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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Johnathan Thurston - Frustrated or Front-Runner?

Before this article kicks-off let me make one thing abundantly clear - Johnathan Thurston is a fantastic Rugby League Player.

But is he the best player in the game today?

Absolutely not.

That's not from a lack of talent or accomplishments at the elite level of the game - he's done everything you can at representative level - but the reason you cannot bestow that label on the 27 year old North Queensland captain is a distinct lack of impact at the NRL level in recent seasons. To compound things, the Cowboys lack of success is now mixing with an on-field persona that is, quite frankly, disappointing.

Thurston is perhaps the most gifted natural ball player in the game but he is a player who can look untouchable as a front-runner and utterly impotent when his side is struggling.

For all the talk about how good North Queensland are on paper every year - they have one Grand Final appearance in 2005 (Thurston's first year at the Cowboys), one Preliminary Final appearance in 2007 (when Thurston & Bowen carried the Cowboys in September) and have missed four Finals Series in Thurston's six seasons at the club.

When you then re-consider the quality of the players that the Cowboys have put on the field with Thurston over that time - there must be a massive sense of underachievement in North Queensland.

When North Queensland fans see Thurston play representative football there must be a mix of joy and bewilderment as their prized halfback is a world beater amongst the game's elite. But when he comes back to the NRL level - he just can't get the Cowboys across the line and while his competitiveness has always been there too see on the field for a few years now - in the last 12 months we have seen his competitiveness turn to despair and frustration as his efforts fail to lift the team he is expected to win games for.

In Round 12 against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles we saw Johnathan Thurston finally lose it and remonstrate with referee Jason Robinson over a late forward pass call that stopped a late Cowboys charge to victory.

Here is the video of that incident... 37 seconds in is the start of the Thurston rant towards Robinson.


Incredibly Thurston was charged for dissent and then cleared on the basis that the referee - Jason Robinson - had not taken further action on the field (ie. sent Thurston to the sin bin) and thus, Thurston's lawyers argued, what Thurston had said did not warrant a suspension.

Thurston therefore avoided the only kind of penalty that truly makes it through the skull of a footballer (not playing because of what you did) - and was free to play in Queensland's record 5th straight State of Origin Series Victory.

Thurston said all the right things in the wake of his exoneration but it was apparent he didn't comprehend that what he did was wrong - in fact for him to say to youngsters to 'respect referees' in the wake of dodging suspension for failing to do just that was laughable.

Now we had a case in the Round 21 game against Penrith - of Thurston having his team penalised while in possession after he blew up at referee Tony De Las Heras for not giving the Cowboys an advantage after a Frank Pritchard knock on. Senior referee Steve Lyons let Thurston have his say but it was clear Lyons was not overly pleased with how Thurston had ripped into De Las Heras and the penalty stood.

When you consider how lucky Thurston had been in avoiding his suspension in Round 12 - one can only wonder if Thurston feels like he can get away with almost anything now.

In fact in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday July 31, Thurston had this to say about the incident:

"I was just asking him (De Las Heras) where the advantage was," Thurston said. "They (Penrith) knocked it on on the 20 and then we are camped five metres out from our own line."
Thurston was adamant his outburst was not deserving of a penalty but said he did not know if he used foul language when addressing the referee.

"I am not sure," he said. "It all happened so quickly. He said 'you had your arms out like this' and I just asked where our advantage was."

While you can't argue with Thurston that his side didn't get much of an advantage out of the Pritchard knock on (even though it was knocked out of his grasp by Cowboys second rower Leeson Ah Mau), the fact he cannot recall whether or not he swore at De Las Heras doesn't paint Thurston in the greatest light as a player who was in control of his emotions.

Again Thurston is a wonderful player and his pass earlier in the game to Willie Tonga was a thing of beauty but the NRL digs its own grave with its star players because they let them avoid responsibility when it is warranted.

Perhaps most telling aspect of the Penrith game is that the lead story emanating from the night is not the fact the Cowboys have just five wins in 2010 but that Johnathan Thurston still doesn't appear to understand that just because he's the Golden Boy of Rugby League at Representative level, things are different at club level and just because he's on the field doesn't mean that's enough for his team to win.

Understand that the point of this article is to highlight how the NRL can do more harm than good by protecting their superstars. The by-product of this is the North Queensland Cowboys can't take a trick down at NRL level because their superstar player is frustrated with the lack of results he is delivering to a team everyone expected to go so much better with him at the helm.

Watching Thurston on NRL Tactics in a one on one interview with Andy Raymond - you can see he's a affable bloke but there can be no doubt whatsoever that when he steps on that Rugby League field at club level - the weight of expectation (his own & of others) coupled with his status in the game does not result in the same Johnathan Thurston we see in the rep arena.

Again - there is no doubt that Johnathan Thurston is a brilliant footballer but his recent track record with the North Queensland Cowboys is nowhere near the level expected of a player with the tag of 'best player in the game'. Because regardless of how many Dally M Awards one may have - all people truly respect is winning and Thurston simply hasn't been able to get the job done at the Cowboys for the last three seasons.

Until he can arrest the Cowboys slide come 2011 and in the process find a change in attitude towards referees - he will not be considered the best player in the game in my books.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of Thurston's current situation is the NRL's softly softly approach with the temperamental elite in the game doesn't help his situation one iota.

Because when you consider the on-field demeanor of a Darren Lockyer vs a Johnathan Thurston - there is a truly extraordinary gap.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

NOT The Footy Show Episode 32 - NRL Rookie of the Year + Round 21 NRL Preview Podcast 2010

NOT The Footy Show
Episode 32 - NRL Rookie of the Year + Round 21 Preview Podcast 2010
What's on NOT The Footy Show Episode 32 Podcast?
Jarryd Hayne/Todd Carney + NRL Rookie of the Year + Round 21 Preview + Round 20 Review
|=| More at The NRL Tweet or wdnicolson.blogspot.com |=|
|=| So it's still Jarryd Hayne central - but there's plenty of Todd Carney too as Dave rejoins Waz for an hour plus of NOT The Footy Show action.
|=| Plus we unveil the 3 leading contenders for 2010 NRL Rookie of the Year.
|=| We have our full Round 21 Preview + Round 20 in Review + Tipping records & Special Fried Rice Picks.
|=| We have our Our Own Great Debate this week on 3 Topics:
1. Hayne & Carney - why they HAVE to be united for NSW next season and why they are so great to watch.
2. 11 Teams must go into 8 Playoff Spots - what did we learn from the results of Round 20?
3. Stick around after the Previews for our exclusive look at the NRL Rookie of the Year - we're down to three contenders and Sam Burgess who isn't eligible but would win if he was! Who are our 3 Rookies of the Year?
|=| More Talking Points: Luke Patten leaves Canterbury - did he jump or was he pushed to join the Salford City Reds? + Waz caught some of the UK Super League - he tells Dave what he thought of Wigan v Hull. + A look at what's been happening on The NRL Tweet & a special segment 'Life as a Melbourne Supporter' from an email by a devoted Storm fan.
|=| We look at the NRL Tweet Player of the Year Leaderboard after 20 Rounds and dribble on as always on NOT The Footy Show.
|=| With your hosts Dave & Waz on NOT The Footy Show! |=|


|=| LISTEN TO THIS WEEK'S PODCAST IN FULL BELOW - OR SUBSCRIBE VIA iTUNES!


|=| THIS WEEK'S VIDEO -
NOT The Footy Show Episode 32: NRL Rookie of the Year - Round 21 Preview

Jarryd Hayne's Planes, Trains & Automobiles... NOT The Footy Show Episode 32 Promo


|=| Haven't subscribed to NOT THE FOOTY SHOW yet?

Well get to it junior!
Cheers Waz & Dave (& Nic)
NOT The Footy Show
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NOT The Footy Show is now an iTunes Podcast - make sure you subscribe today... regret your decision tomorrow.
Although we will still do our YouTube Videos that go up each Wednesday - our Podcasts have plenty of extra content as audio allows us to go a little deeper and dribble on a little more.
If you don't have iTunes but want to play the Podcast on your computer right click + save target as + this link.

This episode is not to be missed... subscribe via the iTunes Page HERE or you can subscribe to us on through the iTunes function - just enter http://notthefootyshowblog.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?max-results=500 into the 'subscribe to podcast' option and you're away.

For more info on the Sideline Challenge for Kick-Off 2010 - check out http://www.wdnicolson.blogspot.com/  or follow us on Twitter @ NRLTweet - http://www.twitter.com/nrltweet

Cheers,
Waz & Nic

NRL Tips Round 21 2010 + NOT The Footy Show Episode 32 Video + Podcast Preview

Here are The NRL Tweet's Previews & Tips for Round 21 of the 2010 NRL Premiership.
(Subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcasts via iTunes HERE)

|=| Ok this week won't be all about Jarryd Hayne but he's making it hard for us to ignore him!

You've all seen his amazing opening to the Parramatta-Canterbury game and if you haven't check out this link. He's simply breathtaking in this mindset and Parramatta are getting their off-loading back on track and they are poised for another run to September. The good news for non-Parra fans is Todd Carney produced an incredible performance of his own to stun the Broncos at Suncorp on Monday Night.

Why am I telling you all this and still going on about The Hayne Plane, Train & Automobile?

|=| NOT THE FOOTY SHOW - Jarryd Hayne's Planes, Trains & Automobiles... Episode 32 Promo |=|


And because the Sydney Roosters & Todd Carney travel to Parramatta Stadium on Saturday Night to take on the Eels & Jarryd Hayne.

Giddy up!


Parramatta, Canberra & South Sydney all had wins in Round 20 but the Knights dropped their own must-win game and are now out of the Premiership race alongside Canterbury, North Queensland, Cronulla & of course - Melbourne.

That leaves us with 11 teams that need to go into 8 playoff spots - here we go for Round 21 of the 2010 NRL Premiership.

|=| Here are the Round 21 Previews with the NRL Tweet's Fantasy + Team Selection News - Last Update comes on Friday July 30 with help from the SMH's Quality Late Mail. |=|
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|=| Subscribe To The NOT THE FOOTY SHOW Podcasts |=|
This week's Podcast Episode 32:


Jarryd Hayne/Todd Carney + NRL Rookie of the Year + Round 21 Preview + Round 20 Review
|=| More Jarryd Hayne - but plenty of Todd Carney too as Dave rejoins Waz for an hour of NOT The Footy Show action.
|=| Plus we unveil the 3 leading contenders for 2010 NRL Rookie of the Year.
|=| We have our full Round 21 Preview + Round 20 in Review + Tipping records & Special Fried Rice Picks.
|=| We kick the show off with Our Own Great Debate:
> Hayne & Carney - why they HAVE to be united for NSW next season and why they are so great to watch.
> 11 Teams must go into 8 Playoff Spots - what did we learn from the results of Round 20?
> NRL Rookie of the Year - we're down to three contenders and Sam Burgess who isn't eligible but would win if he was! Who are our 3 Rookies of the Year?
|=| More Talking Points: Luke Patten leaves Canterbury - did he jump or was he pushed to join the Salford City Reds? + Waz caught some of the UK Super League - he tells Dave what he thought of Wigan v Hull. + A look at what's been happening on The NRL Tweet & a special segment 'Life as a Melbourne Supporter' from an email by a devoted Storm fan.
|=| Also we look at the NRL Tweet Player of the Year Leaderboard after 20 Rounds and dribble on as always on NOT The Footy Show. |=|
|=| With your hosts Dave & Waz on NOT The Footy Show! |=|
This week's Video - Short Version of the Podcast
|=| 2010 NRL Rookie of the Year - The Top 3 Contenders - NOT The Footy Show Episode 32
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V
Friday @ ANZ Stadium
V
Friday @ CUA Stadium
V
Saturday @ Parramatta Stadium
V
Saturday @ Leichhardt Oval
V
Sunday @ Mt Smart Stadium
V
Sunday @ AAMI Stadium
V
Sunday @ Suncorp Stadium
V
Monday @ EnergyAustralia Stadium
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|=| ROUND 20 NRL PREMIERSHIP LADDER |=|
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|=| NRL TWEET PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD |=|
|=| LEADERBOARD AFTER ROUND 20 |=|
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|=| NRL ROUND 21 PREVIEW |=| July 30-August 2, 2010 |=|
ROUND TWENTY-ONE OF THE NRL PREMIERSHIP SEASON 2010
|=| FRIDAY
BULLDOGS v RABBITOHS
|=| Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 13th: 6-12, 372-401, -29, 16pts.
|=| South Sydney Rabbitohs 8th: 9-9, 456-379, +77, 22pts.
|=| The NRL Tweet's Game Notes From ANZ: See Results Article on Monday.
|=| Wednesday's Market: CBY $2.35 v SOU $1.60 (Graphic is Tuesday's Team Lineup)
|=| Recent Clashes: Canterbury have won 5 of the last 7 games against the Rabbitohs - all at ANZ Stadium.
|=| Wednesday's Preview: Canterbury can only make the playoffs mathematically - so that means they are gorn! That being said they still will be a threat to contending teams over the final six weeks of the season and the Bunnies might find out just how much of a threat on Friday Night. Souths get Issac Luke back from a shoulder injury but have lost key backrower Dave Taylor to a broken collarbone and now their vaunted backrow features just one player playing in position - that's Ben Lowe. Sam Burgess had a stormer at prop but the Bunnies setup has been impacted of late and I'm not sure Eddy Pettybourne & Dave Tyrrell can give the Bunnies the edge thrust they need - especially given Michael Crocker's absence. This might sound silly but the Bulldogs are capable of some great football... if Kevin Moore loosens the reigns and now that they are out of the playoff race - he might just do that.
Even though South Sydney can't really afford a loss to a team that's not in contention, I still feel like Canterbury will get home in a tight one at ANZ. 
|=| Team Selection + Fantasy News July 27 (Friday's Update with help from SMH's Late Mail): Canterbury omitted Gary Warburton from the team that lost to Parramatta and recalled prop Chris Armit. The Rabbitohs lost Dave Taylor to a broken collarbone but get Issac Luke back from a shoulder injury. However the Bunnies didn't name Michael Crocker and will start Dave Tyrrell & Eddy Pettybourne in the second row. Beau Falloon is on an extended bench along with Jaiman Lowe.
Update July 30: South Sydney centre Beau Champion is out with a leg injury, Jamie Simpson comes into the lineup for him. Canterbury should be 1-17 although Shane Neumann could be a late withdrawal with the same injury that forced him from the field last weekend.
|=| Follow The NRL Tweet for more |=|
 |=| NRL Tweet's Prediction: BULLDOGS by 2 =  ?

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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

NRL Results Round 20 Review + Video Highlights + NRL Tweet Game Notes - 2010 NRL Premiership

Here are The NRL Tweet's Game Notes, Video Highlights & Results from Round 20 of the 2010 NRL Premiership.
(Subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcasts via iTunes HERE)

|=| Now you can't say NOT The Footy Show didn't warn you... The Hayne Train is BACK!
Jarryd Hayne produced perhaps the best individual performance in the opening 11 minutes of any game - EVER - as Canterbury's season was steamrolled by the Parramatta fullback.
Just in case you haven't see our tom foolery... we stand by it - Hayne is bringing the pain once again in 2010.
NOT The Footy Show is back onboard The Hayne Train!
Round 20 saw the Newcastle Knights fall out of Semi Final contention with a Golden Point loss to the Cowboys in Townsville, while Canberra, South Sydney & Parramatta kept their heads above water in the race for the Top 8. Brisbane's stunning loss to an under-strength Roosters outfit on Monday Night also saw the Broncos drop out of the Top 8 - when a win would have had them in the Top 5.
There's plenty of great action from Round 20 of the 2010 NRL Premiership in the highlights below - and this is just about the only page on the internet you can find them all collated for easy access.
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16-32
Friday @ ANZ Stadium
10-11
Friday @ WIN Jubilee Stadium
20-13
Saturday @ Canberra Stadium
28-24
Saturday @ Dairy Farmers Stadium
18-10
Saturday @ AAMI Stadium
38-28
Sunday @ ANZ Stadium
38-20
Sunday @ Bluetongue Stadium
30-34
Monday @ Suncorp Stadium
|=| |=| |=|
|=| ROUND 20 NRL PREMIERSHIP LADDER |=|
|=| |=| |=|
|=| NRL TWEET PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD |=|
|=| LEADERBOARD AFTER ROUND 20 |=|
Coming once all Votes are submitted.
|=| |=| |=| 
|=| NRL ROUND 20 REVIEW |=| July 23-26, 2010 |=|
ROUND TWENTY OF THE NRL PREMIERSHIP SEASON 2010
BULLDOGS 16-32 EELS

|=| Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16:
B Kimmorley, B Barba, A Ryan Tries; B Goodwin 2/3 Goals.
|=| Parramatta Eels 32:
J Hayne 2, K Inu 2, B Smith Tries; L Burt 6/7 Goals.
|=| The NRL Tweet's Game Notes From ANZ: See Results Article on Monday.
#NRL Recap: Jarryd Hayne has the best 11 minutes to start a game in living memory - sets up Parramatta's eventual 32-16 win over Canterbury at ANZ.
|=| The first 11 minutes of this game were simply incredible. First Jarryd Hayne scored a freakish individual try from Parramatta's opening set of six, then Hayne scored again backing up a line break he set up in the 6th minute and then he laid on a wonderful cut out pass for Krisnan Inu's try to make it 16-0 Parramatta after just 11 minutes. Canterbury had no answer to the opening onslaught and even though Brett Kimmorley scored a soft try in reply 6 minutes later - the horse with Hayne on its back had bolted. Parramatta and Hayne clocked off after halftime when the Eels led 28-4, which allowed the Bulldogs to get it back to 28-16 but two late and dubious penalty goals later to Luke Burt and it was 32-16 at fulltime. Canterbury's game plan is ridiculously narrow minded given the talent they have out wide and when you compare that to an Eels side that throws it around with the sole purpose of scoring tries - you have to applaud them for it. Canterbury's season is now over, Parramatta's may have just begun.
 |=| NRL Tweet's Prediction: EELS by 2 =  CORRECT

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