ghost crayfish

Coach
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  1. How will Wigan go this season?

    I'm tipping it'll be a Wigan v St Helens grand final this year, with Leeds their biggest challengers. Tomkins Man of Steel, playing no. 7
  2. He's done some good things and some bad things, but the overriding feeling I've had from the RFL in his time as CEO is that they're 'dodgy'. By that I mean there's not a lot of transparency or accountability, and a lot of what they do seems to happen in fairly questionable, ad hoc fashion. He's achieved some good things that shouldn't be dismissed, but overall he's never inspired a lot of confidence. Time for a change - hopefully they get it right.
  3. The game, and the double header against NRL clubs to follow, is part of a deal with the nsw govt (tourism). It's a good chance for the English clubs to train out here in pre season, play (and possibly train with) NRL teams, promote their brands in the game's strongest market, and pocket some govt cash. Makes sense to me.
  4. Wayne goes after Jermaine?

    As a Broncos fan, I hope this happens! He'd light up the NRL. And I think he'd be great promotion for English rugby league in Australia if he did, building on the RLWC to keep general perceptions about English league improving. Last year they won the WCC and earned respect in the RLWC. An English star scoring tries and carving up out wide in the NRL would be a great way to build on that. For all the respect England's forwards have earned in the NRL, we haven't seen an English excitement machine really capture the imagination out here since the days of Offiah. League fans here who don't pay much attention to internationals these days will happily chat about "the days the poms had guys like Hanley and Offiah and gave us a run". McGillvray coming out and doing well would be another good step in bringing that mood back.
  5. Who will replace the australia spine?

    That's wishful thinking. All of those halves have more natural ability than Cooper Cronk ever has. No one gave Morgan a chance of taking the Cowboys to the GF without Thurston, but he did. No one thought Munster was ready for Origin, but he dominated. Moses almost single-handedly beat Tonga playing for a team of part-timers. Cleary is spoken about with awe by people like Greg Alexander and the Johns brothers. Only time will tell if they can go on to be as great as Thurston, Smith, Slater and Cronk, but history suggests a couple of the group will... I don't recall anyone saying Thurston would be as good as Johns, but he was. Before Smith was the greatest hooker of all time, Buderus was. Before that, Steve Walters. Lockyer was the best fullback I'd ever seen, surely as good as there could ever be, but the guy who came after him was Slater...
  6. Who will replace the australia spine?

    I think Mitchell Moses and Nathan Cleary will be NSW's long-term halves combination. QLD is less clear cut, but any combination out of Morgan, Munster, Milford, Hunt, Taylor and DCE will do. Darius Boyd could also shift to the halves at some point. So as far as Australia goes, there's heaps of great options. Fullback is the same, NSW in particular has amazing depth there. Hooker is the one position it's hard to see any young stars on the horizon, but I think guys like McCullough, Friend and Granville would all do a good job. Brayley is a talent, as is Smith's deputy at the Storm. Hunt is also a quality hooker, who could do the job at rep level if ever needed.
  7. Tougher than Origin?

    Yeah resilience and toughness under fire was much better from England than I've ever seen from them before. That's the mentality he's been talking about. And it's the mentality origin legends always talk about. If Bennett sticks with England, the next few years could be special.
  8. RLWC Final Viewing Figs

    Aussies are interested, of course. Just clearly not so keen to pay the ticket prices being charged to attend - the organisers deserve shooting for badly misreading esteem for the international game here (though that's been covered at length elsewhere). There is interest, but not passion for it right now. Gotta charge accordingly. On the bright side, the game was great and it's brilliant so many people saw it on TV. Millions of people now know Super League stars like Watkins, McGillvray, Roby are class acts. International league is definitely on the up - more games like that, and a few of the Tonga games, and Aussie perceptions will change. Wigan, Hull and Leeds can add to that when they're out too. If England can keep challenging us like that, and crack the odd win, the prestige it was held in the early 90s will return.
  9. Mid season test in USA v New Zealand

    And coincidentally NZ lifted their standards to the point they thrashed Australia in the final. Far from diluting the product, it actually made the Aus-NZ rivalry stronger. The more top level games the better for both NZ and England, as they look to build/rebuild from the world cup. Of course those 4 games shouldn't be it. England should play France next year, and it'd be crazy if NZ aren't finding time to play Tonga (though I know they're playing Australia).
  10. I wouldn't be surprised if Currie and Burgess alternate between the edge and the middle. Currie looks like a decent ball player who could do that link job in the opposition half. Sam could play in the middle when they're coming out of their own half.
  11. England v Kiwis in Denver 2018

    Probably the biggest test NZ could play next year would be against Tonga, but they're already booked to play Samoa. So NZ's options are either Fiji or possibly England in NZ, or England in the USA. All decent options to be fair - it's nice to be having these sorts of conversations about international league! Thinking it through, 4 tests in one year against England might be overkill, Fiji could be a good grudge match now too, and NZ need more home tests. So I could understand going that way. But all that said, gotta go the US option! I'd be interested to know more about their plans for promotion, TV etc over there. But on the surface, it's an exciting idea.
  12. Yeah I personally would have picked Williams (and said as much in another thread). But I'm just guessing at what Bennett might be looking for.
  13. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. I think in picking Heighington, he's picking a guy he trusts not to switch off. And ideally, not to let his teammates switch off. I'm talking about qualities we don't see. Who does the most talk in the defensive line, who shows up to fill in the hole in the kick chase line, who keeps things moving forward and doesn't switch off. Some players bring those qualities more than others, and those are the qualities Bennett values most. It's why he makes some head scratching selections sometimes. For all his limitations, I can only assume Heighington does offer that. Bennett obviously thinks the side needs it.
  14. RLWC Final may struggle to sell out.

    Fair enough. I'm talking about the crowds issue mainly. I've been caught up in a few of these conversations (often with old mate above). They usually go like this: I enter a thread about crowds, I see posts questioning why crowds are low, I give my opinion (a combination of locations, ticket prices, how the general Aus public regards international league) which is based on my experience being a league fan who has lived everywhere from Mackay to Melbourne, I get howled down for being wrong and being a typical arrogant Aussie and don't I realise NZ have won a couple of finals etc etc And I've seen the cycle happen to a few others too... it's actually kinda funny.
  15. Heighington is being selected for leadership qualities I'd say. With Hodgson gone Bennett has decided that's what the squad needs most - an experienced guy who will keep minds on the job. NRL people talk about it all the time with heighington - he's a tough nut and a winner. He's spent his whole career at the NRL's most perennially hopeless clubs, and somehow won premierships at both of them. Given England's mental collapse in the last 7 minutes last week - and the number of times they've done similar to Australia over the years - it does make sense to go for him. Bennett clearly thinks he has an edge to him that the other options lack. I reckon the same is true on the Bateman call. I'm happy to trust him on these.