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The Roar

Greg

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Joined December 2018

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IMO Ennis’ on field behaviour is on par with Smith, Burgess on the other hand… I agree with you, so i’ll leave him out of my reply. The difference between Ennis and Smith is that Ennis when off the field owned who he was on the field. Smith does not. This is what rubs me (and i’d assume others) the wrong way with Smith.
Add that he is the face of a club that has repeatedly done wrong by the game (for lack of a better description). Like his refusal to own his on field actions he refuses to acknowledge Storm indiscretions. Now I doubt that he was aware of cap rorting, but he has only ever spoken of how he still feels they ‘won’ the premiership in those years. He went along with the clubs 10 year celebration of those ‘winning premierships’. Not only does he refuse to accept his own on field wrestling he denies that the Storm introduced the wrestle in the first place.
Having said all that, he has every right to make the comments he did. I don’t believe his comments were selfish. I just disagree with them. Anyone who does disagree with them has every right to do so also. However, given Smith is entitled to his opinion, comments disagreeing with Smith should articulate why rather than attack the man who made the comments.

Lay off Cameron Smith

I have to very much disagree with Cams comments. Admittedly I’m not a fan of Smith. But I have never let that cloud my judgement in believing he seems an intelligent and generally likable guy away from rugby league.
The first issue I see with calling for suspending or cancelling the comp, even in the interest of player safety, is that many people, myself included (which is probably why I am so bitter about this point), have to go to their jobs where they are just as exposed to the virus as footballers are. Yet it is business as usual for the rest of us.
The next is what about the feelings of every other player? Particularly the players on lesser contracts that cant afford to have their salary reduced. Or players who have been given their long awaited first chance of establishing themselves as genuine first graders. For some in this situation it may be the final year of their contract and accordingly may also be their last chance to achieve their dream career. Im sure their opinion would be different to a big money superstar at the end of his career.
Finally, if he or any other player think it is to big a risk to continue playing, no one is forcing them to. They are entitled to resign from their position and seek employment elsewhere.

Lay off Cameron Smith

Why do people still not see this?
If the Christians say something along the lines of “it is of no concern to me what individuals do but personally I don’t support homosexuality because it is against my religious beliefs” and leave it at that without then going on to say they will burn in hell or anything else that could be considered slanderous then yes. Will Hopoate was celebrated by the game for his strong Christian faith. Likewise El Masri for his strong Muslim faith.
You can have those beliefs, you can voice those beliefs, you cant take it to the point where it becomes slanderous. Even if any idiot can work out that typically strong Christian beliefs typically means you in fact do think homosexuality is a sin you can be religious without offending people.
This is the difference between Walker and Mitchell who ive great respect for and Mundine, who I can respect does great work in Aboriginal communities but tends to run his mouth. They are all proud Aboriginals, they all state why they do not support the anthem it is only Mundine that takes these beliefs to the point where he is slandering present day non-Aboriginal Australians.

New NRL ad is 'simply the best'

It prevents the forearm contacting the head because contact around the shoulder/upper arm area (the area where contact causes the arm to bounce up) is deemed high

The swinging arm: It's time for the NRL to act

Swinging arms that contact the head typically bounce off the attacking players upper arms or shoulders.
To me the way to stop this isnt to stop the swinging arm, its to subjective as Paul has pointed out. It is to follow AFL (and i think rugby also) and make tackles need to be made below the arm pit.
This way a player can still wrap up the arm carrying the ball, but if he attempts to do so with a “swinging arm” rather than a wrapping arm he risks it going wrong and being penalised. It also allows full forced front on tackles.
Bounced up off an arm or shoulder should not be an excuse as that is the only result one could expect from a swinging arm to that area.

The swinging arm: It's time for the NRL to act

Noted you mentioned other things, such as the rise of Tonga and the women’s game, Australian interest in the Super League and Prince Harry having made the announcements for the World Cup. I already commented on a couple of them. But, to me they are actually lesser examples of having turned the corner.

Australian rugby league fans may be taking notice of the English competition for the first time in a long time. But these people are already fans of rugby league in the country where the game is at its strongest. In the context of the sport as a whole these are not new fans in new markets.

I think claims of media interest in Prince Harry creating discussions around Rugby League is fanciful. I can not fathom that people would be talking rugby league just because Prince Harry was involved. If by some chance they were, would they remember their conversations next year when the World cup is actually on? Would this sudden additional interest in the tournament now be reflected in attendance and viewership next year?

I can appreciate that the increasing popularity in women’s rugby league leads to growth of the game with increased viewership and participation by females. But I don’t believe it is genuinely taking the game to new, traditionally non-league markets. The improvement of the orchids is a prime example of this. Yes the women’s game has grown there but Papua New Guinea as an has always played rugby league.

I’ll believe the game has dispersed into Brazil, Canada and Greece when I see it. Just because these teams are in the World Cup does not mean they have created a foothold in their respective countries. We will likely see some very one sided contests reflecting this. I understand these countries have to start somewhere, and theoretically this could be the launching pad for the rise of Rugby League in their countries. But it wont be. They need someone to fund the growth of the sport. They need that to result in competitions established and junior participation. Then finally development pathways for those juniors to turn professional.

If Toronto can be successful and if someone funds junior development there, league could take over union there as a niche sport. Then just maybe grow throughout Canada and rival the Canadian Football League. But there are too many unlikely ifs to believe this could happen. And if it were to, as I said initially, it is still a long way off.

I enjoy your optimism and I’d truly love to be wrong about this. I will continue to be entertained by international rugby league as it exists currently. I’ll be watching both the women’s and men’s world cups. I just don’t think many Brazilians will ever be doing the same.

Has international rugby league finally turned a corner?

The emergence of toronto is great but i don’t think it is enough to have ‘turned the corner’. They also will first need to be successful in SL if they are going to capitalise on any SBW related attention. Then maybe one day RL can actually establish itself as a niche sport in North Americs. Still a long way from even possibly happening.
As for the rise of Tonga, it makes great entertainment but the reality is it is a bunch of Australian and New Zealand raised Tongans playing Australia and New Zealand. The game hasnt really grown.
Finally, I am enjoying the rise of the womens game but again its not pushing the game into new countries.

Has international rugby league finally turned a corner?

Thanks, i do like Elliott, he works hard. Im just not sure he has much potetential to grow his game beyond what he already offers. Hope im wrong though.
I think Toomaga is the one that looks like developing into a real top quality middle forward.

Why your team will do better in 2020: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

there were calls in the offseason from some ex player (cant remember who and cant find the article now) to give them 2 match home and away blocks with a bit of common sense involved in which 2 matches also. Eg. play away against Broncos one week and Titans the next before 2 home games. Next away trip to Sydney teams etc to ease their travel load. Not sure if the Warriors players would be for or against this though as it does mean more time away from family. In any case I just quickly looked at the draw and definitely nothing like this has been done.

Why your team will do better in 2020: Warriors

Have to agree to disagree on this one.
Hes mostly known as a defensive centre. The likes of Johnson and Harris have often spoken glowingly about his defence, especially his communication with those around him.
But his attack stacks up pretty well also.
He averages over 100m a game.
Hiku was equal with Latrell for most try assists by a centre last year and 1 TA behind (several equal first centres) the year before.
In 2018 he played inside Fusitua, Fusitua became leading try scorer. In 2019 he swapped sides and played inside Maumolo. Maumolo then became Warriors leading try scorer and winger of the year. I know other factors contributed to this, but I think Hiku’s importance to the Warriors is massively underestimated.
In my (unpopular) opinion he is definitely one of the better centres going around.

Why your team will do better in 2020: Warriors

Don’t think you can judge Johnson based off last year alone. He had no pre-season to gel with the team. Then played busted all season. I think we will see a different Johnson this year. Having said that don’t really think the decision was wrong to let him go. He was being over paid for what he had delivered and (according to Kearney) basically sulked when told to earn his contract. But, letting him go is one thing. Letting him go with no back-up plan and then making a rash decision to sign a lesser half when you have someone with serious talent coming through is another.
Paasi is so skillful for a big man. He needs to be allowed to offload and play before the line at will. If he was part of the Warriors side of 5-10 years ago where this was encouraged he would be a very different player. More than anyone else in the team I think he is stifled by the game plan.
Bunty looked a very handy backrower in his debut season. Ran great lines and had good footwork. I don’t think he offers much in the middle of the field.
Agree Blairs best days are a long way behind him.

Why your team will do better in 2020: Warriors

I think they are a big chance IF Harris-Tavita plays 6. Unfortunately I don’t think he will start there. Kearney is too cautious as a coach. A halves combination of Green and Nikorima just doesn’t have enough points in them.

Why your team will do better in 2020: Warriors

your right, he should be on notice as his results just aren’t good enough.
I didn’t mention him as I’m trying to specifically say why they can do better. Unlike Mary who has had Dragons looking brilliant before (if only for half a season) or Green who is saying all the right things, I haven’t heard anything from the Kearney that suggests there is hope for improvement (from a coaching perspective).
Having said that this was probably the hardest to write so far. Not because I don’t think there is unlimited potential for improvement but because they are probably the least reported on team to have any ideas of how they are tracking for 2020. For all I know, Kearney has been publicly saying all the right things and the players buying into it, but it just isn’t reaching the Sydney media.

Why your team will do better in 2020: Warriors

I dont see a real issue with salary cap.
I get the argument that if a) is on 100k and b) is on 500k and both teams caps are maxed out then technically the team receiving player b) will be 400k over the cap.
But, this is already happening when a player being shopped around goes to a new club and receives their full salary, but their previous club is paying half of it. For a player on 800k for example the new club would also technically be 400k over the cap if we are just looking at the players value.

NRL loan deals are the next evolution in player movements

I actually think in a weird way this is the best result for everybody.
Catalans can assess the risk/reward of signing a player who is polarising off-field but exception on-field and have decided that he is worth the signing.
The governing body can openly deride their decision in order to keep their sponsors and fans happy.
Fans can openly deride their decision whilst getting to watch him play.
Fans who side with Folau can use his signing to validate their support of him.
Other clubs can use their condemnation of Folau/Catalans as a marketing opportunity for themselves in the way that Wigan has.

Israel Folau and the governing bodies who are powerless to govern

I don’t think they have to talk him up. Surely they could just have easily be saying something along the lines of we want to temper expectations, given his time out of the game we want to ease him in and not put to much pressure on him. Whilst I think it is a bit of a cop out to do so, a $1M contract should come with pressure and expectations, it is more the type of talk I would have been expecting from the club.

Why your team will do better in 2020: North Queensland Cowboys

as far as improving the defence goes. Im not sure they need to actually make to many changes. They leaked a hell of a lot of points with Hess getting beaten one on one with speed when he was playing in the centres. They also seemed to give up a lot of soft points later in games that were mostly effort related after dropping their heads when no longer in the contest. IF they sort out their attack and become competitive there, I think that will result in a happier more focused team that is willing to put the extra efforts in that is needed in defence.

Why your team will do better in 2020: North Queensland Cowboys

Yep, though one thing that ive noticed with Green (moreso than Mary) is at the end of last season and this preseason he has talked about recruiting the right players to improve their attack and the need to overhaul their attacking structures. So it does at least appear as though the penny has finally dropped with him. Whether or not he has the ability to actually design and implement new successful structures is another matter, but we will soon find out.

Why your team will do better in 2020: North Queensland Cowboys

I don’t disagree but the problem with “let them have a few decent Shield seasons” is that there is no shield pitches that offer anything for the spinners (and a few that offer plenty for the quicks). As such the spinners just don’t get given enough overs to develop their game in the shield or have a few decent season. I think this is the main attribute as to why we haven’t developed any topline spinners since Warne and MacGill, with the exception of Lyon who had played bugger all shield games and improved his bowling remarkably whilst in the test team.

Trio of young leggies bodes well for life beyond Lyon

I agree that Mary handled things poorly. I think other coaches would have done a much better job and their season would not have gone as bad. However, I think it was just to big an issue and it would have been to big a distraction for any coach to control to the point where they would have been in the mix for finals.

Why your team will do better in 2020: St George Illawarra Dragons

Agreed, I think most their forwards have second phase football in them. It is a question of whether they are able/permitted to use it. This is also one area where I think Merrin will also add to the team. He has always been a great exponent of the offload, and was 2nd highest off-loader in the SL comp last season.
But to offload they need to dominate the ruck first. Whilst they certainly have the players to do so, I think last year they just didn’t have the intensity. I think that could change this year with a happier and focused playing group.

Why your team will do better in 2020: St George Illawarra Dragons

Great article forty twenty.
To me the rise of Suli as soon as he started getting fit wasn’t surprising. He was so highly rated coming through the grades, it was never an issue of talent holding him back.
The improvement of Parker was however a pleasant surprise. Like you I thought he looked promising when he first came into first grade, but he still had a long way to go. He then seemed to go backwards over the next couple of seasons. There is no way i could have predicted he would be the player he was in 2019. I think he still doesn’t pose enough of a threat in attack to form part of the best centre pairing. He is however one of the better defensive centres, with exceptional decision making more so than powerful tackling.
Barring injury I suspect the broncos and sharks pairings will be the best performed centres this season.

Manly's much maligned centres could play a major role in a title win in 2020

I also think Maguire has done a great job at the Tigers, and it is an example of what a Titans fan should be expecting/hoping for in the short term.

Why your team will do better in 2020: Gold Coast Titans

Agree that none would have been top dollar players but nor were any of them unknowns. They were all junior rep players in either rugby or rugby league!!
Sivo came through the Fiji 7s development system and was labelled a future superstar before moving to Gunnedah aged 20 to play group 9 rugby league, not juniors. There is more money in rugby league than Fijian Rugby, it is also quicker to move up in league than world rugby. Yes, Parra signed him from Penrith reserve grade but he had well and truly already made a name for himself as a 1st grade ready player.
Koroibete was definitely not just languishing in reserve grade. He was Tigers rookie of the year in 2012. It was only persistant injuries that stopped him playing more games at the tigers.
Waqa, Again its not as if he was an unknown plucked from obscurity, he was a young player with some 1st grade games to his name that had to sit out one season due to contract mishap. A broke European Rugby club reneged on their big money contract) that kept in Shute Shield for one season before Melbourne signed him.
If the argument is there might be a player in his early 20s about to break out who could be cheaper then sure, of course there is. And you are right Storm typically back these players and spend big elsewhere. But my point was none of these wingers were “plucked from anywhere”.

The myth of the Parramatta Eels will be shot down in 2020

I must disagree.
JAC was a superstar in the making at the Tigers, only held out of first grade by secondary cap rules.
Vunivalu was tearing it up as a junior rugby player, unheard of to league fans only.
Koroibete was brought through the Tigers system and just hitting his straps when Storm pounced.
Waqa had already played rugby for Fiji than 2 seasons at Roosters before Storm pursued him.
Semi and Sivo were both products of the hugely successful Fiji rugby 7s before Para signed them.
Hardly a list of players plucked from anywhere.

The myth of the Parramatta Eels will be shot down in 2020