Manly Stitch-up Ends Honeymoon: Manly were robbed against Parramatta. Manly fans know it. Punters know it. The NRL has admitted it. Anybody with two eyes is aware of it. It also brought an end to the short-lived honeymoon fans had with the refereeing. There were some testy moments with some dubious obstruction calls coming out of the Bunker but it all came to a head on Saturday night and the match of the round when a Manly comeback was stymied by a ridiculous call from a touch judge who had an unnecessary influence on the game. It was an awful call live and an awful call in hindsight and an awful call full stop. Hopefully the new era of NRL leadership will bring some accountability in the refereeing ranks.
Worst Teams of NRL Era: A request was made over the week to provide a list of the worst teams of the NRL era. Here are the nine worst.
9.2013 Parramatta Eels
Played 20 Games: Mitchell Allgood
Worst Loss: 64-4 v Melbourne
Key Stat: Scored more than 14 points just four times after Round 3
8.2002 South Sydney Rabbitohs
Played 20 Games: Andrew King
Worst Loss: 50-4 v Wests Tigers
Key Stat: Conceded 40 or more in seven of last 13
7.2019 Gold Coast Titans
Played 20 Games: Bryce Cartwright
Worst Loss: 58-6 v Sydney Roosters
Key Stat: Lost last 12 games
6.2006 South Sydney Rabbitohs
Played 20 Games: Todd Polglase
Worst Loss: 66-0 v New Zealand
Key Stat: Lost opening 12 games
5.2008 Canterbury Bulldogs
Played 20 Games: Tim Winitana
Worst Loss: 56-4 v Wests Tigers
Key Stat: Conceded 50-plus in three of last six
4.2016 Newcastle Knights
Played 20 Games: Sam Mataora
Worst Loss: 62-0 v Cronulla
Key Stat: Conceded fewer than 20 points just twice
3.1998 Western Suburbs Magpies
Played 20 Games: Scott Coxon
Worst Loss: 62-4 v Sydney Roosters
Key Stat: Conceded 50-plus five times
2.2003 South Sydney Rabbitohs
Played 20 Games: Lee Hookey
Worst Loss: 60-8 v North Queensland
Key Stat: Conceded 30 or more in 12 of last 17
1.1999 Western Suburbs Magpies
Played 20 Games: Justin Brooker
Worst Loss: 68-10 v Parramatta
Key Stat: Conceded 60-plus five times
Dally M Medal Calamity: The rort that was the Dally M Medal last year has had the highly unwanted outcome of seeing betting on the Dally M Medal now banned. What a disastrous outcome for the great game. There was plenty of rorts on last year’s Dally M Medal, none more so than Brett Finch giving three votes to Mitchell Moses in the final round when he had a very poor game. It is astonishing how the NRL cannot get right the extraordinarily simple event of an awards night.
2020 Field Goal Update – five: It was a super weekend for the field goals with Luke Keary delivering one of the great disrespectful revenge field goals to put the Roosters up 29-0 before halftime in what would be a 59-0 win. Mitchell Moses then kicked a field goal that broke plenty of punters’ hearts in a 19-16 win. Keary’s field goal was laden with so much disdain for Anthony Seibold after his absurd comments last year. Benji Marshall slotted one against the Titans.
Fun Fact #1: The Gold Coast Titans had conceded 24 points or more in 15 straight games before their win over the Wests Tigers.
Fun Fact #2: The Sydney Roosters’ 59-0 win over Brisbane is the first time in premiership history that score has been recorded.
Fun Fact #3: Representative players who have left the Broncos under Seibold’s watch: Josh McGuire, James Roberts, Kodi Nikorima, Jordan Kahu, Andrew McCullough. Players with more than 40 NRL games experience signed under Seibold: James Segeyaro.
Betting Market of the Week: Anthony Seibold’s next excuse for the Broncos’ woes:
$1.40: Wayne Bennett built a terrible foundation at the Broncos
$2.50: Darius Boyd has compromising photos of me
$3.00: The Broncos are too experienced
$51.00: I’m an ordinary coach and not nearly as smart as I think I am
Rumour Mill: Canberra Raiders forward John Bateman is expected to reject signing with an NRL club to return to Super League and Wigan. Moses Suli is rumoured to have turned his back on joining the Dragons. There are expected to be mass layoffs at NRL HQ as quickly as this week. There is plenty more to Paul McGregor being off with the Dragons than is being reported. Corey Thompson will join the Titans this week after a last-minute decision to knock back the Dragons.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Anthony Seibold playing a rookie hooker in Cory Paix and going in without a recognised backup on the bench was both arrogant and irresponsibly stupid. He gave an ordinary Broncos team very little chance and threw a rookie to the wolves.
The Coaching Crosshairs: The vinegar is well and truly on Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold. Not only has the team suffered 58-0 and 59-0 losses in two of their last five games, club greats are lining up to slam his time at the club. Ben Ikin wrote a pointed column arguing that Seibold’s reign has been riddled with nonsensical personnel calls that has left the team bereft of talent, leadership and needs. Gorden Tallis said he would not help the club under any circumstances because “they made the bed and now they can lie in it”. Wayne Bennett, who absolutely despises Seibold with a passion and a disdain you rarely see, declared on Sunday that the Broncos should have chosen Jason Demetriou instead of Seibold. There is no chance the Broncos coach can survive this. He has nearly the entire organisation against him and has proven himself so utterly incapable of the job that it would not surprise if he got the axe before the season was done.
Beard Watch: Cameron Smith shaved off his devastatingly handsome iso beard this week. Melbourne returned to their winning ways. Farewell one of the great footy beards.
Watch It: One of the great sadnesses of the NRL era has been the loss of identity of the Illawarra Steelers. A once beloved side, the Steelers battled for most of their existence. Here is a nice documentary on their first decade in existence. Watch it here.