From the Couch: Round 13 by Nick Tedeschi

Bad Clubs Make Bad Decisions: The New Zealand Warriors have really fucked it up. The new Warriors owner called it “the best thing to happen to the Warriors in 20 years”. It will be up there with the worst. The club on Saturday confirmed that Nathan Brown would become the its new coach. Brown has been given a three-year deal. Despite having an appalling record as a coach, particularly when it comes to defence, he has been given a long-term deal to rebuild a club in desperate need of a teacher. The new Warriors owner, who clearly has no idea, declared upon Stephen Kearney’s sacking he wanted a coach with “some personality”. He has that with Brown. Sure, there will be no wins and very little tackling and a rebuild that will be so far from a solid foundation it will take a further three years to get clear air. But the Warriors will, indeed, have a personality. A coach who takes a Best Bets to the game. A coach who slaps his players. A coach who makes witty dick jokes about opposition coaches. They will also have a coach with a 42.5% win rate. A coach who went 24-69 during his last rebuild and failed to fire a shot with a team that had the Origin halfback and Kalyn Ponga, among others. The Warriors made a terrible hiring in Stephen Kearney. They have matched that with Brown.

Broncos Debasement Should See A Mass Cleanout: When it seems impossible for the Broncos to sink any lower, they manage to do it. Week after week. The last weekend has been a complete clusterfuck for the Broncos, both on and off the field. A quick recap of the weekend. Three Broncos assistants were unavailable for Friday’s game against rivals Souths because they went to the Caxton to celebrate Alan Langer’s birthday. The Broncos were hammered by Souths, who were led by the assistant coach Bennett was grooming to take over Brisbane, allowing some incredibly soft tries. Anthony Seibold was then delusional in the press conference, blaming the referees and calling the decidedly non-resilient Broncos “resilient”. Seibold then left the Broncos bubble for a family matter and is not available to coach for two weeks. Darius Boyd announced he was leaving the Broncos leadership team, which is actually two leadership teams, due to a communication breakdown with Seibold. Tevita Pangai Jnr, who was last week found to be calling other clubs to ascertain interest for next season, then went to the opening of a bikie barbershop, that got raided, and is now out for two weeks for breaching covid protocols.

It is an absolute disaster. This is not just a misevaluation of talent, the messing up of the salary cap or a run of outs. This is a systemic cultural failing of Rugby League’s biggest and richest club. It goes back years and the club is now reaping what is has sowed. This goes back to the malicious campaign to oust Bennett. It goes to some insanely short-sighted and stupid recruitment calls. It goes to one of the worst coaching contracts in history. It goes to a refusal at honest self-appraisal. Calamitous would be an understatement.

There should be very few who keep their jobs. The chairman, the board, the CEO, the coach, his staff and a good deal of the roster need to be dispensed with and soon. This club is rotten to the core. Never has a more selfish group of people been assembled and called a football club.
Wayne is Rugby League’s Best Troll: Wayne Bennett does not know the meaning of the word mercy. His hatred of Anthony Seibold is well known. He drummed it up again in the media this week by rehashing the club switch designed to get under Seibold’s skin. His effort though to get banned for breaching Covid protocols in order to allow assistant Jason Demetriou to beat up on Seibold was next level. Bennett was probably sipping on a virgin appletini as the Broncos got pumped. It was the best $20,000 Bennett will ever spend.

How Does Jared Maxwell Keep His Job: This week Maxwell completely overturned his new interpretation of grounding with Tom Burgess after giving Tyson Frizell a try the week prior and then awarded a clear double movement try. If I was this bad at my job – and I didn’t work for a joint with a HR team – I’d be long gone.

Ranking The Hookers: The Top 20 hookers in the NRL in 2020:

  1. Api Koroisau
  2. Cameron Smith
  3. Harry Grant
  4. Damien Cook
  5. Reed Mahoney
  6. Blayke Brailey
  7. Cameron McInnes
  8. Josh Hodgson
  9. Ben Hunt
  10. Reece Robson
  11. Tom Starling
  12. Andrew McCullough
  13. Jake Turpin
  14. Danny Levi
  15. Jake Friend
  16. Wayde Egan
  17. Nathan Peats
  18. Jeremy Marshall-King
  19. Issac Luke
  20. Erin Clark

2020 Field Goal Update – 13: Cameron Munster kicked the first field goal in what feels like a decade this week in what was a 41-10 win over Canterbury.

Fun Fact #1: On Saturday night, Blake Green became just the third player after Tyran Smith and Darrien Doherty to play for seven different premiership clubs.

Fun Fact #2: Darrien Doherty’s career lasted 11 seasons but he played just 67 premiership games.

Fun Fact #3: Green, Smith and Doherty played for a total of 18 clubs between them.

Betting Market of the Week: Which team was Josh Jackson playing for last week?

$1.90: Canterbury
$1.90: Melbourne

Rumour Mill: The rumour mill is in overdrive that Braith Anasta snitched on Wayne Bennett, dobbing him in after seeing Wayne Bennett dine at Grappa. Todd Payten is all but a done deal with the Cowboys to coach the club in 2021. Corey Norman has been rumoured to be part of a player swap with Gareth Widdop.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Paul McGregor’s decision – or at least adherence to the committee decision – to rotate his spine is beyond moronic. No successful team does it so it is the height of stupidity. Ben Hunt was working at hooker. So keep him there! He was again lost in the halves and then shifted to hooker about 30 minutes in when Tristan Sailor came on the field. To call this abject stupidity would be a major understatement.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Following a reversion to form, Paul McGregor’s sacking appears imminent. There is speculation that the club is trying to get Shane Flanagan’s ban reduced before making a move. The NRL would be highly unlikely to reinstate Flanagan. While this administration has no history with the decision and is less concerned with optics than the previous regime, they would think twice about bringing back a coach who was convicted of cheating. A scenario that has been whispered is the hiring of Craig Fitzgibbon. Fitzgibbon would be silly not to look at a return to the club where he spent some playing time. There are two reasons why the job could appeal. Firstly, the Saints do have some talent. Secondly, there are going to be very few head coaching jobs available after this season. The merry-go-round is in full force this year and most of the big names come off contract in 2022. He is not going to succeed Trent Robinson so it is an opportunity he should look at and the Dragons should make happen.

Beard Watch: The best dirty mo in the competition belongs to Josh Papalii. It barely exists. It is just a wisp. And it is glorious.

Watch It: Penrith’s 72-12 win against Manly in 2004 was the fifth-highest ever recorded by a team. The Panthers had eight different try scorers posted 13 tries in a free-flowing showing for the ages. Watch the highlights here.

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