ghost crayfish

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  1. I still want to play test football

    I am actually surprised that there's so much surprise that Benji is going so well. Even in later years, Benji has finished near the top of Dally M voting in 2015, and forced Qld/Australia player Ben Hunt into reserve grade at Brisbane last year. Like the whole Dragons team, Benji was pretty ordinary in 2016, but he was quality whenever he played for Brisbane last year. In my opinion, Wayne Bennett cost us any shot at a premiership when he didn't make Marshall halfback for the finals. I think Benji should have toured England in 2015, should have been selected for the World Cup, and is a must-pick for NZ this year.
  2. Encourage or discourage? Suspending any player who declined selection would be a way to stop the clubs from pressuring players into standing down... The clubs are whingers who killed City v Country with the same rubbish, but it sounds to me like maybe the NRL are actually putting in some work now to protect the test. Positive steps...
  3. Australia to Play Tonga in Qatar?

    While I understand the critism here given the Denver goings on, there is still plenty of good news in this. A test match for Tonga against Australia, more international exposure for rugby league (and its sponsors), and potentially opens up another new revenue stream for the sport (which England may also be able to capitalise on). The international game is growing and events like this help continue the momentum. I hope it goes well.
  4. Probably didn't send someone because the risks associated with international travel are too great.
  5. I think there's sometimes a risk with changing the guard too early. If you pick too many young guys who aren't quite ready, standards drop and you end up having a world cup like NZ. Best to take a gradual approach. So for me, Percival and Ward have been around the squad, and now need to play. They join younger guys like Currie and Bateman in the 17. Along with that, introduce Johnstone, and maybe guys like Walker and Richardson to the broader squad, to bring them up to speed.
  6. Tomkins, Hall, Percival, Watkins, McGilvray, Widdop, Gale, Graham, Roby, S Burgess, Currie, Whitehead, S O'Loughlin Res: Hill, T Burgess, Ward, Bateman. I've gone for Ward and Bateman on the bench because they're both classy backrowers who offer something a bit different, and between the two, cover centre, five-eighth and hooker if there was injury. McMeekan unlucky to miss out, as is Johnstone.
  7. David Kidwell quits kiwi coach role

    Good decision by Kidwell. I feel a bit sorry for him - thrown into the job well before he was ready, at a time when the Kiwis were going off the boil. Hopefully they get this appointment right, and pick a better mix of players. Their squad lacked a bit of leadership in the World Cup - they actually looked really great the first 2 1/2 weeks, then collapsed under pressure after that. I think they've turned to some young guys a bit early, and should consider guys like Benji, Isaac Like and SKD to add a bit more steel. Here's an article about Kidwell:
  8. Yeah true, no doubt there's a long way to go. But they badly needed a win and they got one. That'll be good for confidence and morale, and hopefully will be something they can build on. It's gonna be a gradual process though.
  9. The problems at Catalans over the last few years have run pretty deep by the looks of things. Rooting out that entrenched culture of mediocrity would not be easy and was never going to realistically happen quickly. Given and the fact that the World Cup really shortened their pre-season, it was always going to be a battle to start this season well. I don't know if McNamara is the answer or not, but I think whoever was in the chair was going to have a hard job. They needed this win though and I'm glad they've got it. It'si obviously too early to say if this win could be the start of a turnaround, but it's an important step and should lift confidence a little. Hopefully they can build on this.
  10. Great work by Sam and Wayne. Whether it's this game, or the big name Tongans demanding more games, or the Fijians protesting for better treatment, it's the players who are standing up for international rugby league. If they stick together they can win the day, and create a huge shift for the game.
  11. Still optimistic (perhaps foolishly so) that this match will go ahead ok. A couple of players may not go due to injury/club pressure, but that happens for every international. Though as an Australian sports fan, I have to say it's been a bitterly disappointing day! In cricket and rugby league, we have disgraced ourselves on the international stage on the field and administratively.
  12. No sensible origin coach would pick a guy knowing they would choose to skip the next game. If a player wants to choose the Pacific test over origin, that's great and all the best to him. But as a fan, I'd be disappointed in any player who played origin 1, then dropped out for game 2. If you choose origin, you gotta commit for the series. That's not petty. How would you react if Ben Currie played the first test against NZ, then wanted to skip the next game to play for Ireland? However, it is petty to just not like players rejecting origin or Australia. And that pettyness will come from the media shock jocks when more players do what Fifita did last year - play the full origin series, then knock back Australia. Clowns like Paul Kent (see my other comments about embarassing Sydney journos like him) are already up in arms about the possibility of that happening again...
  13. All good if you follow up your clicks with a comment letting them know how appalling that comment is.
  14. Declining Standards - Myth or Reality?

    It's not the cap, it's the lack of money in the English game compared to the NRL and English rugby union... I doubt any clubs can afford to spend much more than they do now - certainly not enough to buy a star studded team the equivalent of the Bradford one that featured the Pauls, Vagana, Vainikollo, Hape, Vaikona, Fielden, Peacock, Pryce, Deacon and others, all in their prime. It is what it is, and there's obvious drawbacks with that reality, but the positive is it makes for a much closer and more unpredictable competition. So I guess just enjoy that part of it...
  15. Declining Standards - Myth or Reality?

    I think Super League's top teams definitely aren't as strong as they used to be, but the standard from teams 5-12 hasn't dropped. If anything it has lifted amongst those teams, because they know they're more able to realistically compete. The star studded Leeds and Bradford teams of the early 2000s are probably a thing of the past, but that's ok. It's arguable how healthy it was for the English game to have a team like Bradford dominate the competition with half the Kiwi Test side and England internationals on the bench anyway. Overall, it's probably a more interesting competition now.