The Roar
The Roar

Daniel Szabo

Roar Guru

Joined November 2012

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Rugby league, rugby and cricket. Part time sandpaper salesman with a doctorate in ball-tampering. Strong advocate for the return of the shoulder charge in both rugby codes. St George for life, Illawarra till I die. I bleed blue three times a year, and I am the world's biggest Papua New Guinea Kumuls fan!

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Absolutely Paul. I think a penalty is sufficient. Maybe a fine or points lost like Edward Kelly suggested above if multiple offences occur, but I feel that’s incredibly unlikely. To my knowledge, the 2019 grand final is the first time this has actually happened in all the years of trainers abusing the right to be on the field. So I don’t think it’s likely to occur again anytime soon, although with the way the rules are it’s certainly a possibility.

The NRL’s rule changes are a mixed bag

Well if Croker had challenged that call in the grand final it would’ve gone the Roosters’ way because Cummins was actually correct in the end. What was incorrect and incredibly unfair was the process, Cummins calling 6 again, then Wighton thinking he had a whole set up his sleeve and deciding to take the tackle when he could’ve easily got an offload away only for a handover to be called. But I take your point. Captain’s challenge in cricket doesn’t fix everything because teams can use them up stupidly and not have any left when a howler occurs. It’s not a solution to the game’s problems, and is likely to just create more.

The NRL’s rule changes are a mixed bag

Yeah I wouldn’t be opposed to fines or loss of points depending on the circumstances. It’s ludicrous to award the team with the ball with a replay when it’s inevitably going to be their trainer who interferes given trainers aren’t allowed on when their team is defending. So poorly thought through.

The NRL’s rule changes are a mixed bag

I think they’re asking for trouble by introducing this captain’s challenge. It works in cricket and NFL because there is a break after every play. That’s not the case in the NRL.

They really need to figure this out so that there are minimal opportunities for captains to use their challenge as a way to interrupt the momentum of the other team.

The fact that they have committed to it before figuring out the logistics tells us all we need to know about this administration.

The NRL’s rule changes are a mixed bag

That’s correct Paul, although they haven’t yet specified those changes. I’m skeptical that they will have any real impact given that it’s taken a huge mistake in a grand final to even get the powers that be to look at it when the fans have been calling for change for years.

That said, it still doesn’t mean a trainer interfering with play should be considered the same as a referee interfering with play. I’m all for those that run the game minimising the involvement of trainers. In fact, I think trainers should only be allowed on during play when a player is injured in back-play. However, this should have no bearing on what the outcome is if a trainer interferes with the play.

The NRL’s rule changes are a mixed bag

Certainly makes sense. Doesn’t matter if your forwards are dominating if the halfback keeps handing the ball over in bad areas.

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

Thanks Scott, appreciate that mate. It’s interesting you bring up those players. I loved Bowen too, but with the way the game has changed since he was at his peak I genuinely wonder how he would handle the increased physicality of today’s game. That said, I think he brought a lot more to the table skill-wise than Dufty does. When you talk about physicality, all the great fullbacks have it in some capacity, but it’s never been the only string to their bow. Sure, Inglis could go over the top anyone he wanted at his peak, but there was a lot more to his game than just that. Slater was one of the quickest in the game when he was young. The reason why he was so great, even after the age of 25 or so when one tends to lose that extra yard of pace is because he became the best defensive fullback in the game and the best ball-player in the game. My concern with Dufty is that he has come through the grades relying almost entirely on his speed, and in doing so, neglected other aspects of his game. His speed has got him quite a few incredible NRL-level tries, none more so than that one where he bamboozled Tedesco on Anzac Day. But now his opponents have figured him out, he needs to diversify his skill set quickly if he is to remain in first grade.

You say fullback is the second-most important position on the field. I would say it’s the most. Out of curiosity, what do you think is the most important position?

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

I love the idea of Aitken as a back-rower. Not as many crucial calls to make in defence (something he struggles with) defending 1-2 more positions infield – just tackle anything that moves really. And he’s got really good pace to go with his strength. I think he’d be a great impact back-rower. Bring him on when Frizell moves into the middle later in a game.

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

Totally agree with you there. Dugan was a disruptive influence on the team towards the end, but he was a great returner of the ball and a fantastic defender. Just couldn’t set up a try to save his life.

I’ll put my hand up, at the time I was fully in favour of the switch, and I seem to recall Dufty setting up more tries by throwing the last pass in the last few weeks of the 2017 season than Dugan had in his last 2 seasons. My thought process at the time was that those elements of Dufty’s game would progress as time went on – that being his defence, his size/strength and his skill under the high ball. Now 2 full seasons have passed and those skills haven’t improved. In addition to that, he’s now 23, and while he’s still extremely quick I believe (as happens with most players) his fastest days are now behind him. That’s why I believe it’s time to move on from him.

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

How is it confirmation bias? I’m dismissing the new information because the comparisons are invalid. Lockyer played fullback 20 years ago – it was a very different game back then, plus he had a plethora of skills that Dufty doesn’t. Barba’s skillset is probably the most similar to Dufty, but he had 5kg on Dufty when he won the Dally M, and closer to 10kg on him when he won the Man of Steele 2 years ago. And I simply believe it’s way too early to consider Papenhuyzen a success. Name me a fullback in the last decade who’s had sustained success at Dufty’s weight and height, with only one string to his bow (that being unbelievable speed). You can’t, because they don’t exist.

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

really? Why?

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

Lockyer and Barba weren’t one-trick ponies like Dufty. Both could pass better than Dufty and they could also kick (Dufty doesn’t have a kicking game). Lockyer also played fullback 20 years ago. Was a very different game back then while Barba at his best had at least 5kg on Dufty.

As for Papenhuyzen, he’s played 23 first grade games. Sure he’s the same size as Dufty, but I think it’s a bit premature to call him successful.

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

When I said number one priority I more meant it as a play on words with number one and fullback. It’s certainly important finding the right fullback, but I agree number one is squad durability over the course of the season.

Re Dufty, any decent kicker can force him to run the ball back and catch bombs. If the bombs go to the middle of the field then it’s his ball. What about when they kick early and the wingers are still up, they turn Dufty around and he fields the kick 2m out from the line facing his own ingoal, he gets smashed into the ingoal for a drop-out when perhaps a bigger fullback would’ve stayed in the field of play? Or how about when the Dragons are defending their line and Dufty is the only one back there, he has to field that grubber. He gets trapped where another fullback would’ve escaped.

Point is, if you have to go to those lengths where you limit your fullback’s carries and exposure to the high ball just because he’s lightning quick then he shouldn’t be in the team.

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

When I say ‘number one priority’ it was more meant as a play on words with number one and fullback for the headline. I agree, squad durability throughout the year should be top of the list.

The thing with Dufty at the back is that any decent kicker can force him to do the work that he’s not good at. It’s well and good to say “get the wingers to catch bombs” (although that in and of itself has been a problem since Nightingale retired) or “get the wingers to run it back”. What about when the kicker kicks on tackle 3 to turn Dufty around while the wingers are still up in the line? He fields the ball 2m out facing his own line and gets dragged back where a bigger fullback would’ve stayed in the field of play. What about when the Dragons are defending on their line and the wingers are up, then the opposition halfback puts a grubber into the ingoal, Dufty gets trapped where Ravalawa or Pereira or whoever would’ve made it back? And if the high balls go to the middle then it’s Dufty’s ball, the wingers won’t get there in time.

Bottom line is if you have to go to those extraordinary lengths to cover up one player’s weaknesses then he shouldn’t be in the team.

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

That’s my point though re Lomax. I didn’t say he definitively can’t ball-play, I’m just saying he hasn’t shown it in his limited opportunities (1 or 2 first grade games at fb). My gut feel though is that he’s not fantastic at it (and I didn’t say this above but I’m saying it now) because if he had shown the ability to ball-play in the lower grades he probably would have played more fullback coming through. If a guy with his build and physical attributes also had the ball-skills to match I’m sure his junior coaches would’ve wanted him at fullback getting his hands on the ball more.

I also think it’s unfair to put that pressure on a 20-year-old who’s barely played the position even in the lower grades. He’s a centre and he should 100% replace Aitken on the right edge. I gather you don’t like Lafai very much. He’s not my favourite either but I think he’s a lot better than Aitken. 2018 he was the leading offloader in the comp. He’s simply the best centre in the club (which says more about the club’s centre stocks than it does about Lafai).

Finding a fullback must be Mary’s number one priority

Ravalawa would definitely be a handful for those who defend either side of him, having to make up for all his missed tackles. Although I’ll admit there is one positive to him moving to the centres – he won’t be under the high ball anywhere near as much as he is on the wing, and Ravalawa is an absolute disaster under the high ball.

Dragons confirm Issac Luke signing for 2020

hahaha. “Not even close. Keep trying” from the bloke who wants Ravalawa in the centres? That’s a little bit McGregor calling the kettle incompetent wouldn’t you say?

I’m curious though, what is it you see in Robson that I don’t? Is it the topping of the tackle count each week? THAT charge down against the Rabbitohs? THAT try-saver against the Sharks? How about the almost 1300m run (about 200 more than Cook)? Oh wait. That’s all McInnes.

Keep trying mate 👍

Dragons confirm Issac Luke signing for 2020

This is a terrible signing. No disrespect to Luke but he’s the last thing we need right now. We have Joe Lovodua, the Fijian hooker. He’s young, quick and has plenty of flair. He certainly needs to refine aspects of his game like his consistency, pinpoint passing and tackle efficiency, but he’d also be the perfect candidate to break a game open at the back end of a half – kind of like what issac Luke was 7 year ago.

Dragons confirm Issac Luke signing for 2020

Robson is not fit to lace Cameron McInnes’s boots. Sloppy passing, missed tackles – good riddance to him.

Dragons confirm Issac Luke signing for 2020

This is an idiotic signing Scott. More proof that our SuperCoach has no idea what he’s doing. In what world is signing an inferior hooker so that our top hooker, captain and best player can spend more time out of position a good idea?

Dragons confirm Issac Luke signing for 2020

One hundred percent! Absolutely full credit to PNG for the win. Take nothing away from them. They simply wanted it more than their opponents, who clearly thought all they had to do to win was show up. It was a classic ambush by the Kumuls and they should be extremely proud of their performance.

Pathetic British Lions not so great anymore

“I find this article quite insulting”
It certainly wasn’t meant as a compliment.

“Those English players played their hearts out”
I don’t agree at all. This GB team is as star-studded as they come, full of truly elite NRL and Super League talent. The Kumuls have 4 genuine first-graders – Johnston, Olam, Mead and the captain Martin. The PNG halfback Watson Boas plays in the English third division, and he comprehensively outplayed the current SL player of the year Jackson Hastings. If that’s not pathetic then I must be misusing the word.

Pathetic British Lions not so great anymore

It was great to finally see the Kangaroos toppled. Australia has treated international rugby league as an afterthought for as long as I can remember. Now we have a coach who says all the right things about making it the pinnacle of the game, and bringing back the passion to the green and gold jersey – but really it’s just more of the same with better spin attached.
England lost 6-0 in 2017 to Australian in the World Cup final – the two sides haven’t played each other since, yet England and New Zealand have played each other 4 times in that time. Now Great Britain tours for the first time since 2007 and Australia won’t play them? It’s disgusting! The Kangaroos got exactly what they deserved on Saturday, and there will be more to come if they don’t change their attitude.
Finally, I find it hilarious that after Boyd Cordner led Australia to victory over New Zealand, no one would stop talking about how he’s the first NSW player to captain a premiership, Origin Series win and test match victory over a tier one nation in one season. Never mind the fact that when Lockyer did it in 2006 his Kangaroos won a Tri Nations tournament, and Smith in 2017 won a World Cup (both significantly greater achievements than a one-off test win). But how come no one is talking about Cordner being the first captain since 1978 to preside over a loss to a tier 2 nation? Where are all the Cordner fans now?

Defeat to Tonga proves the Kangaroos need more Tests

Yeah I do recall Morley’s thuggery – just not quite old enough to remember what he was like week-in-week-out. I’ve seen that video of the high tackle on Robbie Kearns. I also remember him kneeing Corey Hughes in the head as his final involvement in the NRL. Seems hard to believe that a player who would do those kinds of things could be considered amongst the game’s elite. Certainly these days those kinds of offences would not be tolerated – not that they were 15 years ago, but even less so now. Still, people speak extremely highly of him and I guess he would have been a huge part of the Roosters’ success in the early 2000s.

Sam Burgess confirms injury-forced retirement

I reckon you might be thinking of Sam Tomkins. Played one game on the wing for the Barbarians. They got flogged but he scored their only try.

Sam Burgess confirms injury-forced retirement