Category Archives: NRL Editorials

Editorials on the big issues in NRL Rugby League

Souths Chris Sandow dodges praise; keeps cool

Chris Sandow South Sydney Rabbitohs Halfback NRL 2008While Bunnies captain Roy Asotasi and coach Jason Taylor have heaped praise on new no.7 Chris Sandow for his efforts in the past 5 weeks, but the South Sydney rookie believes he still has a long way to go before classing himself as a complete  first grade player..

The livewire halfback has yet to be in a losing Souths side, playing in  Souths’ 5 wins on the trot, their longest winning succession in 14 years. Regardless of his own thoughts, Sandow has lived up to comparisons with Allan ‘Alifie’ Langer. While obviously a little green in some areas, Sandow has more than the foundations for an impressive career.

His passing selection and decision making around when to take on the line have been quite good. He initially lacked a strong mid to long kicking game, but this is improving each week. His short kicking game is virtually bulletproof, with a barrage of chips, grubbers and reverse banana kicks to get his side plenty of repeat sets against the Eels last night.

Last night’s 32-20 conquest of Parramatta at ANZ Stadium was centred around 2 upcoming playmakers, Sandow and Parramatta pivot Feleti Mateo.

Sandow had a hand somewhere in 4 of Souths’ 6 touchdowns, while Mateo also played impressively until suffering a medial ligament knee injury shortly after halftime.

He returned to the field for the last quarter after a ten minute break but given he is carrying an ankle injury as well there’s serious concern about his availability over the coming weeks.

Rabbitohs captain Roy Asotasi said Sandow had done “wonders” since coming into first grade, while coach Jason Taylor said the rookie halfback’s kicking game had made “a massive difference to our whole team.”

Sandow, who hadn’t spoken to the media before last night, was quick to down play his part in the Rabbitohs resurgence.

“I’m not a first grader yet, that was my fifth game, I’m just taking each game as it comes,” Sandow told AAP.

“I want to stay there to the end of the year, but I’ve got to perform each week.”

Taylor, Asotasi and Sandow all stressed that Souths weren’t worrying about trying to make the finals, even though their latest win pushed them to within three points of eighth spot.

However, their next three fixtures are all against teams currently outside the top eight.

Slumping Parramatta, who are just two points ahead of Souths after crashing to their third loss in four games, were sweating on scans on Mateo to be performed tomorrow.

Asked if he would be right for Friday, Mateo said: “You can never tell, sometimes they say if you don’t feel anything it’s worse, so I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see,” Mateo said.

Parramatta hope to have captain Nathan Cayless back from an infected shin, but acting skipper Nathan Hindmarsh was brutally honest about what the potential loss of Mateo could mean to the Eels.

“We are up shit creek pretty much, we’ve got one paddle (Mateo) left, if we loose that we’re in strife,” Hindmarsh said.

“Its going to be difficult for us. “This year he’s been our standout player and sets up most of our tries and scores a lot himself.”

Paramatta coach Michael Hagan believed the Eels needed to win five of their eight games to make the finals and said he couldn’t knock the effort of his players.

Allan Tounge fuming; Pappa escapes Prowler

Allan Tounge NRL Round 17 2008 Prowler TackleCanberra Raiders forward Allan Tounge was today fuming after the NRL match review committee cleared Cronulla Sharks player Misi Taulapapa of any wrong doing; after the Sharks flanker hurled himself at Tounge while the Raiders captain attempted a tackle on a ball carrying player.

It was a bizzare situation and many felt Misi Taulapapa would be charged today after video footage was reviewed.

Allan Tounge feels he is a victim due to the fact he is a low profile player, playing for a regional club.

“Imagine if it was Brett Kimmorley and I came in and busted him and he was out for the rest of the game and we came back and won the game, imagine how much (Cronulla coach) Ricky Stuart would be blowing up,” Tongue said.

“I’m not as influential in the game as someone like a Kimmorley.

“Imagine if someone came out … when it’s so close with the top eight, and took out another side’s main playmaker, I definitely think there’d be people jumping up and down.

Tounge raises a very valid point, this kind of bizzare interference could be used by a team to directly or intentionally hurt an opposition player. Consider the likes of Israel Folau or Justin Hodges targeted in a semi-final, or a half-back such as Matt Orford or Cooper Cronk being attacked by player totally independant of the ball carrier?

A physical clash could put the player out for the match and the culprit is free to play the rest of the game and the following week.

Any prowler type tackle in the NRL should be outlawed, there were a few in the Storm/Eels game on the weekend by both sides. Ball carriers were being held up by two tacklers and a third tackler was chopping legs and lower body in a dangerous fashion.

This latest unique method by Misi Taulapapa should have been stamped out quickly by the review committee, now it’s been let go – will Cronulla and other teams try to use it to their advantage?

How can NSW revive their State of Origin hopes?

State of OriginWith State of Origin Game 3 only days away, what can the Blues really do to reverse the trend in Game 2? While they won in Sydney – it was only by a small margin and the flood gates really opened up in Queensland for Game 2. The quality of the Queensland players shone through and the stop/start tactics – more based on prevention from NSW in the original game were now useless.

The NSW Blues should really look at starting the game with Kurt Gidley at fullback. Manly flyer Brett Stewart certainly hasn’t put a foot wrong, but his offensive impact has been limited at best so far in State of Origin.

Craig Bellamy could look to start Stewart on the bench and inject him when defence has tired, in a similar way Queensland smartly use Billy Slater.

Many believe that for Kurt Gidley to have a strong impact he needs to be out there for the full 80mins. This is how he does it for Newcastle on a weekly basis. The Queensland Origin side has four kickers in their team; Jonathon Thurston and Scott Prince on either side of the ruck and the Storm’s Cameron Smith can kick from dummy half, with Karmichael  Hunt as a fallback.

For Game 3, NSW have only two genuine kickers in the side with Braith Anasta and Mitchell Pearce. Danny Buderus is not a noted kicker therefore putting a lot pressure on the new halves combination.

Although he has a good kicking game, Pearce will be under a lot of pressure as an Origin rookie and probably doesn’t have the distance kicking game under pressure that others possess.

This is where Gidley can play a crucial role.

Gidley not only has a good kicking game but he has the options and speed, thus he can run the ball as well when the situation arises.

The Sydney Roosters do score the majority of their tries through kicks, however Queensland won’t be easily beaten in the air on the fringes. Pearce and Anasta will certainly give the Maroons more to think about on final tackle plays.

Queensland have worked overtime to ensure high balls won’t be a problem and developed a good counter-strike from these attempts in Game 2.With Gidley starting the match it will help relieve pressure on both Anasta and Pearce from the outset. The more options NSW have on tackle 5, the more difficult the situation is for the Queenslanders to defend against. Having defenders in two minds, unsure whether to stay in the defence line or drop back – this could prove very handy for NSW.

NSW will lose nothing with Gidley at the back; his defence is sound and he is a good positional player, his speed is also comparable to Brett Stewart. He is the ace up the sleeve for the Blues.

Another player who was unlucky to have missed out on State of Origin selection is Sea Eagle Anthony Watmough . He has a strong running game and can tackle with aggression. Anthony Tupo is lucky to have retained his spot after having never really fired up at Origin level, he has lost that running edge and does come up with the odd error.

From a NSW point of view, a new look side was always going to find it tough against the quality of Queensland right across the park. In Game 1, NSW had the right mix of players to frustrate the Maroons. A solid gameplan from Craig Bellamy, carried out to the letter by players – it all worked.

With several key members from that NSW side now suspended or injured; the new look side has a huge task at hand. It will probably take more than a few positional changes to get this NSW side home, they will need a full house at ANZ Stadium and the bounce of the ball to come their way all night. Buckle up NSW, this is going to be tough.

Fan Feedback: Suburban Home Grounds

Leichhardt Oval NRL Rugby League Suburban Home GroundsAt NRL News we are lucky to have a large group of active fans who regularly provide their feedback through the ‘Shout Box’ on the website. Any NRL enthusiast can quickly post their thoughts and discuss current Rugby League issues with fellow supporters of the NRL.

One of our more active users that goes by the nickname ‘HateQld’ has provided us with the first ever – ‘Fan Feedback’ article. We always encourage visitors to send us detailed feedback or articles, so if you’d like to have your article posted at NRL simply email:

Suburban Home Grounds

By HateQld

Think of the suburban home grounds etched in the memories of so many Rugby League players and supporters; the likes of Belmore Sports Ground , Kogarah Jubilee Oval, Brookvale Oval, Leichhardt Oval, North Sydney Oval,and the SCG.

I remember hearing stories about the home teams hosing down the
visitors dressing rooms before a game leave them feeling cold – trying to put them
off their game or leaving the grass slightly longer to combat a kicking game that might be employed by a certain team.

The atmosphere was always electric as you approached any of those grounds.Two to three vendors selling hot food outside the grounds, with young kids selling the big league programs as you filed into the ground.

Regardless of the suburban Rugby League ground, the opposition feared enemy territory. The fans from both teams loved to travel to those grounds to see the teams do battle. Some of those grounds would hold between 20,000 to 30,000
with an atmosphere strong enough to run a small power plant.

Where the seating capacity was smaller, you still felt the power of the hits and you were able to sit close enough to the game to provide the crowd support and cheering of twice as many people in a bigger venue.

Come September all the finals and grand finals would be played at the SCG or the Sydney Football Stadium. Teams from both sides would not an advantage due to the mutual venue.

I’ve been to ANZ Stadium (formerly Telstra Stadium) several times and it’s impossible to experience anything like the atmosphere a traditional venue can produce. The advantage to the home team is non-existent, even with a large home crowd – most of the players admit they can’t hear them at the large Homebush Stadium.

It’s simply hollow.

The ANZ stadium is now used by four clubs and it doesn’t feel like a home ground to any of them at all. Everyone you talk to says the same thing; they all want their clubs to have a specific local venue.

While corporate sponsors and amenities must be considered, the attraction of a suburban home ground still holds many advantages for clubs. When done right, a balance between a traditional ‘hill’ such as at Leichhardt Oval or Brookvale Oval combined with state of the art amenities, media and corporate areas – the best of both worlds could even be possible.

As clubs look for a quick cash grab and move operations to ANZ, they are failing to see the big picture – their future direction and earnings are being forfeited. The short sighted ‘stop gap’ solution is happening too often and hurting several clubs as the Sydney crowd squeeze continues.

After watching the NRL clash today between the Wests Tigers and the NZ Warriors at Leichhardt Oval, the venue was near full even before the preliminary matches got underway. The vibe, the roar and all the family atmosphere that Rugby League was built on was totally evident. Even the lower grade players got to experience it, the place was packed.

The strong local support was most evident when a Warriors player was attempting a sideline conversion. You could see and feel the roar’s and boo’s from Wests Tigers fans putting the the kicker off. Youngsters were literally metres away from their hero’s as they watched them do battle right before their eyes; a far greater experience than sitting in a deserted ANZ Stadium and trying to get a peek at the action on a TV Screen Replay.

As the clock winds down on Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt, the sun casting a shadow over the stand, the great Australian salute is in full cry as people on the hill shield the sun from their eyes, some of them making an early exit to avoid traffic.
Some say the game must only look to the future and build bigger stadiums. While progress is always important, you still need to give the fans what they want. With crowd figures so far in the NRL season being average at best, maybe it is time to truly go ‘Back to the Future’ and use suburban grounds albeit with some future proofing? Lets try for that ‘balance’.

All that was missing from Leichhardt Oval today was Laurie Nichols shadow boxing on the sideliens, as his team did battle right before the fans eyes.

Bouncer family heartless, will sue Fatty despite death

THE family of misunderstood bouncer Greg Stacey offered their condolences to the Vautin family yesterday – but confirmed they will still continue legal action against The Footy Show host Paul Vautin. An obvious mistake that was not only made by Fatty, but by many watching the Footy Show has been taken to a ridiculous level by the Stacey family.

As confirmed by Paul Vautin, anyone with a disabled person in their family would never wish to ridicule or point the finger at someone else as they know only too well the difficult situation faced day in day out. With the passing this week of Vautin’s brother, many felt the Stacey family would retract their threats and choose to make peace after the misunderstanding.

As it stands, the Stacey family are continuing their efforts to chase Vautin in what can now only be described as a cash grab, considering Vautin has apologised repeatedly for the mix-up and pointed out clearly that a person in his position with a disabled brother would never ridicule someone in the same situation.

While Vautin grieved the passing of his disabled brother Geoff in Brisbane, a case was still being compiled against his on-air accusations that Mr Stacey, a benign epileptic, appeared “blind” drunk while working the door of Brisbane’s Caxton Hotel on State of Origin night. A misconception made by thousands of viewers after seeing the brief footage during the telecast.

Greg’s father Peter Stacey confirmed that the Vautin family had phoned to apologise for comments made against his son.

And, while he admitted that Vautin would probably not have made the comments had he known about the illness, he added: “But it’s done now.”

“We also got a call from Vautin’s mum confirming that her son Geoff was terribly ill. But we haven’t called them back because we didn’t know what to say,” Mr Stacey said.

“Our hearts go out to the family, particularly his mother, but that doesn’t change what’s happened to us and our son.

“It’s going to be a hard time for Paul. I really do sympathise for him.”

Vautin has apologised to the bouncer for his comments and was expected to repeat it during Thursday’s airing of The Footy Show.

But when asked if the long-time host would front the program tomorrow night, a Channel 9 spokesman said: “We are respecting the privacy of the Vautin family as they grieve the loss of a son and brother. We will be in contact with Paul through the week.”

Geoffrey Vautin, who had Down syndrome, died in a Brisbane care facility at 12.30am yesterday.

The death came only 2 days after he was brought into the media storm over his Fattys comments.

Vautin said he would never deliberately ridicule a disabled person – revealing that his own brother had Down syndrome.

In a statement released by his manager John Gibbs late yesterday, Vautin said his brother would be “sadly missed but always remembered”.

“I am too upset and am grieving with my family to make further comment,” he said.

“I would appreciate that you allow my family our private time.”

It has been a tough week for Vautin and The Footy Show, with 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley alleging segments ridiculing the disabled were often a deliberate aim of the show. Former panel member Hadley is always looking to ‘get one up’ on his former employer Channel 9 and used his position to drive the knife in. Hadley while enjoying a large following among the over 60’s crowd has built up an ever growing pool of enemies in Rugby League circles.

Hadley said “Street Talk” staff were often sent in search of “nuffies” – a claim Nine has rejected.

“They search around for homeless people, derelicts, alcoholics, people who look different,” Hadley said.

Interesting comments from the 2GB host considering that Hadley himself spends a good portion of his weekly show berating panel member Darryl Brohman, various callers and other staff members.

The Cowboys downward spiral continues

north queensland cowboys in downward spiral losing 7 games straight in NRL 2008Guest writer and NRL tragic Ricky Ricardo returns today and gives his opinion on the North Queensland Cowboys and their horror run of form.

Can the North Queensland Cowboys stop the rot?

Ricky Ricardo

That is a question that many fans are asking themselves. Is their team really in a bad form slump or will it be reversed with one good performance? Only time will give us the answer to that question, but at this stage it doesn’t look likely.

The Cowboys have now lost a club record 7 games in a row. That’s demoralising for any team surely, just ask the Rabbitohs. The effect that would have on player morale, team confidence both during the game and during training is just gut-wrenching to even think about. As a follower of the NRL, you cannot help but feel for the club as they go through this hard time. Sure they have had injuries to key players, suspensions to back-up players and State of Origin players, but good teams have the youth and experience to back up those players day in day out.

Jonathon Thurston is definitely not pulling his weight. As the side’s leading playmaker he needs to step up and have a more prominent role in the club’s performances. He’s losing his grip at a rapid rate as the game’s best player. He was the key to their success for the past two years as the Cowboys made it to the latter stages of the finals. But he’s losing his touch most definitely. Question us, can he get it back and inspire the Cowboys to a mid season surge? It has been done before by other teams and with each team capable of beating any other, it can most certainly happen again.

And yes, Matthew Bowen, arguably one of the best fullbacks in the game is injured, again, for a prolonged period of time. That is one area that the Cowboys really struggle, depth when their frontliners are out of the side. His meter gains are outstanding in virtually every NRL match he plays, his ability to break the line is incredible and for such a small man, he is exceptionally strong. There is no one there to cover for him at fullback. The Cowboys need someone while he is out to provide that same spark. They need someone and they need someone quick. Questions is, who?

Is the wooden spoon something that the Cowboys want? They seem to be in a two-horse race with fellow strugglers South Sydney. Both of whom are on 8 points and languishing at the bottom of the table. For the Cowboys sake, and for the sake of their fans, they need to hope that it is not them in order to remain a top flight team for many seasons to come.

Their results can only be brought upon themselves when you think about it. Dumping Coach Graham Murray before the season even started, Matthew Bowen missing out on most of the season so far, Thurston and Webb playing State of Origin, Murray forced to walk away halfway through the year, Millward taking over and seemingly not being able to lift morale.>

How can a team possibly come back from this list of disasters, all in a single year? And things were only made worse following Luke O Donnell’s suspension for two separate incidents two weeks ago. He is out for another month leaving Carl Webb as the only prominent forward in the side, the other player they rely on to get results and provide the run they need. Jonathon Thurston is the other player of course.

Lacklustre, dreadful and disorganised are just some of the words being used to describe the Cowboys and their recent performances. Ok so the Knights copped 13 straight losses last year and it’s taken them a good year to recover – but to lose 7 games in a row and your last 4 home games within that, is definitely not something the Cowboys need. As many are saying, it could be the straw that breaks their back and sends them spiraling back to the dark old days of the NRL when they simply were not competitive.

Overall, if the Cowboys don’t improve and improve quickly, they will get the wooden spoon and for the sake of their club and their history, that’s definitely not something they want on their record.

Is Greg Bird is the victim?

greg bird nsw state of origin police saga queensland 2008Cronulla Sharks and NSW Origin star Greg Bird says he was humiliated by Queensland police officers who handcuffed him for no reason in the early hours of Thursday morning in Brisbane after the State of Origin match. Under pressure to explain the situation the Queensland Police have now come out firing, suggesting the Officers in fact arrested Greg Bird for drunken behaviour and not following directions of a Police Officer.

If this was the case; then why would Greg Bird make it public about his altercation with Police? And why did the Police then release Greg Bird without charge? It all sounds like a cover-up on behalf of the Queensland Police who must be clammering to cover their tarnished image.

Bird was apparently waiting near a taxi rank at West End after visiting a pub following the 30-0 State of Origin drubbing from the Maroons when two police officers jokingly arrested him. In front of a large gathering of locals, the Police Officers thought it would be ‘fun’ to grab Greg Bird and place him under ‘fake’ arrest in front of all the onlookers. Police now claim they were approached by Greg Bird who asked for directions to a cab rank. They alledge that Bird was drunk and refused a direction to move out of the way.

He was released 30 seconds later and caught a taxi back to the NSW Blues hotel, but says the unprovoked incident has caused him a great deal of embarrassment.

As both the NSW Origin Camp, the Cronulla Sharks and the Queensland Police begin to investigate the incident – already people are starting to point the finger at Greg Bird. It’s obvious how much harm this Police prank has already caused and will continue to cause – with Bird forced to defend himself for a late night out and enjoying a few drinks at a pub. The fact that the Queensland Police are covering the whole thing up is a joke.

The mindless intervention of some attention seeking Police will cause no end of damage to Greg Birds image and that of the game of Rugby League.

Sadly, the Queensland Police should not have sought their own 15 seconds of fame and should have simply carried on their duties. While sections of the public may critisise Greg Birds late night out or his failure during the Origin game only hours before, but few are mentioning how the Queensland Police Officers failed in their chosen profession, failed badly and will hurt the profile of Bird, his club and the game.

So lets not forget who the vicitim is here and ensure the culprits cop all the blame.

Steve Roach: Inside NSW Blues Camp

Steve Blocker Roach talks NSW State of Origin 2008Don’t be fooled. The war has only just begun.

Here we are – with Origin II less than a week away – and the hunger within this NSW camp is tangible.

The air of determination is so thick you could tackle it.

Despite some horrendous weather, Blues fans have come out in force to watch the boys hit the training paddock – and with a first start win on the board, the players look relaxed and calm.

It won’t last long.

The mental preparation will now begin.

See, we talk of passion and pride and enthusiasm and confidence…but the sheer amount of tactical planning and strategic homework which goes on before one of these Origin games is phenomenal.

Of course I can’t go into to the meaty details, but there is plenty more to winning an Origin game than turning up with a Blue jersey on.

There are players we need to target, there are different set structures for different parts of the field and there are mountains of attacking plays and defensive formations to get right.

This is where Craig Bellamy comes into his own. The guy is a tactical guru…and he is working wonders with this young crop.

Never before have I seen a more switched on team of blokes. You tell them something once, and that’s it – they’ve got it.

It’s been said countless times, but Origin games can be won or lost by the ‘one percenters’. They often are.

The best teams in history have been comprised of players who would do that little bit extra. That would do something extraordinary which their position doesn’t necessarily require them to do.

This team is honestly jam-packed with those players.

Players which have the desire and hunger to make that extra tackle, and the skill to make it a good one.

I might be… slightly biased, but I can’t talk up this NSW team enough. The fever is building and the desire is there.

You can touch it. You can smell it.

You can lick it.

We’ll win Origin II, we’ll win the series… and that Origin trophy will be back where it belongs…here on Blue soil.

Jason Taylor hits panic button again

South Sydney coach Jason Taylor to blood Chris Sandow in NRL first gradeStruggling South Sydney coach Jason Taylor will put his faith in teenage debutant Chris Sandow as the Rabbitohs turn to their 7th halfback this year against New Zealand Warriors tomorrow night.

As the Bunnies continue to lurch from one problem to the next, coach Taylor continues to make wholesale changes week after week in the hope his team can somehow come up with miracle wins. Making constant changes makes it almost impossible for players to form any sort of combination and it makes you wonder; is it pressure from Rusty? Or simply a case of Jason Taylor hitting the panic button?

With just one win in 11 games and besieged by internal turmoil, South Sydney head across the Tasman to face a side who have won the past 12 contests between the two clubs since 1999.

After losing Craig Wing (shoulder) to injury in round one, the Rabbitohs have used Issac Luke, Jeremy Smith (both three games each), Eddie Paea (two games), George Ndaira and Ben Rogers (one game each) in the No.7 jersey.

Rabbitohs coach Jason Taylor admits “it’s backs to the wall time” for his squad and has turned to Sandow to break their drought.

The 19-year-old Queenslander currently leads the player of the year vote in the national under-20s competition.

“We have made a few changes to the team this week,” said Taylor.

“The changes reflect some really good football in the lower grades and in the under-20s side, which has also been going really well.

“Chris Sandow has been a standout in that team.”

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary is buoyed by his side’s Australian breakthrough over Newcastle last week but insists the Rabbitohs are a genuine danger game tomorrow night despite Souths being overwhelming favourites to claim the wooden spoon this year.

“They have had a lot of games where they have been right in it and could have won,” Cleary said.

“We are playing a team with nothing to lose and they’re probably not far away from a win, so we have to make sure it’s not against us.”

Acting Warriors captain Micheal Luck, filling in while Steve Price undertakes Origin duties, said it was difficult to predict how Souths, yet to win away from home, would play.

The Rabbitohs have made several changes to their line up with centre Jamie Simpson also handed his NRL debut and Kiwi international David Kidwell dumped to the bench.

“They’ve got a pretty solid forward pack and all the Kiwi boys come home and they always seem to play better … in front of their friends and family,” Luck said.

“Sides with nothing to lose are hard to defend against and unpredictable.

“They are just a young side full of enthusiasm … you never know what sort of things they are going to toss up at you. It is a big challenge for us.”

With Price out of the team, Ruben Wiki has been brought back into the first grade team as prop.

Warriors centre Brent Tate has also been called up by the Maroons, and Aidan Kirk will move from the left wing to play as centre.

George Piggins awakes from slumber

george piggins returns to slam south sydney rabbitohs 2008We have hardly heard from the man in the past 12 months writes John Chelsea, but as the South Sydney Rabbitohs slump to 1 win from 10 starts on the field and also cop a beating in the press – out comes George Piggins to slam the club management and the internal factions that ousted the popular former Souths boss.After George Piggins cut ties with the club after losing a vote for control of Souths he went to ground. Piggins refused to attend games or check on the progress of his beloved team. He remained quiet for the majority of 2007 as the South Sydney Rabbitohs under new coach Jason Taylor and operators Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court charged into their first semi-finals birth in over a decade.

There was no congratulations from George Piggins. As the olive branch was continually extended from the new owners of South Sydney, George remained distant and refused to drop the past.

South Sydney is a club that almost every NRL Rugby League supporter has a soft spot for. Australians love an underdog and maybe this is why we have all riden Souths so hard and wished them well at every turn. If you’re team isn’t playing, you’ll generally find most League fans will root for the Bunnies.

The problem for Souths is that the club gets torn apart from within all too often. We’ve heard the media reports of Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court not seeing eye to eye, then George Piggins awakes from his slumber to slam the club and stick the boot in while he has the chance and everything goes back to square one.

While tradition is such an important part of Rugby League and we must cherish it especially in our Centenary Year; the long and distinguished history for South Sydney is probably killing the club and not allowing it to move forward. It seems Crowe and Holmes a Court have the right idea and have tried to bring in new mentalities and systems to forge ahead, but there is always a voice from the past or a comparison to the ‘old days’ that flares up another disagreement at the club and sends everyone in a different direction.

The relocation offer of $8 million from the NRL to any club who moves their homebase away from Sydney should seriously be considered by South Sydney.

While the money would be a handy boost for the club, the biggest advantage would be a fresh start. While Redfern holds such deep roots and memories for the foundation Rugby League club, what is the benefit of staying there now? Clover Moore and the local Council scrapped all plans for a purpose built home ground in Redfern and the compromise was a ‘training facility’ that is being constructed right near the pokie-less Leagues club.

So this means that Souths will still play their games from the distant ANZ Stadium and not only is their Leagues club over 40km from the playing venue, but their chances of making any additional money at their base are thwarted by the fact there are no pokie machines to bring in additional revenue.

Souths need to cut ties with the disgruntled past and forge ahead into a new era. With respect, too many of yesterdays heros are hurting South Sydney. Sometimes we all need to bury the past and put up with some angst just for the good of the NRL team.

George, South Sydney need your support right now. Stop holding the club back, get on board and let the club be re-born. The alternatives are a lot worse, because you risk either losing your team forever or worse still – not being a part of the celebrations when they finally secure the NRL Premiership.