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Presenting the 2018 Crises awards

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Expert
9th October, 2018
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NRL season 2018 is finished and all the major media awards and club championships have been handed out. But that doesn’t mean there are no important prizes left to scoop – I proudly present the inaugural celebration of the NRL Crises awards!

Although these are the first iteration of the Crises, there’s a long and distinguished history of teams wasting talent, wistfully thinking of alternate realities and plenty more. Only now we are able to come together and celebrate these efforts.

Here are your 2018 nominees and winners. I’m always keen for new categories, any and all suggestions will be considered. Tell me who should get what. Now let’s get into this!

Wasted talent of the year

Nominees

  • Gold Coast Titans: A decent squad produces another mediocre season of eight wins
  • Canberra Raiders: If games went for 70 minutes
  • Brisbane Broncos: Good young talent, grizzled veterans and a damp squib finish when so much was on offer
  • Wests Tigers: Six from six to start, six from 18 to finish

Honourable mention
Penrith Panthers. Sacking your coach when you’re on the brink of the top four? It’s certainly something.

Winner
Canberra Raiders. It’s not often a team finishes tenth with a positive for and against. That’s pretty impressive.

‘What if’ moment of the year

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Nominees

  • Raiders vs Titans, Round 1: what if the Raiders took that 24-6 lead and ran it up instead of imploding and losing 30-28?
  • Anthony Griffin sacked by Penrith with a 13-7 record: what if Penrith persisted with their contracted coach?
  • Penalty wars 2018: what if Todd Greenberg had stayed strong?
  • Origin Game 2: what if Ben Hunt got ten in the bin instead of Boyd Cordner being awarded a penalty try? At the time, Queensland led 10-6
  • Newcastle: what if Mitchell Pearce stayed fit? When he went down with a pectoral injury, the Knights were 4-3 and their long-suffering fans had a glimmer of hope. Then they went 2-7 with Pearce out

Honourable mention
Canterbury Bulldogs: what if they’d kept their clothes on? And what if they twigged to Dean Pay’s system earlier than Round 20?

Winner
Penalty wars 2018. Just imagine if the NRL had supported its officials in enforcing the rules. We’d have a faster game, cleaner around the ruck with more attacking play.

Nah, I didn’t want to see that either.

Cameron Smith of the Storm is sin binned

Cameron Smith (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

Crisis of the year

Nominees

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  • Mad Monday Bulldog-gate: what are the odds? A photographer on their morning stroll at street level just happens across some atrocities that need to be photographed
  • Origin ticket sales debacle: see 2017
  • Origin TV ratings debacle: see 2017
  • Origin referees selection debacle: see 2017
  • Origin player selection debacle: see 2017

Honourable mention
Peter Beattie doesn’t know who Cronulla are, then confuses a Barcelona jersey with a Newcastle one: it was funny, sure. But hoo boy did it get taken seriously.

Winner
Mad Monday Bulldog-gate. think of the children!

Whinge of the year

Nominees

  • ‘Let the game flow’: AKA ‘There are too many penalties’
  • ‘Teams are getting away with murder’: AKA ‘There are not enough penalties’
  • ‘There are only four NRLW teams’: lessons abound in trying to bite off too much too soon with new competitions. The NRL’s plan to grow the talent pool before expanding the NRLW competition is smart. Frustrating, but smart
  • ‘Stop writing crap’: 2018 was almost a historically bad year for mainstream NRL coverage. In response, people turned to other sources. There are plenty of them out there, with more and more coming

Honourable mention
‘Billy Slater/Cameron Smith/South Sydney/The Roosters/The Broncos are a protected species’

Winner
“Let the game flow”. I still need someone to explain to me just what this mythical ‘flow’ actually is.

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Bonehead moment of the year

Nominees

  • Brisbane run media interference on Matthew Lodge: what better way to state a man’s case for rehabilitating himself than by shutting him away from the world and treating everyone with contempt?
  • Ben Hunt runs it on the last: say no more
  • Greg Inglis gets on the cans, then gets in the car: say no more
  • Joey Leilua: multiple entries
  • Keegan Hipgrave: multiple entries

Honourable mention
Whoever let Greg Inglis do a press conference on his own before his suspension was announced.

Winner
Tie: Leilua and Hipgrave. If a team needed someone to attempt an unnecessary offload, to give away a penalty late in a tackle count or perhaps even do both at critical moments in games, Keegan and BJ were reliable producers in 2018.

Raiders centre Joseph Leilua

Joey Leilua (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The Crises Immortal

This being the first ever Crises ceremony, it may seem a tad premature to name an immortal. Yet sometimes someone out there performs to such a level that there’s no choice but to confer their due status.

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Congratulations to Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield, the spiritual grandfather of these awards. Without Buzz’s years of work cultivating a constant and feverish state of crisis, we’d never know that Origin games may not sell out each year and that referees constantly cost your team the game.

Buzz’s legacy means we have professionals to enjoy like Paul Kent, Dean Ritchie and Paul Crawley, among others. He’s selflessly built a path for others to tread and tread they do, over and over again.

Buzz will stand up and fight moral outrages like nude footballers being stalked by paparazzi at a private event, even if it means having to have lingerie models photographed sitting on his lap. We salute you!

Congratulations to all our 2018 winners! We look forward to next year, as long as there’s an NRL to enjoy. From what Buzz and co. tell me, it’s touch and go right now.