Latest NOT The Footy Show Podcasts

Friday, 29 November 2013

#NRL 2014: Here is how we'd schedule Round 1 as NRL announces draw announcement

OUR CRACK AT ROUND 1, 2014.

2014 National Rugby League Premiership

By W D Nicolson - November 29, 2013

The NRL announced on Thursday November 28 that they will be announcing the 2014 NRL Draw at an announcement next Wednesday December 4.

That's nice to know sure, but what if www.wdnicolson.com had a chance to put together the draw for the opening round of 2014?

In short we are looking for games that will draw fans through the gates in their respective timeslots, while also considering the TV value of the prime time games. Something that just makes too much sense to us is why wouldn't you work out your Round 1 matchups and then build the rest of your 26 round draw around that? 

Ask yourself this - is it really that hard to build and tinker with your draw based around a blockbuster Round 1 in mind, considering the powers that be have already been tinkering with the initial computer draw to satisfy club and TV requests for the last couple of months?

We'd love your feedback either as a comment below or shoot us a tweet via @NRLTweet

Note: All times are Sydney based - with the theory being it brings the biggest audience for Channel Nine and Fox Sports and thus lines up somewhat with the timeslots they'll likely use in 2014.

Here. We. Go.

Thursday Night Football 7:30pm at SFS

Sydney turned out in force to see the Roosters host the Rabbitohs in Round 1 last year (36,000) and because A. It has all but been confirmed as happening anyway and B. Is a taaaasty matchup for the very first game of the year - it gets the call to open the season. However don't play this at ANZ, instead play it at the SFS again because the Premiers should ALWAYS open their title defence at home - no exceptions. Plus these two fan bases are actually close enough to get to the SFS on a Thursday night - a factor that simply has to be considered to maximise the opening night crowd.


Friday Night Football - 8:00pm at Newcastle

Happy Birthday to well, everyone. Two teams who made at least the final four in 2013, have a good historical rivalry and will once again be bearing high expectations entering 2014 = a Friday Night WINNER. Hunter Stadium would almost certainly sell-out as the first Friday Night game of the year - it makes more sense than playing Brisbane in this timeslot this opening week because these two teams earned prime time based on their finish to 2013 and have genuine appeal because of this. Brisbane were terrible last year and don't deserve a Friday Night Opener ahead of the four teams who will play Thursday/Friday (though they will obviously feature heavily in the overall schedule). But for this game - Manly v Newcastle please.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

#NFL 2013: Week 13 Picks - Head to Head and with Spread | #nflpicks #nflpickem

2013 NFL PICKS - WEEK 13
- AFC and NFC Picks - Head to Head and with the Spread -
By The Postman, November 28, 2013

WEEKLY RECAP: Week 12 was ordinary to say the least... 6-7 with the GB-MIN tie makes for awful reading. The days of double digit wins look over as the playoffs (and the end of the regular season) approach as the playoff race kicks into gear and games will only get tougher to pick. Still, we're not going abysmally. With the spread we actually went 7-7 which is only the third time this season our Spread Weekly Record has been better than our Head to Head.

H2H UPSETS PICKED: Dallas and Pittsburgh did their thing against NY Giants and Cleveland, but Indianapolis and Chicago fell away badly against Arizona and St Louis. Ouch. So 2 from 4 Correct for Week 12 (per Pick'Em favourite/underdog listing).

H2H LESSONS LEARNED: Well we've got on the Steelers at the right time but St Louis are making a mockery of our declaration earlier in the year we'd never pick them again (I think they lost that week at home to Tennessee). Indianapolis are rotten right now but when you look at who they've lost to (and beaten) well you don't feel that bad about picking them going into the contests... New England just got it done after sporting Denver a huge lead and Houston are a shell of their former selves... San Diego win the un-winnable then drop a winnable game the next week traditionally so beware. And how did Detroit lose to Tampa at home???

Our Week 13 Picks are up next...

Not gonna happen... thanks Atlanta
My 2013 NFL Season Preview and SuperBowl picks are here - and every week throughout the NFL in 2013 I will be posting my picks here on www.wdnicolson.com and via @wdnicolson.

Last year in the Yahoo! Sports Pro Football Pick'em competition I managed to finish in the 98th percentile (so Top 2%) of tipsters across the world... completely surprising myself by using the rule of thumb I (for some reason) refuse to back entirely in my NRL Tipping (that is pick favourites and then pick favourites and then, and only then... pick favourites and maybe one or two gut picks - which doesn't hurt you as much with up to 16 NFL games a week v 8 NRL games).

Week 13 is Thanksgiving Day central this Friday (Australian time) - so there's 3 games on the schedule kids.
=====WEEK 13 PICKS===== 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

#NRL Will wide-open Queen's Birthday Monday finally get a designated day game in the 2014 Draw?

WILL THE NRL ADDRESS THE BIGGEST OVERSIGHT IN RUGBY LEAGUE SCHEDULING FOR 2014?
2014 Rugby League Premiership
By W D Nicolson - November 26, 2013

The success of the ANZAC Day clash between the Roosters and Dragons has something special at its heart, but has the NRL and at least two clubs missed a trick by not jumping on the Queen's Birthday Monday Public Holiday?

The NRL is expected to announce its 2014 NRL Draw later this week (think Thursday or Friday kids) and for this pundit there is just one thing I really want to see on the schedule... say sometime in June.

A designated day clash between two teams who finally had the foresight (or have read this website in the last 2 years we've been bleating on about the topic) to say 'Hey did you know there's an open day for a marquee Rugby League game midway through the season... and it happens every single year?'

Sure there's a Monday Night Football fixture on the QBM (Queen's Birthday Monday falls on June 9th in 2014) every year but why the heck isn't there a day game for all those fans to be able to actually get along to and enjoy those rare days off on a workday?

Though we are not suggesting that you will see a QBM game capture the feeling of the ANZAC Day clash - a prime day game is simply being wasted and has been wasted for far too long.

The clubs that are smart enough to embrace this open date can make it honour whatever they deem fit, the game itself can lend itself to doing the same, but the point is - it is the chance for the NRL to add another genuine marquee day to the fairly tame club schedule during the Origin period of the year.

The NRL are quite rightly trying to maximise the game day experience for members and fans and it is hard to imagine that CEO David Smith has not skimmed the soon to be released draw and identified his marquee matchups to pump up for his initial address when the 2014 Draw is released.

At least... that's the hope.


So which teams would play in the QBM Game?

Monday, 25 November 2013

#NRL 2014: Want the Skinny on next year's signings by the Canterbury Bulldogs? #NRLRecruitment

2014 CANTERBURY BULLDOGS SIGNINGS - 
GOOD, BAD OR INDIFFERENT?

2014 National Rugby League Premiership
By W D Nicolson - November 25, 2013

The Bulldogs are still pursuing a fullback to replace Ben Barba but is the playmaking custodian they need already in the system?
INCOMING TALENT:
Featuring www.wdnicolson.com's Recruitment Rating
 - Superstar First Grader, Will Win Games
None Recruited As Yet
 - Star First Grader, Representative Quality Player
None Recruited As Yet
 - Good First Grader, Solid Starter/Role Player
Reni Maitua - Backrower/Five-Eighth/Centre from Eels
(Note: Maitua has been suspended by the club following being charged with assault on Monday November 25)
 - Capable First Grader, Spot Starter/Bench Player, Potential Talent
Chase Stanley - Centre/Five-Eighth from Dragons
 - Fringe Roster Depth, Unheralded Player
Pat O'Hanlon - Prop/Second Rower from Eels
Kayne Brennan - Outside Back from Dragons
Tyrone Phillips - Outside Back from Rabbitohs
Damien Cook - Fullback/Hooker from Dragons
OUTGOING TALENT: 
Ben Barba to Broncos
Kris Keating to UK
Dene Halatau to Tigers
Martin Taupau to Tigers
Danny Galea to UK
Paul Carter to Titans
Leilani Latu to Panthers
Other 2013 Bulldogs squad members are believed to be off-contract for 2014 but have yet to sign elsewhere.
The current Canterbury Off-Season Roster is available per the Official Club Website Player Profiles Page
Reni Maitua (Note: Maitua has been suspended by the club following being charged with assault on Monday November 25) is/was the biggest name recruited but he's going to be doing it tough to play a significant role in the first grade side. That's because his best position is in the backrow and the Dogs are positively stacked there with Frank Pritchard, Greg Eastwood, Josh Jackson, Dale Finucane and Tony Williams clearly ahead of him in the pecking order. His best chance of earning a spot in the 17 is to embrace replacing Dene Halatau in the utility role and be prepared for a massive cut down on minutes. That said - it might bring out the best in Maitua and it may be his only ticket into the 17.
Chase Stanley either has to beat out Tim Lafai or Mitch Brown for a centre/wing spot, or hope Josh Morris or Krisnan Inu get moved to fullback permanently if he wants a spot in first grade. Stanley is a good player and fine goalkicker but with Inu and Trent Hodkinson already in the lineup, the Dogs don't need him for his kicking. His pre-season needs to be first class to get a look in for Round 1 should the Dogs keep Inu and Morris in the three-quarter line - and even more so if Josh Hoffman or Kevin Locke make their way to Belmore by Christmas.
Pat O'Hanlon is signed on as depth, because he doesn't look any hope of breaking into the front row rotation even with David Klemmer suffering a serious toe injury this off-season and the aforementioned stacked backrow pretty much ends his chances of playing there as well, while Kayne Brennan and Tyrone Phillips face plenty stiff competition out wide to play anywhere but NSW Cup in 2014. Damien Cook is a genuine utility who joined the Dragons as a hooker (he played fullback for them in NSW Cup last year) - so don't rule him out as the smoky for that utility spot in the 17 if Maitua can't adjust to the role.
 (Former NYC players on NRL roster per bulldogs.com.au)
Moses Mbye, Patrick Templeman, Lloyd Perrett, Jon Sila, Jaline Graham and David Minute.
2014 Bulldogs
RECRUITMENT
RATING

So who replaces Barba? Well, Coach Des Hasler can go with Morris, Inu, Perrett or maybe Templeman (who perhaps has the playmaking skills the Dogs could use in the #1 jersey)... or whichever of Hoffman or Locke the Dogs sign first. Point is - from a recruitment perspective they haven't addressed their biggest need yet and added depth to an already deep roster. That said they might get more impact from their rookies than their signings in 2014 anyway. It's an INDIFFERENT grade for the Dogs right now, based on what they've signed, not what they already have.
Let us know what you think of their 2014 Recruitment Class by commenting below or replying on Twitter.
PS. This is the second of 16 NRL Recruitment Guides for 2014 on www.wdnicolson.com... you can find Brisbane's Recruitment Overview here
If you Like what we do here - a Tweet/FB Post plug tagging @NRLTweet wouldn't go astray kids using a link to this article. 
Given what you get here on this site for free during the season, it's not a huge ask for a plug if you actually get something of value of what we produce. Cheers and thank you.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

#RLWC2013 Semi Final Predictions for Wembley World Cup Double Header

No stopping Kiwis and Roos in Semi Finals... right?

2013 Rugby League World Cup

By W D Nicolson - November 23, 2013

The locals may want to see England advance to a home World Cup Final - but Australia and New Zealand are about to prove they are a class above in International Rugby League.

Tonight at Wembley Stadium - World Cup title holders New Zealand take on England and then in the second game of the Semi Final double header, Australia play Fiji. The winners will face each other at Old Trafford next weekend in the World Cup Final.

Here's www.wdnicolson.com's quick hit thoughts on both games.

1st Semi Final - 12:00am Sunday Morning (Sydney time) 
NEW ZEALAND (Likely)
J Hoffman, J Nightingale, B Goodwin, D Whare, R Tuivasa-Sheck, K Foran, S Johnson, J Bromwich, I Luke, J Waerea-Hargreaves, SB Williams, E Taylor, S Mannering (c). FP Nuuausala, B Matulino, S Moa, S Kasiano, A Glenn. (F Pritchard withdrew after being named)
ENGLAND (Likely)
S Tomkins, R Hall, L Cudjoe, K Watkins, J Charnley, K Sinfield (c), G Widdop, J Graham, J Roby, C Hill, S Burgess, B Westwood, S O'Loughlin. G Burgess, R Burrow, B Ferres, L Farrell, L Mossop, C Ablett.
IN SHORT: New Zealand will get a good tune-up for the Cup Final against the English but the Poms just haven't looked likely bar their opening 25 minutes in the first game against Australia. And if you recall England blew that lead by halftime and trailed by 8 points. New Zealand will play attacking footy and force the English to fight fire with fire instead of it being a game played exclusively between the forward packs. The Kiwis know their best chance of beating Australia is to be firing on all attacking cylinders to shock the Kangaroos - so their approach to this Semi Final will be to blow the English away early. Can England chase points? Well any team can... but they won't be wanting to and will try to force New Zealand into playing through the middle - not an easy task with Williams, Foran and Johnson in the Kiwi lineup.
Prediction: New Zealand 30 def. England 12.

2nd Semi Final - 2:30am Sunday Morning (Sydney time)
AUSTRALIA (Likely)
G Inglis, B Morris, J Hayne, B Tate, D Boyd, J Thurston, C Cronk, M Scott, C Smith (c), J Tamou, G Bird, S Thaiday, P Gallen. D Cherry-Evans, J Papalii, A Fifita, C Parker, N Myles, R Farah.
FIJI (Likely)
K Naiqama, M Koroibete, S Waqa, W Naiqama, A Uate, D Millard, A Groom, A Sims, J Storer, P Civoniceva (c), T Sims, J Bukuya, E Vunakece. A Koroisau, J Roqica, K Evans, S Radradra, P Botiki, J Storer.
IN SHORT: You want to give Fiji some hope but it was clear when these two teams played in the Group stage that Australia did it easy. Not that Fiji didn't put in the effort to try and cause the monster upset but they just don't have the playmakers to make the most of Uate, Koroibete, Waqa and the Naiqama brothers. They'll have a crack but they'll be well beaten by fulltime and Australia will march into the decider. HUGE game for Brent Tate - he wanted his chance to show he's a difference maker in this game but if he's average then Sheens may give Slater his chance (not 100% fit) or give Jennings or Morris another crack in the decider. Because Sheens has to know that if there's a weak spot in the Australian team - NZ will be in a position to expose it. For Fiji - back to back World Cup Semi Finals is a great achievement but the dream ends here.
PredictionAustraila 42 def. Fiji 4.

So we've got New Zealand v Australia in the World Cup Final and only England have a chance to change that seemingly inevitable eventuality... right?


Do you expect England to push New Zealand or in fact beat them? And can Fiji get across the tryline against Australia?
Let us know by commenting below or replying on Twitter.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

#NFL 2013: Week 12 Picks - Head to Head and with Spread | #nflpicks #nflpickem

2013 NFL PICKS - WEEK 12
- AFC and NFC Picks - Head to Head and with the Spread -
By The Postman, November 21, 2013

WEEKLY RECAP: Week 11 was an improvement in Head to Head with a decent 9-6 record - we missed on 3 of 4 upsets so that hurt the overall percentage compared to everyone else and we dropped to the 89th percentile after being in the 90s from Week 7 on. With the Spread however... well less said the better, our Week 11 record of 3-9 (with 3 pushes) was well... awful. We only got Miami getting 1.0 and Philly and Seattle giving a combined 15.5... and missed everything else!

H2H UPSETS PICKED: NY Jets and Baltimore stunk it up on the road against Buffalo and Chicago, yet somehow stay in playoff contention. While we got Miami at home over the inconsistent Chargers but New England didn't get a call late and dropped their game on the road to Carolina. So 1 from 4 Correct for Week 11 (per Pick'Em favourite/underdog listing).

H2H LESSONS LEARNED: Gotta respect EJ Manuel for the Bills... it was easy to forget he's been injured after a bright start and the Jets have Geno Smith so - we're idiots for picking them on the road. Baltimore got lucky last week against Cincy, not so much against the Bears in OT. Pittsburgh may not be woeful after all and Detroit are still inconsistent in big games, while Houston and Atlanta STIIIIIINK. Carolina get a favourable call late to beat New England, while Denver put Kansas City somewhat in their place. Credit to the Buccaneers and Oakland though - good wins. And hey - are Arizona decent? Really? I remember the buffet I had in Arizona once... I recall it being about as decent as they appear to be in 2013.

Our Week 12 Picks are up next...

Not gonna happen... thanks Atlanta
My 2013 NFL Season Preview and SuperBowl picks are here - and every week throughout the NFL in 2013 I will be posting my picks here on www.wdnicolson.com and via @wdnicolson.

Last year in the Yahoo! Sports Pro Football Pick'em competition I managed to finish in the 98th percentile (so Top 2%) of tipsters across the world... completely surprising myself by using the rule of thumb I (for some reason) refuse to back entirely in my NRL Tipping (that is pick favourites and then pick favourites and then, and only then... pick favourites and maybe one or two gut picks - which doesn't hurt you as much with up to 16 NFL games a week v 8 NRL games).

Week 12 begins with Atlanta hosting New Orleans on Friday (Australian time) - a game that looked sensational as the Thursday Nighter for the NFL Network entering the season but now... well not so much.
=====WEEK 12 PICKS===== 

#Ashes 3 Keys to Ashes Victory for England... and yes, even Australia | #uniteAus

3 Keys to Ashes Series Victory... for both teams.

2013-2014 Ashes Cricket Series in Australia

By W D Nicolson - November 21, 2013


The Poms have won 3 straight Ashes Series and 4 of the last 5 dating back to 2005 in England.

For any Australia this should hurt... and you'd hope - for any Australian player this should serve as fantastic motivation when the 1st Test at the Gabba starts today.

Here are www.wdnicolson.com's Keys to the Ashes - short, sharp and hopefully to the point. We're being blunt here because the task ahead of Australia is as big as 3 straight series defeats at the hands of England actually makes it.
For England...

1. Turn up. This team is extremely handy even with a new opener operating in one third of a space suit, a super attack and although Matt Prior may be carrying a calf injury early on - this is a great team. Five of the Top 6 are world class... even Junior Root.

2. Keep Swann and Anderson fit for most if not all of the Tests. This is England's biggest advantage in the Series - the ability to continually take wickets with these two outstanding bowlers.

3. Turn up. We said that right? This team is sensational with Carberry the only potential weak spot if Prior plays - yes, we think Tremlett is an upgrade on Finn.

Likely 1st Test Team: A Cook (c), M Carberry, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, J Root, M Prior, S Broad, G Swann, J Anderson, C Tremlett.
For Australia...

1. Clarke and Watson must score heavily... This was the case before the 2013 Ashes in England and only Clarke really scored any runs in 'live' Tests. Watson might have gone big in the final test but it only means something if he carries that conversion rate into the Gabba Test and then throughout the Series. Clarke is awesome, England know this and Jimmy Anderson will be asked to produce one or two more of these this summer.

2. Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Lyon must take 20 wickets... in at least 3 of the 5 Tests and really, if Australia have genuine hopes of taking back the Ashes - in 4 of the 5 Tests. The biggest concern however for any Australian supporter (and maybe themselves) is A. Can they take 20 wickets in one Test? and B. Will they be kept together as a quartet for more than two Tests if they can't take the 20 wickets in Brisbane or Adelaide?

3. Australia rally around them at the grounds. We're known as a sports-loving country right? So why has it seemed that we've been watching this current Test team play cricket rather than barracking for them... the likes of Warner and Siddle seem to play their best with an audience behind them, so if the Gabba faithful could start the ball rolling by getting into the Test straight away - you better believe it'll help!

3A. A slice of luck... Australia are not the team England is, but it's amazing how significant a turn of good luck can be in cricket. 

Likely 1st Test Team: D Warner, C Rogers, S Watson, M Clarke (c), S Smith, G Bailey, B Haddin, M Johnson, P Siddle, R Harris, N Lyon.

SERIES PREDICTION?
So clearly - try as we might to get enthusiastic about Australia's chances - we favour England because their team is deadset quality and they'll win the Series by at least a Test (seeing all 5 Tests decided would be fantastic as a spectacle, so our prediction is England 3-2) - remember a drawn series is as good as a loss for Australia, as England will retain the Ashes with a 0-0, 1-1 or 2-2 result.
Still Australia could win... but taking those 20 wickets in nearly every Test is the biggest requirement (assuming we actually score some runs)... and really, that's #notgonnahappen right?
You can follow our thoughts on the Series via Follow @AustCricket
So yeah, that Anderson ball was so good... here it is embedded on the Blog.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

#NRL 2014: Want the Skinny on next year's signings by the Brisbane Broncos? #NRLRecruitment

2014 BRISBANE BRONCOS SIGNINGS - 
GOOD, BAD OR INDIFFERENT?

2014 National Rugby League Premiership
By W D Nicolson - November 19, 2013

The Broncos are on their way to a sensational recruitment class for 2014 if they can tear Anthony Milford out of Canberra's hands before Round 1. Edit 27/11: Turns out, they'll get Milford but not til 2015.
INCOMING TALENT:
Featuring www.wdnicolson.com's Recruitment Rating
 - Superstar First Grader, Will Win Games
Ben Barba - Fullback from Bulldogs
 - Star First Grader, Representative Quality Player
None Recruited As Yet
 - Good First Grader, Solid Starter/Role Player
Martin Kennedy - Prop from Roosters
Todd Lowrie - Backrower from Warriors
 - Capable First Grader, Spot Starter/Bench Player, Potential Talent
Daniel Vidot - Outside Back from Dragons
 - Fringe Roster Depth, Unheralded Player
Stewart Mills - Outside Back from Sharks
Marmin Barba - Fullback/Five-Eighth from Titans
Jon Green - Prop from Sharks
OUTGOING TALENT: 
Corey Norman to Eels
Scott Prince to Retirement
Peter Wallace to Panthers
Lama Tasi to UK
Dunamis Lui to Sea Eagles
Delroy Berryman to Sea Eagles
Kurt Baptiste to Raiders
Scott Anderson to UK
Other 2013 Broncos squad members are believed to be off-contract for 2014 but have yet to sign elsewhere.
Current Brisbane Off-Season Roster is available per the Official Club Website Player Profiles Page
Ben Barba is a massive get, given he's only one season removed from winning the Dally M and while the Broncos would be smart to play him at fullback and let him roam like Canterbury did, he may end up at five-eighth if Anthony Milford doesn't make his way north in time for 2014 (Edit: Milford will be a Bronco in 2015 it was confirmed on November 27). That said, Josh Hoffman is a quality custodian but Barba’s best position is by far and away fullback and Hoffman is a very good option in the three-quarter line if not worth giving a trial at five-eighth. 
Todd Lowrie will likely be in the final 17 but on the bench as a hybrid lock/prop (where he will vie with David Stagg for the role), while Daniel Vidot has a good chance of beating out Dale Copely, Jordan Kahu and Lachlan Maranta and (we all hope a fit-again) Jharal Yow Yeh) for a wing spot with late season sensation Corey Oates.
Stewart Mills and Marmin Barba are QLD Cup standard depth and likely little more, while Martin Kennedy should join the prop rotation with Sam Thaiday, Josh McGuire and Ben Hannant to make a quality foursome. The club also picked up a solid prop in journeyman Jon Green who replaces the departed Scott Anderson as the fringe front rower in the squad.
Obviously the biggest question is what do Brisbane do in the halves alongside Ben Hunt – who if we are honest has yet to emphatically claim the #7 jersey and looks set to win it by default with Cameron Cullen, Zach Strasser and Ashley Taylor the only names from the club's off-season roster who appear to be a chance of pushing him.
 (New players on NRL roster per broncos.com.au)
Ajuma Adams, Kodi Nikorima, Francis Molo, Cameron Cullen, Jo Ofahengaue, Zach Strasser, Duncan Paia'Aua and Ashley Taylor.
2014 Broncos
RECRUITMENT
RATING

Even if the Broncos don't get Milford yet - this is clearly a GOOD recruitment class, giving Coach Anthony Griffin the tools to lift the Broncos back into playoff contention in 2014.
Let us know what you think of their 2014 Recruitment Class by commenting below or replying on Twitter.
PS. This may be the first of 16 such Recruitment Guides on www.wdnicolson.com... or if not on here, hopefully you'll read it somewhere else sooner rather than later. 
If you Like what we do here - a Tweet/FB Post plug tagging @NRLTweet (Or NOT The Footy Show on Facebook) wouldn't go astray kids using the hashtag #NRLRecruitment and a link to this article
Given what you get here on this site for free during the season, it's not a huge ask for a plug if you actually get something of value of what we produce. Cheers and thank you.