NRL stocktake: Who is rising and who is falling?

Tom Rock Columnist

99 Have your say

    With 23 rounds of NRL action in the books and only three rounds of the regular season remaining, it’s the perfect time to take stock. So whose future is looking rosy and who’s going the way of Patinack Farm? Here’s three of each.

    Stock rising: Apisai Koroisau
    Api Koroisau is the most underrated player in the competition. Tough, durable and always dependable, the hooker has been instrumental in one of the biggest revivals since Hillsong. Blake Green hogs most of the praise for Manly’s resurgence, but it’s Koroisau’s creativity and enterprise around the ruck that has the Sea Eagles soaring.

    Just as comfortable at hooker or halfback, Koroisau has the ideal skill set for the modern day number nine. In defence, he’s as solid as a mango in July – sitting in the top ten in both total tackles and one-on-one tackles. He solidifies the middle of the Manly ruck, and dishes out the odd punishing hit to boot.

    In attack, Koroisau offers as much as any other hooker in the game, save Cameron Smith. His time in the halves has helped him to develop a useful long and short kicking game, his service is crisp, and his nuggetty, Farah-like frame makes him a handful to tackle when he takes off from dummy half.

    With Nathan Peats severely limited in attack, Peter Wallace starting to show his age, and Cameron McInnes lacking a little variety, I see no reason why Koroisau shouldn’t be considered the frontrunner for the Blues’ number nine jersey next year.

    Stock falling: Neil Henry
    You wouldn’t know it based on the way they’ve been playing, but heading into the season, Henry’s Titans were smokies to win the premiership. The prospect of a spine featuring Jarryd Hayne, Kane Elgey, Ash Taylor and Nathan Peats was not only a chiropractor’s wet dream, but had punters frothing about the team’s finals credentials.

    Add in the signings of Kevin Proctor and Jarrod Wallace to a pack already boasting Ryan James and Chris McQueen, and it was hard not to get caught up in the Gold Coast hype.

    So what happened? How did the Gold Coast go from dark horses to the glue factory?

    I can sum it up in two words – Jarryd Hayne. From the moment Hayne joined the Titans, the trajectory of this side has shifted. Neil Henry has done his best to accommodate the him and his stifling salary, but Hayne’s negative influence is coursing through the Titans roster like a slow-moving poison.

    Jarryd Hayne Gold Coast Titans Rugby League NRL 2016

    (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)

    The rumours started doing the rounds during the pre-season and there was widespread speculation that the Hayne-Henry arranged marriage was on the rocks. Hayne was supposedly demanding special treatment, and both the coach and senior players were sick of his attitude.

    Eight months and only seven wins later, things haven’t improved. Some say Hayne is looking to get out of his contract with the Gold Coast and Henry is reported to have lost the dressing room. The only way things could get any worse is for Henry to receive the dreaded full support of the board.

    Stock rising: Matt Moylan
    It was a rough start to the season for Matt Moylan. Penrith’s attack wasn’t clicking, Moylan’s form was pedestrian at best, and the Panthers were losing games they were expected to win. He was playing like a man with the weight of the Blue Mountains on his shoulders, and the pressure of the captaincy was affecting his performance.

    But that all changed in Round 13. After years of will he or won’t he, coach Anthony Griffin finally made the most obvious tactical decision of his career and shifted Moylan from fullback into the halves.

    The results were immediate. With Moylan able to get his hands on the ball earlier and more often, Penrith played with new purpose and direction. While they weren’t necessarily scoring more points (21.7 per game with Moylan at fullback compared to 21.3 with him in the halves), their attack was more balanced, and Moylan’s presence sparked a dramatic jump in form by halves partner Nathan Cleary.

    Better still, the Panthers are winning. Since the shift, Penrith have won eight from ten, and now look likely to sneak into the top eight.

    With uncertainty in the halves for New South Wales and the likes of Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk nearing the end of their careers, Moylan figures to play a lot more representative football in the near future.

    Matt Moylan of the Panthers runs the ball up

    (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    Stock falling: Moses Mbye
    Moses Mbye was once held in the same regard as guys like Ash Taylor, Nathan Cleary and Brock Lamb. He was viewed as an ascending young playmaker with all the tools required to develop into an Origin star. He was lighting fast, solid in defence, a crisp passer of the ball, and possessed a strong right boot. It was only a matter of time until Mbye emerged as one of rugby league’s premier halfbacks.

    Fast forward two years, and Mbye’s stock has tumbled at OneTel speed. Despite being rewarded with a whopping contract extension, rumoured to be in the vicinity of $800,000 per season, the Noosa junior has lost his number seven jersey to an injury-prone journeyman with minimal first-grade experience in the halves.

    Worse still, it’s being reported that the Bulldogs are shopping Mbye on the open market, without any success. It’s ludicrous to suggest that a 24-year-old could already be facing a career crossroads, but that’s exactly where Mbye is at right now. With a new CEO and a new coach likely in 2018, Moses’ days in the kennel may be numbered.

    Stock rising: Angus Crichton
    I’ve got a feeling about this guy. Though he’s only played a handful of first-grade games, he possesses those indefinable qualities that only the great ones are blessed with. In American Football, they call these “intangibles”. In rugby league, the closest translation would be that Angus Crichton is just a good young kid.

    A country boy raised on rugby, Crichton isn’t burdened with the same sense of entitlement that way too many young players carry around with them these days. His work ethic is strong, he’s comfortable and competent in front of the media, and he isn’t draped in tattoos. Put simply, he’s a marketer’s dream – think the rugby league equivalent of Brett Lee. Mums and dads, this is the guy you want your kids to model themselves on.

    On the paddock, Crichton looks like a star in the making. He hits the line hard and has developed a handy habit of popping out the other side, as his ten line breaks will tell you. He also has a canny knack of crossing the stripe, with his seven meat pies leading all South Sydney forwards. His defence could do with a little tightening, and he needs to work on his strength, but that will come in time.

    Make no mistake, this kid is set for the big time. Mark it down people, Angus Crichton will one day be your NSW and Australian captain.

    Stock falling: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
    In 2015, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had the rugby league world at his feet. He had just authored one of the finest statistical seasons of any fullback in the history of the game, he helped the Roosters to capture their third consecutive minor premiership, and he signed a lucrative three-year contract allowing him to return home to New Zealand.

    The young Kiwi custodian was set for superstardom.

    But alas, even one as powerful as Roger was unable to overcome the Warriors’ curse. Legend has it that no player’s career enters Mount Smart Stadium and lives to tell the tale. And after only two seasons across the ditch, RTS is yet another example that the New Zealand Warriors is where reputations go to die.

    Now 18 months removed from a busted ACL, Tuivasa-Sheck is yet to regain the speed, burst and acceleration that routinely terrified defenders. Once as elusive and unpredictable as a feature on Queen of the Nile, Tuivasa-Sheck is just another guy out there these days.

    Compared with his breakout 2015 season, Roger is down on almost every single statistical category: tries (6 in 2017 versus 12 in 2016), try assists (7/15), line breaks (11/16), and run metres (3268/6517).

    At only 24 years old, there is still plenty of time for the fullback to regain his former standing in the game, but I don’t think it will happen if he remains in New Zealand.

    Jacob Saifiti, left, and Tyler Randell of the Newcastle Knights tackle Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors

    (AAP Image/David Rowland)

    5th Tackle Option

    Here are five quick thoughts on the action from Round 23:

    1. Canterbury’s defence was appalling on Thursday evening. Sam Kasiano was especially poor, with the gargantuan prop looking sluggish and lead-footed throughout the 80 minutes. South Sydney made two clean line-breaks at Kasiano’s expense in the space of five minutes, and if it hadn’t been for an errant pass, both would have resulted in tries for the Rabbitohs. Big Sam could be in for a painful off-season at camp Bellamy.

    2. The Eels crashed back down to earth on Saturday evening with a cataclysmic loss to the ascending Newcastle Knights. I haven’t been sold on Parramatta as a true contenders, and that loss has convinced me that they just aren’t ready. If they do qualify for the finals, and that looks very likely at this stage, they’ll be making up the numbers.

    3. Well, it was good while it lasted. For 24 beautiful hours, the Newcastle Knights were not in last place. It was a great time to be alive. And then Manly had to go and ruin it by getting beaten by the Tigers. The Tigers! As if Knights fans didn’t already have enough reasons to hate the Sea Eagles.

    4. Benji’s back baby! Back at the side he led to a maiden premiership in 2005. Back in the jersey he made famous with aerial side steps and fancy flick passes. And back at the club that didn’t want him a few years ago… same bus, different driver.

    5. I’m not one to bag the referees – I leave that to Tim Gore following a Canberra defeat – but the decision not to penalise Ken Sio for passing off the ground was truly laughable. The bloke was lying off the ground for about three seconds, with two Parramatta players holding him down, and just popped the ball. It was almost as though he had forgotten what code he was playing.

    Tom Rock
    Tom Rock

    A fair-weather Newcastle Knights fan, Tom doesn't leave anything on the field. He always gives 110% and never forgets to give full credit to the boys. But in a game of two halves, it's important not to look too far ahead, so Tom's just taking it one week at a time. Follow him on Twitter @_TomRock_.

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    The Crowd Says (99)

    • Roar Guru

      August 14th 2017 @ 7:06am
      Dutski said | August 14th 2017 @ 7:06am | ! Report

      You were surprised that Kasiano looked sluggish and lead-footed? Sorry, but not even Bellamy will be able to turn that big ship around (see Rose, George). Which is a shame – so many skills, so much potential to be the most damaging and dominant prop in the game. He has all the tools, size, strength , aggression and silky hands, but the work ethic just doesn’t seem to be there. Go on big Sam, prove me wrong… please?

      • Columnist

        August 14th 2017 @ 7:22am
        Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 7:22am | ! Report

        Morning Dutski. I still reckon he’s salvageable. If Bellamy can transform Bryan Norrie into a Premiership player, there is hope for us all. A change of scenery, better fitness and more focus will do wonders for Big Sam

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 4:14pm
          Dutski said | August 14th 2017 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

          Hope so Tom. I love to see a good player become a great one!

      • Roar Guru

        August 14th 2017 @ 8:06am
        The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        I think Bellamy will turn him around Dutski.

        Every year Kasiano comes back from preseason lean and ready to go but his fitness deteriorates through the season. For the last couple of seasons the entire Bulldogs squad has lost fitness over the course of the season.

        I just can’t see Bellamy standing for that.

        But I guess one way or another it will be a career defining season for Kasiano.

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 4:23pm
          Dutski said | August 14th 2017 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

          You think TB? I know Bellamy has a great record of getting the most out of his players. I suppose for every George Rose and Tom Learoyd-Lars that doesn’t make it there is (as pointed out) a Brian Norrie, Brett White or an Adam Blair. And I guess that’s where my concerns lie – Rose and TLL were flatlined prior to the Storm move. So their trajectory stayed the same. You quite rightly pointed out that Dale Finucane was on an upward trend when he moved south and Bellamy assisted that.
          Kasiano and Nate Myles??? We’ll see.

          • August 15th 2017 @ 1:00am
            Alex L said | August 15th 2017 @ 1:00am | ! Report

            Blair and White came as young blokes though, and Norrie’s problem was never that he was unfit or a poor trainer as far as I recall, just took a while to develop as some props do.

    • August 14th 2017 @ 7:51am
      KingCowboy said | August 14th 2017 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      Actually Tom, maybe you should learn the rules! It was the fifth tackle and if the play was over like you believe, then it should have been a turnover, not a penalty!

      • Columnist

        August 14th 2017 @ 8:06am
        Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        Sorry KC. I will get to work on my formal apology.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 9:01am
          KingCowboy said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          People are happy to have a go at the refs but they don’t know the rules themselves. A lot of these call are subjective. I thought it should of been a handover but does it really matter, the Knights played the better footy and deserved the win

          • Columnist

            August 14th 2017 @ 12:00pm
            Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

            Happy to agree with your last point!

      • Roar Guru

        August 14th 2017 @ 8:19am
        The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Koroisau makes a lot of tackles but a lot of the time his initial contact is poor, the opposition makes big post intact metres and other players have to help him out. Of course opposition forwards are going to target him. He’s brilliant out of dummy half I just don’t think his defence should be highlighted as a strength on number of tackles.

        I’ve never been convinced with Neil Henry. He’s had some pretty good teams over the years and I think overall his teams have underachieved. As the coach it’s his job to find a way to work with his 1.2M player whether he wanted him or not.

        I can’t believe how far backwards Mbye has gone in three years. We’re paying him 700K a season for another three years so I hope someone can tap into his potential.

        I also hope Roadkill isn’t causing damage to Crichton by playing him injured every week for not much outcome. It works for me from a SuperCoach perspective but hopefully Crichton isn’t making his injury worse.

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 8:21am
          The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

          That wasn’t meant as a reply to KingCowboy…

        • Columnist

          August 14th 2017 @ 9:04am
          Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

          Koroisau does miss his fair share of tackles, but I think that goes with the territory when you’re a little bloke playing in the middle. The big boppers are going to run at you all day. I think he holds his own very well. Sure he’s isn’t the strongest defensive hooker in the comp, but he probably has one of the most balanced offensive/defensive skills sets of any dummy half.

          Looks like Henry and Hayne are set for a show down today with the board. If I were the Titans, I would take Henry. You could spend $1.2 million much more wisely than on the Aussie Hero.

          I feel pretty bad for Mbye. He has stagnated so dramatically. Needs a fresh start.

          • Roar Guru

            August 14th 2017 @ 9:19am
            The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

            I agree with all that but you held up his defence as part of his overall skill set. It’s not. Far from it.

            If you have big blokes running at you, you will make lots of tackles, but when your missed tackles are also high and your tackle effectiveness is low you’re not a good defender.

            • August 14th 2017 @ 11:16am
              mushi said | August 14th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

              I’m going to take a slightly different view on that.

              I don’t think the stats the NRL uses are actually that good from an impact on a game perspective.

              I did an exercise to satisfy my own curiosity a few years back to look at correlation of all the public stats the NRL keeps over a 5 year period.

              Missed and ineffective tackles told you virtually nothing. Some teams that missed a lot of tackles were still good defensively, some weren’t.

              Missed tackles that lead to line breaks are very bad, but I think that missed and ineffective tackles in the middle generally aren’t all that detrimental as it slows the guy down and/or forces the offload (there was something like less than negative 0.1 or 0.2 correlation between offloads and attacking prowess which I think I wrote at the time was probably less correlated than what type of potatoes the average fan chose that morning at the supermarket)

              I think genuine making contact for little guys is actually beneficial.

              • August 14th 2017 @ 4:02pm
                Jimmmy said | August 14th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

                That’s very perceptive Mushi . Everyone said Darren Lockyer was a poor defender but he was superb at reading the play and getting in the right spot. Yeah he dropped off quite a few but he slowed the player down and made it easy for someone like Tony Carroll or Sammmy T to finish it off.
                One on one misses caused by poor defensive reads ( like Maloney made on the weekend ) that lead to line breaks on the other hand have a huge effect on results.
                A stat that says Lockyer missed x amount of tackles tells you very little.

              • Roar Guru

                August 15th 2017 @ 8:03am
                The Barry said | August 15th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

                That’s really interesting.

                Where did you get the missed tackle that leads to a linebreak stat? I’ve never seen that.

                It makes sense that a middle third players missed tackles are less critical than an edge players where tackles are often one on one.

                It also suggests that workload aside you’re better off hiding a poor defender in the middle than on an edge as long as you have a suitable cover plan.

                It also raises the question that if say a Koroisau misses four tackles but Lawrence and Taupau clean up for him, but then Api misses a 5th tackle that leads to a line break, is it his fault or the defenders on either side who are supposed to be working with him?

        • August 14th 2017 @ 9:10am
          souvalis said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          Api also has 101 missed tackles on his sheet….more than Jimmy Maloney at 98..more than anyone in the entire NRL in fact…

          • Roar Guru

            August 14th 2017 @ 10:10am
            Michael Keeffe said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

            That’s not a fair comparison. Koroisau has made almost 800 tackles including the 3rd most one on one tackles and Maloney only 300 in total. So Maloney misses one tackle for every three he makes. Koroisau misses one tackle for every eight he makes. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

            • Columnist

              August 14th 2017 @ 10:35am
              Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

              Exactly MK! Defensive workload must be taken into account when looking at things like missed tackles. A ratio between missed/made tackles is a much more accurate way of comparing defenders.

              • August 14th 2017 @ 10:56am
                souvalis said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

                Player. Tackles. Missed
                Friend. 822. 52
                Mcullouch. 874. 42
                Hodgson. 720. 53
                Cam Smith. 674. 36

                API. 761. 101

              • Roar Guru

                August 14th 2017 @ 11:05am
                The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

                Even then it’s only part of the story.

                I think more than missed tackles, Koroisau has an issue with ineffective tackles.

                Quite often he makes contact and gets dragged 10-15 metres.

                Below is each team’s starting hookers missed tackle percentage. It shows Koroisau as significantly worse than even the second worst defender on the list.

                Of course he offers a skill set that few of the others can but there’s no way you can hold up his defence as a strength.

                11.72% – Koroisau
                7.90 – McIlwrick
                7.84 – Pritchard
                7.61 – Luke
                7.61 – Granville
                7.19 – Levi
                6.83 – Hodgson
                6.07 – Wallace
                5.92 – Friend
                5.71 – Farah
                5.23 – Brailey
                5.07 – Smith
                4.63 – Peats
                4.59 – McCullough
                3.60 – Lichaa
                2.04 – McInnes

              • August 14th 2017 @ 1:13pm
                matth said | August 14th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

                So from a NSW state of origin perspective does this mean that Koroisau will be too big of a risk?

                Looking at that list Brailey seems to me to be a possible long term solution. If the rest have flaws that can’t be overcome, then maybe youth is the answer.

              • August 15th 2017 @ 1:05am
                Alex L said | August 15th 2017 @ 1:05am | ! Report

                Hooker innately has a higher defensive workload than a halfback, so it’s not really valid to excuse his missed tackles in this way.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 9:29am
          AGordon said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

          I think you’re being harsh on Henry about Hayne, The Barry. Injuries have killed his side this year which could have been covered, in part, if they didn’t have The Ego in their team.

          As the coach, he has 20 plus players he needs to manage, and should not have to worry about just one who is supposedly an elite member of the NRL. It is clear The Ego only wants what’s good for “him”, is not a team player, (as evidenced by his SoS performances) and NEVER wanted to be on the Gold Coast.

          The problem for Hayne is, no other side would touch him because there are 15 other coaches who don’t want to have to deal with The Ego.

          • August 14th 2017 @ 9:50am
            souvalis said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

            Well why didn’t Henry just drop him ? Any coach with stifles would have done it immediately…he waits till 2 floggings then comes out to the media at Round 24 with ‘him or me’ butt covering..How does he try to resolve the conflict ? Totally ignores him…..playing poorly,rotten apple yet still first picked every week..they’ll both be gone next year,at the latest..

            • Roar Guru

              August 14th 2017 @ 10:14am
              The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

              I agree with Souvalis.

              Henry still needs to manage Haynes performance regardless how much he’s paid. Letting this play out in the media and then ignoring Hayne at training (if true) is poor player and team management.

              Whether it’s an office or a footy team, you can’t create accountability by having one bloke outside the rules.

              If club officials have told Henry that Hayne can’t be dropped well that’s appalling and you probably don’t want to be in that job anyway.

            • August 14th 2017 @ 12:51pm
              Beastie said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

              I agree that he should drop Hayne, but I think there is more to it than we are hearing in the media. To me it almost sounds like the board members who wanted Hayne at the club have told Henry that he plays in the team every week and Henry is fed up with the back-seat coaching.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 12:42pm
          Agent11 said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

          Henry seems to excel when there is no expectation on his team such as last year with the Titans who came 8th but were expected to challenge for the wooden spoon and also his second year at the Raiders where they went on a late season run and Campese was carving teams up. He was a complete failure at the Cowboys though.

      • August 14th 2017 @ 8:41am
        mushi said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Are you sure?

        Reading the rules the “play over” interpretation is supposed to cover offloads (an otherwise legal passes) made simultaneously to the held call. A pass off the ground is still a penalty.

        Even if you contended that a simultaneous pass could qualify (I disagree) that pass was not simultaneous, he braces, props and then passes. The tackle is clearly completed before his pass attempt, not during.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 8:51am
          mushi said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

          Thought if he isn’t “on the ground” (as Barry is saying) then there woudl be no basis for any complaints

          • Roar Guru

            August 14th 2017 @ 9:13am
            Nat said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

            He was clearly on the ground but propped up on one elbow. The ball carrying arm never touched the ground and that’s angle the ref seen. Still a penalty.

            • August 14th 2017 @ 9:33am
              mushi said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

              Not sure it is still a penalty, the rules say the tackle is effected if his ball carrying arm hits the ground or the referee detmerines he can’t promote the ball (calls held – which he didn’t right?).

              Reading through, and taking a few more looks at the replay, it looks like he hits the fact pattern square on and the fact he had an arm comepltely free to pass probably justifies the non call of held. Looks wierd sure, but it’s a pretty random set of events.

              Agree with Barry though that the defence is in a tough spot becuase if they hit him they’d likely be (unfairly) penalised.

              • Roar Guru

                August 14th 2017 @ 10:05am
                The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

                Yeah…there’s four ways a tackle can be completed.

                1. The ball or the arm holding it touch the ground – clearly doesn’t apply here.
                2. The player is held in such a way that he can’t make forward progress or part with the ball – doesn’t apply either as he had the arm free the whole time. It’s also reliant on the ref calling held which didn’t happen.
                3. The player succumbs in the tackle – doesn’t apply here.
                4. The player is lying on the ground and a hand is placed on him. I don’t think Sio could be defined as “lying on the ground”. His upper body and ball carrying arm stay off the ground the whole time.

                Even though it looked so unusual, Perenara got the call right.

                A great example of commentators going off without knowing the rules.

              • August 14th 2017 @ 10:47am
                Mushi said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                Yep it is a rare confluence of events.

                Even if the “progress/part” was evoked the ref has to call it.

                Funny that despite apparently having the worst referees in the history of all sport they got this right on the fly…

    • Roar Guru

      August 14th 2017 @ 8:25am
      The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      I’m not sure about the Sio pass/penalty. It looked shocking first watch but on the replay Sio quite deliberately and effectively kept his upper body and ball carrying arm off the ground. If he’d been close to the line and reached out and scored a try under those circumstances it would have definitely been allowed so why not the pass?

      But then if a Parra player had have come running in and smashed Sio would the refs have given a ‘flop’ penalty?

      Certainly not as clear cut as Vossy was making out.

      • Columnist

        August 14th 2017 @ 9:05am
        Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Sometimes I feel the refs feel sorry for the Knights are give them favorable calls. As a Newcastle fan, I am ok with this.

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 9:20am
          The Barry said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

          Gee that’s different to the narrative all year that the big calls go against the poorer sides.

          • Columnist

            August 14th 2017 @ 9:23am
            Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

            There are poorer sides, and then there are the Knights.

            • August 14th 2017 @ 10:48am
              Mushi said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

              You could have also gone with “are the knights an NRL side?”

              • Columnist

                August 14th 2017 @ 12:03pm
                Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

                Ouch. For Parra fans especially

              • August 14th 2017 @ 12:24pm
                mushi said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                Or for tigers fans that think they are a Maxwell Smart “this close” to contention given their big four or whatever the new mythical cause for hope is in tiger land.

                At least the Knights were preapred for this

            • August 14th 2017 @ 8:33pm
              Chris n said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

              You obviously only started watching the knights the last couple of weeks

        • August 14th 2017 @ 11:45am
          Albo said | August 14th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          I must admit, I thought they got plenty of “really good” calls against the Eels on Friday and in the St George game. But I guess that is the “swings & roundabouts” of an NRL season that all teams experience.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 12:56pm
          Beastie said | August 14th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          It seems to be the way it is going for the past few weeks, but remember earlier in the year when a lot of the 50/50’s went the other way?
          I wonder if we are seeing the equivalent of the”evening up penalties” that are usually reserved for the second half of a footy game. Now they seem to be coming out in the second half of the footy year.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 1:10pm
          Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | August 14th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

          I’m surpirsed by this call as well Tom. I’ve seen the Knights cruelled by the refs numerous times this season when they were struggling on a losing streak but threatening to make an impact in games. I didn’t watch the Knights game against the Eels but maybe you got the rub of the green for a change.

          • August 14th 2017 @ 1:48pm
            souvalis said | August 14th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

            Really hope people don’t imagine that one bad call,and it was a bad call… Perenara has since been thrown under the bus for it by Archer..had any influence on the result of this game…Parra were comprehensively defeated on th night..

            • August 14th 2017 @ 2:40pm
              Andrew said | August 14th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

              And unlike Green, McGregor and Stuart, Brad Arthur said as much.

            • Roar Guru

              August 15th 2017 @ 7:11am
              The Barry said | August 15th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

              I agree that the Knights outplayed Parra and Arthur to his credit said as much

              I’ve read Archer’s comments and they’re interesting because they actually contradict the rules.

              Archer said “with momentum stopped the tackle had been completed.” But the rules literally don’t say anything about momentum, it refers to “further progress”. But further progress / momentum is only part of the rule that determines when a tackle is completed.

              The exact wording of that part of the rule is :

              “A player in possession is tackled when he is held by one or more opposing players in such a manner that he can make no further progress AND cannot part with the ball”

              Capitalisation and bolding is mine for emphasis.

              No other part of “Section 11(2) the tackle and play the ball” is relevant here.

              Sio was never in a position where he was unable to part with the ball. His arm was free and he was looking to pass the entire time. So by the definition of the law none of the four criteria that determine a tackle has been completed were ever satisfied and it should have been play on.

              Either way I’m not too fussed. It didn’t materially change the impact of the game. I find it interesting though that the referee’s boss is explaining rules using terminology that’s not actually contained in the rules.

              I’d be pretty dirty if I was Perenara. I’ve seen Archer vehemently defend calls that were far worse than that one.

              • August 15th 2017 @ 8:33am
                mushi said | August 15th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

                It is perplexing. He just banned the standing offload.

          • Columnist

            August 14th 2017 @ 3:03pm
            Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

            Geoff, I won’t deny that the Knights have been on the rough end of a few dodgy calls, but so has every club. When your side is so far out of contention, the dud decisions don’t upset you so much. But I have definitely had the feeling a few times that a certain level of pity exists towards them.

            • August 14th 2017 @ 3:15pm
              Beastie said | August 14th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

              I have to disagree with your assumption that it doesn’t upset you as much. It certainly does, especially when it could be the difference between getting a third spoon in a row or not.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 14th 2017 @ 8:26am
      Flat White said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      I cannot get on board the Moylan hype train. Surely his stock is falling, or at least dropping to mirror his true worth. The Panthers have more recently been better without him, he has a sloppy passing game and drifts in and out of matches (though more out than in). Many described him as being the next Darren Lockyer, I think of him more as the next Jarryd Hayne. He might have a run of good games that the media will brand a ‘stellar season’ and he may even feature in a NSW series win, but for all the fuss, he’s a fizzer.

      • August 14th 2017 @ 9:31am
        Billy said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        I agree. Moylan has failed to impress as a 5/8. He doesn’t organise and seems in two minds when he gets the ball on the fifth tackle – and invariably takes the wrong option. Cleary looks better without him, the team moves up the field better and the Panthers come up with better fifth tackle options when 9 times out of 10 it goes to Cleary.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 14th 2017 @ 9:54am
        Bunney said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        He’s getting hyped atm because the Panthers have won 10 of their last 12…BUT they’ve beaten no one of significance.

        10 of the club’s 12 wins have come against the bottom 7 sides this year. They’ve had a pretty easy draw, and haven’t looked like beating a contender yet. The scratchy win against the severely Cowboys was only their 2nd against one of the top 8 sides (excluding themselves) this year. They have talent, but the Panthers are not contenders. Moylan is talented, but he’s far from slaying it.

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 10:17am
          Michael Keeffe said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

          Based on what I saw on the weekend the Panthers are no chance for the Premiership. The Storm are runaway favourites with the Broncos and Roosters looking like the only possible challengers. Sharks would need a big turnaround to figure and I think everyone else is making up the numbers.

    • Roar Guru

      August 14th 2017 @ 8:27am
      Emcie said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      I am highly offended by your title Tom!!

      Coming from a background in logistics I feel the need to remind you that the term “stocktake” has nothing to do with the stock market. Please rectify this by editing this article to include a complete list of players in the NRL including any players that may have gone missing during the season, although hyperthetical shareprices will be allowed to be recorded in the NOTES column

      • Roar Guru

        August 14th 2017 @ 8:36am
        Con Scortis said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

        That’s the S&P NRL Index

      • Columnist

        August 14th 2017 @ 8:55am
        Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        I had Stock Watch, but my wife/editor didn’t like it….I will have the list on your desk by 10am.

        • Roar Guru

          August 14th 2017 @ 9:25am
          Emcie said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          Much appreciated Tom, I look forward to it. It’s about time someone in the office listened to us warehouse boys

    • August 14th 2017 @ 9:37am
      souvalis said | August 14th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      How did you come up with Moylan,Tom…he’s a good player but he’s not going all that well to be frank…Hook needed to get Dylan Edwards into the team once that was effected Cleary became the winning difference..

      • Columnist

        August 14th 2017 @ 10:34am
        Tom Rock said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

        Ok, here is my Moylan reasoning, for all you haters.

        Objectively speaking, Moylan’s future outlook is pretty outstanding. He is captaining a club on the rise, and forming a formidable halves partnership with one of the best young playmakers in the game. He has been in and around the NSW side for a couple of years, and after this year’s debacle, I am almost certain he will be picked next year at number 6. If he impresses for the Blues and maintains form for the Panthers, it is only logical that he will get a crack at the Australian team in the not too distant future.

        Cleary is certainly the better overall prospect, but right now, Moylan is the horse to back.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 10:47am
          Andrew said | August 14th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          Moylan is stifling them.

          The Panthers look best with Cleary and May. Not saying Moylan isn’t a very good player, but he doesn’t fit.

          May and Cleary have a clear combination that they have been working on for several seasons coming through the juniors. May is a cool head and a bigger body so long term he will be the best no 6 for the Panthers.

          In my opinion it is Edwards or Moylan. They have a tough decision to make, and better than having no option, but Moylan is not a premiership winning no 6 – much less an Origin no 6.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 1:07pm
          Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | August 14th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          Yep – not buying the Moylan hype Tom. Cleary has been one of the major reasons that the Panthers have been on a roll – not Moylan who has been missing through injury for a few weeks. And I wasn’t convinced by Moylan against the Cowboys. I saw Penrith attacks break down numerous times through his actions and two long passes to the wings miss their mark and bounce along the ground. Against a team with energy and no injury problems these would have been swooped on turned into length of the field tries. The bloke has ability but he has massive flaws as well.

        • August 14th 2017 @ 1:41pm
          Albo said | August 14th 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

          I’m with you Tom. Whilst all is not clicking perfectly for the Panthers as yet with the halves combination of Cleary & Moylan , I am sure that with a little more time together the combination will work just fine. Both Cleary & Moylan, whilst being different types of players, are both potential match winners and it will not surprise me to see them both as the NSW halves in coming SOO series’ down the track. I don’t understand the criticism of Moylan from some quarters here ? Did they not see him destroy the Raiders in 2 minutes of creativity at Bathurst a few weeks ago ? Or the orchestration of a number of come from behind wins over the season. Or his constant threatening of and running ragged opposition defensive lines each week ? Players of his ability in the NRL are few and far between. NSW sure could have done with him this past series. If he was on the open market today which Club wouldn’t be interested in his services if only they had the cash ? Hopefully he remains part of the Panthers set up over the next decade of anticipated success.

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