Monday 23 January 2017

NOT The Footy Show Episode 157: Ben Hunt to Dragons reaction... | NRL Podcast

Dave Chapman and Warrick Nicolson discuss the pros and cons of the Dragons signing Ben Hunt for half a decade and one million dollars a season...

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Plus Mr DC still isn't happy with NRL ticket prices (leading to a Big Bash League's success analysis) and we talk JT's announcement that he'll retire from rep footy in 2017 and possibly from the NRL in 2018.

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Friday 20 January 2017

NOT The Footy Show Episode 156: Nigel Vagana keeps talking... | NRL Podcast

Nigel Vagana opens up about his Rugby League career and just keeps talking in this one hour plus NOT The Footy Show special...

This is a good old fashioned chat about Nigel's road through an NRL career and what follows. Hope you enjoy it as much as Warrick Nicolson did talking to him.

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Wednesday 18 January 2017

Bevan French will be Parramatta's #1... Josh Hoffman destined for the wing? #NRL #blueandgold

It's the French connection for Arthur
National Rugby League Premiership...
By W D Nicolson - January 18, 2017

First the Eels secured Bevan French for another two seasons, now they'll turn to him at fullback despite picking up Josh Hoffman.
"Bevan will get the first opportunity at fullback," Brad Arthur to Sky Sports Radio.
"He's trained all pre-season there."
And with that confirmation, Josh Hoffman's chances of starting 2017 as a fullback went from slim to none.

In fact, the rest of the SMH article suggests that Clinton Gutherson would be next in line if French doesn't work out - not Hoffman.

Gutherson looks set to partner Corey Norman in the halves (unless veteran half Jeff Robson is preferred, meaning Gutherson would shift to centre/wing) for Parramatta, with French slotting in at fullback.

That means that Semi Radradra and Michael Jennings will remain partnered on the left edge, with Brad Takairangi looking like having Hoffman outside him on the right.

Now Hoffman played in the centres for the Titans last year but Arthur is a Takairangi fan and Hoffman's work-rate is going to get better utilised on the wing than it was at centre.

The reason this is intriguing decision is French made quite the impact on the wing last year - you know a 1000 tries in 9 games or whatever it was - and like Valentine Holmes, I actually think sometimes it's better not to move a freakish tryscorer from the wing and shift him to fullback too early in their career - because they get tend to get bashed on kick-returns.

Let them do their thing on the wing - especially if it benefits the team.

That all said, things aren't looking too bad for Parramatta entering 2017... then again, when you look at that average forward pack and sheer lack of a quality #9... it tempers expectations a little.

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Friday 13 January 2017

NOT The Footy Show Episode 155: NRL Off-Season Session Podcast


Matt Duncan is joined by Warrick Nicolson at the Gabba in Brisbane for a quick recap of the 2016 NRL Season. 

This 15 minute episode is just us getting back on the horse - next week we'll be joined by Nigel Vagana for a good old fashioned chat about more than just footy.

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Thursday 12 January 2017

Radradra trades Parramatta for France... but Eels must stick with him | #NRL #blueandgold

Don't cut short Semi's stay Parra... 
National Rugby League Premiership...
By W D Nicolson - January 12, 2017

Enjoy Semi in the Blue and Gold while you can footy fans... 
Admittedly, Semi Radradra's exit from Parramatta seemed inevitable but after two years of denials and a number of trips to Fiji - he will join Toulon Rugby in 2017. 

Not even the lure of the green and gold (yep, him playing for Australia in Newcastle last May DID happen) could keep him in the NRL - and let's be honest: If he didn't really want to be here, then he should take the money and run.

Whatever his situation - it is his call to leave. And he'll get paid - as the below quote from Parramatta's CEO indicates.
The offer from Toulon was substantially higher than our Club’s offer. We look forward to Semi being a most productive member of the 2017 Parramatta Eels playing squad and then we wish Semi well in his rugby union venture with Toulon. 
Bernie Gurr, Parramatta CEO.
'Substantially higher' means - he's getting millions not hundreds of thousands per year - but the Eels have stood firm in wanting one more year out of the best winger in the game.

And that's the key here for Parra - Semi is the best winger in the NRL (Valentine Holmes*, Josh Mansour and Corey Oates are in the queue behind him) and one of Parramatta's alternatives - Vai Toutai, is no longer at the club. 

Semi Radradra's Career NRL Stats (courtesy of RLP)

60 Tries in 68 games is, well... brilliant.

The argument that the club should move on and make Semi play reserve grade simply does not make the Eels better in 2017 - and after the events of 2016 - the club can't afford to put themselves behind the 8-ball before a game is played by benching Semi.

So they'll play him as long as they remain in playoff contention in 2017 - but should they be out of the picture, the Eels will likely release Semi as the French Top 14 comp begins around August... 

But right now - like 15 other teams, Parra will believe they are shot in 2017 and that means keeping and playing Semi in their top squad and enjoying his tryscoring benefits as long as they can.

* Holmes will transition to fullback in 2017 with Ben Barba's departure but at the end of 2016 - he was a winger.

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Sunday 1 January 2017

What I think about your team heading into #NRL 2017...

Your team heading into 2017...
National Rugby League...
By W D Nicolson - January 1, 2017

To coincide with the start of a new NRL year - here are 16 team thoughts on Season 2017. 

Let's start at the bottom and work our way to the top...

But please don't ask me to pick a 2017 Premier yet... heck it's only Day 1!
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