Monday 24 June 2013

#NRL 2013: 15th Complete Set - Extra NRL? QLD's reaction? June 30 signings and more | #NRLTweetPOTY Votes for Round 15

15th COMPLETE SET: Channel Nine wants more NRL? How will QLD react? June 30 movement and more...
Round 15 News and Views and @NRLTweet Player of the Year Votes
2013 NRL Premiership
By W D Nicolson - June 24, 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 15 of The @NRLTweet Player of the Year Awards. Let us know what you think of each topic via @NRLTweet

ROUND 15 #NRLTweetPOTY VOTES plus more below...

A tip of the hat to the SMH's 'Set of 6' and Andy Wilson's 'Set of 6' for the various names this column runs under... and we'll call it flattery that you've already used it.

1st Tackle
Yikes... the footy is bad. Real bad.

It's just as well ANZ Stadium is rather large - because it did well to accommodate the 17,000 fans who showed up (presumably out of camera shot undercover)... the downside is it couldn't cover up the truly awful football that was dished up all weekend.

Apart from the first half of the Roosters-Bulldogs on Friday night - which wasn't bad at all - the rest of the weekend was definitely not crowd-drawing fare... and probably didn't set the ratings world on fire either.

But does Channel 9's David Gyngell care?
Well maybe... because if the footy keeps being ordinary it'll hurt ratings.
His negotiations last year were all about securing a product that Channel Nine could sell to advertisers and ensure that they'd have a monopoly on Friday Night Football and the main Sunday game (and Channel Nine have openly said the reason they didn't want the Rugby League World Cup rights that went to Channel Seven - was because it didn't make 'financial sense'... Home of Rugby League right?)

Sunday's crowd was actually astounding given the game was going to be shown on delay from 4pm and the heavens had opened up deluxe late in the week and hadn't really stopped come Sunday (and didn't until Monday morning)... but Gyngell would not have cared to see all those empty seats at the ground - because logically everyone was nice and warm at home watching it on the couch.

But what about the long promised 2 hours of NRL content on Channel Nine Extra as promised in the billion dollar TV deal? Indeed that seems to be up to the NRL - according to Channel Nine.

From TV Tonight...
NRL extra offer is still there By David Knox on June 24, 2013
When Nine announced its new NRL deal in August of last year, it announced a raft of programming plans to feature the sport including its three weekly matches, several Thursday matches and to telecast on either primary or multichannel in each state.
But another pledge so far hasn’t materialised: two hours of Rugby League content each evening on digital Channel 94 plus two hours of content on Saturday and Sunday morning.
Nine has advised that while this hasn’t yet happened its offer to the NRL remains.
A Nine spokesperson told TV Tonight the offer to broadcast 2 hrs each evening on datacasting channel Ch. 94 (Extra) and on weekend mornings remained but NRL is yet to take up the offer.

So... if Dave is all about getting people watching at home - why is it up to the NRL to produce the content that will reach viewers when they are... at home? If of course it gets aired at a decent time...
Twitter follower @jonnyforeigner sums it up nicely:

@NRLTweet Player of the Year - Round 15
Votes from Round 15 so far are below.
2nd Tackle
What does a NSW win on Wednesday mean for State of Origin?

Ask me Thursday morning when I try to get out of Brisbane... IF NSW win that is.

While I expect QLD to bounce back and win, their selections for Game 2 are - shall we say, interesting. But as you will see in the Quotable Quotes section - Laurie Daley isn't a happy camper after some words from QLD suggesting the Blues weren't 'all above board' in how they defended in Game 1.

But it does raise the interesting question of how much backlash will come from QLD if NSW win to take a 2-0 Series lead?
Will we see sportsmanship as credit is given where it is due?
Or will QLD remember some of their roots when NSW were in a period of dominance in the 1990s and declare that Origin was decided before a ball was kicked this year?

Granted I think QLD win and this doesn't need to be addressed until possibly after Game 3 - but if you are a QLDer and are reading this - how will you react if NSW actually win in Game 2?

If it is not going to be the 'credit where credit is due' approach - please don't take it out on me if you see me leaving Lang Park after the game or getting on a plane the next morning at Brisbane Airport.

Because I may or may not be wearing something Blue...

3rd Tackle
June 30 is fast approaching... who swaps clubs?

Canberra look set to add Reece Robinson's twin brother Travis from the Penrith Panthers - but they also just signed for Gold Coast Titan Jordan Rapana to a 2 year deal... so will the Raiders get their man before the June 30 'trade deadline'?

We see mid-season transfers far more often these days than in the past - but once the June 30 deadline ticks over - clubs can't sign players from another team... for the rest of this season at least (though I believe they can still sign for 2014 and beyond... love this system!).

So who follows suit? There's a few at Parramatta we know have been told they can look elsewhere so here are some possible movers before June 30 - basically we're looking at players stuck in NSW/QLD Cups who are normally first graders or first graders who don't appear to be happy where they are.

Reni Maitua's days at Parramatta are unlikely to extend past the end of 2013 - so will a club take his up and down play and add it to their books for a semi-final run?
Ben Roberts might be the Blue and Gold Army's favourite player but they'll pay any other club to take him off their hands...
Ben Smith can't get a run in First Grade at the Eels anymore... and respectfully it is hard to see him getting back with any team.
Daniel Vidot is back in NSW Cup... and playing backrow from time to time. Who wants a former QLD Origin train-on squad member with the every so often brain-explosion bonus?
Michael Oldfield can certainly finish... but he's not beating out Roger Tuivasa-Sheck or Daniel Tupou anytime soon... plus Tautau Moga's return from a knee injury is extra reason why he might be available if someone needs a quick winger who can - FINISH.
Mark Taufua is a decent prop as NRL standards go but he couldn't force his way into the first grade team this season on a permanent basis so he might be keen to bolster the prop stocks elsewhere.
Sam Williams had his chance to solidify a first grade contract with the Raiders at the start of the season - and didn't come close to doing so. With Terry Campese fit - he's stuck in NSW Cup and wants out. Problem is Canberra don't want to let him go.
Dylan Farrell started the year as an incumbent centre at Souths... now he's stuck in NSW Cup and only just saw first grade again - on the wing - in an Origin weekend. Has signed for the Dragons in 2014 so hard to see another club hiring him this year.
Any tips?

The other Parramatta player who could end up elsewhere is hooker Matt Keating - his game time has plummeted in the last month or so... so who needs a solid hooker who can tackle for the rest of 2013?

Mid-season transfers so far (that is after Round 1):
Harry Siejka has just joined the Dragons from the Warriors, Jamie Soward took his ball and went to England, Dayne Weston joined the Storm from the Panthers, Tom Symonds swapped Bondi beach for Manly beach, Mose Masoe joined the Panthers from the Roosters and of course Josh Dugan to the Dragons after Canberra terminated his contract.
Have we missed any? Let us know via @NRLTweet or below.

4th Tackle
Round 15 Quotable Quotes...
  • "I'll tell you what I can do, I can give you three or four clips of Queensland not being square at marker, and I can give you another three or four four clips of them being at least a metre and a half in front of the referee, if they want to go down that path. I expected a lot more, to be honest with you. To call us cheats is not in the right spirit," Laurie Daley isn't impressed - nor should he be - by QLD calling the Blues 'cheats' after their Game 1 win. And knowing QLD - it would stun nobody to hear QLD declare that the 'NRL wanted a NSW win' if the Blues end QLD's 7 year winning streak on Wednesday night... but let's cross that bridge if NSW can actually build it first.
  • More Quotes on Tuesday...
5th and Last
The Top 8 is far from settled...

Exhibit A and B are the performances of Canterbury and Canberra this weekend.

The Dogs and Raiders entered Round 15 on 16 competition points - a full 4 points clear of the teams in 9th position and beyond... if they beat the undermanned Roosters and Tigers they keep themselves well out of reach of the chasing pack with a bye or two still to come.

A buffer zone doesn't sound that important in June but come the end of July - teams with 2 point leads on the chasing packs will be revelling in the gap and teams chasing those 2 points will be ruing giving points away earleir in the season.

For the Dogs and Raiders - their performances on Friday and Saturday night were disheartening displays of pure disinterest in maintaining their big lead on the pack.

For one it might have cost them a chance at a Top 4 spot, and quite possibly for one of them it might come back to bite them in the race for a playoff spot.

The reason this is unforgivable is a first year NRL coach (who had Super League experience admittedly) in Sydney's Trent Robinson had the guile to pump up his Roosters for a game that really had no bearing on their standing on the ladder and it wasn't a game they were expected to win.

Instead of going through the motions - Easts came out and gave it to a full strength Canterbury pack and despite the close scoreline at the end - really didn't look like a team safe in the playoffs... they looked like a team playing for their playoff lives.

Canterbury and Canberra should take serious note if they want to be taken seriously in this year's title race - because right now they are nothing more than pretenders.

Spare a thought for Gareth Widdop...

The Storm five-eighth was injured in the second half of his side's 18-12 loss to the Titans on Monday Night Football, and when you first saw it - you immediately felt sick in the stomach because the way he reacted told you he'd done serious damage to his hip.

Coach Craig Bellamy confirmed in the post-match press conference that the damage was severe.
“I’m shattered for him that that’s going to be the end of his career with the Melbourne Storm," Bellamy told the SMH and adding that the best case scenario for Widdop was that he would only miss the rest of this season with the injury.

And that means not only is his World Cup dream over, but potentially his career.

Chris Lawrence did a similar injury in 2011 and arguably hasn't been the same player since - even tweeting support to Widdop when he saw the injury on the telecast - and although Widdop has signed a lucrative contract with St.George-Illawarra from next season - who knows if he will be able to play come Round 1 2014.

So Widdop won't be available for England at the end of season World Cup... in England. As bad as a blow that is to the Lions, the possibility that Widdop might not be the same player is a bigger disappointment.

Good luck with your rehab Gareth - hope to see you on the field again next season.

Warrick D. Nicolson

Do you have any views on this week's Set?
Please comment below or reply on Twitter.
Origin Special available here
@NRLTweet Player of the Year Award
Round 15 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.

@NRLTweet Player of the Year - Round 15 Voting
CBY 18-20 SYD
6 - R Tuivasa-Sheck, 4 - FP Nuuausala, 2 - D Mortimer, 1 - S Kasiano, B Barba.
Voters | M Spillane and W Nicolson |
WTG 17-12 CAN
Voters | A McMurray and M Duncan |
PAR 10-30 SOU
8 - A Reynolds, 4 - J Sutton, 2 - T Mannah.
Voters | M Trodden and B Hoese |
4 - A Sezer, J Idris, B Hampton, 1 - A Kelly, L Bailey.
Voters | N Wilbow and G Delaney |
 Round 14 Leaderboard (Rd15 updated after MNF)
44 Votes - Cooper Cronk, Storm
35 Votes - Greg Inglis, Rabbitohs
34 Votes - Johnathan Thurston, Cowboys
32 Votes - Shaun Johnson, Warriors
31 Votes - Todd Carney, Sharks
30 Votes - Sonny Bill Williams, Roosters
29 Votes - Jarrod Mullen, Knights
26 Votes - James Graham, Bulldogs
24 Votes - Sam Burgess, Rabbioths; Robbie Farah, Tigers; Andrew Fifita, Sharks; Billy Slater, Storm; Aaron Woods, Tigers.

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 is underway 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