With only one game remaining in Round 23 of the NRL for 2007 – we here at NRL News have a couple of things on our mind:
Coach Killing: With only 2 rounds left for season 2007, we’re surprised that this year we haven’t seen a coaches head get chopped off mid-season. Ok, Chris Anderson moved away from the Roosters for health reasons (supposedly) – but otherwise; even struggling NRL clubs have resisted the urge to sack coaches. For some it’s a monetary reason – they simply can’t afford to sack a coach. After such a coaching merry go round at the end of 2006, its been a very quiet year in coach land. Nathan Brown surviving after the Dragons worst year in recent memory, Ricky Stuart surviving his new job after a 7 game losing streak and continued poor season results for the Sharks in 07, Matt Elliott being handed the keys to a premiership winning team in Penrith and writing it off within 6 months and Brian Smith weathering a long running storm in Newcastle after their team continues to bicker internally and leak 50 points a game.
Referee Debate: Complaints about refereeing standards continue to ring loud in NRL circles; however the problem is that NRL teams are so equal these days – mistakes by referee’s are amplified and obviously more crucial. Greg Hartley and Mick Stone from yesteryear were notorious for bad calls and alleged team favourtisim; however because the teams of that era had varying skill levels and played such different styles of football – the referee’s bad calls wouldn’t decide a game (most of the time). These days – we see golden point matches weekly, games decided by small margins – meaning a single referee error could cost a game. Give the whistleblowers a break! We need two of them on the field, it’s simply too hard for a single ref to watch 10 things at once including: 10m, ruck battle, forward passes and theatrics that rival Italian soccer.
Who will win the comp in 2007: Yes, the burning question. We are ready to answer your emails! After some courage tablets; NRL News would have to say the Manly Sea Eagles. With only 2 weeks until the finals, Manly have the form, depth and style to win this years premiership. The Storm have dropped off slightly, Eels lack determination, Bulldogs have injuries as do Brisbane, Cowboys and Tigers have defence problems and that leaves the Bunnies and Warriors as the darkhorse challengers to the title. Get your decent bookie odds on those two now!
Prize Winner: Jess from Armidale has won our ‘Guess the Grubber’ competition, correctly naming Owen Craigie as our stand-in ‘Grubber Man’ while the real grubber is in the UK on a Super League visit. As a Knights supporter – Jess will receive a sterling silver Newcastle Knights Ring.