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  1. In one sense yes but the commentators generally use both names at least occasionally. It strikes me that those commentating the other night might honestly not know Tom's first name. And how about the video ref calling him George Burgess? That isn't fine, is it?
  2. Lots of people throwing around the term "a few more clubs" relating to heartland areas but can we all be explicitly clear in what we mean by this? If it's a few more youth/amateur/development clubs then absolutely but if it's a few more elite or borderline-elite level clubs then that is frankly crackers and a contradiction in terms with regard to the concept of expansion. To wit, the sport certainly needs money pouring into its heartlands but this should be channeled into grassroots and junior development principally. With regard to elite clubs in these areas we need to be brave and discuss contraction/mergers. A specific example would be the ridiculous current inverse pyramid of Hull (1 junior academy serving 2 elite sides). That needs to be reversed and the foundation layers strengthened still further to look something like: 50 strong amateur sides alongside 2 junior academies serving 2 semi-pro sides (FC and KR) serving 1 newly formed elite club (effectively a merged side). Progressive, ambitious, most importantly sustainable. Repeat across all heartland areas.
  3. Yeah gotta love Vossy. Bags of enthusiasm for the sport and great sense of humour too. Him and Warren Smith are easily the 2 best NRL commentators. Really hope we have Vossy back behind the mic ASAP.
  4. I think Cotric is superb personally. Safe as houses under the high ball and a brilliant metre maker for a winger. Generally needs 3 in the tackle to contain him. More in the Blake Ferguson mould than the spectacular finisher mould then perhaps but I'm not sure there's a better all-round winger in the comp. Whether he'll transition to the centres remains to be seen. I would have thought a pitch at FB would be the more natural promotion for his skill set but hey ho.
  5. Really good game (surprisingly) and the Bulldogs showed a lot of character after the early deficit - could easily have folded after recent performances. They moved the ball really well I thought and Meaney was excellent at FB again. Not sure about Luke Thompson yet - some good bursts of energy but too sporadic. I thought the Bulldogs deserved to win the game on balance and the late Montoya howler was cruel. Not sure what's happened to Tariq Sims for the Dragons of late. He was one of the best 2nd rowers in the comp last year for mine but looks a shadow of himself. Worst player on the pitch here, pretty much.
  6. Harshest of all on Tom Burgess was the video ref calling him George Burgess during the spoken review of his overturned try. And none of the commentators corrected him. In fact, during the whole game not one of the commentators actually called him Tom Burgess - they were just saying "Burgess" all the time. Do they actually know that George has left over there (and who Tom is)? I know they're identical twins and that but that is pretty weird.
  7. Scrappy game but well deserved by the Sea Eagles, despite completely running out of gas in the last 20 mins. The centre Parker was impressive I thought. That's the first I've seen of him. Did anyone else think that the last gasp Eels try had the potential to be an 8 pointer? I think it was the fullback Elliot who made the desperate saving tackle and there was a large element of knees to it. He got to quite close quarters so they connected more with the lower back than the sternum (as with the horrible ones where the fullback flashes across the in-goal area at pace) but even so I thought it was well worth a review on that basis and was surprised the Eels didn't make that point at the time. Everyone always forgets the 8 point try don't they? There's always that sense of "8 points up and little time left so it's in the bag" but it only needs one of those aberrations from your fullback and it could be game on.
  8. Looking forward to this one. Sea Eagles were totally robbed last time out with the forward pass call on the hooter. Would love to see the victim of that call (Reuben Garrick) get a late winner to set the record straight. Have a sneaky feeling for Sea Eagles actually. Eels are a class act and the better side with both at full strength but maybe a bit of extra desire after that robbery will edge it for the Sea Eagles. I'll go them by 2 with a late Garrick winner.
  9. Looks another total mismatch to me. I'm going Panthers by 35. Cowboys have looked a forlorn bunch of late and I think have given up fighting for Green. I fancy a 40 minute game from them and then heads to drop with the exciting Panthers back line running riot.
  10. Ha ha ha it's not bad. It would be funny as well when people ask where the name came from and the answer was given that league was Betamax to union's VHS (better but less popular) and was then just tweaked appropriately. That would properly rile the union lot, wouldn't it?
  11. Shame for the Raiders and quite a big gamble for him footy-wise given how utterly abject the Bulldogs are just now. One thing that surprises me about the deal is that Cotric has apparently been assured that he'll play in the centres with the Bulldogs. I'm not sure how you give that guarantee when there's no coach in place. It might not go down well with an incoming coach either. I find it hard to believe that a new coach would be enamoured by being told by a Director of Football (or some such) that if they take the job they have to play a certain player they've just signed in a certain position. Puts lots of extra pressure on Cotric too. A pretty weird situation for me and in some ways shows a bit of desperation from the Bulldogs. A more confident team would say "No guarantees of anything - sign for us because we're going places and play your way into your favoured position".
  12. Yeah when did Josh Morris become a terrible baby? Another great game from him until a bad mishandle at the end but I was genuinely shocked by some of his play-acting. Soccer level stuff. I think if it had been a rookie and not a legend doing that the commentators would have called it out. Yeah loved George Williams' try - well deserved. I'm not sure that I agree with the idea that he should wrestle the main creative duties off Wighton. He has a better kicking game than Wighton but for me there's no better sight in NRL right now than seeing Wighton given the ball late in the tackle count and taking on the line while weighing up his pass/run options. You see that little hop-step and forward thrust and it's like "Oh my!" - you see the defensive line palpably frozen and unsure. I think Williams benefits from being second foil and his extra control and more natural half back game compliments Wighton's more raw instincts perfectly. It's a really exciting half back partnership and perhaps most excitingly it has the potential to get even better.
  13. Easily the worst Broncos side I've ever seen in 7 years of watching NRL. Last week's win over the Bulldogs was very much a false dawn (all in all one of the most error-strewn games of RL I've seen at any level). Just completely dominated in the middle tonight by a pretty average Tigers side. It's quite depressing how hierarchical NRL is at this point (5 or 6 really good teams, 2 or 3 absolute whipping boys and a few somewhere in the middle) and I think the "6 again" rule has exacerbated that as it inevitably provides an extra boon for teams who dominate possession. Some better games to come this weekend but I think you'd have to say it's really a 5 team tournament between Storm, Eels, Roosters, Raiders & Panthers. Knights a possible wildcard and Sea Eagles would be in the mix but for injuries. The rest is a whole mess of "ordinary" as the Aussies say.
  14. This is a line that is used a lot (and generally to excuse the poor running of the game here) but I don't think is something that stands up to much scrutiny. Not saying that NRL has always been fabulously run (and there are certainly some clangers in recent times) but if you look at the brave decisions they took in the 80s and 90s to expand the game beyond its Sydney and Brisbane heartlands and then trace the game's increasing viewer and participation base since then it seems clear to me that the 2 things are inextricably linked. By your reckoning those decisions didn't matter in relation to the growth as the sport was huge so would have succeeded without them (ie growing at will). I personally doubt that. It's not that difficult to envisage strong resistance to expansion into Canberra, Melbourne, NZ etc. and towards contraction from 12 to 9 Sydney clubs leading to a more introverted, parochial leadership with a "No problems here - all good as we are" mentality and the sport now (relatively) struggling in much the same way as our M62 based version does. I would say that the running of NRL in the 1980s and 1990s (post-"Super League wars") is pretty much the shining example of how any sport with a limited geographical imprint should look to both thrive in its heartlands and continue to grow.
  15. Well this looks quite the mismatch. Storm look the comp favourites for me and Titans are their usual patchwork of misfits, veterans and potential up-and-comers. I would genuinely be interested in what the record NRL winning margin was and if I were a betting man would take the Storm by 50 with 60+ not beyond the realms of possibility. Ryan Papenhuyzen hat-trick for good measure.
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