for 60 minutes of the match. Not one mention was made of this ridiculously poor call by the coach in the post-match wash-up.

    As mentioned, the Eels lost two players before half-time and were running on empty as the Warriors started to look likely to claim victory in the last 15 minutes. Yet inexplicably, with a fresh man waiting in the wings, Nathaniel Roache didn’t play a single minute of the game. Surely he offers more than the the slow, ineffective 2017 version of Solomone Kata?

    This week Kearney made the ludicrous claim that the side deserved a second chance after a strong display the week prior against the Broncos. A Broncos side that was missing half their team due to State of Origin duty. Kearney also claimed the current group can’t learn or develop if you chop or change every week. The same side for the past month has been awful, with just one win from four.

    Kearney continues to stick with Ryan Hoffman and Bodene Thompson, two back-rowers already unwanted for next season who both are not up to first grade standard in defence. But they keep their roles. Kearney’s alleged defence is an old line – ‘the team I inherited was not the one I wanted’.

    In recent weeks, the club announced the re-signing of the unspectacular Blake Ayshford and the capture of Zac Santo from the Raiders, a 24-year-old with three first-grade games under his belt.

    Then they release the highly talented Erin Clark by signing Manaia Cherrington from the Tigers. And in more skilled player retention, gun prop Toa Sipley has signed for Manly for two seasons. Is Tony Iro doing a hell of a job or what?

    Tyrone Roberts
    For all that Roberts offers in attack, his clear defensive issues have been glaringly obvious over the past five weeks. The Titans’ season is slowly starting to go down like a ship with a similar name.

    Keeping Jarryd Hayne in the centres is good news for Laurie Daley and the Blues, as his touches and involvement are minimal. But surely the penny has to drop sooner or later for Neil Henry that one of the best fullbacks in recent times is wasted in that side.

    Tyrone Roberts would be best served in the utility role off the bench. The Titans have been fairly ordinary over the past month and Henry surely must sense it’s time for a change of tactic.

    Having Hayne in the role adding his x-factor, vision and experience is a must or the season will be over sooner rather than later.

    It’s been seen on the field that Ash Taylor and Hayne clash during games and maybe Henry is trying to keep the peace, but he better wake up and check the table before he being asked to clear out his desk.

    If he shifts Tyrone, and Hayne comes in, the fortune of the side in both attack and defence could see them go on a decent run and push for an unlikely top eight spot.

    (*Note*: this article was written on Monday. Hayne has been named in the No.1 jersey this weekend against the Warriors.)

    Jarryd Hayne Gold Coast Titans NRL Finals Rugby League 2016

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    John Grant
    Don’t delay the inevitable, John – pack your stuff up and move on now. Not early next year because you feel you deserve to hand the shield to the winning captain at next year’s World Cup. You definitely don’t deserve the right after a pretty average job in taking the game forward with the new commission.

    You’ve thrown Todd Greenburg under the bus, and any other NRL figure more often than not, so it’s time you give yourself an uppercut. The game’s junior development, the lack of interest in the bush, and general mismanagement of funds dictates a man who should have either been sacked or resigned a long time ago.

    Grant cannot be held accountable for all that is wrong but he has played a leading role and has not been one of the supporting actors. The NRL needs to listen to the players, and more importantly the fans, and change the structure from top to bottom.

    They need administrators from any background who are skilled and have no ties to clubs and can grow the game from the bottom up.

    You can only continue to ignore the grassroots and juniors for so long before your game goes pear-shaped and disappears into oblivion. Please list your five greatest achievements since you took up your role, John, but in doing so show clear evidence.. We won’t accept Donald Trump like facts and figures!

    This week we ran out of space for good news stories and plugs… over to our loyal three or four fans to share their thoughts and opinions on the Chopping Block and other issues that make their skin crawl.

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • June 10th 2017 @ 9:02am
      JohnnoMcJohnno said | June 10th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      Keith Urban is a New Zealander? Oh man I thought he was from Caboolture, QLD. Or is NZ part of QLD too? I think you may be on to something with Des Hasler being a Manly plant. Brilliant plan, put him in there achieving good results for five years to build up a level of trust, then organise a rule change limiting the number of interchanges so the fat forwards he has signed on long contracts bring the Dogs to their knees. Pretty sure John Grant would have been in on that plan – mark that up as one of his key achievements.

    • June 10th 2017 @ 9:49am
      Birdy said | June 10th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

      Jekyll and hyde warriors?.
      Unfortunately its the only way to describe them.
      Again in my own tipping comp i picked them for a top 4.
      The only involvement i have in RL nowdays is neighbours with kids.
      Thay all have the same questions
      “What NRL assistance?”
      While same old story in a RL strong hold the AFL is pumping money in left right and center.
      And get this , while RL still out numbers all other codes AFL gets all the back pages in the local paper.
      On that i think it must be time up for Grant.

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2017 @ 10:10pm
        Ron Swanson said | June 12th 2017 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

        My kids even had the Sydney Sixers come to their primary school along with some Sydney Swans players and we are in the Hunter!!!

    • June 10th 2017 @ 10:55am
      kk said | June 10th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

      A Ron Swanson Saturday Quintet. Great way to start the weekend.

      1. Remember the bottom line at Belmore. Des and Raelene secured extensions to their
      contracts and will laugh all the way to the bank. How we yearn for a return when
      ” The Entertainers” did exactly that.

      2. Shaun plays like a contented man on seven figures and delivers like an over hyped
      Rookie protecting an ego of his own making. He was once the hope of Rugby League.

      3. Kearney. Watson and Doyle are desperate. The cavalry aren’t coming.

      4. Tyrone. One of my favourites.Too good to waste. Would love to have seen him at
      Belmore in his prime.

      5. Moore Park College is a sanctuary for overpaid underachievers and gunnas. May I
      suggest that Tim Cleary is just the man to straighten that lot out. John Grant was a
      decent man. A nice bloke with great service to the code. Pity.

      As I write this post is #3 so you should make it to four. Good Luck.

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2017 @ 10:06pm
        Ron Swanson said | June 12th 2017 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

        They win get the Bye and then probably roll the Dogs, beat a few other sides before Origin wraps up then lose to the Knights and any other side they face from Round 21-26, watch this space… I suggest they go for broke and get on the blower to an Arko/Quayle reunion but the bitter old Super League administrators won’t see the forest from the trees Max. They’d argue John Ribot de Bresac should lead the code to the promised land…

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2017 @ 10:09pm
        Ron Swanson said | June 12th 2017 @ 10:09pm | ! Report

        Personally Max I didn’t rate Tyrone as the 5th best No.6 or 7 when he was playing at Newcastle. Most the halves running around in the Real NRL (Newcastle Rugby League) had him covered from the Maitland Pickers to the Lakes United pair.

    • Roar Guru

      June 10th 2017 @ 12:04pm
      Jason Hosken said | June 10th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

      Nice rant Swanners. Is Ray at Stockton carving dunes on your quad this long weekend?

      You’ve stumped me mate. The State Bank Big Game and MTV hosted by a mulleted Richard Wilkins were my favourites – who was Richie’s offsider????

    • Roar Guru

      June 12th 2017 @ 9:59pm
      Ron Swanson said | June 12th 2017 @ 9:59pm | ! Report

      Graeme Hughes old mate you’ve got Dicky confused with the other “Burgundy” styled gent now the lead man on Talkin Sport.

      Billy Anderson from memory with sideline eye John Fordham.

    • Roar Guru

      June 12th 2017 @ 10:01pm
      Ron Swanson said | June 12th 2017 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

      Ray was up Merriwa for some sheep Jamberoo, not sure what it was I pretended I gave a flog…

      • June 13th 2017 @ 2:46pm
        Margaret said | June 13th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

        Storm on top of the ladder and are able to sign Origin player Nate Myles midseason – wow explain that to a Melbourne audience.

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