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James Preston

Roar Guru

Joined June 2014

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James has a passion for writing, media and sport, so naturally he has been a long time reader and contributor of The Roar! Having retired from sports twice (apparently it takes three knee reconstructions to truly get the message) he has turned his hand to commentary and analysis instead. This has led to him hosting the 93.5 Eagle FM breakfast show, previously hosting a weekly program with respected sports broadcaster Dan Lonergan on EON Sports Radio in addition to stints with Macquarie Sports Radio, Sky Sports and the SCA Network. James has provided play by play commentary for a number of sports and most recently acted as a key caller for the Emerging Nations Rugby League World Championship.

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Preston’s Previews NRL Round 5

Last week’s tips – 6/8, running tip total – 19/32 Fortunately, in Round 4 the focus was shifted away from the officiating and back onto the football. After four rounds both the Roosters and Storm remain undefeated and despite a 1-3 start, the Raiders could be set for a huge two months of football.

More focusing on your comments as opposed to the article, you’re very quick to label the Balmain side of the venture as now dragging down the merger but at the same time you’re huge on history.
Let’s focus on your comments of the “dead Tiger.” In the first instance the NRL would have accepted the application from the Tigers NOT the Magpies, independent assessments also established that Balmain could have continued operating (for at least a few years – yes, they were by no means in great shape) whereas Magpies were completely shot with no capital behind them – not to mention truly horrendous on field performance for several consecutive years. At the time it was Balmain who offered a lifeline albeit through a merger of convenience.
The Magpies logo has been included on EVERY kit since the clubs inception and over the last 10 years the amount of orange/gold – a distinctly unique colour in the competition has continued to be reduced, to suggest that Magpies history/legacy is fading in a visual sense is completely false. WESTS TIGERS pays homage to both sides.
On history itself, BOTH, are foundation clubs. You’ve raised a point of Magpies having 8 decades of history thrown out, yet, you’re more than comfortable doing so to Balmain despite having 11 premierships to Magpies 4, despite featuring in what many believe the greatest grand final (and one of the best ever matches) in ’89, despite the likes of Laurie Nichols, despite calling Leichardt Oval – a ground steeped in history and nostalgia and still viewed as the ultimate venue in Rugby League and despite the countless legends that have played for the club.
The bias is staggering.
Very few are calling for more games in Campbeltown (crowds are rubbish to start with) and the current split is even – despite there being a strong desire for more Leichardt games. The key problem as others have illustrated is there should be more use of suburban grounds in general.
But, you either need to pick history or current standing as your argument, they contrast one another, and if you’re going for the current situation then put simply the branding is too strong amongst fans and the NRL and you risk disenfranchising more than half of the current supports – Balmain holdovers and those who have only known Wests Tigers. The idea of a Magpies standalone is inane.

An open letter to the Wests Tigers and the NRL

@Roberto – I agree with you I feel I have certainly taken some upsets here, namely Titans and Knights to get up. Same with Warriors, far from confident they will perform.

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 3, 2017

Out of interest, who did you miss out on last week?

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 2, 2017

Plenty of good games this week but I agree with you, this should be the best one!

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 2, 2017

Not sure I agree with that Jacko – RTS is the captain and a NZ international at 23, Lolohea could be anything and players like Fusitua have been in first grade and excelling in it for a number of seasons. If there was a huge influx of new players for this season under 25 I would agree with you, but, again on paper – this is a premiership contending side as opposed to a Manly type rebuild.

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 2, 2017

@Dogs – Yep that was him mate. Could do some freakish stuff on his day though!

NRL Friday Flashbacks: Jason Bulgarelli

He certainly bashes people for a living now, apparently not a bad boxer Squid

Former NRL player urges Indigenous stars to 'chuck a Kaepernick'

Awesome read

CRAIG WING: Why NRL stars come face-to-face with criminals

@Rossco and @David – Apologies! Oversight on my part not to include Rabbitohs as having not been mentioned. That said I stand by my selections. I thought Cody Walker was your best player this season – but not quite worthy of a notable for the five-eighth or fullback spots – Burgess has been pretty average in my opinion, far too many errors this season.

Preston's NRL team of the year

Good points Joe, but as we know both the Tigers and especially the Warriors have been extremely disappointing lately with their seasons on the line.

Preston's previews: NRL Round 25

@Joe – Souths unfortunately went better than coming close mate! Ruined my round of tipping. I need a candlelight vigil.

Preston's previews: NRL Round 24

Haha figured you’d jump on Ken.

Credit where it’s due that was a much better performance.

Still can’t see them making the finals – I will be tipping the Roosters this week to be honest.

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 23

@jamesb – check out my reply to Ken for why I think that.

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 23

@Ken – That comment is referring to the football they play when on the field. They are truly awful. The Broncos are not a premiership contender, at least based on recent form. As mentioned in the article they are 3 from their last 10, Dragons and Souths accounting for two of those victories.

Two of the Dragons eight season victories also came against incredibly affected origin sides – Cowboys missing 6 players, Storm missing Cronk, Smith and for that match also Munster and Green. No way would they have won otherwise. That’s four points gifted.

So of the remaining six winning matches 1 was against Souths, the other against wooden spooners Newcastle and a third was against the Roosters when they were without Pearce, Cordner, JWH and more.

So whilst Newcastle are obviously dreadful and are the worst by a mile, I’d like you to take a look at the roster they possess and tell me of ANY coach that would not have that squad finish last. At the end of the day the Knights have shown improvement throughout the season and have thrown a serious challenge to both the Dogs and Storm in recent weeks.

In terms of how the are playing their football, the Knights are superior to the Dragons at present and I won’t be surprised if the Dragons loose to Newcastle in round 26.

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 23

@Joe – You do love your 13+s mate! All 3 could go either way.

Preston's previews: NRL Round 22

@PNG – I know mate! I wasn’t happy either about the result! This week’s analysis is in the system ready for publishing though!

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 21

Honestly embarrassing from the Broncos – with the side they have results like that are not acceptable. Storm however, simply unbelievable – I based my tip on the absence of Munster and Green and whilst Green is very influential, his presence does not account for such a score line disparity, a poor showing from the ponies.

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 17

I may just have to call you crazy Joe 😛
Dogs was a very difficult game to call for me – I feel better knowing they’ve lost four players since writing this BUT still not 100% the ponnies can snatch a win.
Tigers could surprise a lot of people, last few years they tend to play their best footy against Melbourne.
Titans and Raiders makes me more nervous than most to be honest.

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 16

Only VERY occasionally mate. I’m not really a punter, when I go to the races my main idea is to have a few drinks with mates.

Preston’s previews: NRL Round 16

Bugs – I actually did not delve into at all as said in the article. The only reason the point is raised is to acknowledge the roster that Bennett has at his disposal, which based on how the article begins is crucial to assessing the coaching performance in 2016. As a result it’s a fair point, are you honestly going to tell me that on paper that squad isn’t the most talented squad in the competition once again leaving the TPA issues for another time.
In regards to Hook and Henjak, no, they did not have a team like this on paper. Since Bennett has returned he brought with him Darius Boyd, Anthony Milford, Adam Blair and James Roberts – plus those players who were there under the previous coaches, who were young and full of potential have remained at the club as better players because they have had time to develop. I’m sorry but there is no comparison with those squads.
Which also means your point about me mentioning anyone could coach THIS SQUAD – THIS, 2016 SQUAD – to the finals is applicable. It is a completely different squad. I will tell you right now, I can coach this team to the top 8 and so can you.
I have also made zero comments about the draw and have merely stated that the Broncos lost their past 3 clashes at the time of writing the article. Which is a fact. Regardless of origin, they still had 7 representative players (8 if we include James Roberts in City v Country) play against the Tigers. I didn’t mention that Tigers were missing their only two players with first class international experience in Woods and Farah.
Directly addressing your comment about people using TPA’s intelligently Bugs – again that is a null and void notion. Brisbane is the biggest sporting franchise in the game…why? Because they are the only team in that city. A sporting mad city. It’s no surprise that North Queensland also enjoy the same privileges – again one city team in a rugby league mad state. As to why the Titans don’t get as much use out of TPA’s? They are on the glitter strip, interest in league is not particularly high in that region plus we need to look at the industry in the area. The Storm benefit from being a one state team I could go on and on but I won’t because it’s tiring and rather clear you’re a huge Broncos/Bennett proponent. His placing is a fair one.

NRL’s coaching mid year report card: Part 2

Disagree – yes that was a good move but his roster is top four quality and they have been dreadful this season, completely unacceptable.

Barrett was very close to being last on this list. I will be surprised if he is still there come 2017 at this rate.

The NRL’s coaching mid-year report card: Part 1

I contemplated it but having the right intentions can only get you so far. I still can’t see them winning another game this year – unless it’s against the Warriors this week. They are still a LONG way off. So whilst Brown is doing what needs to be done we certainly can’t say it is successful. It’s worth pointing out that there is a significant divide between 16-14 and 13-9 on this list though.

The NRL’s coaching mid-year report card: Part 1

Leilua is the only player that typically makes irrational defensive decisions and he has been doing that since his Roosters days. Raiders defence IMO is usually pretty good, definitely an attacking team though. With that said name one ‘superstar’ the Raiders have given at the time of this article they were sitting in sixth with a 7-5 win loss record.

The NRL’s coaching mid-year report card: Part 1

Agreed – similar sentiments offered in part 2. People also seem to overlook the difficult draw they have had so far, theyve had 9 matches against the current top 8, more than any other team AND they have pushed their opposition for the full 80 every week.

The NRL’s coaching mid-year report card: Part 1

Yes and no. Lichaa has huge wraps and IS a talented player, so much so that the excellent Damian Cook was shifted on to Souths. He is underperforming like several players on this roster, one or two players enduring form slumps is down to them but anymore than that I begin to look at the coach as I have done here.

As for the backs, Hopoate whilst not outstanding is a very good and above all a VERY safe fullback, Sammy Perrett has been a great first grader for a decade and Josh Morris is an international. The forwards speak for themselves, enormous bodies with plenty of rep experience.

On paper this is a very good squad, they are however VERY inconsistent, that’s a preparation issue not a talent issue and that comes down to the coach IMO, one back to back victory for a talented team coming 7th is not good enough.

The NRL’s coaching mid-year report card: Part 1