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Nico

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Joined April 2019

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I’d be keen to see the reintroduction of playing the ball forward when there isn’t a marker in place, Kerrod Walters was a pretty good exponent of this back in the day, this would help speed up play and help keep up attacking momentum when a side makes a break

Rule changes to make rugby league great again

If they get enough Eric Perez-type backers then it’s not outside the realms of possibility, but can you imagine the travel costs a Perth side would have to stump up for the opposition? The Western Reds thought it was bad enough paying to fly aussie-based clubs over, interesting times for sure

English Super League Round 6 wrap-up

Cheers for the write up Matt, the QRL doesn’t get the coverage it probably deserves, wouldn’t be surprised to see PNG on track for a bit of a rebound after the national side’s success against GB in the off season

Bears and Blackhawks to lead the way in this year's Queensland Cup

I’m a big fan of the idea of promotion/relegation, but I suspect the chances of the clubs agreeing to a system that puts their place in the ‘top-flight’ at risk is somewhere between Buckley’s and none. I think a more pragmatic approach to growing the game is by bringing more games interstate or to regional areas. In the AFL Hawthorn have reaped the benefits of building a sustained presence in one region over a long period by getting a deal for $3.8 million a year for 5 years out of the Tasmanian government, surely SA and WA have similar amounts to throw around for a club prepared to play 3-4 games a year in their respective stadiums

Expansion should future-proof rugby league, so let’s not rush it

Which results Cyril? Which of Bennett’s results show that he’s ‘lost his mojo’?

The five clubs that could use Wayne Bennett

Yeah it’s a bit sad, even if he hasn’t been winning premierships his record over the last five years is far from poor: 1 runner up (2 if you count the world cup), 2 prelim finals, 2 top 8 finishes, only Bellamy and Robinson would surpass this, and despite the acrimony from his years at the Knights he’s still the only coach to get them to the prelim finals since ’01. Personally I’d like to see him at the Warriors in some sort of role, there’s so much potential there but the attitude always seems to be lacking, Bennett is the master at getting the best out of his players and has already tasted success with NZ rugby league dating back to the 08 world cup

The five clubs that could use Wayne Bennett

Huddersfield will definitely be shocked by the size of the beating but Wigan have made a bit of a habit of turning it on this season when their opponent goes a man down, Giants were right in it until Sezer got 10 in the bin, will be interesting to see how well they regroup

English Super League Round 5 wrap-up

Thanks for reading, Albo. Leeds are looking the goods atm, solid forward pack and an entertaining backline combination of Walker, Newman and Briscoe, was a shame to see Walker injured so early on against Warrington, he was looking like he was up for a big night. Widdop’s been a bit off the pace but I’ll reserve judgement for a couple more games, he was playing behind a badly beaten forward pack on Saturday which made it hard for him to have much of an impact. Really like the look of Walker, Trueman and Newman, Liam Marshall wouldn’t look out of place on that list either

English Super League Round 5 wrap-up

“their introduction to Superleague was a really cruel one” – you said it, some tough opposition and no home advantage until round 11 would challenge anyone, they are competing but just haven’t found a way to win, for me Wolfpack still have enough individual talent to keep them ahead of Hull KR at least

English Super League Round 4 wrap-up

Always had a soft spot for the ESL, went to a few WCC games during Super League back in the day to watch London Broncos get towelled a couple of times, have followed Warrington though ever since Alf had a stint there back in the early noughties, honestly though I just love the game and got a bit fed up that with such a crucial year for the ESL with expansion, big signings of SBW and Maloney, TV rights negotiations around the corner and such a wide open comp most of what we seem to get fed in the Oz media coverage revolves around what old mate posts on Twitter in some way. Thanks for the feedback will take on board RE how Aussies/Kiwis are faring

English Super League Round 3 wrap-up

Cheers for the feedback Walter, hard to imagine a tougher draw for the Wolfpack and without a fixture at Lamport Stadium until round 11. They’ve had some decent individual performers, Ricky Leutele is one who springs to mind, just wonder if the lack of depth in the squad will come back to bite them

English Super League Round 3 wrap-up

Thanks for reading and for the feedback RoryStorm and Nat, will be aiming to make it a weekly fixture

English Super League Round 2 wrap-up

‘Gee its good to see the footy back even if it is only on the other side of the world.’ – how good is it! The 0 on the end of that scoreline is pretty significant, definitely been a while since St Helens kept to nought. Their best hope coming into the wcc is that Roosters will be coming in with next to no match fitness behind them for 2020, not to mention the chilly north England conditions playing into Saints’ favour

Wakefield coach banned from Folau comments

I nearly forgot there’s a game of footy between Wakefield and Catalans on top of everything else. Here’s how it’s shaping up. On the field the focus will be more on whether Wakefield can muzzle Jimmy Maloney from reproducing his best form from the NRL. Both sides will be pretty desperate to get a first win for 2020 under their belts after round 1 trouncings. Wakefield narrowly avoided relegation last season with a second last round defeat of the celler dwelling London Broncos. Nevertheless the Wildcats proved a more formidable opponent at home winning 7 2019 fixtures there. This match also heralds the home return of Tom Johnstone on the wing, a talented prospect who has managed 67 tries in just 81 appearances, whose last couple of seasons have been ended prematurely by injury. Catalans Dragons endured a disastrous end to 2019 and have since lost 6 matches on the trot, particularly struggling on the road. Aside from ‘Izzie going to play or not’ it’s a side brimming with talent including James Maloney, Sam Kasiano, David Mead and Josh Drinkwater, brother of NQLD’s Scott. The question is whether Maloney is able to guide his side around the park after a timid opening round in which he was outshone by fellow expat Aiden Sezer. Wakefield in a close one for mine

Wakefield coach banned from Folau comments

One of the Titans (many) issues of 2019 was the limp way they started games (and indeed their season). They got themselves on the back foot early losing their first four games while only being able to muster a measly eight points (they were kept scoreless in three of these). The Titans ended up on the wrong end of the scoreline 20 times last season and could only manage 6 first-half points or fewer on 12 of those occasions. Quite simply Holbrook has to find a way to get his more than handy forward pack to come out of the blocks at the start of matches and lay some points on early.

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

I think you’ll find the whole ‘we’re hard done by because we have 5 day turnaround myth’ is overstated, if actual research is anything to go by https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/fiveday-turnarounds-have-little-impact-on-a-teams-chances-figures-show-20160409-go2f6s.html ,as for Storm/Warriors/Cowboys, sure they probably cop the rough end of the stick here, but for Sydney clubs and their fans to bleat about being disadvantaged by the draw is laughable, who wouldn’t want to play more games in their home town with conditions you’re suited to. As for the Broncos getting more FTA games, sure it’s tough on clubs such as the Titans who only get one but at the end of the day, it’s a financial decision, as was the decision to award Sydney the grand final for the next 50 years (and yet another leg up to Sydney clubs). Swings and roundabouts

NRL free-to-air fixtures for 2020: Where does your team sit?

Broncos have to travel interstate 9 times next season (10 if you count Townsville), the average Sydney club need only travel 5-6 times (only 4 if you’re Penrith). Who’s being spoon-fed?

NRL free-to-air fixtures for 2020: Where does your team sit?

It’s a shame that Seibold’s top to bottom review probably won’t include one of the board that orchestrated the coach swap train wreck of last season (although Paul White is now apparently considering his position). For all the management talk about moving forward from Seibold and the senior players, the lack of consistency over the season suggests there are still some mental scars from 2018 at play here. Are the players really on board with Seibold? His hesistance to publicly criticise them after poor performances and willingness to offer excuses for them with tawdry statistic after tawdry statistic (‘so we got smacked by 40 right, but hey, our post-contact meters in the second half were up on the last 4 games, so we’re clearly definitely 100% ‘moving forward’) makes me think he’s been stepping on egg shells with the group all year. The great coach swap has ensured that 2019 is another wasted year for the Broncos – boasting a squad that should have been top 4 at least, it will now be remembered as another ‘rebuild’ year. But as much as the focus has been on the lack of halves (and fair enough, their attack has been average, points scored was down by 142 on last season, almost 25%), the Broncos defence has been poor for a number of years now, with ’18 & ’19 both ending up well on the wrong side of 500 (only ’09 was worse defensively, yet the still finished 4th) and this is where they will need to improve if they stand a chance in 2020

Six talking points from Parramatta Eels vs Brisbane Broncos NRL elimination final

Difficult decision for Seibold for next week about who he selects at halfback for the Broncs – does he persist with Turpin who’s put on a few match winning plays this year but looked fairly rudderless against the dogs, or does he go back to O’Sullivan who was solid against the Eels particularly in defence, but lacked penetration in his kicking game

Seven talking points from NRL Round 25

Actually promotion/relegation was used for about the first decade of the old National Soccer League. It was based on ladder position but also financial metrics which meant that the bottom -placed side wasn’t always the one that was relegated. Teams were promoted from the state leagues also based on on-field success and financial viability

Could the NRL survive promotion and relegation?

The AFL’s expansion success is a bit overstated in this article. Both the Swans and the Lions took a decade or more to start winning, the Lions needed salary cap concessions and a few handy imports from Fitzroy to do so, while the AFL has supposedly pumped in $50 million to keep the Suns afloat. While you get the occasional overnight success like the Storm, Broncos or West Coast Eagles, most expansion teams take a while to make their mark. The last thing the NRL would need is a court battle for relocating a team, and then having to prop the side up if they underperforming financially and/or on the pitch. Where the NRL can borrow from the AFL is their approach to established teams adopting certain regions – this season the Hawks and Melbourne play 4 ‘home’ games in Tassie. NRL clubs have still been pretty coy on this, taking one game to a certain region at the most, so perhaps a Sydney team could go a bit further and commit to 3/4 games in one region over a season and actually build some ongoing support there

Expansion: The dirty word in rugby league

The qld selection policy of picking your best 17 regardless of position should probably come under the microscope for next year. Arrow was good at prop, Hunt was serviceable as a dummy half and tried hard, but lacks the sharp passing of Granville or McCollough, Morgan (in games 1 and 2) and Mbye didn’t add a whole lot. Granville at hooker and Gagai in the centres with Feldt on the wing still leaves 3 playmaking options on field in Norman, DCE and Munster, with a 14 in Hunt/Morgan off the bench, 5 playmakers on the pitch at once is a bit of a waste

The Maroons had the passion but not the cattle

Part of the problem with stopping the NRL for 3 weeks for Origin is that it doesn’t counter for the post-Origin fatigue factor. As a Broncs fan, I’ve had to watch time and time again as each promising season gets derailed with a post-origin slump. So I’d like to see Origin played post-season. The only reason it’s played in June/July was that back in the day it served as a possibles vs probables trial for the test team, which seems fairly irrelevant now anyway since Origin is more or less the pinnacle of the sport. While you might risk losing a few decent players to post-season surgery, the trade off for a better quality and fairer NRL season seems well worth it.

There’s plenty going on outside the State of Origin bubble

Les Boyd was given a 15 month suspension for eye gouging as far back as 1984 so dishing out a few lengthy suspensions wouldn’t be without precedent

The NRL needs to open its eyes

Maloney might be a great ball player but he regularly tops the missed tackle and penalties conceded lists, I’m not sure he’s the answer to the Blues’ halves problems either

Why do the Blues insist on self destructing?