‘Hayne Can Learn From Sonny’ Published on footysocial.com.au 27/3/13
With the ink still fresh on a deal that will see him at the Parramatta Eels until the end of 2015, Jarryd Hayne must now set his sights on a return to form and a clash with Sonny Bill Williams and his Sydney Roosters on Monday night.
Hayne started the season with a bang and a hat-trick of tries against the New Zealand Warriors in round one. Since then, Hayne has been disappointing to say the least.
The Eels have lost two in a row and need their captain to fire or risk a Roosters avalanche at Allianz Stadium. And don’t think Williams wont star, the backrower is close to a breakout performance.
Williams has been impressive defensively, so expect a rise in his offensive work rate in the coming weeks. That is bad news for Parramatta with the big Kiwi already amassing 83 tackles and 280 run metres.
Hayne and Williams are both undoubtedly stars of the game. But would you have imagined four months ago that all the pressure is on Hayne going into this game?
While SBW is going about his business, and with far less media scrutiny, Hayne’s Eels continue to misfire. Coach Ricky Stuart has given his fullback the added responsibility of captaincy in 2013. Whether this was a good move remains to be seen.
Eels fans still remember season 2009 like it was yesterday.
Hayne and his plane (or was it a train?) dragged Parramatta all the way to grand final day and a showdown with the Melbourne Storm. If the Storm were found out for cheating earlier and the Eels played someone else that day, and won, how much more pressure would be on Hayne today?
Some people can handle pressure and some cant.
Jarryd Hayne desperately needs to break the shackles and tear the Roosters apart. It doesn’t necessarily have to be against the Roosters but sooner rather than later the skipper needs to start performing.
Not just a hat-trick every once and a while. He needs to be working furiously for his team. Right now, the only way out of this quagmire is another Dally M-esque season from Hayne.
Can Hayne learn anything from SBW? Sure he can.
He might have been out of the game for five long years, but Williams has already proven why he is such a professional. His coach and his teammates weren’t expecting miracles upon his return. For what he is capable of right now, he has still worked as hard anyone on the field.
Those one percent plays coaches speak about?
Perhaps Hayne can sit down and watch a tape of Williams in action.
There is more to the game than the “big play”.
‘Barba Set For Brutal Return Against Souths’ Published on theroar.com.au 28/3/13
You can hear Bankstown rocking from here. The prodigal son Ben Barba returns from rugby league purgatory for a date with the high-flying South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs supporters will tell you their season really starts this weekend. After a hiatus that saw the 2012 Dally M Medallist miss the first three weeks of the new season due to ongoing personal issues, the little wizard is back to face Souths.
But nobody said it was going to be easy. Barba is still working through his demons, the club has said as much. Whether his teammates admit it or not, the pressure on him to perform from the first minute will be there.
If the Mackay-native could not handle the pressure first time around, how will he cope on Friday against the Rabbitohs?
Souths might be undefeated after three rounds of the new season, but coach Michael Maguire is a ruthless tactician and his players know they haven’t been at their best.
Already this year he has dropped captain Michael Crocker to the bench and recently punted Roy Asotasi from their clash with the Penrith Panthers, not to mention Nathan Merritt’s axing for missing training before the Charity Shield.
His chargers are desperate to perform for their mentor.
So what will Maguire do about Barba’s return?
It is fantastic the fullback is back playing football. If the game can help him as a person, then even Maguire will tell you it’s good to have Barba playing again. But that’s where the niceties end.
If you were in Maguire’s shoes, what would you be telling your players?
You would be pulling Sam Burgess and Michael Crocker aside and telling them at any and every chance they got, make sure Barba ends up on the deck. Remind him he is back in the top grade.
You’d tell Adam Reynolds and John Sutton to put the ball as high in the air as possible and introduce Barba to the monstrous frame of Greg Inglis.
The Rabbitohs, within the boundaries of the rules, need to intimidate the little fullback as much as humanly possible. Canterbury players will be there, backing up their champion, but its worth it in the scheme of things?
Once Barba crosses that white line, all bets are off. Souths are obliged by the rules of battle to do everything in their power to put Barba as far off his game as possible.
“Ben is presenting himself well at training,” Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis told The Daily Telegraph.
“He has been humble. He has our support. We are there for him. Footy clubs are good places – there is a support there in times of need.
“It was a major experience he fronted in his life. He has come back with a real hunger to be where he wants to be.”
For all his hunger and determination to better himself on the paddock in 2013, Barba still needs to run out onto ANZ Stadium on Friday and not let the occasion get the better of him.
He still needs to put on his boots, he still needs to run down that tunnel and he still needs to be able to cop whatever the Rabbitohs throw at him.
Barba will find the form that saw him conquer the rugby league world last year.
But if its this Friday or a month from now is anyone’s guess. Either way, expect one hell of a welcoming committee from Maguire’s Rabbitohs.
‘Inglis Will Surpass Slater As Greatest Ever Fullback’ Published on theroar.com.au 29/3/13
When Greg Inglis made his National Rugby League debut in season 2005, Billy Slater was the undisputed fullback of the Melbourne Storm. But even back then, there was a consensus Inglis could supersede Slater.
In the same year, and in a desperately close finals match against the Brisbane Broncos, Slater was helped from the field with a leg injury. Within five minutes of replacing the incumbent, Inglis scored the match-winning try.
Within 12 months the boy from Bowraville was playing State of Origin and for the good of the Storm, Inglis was shifted to the centres. Such is his natural talent, he made the most of it and ended up representing Australia at the end of 2006.
Despite shifting from centre to five-eighth and back again over the next few years, Inglis continued his devastating rise to the top. Even with limited ball, he became the most damaging outside back in the NRL.
Imagine if he was never moved?
What would we be saying about Inglis today if he had played fullback his entire career?
Since South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire unleashed Inglis on the Penrith Panthers in March last year, the fullback position has taken on a whole new meaning.
The speed and power of the man instils fear in any player coming his way, whether they have the ball or not. And any player who tells you otherwise is flat out lying.
Comparing Slater, a possible future Immortal, and the Rabbitohs’ custodian is almost unfair. It’s unfair to Slater because Inglis has time on his side and, most alarmingly for opposition teams, the fact Inglis is still improving.
If he is this destructive now, where will he be in two years?
Slater turns 30 in June and nobody is saying he is finished – that’s ludicrous. But Billy has less games ahead than behind and the wear and tear of playing the way he does will eventually catch up to him.
On the other hand, Inglis doesn’t turn 27 until January next year. If he can stay fit and the Rabbitohs continue to support their most prized asset, the sky is the limit for both Inglis and his team.
All those games sitting out in the centres and at five-eighth for the Storm might just help Inglis’ longevity in the game.
Ironically, Slater’s domination of the fullback position in Melbourne has kept Inglis fresh.
Already this year Inglis has run a staggering 547 metres at an average of 182 a game, while Slater has 413 at an average of 137. This is almost an unthinkable statement when you consider what Slater has already accomplished in the game, but wouldn’t you rather be kicking the ball to Slater?
Nobody has worked harder at their game than Slater. He is a consummate professional and continues to try and push the boundaries of what players can do on the field.
He has not only made being a fullback an art form, he has made it almost impossible to ever think someone can replace him as the best fullback in the world.
But then there is Inglis.
6 foot 4 tall and 109 kilograms of sheer rugby league excellence. When Inglis accepts his place in the game and understands how destructive he is, there will be no stopping him.
When it’s all said and done, Inglis will topple Slater as the king of all fullbacks.
‘Referees Are Officially Spearing The Game’ Published on theroar.com.au 1/4/13
While the start of the 2013 NRL season has been nothing short of gripping, the lingering smell of Bill Harrigan and his former regime seeps through the floorboards of Rugby League Central.
We all thought Daniel Anderson would finally rid us of the over-thinking and over-complicating of Harrigan and his cronies. To some degree, Anderson has done a reasonable job of simplifying the game. But still, we sit four weeks into the new season complaining about the rules.
Who ever thought that this new obstruction rule would be a good idea?
Players are going to do whatever they are told, and that includes taking falls when the opposition are about the cross their try line. Over the past few years we have seen a dramatic spike in players staying down after being slapped across the face hoping for a penalty. Now players have another loophole.
What happens on grand final day, with the game on the line and the scores tied with a few minutes to go? With one side attacking the line, thirteen defenders suddenly crash to the floor waving their arms frantically like some European soccer player.
Thursday night in Gosford, Wests Tigers fullback Tim Moltzen was denied a try when Jamie Lyon fell to the Bluetongue Stadium turf. Wests captain Robbie Farah was ropeable post match.
“It’s shit,” Farah said of the rule. “Players are using it as a cop-out. You’ve got players in the defensive line just getting hit and then straight away putting their hands up, using it as a cop-out.
“They’re trying to make it a black and white rule but you can’t. I thought we were making progress at the start of the year. We just seem to have gone backwards.”
But the ongoing battle between the referees department and seemingly everyone else has overshadowed another problem with the modern official. There is a question that festers inside the common Joe.
When and what classifies a send-off in the National Rugby League?
Friday afternoon at a rocking ANZ Stadium, the South Sydney Rabbitohs downed the Canterbury Bulldogs. But the game won’t be remembered for the wonderful crowd or a gruelling battle between two top sides.
This afternoon will be remembered for a shocking Krisnan Inu spear tackle on superstar Souths fullback Greg Inglis. If this isn’t a sending-off offence, what ever will be?
Inglis was already heading to ground when Inu latched onto him and hooked his arm between Inglis’ legs. What makes things even worst for Inu was a second movement to get a better hold on Inglis’ leg.
The Canterbury centre was always in control of the tackle and could have bailed at any moment. Instead he lifted Inglis into the air and speared him into ANZ Stadium.
That’s not an easy thing to do considering how big the Rabbitoh is. To lift a six-foot-three, 110-kilogram man into the air and pile-drive him headfirst takes a whole lot of effort.
Souths fans at the venue went into meltdown and most Bulldogs fans at the ground sensed something dramatic was unfolding in front of them. The replays continued and the crowd became increasingly restless.
Inu was going to be sent off.
And then, nothing.
Referee Shayne Hayne nonchalantly crossed his arms and placed the tackle on report. Did he ever really consider sending Inu off? What would have happened if Inglis was injured and the Rabbitohs lost their most dangerous attacking weapon? Inu stays on the paddock and Inglis is out for the match? Or even worst, seriously injured?
The obstruction rule might be a work in progress. But helping eliminate foul play by, heaven forbid, implementing the rules can be fixed in an instant.
‘2013 Roosters Side Better Than 2010 Grand Final Side’ Published on theroar.com.au 2/4/13
After seventy minutes and leading 38-0, most modern day sides would have shut up shop. Not the Sydney Roosters.
A James Maloney chip kick kept the avalanche rolling with the tricolours eventually hitting the magical 50 mark.
Granted the hapless Parramatta Eels did not put up much of a fight. But you can only play what is in front of you and the Roosters cashed in on Monday night.
After four rounds and with a record of 3-1, the Roosters are now firming as a legitimate premiership threat. Young coach Trent Robinson has this side hell bent on entertaining their fans.
But Robinson would be a whole lot happier with their efforts in defence so far in 2013. The best sides have a pride in their defensive line and Sydney definitely have that.
In fact the Roosters have not conceded a point in 166 minutes of rugby league. How a side is defending is the great indicator and Robinson’s men are slowly but surely headed toward September footy.
The 50-0 drubbing of Parramatta has overshadowed an even better performance a week earlier in a gutsy 8-0 victory over the Brisbane Broncos. But Monday was all about the glamour and flash that has made the Roosters club famous.
There were signs at Allianz Stadium last night reminiscent of the 2010 Roosters. It might be early days, but you could sense something special brewing at Allianz last night.
And have no doubt, this version of the Roosters is a far better side than the one that went down to the St George Illawarra Dragons in the 2010 decider.
They may have lost Todd Carney to the Cronulla Sharks, but the Roosters now have a man that plays in a very similar fashion. James Maloney’s running and kicking game compliments Mitchell Pearce perfectly.
Braith Anasta and Kane Linnett are gone but have been replaced by Boyd Cordner and superstar Michael Jennings.
Young wingers Daniel Tupou and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck have talent BJ Leilua and Sam Perrett could only dream of. These youngsters are future internationals with Tupou regarded as the next Israel Folau while Tuivasa-Sheck is being groomed as a long term fullback of the club when captain Anthony Minichiello eventually retires.
Then there is Jake Friend and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Both have become better players since 2010 and are the cornerstone of an impressive engine room.
But Monday was all about one man.
Sonny Bill Williams stood out in a side that didn’t have a bad player. His first half performance was masterful as the big backrower injected himself at will against the awful Eels.
He was in everything and his time in rugby union has seemingly made him an even better all-round player. His presence alone makes him invaluable to this team. He instils a confidence which has soothed an evolving squad.
That 2010 belief is back and it’s there for everyone to see.
The next stop for the Roosters is a Sunday night clash with the Raiders in Canberra. Another big performance in the nation’s capital sets up the blockbuster Sydney derby of 2013 when SBW takes on his old side, the Bulldogs, at the SFS.
Bring it on!
‘T-Rex Needs To Find His Bite At Bulldogs’ Published on theroar.com.au 3/4/13
Ask Manly Sea Eagles fans about the loss of Tony ‘T-Rex’ Williams. The general consensus is they were glad to see the back of him when left for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
When he did take the offer to head to Belmore to play under former coach Des Hasler, many believed the giant forward would continue the devastating form that saw him represent New South Wales and Australia over the past two years.
But Williams has not fired. Not even a spark.
After four rounds of the 2013 season the six foot four, 120 kilogram giant has played with little intent.
Williams needed to stand up for his new club from the get-go with the likes of Sam Kasiano, James Graham and Frank Pritchard missing from the pack. Yet he refused to put his giant frame on the line.
Ever seen one of those cartoons where the mighty elephant is scared witless of a little mouse?
This isn’t all Williams’ fault though.
When he first left the Parramatta Eels for Manly, he was offered a whole bunch of money to head over the bridge. A pretty fair deal for someone who had only played a handful of games at the Eels.
Then he linked up with Canterbury at the end of last season, reportedly for as much as $600,000 a year.
How hard has he really ever had to work?
Last Friday at ANZ Stadium was the perfect time for Williams to start earning his contract. In front of 50,000 people and the high-flying South Sydney Rabbitohs, Williams was still a no-show.
The Bulldogs were facing one of the most intimidating forward packs in the game and they had to do it without Kasiano and Graham.
But where was Williams?
If this guy really is a sleeping giant, someone needs to get him off the Stilnox.
But it is only April after all. This is hibernation season for blokes like Williams. Representative season is still months away, so don’t expect too much from T-Rex just yet.
It’s like clockwork really. Put your house on a Williams resurgence leading into the State of Origin series.
But what about the Bulldogs? What about their fans?
The 80-minute experiment clearly hasn’t worked because Williams simply isn’t that kind of player. Surely Canterbury fans would rather see 20 minutes of destruction than 80 minutes of pussyfooting around.
Friday night Canterbury hosts the Eagles in yet another Sydney blockbuster at ANZ Stadium. Coming up against his former club, you would be hoping Williams is ready to unleash.
But don’t bet on it.
If Williams needs to be benched then so be it. But for right now, the Tongan-born giant has received yet another reprieve and will start from the backrow against Manly.
Somewhere down the line though, Williams has to be relegated to the pine. In the long run, it’s for the good of the team.
“I think it’s going to be tough for him going to a new side,” Manly centre Steve Matai told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s not going to happen straight away for him but we all know what he is capable of. I think that’s the most dangerous thing about him.
“He’s only building, it’s only his first year there. He will be better for it next year. You just expect him to get the ball and run at 100 miles per hour. But there’s a lot of different things to it.
“The coach might want him as a ball-player or a decoy. He does go out to play hard. I don’t think he goes out there to have a bludge.”
Could have fooled us, Steve.