Category Archives: NRL Editorials

Editorials on the big issues in NRL Rugby League

From the Cheap Seats – The Sydney Roosters and the reasons for their success

Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco

Congratulations to the 2018 NRL Premiership winners, the Sydney Roosters!
Jeez, as a Tigers fanatic, that was hard to write!

From the cheap seats, I hear all sorts of rumour, innuendo and theories about the Roosters their salary sombrero and Uncle Nick.

For all the hate, innuendo and accusations, the Roosters won because they were the best team. Coached brilliantly by Trent Robinson and his staff.

It is easy to accuse them of cheating the salary cap. I understand the frustration.

However, what ever the Roosters are doing with the management of their squad, they are doing a great job compliant to the rules and are obviously better at list management than all other clubs.

The NRL are extremely thorough in their auditing of all clubs including the Roosters.

After Melbourne were stripped of their premierships and Canterbury were stripped of all points for seasons past for breaking salary cap rules, all clubs know the punishment for any wrongdoing.

I admit, I look at the strength of the Roosters roster and wonder how they fit all players under the cap.

Their team reminds me of the amazing teams of the Brisbane Broncos and Canberra Raiders of the early 90’s full of Test and Origin players.

“The Roosters cheat the Salary Cap because Ian Schubert, an ex Rooster, is the head auditor of the Salary Cap for the NRL. ”

That is something I hear often. Ian Schubert is not an NRL salary cap auditor. He hasn’t been for many years.

The punishment is far too harsh to intentionally break salary cap rules.

Not only are the players penalised or stripped of their achievements, but the fans feel the pain more.

Clubs also lose as it tarnishes their brand and potentially reduces revenue.

If any team has the capability of going back to back, it is this Roosters Team. They have bought well for next season to improve on their perfection.

Angus Crichton, Brett Morris, Ryan Hall will all join the club in 2019.

“Hang on! How do they fit them in under the cap?” I hear many fans shout in frustration! “What a joke! They must be cheating the salary cap.”

Many fans are unaware that a player can earn money outside of the salary cap through third party agreements.

Teams like the Roosters, Brisbane and Melbourne easily attract third party sponsors due to the clubs brand and corporate connections.

Third party agreements are met with skepticism from opposing fans.

Most get a vision of a brown paper bag full of cash. Truth is, they have to be approved by the NRL before a contract can be ratified.

Players should be able to earn as much as they can. They only have a short playing life which could end at anytime.

Third party agreements enable players to earn their market value and for clubs to obtain good players over the preference of other clubs.

“So, how do we assure fans, players, clubs and officials that clubs are adhering to the Salary Cap? ”

Transparency! The NRL should release all club players salary and third party deals. This is something they can adopt from most American sports.

In American sports, players contract money is made public.

I understand this is invading the players privacy but I feel it is necessary for many reasons.

The first and most importantly to alleviate any suspicions from fans.

If the contracts of the Roosters roster were to be made public, the fans and officials would be able to see the team financials to understand and appreciate rather than accuse and be disrespectful of the teams achievements.

On the other hand, fans and officials would be able to see contract money for a player they feel is suspiciously under valued.

Particularly officials of other teams who offered far more than what the player has settled for at another club. This would act as a deterrent for any club attempting to break the rules.

“If the Roosters can obtain better third party deals than other clubs, is the salary cap equal for all? ”

All clubs have the ability to obtain sponsors. It is up to the clubs to build its brand so external sponsors want to invest in them.

Players themselves need to be accountable if they want to earn top dollar. They also need to understand their contract.

Too often, I hear players state they are not aware of the details of their contract.

“My manager deals with that” can not be an excuse.

A player should be aware of what their entitlements are and what aren’t.

If players and player managers were to be individually harshly penalised for receiving goods or cash outside of their contract this would also act as a deterrent.

It would also be a tax declaration issue and potential crime.

Recent Mad Monday exploits and bad publicity will not help clubs to maintain existing sponsorship and attract potential sponsors.

Every bad action off and on the field has a bearing on all clubs. Australia has so many sports for Sponsors to choose from.

From the view from the cheap seats, my opinion is that the Roosters should be congratulated on a great season and are deserved premiership winners for 2018.

Let me know your thoughts. Be respectful to all. Go the Tigers!!!

Pete Williams

Parramatta thank ANZ

Tonight, the Parramatta Eels faithful get to say farewell to the 2018 season – one which has been painful majority of the time – but they at least get to say farewell to their temporary home at ANZ Stadium.

This year, the stands at Olympic Park haven’t been a very happy place for the blue and gold army as there haven’t been too many reasons to cheer.

When you look at the big picture, though, over the two years without a Parramatta Stadium due to the construction of Western Sydney Stadium, there have been many positive moments.

It’s easy to focus just solely on this season as a Parramatta fan however; across the two years, ANZ has proved to be a lovely home.

As difficult as it may be to look at the future excitedly, this venture at Olympic Park may prove to be very helpful to the blue and gold.

Obviously the two years have been very different years on paper for the team, however, when you look at the records, ANZ still acted as a prime home base.

In 2017, the Eels played a total of 15 games at ANZ stadium – including 1 final and 3 classified away games.

Of those 15, Parramatta won 8 home games, the 3 away games and only lost a total of 4 games, home or away.

This year, in 2018, things haven’t looked quite as positive but for ANZ the record still isn’t half bad. They played a total of 13 home and away games at ANZ for a record of 5 home wins, 5 home losses and 3 total away losses.

Combine the two seasons together and despite the dreaded wooden spoon on its way to Parramatta this year, the win percentage at ANZ is still positive even if it is only just.

This season, the Eels have not won an away game. It’s a statistic that is very concerning and worrying for the fans and club as a whole.

Away games are inevitable and if you can’t win away from home, you aren’t a real dominate force in the competition.

2019 is going to be a whole new ballpark for Parramatta, however. they do have a little bit of help in fixing their away slump.

Many fans have been scratching their heads or throwing their arms up in frustration at the recruitment at Parramatta, or lack thereof I should say.

They seem to be forgetting, though, that the team hasn’t just recruited Blake Ferguson, Junior Paulo and Shaun Lane – they’ve also recruited a brand new stadium.

After two years away, Parramatta are finally returning home to Parramatta. They have a brand new stadium and as exciting as all of the new features are, the greatest benefit is the home ground advantage again.

This is their home. They won’t be sharing it with any other rugby league team like the 3 (occasionally 4) teams who have had to share ANZ.

Fans will have to travel to Parramatta and enter Parramatta’s territory to verse the team which proves to be a real benefit for teams. What Parramatta also has on their side now is a backup home.

Fans have become accustomed to traveling to ANZ. They’ve figured out the best time trains and favourite food or drink vendors.

They’re used to the parking lots or the walk around the stadium to the station.

It’s become a part of their overall football experience as a fan so flocking to ANZ for the 3 or so away games against the Dogs, Rabbits and potentially Tigers won’t be an issue at all.

In a way, they’re like bonus home games.

Who knows what will happen with this game in 2019.

If this season has proven anything, it’s that anything can happen so there’s no real point super-analysing sides before the season has even started.

However, one inevitable is that Parramatta have a new home. They may physically farewell ANZ tonight against the Roosters but mentally, they’ve still got ANZ on their side next year.

Ricky’s View: Respecting the referees

NRL referee Matt Cecchin

If you have been reading the news lately, you will have seen that leading NRL referee Matt Cecchin is stepping aside at season’s end. 

Now, I’m not usually one to say a whole lot about referees but the recent constant negative press coupled with Cecchin’s decision has prompted me to say something.

Referees, no matter the sport they officiate in, have one of the hardest jobs imaginable in sport.

Each decision they make, good or bad, has to be made in basically a split second.

They have to recall, assess, analyse and then make their decision in an instant; very few of us ever have to face that sort of pressure.

With that pressure, comes scrutiny, much of which is tame and normal but there is a much darker side to all of this.

A side whereby referees are openly criticised by those who wield notoriety, to the point where their name and their profession becomes publicly ridiculed.

Matt Cecchin is a leading NRL referee, a fan of the game and a lovely man and person in general.

He is also an openly gay man and that should never be held against him when he steps out onto an NRL field.

He refereed his 300th game this past week and that is a tremendous achievement. One that Cecchin should really be reveling in.

Unfortunately, he cannot. That milestone has been overshadowed by the fact he has opted to retire and by the media’s treatment of referees.

His retirement has come on the back of several hundred death threats following the Rugby League World Cup.

Cecchin was threatened, family members were attacked and he had to be escorted by Federal police back to his home, such were the disturbing nature of the threats.

There is no harsher critic of a referee than the men themselves who are refereeing games every week at the highest level.

Just last year, Cecchin spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald in a candid interview about his mental illness battles and his anxiety.

“I feel bad when I f..k up,” Cecchin said in that interview.

“I take it to heart if I don’t referee well.”

On top of that, it all become so bad and so much for Cecchin, he is talking to his sports therapist twice a day.

But this isn’t just about Cecchin or that he’s forced to retire because he feels unsafe. This goes much, much deeper than just the NRL.

Any referee, no matter the sport or the level they referee at, are human just like every single one of us.

And yet they receive constant damnation and scorn, incessant insults and vitriol by fans who go too far.

Yet, it even goes beyond that. When some media types openly criticise referees and seek to individually highlight every error they make.

Again, referees are human. They make mistakes as we all do. Yet our mistakes are not published on a national scale like the referees ones are.

What does this sort of public embarrassment tell the next generation of referees?

How does that inspire them to keep going, knowing that certain media types will only belittle you and your refereeing ability?

How does that instill confidence into them, a trait that is so important in the constant pressure environments NRL refereeing brings about?

Referees will never feel safe in their jobs nor will they ever be free to just referee until the scorn and vitriol from fans ceases.

And until the media stop with their tiresome campaign of publicly highlighting error upon error, referees will never feel safe.

If the game itself does not do more to help and protect the referees, then Cecchin will not be the last to walk away from the game.

More importantly, if the referees of our game are not respected by fans for the work they do, then why should they have to turn up to referee at all?

NRL Teams Rd 19

Another week of footy as it is time for NRL Teams for rd 19. Some teams have only pride left, others want to jostle for position.

With a lot riding on the outcome of games for some, are there any key returns to help propel a team over the line?

Here are the teams for rd 19 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Parramatta Eels v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLparcby); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Thursday, July 19. Kick-off: 7:50 pm. 

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson (C) 2. Bevan French 3. Michael Jennings 4. Jarryd Hayne 5. George Jennings 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitch Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Siosaia Vave 11. Marata Niukore 12. Brad Takairangi 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Tepai Moeroa 15. Tim Mannah (C) 16. David Gower 17. Peni Terepo.

Reserves: 18. Kane Eveans 19. Jaeman Salmon 20. Suaia Matagi 21. Reed Mahoney.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Reimis Smith 6. Lachlan Lewis 7. Jeremy Marshall-King 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. David Klemmer 11. Josh Jackson 12. Rhyse Martin 13. Adam Elliott.

Interchange: 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Clay Priest 16. Ofahiki Ogden 17. Danny Fualalo.

Reserves: 18. Greg Eastwood 19. Craig Frawley 20. Francis Tualau 21. John Olive.

Coach: Dean Pay.

Cronulla Sharks v Canberra Raiders (#NRLcrocan); Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla; Friday, July 20. Kick-off: 6 pm. 

Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Edrick Lee 6. Matt Moylan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Scott Sorenson 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Joseph Paulo 15. James Segeyaro 16. Aaron Woods 17. Jayson Bukuya.

Reserves: 18. Ava Seumanufagai 19. Sosaia Feki 20. Kurt Dillon 21. Kyle Flanagan.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Raiders: 1. Brad Abbey 2. Nick Cotric 3. Michael Oldfield 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Sam Williams 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Dunamis Lui 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Junior Paulo 11. Iosia Soliola 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Josh Papalii.

Interchange: 14. Blake Austin 15. Luke Bateman 16. Siliva Havili 17. Liam Knight.

Reserves: 18. Craig Garvey 19. Jack Murchie 20. Royce Hunt 21. Emre Guler.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Brisbane Broncos v Penrith Panthers (#NRLbripen); Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Friday, July 20. Kick-off: 7:55 pm. 

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd (C) 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Jordan Kahu 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Sam Thaiday 11. Alex Glenn 12. Tevita Pangai Jr. 13. Josh McGuire. 

Interchange: 14. Kotoni Staggs 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Korbin Sims 17. Patrick Mago.

Reserves: 18. Gehamat Shibasaki 19. David Fifita 20. Sam Tagataese 21. Troy Dargan.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Panthers: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Dean Whare 5. Christian Crichton 6. James Maloney (C) 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Trent Merrin 9. Sione Katoa 10. James Tamou 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris.

Interchange: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Corey Harawira-Naera 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Moses Leota.

Reserves: 18. Jarome Luai 19. Tyrone May 20. Kaide Ellis 21. Wayde Egan.

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Newcastle Knights v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLnewgld); McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle; Saturday, July 21. Kick-off: 3 pm. 

Knights: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Ken Sio 3. Cory Denniss 4. Nathan Ross 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Connor Watson 7. Mitch Pearce (C) 8. Josh King 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Aidan Guerra 12. Mitch Barnett 13. Herman Ese’ese.

Interchange: 14. Jamie Buhrer (C) 15. Chris Heighington 16. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 17. Jacob Lillyman.

Reserves: 18. Brent Naden 19. Sam Stone 20. Jack Cogger 21. JJ Felise.

Coach: Nathan Brown.

Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Brenko Lee 5. Philip Sami 6. AJ Brimson 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James (C) 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Mitch Rein 15. Moeaki Fotuaika 16. Jack Stockwell 17. Will Matthews.

Reserves: 18. Leilani Latu 19. Brendan Elliott 20. Jai Whitbread 21. Morgan Boyle.

Coach: Garth Brennan.

Wests Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLwstsou); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Saturday, July 21. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Corey Thompson 6. Benji Marshall (C) 7. Luke Brooks 8. Russell Packer 9. Robbie Farah 10. Ben Matulino 11. Michael Chee-Kam 12. Josh Aloiai 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Alex Twal 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Luke Garner 17. Matt Eisenhuth.

Reserves: 18. Jacob Liddle 19. Robbie Rochow 20. Tim Grant 21. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Souths: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Campbell Graham 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Dane Gagai 5. Robert Jennings 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. George Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess.

Interchange: 14. Adam Doueihi 15. Cameron Murray 16. Jason Clark 17. Tevita Tatola.

Reserves: 18. Mark Nicholls 19. Billy Brittain 20. Dean Britt 21. Braidon Burns.

Coach: Anthony Seibold.

North Queensland Cowboys v St George Illawarra Dragons (#NRLnqlsgi); 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville; Saturday, July 21. Kick-off: 7:30 pm. 

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Enari Tuala 4. Kane Linnett 5. Justin O’Neill 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Ben Hampton 15. Shaun Fensom 16. Francis Molo 17. Corey Jensen.

Reserves: 18. Jake Clifford 19. Ethan Lowe 20. Mitchell Dunn 21. Antonio Winterstein.

Coach: Paul Green

Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop (C) 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Kurt Mann 16. Leeson Ah Mau 17. Luciano Leilua.

Reserves: 18. Patrick Herbert 19. Blake Lawrie 20. Jai Field 21. Jordan Pereira.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

New Zealand Warriors v Melbourne Storm (#NRLwarmel); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Sunday, July 22. Kick-off: 2 pm (AEST) & 4 pm (local time).

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Gerard Beale 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Blake Green 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Simon Mannering 13. Adam Blair.

Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Tevita Satae 16. Joseph Vuna 17. Peta Hiku.

Reserves: 18. Mason Lino 20. Karl Lawton 21. Bunty Afoa 22. Anthony Gelling.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Kenny Bromwich

Interchange: 14. Tui Kamikamica 15. Tim Glasby 16. Christian Welch 17. Brandon Smith.

Reserves: 18. Jahrome Hughes 19. Joe Stimson 20. Dale Finucane 21. Cheyse Blair.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Manly Sea Eagles v Sydney Roosters (#NRLmansyd); Lottoland, Brookvale; Sunday, July 22. Kick-off: 4 pm.

Manly: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Matt Wright 3. Moses Suli 4. Brian Kenny 5. Brad Parker 6. Tom Wright 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Manase Fainu 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Trent Hodkinson 15. Kelepi Tanginoa 16. Frank Winterstein 17. Taniela Paseka.

Reserves: 18. Jorge Taufua 19. Tevita Funa 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Lloyd Perrett.

Coach: Trent Barrett.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Victory Radley 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Ryan Matterson 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Mitch Aubusson 17. Kurt Baptiste.

Reserves: 18. Nat Butcher 19. Lindsay Collins 20. Matt Ikuvalu 21. Sean O’Sullivan.

Coach: Trent Robinson.


Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 13: Steve Mavin

Former South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury Bulldogs player Steve Mavin

Back again as our NRL interviews series continues; this time, we had Steve Mavin chat to us. 

The former South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury Bulldogs player played alongside some greats and enjoyed a relatively successful career.

Here is our chat with him:

1. What are your earliest memories of rugby league?
Playing for Botany United at Booralee Park & watching the Rabbitohs from the hill at Redfern Oval.

2. You made your debut with the Rabbitohs at just 19 years old; were you expecting the opportunity to come so early?
I was lucky that the opportunities that led to my debut all fell into place. I was called up to grade from Souths Jersey Flegg as a forward when I was 18yo in 1986 and made my way into a fabulous u23s pack that won the comp that year.

That team included Ian Roberts, Joe Thomas & Ross Harrington to name a few so I had some great blokes to learn from. I also played a few reserve grade games and packing down against some older heads was a real eye opener but also gave me the confidence that I could compete at that level.

In 1987, I was elevated to trial with the 1st grade team & made my way into the centres because our formidable forward pack contained the likes of Les ‘Bundy’ Davidson, David Boyle & Mario Fenech.

Playing alongside my centre partner Paul Roberts, we put on a few tries in the pre season, I ended up playing every game for the Bunnies that year and was leading try scorer for the club.

3. You then played for the Canterbury Bulldogs; tell us a bit about your time there?
I played one season at the Dogs in 1991 & it’s a tremendous club & my teammates were a great bunch of blokes.

It was a side full of talent with the freakish ability of Ewan ‘Panda’ McGrady alongside the likes of Darren Smith, Jarrod McCracken, Dean Pay & the ‘Welsh Wiz’ Jonathan Davies.

Best of all was playing with the great Terry ‘Baa’ Lamb, it was something special. His knees were gone so he couldn’t really train during the week but on game day the champion player would always take the field & do his thing, carving teams up and always putting himself in the right position at the right time.

His timing was impeccable, what a player! My fondest memory was actually backing him up to score the winning try against the Broncos at Lang Park, I’ll never forget that one!

4. You were well known for your swan dives when scoring tries; was that just something you had always done or was there a reason for it?
As a kid, I always liked sliding to the line to score with the ball tucked away like Steve Rogers used to do and I suppose the swan dives evolved from that, I just added a bit of air to the routine.

5. You returned to the Bunnies in 1992 for a final swansong; how much did the club mean to you?
I’ve always loved the Rabbitohs being born and bred in Botany which is the heart of Souths territory so it was a dream come true to be player number #757 for the club.

We had some lean years for a long time and I’ve been part of that heartache both as a fan & a player. I was at the GF in 2014 with my wife when we finally ended the drought and we were in the corner where GI scored & did the Goanna.

We went back to Souths Juniors & we were able to celebrate with the team. That was one of the best days ever to finally chalk up another win for this famous club, what a day!

My 1992 season was a disaster; I ran from dummy half in the 1st game of the season at Parramatta Stadium, Brett Kenny tackled me, my leg broke & my season was over.

6. How have you kept busy post-footy? Are you still involved in the game in some capacity?
After footy, I ran a tree lopping business for about 10 years and I’ve been a wharfie at Port Botany for the last 12 years.

I’ve got about 500 work mates here & there’s also a full squad of ex players that includes Darren Brown, Corey Hughes & David ‘Cement’ Gillespie.

I have 2 daughters that never played league so I didn’t get involved in coaching or anything but I still follow the game closely. The 2018 Rabbitohs are playing some great footy, they are just enjoyable to watch.

The backs are moving the ball beautifully & the forwards are laying a solid platform through the middle. Sutto has wound back the clock & the Burgess boys are playing awesome footy.

Damien Cook has added another dimension with his speed at dummy half & young Cameron Murray is a star on the rise.

Anthony Seibold is doing all the right things & I hear he’s a terrific bloke as well, what a coach!

7. If you could give any advice to budding rugby league players, what would it be?
Practice hard on all your skills. Develop a decent fend to swat away defenders & perfect your tackling technique, there’s nothing better than grassing your opponent in a cover tackle.

Enjoy your footy, look after yourself & eat healthy. Work extra hard, train your heart out & don’t take any shortcuts, give it everything you’ve got while you can because commitment reaps rewards.

Don’t just rely on your ability because your time in the game will come & go fast so make the most of it.

Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 12: Marvin Karawana

Former Newcastle Knights utility Marvin Karawana

Here we are again, another interview; this time, we talk to former Newcastle Knights utility Marvin Karawana.

Marvin talks to us about his playing days at the Knights, his move to union, an unusual link to SBW and much more.

1. What are your earliest memories of rugby league?
I started playing footy at the age of 4 or 5 and from what I can remember, I used to love scoring tries so that my parents and grandparents would give me treats or money after the game. 

2. Your NRL debut with the Newcastle Knights came in 2007 when you were 21; were you expecting it and how did it feel to crack first-grade?
I was over the moon when I got to debut in first grade. It had always been a dream of mine since I was young!

I was lucky enough to be thrown a lifeline by Smithy and the Knights staff toward the end of their pre-season that year, so when I got that chance I worked pretty hard to catch up to everyone who had done a full pre-season.

I was actually supposed to debut a few games before that with a good mate Mark Taufua against the Sharks, but had to pull out the day before from a back injury so was pretty gutted when that happened.

3. You were able to cover lock, back-row and five-eighth in rugby league; did you have a favourite position during your time at the Knights?
I enjoyed playing everywhere a bit, to be honest. If I had the chance, then either five-eighth or lock probably would have been my preferred position.

My body didn’t agree with playing 80 minutes so I was probably more suited as a utility type player. 

4. In 2012, you moved into the rugby sevens world with Wellington; was rugby union always a sport you also wanted to play or was the move about the opportunity?
I played both rugby and league growing up as a kid, so always had ambition to try and do well in both.

So when I came off contract with the Knights and decided to move home to Wellington, I thought that I would give rugby a crack and see how that would go. 

5. Tell us a bit about your Wellington team-mates nick-naming you “Wainui SBW”.
Don’t know where that one came from, haha.

Threw a few offloads here and there but there is no comparison there; he’s 100 times the player and athlete. 

6. Away from both league and union, how do you keep yourself busy?
Besides running around after my 2 boys in my spare time, I help run an audio visual company back home doing conferencing and events so that keeps me on the go most of the time. 

7. Finally, if you could give any advice to aspiring young players, what would it be?
I don’t have any fancy quotes or inspiring stories, but it would just be to work hard on your game, always keep improving, and never give up!

And secondly, to always have a back up plan for after footy as you never know when it will come to an end and it can be pretty tough adjusting to life and work in the “real world” if you aren’t prepared. 

NRL News Rd 16 Stats Breakdown: Dragons v Eels

St George Illawarra Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward

Round 17 is here and so is the first of the stats breakdowns; the St George Illawarra Dragons v Parramatta Eels! 

The Dragons are on top and the Eels are at the bottom but don’t let that deceive you.

The Eels have said they are ready for the clash and come looking to cause an upset.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Parramatta Eels Stats Breakdown

The St George Illawarra Dragons and Parramatta Eels have played each other on 35 occasions; the Dragons have won 14, the Eels have won 17 and there have been four draws.

Four draws is the most for the St George Illawarra Dragons against any one side.

St George Illawarra lost failed to win in their first seven games against the Eels (6 losses & 1 draw). Their first win was in 2003.

The Eels have won the last six games against the Dragons and haven’t lost against them since 2013.

The first clash between the two side was a 20-10 win for the Eels in round 1, 1999.

Biggest Wins

The St George Illawarra Dragons biggest win over the Parramatta Eels was a 37-0 win in round 26, 2009.

The Parramatta Eels biggest win over the St George Illawarra Dragons was a 36-0 win in round 10, 2014.

Players to have been sin-binned/sent-off in this clash

  1. Wayne Bartrim (SGI) (sent-off) in round 9, 2001.
  2. Danny Wicks (SGI) (sin-bin) in round 25, 2006.

Players to have scored three or more tries in one game in this clash

  1. Semi Radradra (PAR) scored four tries in round 2, 2017.
  2. Jason Moodie (PAR) scored three tries in round 15, 2000.
  3. David Vaealiki (PAR) scored three tries in round 26, 2000.
  4. Ben Smith (PAR) scored three tries in round 18, 2005.
  5. Wendell Sailor (SGI) scored three tries in round 25, 2008.
  6. Brett Morris (SGI) scored three tries in round 26, 2009.
  7. Semi Radradra (PAR) scored three tries in round 16, 2015.
  8. Bevan French (PAR) scored three tries in round 25, 2016.

Players to have played for both sides in this clash

  1. Corey Pearson (SGI: 1999-2000 & PAR: 2004)
  2. Daniel Heckenberg (SGI: 2000 & PAR: 2002-2003)
  3. Mark Riddell (SGI: 2001-2004 & PAR: 2005-2008)
  4. Craig Stapleton (SGI: 2001-2003 & PAR: 2004)
  5. Henry Perenara (SGI: 2003-2004 & PAR: 2005-2006)
  6. Adam Peek (PAR: 2003-2006 & SGI: 2007)
  7. Michael Witt (PAR: 2003-2004 & SGI: 2014)
  8. Junior Langi (SGI: 2000 & PAR: 2004)
  9. Justin Poore (SGI: 2004-2009 & PAR: 2010-2012)
  10. Danny Wicks (SGI: 2006-2007 & PAR: 2015-2016)
  11. Beau Scott (SGI: 2007-2012 & PAR: 2016-2018)
  12. Cameron King (SGI: 2010, 2012-2013 & PAR: 2017-2018)
  13. David Gower (SGI: 2011-2012 & PAR: 2014-2018)

Head coaching records

Jason Taylor (PAR) – 2/2 at 100%.
Brad Arthur (PAR) – 5/6 at 83.3%.
Wayne Bennett (SGI) – 5/7 at 71.4% (1 draw).
Brian Smith (PAR) – 7/11 at 63.6% (1 draw)
Steve Price (SGI) – 3/5 at 60%.
Nathan Brown (SGI) – 6/11 at 54.5%.
Michael Hagan (PAR) – 2/4 at 50%.
Ricky Stuart (PAR) – 1/2 at 50%.
Daniel Anderson (PAR) – 1/5 at 20%.
David Waite (SGI) – 0/2 at 0.
Stephen Kearney (PAR) – 0/3 at 0%. (1 draw)
Andrew Farrar (SGI) – 0/4 at 0% (1 draw).
Paul McGregor (SGI) – 0/4 at 0%.

Most prolific point-scorers in this clash

  1. Jamie Soward (SGI) – 3 tries, 46 goals & 2 field goals (106 pts)
  2. Luke Burt (PAR) – 9 tries, 32 goals & 1 field goal (99 pts)
  3. Mark Riddell (SGI/PAR) – 2 tries & 14 goals (36 pts)
  4. Semi Radradra (PAR) – 9 tries (36 pts)
  5. Ben Hornby (SGI) – 7 tries & 3 goals (34 pts)
  6. Nathan Blacklock (SGI) – 6 tries & 4 goals (32 pts)
  7. Brett Hodgson (PAR) – 1 try & 12 goals (28 pts)
  8. Jason Moodie (PAR) – 7 tries (28 pts)
  9. Eric Grothe (PAR) – 7 tries (28 pts)
  10. Matt Cooper (SGI) – 7 tries (28 pts)
  11. Brett Morris (SGI) – 7 tries (28 pts)
  12. Clinton Schifcofske (PAR) – 1 try & 9 goals (22 pts)
  13. Nathan Hindmarsh (PAR) – 5 tries & 1 goal (22 pts)
  14. Jarryd Hayne (PAR) – 5 tries (20 pts)
  15. Bevan French (PAR) – 5 tries (20 pts)
  16. Chris Sandow (PAR) – 10 goals (20 pts)

Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 11: David Faiumu

Former North Queensland Cowboys and Huddersfield Giants hooker David Faiumu

We are lucky to have another NRL interview to share with you all; former North Queensland Cowboys and Huddersfield Giants hooker and lock David Faiumu.

Faiumu opens up about his unexpected start in first-grade, the lead-up to the 2005 grand final, his Huddersfield move and much more.

Here the questions and answers so sit back and enjoy:

1. What are your earliest memories of rugby league?
Watching my local footy players in Wellington NZ. Being in the changing rooms with local A grade legends who my father played with.

I was the ball boy, running the water or kicking tee from the age of 6.  Players like Steve Kearney, Johny and Dave Lomax, Tana Umaga and many other footy legends all played for my two junior clubs Randwick and Wainuiomata back in the 80s and 90s.

2. You made your NRL debut for the North Queensland Cowboys in 2004; were you expecting it or was it as surprise at the time?
No, I wasn’t expecting it.
I was playing alright for the Cowboys reserve grade team and the first-grade boys were on a bit of a poor run in the early rounds of 2004.

Muzza [Graham Murray] tapped me on the shoulder after training during the week and said, ‘I heard you’ve been going alright in first-grade’ to which I replied with a quiet, ‘not too bad, Muz.’

He replied with ‘what does that mean, not too bad, mate; have you or haven’t you?’ I said, ‘yes, I have been going well.’
He said, ‘that’s better!’ Muz then asked me if I wanted a run with the big boys and I actually said, ‘yes, I have been going well.’

I must have been nervous as hell but Muzza just smiled and said, ‘you’re in this week, mate, you’ll make your first-grade debut.’
He shook my hand, congratulated me and told me to go and ring my mum.

3. In 2005, the Cowboys made the grand final; although you lost the game, what was the grand final atmosphere like on the day for yourself and the club?
It was amazing. The entire week leading up to it was something out of this world for me nothing I had ever experienced before, I’ll never forget it.

Just the nerves and excitement running through your body on game day; the music, dancers, fans dressed up in all the gear at the stadium and at the airports and the media exposure, it truly is something special.

4. You sought a move to Huddersfield; what prompted that decision?
Personal circumstances prompted the move. I had been involved in an off field incident that forced me to continue my career in England.

There had been a few off field indiscretions occur in early 2008 including mine. David Gallop and the NRL had quite simply had enough and came down hard on us which was the right thing for the NRL to do.

I used my time in in England to grow and develop on and off the field and learn from the mistakes I had made earlier. I made a commitment to work hard, put my head down play well, look after my family and win the respect of my new club and fans.

I spent 8 years at the Huddersfield Giants and loved every minute of it. It is where my two daughters grew up for most of their childhood.

I completed a number of short courses in my early years at the Giants which led me to completing a BSc degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Huddersfield University. It took me four years to complete and was very tough at times.

Some nights I would be sleeping at the library (as it was 24 hours) trying to pump out assignments and then head straight to training and back to a lecture that same day. It was character building and I suppose has helped me to where I am today.  

5. During your time at the Giants, the fans developed a chant for you; were you expecting to become such a fan favourite at the Giants?
Not at all. Nathan Brown was my coach for most of my time there and had a massive influence on how I learnt how to play the game in a more consistent manner, which I am guessing helped me earn praise from the fans.

Before Browny, my footy was good for 2 or 3 weeks and then poor for 1 or 2. Football at training and games was based on all the non-talent related efforts which is something Browny helped instil not only on myself but on the many other players within our Giants squad.

Ultimately, these new found values resulted in the Giants making the top 4, top 6 every year and even playing in a Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

6. Since your retirement as a player; how have you stayed active in the game?
Due to injury, I retired at the end of 2014. The club looked after me and got me to coach the under 19s Giants team with a former team mate of mine and good friend Chris Thorman.
I also worked as the Giants Development Officer in a dual role. 

In 2016, I returned home to New Zealand and took up various roles with the New Zealand Rugby League as Development Officer for the Upper Central Region.
Then onto football administration as General Manager for the Wellington region.

In December 2017, our family returned to where my partner Belinda is from; Rockhampton in Central Queensland.
I am currently working for the QRL as the Wellbeing and Education Manager for the Central Region. 

I enjoy my role because a lot of what I talk about is mostly things I have experience of myself or have seen happen to the many players I have played with.

I really enjoy the coaching part of the game so I also coach part-time on the side as the Central Capras ISC assistant coach to Kim Williams.

7. If you could give any advice to young rugby league players, what would it be?
Tip 1 – Work hard, expect nothing from the game and give everything.

Tip 2 – While playing, find something you love doing outside of the game. I have seen and played with many players that have had to retire at a very young age due to injury, form or have even fallen out of love for the game.

So it’s important you have something you enjoy doing outside of the footy pitch. There is usually someone in your life that has done it or is currently doing it.

Pick their brains on their successes and failures and use it to help guide you towards that passion. Whether it’s to become a plumber, doctor, chippy, whatever it is. Anyone with life experience will always be willing to share their story with you. You just have to ASK!

NRL News Rd 15 Stats Breakdown: Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Former South Sydney Rabbitoh Eric Simms

First stats breakdown of round 15; the Parramatta Eels v the South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

Although their seasons have been vastly different, history favours the Eels.

Just what will transpire, we shall find out as an exciting clash awaits us.

Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs Stats Breakdown

The Parramatta Eels and South Sydney Rabbitohs have played each other on 132 occasions; the Eels have won 59 games, Souths have won 68 and there have been five draws.

The Eels need just seven points against the Bunnies to score 2,200 total points against them.

The Bunnies need 30 points to score 2400 total points against the Eels.

The Rabbitohs won fourteen of the first nineteen games between the two sides including the first six.

The Eels have won four of the last six games between the two sides, including the last three.

The first game between the two sides was a 35-22 win for the Rabbitohs in round 2, 1947.

Biggest Wins

The South Sydney Rabbitohs biggest win over the Parramatta Eels was a 50-10 drubbing in round 18, 1951 & round 7, 1957.

The Parramatta Eels biggest win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs was a 54-0 whitewash in round 22, 2002.

Players to have been sin-binned/sent-off in this clash

  1. John Kolc (PAR) (sent-off) in round 20, 1979.
  2. Ray Price (PAR) (sin-binned) in round 8, 1982.
  3. Michael Pobjie (SOU) (sin-binned) in round 16, 1984.
  4. Ken Stewart (PAR) & Mario Fenech (SOU) (both sin-binned) in round 5, 1985.
  5. Peter Ford & Peter Sterling (both PAR) & Mario Fenech & Ian Roberts (both SOU) (all sin-binned) in round 24, 1986. Craig Coleman (SOU) sent-off in the same game.
  6. Mario Fenech (SOU) (sent-off) in round 19, 1987.
  7. Paul Quinn (SOU) & Aaron Raper (PAR) (both sin-binned) in round 5, 1996.
  8. Brad Watts (SOU) (sin-binned) in round 19, 2003.
  9. Nathan Cayless (PAR) & Beau Champion (SOU) (both sin-binned) in round 6, 2010.
  10. Fuifui Moimoi (PAR) (sin-binned) in round 3, 2011.

Head coaching records

Terrence Fearnley (PAR) – 8/8 at 100%.
Jason Taylor (PAR) – 1/1 at 100%.
Brian Smith (PAR) – 10/11 at 90.9%.
Bernie Purcell (SOU) – 6/7 at 85.7%.
Dave Watson (SOU) – 5/6 at 83.3%.
Dave Bolton (PAR) – 3/4 at 75%.
Frank Curry (SOU) – 3/4 at 75%.
John Lang (SOU) – 3/4 at 75%.
Rupert Rayner (SOU) – 11/16 at 68.6%.
Clive Churchill (SOU) – 13/19 at 68.4%.
Kenneth Kearney (PAR) – 4/6 at 66.7%.
Michael Maguire (SOU) – 6/10 at 60%.
George Piggins (SOU) – 4/7 at 57.1% (1 draw)
Denis Doneghue (SOU) – 5/10 at 50%.
Rupert Rayner (PAR) – 3/6 at 50%.
Jack Gibson (PAR) – 3/6 at 50%.
Bill Anderson (SOU) – 3/6 at 50%.
Ron Willey (SOU) – 3/6 at 50%.
Ian Johnston (PAR) – 2/4 at 50%.
Daniel Anderson (PAR) – 2/4 at 50% (1 draw)
Johnny Slade (PAR) – 1/2 at 50%.
Cecil Fifield (PAR) – 1/2 at 50% (1 draw).
Norm Provan (PAR) – 1/2 at 50%.
John Peard (PAR) – 1/2 at 50%.
John Monie (PAR) – 4/10 at 40% (1 draw).
Ken Shine (SOU) – 2/5 at 40%.
Jason Taylor (SOU) – 2/5 at 40% (1 draw).
Brad Arthur (PAR) – 3/8 at 37.5%.
Vic Hey (PAR) – 3/9 at 33.3%.
Ron Hilditch (PAR) – 1/3 at 33.3%.
Michael Hagan (PAR) – 1/3 at 33.3%.
Shaun McRae (SOU) – 1/3 at 33.3%.
Michael Cronin (PAR) – 1/5 at 20%.
Ricky Stuart (PAR) – 0/1 at 0%.
Robert McCarthy (SOU) – 0/1 at 0%.
Frank McMillan (PAR) – 0/2 at 0%.
Charlie Gill (PAR) – 0/2 at 0%.
Ken Slattery (PAR) – 0/2 at 0%.
Ronald Boden (PAR) – 0/2 at 0%.
Brian Hambly (PAR) – 0/2 at 0%.
Ron Lynch (PAR) – 0/2 at 0%.
Johnny King (SOU) – 0/2 at 0%.
John O’Neill (SOU) – 0/2 at 0%.
Stephen Kearney (PAR) – 0/3 at 0%.
Paul Langmack (SOU) – 0/3 at 0%.
Ian Walsh (PAR) – 0/4 at 0%.
John Gibson (SOU) – 0/4 at 0%.
Craig Coleman (SOU) – 0/4 at 0%.
Ken Thornett (PAR) – 0/5 at 0%.

Players to have scored three or more tries in one game in this clash

  1. Nathan Merritt (SOU) scored five tries in round 22, 2011.
  2. Ian Moir (SOU) scored five tries & Bob Honeysett (SOU) scored four tries in round 7, 1957.
  3. Ray Price (PAR) scored four tries in round 21, 1978.
  4. Matt Petersen (PAR) scored four tries in round 12, 2003.
  5. Jack Rayner (SOU) & Keith Gersbach/Dan Munro (both PAR) scored three tries in round 2, 1947*.
  6. Johnny Graves (SOU) scored three tries in round 10, 1948*.
  7. Dale Puren (SOU) scored three tries in round 14, 1955*.
  8. Eric Sladden (SOU) scored five tries & Ian Moir (SOU) scored five tries in round 16, 1957.
  9. Col Alterator & Geoff Weekes (both PAR) scored three tries in round 10, 1962.
  10. Ken Foord (PAR) scored three tries in round 9, 1963.
  11. Michael Cleary (SOU) scored three tries in round 4, 1965.
  12. Phil Smith (SOU) scored three tries in round 1, 1972.
  13. Harry Eden (SOU) scored three tries & Owen Stephens (PAR) scored four tries in round 10, 1975.
  14. Eric Grothe (PAR) scored three tries in round 3, 1980.
  15. Steve Ella (PAR) scored three tries in round 3, 1981.
  16. Mick Pattison (SOU) scored three tries in round 14, 1981.
  17. Will Harris (PAR) scored three tries in round 5, 1983.
  18. Graham Lyons (SOU) scored three tries in round 9, 1990.
  19. Russell Wyer (PAR) scored three tries in round 5, 1996.
  20. Luke MacDougall (SOU) scored three tries in round 2, 2005.
  21. Semi Radradra (PAR) scored three tries in round 10, 2016.
  22. Semi Radradra (PAR) scored three tries in round 26, 2017.

Players to have played for both sides in this clash

  1. Les Bell (SOU: 1943-1946 & PAR: 1947-1949)
  2. Arthur Slattery (SOU: 1943-1945 & PAR: 1947-1949)
  3. Martin Gallagher (SOU: 1953-1958 & PAR: 1960)
  4. Brian Hambly (SOU: 1956-1958 & PAR: 1961-1967)
  5. Kerry Burke (PAR: 1964-1968 & SOU: 1969-1972)
  6. Denis Pittard (SOU: 1968-1973 & PAR: 1974-1975)
  7. Mick Pattison (PAR: 1978-1980, 1983-1984 & SOU: 1981-1982)
  8. Nathan Gibbs (SOU: 1978-1983 & PAR: 1984)
  9. Tony Melrose (PAR: 1980-1981 & SOU: 1982-1983)
  10. John Kambas (PAR: 1983 & SOU: 1984)
  11. Brian Jackson (PAR: 1985-1991 & SOU: 1992)
  12. Greg Drake (PAR: 1989-1992 & SOU: 1995)
  13. Matt Goodwin (PAR: 1990-1991 & SOU: 1992)
  14. Matt Munro (PAR: 1990-1991 & SOU: 1998)
  15. David Penna (PAR: 1990-1993, 1998-2000 & SOU: 1994-1997)
  16. Jason Bell (PAR: 1989-1992, 1997-1999 & SOU: 1994-1996)
  17. John Fearnley (PAR: 1991-1994 & SOU: 1995)
  18. Peter Johnston (PAR: 1989-1991, 1996-1997 & SOU: 1992-1993)
  19. Paul Quinn (PAR: 1991-1992 & SOU: 1994-1997)
  20. Rod Maybon (SOU: 1988-1993 & PAR: 1996)
  21. Phil Howlett (PAR: 1994-1995 & SOU: 1996-1998)
  22. Michael Speechley (SOU: 1984-1985 & PAR: 1993-1995)
  23. Dean Schifilliti (SOU: 1994 & PAR: 1999-2000)
  24. David Kidwell (PAR: 1999-2000 & SOU: 2007-2009)
  25. Wade McKinnon (SOU: 2002-2003 & PAR: 2004-2006)
  26. Paul Stringer (SOU: 2002-2004 & PAR: 2005-2006)
  27. Dean Widders (PAR: 2002-2006 & SOU: 2007-2008)
  28. Adam Peek (SOU: 2002 & PAR: 2003-2006)
  29. Jamie Russo (PAR: 2002 & SOU: 2003-2004)
  30. Craig Stapleton (PAR: 2004 & SOU: 2010)
  31. Manase Manuokafoa (SOU: 2005-2008 & PAR: 2010-2011)
  32. Jeremy Smith (PAR: 2006 & SOU: 2007-2008)
  33. Joel Reddy (PAR: 2005-2011 & SOU: 2014-2015)
  34. Daniel Irvine (PAR: 2000-2002 & SOU: 2007)
  35. Beau Champion (SOU: 2005-2010, 2013-2014 & PAR: 2015)
  36. Chris Sandow (SOU: 2008-2011 & PAR: 2012-2015)
  37. Joe Galuvao (SOU: 2006-2007 & PAR: 2008-2009)
  38. Chris Walker (SOU: 2003 & PAR: 2011)
  39. Nathan Peats (SOU: 2011-2013 & PAR: 2014-2016)
  40. Kirisome Auva’a (SOU: 2014-2016 & PAR: 2017-2018)
  41. Nathan Brown (SOU: 2015-2016 & PAR: 2017-2018)

Most prolific point-scorers in this clash

Eric Simms (SOU) – 2 tries, 81 goals & 7 field goals (181 pts)*
Michael Cronin (PAR) – 7 tries & 70 goals (161 pts)*
Bernie Purcell (SOU) – 3 tries & 52 goals (113 pts)*
Luke Burt (PAR) – 6 tries & 32 goals (88 pts)
Chris Sandow (SOU/PAR) – 3 tries, 25 goals & 1 field goal (63 pts)
Johnny Graves (SOU) – 6 tries & 10 goals (54 pts)*
Nathan Merritt (SOU) – 12 tries & 2 goals (52 pts)
Arch Brown (PAR) – 2 tries & 21 goals (48 pts)*
Adam Reynolds (SOU) – 1 try & 22 goals (48 pts)
Kevin Longbottom (SOU) – 2 tries & 17 goals (42 pts)*
Steve Ella (PAR) – 7 tries, 8 goals & 2 field goals (41 pts)*
Denis Pittard (SOU) – 7 tries & 9 goals (39 pts)*
Neil Baker (SOU) – 18 goals & 2 field goals (38 pts)
Ian Moir (SOU) – 12 tries (36 pts)*
Keith Campbell (PAR) – 16 goals (32 pts)
Brett Hodgson (PAR) – 3 tries & 10 goals (32 pts)
Semi Radradra (PAR) – 8 tries (32 pts)

Disclaimer: As always, these are merely the most prolific point-scorers in games between these two sides. 

Also, players with asterisks next to their total points played in an era where either tries were worth three points and/or field goals were worth two points.

Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 10: Mike Eden

Mike Eden playing rugby league for Eastern Suburbs

It is back again! NRL Interviews, this time with Mike Eden, the former Manly, Roosters, Eels and Gold Coast utility back.

We had a chat with him about footy, his greatest memories, life after footy and his current involvement in the game.

Here are our questions (red) and his answers (blue):

  1. What are your earliest memories of rugby league?
    Around 1966/7, my uncle Harry lived at our 2 bed fibro joint in Rockdale. My brother & I had bunks and Harry a small single bed in our room. Harry played with Jack Gibson’s Roosters so we went to training with him often and watched every game (he played mainly 3rd Grade then) at the Sports Ground.
    Kevin Junee, Johnny Mayes, Alan McKean, Larpa Stewart, Ronny Saddler and Johnny Walker were our heroes early.
    When he went to the Dragons, it was Chang & Billy Smith. I was lucky to go to test matches and grand finals as a kid.
    We were Rugby League people and it is in our blood. Although, I played soccer from the age of 4 until 16.
  2. You were a Manly junior and went on to play for the club in the 1981 and 1982 seasons; what did it mean to you to represent a club you had a long association with?
    I played soccer at Beacon Hill after we moved in 1968 to the Northern Beaches. I filled in when the Rugby League team was short and played my first game at Brookie in 1969, a game we won 3-0; see attached photo.
    I was captain of Manly Sea Eagles SG Ball & Jersey Flegg teams before being graded in 1979 from Presidents Cup. Even though I supported the Rabbits, Roosters and Dragons while Harry played, I was convinced I would play as many grade games for Manly as Maxy Krilich when I went to grade.
    I told Ken Arthurson that I would be at the club long enough to be in his chair (after I finished my Law degree). It was very sad to be told I wasn’t wanted after the 82 season. I love the club and it would have been enough for me to play one u23 game.
    It was a privilege and an honour to play grade football for the Eagles.
  3. You moved to the Eastern Suburbs side in 1983 in what was perhaps your best season in the top grade, winning the Rothman’s Medal; how would you rate that season and your success in it? I turned up to training at Centennial Park in the off season on crutches after a white water rafting acccident and was booked into get an operation in mid-march.
    Luckily, the Roosters Doctor Neil Halpin sorted that out and I was able to get fit for the first game of the season against the Magpies. I played well in a basically new team after Bozo took a heap of good players to Manly.
    It was a great thrill to win the medal. On the night, I sat next to Jack Gibson and Ron Coote which was very exciting. We went ok until the last few weeks when the players stopped playing for the coach I think. It was a tough year getting beat in the playoff against the Dragons.
    I played most of the season with an AC injury requiring needles most games and an operation at the end of the season.
  4. In 1988, you signed for the Gold Coast Giants side and scored the team’s first try; just briefly describe the reception of a Gold Coast team in the competition at that time and your time there.
    Bob McCarthy  and John Sattler were good mates of my uncle and asked me to come and play for their team. We had some great players and characters in that first year or two. Hollywood Halliwell, Choppy Close, Rambo Gibbs, Neil Hunt, Truck Simpkins and Billy Johnston were good for the franchise.
    I enjoyed my time on the coast but retired after headbutting Mal’s knee and arm guard in a game against the Raiders. Concussion is going to be an ongoing issue for our game.
  5. Your uncle Harry Eden also played rugby league; did you attend any of his games growing up and did his time in the sport inspire you in any way to play rugby league?
    We watched most of Harry’s games including when he played in Wollongong for Collies and West down there. The 71 GF is still the saddest day of my childhood when St George lost all 3 grades.
  6. You’re currently a solicitor; was law always something you saw yourself getting into post-footy?
    I went to Sydney Uni in 78 to do law. I didn’t look at doing anything else after football except maybe as an administrator in the game.
  7. Talk us through your time (still active) as a committee member of the Albury Thunder rugby league club in Group 9.
    I was the waterboy until my knee gave way. I am a very passionate supporter of bush footy and am currently negotiating with the Melbourne Storm to host their feeder club to play in the NSW Cup competition.
    David Trodden, CEO of NSWRL & Brian Canavan, the NRL’s Head of Football have been very supportive and will help fund the project.
    I am also Vice Chairman of the Professional Rugby League Match Officials Inc (PRLMO) and am assisting with the negotiations with the NRL on behalf of the referees and touch judges.
  8. Finally, if you could give any advice to budding rugby league players, what would it be? 
    You are retired a very long time. Enjoy our great game and look at doing some training to assist grass roots when you finish, maybe as a ref, water boy, coach or something else. It is very rewarding. Get your referees ticket while you are a player. Pick up a whistle or a flag and do a junior game. You will understand how hard it is and how rewarding it is to be part of the greatest game of all.
Mike Eden playing rugby league in 1969.