Wednesday 24 December 2014

Here is our favourite #NRL photo from 2014 - a #Christmas gift for following @NRLTweet #MerryChristmas


By W D Nicolson - December 24, 2014

Just a quick note to wish everyone who reads, follows @NRLTweet and listens to NOT The Footy Show - a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year ahead of 2015.

Below is the one photo I took during my 2014 NRL travels that I think puts footy into perspective for all of us... especially at this time of year when quite frankly there is far more to life than footy.
See you in 2015 everyone!

Monday 8 December 2014

#NRL Season 2015: 'Leaked Round 1' draw misses one key trick thanks to TV land

TV still rules, but you knew that right?

2015 National Rugby League Premiership

By W D Nicolson - December 8, 2014

So we have a 'leaked' Round 1 Draw for NRL 2015 and clearly some lessons have been learned from last year's '7-games-in-Sydney' experiment but despite Fox Sports having the perfect opportunity to hand Sydney a single game on each day across the opening round - they've let the crowd boosting side down and gone with an all out of Sydney Super Saturday (just when fickle Sydneysiders will be itching for a game to attend).

According to the Tele - we start with Bunnies at Broncos on Thursday, head to Parra for Manly v Eels on Friday, then spend Saturday in Newcastle (Warriors at Knights), in Townsville (Easts at Cows) and then finish with Tigers v Titans on the Gold Coast. Come Sunday it's off to Penrith at 4pm for Dogs v Panthers, then Raiders at Sharks for Sunday night footy. The opening round ends with Melbourne heading to Kogarah to face the Dragons in MNF.

All in all a good mix of games but how have Fox Sports erred with their picks for no apparent ratings reason?

Here are a few things that you would've liked Fox Sports to have considered given they choose how Super Saturday, Sunday Night and Monday Night Football play out:

  • Having no game in Sydney on Saturday takes away one of the few prime drawing days from the long long NRL season. Think about it - opening weekend is the most universally anticipated game of the Rugby League fan - and Fox just took one valuable crowd drawing day away from the biggest market.
  • Playing two games back to back on Sunday in Penrith and Cronulla makes the not-their-team-playing footy-starved-fan have to either choose which game to go to or alternatively - and more likely - watch both from home. Statistically not a game changer ratings wise but the impact on the gate will be felt far more either way.
  • And they appear to have overlooked the crowd value of moving Cronulla's game to Saturday fits their home fanbase better than Sunday night. Sat arvo makes it an event for the Shire - Sunday night makes it an inconvenience - new season or not. Saturday night is also preferable as at least in March we can wish for non-traditional Shark Park rain right?

So which Super Saturday game gets changed without impacting the crowd significantly you ask?

  • Newcastle could still draw 17-18k on Sunday night (and thus also be prime time in NZ) v maybe 22-25k on Saturday at 4:30pm so the clear candidate is the Titans v Tigers game.
  • You want to believe the Titans opening up a new season on Saturday night at 8pm can draw 15k+ but would a Sunday 6:00pm (QLD time - so that makes it 7pm in NSW) start draw much less - if not possibly more?
  • TV wise it's hard to believe that game would rate worse as the Sunday night game - so why did Fox Sports go with this instead of Cronulla v Canberra in Sydney?
...Respectfully, can we offer a simple 'they didn't think it out'?

So our 'solution' is move Sharks v Raiders to Saturday 7pm, Cowboys v Roosters to 8pm (QLD time) and Titans v Tigers to Sunday 6pm (QLD time).

This gives Sydney four straight days of stand alone games for the ficklest of fans to attend and then... we all hope for the best on the crowd front.

Note: The above draw discussion is based purely on the Telegraph leak published Sunday December 7, 2014. has absolutely no inside knowledge of how Round 1 2015 will be shaped beyond this information.

What do you think?
Let us know your thoughts by commenting below or replying on Twitter.
Now you can still subscribe to our NOT The Footy Show Podcast on iTunes here and although we're not sure if or when we'll be back on air again, it doesn't hurt to hope right?

Sunday 2 November 2014

2014 Melbourne Cup Bluffer's Guide - 7th Annual Edition! | #MelbCup #MelbourneCup

The Bluffer's Guide to the 2014 Melbourne Cup
By W D Nicolson - November 2, 2014
Follow wdnicolson on Twitter
Welcome to the 7th Annual 'Bluffer's Guide to the Melbourne Cup'.

This is a special edition of the Bluffer's Guide - written on location in Melbourne the weekend before the big race - and although this is the only Horse Racing piece you see on each year - we guarantee it is the best one! 

The brief is simple - we take a less than inspired look at the huge field for the 3,200m race at Flemington and judge the horses in the race based purely on the quality of their name.

This is our track record over the last five Melbourne Cups:
In 2008 - Bauer was picked to run 2nd and did...
In 2009 - Shocking was picked to run 4th and won...
In 2010 - Maluckyday was picked to run 2nd and did... So You Think was picked to run 1st and was 3rd, Americain was picked to run 5th and won and Harris Tweed was picked to run 3rd and finished 5th.
In 2011 - American was picked to repeat and finished 4th... Dunaden was picked to run 4th and won, and Lucas Cranach was picked to run 5th and was 3rd.
In 2012 - Mount Athos was picked to win and came in 5th, Glencadam Gold was tipped as a roughie and came in 6th, while the rest of my selections stunk deluxe... And of course, Green Moon continued to get the 'Pride of Endor' wordplay treatment but no love from my selections... and then won the thing.

And last year in 2013... we kept up the very average predictions. Fiorente won after we picked it to finish 5th... Royal Empire was our pick and it plodded home in 14th... Sea Moon and Mount Athos finished 13th and 3rd (so we got Mount Athos 100% right)... while Dandino finished 5th after we had it 4th and our 6th placed finish - the aptly translated Voleuse De Coeurs (Run from the Toilet) was 10th.

So it was actually quite a decent year of Bluffing all things considered...

But you aren't here for any punting tips, you're here to see if for the 7th straight year I can come up with some moderately interesting lines pertaining to the competing horses in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field right?

As we stress here on, think long and hard about what you could spend (or save) the excessive money you punt with on Melbourne Cup day... in short, don't be an idiot.

Anyhoo, to the Bluffer's Guide - each horse has its current Sportingbet prices (as of 2/11/14) listed next to the horse's name and below that is our 'Scouting Report'.

Now all horses are listed 1 through 24 with the field confirmed on Saturday - and given there's a lot of re-runners from recent years, we haven't tinkered with some punfection...
The Name is ALL that matters - 2014 Melbourne Cup Bluffer's Guide
ADMIRE RAKTI #1 @ $5.00
Sorry even if you are the current favourite, I do not admire your name enough to pick you to win this thing.
CAVALRYMAN #2 @ $21.00
What chance does this horse have if all I can think of is this when I see its name?

FAWKNER #3 @ $10.00
6th last year and I think there's a park called 'Fawkner' like 1km from where I'm staying in Melbourne... but sorry, not gonna happen even with the proximity factor at play.
RED CADEAUX #4 @ $19.00
I'm out of clever things to write about this horse... this is year #4 if I'm not mistaken but it regularly contends so put it on your possibles list.
There was once a Transformer called Protectocon... okay maybe there wasn't but given how bad the last Transformers movie was - that borderline joke is already a better use of the Transformers IP than that movie was.
SEA MOON #6 @ $151.00
See that moon way out there in the night sky? Well that's about as close as this horse is going to get to winning in this year's race.
SEISMOS #7 @ $51.00
I've got nothing... not a good sign 7 horses in for the Bluffer's Guide in 2014!
JUNOOB #8 @ $31.00
So what drugs were this horse's owner on when picking this name? Or were they going for a half decent Scrabble triple word score?
ROYAL DIAMOND #9 @ $61.00
Just too pretentious a name for my liking... no chance.
GATEWOOD #10 @ $71.00
Depends which gate this horse would run from... yikes, we're in all sorts ladies and gents!
MUTUAL REGARD #11 @ $13.00 
I don't mind this horse, and neither do the owners, the jockey, the trainer, the person who committed the crime on the next horse... 
I can only assume horse names are not allowed to have a ? on the end of them... otherwise this horse would be my pick based on moderate name creativity alone.
WILLING FOE #13 @ $31.00
Meh... I'm not going to try as hard on this name as their owners did to sound impressive.
Looks up ambivalent... not sure which meaning to believe.
PRECEDENCE #15 @ $91.00
The name suggests this horse ran before and won... but at $91 don't believe it.
BRAMBLES #16 @ $41.00
These things just don't go away easily... my roughie for the Cup.
MR O'CEIRIN #17 @ $151.00
Initially read this as Mr O'Certain... then looked at the price... not as convinced.
AU REVOIR #18 @ $41.00
See you next year...
LIDARI #19 @ $41.00
Babylon 5 villains yes?
OPINION #20 @ $61.00
Take it as read - this horse can't win.
ARALDO #21 @ $31.00
Had an awful US Talk Show in the 1980s and 1990s... so has to be a bit long in the tooth now right?
LUCIA VALENTIA #22 @ $7.50
Shouldn't this be on a runway in Paris somewhere?
UNCHAIN MY HEART #23 @ $151.00
Baby I'll set you free right now - you won't win.
SIGNOFF #24 @ $7.50
This is a sign... last horse with one of the best names... your Cup winner ladies and gents.

Ok let's be honest - this year's horses gave me very little to work with name wise... but now to the tips, hopefully they improve on an awful sketch routine above.
2014 CUP PREDICTIONS as of November 2...
(I reserve the right to change once the final field is set, will lock in my selections by Tuesday 3pm)
2nd -  Mutual Regard
3rd - Junoob
4th - Lucia Valentina
5th - Who Shot Thebarman
6th - Admire Rakti
Roughies - Brambles at $41 and Araldo at $31.

Let's be honest - we've got no idea about any real chances here and we're actually more interested in better names to work with next year than who wins in 2014!

Monday 27 October 2014

NOT The Footy Show Episode 152: #NRL 2014 Season Review and #NRLTweetPOTY Awards Podcast


Join Matt Duncan and Warrick Nicolson from NOT The Footy Show's Redcliffe Studios as they break down the 2014 NRL Season and announce the outcome of the 5th Annual NRLTweet Player of the Year Awards.

It's two hours long so grab a cuppa or listen to it on the way to and from work and enjoy... because it's the final Podcast you'll be getting in 2014.

Stream the Podcast below

Grab the Final Show of 2014 off iTunes right here
Download the mp3 version
Or stream it above...

LIKE the show on Facebook or Catch up with us on Twitter: @NRLTweet

Thursday 16 October 2014

Why Jarryd Hayne taking aim at the NFL is great news for Rugby League

Is Jarryd Hayne about to become Australia's next Cinderella story?
2014 National Rugby League Premiership
By W D Nicolson - October 16, 2014

Let's start off by being honest - Jarryd Hayne's decision to head to the USA and pursue his dream of playing in the NFL sucks for Parramatta.

Now that the only negative is out of the way - here are the positives:

For the game of Rugby League this is a 109 yard touchdown return of epic proportions if he can in fact make it to the NFL level. In the space of 12 months the interest level from athletes in the USA in our game could skyrocket - and the current NFL to NRL legacy that is Greg Smith may be re-written by an actual NFL player.

For Hayne himself - I love the fact he's taking this challenge on - but the road to the NFL is going to be extremely tough... unless the management team at the Seattle Seahawks have been planning this conversion for as long as Hayne claims he's been pondering the move (approx 12 months he revealed at yesterday's presser). 

From ESPN:
"Our scout Down Under has been on this for some time now," Seattle coach Pete Carroll. 

"But he's an incredible athlete and a great competitor, so we'll see where it goes. I'm afraid to mention anything because I'm not sure of the rights things and contract issues down there. We'll leave that up to [Seahawks general manager] John [Schneider] to figure out."

So judging by these quotes from ESPN... they are either having fun with the story or may actually be serious about adding Hayne.

After reading the above - you can't help but feel like Hayne might actually be closer to a practice squad than anyone wants to believe.

However - even if the Seahawks are legit - for Hayne is to have any kind of chance of making an appearance in the NFL before the end of 2015 - no I didn't say 2014 - then he probably needs to be on their practice squad before the end of this current season. 

What does being on the practice squad mean? Find out here.

If the Seahawks are just messing around - then Hayne needs another coach to take a massive punt on him as an athlete and back his ability to learn the game on the run if he is about to be 'one step' from his NFL dream.

But adding Hayne to a practice squad is a bigger gamble on the part of the NFL team that makes that call than anything Hayne has done in the past 24 hours. 

While practice squad rules entitle teams to hold onto up to two international players - they will still be taking reps (even at practice) away from NFL-ready depth on the same practice squad. Jarryd isn't the only non-US player who wants to play in the NFL - just this pre-season, Geraldo Boldewijn (a kid from Amsterdam) missed out on a spot on the Atlanta Falcons not because of his ability but because he got hurt in the final pre-season game. In short - there is international talent out there already.

The NFL is so cut-throat for coaches that if they make a call to add a 26 year old athlete who is untested and uneducated in the game he's trying to crack - then they could be risking their careers by not keeping NFL-ready depth on their practice squad - even for the 'meaningless' final games of the 2014 NFL season in December. 

In the NFL - coaches lose their jobs based on their final record as much as a bad two or four week period late in the season if an owner thinks things are going badly... 

Take Tampa Bay's Lovie Smith for example. He was hired by the Buccaneers to right the ship in Tampa and there was even 'Super Bowl' talk from some NFL experts - let alone climbing to the top of a division that featured the regular contenders the New Orleans Saints, a team that made the playoffs last year in the Carolina Panthers and a team that was a contender as recently as 2013 in the Atlanta Falcons.

Smith's Bucs were heralded for their defensive side of the ball entering the year... but a number of key injuries and 34 points against per game - they are 1-5 and languishing at the bottom of the NFC.

So as much as some ill-advised logic may say 'hey the Bucs might take a chance on Hayne because they suck' - the reality is for Smith and his staff - they can't look to the future entirely... they have to win to keep their jobs. Finishing 3-13 is incredibly that much better than being 2-14 if you end the season with 2 wins in your final 3 games. So there's no guarantee of any of the other 31 teams not named Seattle giving Hayne a go.

So where will Hayne land?

If Seattle really liked what they saw - he could get the fairytale gig on the Seahawks' practice squad. And truthfully - that would be as big an achievement by an Australian in world sport in recent memory. 

Seriously - it would be nothing short of incredible.

If that doesn't happen, then from my limited knowledge - his best scenario (beyond amazingly getting a practice squad gig ahead of actual NFL-ready free agents - I repeat that because of how crazy it will be if it happens) is to latch onto a college team and learn the game for the rest of the year.

You'd hope he doesn't need any cash to get through the next 12 months and getting educated on the game rather than actually playing the game may be his biggest asset entering the extremely long NFL pre-season.

If he can learn the game and get actual coaching in the team environment then he has a chance... if he is stuck 'working out' for the next 6 months then I have little doubt he'll be back in the NRL by early 2015... but if those helping him make the transition identify the best fit for him is latching onto a college team program - then maybe, maybe - he's got a chance in 2015 to do training camp (or OTAs) with an actual NFL team.

I want him to succeed - but he may have to bide his time and his first chance in the NFL may not come til the 2016 NFL season - even if the above college-training camp route works out for him. 

And Rugby League wants him to as well - because if the early media reaction in the USA is any indication - a lot of players who currently don't have a gig in the NFL will be looking at the NRL as a potential option... just like Hayne sees the NFL as his next challenge.

From ESPN:
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman also was asked if Hayne could do it.

"It depends on what position he is trying to play," Sherman said. "If he can adjust and grasp the strategic part of the game, I think he would do fine. That's to be seen."

And could Sherman play rugby?

"I don't know," Sherman said. "I don't really know the rules to rugby, but I think I'd do all right."

So get excited - The Hayne Plane is about to help Rugby League take off in the USA - because people will want to know about him and where he came from and most importantly - what he did to give himself reason to believe he could make it in the NFL.

And if Jarryd makes it to the big dance at some point in the next two years - then that's just the cherry on top.

Good Luck sir!

Shoot us a tweet via @NRLTweet with your view on Hayne's move to the NFL or the impact his move will have on the NRL's appeal in the USA.
Our end of 2014 show may be being recorded in late October!
Subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on iTunes here and something might show up soon...

Wednesday 3 September 2014

#NRL 2014: Round 26 Tips Preview | #NRLSydSou #NRLMelBri #NRLPenWar

Round 26 Tips

2014 National Rugby League Premiership
By W D Nicolson - September 3, 2014

Final week is here... and we will end the year with high hopes of a good finish after our last month or so here on

Round 21 - 7/8
Round 22 - 6/8
Round 23 - 5/8
Round 24 - 6/8
Round 25 - 7/8

Now if only we'd tipped that well (77.5%!!!) all season long... still 63% across 192 games is something to be happy with.

And that'll do it for the tips this season - hopefully you didn't suck too badly by taking our views on board every week - and a special shout out to our Philippines-based tipsters - good luck in Round 26!

Quick quick tips for Round 26 - no time on our side with Thursday night footy back for the rest of the season.

The Postman's Late Mail is now - sadly - officially finished for 2014... it's out of my control, but better to be safe than sorry everyone. That's as much as I can say.

The NRL Tweet Player of the Year Voting Leaderboard is now up to date through Round 19 - the last public update until the end of Round 26.
|-| Roosters v Rabbitohs - Roosters by 2 points.
No Friend v No Reynolds... Friend is the bigger loss, but rusty Sutton is a worry... so Roosters at home... I think.
|-| Storm v Broncos - Storm by 10 points.
Storm win this eventually... Broncos stick with them early but Melbourne get away from them late.
|-| Tigers v Sharks - Tigers by 8 points.
Meh... at least it is at Leichhardt I guess. Farah v Robson = Farah wins.
|-| Raiders v Eels - Eels by 16 points.
Eels will know their playoff chances on Friday night... if Brisbane lose then Parra win this by plenty with Hayne firing... Brisbane win, and Canberra are every chance.
|-| Cowboys v Sea Eagles - Cowboys by 4 points.
Ballin and Buhrer out is huge, Jayden Hodges is the logical guy to come in but Cowboys can put their hat in for a Top 4 spot... I want to pick Manly and don't want to pick Nth Qld but find myself doing the latter anyway...
|-| Knights v Dragons - Knights by 6 points.
Sunday arvo in hopefully the sun = both teams playing some footy. Knights at home.
|-| Titans v Bulldogs - Bulldogs by 10 points.
Surely the Dogs don't blow the gift of all draw gifts... who knows what attitude the Titans turn up with... but Dogs should turn up sufficiently.
|-| Panthers v Warriors - Panthers by 4 points.
Warriors win and they make the Finals... so they may want to back themselves... but I think Penrith have one last stand for us before the Finals take them out of the premiership race.

The Postman's Late Mail is now on hiatus for 2014... apologies but it is out of my control.

Leaderboard after Round 19
You can track each week's @NRLTweet Player of the Year Award Votes on Twitter via this link: #NRLTweetPOTY

The 'Special Fried Rice' picks have returned but given it is me v me, every week - I'll just be listing my 'SFR' of the week with the FootyTab Starts as the variation aspect to keep things interesting vs just saying 'this team will win this week - guaranteed'.

* makes no guarantees of decent picks every week - but we hope they are.
Warrick D. Nicolson, The NRL Tweet
Roosters by 2, Storm by 10, Tigers by 8, Eels by 16, Cowboys by 4, Knights by 6, Bulldogs by 10, Panthers by 2.
LW: 7/8 | SEASON: 116/184 @ 63.0%
SOU +4.5, MEL -6.5, WST -6.5, PAR -6.5, NQL -2.5, NEW -2.5, CBY -10.5, WAR +2.5.
LW: 5/8 | SEASON: 88/184 @ 47.8%
Special Fried Rice: PAR -6.5. | Season SFR: 11/25 @ 44.0%
NQL -10.5, SYD -14.5, SOU -14.5, SOU -8.5, MEL -12.5, MAN -6.5, CBY +3.5, NEW +5.5, SYD -9.5, CAN +4.5, SYD +1.5, NQL -2.5, CBY +4.5, NEW +12.5, SGI +4.5, PEN +2.5, SYD -16.5, CAN +4.5, CAN +12.5, PEN -8.5, SYD -8.5, PAR -8.5, MAN -8.5, CAN +2.5, WAR -12.5, PAR -6.5.