NRL Allstars Voting Results

NRL Allstars Team 2010 and VotingThe voting has proved very interesting for the NRL Allstars team to face the Aboriginal Allstars on Feb 13th 2010.With only one player from each NRL team allowed, it makes for an interesting choice in terms of voting and the eventual culling by Allstars coach Wayne Bennett as he fine tunes which players he wants where.The next phase of voting kicks off on January 4, 2010. And with over 18,000 people getting involved in the first round of voting it’s sure to be a highly followed event as the next Phase rolls around.The top 10 chosen NRL players in phase 1 of the NRL All Stars voting are listed below:

Player

Club

1. Israel Folau

Brisbane Broncos

2. Fuifui Moimoi

Parramatta Eels

3. Nathan Hindmarsh

Parramatta Eels

4. Jarryd Hayne

Parramatta Eels

5. Michael Jennings

Penrith Panthers

6. Billy Slater

Melbourne Storm

7. Anthony Watmough

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

8. John Sutton*

South Sydney Rabbitohs

9. Josh Morris

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

10. Ryan Hoffman

Melbourne Storm

The following 64-players have been shortlisted for the NRL All Stars selection:

Club

Name

Position

Brisbane Broncos

Corey Parker

Forward

Nick Kenny

Forward

Israel Folau

Back

Peter Wallace

Back

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Michael Ennis

Forward

David Stagg

Forward

Josh Morris

Back

Luke Patten

Back

North Queensland Cowboys

Luke O’Donnell

Forward

Antonio Kaufusi

Forward

Ashley Graham

Back

John Williams

Back

Parramatta Eels

Fuifui Moimoi

Forward

Nathan Hindmarsh

Forward

Jarryd Hayne

Back

Feleti Mateo

Back

Newcastle Knights

Ben Cross

Forward

Chris Houston

Forward

Kurt Gidley

Back

Jarrod Mullen

Back

New Zealand Warriors

Michael Luck

Forward

Sam Rapira

Forward

Manu Vatuvei

Back

Simon Mannering

Back

Penrith Panthers

Petero Civoniceva

Forward

Frank Pritchard

Forward

Michael Jennings

Back

Luke Lewis

Back

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Dave Taylor

Forward

Issac Luke

Forward

Fetuli Talanoa

Back

Colin Best

Back

Canberra Raiders

Alan Tongue

Forward

David Shillington

Forward

Terry Campese

Back

Joel Monaghan

Back

Sydney Roosters

Nate Myles

Forward

Jason Ryles

Forward

Anthony Minichiello

Back

Mitchell Pearce

Back

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Anthony Watmough

Forward

Glenn Stewart

Forward

Michael Robertson

Back

Kieran Foran

Back

Cronulla Sharks

Anthony Tupou

Forward

Luke Douglas

Forward

Trent Barrett

Back

Luke Covell

Back

Melbourne Storm

Ryan Hoffman

Forward

Aiden Tolman

Forward

Billy Slater

Back

Brett Finch

Back

Gold Coast Titans

Anthony Laffranchi

Forward

Luke Bailey

Forward

Mat Rogers

Back

Ashley Harrison

Back

Wests Tigers

Gareth Ellis

Forward

Robbie Farah

Forward

Chris Lawrence

Back

Tim Moltzen

Back

St George Illawarra Dragons

Ben Creagh

Forward

Jeremy Smith

Forward

Matt Cooper

Back

Darius Boyd

Back

Please note, since Stage One voting opened the following players have been made unavailable by their club due to injury: Bronson Harrison (Canberra Raiders); Brett Kimmorley (Canterbury Bulldogs); Ben Hannant (Canterbury Bulldogs); Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sharks); Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm); Ben Harris (North Queensland Cowboys); Michael Weyman (St George Illawarra Dragons); Brett Morris (St George Illawarra Dragons); John Sutton (South Sydney Rabbitohs).

Grubby Paul Gallen is the Problem for NRL

Paul Gallen Grub Offences Sack him from NRLCronulla Sharks veteran Paul Gallen represents a remaining problem for the NRL.

While the National Rugby League has recently announced code topping TV ratings; along with a future consisting of an independent commission – most aspects of the game are looking promising.

However, serial offender and grubbiest player in League Paul Gallen is a serious blight on the sport.

There is no questioning the ability of Paul Gallen as a player; the nuggety forward is dominant on the field and ranks among the games best in terms of skill.

But the problem with Gallen; is that he cannot flick the ‘off’ switch.

The Cronulla forward has a rap sheet longer than a roll of sorbent toilet paper. From countless off-field incidents and a host of on-field incidents – this grub has done it all.

Punching team-mates; (Off field party flare up)

Urinating in public; (Dec 2009)

Racial slurs; (against Mickey Paea)

Grabbing opponent by testicles; (against Josh Graham)

and infamously attacking the stitched wound of Anthony Laffranchi.

Can it get any worse?

It’s surprising that Cronulla haven’t sacked this goose earlier; although given their lack of playing talent – you can see why they were so desperate to hang on to this problem-child.

Now; after his latest off-field drama (urinating in public) Gallen is unhappy with the fine imposed by Cronulla and is apparently crying in his weet-bix over the treatment.

The representative forward is believed to be considering an exit strategy from the Sharks – with suggestions that Manly or the Wests Tigers are ready to pickup the tab.

The only good news here is that Cronulla will be better off without this guy. While he has ability on the field, the consistent damage to their brand by a guy like Gallen is tragic.

It was a similar case with Greg Bird; the guy can play footy extremely well. Just like Gallen; Bird is a superstar. But, they have a tonne of problems and while-ever players have that super-playing ability; there will be another club ready to pick up the pieces and let them rule the roost somewhere else when things go wrong.

But back to Gallen;

No one is perfect, everyone is entitled to a second chance (heck, even a few chances!) – but this guy goes beyond belief. His actions are dumbfounding and have shocked even the most hardened former player.

Gallen is a grub.

The best thing Cronulla can do is let this problem child go, so the repair can begin on their once-popular brand.

A.Johns hints at future with Channel 9

Andrew Johns has given his strongest indication yet that he is keen to remain on at Channel 9 despite his brother potentially working as a rival on Channel 7.Many felt that Andrew would join his brother in future capacities; but recent comments suggest that not only will Andrew remain on at Channel 9 – he is keen to pioneer new developments in Rugby League coverage.Johns has in the past few days gone on record suggesting he wants more interaction; potentially from goal kickers as they line up to take penalties or conversions in big matches.The NRL is already lagging in terms of goal-kicking development coverage; with the UK Super League already having radar-like overlays during their coverage – showing viewers the kick angle and direction prior to being taken.What Johns is suggesting; is having players rigged with a mic so commentators can cross to them briefly before they attempt the kick.The likes of Jonathan Thurston or Cameron Smith could offer their thoughts on the kick, conditions and difficulty prior to attempting the conversion or penalty.The idea is a novel one; the opportunity to cross during this period is a good one – given the stoppage in play, as in most cases Rugby League is moving too fast to factor in such advancements.The addition of a mic to the kicking player would mirror that of what 20/20 cricket is trying to do – having key players able to talk to the audience during crucial moments.

NRL scores TV ratings win over AFL

NRL beats AFL in tv ratings 2009The NRL has surprised with impressive TV ratings against cross-code rival AFL; with figures that show impressive growth in recent times for the Rugby League sport.

With the AFL having a national footprint; it’s generally expected to eclipse NRL when the figures are compared. However; when representative games and junior footage (Toyota Cup) is added in – the National Rugby League has come out on top of AFL for the first time in many years.

While the AFL does not have rep and junior coverage; they do have the NAB Cup tournament which provides good figures for their code – these figures were also taken into account when compared to the NRL.The promising victory is a vote of confidence for the NRL, clubs and the new frontier as TV rights are soon to be negotiated.

The growth in viewing figures also backs up the decision by the National League not to expand too quickly; with additional teams on hold for now.Many feel the success of the NRL relates to the ‘closeness’ of the competition. In weekly rounds, any team can win on their day – by comparison, the AFL has several ‘easy-beat’ teams that are rarely a chance of winning week to week.

This could prove a problem as the AFL tries to expand into the Gold Coast and Western Sydney; with new clubs generally needing several years before they have the infrastructure and stock to be competitive weekly.The other surprising figure related to pay-television viewing stats.

While the AFL outscores the NRL on free to air viewing (understandable given the 4 AFL games to 3 NRL games shown weekly on free to air TV) and with 99% of the population having free-to-air access; penetration is ensured.However, with pay-tv only reaching 33% of the population – the NRL really shines through here, achieving a good portion of this market.

The National Rugby League achieves almost double the viewing figures of AFL on Foxtel, despite being paid less for the rights to the games.It’s all good news for the NRL as they look to establish a new commission to run the game. They have a solid package that is continually repairing year on year after the Super League war; combined with strong regional support, solid tv ratings and competitive games weekly.

Headlines at times aren’t kind, but like it or not – they keep the game on the front and back pages; with marketing that at times is hard to buy. The future challenges really lie with the salary cap, the need for a national competition once more and essentially a player draft system.

More Knights set to fall on Sword

As the headlines around Knights forward Danny Wicks begin to settle, suggestions are abound today that more Newcastle Knights players are about to be named in the alleged drug sting; with some players apparently caught by Police allegedly buying from Danny Wicks.Police reportedly have 6 months worth of phone taps and these recordings have apparently captured several other Knights players allegedly calling Wicks to inquire about purchasing drugs.The scandal has already rocked the club, with Wicks stood down indefinitely until court proceedings have been completed.But the suggestion of more players becoming involved could prove fatal for the club, certainly as the 2010 kick off nears.After losing coach Brian Smith to the Roosters prior to the NRL finals, this latest setback is set to get worse as officials brace for the fall out.Betting on Newcastle for the wooden spoon has been suspended after punters got word of the extent of the problem, with many believing that any additional players sacked could see the Knights club spiral downwards in terms of top line personnel – with a rebuilding process set to restart for the club.Wicks’s has in the past roomed with, utility Chris Houston, who was named as a possbile witness in the case, but Houston is not accused of any wrongdoing. He and all other Knights players have been ordered by the club not to have any contact with Wicks until his case is resolved.Even if charges are not laid, when phone intercepts go public they will identify players and will no doubt force the club to destroy contracts for contravening anti-drug guidelines, media reports suggested today.

Tim Smith future Origin hope?

Exiled former Eels no.7 Tim Smith could be Queensland’s State of Origin future, if he performs under a new agreement at Brisbane Easts.

With key halves, Lockyer and Thurston nearing the end of their careers – Smith, if he can recapture rookie form could be the burning light for the Maroon men.

Australian representative Lockyer will be turning 33 next year and is considering hanging up the boots in terms of representative work.

With Thurston, he seems to have his mind focused on contract negotiations at the minute. His manager suggesting that even Union is being considered by the game-breaking halfback.

Thurston and Lockyer have been the key to the Maroons 4 years of wins at Origin level since 2006.

But other options are around for the star-studded Queenslanders.

Still in the background are Premiership winning halves Scott Prince and Cooper Cronk.

But the returning Tim Smith could be the wildcard after his Super League venture failed.

Prior to health problems, Smith was rookie of the year and was set to be the next big thing at Parramatta.

Off-field setbacks hurt his focus – and after only 3 NRL games in 2008, he walked away from the National Rugby League.

With a diagnosis of bipolar, he took time away then eventually went to the UK.

However, after a failed stint with Wigan – Smith back in his home state of Queensland could potentially re-light the flame he once had burning.

Currently training with the Broncos in pre-season, good form for Brisbane Easts – could see Smith thrust back into the NRL spotlight and who knows, maybe an Origin birth if the stars align.

Jarryd Hayne officially inks deal with Parra

Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne has finally made official his 4-year agreementl with the western Sydney NRL club – after long delays.

Still only 21, Hayne will ink the contract this evening at a shopping centre in Rouse Hill.

Hayne was chased hard by rival League teams, as well as other codes. Hayne’s deal discussions have been long and drawn out last many months.

At times the rumour mill even suggested that the new AFL’s setup in Western Sydney was chasing the NRL star.

Some even mentioned a $1 million figure for Hayne to move to AFL within the new team. However, it seems this was potentially a publicity stunt by AFL insiders, as Hayne has never confirmed he was approached by them.

Hayne originally linked with the Eels until 2011 but the revised offer, now up to $500,000 a season including 3rd party top-ups, will see him at Parramatta until the end of 2014.

Danny Wicks Arrested

Former Dragons; now Knights forward Danny Wicks has been arrested by Newcastle Police after 8 drug-related charges were laid against him – as Police allege he was part of a wider drug-running network.

The 24 year old Wicks will face Newcastle Local Court to defend 6 instances of supplying a banned drug and 2 instances of holding an illegal drug.

Police Task Force Welham was formed by Grafton police nearly 6 months ago to look into the supply of amphetamine, cocaine and ecstacy.

Wicks was only 1 of 4 persons to be taken into custody by Police after raids in both Newcastle and Grafton.

He was arrested as he drove along Brunker Road yesterday morning and driven to a local police station where charges were laid.

Bird signs on with Titans for 2010

The newest NRL franchise; the Gold Coast Titans confirmed their deal with Greg Bird earlier today with the ex-Sharks pivot walking away from a juicy French Super League deal with the Catalans in favor of an NRL comeback

The new deal is for a single year, with multiyear options. It’s believed the first year could be as low as $100,000 AUD to keep the player under cap restrictions, with kickers coming in the following years.

The games governing body has also given the nod for Bird to return; with the star surely able to look at legal options against former employer Cronulla Sharks given his recent clearance in the NSW courts.

In addition, the player is believed to have been given several tight behavioural clauses within the contract by the Titans while Bird had a jail sentence quashed on appeal in a Sydney court- he has had other problems with late night indiscretions that landed him in hot water.

Door ajar for Gaz NRL return

Former NRL star Mark Gasnier hasn’t ruled out a return to the famous Red Vee next season, with a possible mid-season return on the cards for the previous Origin representative.

It’s been near a year and a half since Gaz closed the door on the NRL and Saints for French Union. While there was 2 seasons left on Gasniers NRL deal, its believed failed third party payments forced the whole agreement to collapse.

Currently on a multi-million, multi-year deal with Stade Francais in the French Union comp – the current agreement is set to expire in June 2010; with Gaz saying an NRL return is a chance.

Saints officials admitted they would be more than happy to welcome Gasnier back and it’s hard to see him paying anywhere else. While money may be a hurdle, the chance to see Gasnier under Wayne Bennett could be a very interesting combination. The super coach and super player could really set the field alight.

Look at the wonders Bennett has done for Soward, the halfback has gone into overdrive. The experience of Gasnier would replace the loss of Sailor to the club and under Bennett things could get even better for Gasnier and Dragons fans.

Some have hinted that Gasnier may be mentioning a return to the NRL to simply drive up his possible worth as it draws closer to negotiation time for his Union deals. But at the same time, the lure of more NRL representative honors and a possible championship ring would mean alot to the experienced outside back.

A return to League would mean he loses the chance to play in the 2011 World Cup within the Union ranks.

If he comes back to Saints, it offers the side an attacking option in the centres, something that wasn’t there in 2009 with veteran coach Wayne Bennett electing to with defence oriented players Matt Cooper and Beau Scott.

Gasnier’s manager George Mimis hinted that the player is considering options already with a decision coming in early 2010.

“We haven’t as yet seriously considered any options beyond his current contract at Stade Francais, but we will be looking to do so early in the new year.”