Friday, 8 October 2021

Wests Tigers have a new logo for 2022 and another missed opportunity

THE CLAWS ARE GONE BUT WHERE IS THE HERITAGE?
Published October 8, 2021 
On Wednesday October 6 2021, the Wests Tigers unveiled their new 2022 primary logo and heralded its arrival as the start of a 'New Era' for the NRL club.
To the club's credit they did own the announcement, as no media organisation got first rights to 'revealing it' but the end result is not exactly ground breaking in its design or, more importantly, its reflection of the joint venture's team histories.
Now, let's be very clear - they are the Wests Tigers. 
But this franchise/joint venture/merger/club is still very much part of the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies' heritage and when they went 'new age' in 2000 with the rebrand to the Wests Tigers (going to great lengths not to step on too many fans from the Magpie faction with the way the team is referred to as... memo to all - it's NEVER just the Tigers, always the Wests Tigers) they also moved away from arguably the greatest logo in Rugby League history in the detailed and striking Balmain Tiger on a black background.
Just look at this magnificent thing.
However, if it's a true joint venture then apparently you can't just sub in an existing logo - no matter how good it is - from one of the two sides involved in the merger... it just isn't done.
Except when exactly this was done 12 months earlier by St George and Illawarra.
So what's the alternative?
Well simply this logo mockup below, the logo that just made sense from day dot... 
If both factions within the Tigers had been able to see the sense in maintaining a brand that was engrained in pretty much all Rugby League fans... the end result should have been something like this.
You can modernise the Tiger's outline if you wish, but the Magpie perched either side of a black circle with a white outline and Wests replacing Balmain just works.
Or it doesn't... or slights the financially stronger Magpies or heralds the league's club less Tigers... or whatever.
Instead of staying with an emblem full of identity... the Tigers went for this.
Which is just a blatant copy of the Florida Panthers logo from the National Hockey League... but you know 'new look' and all... can't copy what's come before it. That would be disrespectful.
Then after 2004 and five seasons with one 'new' logo, the powers at be (ie. those at Wests who obviously didn't like that 'Wests' was smaller than 'Tigers') went for a ground-breaking change.. so wallah, another fresh new logo with equal sized font footing for the two names.
Yeah, it's a game-changer... and is it just us or does Wests stand out less than it did when it was smaller?
Anyhoo... fast forward 15 years and no second premiership from the core that won the club's first title in 2005 and the best team off the field in Rugby League (that's pretty much the club's current management's mantra these days) has decided a new era is needed and spent a lot of coin on this 'reiteration' and 'digital friendly' logo...
So now compare that with what could've been from the start and you wonder why Rugby League fans are scratching their heads at this declaration of another 'bold new era'... when the club really didn't need to go away from the good thing they were sitting on from the very start. 
Sigh...
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Monday, 4 October 2021

NOT The Footy Show Episode 249: Panthers Reign Supreme - 2021 NRL Grand Final Review Podcast

Penrith are the 2021 NRL Premiers
Released October 4, 2021 

Penrith have defeated Souths 14-12 in the 2021 NRL Grand Final to claim the club's 3rd NRL Premiership, so join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for NOT The Footy Show Episode 249 as they review the decider shortly after the game finished. 

Nathan Cleary is awarded the Clive Churchill Medal and his father Ivan wins his first premiership on the third attempt, as the Penrith coach goes one better with his Panthers in 2021. 

Souths are gallant and don’t get much luck but Adam Reynolds still had two chances late to send the game to extra time… meaning no farewell title for ARey or Wayne Bennett with the Rabbitohs. 

Enjoy.
🔘  Stream the New Podcast
🔘  Watch the Show on YouTube
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Wednesday, 29 September 2021

NOT The Footy Show Episode 248: 2021 NRL Grand Final Preview Podcast

Penrith v Souths for all the marbles in 2021 
Released September 29, 2021 

It's Grand Final time!

Join Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for NOT The Footy Show Episode 248 and our 2021 NRL Grand Final Preview as the Penrith Panthers take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. 

Is it time for the Ivan Cleary's Panthers to deliver on two superb seasons with a Premiership or will Uncle Benny steer South Sydney to his 8th win in 10 Grand Finals and leave Redfern as a legendary Rabbitoh? 

Coxsmith and Waz go through each team in detail and pick our Winner/Score, First Tryscorer and Clive Churchill Medallist. 

We may have a supplemental GF podcast later in the week with some great Grand Final moments but that is TBC. 

Enjoy
🔘  Stream the New Podcast
🔘  Watch the Show on YouTube
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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Rugby League History: Five Grand Finals in a row for Glenn Lazarus

FIVE GRAND FINALS IN A ROW FOR LAZZO...
Published September 28, 2021 
Between 1989 and 1993, Glenn Lazarus played in five consecutive Grand Finals - a record unmatched during the Winfield Cup Era of 1982-95.
He won Premierships in 1989 and 1990 with the Canberra Raiders, was runner-up in 1991 as Canberra just fell short of a three-peat, and then after signing with the Brisbane Broncos, won back to back Premierships in 1992 and 1993.
Lazarus in the 1989 Grand Final against Balmain - won 19-14 by the Raiders.
Lazarus in the 1990 Grand Final against Penrith - won 18-14 by the Raiders.
Lazarus in the 1991 Grand Final against Penrith - the Raiders lost 19-12.
Lazarus in the 1992 Grand Final against St George - won 28-8 by the Broncos.
Lazarus in the 1993 Grand Final against St George - won 14-6 by the Broncos.
Lazarus started at prop in all five Grand Finals, and played the 1991 decider with a sternum injury that would have kept him out of almost any other match.
What is telling about Lazarus is if you asked someone who watched him play in the four Grand Finals he played without a serious injury, they would have trouble picking his best performance from amongst them. He was immense in all four Premiership wins and despite missing Royce Simmons one on one for the opening try of the 1991 Grand Final, his effort and ability to play through pain in that game was courageous.
He actually came very close to playing in six Grand Finals in his first seven seasons, as he had made his debut for the Raiders late in 1987 as a 21 year old (featuring in two semi-finals), and sat on the bench unused for the Grand Final Canberra lost to Manly.
Lazarus standing with his teammates after the 1987 Grand Final against Manly - the Raiders lost 18-8 and he never saw action on the field.
Only one other player* has played in four straight Grand Finals during the Winfield Cup era - do you know who it is?

Answer below.

The next best consecutive Grand Final streak for an individual player in the Winfield Cup era sits at four in a row, dominated unsurprisingly by a host of Parramatta, Canterbury and Canberra players. 
All three teams made at least three Grand Finals in a row during the Winfield Cup era, and although Parramatta won the 1981 Grand Final it is technically not in the designated era that we are addressing here (mainly as this content is for The Winfield Cup Facebook page which celebrates everything from 1982-95).
All three clubs also made Grand Finals four times in a five year span in the era - Canterbury 1984-85-86 and 1988, Parramatta 1982-83-84 and 1986, Canberra 1987 and 1989-90-91.
But no one player was able to match Glenn Lazarus for consecutive Grand Finals in this wonderful era of Rugby League, and this is true even if you include the 1981 Grand Final for those Parramatta players who would have had streaks of four in a row.
Lazarus would miss the 1997 Super League Grand Final due to injury in his last year at the Broncos. But after signing with the Melbourne Storm in 1998, he would retire from Rugby League by playing in his sixth Grand Final in 1999 as the Storm defeated those poor Dragons 20-18.
This gave Lazarus the most enviable Grand Final record of five Premierships in six Grand Finals across his 254 game career. And with a bit of luck on the selection/injury front he might have played in EIGHT in his thirteen season run in First Grade.
He also had a wonderful representative career with NSW City, NSW Country, NSW and Australia but more on that another time.
What a remarkable Grand Final legacy from the Brick with Eyes, unquestionably the best front rower I've seen play Rugby League from the Winfield Cup era onwards. 
📊 The player with four consecutive Grand Finals during the Winfield Cup era was David Barnhill.
The second rower began his career at Canberra and appeared the 1990 Grand Final off the bench and then started in the 1991 Grand Final. At the end of 1991 he signed with St George and started in back to back Grand Final losses in 1992 and 1993. 
*This consecutive Grand Final stat is correct as we understand it via Rugby League Project for the Winfield Cup Era of 1982-95, but we could have interpreted the data wrong and are happy to be corrected.
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Saturday, 25 September 2021

NOT The Footy Show Episode 247: Preliminary Finals Recap Podcast

Souths and Penrith dispatch Manly and Melbourne. 
Released September 25, 2021 

J
oin Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for NOT The Footy Show Episode 247 as we recap both 2021 NRL Preliminary Finals - Souths 36 def. Manly 16 and Penrith 10 def. Melbourne 6. 

That leaves us with a Rabbitohs v Panthers Grand Final next Sunday October 3 at Suncorp Stadium and we review how the Penrith and Souths did the business in the Prelims... and some things the NRL simply can't keep getting wrong with rule enforcement. 

We will record again Tuesday night for our full GF Preview. 

Enjoy. 
🔘  Stream the New Podcast
🔘  Watch the Show on YouTube
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Thursday, 23 September 2021

NOT The Footy Show Episode 246: Preliminary Finals Preview Podcast

NRL Finals Week 3 Preview Podcast
Released September 23, 2021 

J
oin Robb Cox and Warrick Nicolson for NOT The Footy Show Episode 246 as we preview the 2021 NRL Preliminary Finals - Souths v Manly and Melbourne v Penrith.

Apart from our picks of who makes the Grand Final, we touch on Michael Maguire surviving at the Tigers (for another 12 months of speculation) and wonder what Tim Sheens will be able to accomplish once he arrives. We also quickly discuss Billy Slater's apparent two year contract to coach QLD from 2022.

We will record again Saturday night or Sunday arvo.

Enjoy.  
🔘  Stream the New Podcast
🔘  Watch the Show on YouTube
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Monday, 20 September 2021

Rugby League History: Ellery Hanley's magical run with the Balmain Tigers in 1988

ELLERY ALMOST COMPLETES THE FAIRY TALE...
Published September 20, 2021 
In July 1988, 27 year old Englishman Ellery Hanley joined a Balmain Tigers team sitting in 7th spot after 19 Rounds of the NSWRL Premiership.
The Tigers had an impressive 13-6 record but were grouped with 3 other teams on 26 points (Canberra, Manly and Brisbane but they were all only 2 points from the Top 3 teams on 28 points) and had the least impressive differential (+53) of all 7 teams in the running for the Final Five with 3 games left.
So the Tigers, despite producing fine campaign with 13 wins already, were up against it with games left against Manly 5th, Penrith 2nd and Brisbane 6th to close out the regular season... and they needed a spark.
Enter Ellery.
Hanley had been touring Australia in June/July with the Great Britain side that had lost the Ashes Series 2-1, and he had just played for the Rest of the World against Australia (losing 22-10) on July 27th when he signed a deal with play with Balmain the following weekend.
Losing his debut on July 31st to Manly 8-4 at Brookvale Oval in Round 20, Hanley then propelled Balmain to the Grand Final with 6 straight wins against contending teams over the next two months - with every single game a win or go home scenario for the Tigers.
1988 NSWRL Premiership Regular Season 
✅ ▪️ Round 21 - Balmain 16 def. Penrith 14 at Leichhardt (this pitted 7th v 2nd and despite the win Balmain stayed in 7th). 
✅ ▪️ Round 22 - Balmain 20 def. Brisbane 10 at Leichhardt (7th v 6th but this result eliminated Brisbane from the congested playoff scenario, and clinched a spot in the 5th place playoff for Balmain who technically ran 6th).
1988 Winfield Cup Finals Series
✅ ▪️ Playoff for 5th - Balmain 28 def. Penrith 8 at Parramatta (Penrith had been 3rd after 21 rounds but fell to 5th with back to back losses to Balmain and Manly and the Tigers sent them packing!).
✅ ▪️ Minor Preliminary Semi Final - Balmain 16 def. Manly 6 at SFS (Manly were defending Premiers and had finished 4th on differential).
✅ ▪️ Minor Semi Final - Balmain 14 def. Canberra 6 at SFS (Canberra were Grand Finalists in 1987 and had actually finished on 30 points like Balmain but a superior differential handed them 3rd spot, but they'd been beaten by Canterbury in extra time of the Major Prelim the weekend before).
✅ ▪️ Preliminary Final - Balmain 9 def. Cronulla 2 at SFS (Cronulla had won the Minor Premiership but had been beaten 26-8 by Canterbury in the Major Semi the weekend before).
And in the space of 6 weeks - the Balmain Tigers on the back of Hanley had reached the 1988 Winfield Cup Grand Final and would face the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Sadly for Balmain and the dynamic Hanley, who had scored a try in every Finals match Balmain had played to this point, he was knocked out in the 1st half of the decider against Canterbury (not so subtly by Terry Lamb well after he off-loaded the ball for those unfamiliar with the incident).
Without their talisman healthy, the Tigers' fairytale run at a Winfield Cup ended in a 24-12 defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs in the first Grand Final at the Sydney Football Stadium. 
Although the Premiership had eluded them, the Tigers had captured support from legions of non-Balmain Rugby League fans with their incredible run to the biggest game of the 1988 season.
Hanley would return to the NSWRL Premiership in 1989 but this time with the Western Suburbs Magpies after they offered a massive short term deal to him and fellow Englishmen Garry Schofield and Kelvin Skerrett.
Despite not staying a Tiger, Hanley had firmly entrenched himself into the hearts of the black and gold faithful with his magical run of match-winning form in August and September of 1988.
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