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The Roar

2blues

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Joined March 2019

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Favourite sport - NRL. I have followed rugby league for many years. First game I ever watched was the 1967 grand final - South Sydney Rabbits and Canterbury Bulldogs. Being born in that area I was cheering for the Berries as they were called then. Also, always been a supporter of the underdog. The Berries were underdog that day against the Rabbits with all their stars of the sixties - McArthy, Cleary, Simms, Pittard, Sattler etc.

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My main point was comparing the Steve Mortimer situation to Latrell Mitchell’s. As a Bulldog supporter, I watched the ’85 Grand Final. I wouldn’t call it a great game. I haven’t watched it since. I am not doubting what you say. I need to watch it again. Over the years with Coman’s work, video, and rule changes we don’t see the long suspensions from the ’80s Coman’s crackdown. Didn’t the Bulldogs have a player sent off either 85 or 86 Grand Final?
Latrell Mitchell is a talented player. At present, he is going to miss a Grand Final through his actions which have led to his suspension. I think he needs to have a long hard think about his approach to the game. He can be competitive, but his play needs to take into account the safety of other fellow players.

UPDATE: Roosters issued breach notice over several Friday night incidents

I have followed Rugby League long enough to remember Steve Mortimer’s judiciary problems toward the end of his career. Steve Mortimer was a player with high personal standards of fair play. He was also super competitive and at the time his speed and skills weren’t as they had been earlier in his career. His body just wouldn’t do what he wanted and his tackling technique and timing suffered. Tackles went wrong. After a few visits to the judiciary the chairman, Jim Comans, told him if he appeared again rugby league would be a memory.

Latrell Mitchell is very competitive. He plays on the edge and unfortunately it went wrong on Friday. I have a lot of empathy for indigenous issues but I think Latrell overplays the angry young man at present. He seems to carry a lot of weight on his shoulders. He needs to come to terms with himself as an indigenous person and rugby league professional. For me, his actions on Friday were inexcusable. Others have tried to find excuses that it happens so fast and the tackle went wrong. Lets say Mitchell ran at Manu to possibly attempt a tackle around the chest. He ended up charging into Manu leading with his shoulder. If we can be charitable and accept it was a high paced tackle that went wrong, Mitchell also needs to recognize all players have a duty of care to each other, including opponents. Manu was defenceless in this situation. If playing on the edge can lead to serious foul play and injuries as it did in this situation all players need to learn to tone their actions down. It’s a professional contact sport but it shouldn’t be cause of the shocking injury Manu received.Mitchell, actions were extremely reckless. If he continues to play in this thoughtless, reckless and sometimes angry way rugby league and a successful career could be a memory for him.

UPDATE: Roosters issued breach notice over several Friday night incidents

I was first watching rugby league in the 1960s. I have to admit to missing the excitement, adrenalin rush and exhibition of spirit of a punch or two or a brawl. The 1981 final between Newtown and Manly comes to mind. However, I also realise those days are well and truly over and the game could not survive allowing that type of violence to continue. Sledging? People want to watch rugby league and all the skills and excitement of the game itself, not people mouthing off. Professional players should be able to ignore sledging and get on with the game, but they also shouldnt have to resort to sledging to get an advantage. Systematic sledging as we saw Sharks v Warriors from Will Chambers is a bad look and not in the spirit of the game and needs to be acted on, deterred and punished.

Will Chambers' unrelenting abuse should be beginning of the end for sledging

I think Australia choked badly in Sydney as in the Ben Stokes test. Unfortunately, also the situation got to Tim Paine and he took it out mouthing off to on an Indian batsmen. He apologised after. Generally he has been a good leader for the behaviour of the team so we should leave it at that this time. Is there an alternative as captain? I cant see one at present. The bowlers need to concentrate on just that – bowling. The batsmen – Smith’s seems very much involved in his own world of batting as is Labuschagne who is too early in his career anyway, Wade’s position in the team isn’t secure enough. Tim Paine is it at the moment.

Are the bad-boy Aussies making an unwelcome return?

Agree – the Pant substitution didn’t come across as being right. It seemed to allow India an unintended advantage. Hopefully the rule will be looked at.

Why Tim Paine's sledging leaves such a bitter taste

Needs to concentrate on his cricket not allow himself to get distracted getting caught up in mouthing off. Play with honour. He is captain needs to be above tis. He has apologised. Give him slack for now as coach Langer requested, but it wouldn’t want to become a pattern. I would rather see our national team play with honour and integrity as highest priority. Not getting a win is bad enough. To go down looking resorting to mouthing off to opposition made it even worse and you start losing respect for team. Show us you can stay focused under pressure.

Why Tim Paine's sledging leaves such a bitter taste

I could never support the Rabbitohs after they beat the Berries in the 1967 Grandfinal with a team of superstars – Sattler, Coote, McArthy etc. They would have been well over the salary cap if one had of existed. Also, one episode of Wayne Bennett dancing around the change room and actually looking happy after a win is more than enough for a while. The “old sea dog” might get a hernia. Chooks ? – no – particularly after JWH got off. I have always had a soft spot for the Tigers and could have supported them so that counts the Sharks out and I cant get used to seeing Josh Morris in a Sharks jumper. Maybe the Eels and hope we see lots of Maika Sivo tries? The Storm are so clinical its like watching a team of robots. No, it might be good just to sit back and enjoy the football without having to worry or care who wins and dream that my team might be there next year.

The neutral dilemma for finals: Which NRL team to support

Original “Dogs of War” – 1984 to 87. Warren Ryan coach. Players such as Peter Tunks, Peter Kelly, Mark Bugden, Brian Battess, David Gillespie, Paul Langmack, Steve Folkes. Mainly forwards but backs such as Andrew Farrer, Chris Mortimer and Greg Mullane contributed. Emphasis on defense with strong, powerful tackling in structured gang tackles of 3 or more. Make it as hard as possible for other team to get over advantage line. The Mortimers, Terry Lamb, Steve O’Brien and Michael Potter provided good options in attack.

1980 Dogs win Premiership as climax to “Entertainers” era. Strong emphasis on attack and back your instincts. Coach Ted Glossop. Players such as the Mortimer and Hughes Brothers, Chris Anderson, Greg Brentnall, George Peponis.
1981 and 82. Let down with injuries and other problems.
1983 – minor rebuild and make Preliminary final. Parramatta beat Manly in Grandfinal for the second time in a row. These two seen as the 2 beat best teams by a fair margin. Bulldogs seen as the best of the rest.
1984. Bulldogs leaders including “Bullfrog” Peter Moore build a team based around strong, powerful, intimidating defense. Become Known as “Dogs of War”. Premierships 1984 and 85. Runners up 86.
1987 – Turmoil. Falling out between Warren Ryan and Steve Mortimer and Ryan and Peter Moore.
Last game of the season could have made finals with a win, but lost. Warren Ryan resigns.
1988 – Phil Gould coach. Premiership.

How Dean Pay and the Bulldogs revived the Dogs of War

I have memories of current Australian coach, Justin Langer, being roughed up with short pitched deliveries from the West Indies in his first test. I think he went on to make a brave 50 in that innings and had a long and successful career. He wasn’t the most talented and flashy of batsmen but had many other qualities such as resilience and courage and never gave his wicket away easily. I hope Australia has the ideal person in Langer to assist our batsmen though the remainder of this test series which could become very difficult for them. Archer scares me, we thought our bowlers were quick. Archer seems a level above our bowlers. Steve Waugh is over there as well. He should be a good asset to have around at present. He and Langer would know what its like facing four of them after their times playing the West Indies.
How Smith comes back from this will be crucial to our chances of retaining the Ashes. I hope he hasn’t been mentally scarred.
What comes around goes around. Thommo and Lillee, Johnson – we have had our turn at dishing it out to the English. The Johnson series finished one or two English careers didn’t it? Let’s hope we can tough it out against Archer.
Labuschagne and Head both ended up coping ok with him last innings. Let’s hope these two can lead the way. Smith needs to feel as though he is not the only batsmen Australia has that can score runs. He must be under a lot of pressure at the moment, particularly only recently returning from “sand paper gate”. I hope he does not bat in the 3rd test. We need to look after him he is definitely our best asset at present.

Labuschagne and Head give cause for optimism

Scrums today are and embarrassment if you think too much about them. They do not allow for any pushing and the half back is allowed to put the ball into his own side of the scrum, so they are no contest at all. However they serve the purpose of taking out nearly half of the players for the play and opening the field up a bit. I think this shows that the rule makers see the need for some unpredictability in the game even if they cant have more of it with contested scrums.
The previous version of the scrum which allowed pushing and required the ball to be put in between the two front rows was a contest and provided a lot more unpredictability but I think would have been nightmare to referee. There would have been so much happening with all those bodies pushing against each other and hookers and half backs trying their best – fair and foul – to get and edge to win the ball, referees often found it difficult to know what to penalise, so scrums were often a bit of a lottery. Then of course if their was any bad feeling between players in a game the scrum was a perfect place for tempers to erupt, so many ended up in a brawl with head butting and fists flying. However, I think the main reason they were done away with was the potential for injury, particularly to the neck and spine, of those in the middle of the scrum, the props and even more so the hookers. All the forces of pushing to win the ball would have centred on the hooker’s neck area. When a scrum collapsed and they often did, it would have been a recipe for disaster.
I think the old scrum was finished and the new rules came in after a few instances of neck injuries from scrums in the 70s. Please correct me if I am wrong. Perhaps the most well known instance involved a scrum collapsing and one of the hookers – John Farragher, from Penrith club – ending up a paraplegic. With this in mind I cant see the old version of the scrum ever being re – introduced.
Stripping? – there has been talk of the rule makers looking at it in the off season. Maybe by then ball carriers will learn to carry the ball more securely. If the new stripping practice teaches the value of possession to players and improves ball security when carrying the ball maybe it will have achieved something. There have always been practices come into the game to try to exploit the rules and they make for interesting debate. The time between the 2nd tackler releasing the ball carrier and the remaining tackler stripping the ball can be small and tricky for referees to judge with certainty.
Personally, I like some unpredictability in the game and the strip provides an opportunity to contest possession which scrums have taken away from the game. However, are the new rules fair? The practice starts with a three on one tackle. On a pre -organised verbal cue two defenders drop off and the remaining defender strips the ball from the ball carrier. In the precise moment of the strip it is one on one, but I think the other two defenders would have been involved in setting the ball carrier up for the strip. Then after the two fall off the strip can happen so quickly it still seems a three on one situation to a large degree. To me it looks messy, sneaky and unfair.

Hey Robbo - without competition for the ball, league can be formulaic and predictable

To be practical where would Queensland fit Keary in at present. Queensland already have three five eights in the team – Norman, Munster and Morgan. Also, I don’t see him being preferred to Cherry Evans at half. He would be a bit of a waste of a player.

Queensland: If you want Keary so much, you can keep him

7/10. Overall, I thought his game was ok but not great. However, he definitely proved his inclusion in the team to be worthy through his last pass that was a significant part of the winning try. Queensland defence improved from game 2 so NSW didn’t have the same time and space they had in game 2. This limited Maloney’s game I believe. NSW were fortunate to have Pearce to take some pressure off Maloney.
It will be interesting to see who is selected next year. Form at the time will have a large bearing on who is chosen. Also, Brad Fittler seems to consider skills, personal attributes and how this all fits into a winning team in his selections. Maloney is off to England so I have read. Nathan Cleary and Luke Keary will be strong contenders. If Pearce continues to improve at the Knights he could play a role.

How do you rate Mitchell Pearce's Origin 3 performance?

Phil Gould’s commentary – so much doom and gloom for NSW. I get it that he has coached NSW to series wins and has been involved in the game for many years, so I think he believes he has a unique insight into Queensland mentality. However, I think he overdid the warnings of a Queensland comeback to the point of being annoying. I think most State of Origin followers know of Queensland’s ability to manufacture a win from the most impossible positions. We have seen it happen so many times. However, do we need to be reminded to the point of tedium. That fact that he was almost proved correct didn’t improve this stain on his commentary for me – but it made the win feel even better.

One pass has made all the difference to Mitchell Pearce's Origin legacy

Mitchell Pearce has not been treated kindly by State of Origin history. He has played through a period when Queensland where blessed with superstars such as Lockyer, Smith, Thurston, Inglis, Cronk and Slater. Pearce, partly through his heritage I guess, was hoped to be part of NSW’s answer to Queensland’s good fortune. This would have been a lot of pressure to carry. Unfortunately, we often went close but couldn’t win the vital moments in many games and Pearce came away with no series wins and much of the burden of NSW disappointment on his shoulders.
To me he had most of the skills of a good halfback and he consistently put in a good effort. However, he seemed to lack the time, composure and game management skills of a great half. He was bought into the NSW side at a young age before he even had the chance to begin to develop these qualities. Also NSW’s forwards were often losing the battle up front during these times. Not an ideal set up for a young half. Recent games for the Knights show Pearce’s game management skill may be developing late in his career.
State of Origin 3 2019, he put his hand up for selection for NSW after their 1st choice half was declared unavailable due to injury. His name came up for selection in Origin 1 and 2 after some good performances with the knights but he had his own injury issues at the these times. Given the history of his career it would have been understandable if he declared himself unavailable for game 3. Why put yourself through the pressure of that situation? To his credit, he took the challenge on. To me, this showed his competitive and positive spirit and loyalty to the NSW cause. He must have believed he had something to offer the NSW team.
Throughout the game, I thought he went ok without being brilliant. When NSW led by 12 points with 10 minutes to go he must have thought the job was almost done. I guess all NSW did. However, Queensland levelled and the thoughts of “here we go again” must have been overwhelming.
A minute to go and a chance comes up with the ball in Pearce’s hands. I believe the author is right – it took courage to take the chance and throw a longish pass to the outside man. I don’t think Pearce would have thought too much about it, instincts took over. From there several other players played their part in what was I think one of the best ever Origin tries. The pass to Ferguson from Tom Trbojevic was spot on. Ferguson’s run along the sideline while evading a tackle was mesmerising. How did he stay in? I thought the touch judges flag would surely go up but it thankfully stayed down. As well, during this, Ferguson had the strength, speed and power to evade a tackle and pull forward and away. Then he had to get a pass to Tedesco who had slightly over ran it but somehow reached back and pulled it in. In many similar situations the pass goes forward but it hadn’t. Amazing skills from both. Then in reaching back for the pass Tesco had to double back then go forward again. Surely the defence would have caught him but he powered on and even then it all looked so awkward maybe he would fumble the grounding. To the untold joy of NSW the grounding was good and the game and series goes to NSW. Surely a best ever finish.
Mitchell Pearce finally plays in a series winning game. It is only one game and most of the work had already been done last year and the first two games of this year. However, he played a significant part in the win and deserves this small taste of Origin series winning success. Lets not dwell on the redemption story and instead give him credit for his choice to take the chance to pass.
The future – James Maloney appears to be off to England next year. If they are fit and available, Nathan Cleary and Luke Keary seem to be favoured as NSW’s next halves pairing. If this doesn’t work out I think Pearce, with the maturity and leadership he is developing at the Knights, could play a role.

One pass has made all the difference to Mitchell Pearce's Origin legacy

In pure footballing terms Pearce would be the ideal replacement. We need someone to play a similar role to Cleary and let Maloney be the dominant half. Pearce probably fits this best with his defence and kicking game. However, there has been word that he wants to be the dominant half so first he needs to agree to take the minor role. Then, second has he fully gotten over the past failures. He was playing against the best ever Queensland teams but if selected would it still be playing on his mind. His past games were featured with taking wrong options at crucial times in games. Has this improved. He had a good run of games with the Knights recently but could he crack under the pressure of an Origin game.
If Maloney got injured during the game who would take over? I cant see Graham or Wighton leading us to origin victory from halfback. Pearce would be a gamble but he could do it on Knights form a few back. Having said that, his last 2 games for the Knights have been fairly ordinary and apparently he had some injuries but also it seemed to coincide with talk of him being considered for origin. It will be interesting to see how he goes for the Knights this week. Another Man of the Match performance may see him selected for origin. Cleary’s replacement will be a big decision and we need to hope nothing happens to Maloney and he plays well. He is crucial to our chances.

"I'd love to play": Pearce declares interest in Origin decider

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