Monday 29 April 2013

NRL 2013: Why do people keep forgetting Melbourne are pretty good? #Setof6 | Round 7 #NRLTweetPOTY Votes

7TH COMPLETE SET: Storm win streak means nothing? ANZAC Day needs expanding, Quotes, The Truth Hurts and more...
Round 7 News and Views and @NRLTweet Player of the Year Votes

2013 NRL Premiership

By W D Nicolson - April 29, 2013

This is a regular feature on - every week we will post a Set of 6 Tackles that form a Complete Set by the end of the Round. It also features Votes from Round 7 of The @NRLTweet Player of the Year Awards. Let us know what you think of each topic via @NRLTweet

ROUND 7 SET OF 6: Plenty more on why Melbourne don't get no respect below... |

So called 'Experts' need a history lesson...

Can someone please explain to me what the Melbourne Storm have done wrong in the past - oh I don't know - 15 or 16 matches that has some NRL pundits rating them the second or even third best team in the competition as the 2013 Season closes out Round 7?

They are undefeated this season at 7-0, won the World Club Challenge in England in February and rumour has it - won their last 8 games to win the 2012 NRL Premiership.

Not a bad effort for a team that some experts have rated behind the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters as we close out April. (And if I'm not mistaken - a few had Manly ahead of Melbourne before Friday night)

It defies logic... even if the 5-2 Roosters (who are playing great footy right now) were coming off a playoff run last year that fell short (they finished 13TH!) and the 6-1 Rabbitohs had made the Grand Final last year (they didn't and Melbourne owned them fortnight ago at ANZ Stadium) - Melbourne's 7-0 record coming off a PREMIERSHIP is still MORE IMPRESSIVE!

What gets lost in much of the discussion over 'who is the best team right now' or 'current premiership favourites' is that we are only through 7 games in a season... while I grant anyone the right to talk up the chances of any team with a strong start to 2013 - I can't fathom how Melbourne aren't still the team they fear.

Because all they do my friends... is WIN*.

@NRLTweet Player of the Year - Round 7
Votes from Round 7 so far are below.

And by 'WIN' I mean you should look at their last 16 games... all I see are WINS.

Do you think the Storm aren't getting the respect they have EARNED on the field?
Please comment below or reply on Twitter.

The rest of the Round 7 Set of Six is below - right here on

Round 7 - Six points that emerged from a four day footy week.
A tip of the hat to the SMH's 'Set of 6' and Andy Wilson's 'Set of 6' for the name, as Complete Set just doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well, and we'll call it flattery that you've already used it.
FIRST TACKLE - ANZAC Day is special...
But expanding it to more than just the Roosters-Dragons and Storm-Warriors wouldn't make it any less special.
While I understand that there is some argument that those teams have 'earned' the right to exclusivity - it's not a 'What's best for Rugby League' viewpoint. Sitting amongst 40,000 fans at the SFS on a glorious Autumn afternoon - I can report two things.
1. The Last Post is a treasure that should NEVER been skimmed over to save time in the future. It is the main reason I went to the Roosters-Dragons - not for the game itself.
2. As much as it being ANZAC Day helped push the crowd over 40,000 - it was only that high because it was scheduled as afternoon football. And as we all know - afternoon footy beats night footy by a factor of 100,000,000.
Right now half the reason we can't get consistently good crowds is that it is too hard for families and generally apathetic people to go to a night game. You can sit there on the couch or at the pub/club and enjoy it in comfort, then get home in good time.
But if there are games of footy that start anywhere near 3pm then it is hard to sit there at the pub/club or on the couch and not want to be there...
Next year ANZAC Day presents the NRL with a golden opportunity to play a game in Auckland/Wellington (the Storm-Warriors game HAS to go to New Zealand every 2nd year or else the Warriors should find a new dancing partner and demand it is in NZ every year), in Brisbane and almost most importantly - in Canberra.
This year the nation's capital got the ANZAC Test - but they won't see it again for some time. The Raiders should be targeting a team they have some history with and locking in an annual ANZAC Day clash with that opponent in Canberra. Team up with the War Memorial and make it a weekend of remembrance even more so that football. I vote they play the Tigers in Canberra every year - but admittedly what would I know about how teams want to celebrate their heritage or the nation's...

SECOND TACKLE - ANZAC Day isn't the only day we can have these 'marquee' matchups
Last year on 'NOT The Footy Show' I was flabbergasted at how there was only ONE game on the NRL schedule for the Queen's Birthday Holiday Monday. If memory serves - the Panthers hosted the Warriors at 5pm in Penrith... and all of 5,778 turned up.
If the NRL and clubs (they both must work together here) want to be considered ahead of the game (or the AFL as it seems to be here in Australia), then there should be a minimum of two games on next year's Queen's Birthday Holiday Monday and ideally THREE games.
Two should be played in the afternoon in capital cities and as Fox Sports will demand a Monday Night game - the third could start as early as 5:30pm.
Why wouldn't ALL clubs want a piece of the public holiday afternoon crowd pie?
Like I said last year - flabbergasting.
In 2013 the QBHM falls on June 10th - with Canberra hosting the Broncos in the only game scheduled.

THIRD TACKLE - Best Rookie so far this year?
We dedicated valuable page inches to this topic - right now George Burgess and Tohu Harris are the standouts - but who is the best long term prospect?
Click here to find out.

FOURTH TACKLE - Quotable Quotes from Round 7
  • "I'm not happy about it, put it that way. For us, the advantage of Shark Park is massive. Maybe it was a good financial decision (to play in Gosford) back then. For me as a coach, I'd rather be sitting at Shark Park now." Shane Flanagan seems to be more concerned with where Cronulla's Round 7 clash was played than how they played... and lost 24-8 to the Bulldogs.
  • "Don't go for 2. I need 13+," allegedly Rob Lui's cousin on Twitter during North Queensland's win over Canberra... and sadly, we can say no more.
  • "I think this is potentially a top-eight team. The Sharks just need to decide if they want to be there," Phil Gould in his Monday SMH column... I love reading Gould's work but I'm sure 12 or 13 other teams have decided they want to be there as well. And 12 doesn't go into 8!
  • "Don't shoot the messenger," Steve Mascord kicks-off his Monday Set of 6 with a comment worth reading on the journalistic aspect of the Johnny Mannah 'story' published in the Telegraph.  
  • "This was one occasion I was happy to have been scooped," Brad Walter also of the SMH writing in his column on the subject on Monday.
  • Now I steered clear of this issue on Twitter because there are no winners from it, but what I can't agree with was the editorial fluff the Telegraph published the next day in response to the outrage... especially this headline which is sadly laughable based on the Telegraph's consistent tabloid strategy. You make your bed etc...
FIFTH AND LAST - Low-scoring first halves are a GREAT THING
My flatmate is what you'd call a 'regular punter' and during any given weekend he'll have a few multis on the go. He's not a gambler because of Tom Waterhouse's superb work on the television but best I can tell from the tickets I see each week that get up - he's not terrible at it (mind you I don't see the tickets that fail to get up of course).
But I don't bring up his punting for any old reason - I bring it up because he's made the odd killing on betting unders in the first half. Now this isn't an advertisement for you to go out and put your hard earned on this market every week but more because it leads me to explain why I LOVE low scoring first halves of Rugby League.
Friday night's Souths-Manly clash was a ripper. And the score was all of 2-0 at halftime.
While the game opened up a bit after the break, it was an absorbing battle for the first 40 minutes as both sides defended their line with desperation and skill in front of a huge crowd at Brookie.
Now for the purists who grew up on the game and not on the names - that's a thesis for another time - this is the kind of footy that stirs the Rugby League soul.
It's grinding out a result without the boredom - and believe me there is a difference.
Now I want to see this kind of desperation on the line from my team - but for whatever reason some teams have the drive to hold out and others simply give up the ghost.
Once Greg Inglis sliced through in the second half the game didn't lose any of its lustre - it just changed gears. And if you didn't enjoy that 80 minutes of football you've got massive problems.
Conversely the Bulldogs-Sharks game was a drag... bar some Todd Carney magic that benefited both sides... it was interesting to hear Ray Hadley talk about the process behind picking the game for Free to Air and it being the standout game. Yet by full time did anyone walk away from Gosford or turn off the TV and think to themselves - gee I was really expecting that to be a wide open affair with plenty of gripping footy?
Nup, not a one. Yet the game itself wasn't even in the same continent as the Friday night match, though Fan Favourite Ben Pomeroy's butchered try was a highlight.
Point being - quality teams don't need to post huge amounts of points to entertain (in either half). So more of Friday night's style on FTA please Nine or at least give us a break from the offensively challenged Bulldogs (who will now rediscover their attacking game with Graham/Kasiano back).
PS. First half total in CBY-CRO was 12-2. Not sure if my flatmate cleaned up...

CHANGEOVER - NSW Game 1 Team revealed during Monday Night Football
Tipping it will have something to do with our predicted team that NSW coach Laurie Daley will pick for Game 1. That article is here - check it out.

Warrick D. Nicolson
@NRLTweet Player of the Year Award
Round 7 Votes

As regular readers of and followers of @NRLTweet know - we run The @NRLTweet Player of the Year Awards each season (starting in 2010) and they return once again for 2013 with another group of excellent Rugby League judges.

You can follow the Votes live after each game via this Hashtag #NRLTweetPOTY

One of the reasons we set this up is the Dally M Award lacks the kind of objectivity that a true player of the year award really should have, and while we aren't claiming our system is perfect - it is judged on what happens on the field with reputations and bias left by the wayside.

This is how the votes were handed out for Round 7.
@NRLTweet Player of the Year - Round 7 Voting
SYD 34-10 STI
6 - J Waerea-Hargreaves, 4 - M Jennings, 2 - M Aubusson J Friend.
Voters | W Nicolson and A McMurray |
MEL 28-18 WAR
8 - W Chambers, 2 - K Locke S Johnson, 1 - G Widdop C Cronk.
Voters| W Nicolson and B Hoese |
MAN 12-20 SOU
8 - J Sutton, 4 - A Watmough, 1 - G Inglis S Burgess.
Voters | G Delaney and N Wilbow |
NQL 30-12 CAN
5 - J Thurston M Scott, 4 - T Sims
Voters | B Jones and A McMurray |
WTG 10-20 BRI
8 - J Hodges, 2 - M Gillett B Hannant, 1 - R Farah C Parker.
Voters | G Delaney and M Duncan |
GLD 6-30 NEW
8 - J Mullen, 2 - J McManus K Snowden L Bailey.
Voters | J Davies and M Trodden |
CRO 8-24 CBY
8 - J Reynolds, 2 - M Brown S Perrett, 1 - P Gallen L Lewis.
Voters | M Vickers and M Tsialis |
8 - L Walsh, 3 - M Moylan, 2 - T Grant, 1 - J Segeyaro.
Voters | M Spillane and N Wilbow |

 Round 7 Leaderboard:
31 - C Cronk
23 - B Slater, J Thurston
20 - A Reynolds
19 - T Merrin, B Hannant
18 - S Johnson
16 - SB Williams, A Woods, R Farah, J Mullen.

You can follow the Votes live after each game via this Hashtag #NRLTweetPOTY

Share your thoughts on the footy so far by commenting below or replying on Twitter.

The NRL Injury List is updated regularly during each week of the season, making it an invaluable Fantasy and Tipping Tool alongside our Weekly NRL Previews once again.

Remember if you want game-specific Late Mail every week, then check out our Round Previews Every Wednesday and they are updated with all the very latest Late Mail on Friday.

If we are missing any players on this list - please comment below, reply on Twitter or email this address.
Who will take Ben Barba's mantle as champion in the 2013 @NRLTweet Player of the Year Awards?

The Prestigious Award returns for a 4th season in 2013.

Remember you can track all the votes each week after each match in 2013 via the Twitter hashtag #nrltweetpoty