The Grubber’s Rant:

Mark Geyer and the Warriors – So, according to his article in last week’s Rugby League Week, Mark Geyer believes that the Auckland Warriors (does anyone really call them New Zealand anyway?) should be excluded from the NRL.

Apparently they are not being well enough supported and the money saved from excluding them (this is seriously what he believes) would be better channeled into the grassroots of the code i.e. the country, in order to stave off attacks from the AFL.

Now I’m all for supporting league in the bush and I commend Gus Gould for trying to make this a serious issue. What I can’t understand is what kicking the Warriors out of the comp (and thereby losing one of the key points of difference that the NRL has over the AFL) would do to save junior development?

Sure, the NRL could reapply the grant given to the Warriors, but can you imagine the other 15 teams allowing that? Whats more, we’d lose a key foothold in a market that we would most likely never be able to regain. Geyer makes a number of criticisms of the Warriors, namely their poor crowd figures and lack of on-field success (citing only three finals appearances since their entry into the competition in 1995, which is in fact one more than the Cowboys).

As for the criticism of on field performance, I think the Warriors are a little hard done by. They made a grand final in 2002, and were competitive in one of their other finals campaigns (more than can be said in recent times for the likes of Cronulla, Canberra and Souths). As for their crowd figures, this is a valid criticism. Their crowds are woeful. But can you really blame their fans?

Before the 2006 season even kicked off they had already been docked 4 points (the exact margin they missed the finals by) and are regularly the victim of unfavorable scheduling in the interests of Australian Pay-TV. On top of that, they are probably the most soul-destroying side in the NRL.

They routinely lose matches in the dying stages, seemingly have no structure and only just broke a 6 game losing streak. OK, so the club has been through a rough trot in the last few seasons, but if that alone made you a candidate for extinction then we might start to look at Geyer’s Panthers a little more closely too.

Rugby League is cyclical (in fact the cycles seem to be getting shorter and shorter under the salary cap) and I don’t think that the Warriors are too far away from tasting some success. Where will Geyer be then? What’s his next rant? Banning all redheads from the NRL?

Origin III Do we have to play this game? I mean, who really cares other than a bunch of people who still can’t come to grips with daylight saving? I’d like to scrap Game III where the series is already decided, or let’s have the NSW selectors go wild and pick a bunch of up and coming kids. Kind of like the dead rubber in reverse singles at the Davis Cup. The experience would do the youngsters good and might improve the depth of playing stocks for NSW in future years. Also, we wouldn’t have to suffer through another Bye round without the real stars of the NRL.

Rooster Anthony Tupou named as the alleged biter from the Sydney City / Penrith match, the NRL review committee naming Tupou in it’s report. While Panther Nathan Smith alleged he was bitten during the match, whats the point if you won’t name the culprit? Simple case of don’t cry if you aren’t ready to name and shame. Biting and eye gouging are low acts, if someone tries it on during a game – name them! It’s the only the way to stop it happening in the future. Maybe the NRL should bring in a rule to state if an allegation is made on match day, and the accuser won’t name names – then a penalty against the accuser is given? This will stop the rot pretty quickly.

David Faiumu signs to extend with the North Queensland Cowboys, his deciding factor – he feels the Cowboys are on the verge of a premiership. I’m sure David must have signed the contract 3 weeks ago – because the last 2 weeks have shown the soft underbelly of the Cowboys. Their reliance on a few key players is dangerous for any club. JT is obviously their main man, but O’Donnell is sorely missed and Carl Webb is taking time to find top gear since his injury. They are also feeling the effects of Paul Bowmans absence in defence.

Ben Hornby and Jason Ryles get extended deals with St George Illawarra. Ben Hornby, an absolute star – worth every cent. He is durable, creative and versatile – unlike some Saints teammates, Hornby is rarely injured. Jason Ryles on the other hand has had a shocker over the last few years, plenty of injuries, limited quality when on the park. I hope Doubst and Brown know what they are doing. Seriously, Ryles rarely plays half a season of games and when he does play he usually leaves the field early due to problems anyway!

Craig Wing has been snared by the South Sydney Rabbitohs for a long, long 4 years. Souths are reported to be flirting with Salary Cap danger – but Souths have tapped Joe on the shoulder and asked him to step aside for 2008. Galuvao is apparently on $300,000 per season and his leaving would allow Souths to breathe easy.

Bulldogs are still in the news today, finally some positives – with troubled star Ben Roberts ringing club fans to apologize for his wayward behavior and that of his teammates. Maybe Malcom Noad should keep supporters phone numbers on speed dial – they are sure to need them again soon.

Wendell Sailor in talks with St George Illawarra Dragons regarding a comeback next year. More on this in a full NRL News article.

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By ricky

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