The Roar
The Roar

Ben Lewis

Roar Pro

Joined November 2014







I am a passionate rugby league fanatic that is so sick of the disgusting refereeing blaming attitude that has infected the greatest game of all. Aspiring journalist, passionate referee, and lover of all things rugby league.



This is precisely why the salary cap is not sufficient to ensure a level playing field. Why would players seriously consider signing with clubs like the Titans, Dolphins, or Tigers when they know that they’re going to be set up for life after their playing career is over? The benefits and cushy jobs that get thrown to Roosters players upon retirement is pretty tough to take, especially for the clubs that struggle to sign marquee, top of the range players.

BREAKING: Furious Storm consider cutting the Cheese after controversial podcast comments

Great article Tony; you’ve captured the feeling of bleakness that I’m pretty much used to by now.

When I was a young kid I was so excited about the prospect of watching the Eels win a premiership alongside my father; also a lifetime blue and gold fan. Now I’m just hopeful that he’ll see another grand final victory in his lifetime.

Just how long is too long between drinks for the Parramatta Eels?

Whoever is in charge of retention at the Eels needs to be fired immediately. This is absolute incompetence. He should have been handed a blank check; Mahoney needed to be our priority; our number one signing. More than Gutherson, more than Papali’i, RCG, Moses, any of them. Mahoney was the most crucial part of our dwindling chances to finally snare another premiership and the club reacted by low balling him and letting Canterbury snatch him away. It’s pathetic, and another sign that the cancer within the Board and powerbrokers of the club wasn’t entirely cut out when the NRL cleaned them out a few years ago.

We’ve got next year; our last chance to make an indent into a serious finals campaign before our window is well and truly slammed shut. Unless we uncover a gun dummy half in the next 12 months and figure out a decent recruitment/retention strategy, we’ll be lucky to be competing for the final spot in the top eight. Meanwhile our biggest rivals will be competing for spots in the last game of the year.

If anybody needs me, I’ll be writing a very strongly worded reply to the Eels last email asking me to renew my membership for 2022. Of course I still will, but I’ll be giving them a damn good ear-bashing before I do.

Slip slidin' away: Eels lose another star with Mahoney set to join Dogs

I’d like to suggest a supplementary “W” entry:
Wrist-Slap – the thing the Panthers got after using their trainer to cheat in the semi-final… 😛

In all seriousness, awesome article Tony! Can’t disagree with many of your points, although I reserve my opinion for “K”.

The A to Z of the NRL's 2021 season

Moving teams out of Sydney will not work. Their local fans will feel betrayed and the locals of the area they get transplanted into will resent not being able to support a truly local team.

Ideally I’d like to see a 20 team competition, provided it was sustainable. The four new locations should be Redcliffe, Central Coast Bears, Perth, and New Zealand.

Redcliffe is the better of the current bids, although I would have loved to see a team in Rockhampton – halfway between Brisbane and Townsville. Side note, the Firehawks is a stupid name.

The Bears would lure back a few old North Sydney fans while also giving the Central Coast area a team to support. The Central Coast has a massive league following that seems to go unnoticed, and Bluetongue Stadium is one of the best suburban grounds in NSW. Plus the idea of taking one heritage game every season to North Sydney Oval; a license to print money.

Perth is a no brainer and I can’t believe they didn’t end up in the final running along with the Dolphins and the Firehawks. You’ve got a 60,000 capacity stadium, and while I’m not crazy on oval stadiums being used for rugby league, there’d only be one game a fortnight; you’d draw a crowd just like Brisbane do at Suncorp. Again, huge market for league, massive grassroots and development opportunities, and games that the NRL do take over there seem to be extremely well received.

The final team to make 20 should come from New Zealand. The rivalry you’d create would be enormous, and there’s so many terrific players from the Oceanic region that could benefit greatly from a second team to potentially play for. PNG or Fiji are also good options but New Zealand is a safer option at the moment. No disrespect to the PNG Hunters.

The other market that might be considered is Adelaide, but I don’t think the interest and potential is strong as any of the other four options. Redcliffe, Central Coast, Perth, and New Zealand; four expansion clubs spread out geographically, a 20 team national competition, and more eyes on the product from new markets. I couldn’t be in more favour of the idea.

Manly and Sharks to relocate, two new teams in Qld plus Fiji and PNG: Tough expansion calls NRL should make

Taking aside the fact I firmly believe it should never be held outside of Sydney, from a player welfare perspective playing the GF in Brisbane is risky. October in Brisbane is humid, hot, and hazardous. Even this year the players looked noticeably fatigued throughout the game.

Grand Final at Suncorp: Could it happen again?

Yeah, I can’t believe this is the angle Cleary and the Panthers have taken.

They got off far too lightly as it is, and now they want to have a whinge about unfair treatment? I’ll give him this; he’s certainly got kahunas. Too bad he won’t be able to back them up with a premiership.

Panthers 'vigorously defending' banned physio after semi-final controvery

I assume COVID restrictions are why the team left it so late to drive to the stadium, but heavens above that’s unexpected. Reminds me of when Mick Cronin needed a police escort to the 1986 Grand Final due to horrendous traffic 😂

Cue the conspiracy theories from both fans 😛 either Des is up to his psychological tricks by delaying the game on purpose a la the 2014 GF (we all know how well that turned out for him) or Wayne Bennett has managed to sabotage the Manly bus.

BREAKING: Preliminary final kick-off DELAYED as Brisbane's traffic pins Manly

Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Referee: Ashley Klein
Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins
Touch Judge: Jon Stone
Touch Judge: Phil Henderson

Storm v Panthers
Referee: Gerard Sutton
Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
Touch Judge: Todd Smith
Touch Judge: Dave Munro

NRL preliminary finals teams: Big boost for Storm, Panther to miss again

Second last game.

NRL preliminary finals teams: Big boost for Storm, Panther to miss again

Ah, a rare occasion where the Roosters don’t get special treatment; you love to see it!

Roosters gamble backfires as Verrills appeal sees his suspension doubled

Shaun Lane starting; Matterson on the bench and Makatoa out completely… does Shaun Lane have blackmail material on BA or something?!

NRL semi-finals teams: Crucial ins for Panthers, Roosters lose forward

Anybody thinking there’s even a slight chance of a bias on Gerard’s part doesn’t know the first thing about refereeing and shouldn’t even be listened to, much less taken seriously.

That being said, I think the NRL have contradicted themselves with their directive that Bernard cease his consultancy role with Queensland or Gerard misses Origin. If there’s an issue there I can’t see how there’s any less of an issue with the Storm; from the NRL’s point of view I mean.

Stopping the Storm is going to take more than a brain-fart refereeing conspiracy

Grant Atkins missed out?! My goodness; that’s crazy!

NRL semi-finals teams: Crucial ins for Panthers, Roosters lose forward

It shouldn’t be anywhere near Townsville at all; the surface of QBC Stadium has been absolutely abysmal – I doubt treating it between now and the GF would make enough of a difference.

'We're absolutely concerned': NRL grand final up in the air as COVID-19 cases hit Queensland

I hate the idea of yet another Storm v Roosters grand final, so I’ll go with my heart and say Roosters to prove that Manly were just flat track bullies all year, but then lose to the Bunnies in the preliminary final.

A heart-stopping conclusion deserving of finals status: Talking points from the Roosters' last-gasp win over Titans

“They [Manly] have pushed the Storm harder than any other team in the last six months”

Uh, Scott? The Eels are 2-0 against the Storm this year 😛 Manly are 0-1…

The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Finals Week 1

I definitely don’t think Sunday’s referee deserves to be in the finals…

I think Sutton will end up getting the GF again, although I’d much prefer Grant Atkins. Out of the four referees left, I mean.

NRL Finals Week 1 teams: Huge out for Storm, Saifiti brothers back for Knights

I loathe referee bashing; I think I’ve made that very clear over the years, but one particular appointment this week raised my eyebrows.

NRL Finals Week 1 teams: Huge out for Storm, Saifiti brothers back for Knights

Oh, nice shot! 😂

'I sat there lost for words': Warriors boss vows action against sin-binned trio

I’m still not writing off the Roosters.

NRL ladder LOCKED: Titans seal last-gasp finals fairytale

I daresay the four referees that will qualify for the first week of finals will be Sutton, Klein, Atkins and… jeez I don’t know about the fourth. Probably Cummins.

And that’s not me saying I agree with those four; that’s what I think based on how they seem to be viewed by the higher ups.

NRL ladder LOCKED: Titans seal last-gasp finals fairytale

Robinson needs to cop more than $10,000 fine for his spray. $25,000 – minimum. Prefer it to be around $50,000.

As for Mitchell; I’m happy they went harder than the 4-6 weeks I thought he’d get, but even so, he only got six weeks due to his priors. That shot seemed to be worth more than that on its own.

UPDATE: Trell's monster ban, bunker ref sacked, Manu's op and Robinson investigated

It’s certainly been done in the past. I believe the Warriors began on -4 one year back in the 2000s.

'Grade-five stupidity': Elliott stood down, Bulldogs future at risk

I agree with the overall thesis of your article, Macca, but I have to disagree with one thing.

Dan Ginnane belongs nowhere near a commentary desk. His ridiculously obnoxious catchphrase “GOOOOOODBYEEEEEEE!!!!” is genuinely right up there with Gould’s “expert” remarks in how unbelievably irritating and self-absorbed it is.

'Eats at the NRL product': Sterlo was right to call full-time at Nine