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League Express

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R L Winger

Member Since 08 Feb 2012
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 05:36 AM
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Topics I've Started

STATE OF ORIGIN TEAMS GAME 3 2014

01 July 2014 - 09:16 AM

NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES:
1......Jarryd Hayne - (Parramatta Eels)
2......James McManus - (Newcastle Knights)
3......Josh Dugan - (St George Illawarra Dragons)
4......Josh Morris - (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
5......Daniel Tupou - (Sydney Roosters)
6......Josh Reynolds - (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
7......Trent Hodkinson - (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
8......Aaron Woods - (Wests Tigers)
9......Robbie Farah - (Wests Tigers)
10.....Paul Gallen - (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks) (CAPTAIN)
11.....Ryan Hoffman - (Melbourne Storm)
12.....Beau Scott - (Newcastle Knights)
13.....Greg Bird - (Gold Coast Titans)

INTERCHANGE:
14.....James Tamou - (North Queensland Cowboys)
15.....Trent Merrin - (St George Illawarra Dragons)
16.....Boyd Cordner - (Sydney Roosters)
17.....Luke Lewis - (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)

COACH:
Laurie Daley


Paul Gallen: Bring back the biff

19 June 2014 - 10:40 AM

NSW skipper Paul Gallen says players are being made to look like idiots under the rule outlawing punching and wants more licence to let off steam.

The Blues skipper called the sight of players running in and dancing around each other without landing a blow as 'embarrassing'.

Under the league's hardline stance, any player who throws a punch is immediately banished to the sin bin.

There's hardly been a cocked fist let alone a punch thrown in 12 months.  

"There is a lot of carry-on at the moment. You can't throw punches (so) I don't know why blokes run in," Gallen said.

"You look like idiots, really. Blokes running in and grabbing each other … it's embarrassing for the game.

"They should let you punch each other, really."

Gallen's team-mate and fellow Bruise Brother Greg Bird is another advocate of a return to the free-for-all days. 


He said: "I think it's embarrassing really. People run in 30m and push.

"I don't think it's a good look for the game. Take the refs out of play by letting players sort these things out for themselves.

"I'd much rather see people stand up for themselves."

Wednesday night's match in which NSW finally earned Origin redemption was punctuated by a string of unsavoury incidents and cheap shots from both teams.

But the game never fully erupted, with players mindful of leaving their team a man short should they throw a punch.

"It's Origin. We ripped into each other. The niggle is part of the game," Gallen said.

"Both sides give it to reach other. It was a brutal game."


STATE OF ORIGIN TEAMS GAME 2 2014

11 June 2014 - 01:45 AM

NEW SOUTH WALES

 

1. Fullback – Jarryd Hayne

I found it ridiculous to the point of laughter that some people were suggesting Hayne should be moved out of the fullback spot for Origin II. The superstar was the best player on the park in Brisbane, and the luxury that the fullback position provides him – to pop up wherever he can be most dangerous in attack – was a key to the Blues victory. Already an all-time Origin great, Hayne will again be the danger man for the Maroons, while the Blues will look to him to again stamp his class on proceedings.

2. Wing – Will Hopoate 

The Parramatta back was 18th man for the Blues in the opening game of the series, and with Laurie Daley strongly hinting that he didn’t want to pick a rookie for this game, Hoppa Junior was always going to be the replacement for the injured Brett Morris. He’s been improving each week for Parramatta after his two-year break from the game while on mission duties, and is slowly getting back to the elite-level backline player he was at Manly. He handled Origin well in his lone game back in 2011, and his class is a welcome addition to the Blues wing.

3. Centre – Josh Dugan
Laurie Daley is unashamed Dugan fan, and with the injuries to the Morris twins, along with a three-try performance for the Dragons on Saturday night, it sees the 23-year-old earn a Blues recall. Despite his talent, this is a gamble by the NSW selectors. Dugan won’t be playing in his customary fullback spot, and though he performed well at right centre on Saturday, the difference in standard between a depleted Sharks outfit and the almighty Maroons doesn’t need to be pointed out. If Dugan isn’t 100% comfortable and prepared, Queensland will make him pay. At his very best, Dugan is match-winning x-factor. At his worst, he’s a game-costing brain fart waiting to happen.

4. Centre – Michael Jennings

The Roosters centre didn’t get a lot of opportunities in the first game of the series, as the Blues predominantly stuck to a game plan of attacking down the right hand side of the field, and targeting Johnathan Thurston. With the Blues trotting out a new right hand side centre/wing pairing, along with Queensland no doubt addressing their defensive issues from game I, look for the Blues to get Jennings more involved in Sydney. And with his pace and footwork, that’s most definitely a good thing for NSW.

5. Wing – Daniel Tupou

Tupou wasn’t asked to do a lot on debut, but he made very few mistakes, and was solid when occasionally targeted by Queensland’s kickers. Rookies will definitely take that in the first game of Origin football, and he’ll feel even more comfortable in Game 2 . With the Blues no doubt using the left side of the park more in Game 2 , look for Tupou’s mastery in the air to be utilised.

6. Five-Eighth: Josh Reynolds

The Bulldogs’ five-eighth was sensational in his first run-on game with the Blues. He was heavily involved, intense and gave 100% commitment – everything you’d expect from Reynolds. His chemistry in attack with Paul Gallen and Jarryd Hayne was crucial in many attacking raids down the right hand side for the Blues, and NSW will simply ask for more of the same from their number 6 at Homebush next Wednesday night.

7. Halfback: Trent Hodkinson

I was a little surprised that Hodkinson’s was criticised by a small amount of people for his performance in Origin I. I thought he was extremely solid, and played the role he was actually selected for to perfection; that’s all you want from your players. Those expecting chip and chases, speedy bursts to the line, or flick passes will always be disappointed by the Bulldogs number 7, for that simply isn’t his game. But minimal mistakes, a strong kicking game and extremely solid defence are the cornerstones of Hodkinson’s game, and will be again next week..

8. Prop – Paul Gallen
The Sharks lock moves into the front-row to accommodate the return of bruise brother Greg Bird, but it will have little to no impact on his game as he always plays like a prop in the middle of the park anyway. We’re so used to Gallen’s Herculean efforts in the Blues jumper, that we now take his brilliant performances at Origin for granted. Gallen was absolutely sensational in game I, yet he received few plaudits form the pundits, myself included. After copping a cheap shot from Josh Papalii, Gallen went on a rampage, smashing Maroons in defence, and charging at the line like a mad man. Yet it was the subtleties in his game that were actually the key to the Blues attack. His ability to get balls away after drawing a number of defenders was the starting point to most of the Blues attacking runs down the right.

9. Hooker – Robbie Farah

Farah showed in Brisbane that he doesn’t have to overplay his hand, and try to do too much, in order to be effective. The trust the hooker showed in his halves was an underrated narrative coming out of the opening game. Not only did it give the Blues playmakers confidence, but it enabled Farrah to simply do his job, which he did very well. A key player for the Blues, the Tigers number 9 brings plenty of heart, along with talent, to the NSW team.

10. Prop – Aaron Woods

After whispers that he was overawed by the occasion last year, Woods was excellent in his return to Origin football. Before game one, I mentioned that his role would be to provide “incisive runs, solid defence and the ability to handle the early fire and brimstone from the Maroons pack”, and that is precisely what he did. His passion in the sheds at halftime indicates that he now feels at home in the Blues jersey, and with his confidence sky-high, I expect him to have another positive impact in Game 2 .

11. Second-row – Ryan Hoffman

This guy should just be nicknamed ‘Seven’. Every time the Blues selectors read his name out, you know you’re going to get a ‘7 out of 10′ game from him. Though some like to look at this as negative, the truth is, it’s massive positive, as you need players you can rely upon. Hoffman always conjures up words like ‘dependable’ and ‘consistent’, and being that reliable is a skill in itself.

12. Second-row – Beau Scott
There was talk of moving Scott to right centre, which would have the dual benefit of allowing Greg Bird to slide back into the backrow, while also allowing the Blues to cover the loss of Josh Morris. But Scott remains in the second-row and Gallen moves forward in the pack, and it remains to be seen whether that was the right move by the NSW selectors. Scott’s defence was sensational in Origin I, and though he’s not explosive or dynamic in attack, nor will he be asked to be either.

13. Lock – Greg Bird

I love this time of year, because it means I get to pull out the most well-worn, over-used comment in rugby league: “made for Origin”. Yet, how else would you seriously describe the returning-from-suspension Greg Bird? The only thing missing from his Origin resume is actually the most important thing: a series win. Rest assured, that fact really annoys Bird, and he’ll do everything he can – once again – to rectify that situation.

Interchange:

14. James Tamou

I’m still waiting for Tamou to utilise his size and athleticism to their maximum potential at Origin level. I’m not sure the big prop actually realises how good he is, and how good he can be. Don’t get me wrong, he was still very solid in the opening game of the series, but he has the ability to be a match-winner in the front row for the Blues. If he ever puts it all together, look out Queensland, and NSW will be hoping Game 2 is when Clark Kent becomes Superman on a more consistent basis.

15. Anthony Watmough

‘The ball of fury’. With his low centre of gravity and amazing leg strength, Watmough is like cannon ball. He’s very hard to tackle, aggressive in defence and needs little to time to work himself into the game, which all make him the ideal reserve. He was a little quiet in Origin I, but there is rarely a game that Watmough plays in that he doesn’t have an impact, so look for a monster Origin II from the Manly mongrel.

16. Luke Lewis

The veteran forward sat out of the Sharks match against the Dragons on the weekend, raising questions about his Origin selection. But the selectors faith in Lewis has never been in question, highlighted by the fact they picked him for Origin I despite him having only played two NRL games for the season. He didn’t let anyone down then, and he won’t in Game 2 .

17. Trent Merrin

I only recently learned that the Dragons prop is dating pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons. That’s got absolutely nothing to do with Origin, nor his selection for the Blues, but I felt it warranted mentioning. Merrin had impact in attack and defence in game I, after I questioned his selection. That’s now two good Origin games in a row. Another solid performance in Sydney will go a long way to silencing the doubters and making them look silly, for which I will be at the head of the queue.


The Lurker - NRL Rumour File

06 June 2014 - 05:10 AM

JUNE 6th 2014

The Lurker pops up for his last edition of the week with some news about Wayne Bennett and Terry Campese
 

Back in the Dragons’ Den
Don’t be surprised to see Wayne Bennett make a shock return to the Dragons in 2015. With Bennett's future at the Knights looking uncertain in the wake of the collapse of Nathan Tinkler's ownership of the club, Bennett is assessing his options. I am hearing that high-ranking Broncos officials have now decided getting back Bennett, who brought the club into the NRL back in 1988, is not the answer. But the Dragons are a different story. The club won the premiership under the master coach in 2010 but has been on a downhill spiral ever since. Bennett remains a revered figure at Kogarah and Wollongong and fans, players and officials would welcome him back with open arms in 2015.

Bennett also has a strong relationship with Benji Marshall after working with the struggling Kiwi at World Cup level and could be the one man to get some value out of the former Tigers star. Paul McGregor, who inherited the reins from sacked coach Steve price two weeks ago, is seen only as a stop-gap measure and doesn't have the experience to sort out the mess that the Dragons have become.

Campese switching camps
Things are going from bad to worse in Canberra and I'm hearing veteran skipper Terry Campese could be the next to jump ship. Campese is being pursued by English big spenders Hull FC and after a decade and over 120 games for the Green Machine, the 29-year-old may be tempted to finish his career with one last rich payday in the UK. Campese has been plagued by injury in recent seasons and has lost some of his spark - but his departure would be another body blow to Ricky Stuart as he attempts to raise the spirits in the national capital.


Raiding Manly
The Raiders can't take a trick as they attempt to strengthen their squad after missing out on the likes of James Tedesco, Kevin Proctor, Josh Mansour and most likely Michael Ennis. But Stuart continues to chase and he has now targeted Manly's honest back-rower Tom Symonds. A hard-working forward, Symonds doesn't get many minutes at Manly due to the Sea Eagles' strong depth of back-row talent and a move to the Raiders may be in his best interests.


Official QLD State of Origin team list just been leaked!

28 May 2014 - 06:53 AM

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