This weekend, there are five sides in danger of going winless through the first three rounds of the 2018 season.

Just three short weeks ago, everyone had had a great pre-season and was raring to go. There was optimism and hope in hearts of players and fans. Now, just 21 days later, over a third of the teams need to win this weekend or kiss their chances goodbye.

In the last 40 seasons, only one team has lost their first three games and then gone on to lift the premiership trophy: the North Queensland Cowboys, in 2015.

Almost as scary is the stat that in the NRL era sides that lose their first three games only make the finals 25 per cent of the time.

So, statistically, this weekend is a make or break for the Eels, Bulldogs, Rabbitohs, Sharks and Raiders.

What has gone wrong at each club and what do they have going for them? Let’s take a look.

Parramatta Eels

After the first 27 minutes of their Round 1 game against Penrith, Parra must have thought this footy business was pretty easy. Leading by 14-0 and powering through the Panthers, surely they were right back into their 2017 groove. Right?

Wrong.

Since that moment, the Eels have not scored a point in 133 minutes of football, while they have conceded 78. That has included their biggest ever loss to arch-rivals Manly.

What has gone wrong?
In the game against the Panthers, the Eels just seemed to stop dead in the water. The subsequent sin binning of Mitchell Moses certainly didn’t help either.

However, their stats for that game weren’t too bad. They had six players who made over 100 metres and missed just 26 tackles. They were essentially overcome by a determined unit after they seemingly relaxed.

The match against the Sea Eagles was another matter. There are reports that the side did a 40-minute ‘warm up’ in the 40 degree heat and humidity at Brookvale Oval. If that is true, then their trainer made a huge error. Parramatta looked cooked from the kick off and found themselves down 18-nil after just 13 minutes.

They had only 39 per cent possession in the first half, which translates into them having to defend for an extra nine minutes in those conditions. By that point, it was 30-0 and the game was truly gone. That they only conceded 24 points in the second half is a positive.

What do they have going for them?
Their team will be stinging from that loss and has the talent to make amends. The Sharks can expect a very physical encounter this weekend, with the likes of Nathan Brown and Manu Ma’u keen to make amends.

Brad Arthur – who is indisputably a good coach – will be ensuring that his boys man up on Saturday night too. Out of the side are Brad Takarangi and Will Smith, with Beau Scott and Kenny Edwards coming in.

When Parra have actually had the ball – and were not totally gassed – their attack has looked reasonable too.

Can they do it?
They sure can. However, standing in their way are the equally desperate boys from the Shire. Saturday night at ANZ Stadium should be a cracker but Cronulla might get them.

Mitchell Moses Parramatta Eels NRL Rugby League 2017 tall

Cronulla Sutherland Sharks

The 2016 Premiers recruited strongly for season 218, bringing in Josh Dugan and Matt Moylan. Further, young Jayden Brailey is showing promise of being an excellent hooker, and Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham and Valentine Holmes are all stars.

While Luke Lewis and Paul Gallen come to the ground using Zimmer Frames these days, they are still good contributors.

So why are they without a win in 2018?

What has gone wrong?
There is absolutely no disgrace in losing to the Cowboys in Townsville. Further, the Sharks got back on level terms in the 69th minute and it was only a late try to Gavin Cooper that split the sides. They also lost debutant Sione Katoa early in the game with a broken jaw.

They looked great against the Dragons, up 14-0 after 28 minutes. The only score they conceded in the first half was a freak try to Nene Macdonald. However, they stopped dead in the second half and were overrun by a St George Illawarra side that is growing in confidence.

Both losses were only by four points, against good opposition. It’s not ideal, but it’s also not terminal by any stretch.

What do they have going for them?
As stated above, their list has quality players on it, capable of really challenging opposition sides. They’ve also got strong leadership, and lots of top-level experience. As well, they’ve got a great and boisterous home crowd.

Can they do it?
Absolutely they can. I’ve got a feeling the new combinations just need a bit of time to click. However, that clicking better happen this Saturday night or they are statistically in big trouble.

I reckon they’ll win.

Andrew Fifita of the Sharks

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

2017 wasn’t good for the Doggies. Their attack wouldn’t have scored on Oxford Street on Mardi Gras. Des Hasler got the boot, Raelene Castle went to Rugby AU and now Ray Dib is off the board. A big broom has gone through Belmore, with James Graham, Josh Reynolds and Brenko Lee all departing. In have come Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods, and new coach Dean Pay.

What has gone wrong?
Playing Melbourne in the first round is never ideal, as the Storm make a habit of winning first up. The Dogs only missed 17 tackles and beat their average score in 2017 by six points, but the premiers scored 36.

Against the Roosters, they missed seven fewer tackles and made eight fewer errors, but were again beaten by 18. It seems the tackles they miss often become tries and when they have the ball they still lack venom.

What have they got going for them?
Well, their defence on the surface seems committed. Josh Jackson and David Klemmer are top-line players, while Will Hopoate, Moses Mbye and Kieran Foran have excellent attacking credentials.

Throw in the experience of Aiden Tolman and the Morris twins and the side is OK on paper. Then, of course, there are the Doggies fans, who’ll continue to show up and be an excellent 18th man, because that’s what the Belmore faithful do.

Can they do it?
Maybe… While I’m sure that Pay will instil discipline and order, I’m still not sure they have the attacking chops to really threaten.

This Friday they face the in-form Panthers, who know how to put on a try. The Dogs must fire, although I suspect Penrith will once more get the job done and Canterbury will be also-rans in 2018.

Aaron Woods of the Bulldogs

Canberra Raiders

So much was hoped of the Raiders this year but the moment Josh Hodgson’s ACL went while playing for England, they have been scrambling for a solution. The hope is that they can still be competitive by the time he returns in July.

There were many issues in 2017 and two have returned to haunt them again this season.

What has gone wrong?
Two injuries, both at crucial points in their first two games, exposed their bench. Joe Tapine’s dislocated thumb was the turning point against the Titans, the Gold Coast having struggled in attack and defence against the young Kiwi.

Similarly, the reshuffle forced by Joseph Leilua’s ankle injury further exposed a makeshift right-side defence to the attacking prowess of Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga. They constantly went there with great success.

Canberra may not have the depth to cover those injuries, or the nerve to win the close games.

Further, Josh Papalii is out of form and out of shape, having failed to have any impact against the Knights. In spite of his side having an extra eight sets and four and a half minutes with the ball than their opponents in the second half, he was clearly struggling with the pace of the game.

What have they got going for them?
Like last year, they can still put on a try, having scored 56 points in the first two rounds. Nine tries show what a deadly attacking force they can be.

Further, the likes of Jack Wighton and Shannon Boyd may be in career-best form, with Blake Austin seeming to have discovered his excellent running game and Jordan Rapana still as good as ever.

Further, they are overdue to get a refereeing effort that actually does them any favours at all.

Can they do it?
Yes, but they’ve got to get two points this weekend against the resurgent Warriors anyway they can. Toss a coin.

Jarrod Croker Canberra Raiders NRL Rugby League 2017

South Sydney Rabbitohs

I saw this one coming. I didn’t think the Rabbitohs would do well in 2018. I had plenty of questions over their players and whether Anthony Seibold could coach, however Souths haven’t lost in the way or for the reasons I thought they would.

What has gone wrong?
In the match against the Warriors in Perth, the Bunnies were on the end of a few poor refereeing decisions, which amounted to at least 12 points – the margin they lost by – and a lot of momentum.

Against the Panthers, they were up 14-0 before being overrun – captain Greg Inglis getting concussed didn’t help matters there.

In general, they have played relatively well, without being brilliant. However, while they aren’t too bad in regard to missed tackles, their error rates have been high – 14 against the Warriors and 12 against the Panthers; too many if you want to win games.

Losing Adam Reynolds isn’t ideal either.

What have they got going for them?
Against the Warriors seven of their players made 100 or more metres. Against the Panthers six of them did. Further, they’ve got stars to burn with Angus Chrichton, Sam Burgess, Dane Gagai and Greg Inglis. Damien Cook and Alex Johnson are pretty handy too.

As well, they’ve got improvement in them. It won’t take much to get them into the groove.

Can they do it?
It would be handy not to be coming up against an in-form Manly this weekend, when it is a must-win game. They can win that match – I just don’t think they will.

So there you have it. The Sharks are the side most likely to get the win this weekend and remain in the hunt for the title, with all of the others right up against it.

Tim Gore
Tim Gore

Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.

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The Crowd Says (118)

  • Roar Guru

    March 22nd 2018 @ 5:48am
    BA Sports said | March 22nd 2018 @ 5:48am | ! Report

    Tim,
    Don’t know if your database allows for this;
    Do you know what the biggest point differential turn around is over two weeks? For the Eels it will obviously need to be at least 55 points which, if they do it, would have to be close to the largest…?

    • Columnist

      March 22nd 2018 @ 7:28am
      Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      Off the top of my head I can think of one bigger. In the early 90s the Raiders got beaten by Manly (a RED HOT Cliff Lyons) 48-12 and then touched up someone the next week by 40+.

      • Roar Guru

        March 22nd 2018 @ 8:45am
        Jason Hosken said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        I remember that one TG, big Marty Bella got dismissed that day too. The Hill Lawn – good times.

        • March 22nd 2018 @ 9:14am
          14-12 said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          Probably not the record but I remember cronulla got done by the eels 74-4 then beat the rabbits 54-34 the next week.

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2018 @ 9:42am
            Jason Hosken said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

            Isemonger a hattrick from memory – how he missed Sharks team of the century is…how did he miss out?

            • Columnist

              March 23rd 2018 @ 9:43am
              Tim Gore said | March 23rd 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

              It was 1991. a 50 point turnaround. So there must be bigger. I reckon around Origin time we’ll find some beauties.

  • Roar Guru

    March 22nd 2018 @ 6:52am
    The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 6:52am | ! Report

    The #refsfaultraiders are back baby!

    • March 22nd 2018 @ 7:03am
      Duncan Smith said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:03am | ! Report

      Ricky Stuart hasn’t gone there yet, but it’s only a matter of time. TAB probably has a market on which round he will do it.

      • March 22nd 2018 @ 8:52am
        Peter Phelps said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        Haven’t they been gagged ?

        I thought that after all the ref bashing last year and the fall out following Flanagan’s tirade that there had been a massive edict on Ref comments. Kinda puts Ricky between a rock and a hard place.

      • March 22nd 2018 @ 11:10am
        RandyM said | March 22nd 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

        The close losses are just papering over the cracks for Ricky. If Newcastle didn’t turn over the ball so much they would have spanked us by 20 last weekend, such was the ease in which they crossed the try line.

        I am beginning to lose my patients with Stuart, I get the feeling he believes that as soon as Hodgson comes back things will be rosy again. Then when things don’t go well he will come up with excuses about not having origin players, ref bias etc.

    • Columnist

      March 22nd 2018 @ 7:10am
      Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:10am | ! Report

      Let’s hope it’s not the case this weekend.

    • Columnist

      March 22nd 2018 @ 7:11am
      Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      Baz, do you work for the Nrl?

      • Roar Guru

        March 22nd 2018 @ 7:53am
        BA Sports said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        Tim reminds me of a guy I once worked closely with in Cairns who is an unabashed one-eyed Raiders and Brumbies fan who came from Queanbeyan – Not as knowledgeable as Tim (with all due respect to you if you are out there Jamie…).
        Tim, I think you should change your little image icon. If you type in “Tim Gore” in Google Images and use the first picture you see, which if it is the same thing as what i get, would fit the ‘one-eyed’ persona perfectly… 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          March 22nd 2018 @ 8:01am
          The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

          Crikey…that’s what TG sees in the mirror after another four point Raiders lost.

        • Columnist

          March 22nd 2018 @ 9:03am
          Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:03am | ! Report

          Ba, we don’t know your actual name so we can’t google you.

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2018 @ 9:15am
            BA Sports said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

            You google my name and it is 64 images before you get to the actual me…

            But take it as read, the image of piles of garbage is more than appropriate.

      • Roar Guru

        March 22nd 2018 @ 7:55am
        The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

        No, but I don’t shake my fist at the sky and subtly or overtly blame the refs every time my team loses either.

        • Columnist

          March 22nd 2018 @ 9:01am
          Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          BA/Baz,
          Questions:
          1. Should players who clearly grab genitals be sin binned?
          2. Should players who clearly prevent quick restarts illegally be sin binned?
          Straight answers.

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2018 @ 9:19am
            BA Sports said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

            Yes
            Yes
            and Soliola should have been sent off and deserved 5 weeks for his hit on Slater even if he is a stand up guy ;p

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2018 @ 9:36am
            The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

            Yes – but we can only assume Proctor grabbed Rapana’s wheels. There was no camera angle that showed purchase. So it certainly wasn’t clear. On slow motion replay it looked like that was probably what the Proctorologist did but again no actual evidence of the grip…but that’s not “clear”

            Yes

            Your turn:

            Were there no calls that went the Raiders way in the first two games?

            As an impartial professional rugby league journalist why aren’t you jumping up and down about those…?

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 10:37am
              spruce moose said | March 22nd 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              Well played on the Proctorlogist pun.

              Well played.

            • Roar Pro

              March 22nd 2018 @ 4:21pm
              Kurt S said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

              Proctorologist, strictly speaking is not correct, but in this instance it is accepted to be in the ball park!

            • Columnist

              March 22nd 2018 @ 11:00am
              Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              Baz, I do. Regularly.
              And BA, my whole piece last year about Soliola/Slater was that Sia should have been sent off. It was grossly unfair to the Storm and that the refs lost control of the game because of it.
              And yes, Sia is a great human and it was an accident, but it was a send off and I’ve said that unequivocally since the moment it happened. Had the Storm lost that game you can guarantee I would have written about that being the crucial issue.
              And can you name some incidents in the Raiders first two games this year where their opponents got harsh and crucial call against them that were wrong? I can’t.
              I’m not one eyed. I do see when things go my sides way. If you were on Twitter Baz you’d know that.
              But you’ve both just acknowledged – correctly – that the Raiders should have had ten minutes of two games they lost by two points playing against 12 men.
              They were black and white crucial to the result howlers.
              Anyway, the piece on the Raiders above makes fleeting reference to refs issues, yet you’ve zeroed in on it.
              Are you sure you aren’t with the NRL Baz? Discrediting and disagreeing with most of what I write seems to me to be your modus operandi.

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 11:55am
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

              I enjoy your take on the game but you can’t claim to be anything other than one eyed.

              You can’t recall a single favourable call that went the Raiders way? But have a long list of injustices the Raiders experienced in just two rounds?

              That’s the very definition of one eyed…own it.

              This article might have a fleeting mention of refs fault but it’s an accumulation of years of you refs faulting that people (me) comment on…and I reckon a conservative 80% of the time it’s about how the Raiders have been dudded.

              I hate refs fault. I’ve made a pact to not indulge and there’s times that’s extremely difficult but you can comment on refs performances without the whole “that cost us the game” “we wuz robbed” mentality that pervades conversation of the game these days.

              I make mention below of a (I think) shaky obstruction call that went against the Dogs at a critical point of the game.

              No doubt it had an impact on the game…but I’m not howling about bunkers and flunkers and howlers and wowlers and generally refs faulting my way though the week.

              If the Dogs were good enough they would have overcame that one decision. But they weren’t and their own inability to create opportunities magnified the impact of that decision.

              Please don’t be upset that I disagree with you. I still respect ✊ the majority of your opinions even when I disagree.

              I responded to AJs article yesterday and you let me know in no uncertain terms that you disagreed with me. It happens.

              Disagreements are more interesting anyway and get you more reads and clicks than “I agree, Tim. Good job”

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 11:58am
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

              The Raiders lost because someone cradled Rapana’s cags…🤣🤣🤣

            • Columnist

              March 22nd 2018 @ 12:35pm
              Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

              No Baz, the Titans kept a vile grub on the field when he should have been sent off and suspended because – in spite of it being reported and there being categorical evidence of the crime – the officials didn’t do their job. Clearly.
              Two years ago burgess got two weeks and Proctor got a letter.
              FFS.
              And I’m glad you find on field sexual assault so humorous. I find it disgusting.

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 1:12pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

              Nope. Don’t find the act humorous at all.

              But I find the “we lost coz someone squeezed his wheels” attitude absolutely hilarious!!!

              #mindmynutsref

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 4:48pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

              Hang on a second!!!!!

              Sam Burgess got suspended but he didn’t get sent off or binned for his squirrel grip on Chambers.

              So you’re castigating the refs for adjudicating consistently to what they’ve done previously because it didn’t benefit the Raiders!

              #refsfaultconsistency

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 1:21pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

              The Burgess / Chambers incident was almost five years ago…can you believe that?!?!

              Clearly the interpretations around ball security haven changed since then with the onus no longer on the ball handler.

              🤪 🤣 😢

              #mrcfault

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 1:25pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

              We’ve been decrying the lack of quality ball players in the NRL for a few years now.

              If only Proctor was a blue…

              Although Rapana might be now…

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 1:31pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

              Proctor was just testing Rapana’s cag reflex…

              #mateslookaftermates

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 1:33pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

              Rapana to the Raiders trainer:

              Don’t rub them, count them!

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 1:36pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

              Rapana’s lucky… in times gone by that would make them engaged…

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 4:08pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

              This article is titled “it’s now or never for the bottom five”

              By bottom five do you mean the fingers on Proctors right hand…?

            • March 22nd 2018 @ 12:51pm
              Duncan Smith said | March 22nd 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

              Good to see Tim and The Barry go toe-to-toe.

              Ricky can’t afford the ten grand, so he pays Tim five grand to speak for him, and puts the other five on a Raiders / the other team halftime / fulltime double.

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 2:11pm
              BA Sports said | March 22nd 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

              The Proctor squeeze was penalised, but how many other squirrel de-nuttings go unpunished because we don’t see them in the tackle and the player doesn’t react? Latimore got done in the opening minutes of the second half against Cronulla. Had they lost, would the Dragons have had a right to complain? it didn’t make news during the game or in the media, because Latimore just went to his knees winded for a minute or two, then got on with it.

              I do like your writing TG and have no problem if you have any bias’s. I think you own it pretty well most of the time – not saying the Raiders are not due for a bit of luck both with injury and officiating – And some FTA games wouldn’t hurt either..

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 3:52pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

              It’s a real balls-up…

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 4:13pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

              Difference is its like that old disco song:

              Latimore, more, more
              That’s how he likes it, that’s how he likes it

              🎼🎶🎵🎶🎼🤣

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 4:16pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

              For the youngsters:

              https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lQV-w0pnZ3U

              Latimore, more, more!!!

              Hahahaha….

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 4:36pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

              Tim-bo! Tiiiiiiimbo!

              Proctor come and me wanna go home!

              Come mister referee, ref it for Rapana

              Proctor come and he’s lookin for a grope

              Two finger, three finger, four finger, fist!

              Proctor come and me wanna go home!

              Up all night, bandagin ma bum

              Proctor come and me wanna go home

            • March 22nd 2018 @ 4:59pm
              Bargeall said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

              The Raiders were handily in front and suddenly Sutton (I think) found all these cheap penalties for the Home team – the entertainment specialist Origin bound

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 5:28pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

              So you’re not entirely sure who the ref was but completely certain he’s an origin bound entertainment specialist…?

              #whichrefsfault

            • Columnist

              March 22nd 2018 @ 7:37pm
              Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

              Henry Perenara and David Munro.
              Baz, trying to make sexual assault into a joke is really poor form.

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 8:09pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

              Anything can be a joke.

              Has Rapana pressed charges?

              Is trying to turn the Procpana reacharound into far more than it was really poor form?

              Is blaming the refs for every Raiders loss really poor form?

              By the way, Burgess didn’t get sin binned or sent off when he made unrequited squirrel love to Will Chambers so your whole premise about the refs getting it wrong and the Titans should have been down to 12 men is flawed. The refs acted completely in line with how it’s been adjudicated previously.

              Cheer up.

              Skyrockets in flight…Sunday afternoon delight

            • Columnist

              March 23rd 2018 @ 11:12am
              Tim Gore said | March 23rd 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

              Baz, A huge amount of sexual assaults – that’s what it is when you grab someone inappropriately without consent BTW – go unreported. Please note the massive #metoo movement.
              Making a joke out of Proctors behavior – and basically rubberstamping the NRL’s lack of appropriate action on it, while also encouraging others to parrot your Cro-Magnon behaviour – is piss poor behavior on your part.
              The bloke should have been sent and suspended on that evidence.

              But your response is that I’m whinging about the refs…

              I can’t remember when your opinions weren’t basically towing the line coming out of NRL HQ in Moore Park either. It’s almost like you’re on their books.
              I’ll stop calling the officials and the NRL to account when the following occur:
              The people responsible for the officials are hired in a transparent process
              – that actually allows everyone to apply for the jobs
              – with the process undertaken by independent people – who are approved by a 2/3rds majority of clubs to carry out the role
              – with stated selection criteria and KPIS that dictate the process.

              When that happens I’ll be far more likely to accept that they are the best people to run and review the games, and to select, develop and run the actual officials.

              That, mixed with the non selection of Grant Atkins for last years finals – that completely flew in the face of Archer’s selections all year (https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/09/14/picking-best-people-finals-mr-archer/ – to which your contribution was “Atkins is a flog…”), The fiasco of the Soliola non send off (https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/07/24/sia-soliola-not-sent-off-ask-tony-archer/ ), The appointment of Bernard Sutton to an even higher role in spite of his key role in the Soliola fiasco and his comparative lack of experience (https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/11/10/bernard-sutton-replace-tony-archer-refs-boss/ ) gives me strong grounds to question their onfield results.

              No one – and I mean no one – has studied the referees as closely as I have. Just look at this Baz: https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/08/03/refs-fault-right-actual-facts/
              That sort of indepth analysis actually does give me a right to question the officials and call them out. Its called expertise.

              and what you come at me with is the trite and purile input of #refsfaultraiders to glibly try to sweep away the fact that had Proctor and Moga got sin binned as they clearly should have that the Raiders two point losses could very well have been wins.

              In a game of inches these were huge non calls. Four officials and a bunker either no one saw a thing or they decided that a penalty and a letter is just fine for the disgusting act that Proctor perpetrated.

              Yet you decide that, because I follow the team that had those incidents go against them, my opinion is invalid and biased.
              That’s in spite of me writing these:
              https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/07/24/sia-soliola-not-sent-off-ask-tony-archer/
              https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/09/04/dear-raiders-this-mad-monday-i-want-you-to-drink-regret-and-steely-resolve/

              How about you go with Joh’s #dontyouworryaboutthat next Baz?
              Or maybe you’ll just tell me to grow up…
              Whatever dude.
              You just keep throwing spanners from the cheap seats.

            • Roar Guru

              March 23rd 2018 @ 11:55am
              The Barry said | March 23rd 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

              Theres almost no point responding because you don’t answer anything directly.

              I find your weak attempts to imply that I somehow condone sexual assault to be pathetic and immature.

              Of course I don’t. And I think Proctor should have been suspended. But you’re carrying on like a petulant child with all this “it cost us the game” BS.

              It shouldn’t happen on the field. But it does. It’s not the big deal you’re making of it.

              You didn’t make any mention of sexual assault initially. It was all about “we wuz robbed”. When you got called on that you started this childish “oh so you’re in favour of sexual assault, are you?”

              My 11 year old maintains a higher standard of debate.

              Answer this:

              Why is it if you genuinely believe a sexual assault occurred, your one and only concern was that it cost the Raiders two points?

              That’s been your stance multiple times.

              It seems a weird attitude for someone so far up on their high horse…

              Sam Burgess didn’t get sent off or sinbinned when he squirrelled Chambers. The refs handled Proctors offence in line with that. But the Raiders got ripped off because he didn’t get sent off.

              Response?

              Throwing spanners from the cheap seats?

              How condescending. I forgot you’ve been nominated for a Walkley for your 27 part expose entitled “how the NRL dudded the Raiders this week”

              You continually have pot shots at the refs and the NRL.

              To the point of demanding the NRL hold a press conference to address an internet cartoon. Spanner! 🔧

              How can you of all people accuse anyone of throwing spanners. It’s all you do.

              You’ll never be happy because while ever the Raiders are losing there will always be a way to blame the refs or the rules or NRL HQ.

              Every team gets dud decisions. Everyone can choose their response. And yours is always “we wuz robbed”

              It’s an attitude “dude”.

              Because you have that attitude nothing will ever fix it for you. There will always be decisions that go against you regardless of the system. And when they do you say “that cost us the game. The NRL doesn’t know what they’re doing. It’s rigged. The refs are biased.”

              The Raiders are playing like absolute plonkers but all you do is lay blame with the refs. It’s just poor sportsmanship.

              I remember when you used to write brilliant, fascinating articles loaded with insightful statistical analysis.

              You need to get back to that and let go of the pettiness, anger and victim mentality.

            • Columnist

              March 23rd 2018 @ 2:58pm
              Tim Gore said | March 23rd 2018 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

              Just keep throwing your spanners from the cheap seats.
              It’s what you’re good at.

            • Roar Guru

              March 23rd 2018 @ 4:11pm
              The Barry said | March 23rd 2018 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

              What do you think is going to happen?

              You write big long diatribes about me and I’m going to roll over and thank you for it…

              Typical response though…you don’t actually reply to anything.

            • Roar Guru

              March 23rd 2018 @ 4:33pm
              The Barry said | March 23rd 2018 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

              Why don’t you try the easy bit:

              When was the last time someone got marched for a squirrel grip?

              Sam Burgess didn’t.

              So In that context explain again why Proctor should have been sent off and how that cost the Raiders the game?

              Crickets…

              #refsfaultraiders

            • Roar Guru

              March 23rd 2018 @ 6:06pm
              The Barry said | March 23rd 2018 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

              Most disappointing part of this is that despite your one eyed-ness and propensity to refs fault you’re one of my favourite rugby league journalists.

              A fact I’ve expressed many times in the past.

              It’s really disappointing after years of correspondence, discussion and at times robust (but always healthy and respectful) debate you’ve chosen to make it personal with statements like me condoning sexual assault because I didn’t jump on your refs fault bandwagon.

              It’s a pretty low blow and I would have thought despite a couple of jokey hashtags I deserve better than that.

              Anyway good luck to the Raiders if for no other reason than to avoid another farken refs fault article next week!!

    • March 22nd 2018 @ 4:13pm
      Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

      12-7 penalty count to the Raiders against the Knights – not sure what Tim is on about

      Ashley Klien made some dumb decisions during the game but I’m not sure they cost the Raiders the game – defence on the goal line that leaked like a sieve at times might be a more likley culprit

      Can’t believe that the Raiders are favourites to win against the Warriors – paying $1.76 compared with $2.10 for the Warriors on Sportsbet

      • Roar Guru

        March 22nd 2018 @ 5:08pm
        The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

        But it’s not about the penalty count Geoff. You’d think it was but you’d be wrong. Its about when they were given and where they were given and it’s about the ones that weren’t given and where and when the ones that weren’t given would have been if only they were…

        #refsfault is far more complex than most of us realise

        • March 22nd 2018 @ 5:26pm
          Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | March 22nd 2018 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

          Mate I’m over blaming the refs – its time for a bit of accountability

          I was about to unload on Klein at the end of the match for the two or three dumb decisions that cost us possession but there was an air of inevitability about what was going to happen in the last 10 minutes – and the anger disspated into “let’s get outta here”

          Time to fess up that the spuds out on the ground just weren’t good enough

        • March 22nd 2018 @ 5:40pm
          kk said | March 22nd 2018 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

          Remember a Roarer name peter ??? who always posted in lowercase.
          He was of the same opinion and emphasised that it was the referees
          interpretation of the rules that may be open to discussion.

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2018 @ 7:28pm
            The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

            Sounds like the start of a limerick…

            Remember a roarer named Peter
            With refs was a continuous bleater
            When flat to the floor
            He sided with Gore
            “Whoever refs the Raiders is a cheater”

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2018 @ 7:35pm
            The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

            Sounds like the start of a limerick…

            Remember a roarer named Peter
            With refs was a continuous bleater
            When flat to the floor
            He sided with Gore
            “Whoever refs the Raiders is a cheetah” *

            * please excuse the spelling…needed to get it past the mods

            • March 23rd 2018 @ 8:13am
              kk said | March 23rd 2018 @ 8:13am | ! Report

              Bloody Ripper, TB. Your talents are many.

              BTW a jockey with those initials may salute in the Slipper.

        • Roar Guru

          March 22nd 2018 @ 5:46pm
          Scott Pryde said | March 22nd 2018 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

          Jeez, I’m going to be careful about blaming the refs for literally anything tonight in the blog – Baz is on a roll today!

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2018 @ 7:46pm
            The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:46pm | ! Report

            Just having some fun Scotty

            It all got a bit heavy there for a while…if we can’t laugh at someone’s wheels being squeezed then life has got all too serious

            Plus it upsets me when I make Tim angry at me…

            • Columnist

              March 23rd 2018 @ 11:20am
              Tim Gore said | March 23rd 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

              Repeated from above so you don’t miss it:
              Baz, A huge amount of sexual assaults – that’s what it is when you grab someone inappropriately without consent BTW – go unreported. Please note the massive #metoo movement.
              Making a joke out of Proctors behavior – and basically rubberstamping the NRL’s lack of appropriate action on it, while also encouraging others to parrot your Cro-Magnon behaviour – is piss poor behavior on your part.
              The bloke should have been sent and suspended on that evidence.

              But your response is that I’m whinging about the refs…

              I can’t remember when your opinions weren’t basically towing the line coming out of NRL HQ in Moore Park either. It’s almost like you’re on their books.
              I’ll stop calling the officials and the NRL to account when the following occur:
              The people responsible for the officials are hired in a transparent process
              – that actually allows everyone to apply for the jobs
              – with the process undertaken by independent people – who are approved by a 2/3rds majority of clubs to carry out the role
              – with stated selection criteria and KPIS that dictate the process.

              When that happens I’ll be far more likely to accept that they are the best people to run and review the games, and to select, develop and run the actual officials.

              That, mixed with the non selection of Grant Atkins for last years finals – that completely flew in the face of Archer’s selections all year (https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/09/14/picking-best-people-finals-mr-archer/ – to which your contribution was “Atkins is a flog…”), The fiasco of the Soliola non send off (https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/07/24/sia-soliola-not-sent-off-ask-tony-archer/ ), The appointment of Bernard Sutton to an even higher role in spite of his key role in the Soliola fiasco and his comparative lack of experience (https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/11/10/bernard-sutton-replace-tony-archer-refs-boss/ ) gives me strong grounds to question their onfield results.

              No one – and I mean no one – has studied the referees as closely as I have. Just look at this Baz: https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/08/03/refs-fault-right-actual-facts/
              That sort of indepth analysis actually does give me a right to question the officials and call them out. Its called expertise.

              and what you come at me with is the trite and purile input of #refsfaultraiders to glibly try to sweep away the fact that had Proctor and Moga got sin binned as they clearly should have that the Raiders two point losses could very well have been wins.

              In a game of inches these were huge non calls. Four officials and a bunker either no one saw a thing or they decided that a penalty and a letter is just fine for the disgusting act that Proctor perpetrated.

              Yet you decide that, because I follow the team that had those incidents go against them, my opinion is invalid and biased.
              That’s in spite of me writing these:
              https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/07/24/sia-soliola-not-sent-off-ask-tony-archer/
              https://www.theroar.com.au/2017/09/04/dear-raiders-this-mad-monday-i-want-you-to-drink-regret-and-steely-resolve/

              How about you go with Joh’s #dontyouworryaboutthat next Baz?
              Or maybe you’ll just tell me to grow up…
              Whatever dude.
              You just keep throwing spanners from the cheap seats.

            • Roar Guru

              March 23rd 2018 @ 12:42pm
              The Barry said | March 23rd 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

              It wasn’t that good the first time mate.

              Certainly didn’t bear repeating.

              My response has been held up by the mods so I’ll try a scaled down version.

              It’s beyond pathetic that you’re trying to imply that I somehow condone sexual assault all because I didn’t jump on your “it cost the Raiders the game” bandwagon. It’s grubby. You really need to have a good hard look at yourself and why you’d do that to someone, particularly before you start banging on about throwing spanners.

              For the record I think Proctor should have been suspended. It shouldn’t happen on the football field. But it does. It’s just not the crime of the century you want it to be.

              If you genuinely think a sexual assault occurred why was your concern limited to why Proctor didn’t get sent off and why it cost the Raiders the game? I think that’s a worse response than making jokes about someone having their wheels grabbed. You’re a hypocrite.

              Go back to your brilliant, insightful statistical analyses of games. They were original and exceptional.

              This constant “we wuz robbed” diatribe every time the Raiders get beat is destroying your credibility. It’s become a laughing stock.

              Finally – you keep banging on about Proctor being sent off. But Burgess wasn’t. Or sinbinned. Can you give one example of a player being sent off for this sort of thing? There isn’t one. It’s yet another immediately clear, tangible example where the Raiders have been treated exactly the same as every other club but you find a way to call foul and continue your “we wuz robbed” narrative.

            • Roar Guru

              March 23rd 2018 @ 1:21pm
              The Barry said | March 23rd 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

              …do you honestly believe that an article counting penalties and what time they occurred gives you the right to refs fault your way out of every Raiders loss.

              Don’t repackage your Soliola article. Yes you conceded he should have been sent off…you could hardly deny it…but that article was 100% in defence of Soliola and how he shouldn’t be judged too harshly for one of the latest, highest, cheapest, grubbiest tackles in recent memory.

              I shouldn’t be amazed that you defend a Raiders player for knocking an opponent into next week but then you’re outraged at an opponent squeezing the bollocks of a Raider without injury. It’s par for the course…

              If I was going to take your low approach I’d ask “so you support coward punches and violent assault do you Tim? Because that’s what it is when you hit someone in the head from behind. You’re a Neanderthal. Glad you don’t live in my neighbourhood. Why don’t you go and hang out in Kings Cross with your coward punch king hit mates?”

              But I wouldn’t do that…I’m above that sort of thing…

            • Roar Guru

              March 23rd 2018 @ 1:39pm
              The Barry said | March 23rd 2018 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

  • March 22nd 2018 @ 7:02am
    Duncan Smith said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

    This whole “they’re gone after two rounds” thing is a bit much. Except for a goalpost, Brisbane would have been in this article, and except for a freak try, Cronulla wouldn’t.

    And Dogs played two of the three premiership favourites and lost both, so they may as well pack it in now, eh?

    We can also safely predict it will be a Tigers-Warriors grand final.

    • Columnist

      March 22nd 2018 @ 7:29am
      Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      Stats are strong that lose first three and your chances of the premiership are 2.5%.
      Stats don’t care how it happened.

      • March 22nd 2018 @ 2:36pm
        Griffo said | March 22nd 2018 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

        And what a great 2.5% it was too!

      • March 22nd 2018 @ 2:52pm
        elvis said | March 22nd 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

        Um, the probability your team will win the premiership at the start of the season is only 6.25% anyway…

        2.5% doesn’t sound too bad knowing that… so losing the first two games only about halves your chances.

    • Roar Guru

      March 22nd 2018 @ 8:12am
      The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      While the end result hasn’t been pretty for the Dogs in their two losses there have been some positives.

      They fought their way back in the game against the Storm when there were a couple of times it looked like they would get blown out the water.

      Against the Roosters they had a try disallowed at a critical time to a very tough obstruction ruling. These things happen though and teams have to overcome them to win. The Dogs still need to create more opportunities to minimise the impact of 50/50 decisions.

      There were a couple of unlucky tries conceded in each game where miracle passes stuck or the oppo ran 80+ metres to score.

      But then the Tigers had the same oppo, have scored fewer points but have four competition points to their name so we can’t offer too many excuses.

      This is a big game for the Dogs. The Panthers have done ok so far but are probably a tier down from the Storm and Roosters.

      It’s all well and good having takeaways from games but the best takeaway is competition points…followed by an Otropo burger with chilli…

      • March 22nd 2018 @ 12:49pm
        Duncan Smith said | March 22nd 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        I went to the Bulldogs game against Easts. At one point in the first half, Bulldogs had about three minutes straight attacking the Roosters’ line. I was near the sideline watching Brett and Josh Morris wait in vain for the ball to come to the left side of the field so they could have a crack. I don’t think either of them touched the ball in that entire period. Seemed like a waste of talent.

        • Roar Guru

          March 22nd 2018 @ 1:14pm
          The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

          Story of the last couple of seasons…

          #halvesfaultbetterthanrefsfault

          • Columnist

            March 22nd 2018 @ 2:39pm
            AJ Mithen said | March 22nd 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            You are up and about today Baz. Love it

          • March 22nd 2018 @ 3:14pm
            RM said | March 22nd 2018 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            Love your work TB

  • Roar Guru

    March 22nd 2018 @ 7:19am
    Dutski said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:19am | ! Report

    Parramatta improving their side by bringing in Kenny Edwards? That looks like a panic at play for sure 😉

    • Columnist

      March 22nd 2018 @ 7:22am
      Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:22am | ! Report

      Things happen with kenny

      • March 22nd 2018 @ 10:11am
        Paul said | March 22nd 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

        not many of them good.He’s a loose cannon for sure.

      • Roar Guru

        March 22nd 2018 @ 10:20am
        Nat said | March 22nd 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        Penalties and scuffles happen. I’m all for white line fever but what sort of tool grabs an opposition player into a try celebration repeatedly?

    • Roar Guru

      March 22nd 2018 @ 7:58am
      The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      I think Brad Takairangi has been royally screwed by the Eels.

      He’s been consistently among their best over the past five years. I’m amazed they can’t find a spot for him.

      • March 22nd 2018 @ 8:15am
        Greg said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

        Hard to find a spot for a bloke with a broken eye socket who is out until round 10…….

        • Roar Guru

          March 22nd 2018 @ 8:37am
          The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

          …but not impossible

          Fair enough, missed that.

  • March 22nd 2018 @ 8:22am
    Forty Twenty said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

    If the Eels lose the first three as well as getting a 56 point smacking along the way then winning the big show in 18 would be some achievement. Maybe another ‘Kenny’ will be etched in history.

  • March 22nd 2018 @ 9:25am
    rossco said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

    Your comments about Souths errors are correct BUT you must give notice to the furnace like conditions they played in both weeks. And the refereeing against Penrith was poor, noticeably the start of the second half when Penrith knocked on in-goal but were given the ball!!

    • Roar Guru

      March 22nd 2018 @ 9:37am
      The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      #refsfaultiscontagious

      • Columnist

        March 22nd 2018 @ 10:46am
        Tim Gore said | March 22nd 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        As stated in my piece Baz, there was a distinct 12 point turn around poor decision against the bunnies. A momentum turner.
        I point it out above and I pointed it out on Twitter live.

        • Roar Guru

          March 22nd 2018 @ 11:19am
          Ron Swanson said | March 22nd 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

          The Warriors led 30-10 and Souths scored 2 late tries, the last a consolation. They only got a look in once Kata was binned.

          They (Warriors) are the ones usually on the wrong side of the #refsfaultwewuzrobbed outbreak

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2018 @ 4:18pm
            The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

            #refsfaultitis

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2018 @ 4:19pm
              The Barry said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

              Someone needs a

              #refsfaultectomy

    • Roar Guru

      March 22nd 2018 @ 10:17am
      Nat said | March 22nd 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Rossco, I said earlier in the week Souths got some poor calls but their game, post Inglis, was worse than those calls. Wk 1, overrun by a good Warriors outfit, Wk 2, they stopped running. Not much the refs can do about that.

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