2012 Round One :: Rabbitohs v Ninjas

Discussion in 'Forum Sevens Matches' started by joshie, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. joshie

    joshie Live Update Team

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    Forum 7s - Round One - 2012

    [​IMG]-V- [​IMG]

    Match Preview: The defending champions of both competitions, the Ninjas take on the luckless Rabbitohs. Toward the back end of 2011 the Rabbitohs showed signs of recovery but this will be their true test against one of the most exciting teams in the competitions history! Will Edabomb be able to inspire his troops or will Bubbles muster up the spirit to get the job done?

    Game Thread:
    * This is a game thread only. Only game posts can be made here - team lists, substitutions, and articles.
    * Any other posts may result in loss of points and is at the discretion of the referee.
    * Only original articles, not used in previous games, will be marked by referees.

    Naming Teams:
    * 5 -V- 5 (+ 3 reserves for home sides; + 2 for away)
    * No 'TBA' or changing players named
    * Captains must stick with original teams named

    Rules: http://f7s.leagueunlimited.com/rules.php
    Official Word Counter: http://f7s.leagueunlimited.com/wordcount.php

    Kick Off: Monday 5th March 2012 (6:00pm AEDT)
    Full Time: Sunday 18th March 2012 (Fulltime is at midnight)
    Referee: Willow
    Venue: Redfern Oval
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2012
  2. edabomb

    edabomb First Grade

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    The Ninjas enter the Redfern fortress. Good luck one and all.

    edabomb (c)
    CobyDelaney
    gUt
    jamesgould
    joshie

    Bench
    Hallatia
    Raider 69
     
  3. gUt

    gUt Coach

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    [​IMG]

    Hi everyone, Dr Carl here, ready to educate and entertain your great unwashed minds.

    Even though I’ve been dead for over 140 years, it hasn’t stopped me from being the biggest NRL fan that Trinity Chapel has ever produced! But it’s not only the non-stop action on the field that keeps me enraptured, it’s the myriad scientific amazements that keep me coming back. Here’s just a sample:


    • Petero Civoniceva’s skull is the hardest substance in the known universe. In the off-season, Petero earns a few extra dollars by allowing himself to be strapped to the tip of miners’ exploration drills and almost literally raping the earth.

    • If Brent Tate, Tonie Carroll and Mark Gasnier somehow combined their chins, there would be enough concentrated mass to destabilize the Earth’s orbit.

    • Approximately 4% of all players’ skin remains un-tattooed. The total amount of ink used is enough to print around 17 billion Bibles – enough Bibles to go to the Moon and back 6 times!

    • Dave Taylor’s arrival and departure from Brisbane had some unexpected consequences. Due to his demanding diet, an entirely new suburb named Chowtown sprung up, populated entirely by restaurants and eateries catering exclusively to the Coal Train. When he left for Souths, Chowtown was quickly abandoned and reclaimed by nature.

    • Nathan Hindmarsh’s gluteal cleft has received more publicity and exposure in the Australian media than any other single issue, with the sole exception being AFL’s Sam Newman farting on a feminist midget live on television. This is enough publicity to fill Sydney Harbour 47.3 times.

    • Since making his NRL debut, Manly’s Steve Matai has spent a total of 14 years, 5 months, 21 days, 2 hours and 56 minutes rolling around on the football field in agony – much longer than his entire NRL career!

    [​IMG]
    Steve Matai, yesterday.

    • The total amount of oxygen deprived to players being tackled by the Melbourne Storm is estimated to be enough to support life as we know it on Jupiter – 12 times over! That’s enough Jupiters to get to the Moon and back 140 times!

    • If you were to gather all of Wayne Bennett’s answers to questions at post-match press conferences during his 25 year career and play them back-to-back, non-stop, you’d have 8 minutes and 13 seconds worth of audio.

    • Roosters’ fans are now officially listed as the most critically endangered species on the planet. According to a 2011 World Wildlife Fund press release “There’s only a few of the merkins to go, keep up the good work everyone.”

    • Ben Creagh has the unique distinction of being the only human known to science who can run backward faster than he runs forward. The limits of Creagh’s astonishing backward acceleration and velocity are a jealously guarded secret by the Dragons but it’s estimated he could cover the length of a football field running backward in around 8 seconds. That’s enough seconds to get nowhere near the Moon.

    • Strangely, all of Parramatta’s premierships have fallen on days where there was a solar and lunar eclipse at the same time. If this pattern holds true, their next premiership will occur sometime in the year 4268.

    • It’s estimated that during every week, enough spit is spat by NRL players to fill 31 Sydney Harbours. Extrapolated back 100 years, this is enough Sydney Harbours to go to the Moon and back 24 times!

    [​IMG]
    The moon, yesterday.

    • Since joining Channel 9’s commentary team, Phil Gould has said the word “no” an astonishing 1913035623 times, mentioned rulebooks 5633467 times, used the word “Rabbits” 30845144 times and jumped out of 0 commentary box windows.

    • The special shade of green used for Canberra’s home jersey is classified by Standards Australia as “Infected Sinuses Green”. This unique dye is manufactured in a special way. There is an extremely rare frog found only in the districts around Canberra that is caught, squashed flat, boiled, squeezed, refined and filtered through a film of pure evil. The resultant slime is concentrated in vats wherein the jerseys are left to soak for several weeks before having advertising logos and players’ details added. The jerseys are used once and incinerated immediately after the game.

    • According to a long term study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland, they have in fact been doing it all day.

    There you have it, science fans! A huge learning hit to your headgear! Until next time, may your facts be well researched and may your team have a verified win!

    -------------

    740 words OWC above the line, plus 9 in that wonderful picture at the top. You do the math.
     
  4. Monk

    Monk Referee

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    After a strong off-season of night school and meditation, the Bunnies are back better then ever!

    [​IMG]

    Monk (c)
    Bubbles
    Non_Terminator
    eloquentEEL
    Scott Gourley's Lovechild

    Bench:
    Marshall_magic
    byrne_rovelli_fan82
    Lambretta
     
  5. Lambretta

    Lambretta First Grade

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    I have done a piece in case anyone cant get it together
     
  6. eloquentEEL

    eloquentEEL First Grade

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    eloquentEEL in the Rabbitoh's myrtle and cardinal for the first time

    _____

    WHATEVER THE WEATHER

    He had no use for a thermometer. His knees felt the cold well before it registered on his wrinkled, leathery skin. The arthritis would flare up despite the blankets covering his lap. It was hard earned arthritis too. An unwanted badge of honour, rewarding years of service, ploughing through dirt and mud, pig skin tucked firmly under one wing; the rest of the pig hanging off his back (sometimes two or three).

    It was just as well that he had no use for a thermometer. He wouldn’t be able to read one in any case. His eyes were grotesquely obscured by cataracts. They were another unwelcome prize, gained from too many Sunday afternoons spent under the unforgiving gaze of the sun. The occasional eye gouge probably didn’t help matters too much, but I digress.

    Back in the cottage, the old man rubbed his knee and smiled at the memory evoked by the throbbing ache. While the pain was a nuisance, at least it reminded him of the courage displayed in his former days. A courage which still filled him with pride. Not once did he shirk his responsibility to his team mates. Regardless of torrential rain, he was always ready for the next carry or decoy run. Regardless of forty scorching degrees, he was always there to cover a break. Regardless of a roaring southerly buster, he always made sure his mates heard his call. A captain’s call. Whatever the weather, he always gave his all.

    Rugby league was so deeply engrained in his very being, that when he switched on the old wireless to listen to the coverage of the latest match, it was little surprise that it warmed the cockles of his heart (via his ear canals) and got his heart pumping to an up tempo beat. And as he listened to the call, the muffled roar of the crowd came over the airwaves and took him back to an even earlier time.

    Just as he would later push up in support of his team mates during his playing days, so too would he support his beloved club from the sidelines as a kid. Whether frost covered the ground in evidence of a temperature cold enough to separate a brass monkey from its balls, he was always there to cheer on his team. Whether hail pelted down from the clouds in biblical proportions, he was always there to cheer on his team. Whether he had to shield his eyes from a dust storm exhaled by the devil himself, he was always there to cheer on his team. Whatever the weather, he always gave his all.

    His passion was evident for everyone to see; as a supporter, as a player and later as a club administrator. Throughout his life, that passion was infectious. The more he did, the more others did. And the more others did, the more he did. This was his life. This thing called rugby league. In fact, he was the definition of a “fanatic” personified in the flesh. The flesh that literally spilt blood for his club.

    Even after retirement, he was still a staunch supporter of his club and never once lamented the arthritis, cataracts and other ailments resulting from his playing days. His only regret was that he could rarely attend matches any more. Yes, he was still fanatical about his footy and his team, supporting them in spirit and joining them for a good old fashioned “rev up” when his health permitted.

    Yes, he would support them to the bitter end, as fanatically as his health would allow. But he was certainly no “fair weather fan”. Sure, he cheered on his team during their time in the sun. But when the going got tougher and the storm clouds gathered, during those dark gloomy seasons in the wilderness which surrounds the bottom of the table, he cheered them on just as strong. He had no use for a thermometer, because whatever the weather, he always gave his all.

    _____

    668 words
     
  7. joshie

    joshie Live Update Team

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    Joshie makes his return to the field for the Ninjas! His 17th Ninjas game in a row!

    693 words between the quotations

     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  8. Coby

    Coby Administrator Staff Member

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    CobyDelaney for the Ninjas
     
  9. Bubbles

    Bubbles Juniors

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    Bubbles on for Souths. After some great off-season recruitment and organisation by our Captain, looking forward to a great season
    _____________________________________________

    A Night (or Two) at the Theatre

    The air is filled with the excited chirping and chattering of the throng, as the column of brightly plumed patrons shuffle and nudge against one another down the aisle, the line thinning as groups of two, four, seven, break away to find their seats. Crotch or arse? The age old question is answered as feet are stumbled upon in the clumsy shuffle along the rows of seating and then, pffft, the padded cushions expel their breath as posteriors press into position.

    Finally, the last of the shuffling and rustling subsides, to be replaced by an almost physical charge of expectancy. A single long note pierces the auditorium, trailing off to silence and all breathing is, for the moment, suspended. At last! The curtains shimmer and flutter as they begin their slow parting. Welcome to the theatre, ladies and gentleman. Welcome to the theatre that is the 2012 National Rugby League season!

    Act I

    Scene I
    Enter stage right, the implacable, the impregnable, the evil genius ramrod straight astride his trusty steed. “Whoa there, Darius” he dismounts, “a carrot for your faithful service.” He surveys the scene with barely contained disdain and an enigmatic smirk, “Now sally forth my Knights of the Round Table and conquer all in my name, for mine is the one true name.”

    From stage left, the faceless entity steps gingerly onto the stage. “For the last time, Jamie, I’m not that Steve Price, for f**k’s sake!” He looks around and nervously runs a dry tongue over parched lips. “Just go forth and doeth what the old dude taught you and with any luck, we will emerge victorious!”

    For eighty minutes the battle ensues until the warring combatants on weary legs penetrate extra time and at last there remains one side standing, the red and white army bellowing, alive and defiant.

    “I hate Golden Point. I have spoken and so it shall be noted, I hate Golden Point,” the smirk having evaporated to be replaced by a petulant lower lip.
    “Suck it, Galahad” gloats the other, neither former Dog nor ex-Warrior.
    “Come Darius, we depart this dire scene without any adieu for the common folk” and the Knight and his steed melt into the backdrop, leaving the audience agape, their curiosity unsated.

    Scene VIII
    Enter stage right, a gladiatorial figure clad in breastplate and plumed helm steps into the spotlight. He glares around him, his sense of ownership and entitlement palpable. He reaches over his shoulder slowly, daring anyone to stop him and removes the parchment holstered to his back. He flicks through the papyrus until he reaches the end and takes up his post, quill poised to write the next chapter in his life’s work, the Book of Feuds. “Hey Sutto, lest you wish to land yourself in here” he says, tapping quill to parchment menacingly, “you’d better come up with the goods.”

    From stage right a stocky figure appears, slight of build and head of silver. Although small in stature, here is a force used to being obeyed, power exuding from his polished pampered pores. “Sonny B, I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse” he speaks into his ear-piece, a man used to foregone conclusions. Nonchalantly, the man they call Uncle Nick takes the measure of his long time rival. “Ah, typical thespian brings quill to a knife fight; the pen is not mightier than the sword, my old foe.”

    For seventy-seven minutes the battle looks won by the men in green and red and the parchment remains free of mad ramblings. Then, with a dramatic plot twist, the battle is turned and in the space of two minutes, the green and red have snatched loss from certain victory.

    “As long as I have breath in my body, as long as the sun shines upon the earth, as long as Telstra keep giving me free phones, I swear I shall have my revenge” the gladiator heralds, the veins in his face and neck a network of fury.
    “Be my guest, Maximus Dickus” the steely-eyed magnate retorts, “I’ll be sure to let The Family know to expect you.”

    And so the players take their final bows and the curtain closes on Act I with a billowing shudder. Truly, if Shakespeare himself had been of this age, the great bard himself would not have conceived of such a script, for theatre is well and truly alive in this, the 2012 Telstra Premiership season!
    _______________________________
    Word Count: 746
     
  10. Scott Gourley's Lovechild

    Scott Gourley's Lovechild Referee

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    Scott Gourley's Lovechild, making my Souths + F7's debut.

     
  11. Monk

    Monk Referee

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    Monk steps onto the field, feeling a little bit fancy on this sunday evening.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    In fair Homebush Bay, where we lay our scene.

    “Two proud clubs, both alike in dignity,
    In fair Homebush Bay, where we lay our scene,
    From ancient grudge break to new enmity,
    Where rival blood makes rival hands unclean,
    From forth the locker rooms of these two foes,
    Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
    The which if you with patient eyes attend,
    The greatest rivalry of the modern age.”


    It’s been too long, but nevertheless, not one soul could be excused for forgetting, even for a second, that this is single-handedly the greatest rivalry in Rugby League history. No one would debate it, particularly not after the happenings of the Grand Final Week. Parades through the City celebrated each team’s achievement, and the fans from the South let their voices be heard, the Pride of the League wouldn’t be denied. They had waited too long.

    107 Years ago, the very first Grand Final was played between these two sides. Both were weakened as some players were selected to play for Australia in their tour of England. That didn’t make for a lesser contest however; a tough contest at the Royal Agricultural Ground, lead to a Rabbitohs victory. The Tricolours were bitter for revenge.

    Sunday afternoon football was a favourite of the Gods, and for this Grand Final they had blessed us with the most amazing Rugby League weather known to man. Should you have a bird’s eye view of the stadium, you would assume a war was about to take place, one which had never been seen in these parts, in which case, you would be right. Fifty thousand onlookers proudly wearing Cardinal Red and Myrtle Green threw their fists into the air and sang their war cry so it would be heard throughout the land.

    “Glory, Glory to South Sydney...
    ...South Sydney Marches On”

    At the other end of the stadium, dominated in numbers, but not in spirit sat those ‘fair-weathered’ fans in the tricolour jerseys. They knew the heartbreak that would come with a loss; they had experienced it more than most in recent years. They were not about to be humiliated by the club they had dominated, not only twice this season, but for the last twenty years.

    “Here come the Roosters, the best we've ever seen,
    The Red, White and Bluesters, the Eastern Suburbs team”

    White jersey marked with a Red V showed the lone scorned Dragons supporter, who had expected his side to be here, on this first Sunday in October. Those who had no allegiance with either club had come, just to be a part of what was expected to be the greatest Grand Final ever, the rematch of the very first Grand Final, the ultimate battle between the only two remaining Foundation clubs. The city was covered in Red and Green, the hype from the Rabbitohs sheds having made them superstars with the Media. Many were predicting an outright win to Souths; their strong forward pack and creative halves had many of the other supporters jumping on the Rabbitohs bandwagon. It was hard not to get caught up in the (perhaps premature) celebrations.

    The struggle they had gone through over the past decade was heartbreaking. Leaving the competition after the 1999 season was heartbreak for the Rabbit supporters, but they marched on, and their cries were heard, and to have their club here made it all worth it. All their hard work had paid off.

    As the game kicks off with a ferocity one would liken to the great games of State of Origin, fans remained captivated, whether they sit in the stands, Meat Pie in hand. Or at home, on the couch, wearing the stripes their team made proud. Maybe even with a cold beer on the table, resting on a coaster of course, else you’d be yelled at by the missus. The game continues as the enthused fan experiences the highs and lows of great plays and a soft tries. Till eventually, one stands victorious, towering over their rival. Their fans party on through the night, till dawn brings an unfamiliar aura. The fan must now endure a world without Rugby League, one of the true horrors a man can experience.

    “A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
    The battle over, the war continues:
    Some fans, crying out in pain o'er sad things;
    Some players pardoned, and some punished:
    Next seasons result, we are yet to know
    As the War resumes, just five months to go.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    749 Words between the additions according to the OWC.
     
  12. Non Terminator

    Non Terminator Coach

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    Non Terminator storms out for the Rabbitohs.
    750 words below the jersey


    [​IMG]

    His Legacy

    It seems these days that Rugby League history has become so easy to rewrite. Household names like Andrew Johns, Hazem El Masri and Darren Lockyer eclipsed long-standing records of our great game during their illustrious careers, whilst the legends witnessed by our parents and grandparents, their names descend lower and lower down the list.

    It's even gotten to the stage where some players are being lauded as the ‘best ever’ before their careers are even over, so eager are we to bear witness to history in the making. Case in point, there are many people who have made the incredibly bold statement that Billy Slater is the greatest ever fullback, people too young to have witnessed the incredible feats of Clive Churchill. Even this great has been reduced to a name on a medal.

    Within the next five or so years, I would imagine every long standing record will be broken, even the one that, you would think, never could be. I am, of course, talking about Ken Irvine's staggering try-tally. However, there is one record that has literally stood since the beginning of the game, a name barely mentioned in the modern era.

    I mean, how could a name like Johnno Stuntz ever be forgotten? Getting past the fact that it sounds about as plausible a name as Max Power, the legacy of Stuntz is as the last surviving link between old and new, past and present and this from a man who played just fourteen first grade games, scoring just eleven tries.

    Wearing the number two jersey in the first ever ‘New South Wales Rugby League’ game, he scored four tries against Newtown in a game where his club, Eastern Suburbs, took the match 32 points to 16. It was no easy feat, with The Sydney Mail describing it as “The best game of the opening day”, whilst another paper described it as “A capital display”.

    Since that long, long ago day, only Canterbury-Bankstown's Tony Nash (one of seven career games) during the 1942 season and, much more recently, Gold Coast's Jordan Atkins (one of forty career games) at the beginning of the 2008 season have equalled this feat.

    Just like Nash and in the future, Atkins, the name of Johnno Stuntz remains largely unknown, so allow me to give you a brief synopsis of the life of the man with the unlikely name.

    After his two year stint with Eastern Suburbs, Stuntz also represented the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Western Suburbs Magpies and Warrington Wolves, as well as New South Wales and Australia (he was finally recognised as an Australian representative player in 2004, having played in matches against a visiting Maori team in 1909).

    Stuntz was one of the pioneers of Rugby League, one of the games founding players in Australia. He was a member of the 1907 Pioneers team that played against the New Zealand All Golds. Thanks to the contribution of him and many others, it would help establish and popularise Rugby League in this country.

    He played fourteen matches with Eastern Suburbs between 1908 and 1910, whilst carrying on his full-time career as a Fireman. It was at the end of the 1909 season that he was selected to represent his beloved country. After the internationals ended, Stuntz signed for Warrington (in a contract worth 125 pounds) for the 1909-1910 English season. He returned to Australia in 1911 to join South Sydney (during this season he was selected to represent New South Wales). Two years later he represented Western Suburbs as well.

    In 1916, Stuntz joined the Australian Imperial Force, an all-volunteer Army Corp who were deployed overseas. He left Sydney for the last time, on board the ‘HMAT A18 Wiltshire’ as a Private. A year later his Battalion was involved in combat with German Forces and on the 3rd of May, 1917, Johnno Stuntz was killed by machine gun fire. There is no gravesite.

    However, his name, along with 10,884 others, appears on the stone of the Australian National Memorial, placed in Villers-Bretonneux, France. The names on the Memorial represent the Australians killed in France, who have no known grave.

    His name is on a wall. He is remembered by the nation as one of so many young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. His name is on a wall on foreign soil so far from home.

    Thank God his name will never fall off the annals of Rugby League history and its record books.

    Lest We Forget.
     
  13. edabomb

    edabomb First Grade

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    edabomb for the Ninjas

    ---------------------------------------------

    The Big Play?

    74th minute – Grand Final Qualifier 2011, Melbourne Storm vs. New Zealand Warriors.

    The match is placed precariously. The Warriors have managed to hold on to their half time lead, 14-12, through the first 35 minutes of the second half. Now the Storm attack furiously. Their ‘big three’ are in amongst everything. The Storm role into the Warriors twenty metre zone, but are withheld until the fifth tackle. Cooper Cronk puts a cross field bomb over into the right corner, there is a frantic battle and the Storm manage to knock the ball back. Billy Slater recovers the ball and chips it in behind the Warriors, the ball roles dead. A momentary reprieve for the weary visitors.

    Then, something changes the flow of the game.

    Kevin Locke retrieves the ball from beyond the dead ball line, rushing back to the twenty metre line to tap the ball and continue play. The commentators question the tactical nous behind this play.

    “I can’t understand why Locke ran to take the quick tap there, surely wearing down the clock would be more advantageous” – Phil Gould.

    Locke gets the Warriors on the front foot; he makes an easy eleven metres when territory is like gold. The Warriors will want to get the ball deep into Storm territory – hoping to give themselves as much ground to play with in defence as the Storm invariably surge down field for another shot at them.

    Bill Tupou darts out of dummy half on the second tackle, gaining an easy twelve metres to get the Warriors on the front foot. Feleti Mateo carries the Warriors well in to the Storms half. The game plan changes, evolves. Instead of looking at where the Storm will start their next set the Warriors see an opportunity. Could they conjure up a repeat set?

    Sam Rapira and James Maloney continue the surge downfield and set the Warriors up with a final tackle option twenty metres out from the opponents' line. With Maloney tackled it is down to the youngster Shaun Johnson to make a play. He comes up with the inch perfect kick under pressure, rolling the ball in behind the Storm fullback Slater. The ball holds up as Slater runs to retrieve it, ensuring it won’t cross the dead ball line. It is the type of kick that the fullback would usually run dead – however that isn’t an option in this situation. Slater picks up the ball and looks at what’s in front of him – he sees his outside man has a slight chance of diving into the field of play and throws the dangerous pass to his winger Matt Duffie. Duffie can’t make it and flings the ball into the in-goal, it dribbles over the dead ball line after a few nervous moments for the Storm faithful. The Warriors have earned a repeat set.

    The Warriors receive the ball from the restart and cart the ball up field. Assured charges from Rapira and Simon Mannering follow – now the Warriors are pressing on the goal line. What was once a mission to get the Storm as far down field as possible for their next set of six is now a chance to assure a spot in the Grand Final.

    Then something special happens. Locke finds Shaun Johnson one off the ruck. Johnson darts across field for five metres. Holding the ball in two hands he has the defensive line fixated on the ball. He cruises across the field, and then flicks a dummy to a cutting runner. The defensive line stops, the ball is obscured behind Johnson’s body as he throws the dummy. Johnson doesn’t stop, he heads straight for the gap created by the Storms hesitation - he breaks through it but is stopped five metres out. A modern day half, weighing in at ninety kilograms, he has no trouble in holding his body position and calmly offloading the ball to Lewis Brown who scores in the left hand corner – the try is converted and the Warriors lead 18-10.

    Johnson’s final play will deservedly go down as the special play in the history books, but for me it all comes back to Kevin Locke rushing for the twenty metre restart. So many efforts in our game go unnoticed – seemingly even when they are crucial in securing a Grand Final spot. Locke’s effort in running the ball back set the tone for the final five minutes, and it was the most crucial effort in the Warriors wrapping up the match.


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    749 words including the title
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  14. jamesgould

    jamesgould Juniors

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    jamesgould for the Ninjas

    The Outsiders

    The premiership winning Newcastle Knights outfit of 2001 is one that doesn’t receive a lot of credit. History books will tell you that they won the Grand Final in a colossal upset, beating one of the all-time great club sides in Parramatta. Parramatta, the dominant side all year (and one of the most dominant in years), choked on their biggest stage, and Newcastle played a great first half to steal the premiership.

    David Middleton, in the official NRL yearbook, went so far as to call on the sport to place greater emphasis on the minor premiership, as the true reward for the season’s best side.

    That’s how people remember the champions of 2001, almost winners by default. However, I don’t think that’s the case. The Knights have never been given the recognition they deserve for that season – they were every bit the team Parramatta was, if not more.

    Don’t worry, I’m not going to line up every player who took the field in the grand final and tell you which one I think was better – I’m just going to look at a few facts from the season. But the first thing that has to be understood is the decision that Michael Hagan took in his first year of coaching, probably before the pre-season even begun. A decision that would have a large impact on Newcastle’s year, and repercussions for years to come.

    The decision, that Hagan went so far as to mention in interviews, was to build the side around Andrew Johns. The playing style, direction, captaincy and decision making, was all to emanate from Joey. There’s no doubt that in the unfortunate instance of an Andrew Johns injury or suspension that it left Newcastle as impotent as a Nevada boxing commissioner. Johns’ injuries for the finals series’ of 2002, 2003, 2004 and his early injury run in 2005 left the Knights unable to make an impact in those seasons.

    In 2001, injury and suspension also struck down Johns. The Knights had an overall season proper record of 26 matches, 16 wins, nine losses and a draw in 2001. Johns spent rounds 12 to 17 out with a knee injury. He then spent round 23 and 24 out suspended. Newcastle’s record during these periods when Johns was absent was eight matches, two wins and six losses.

    This means that Newcastle’s record with Johns during the season proper in 2001 was 18 matches, 14 wins, three losses and a draw. This gives a winning percentage of 77.77%. Parramatta in the 2001 season proper won 20 from 26 matches, a winning percentage of 76.92%.

    Another criticism levelled at the Knights is that they were the worst defensive side ever to win the competition – based on their defensive points against after 26 rounds. There are a couple of factors here – firstly, 2001 did boast the highest points per game ever (48.85). This was mainly due to the interchange laws switching from unlimited in 2000, to a limit of 12 per side in 2001.

    However, with Johns, once again the Knights defensive capabilities improve. Of the 18 matches he played, Newcastle conceded 385 points (compared to 639 for the whole season proper) - 21.38 per match. Without Johns that leaves 254 points from eight matches, at 31.75 a match – a huge difference of over ten points per game.

    The same can be applied to attack. Parramatta in 2001 has been hailed as the greatest attacking side of all time (although I’d argue that that needed to be balanced against the increased point-scoring that season). Newcastle scored 623 from 18 matches with Johns on the field – 34.61 per match. Parramatta scored 839 from 26 matches at 32.27 per match. Incidentally, Newcastle managed 159 without Johns, at 19.88 per match.

    Of course, this isn’t to say Parramatta didn’t suffer their own injuries during the season. Had Johns played every single match, Newcastle may well have still had a slump at some stage. But the way that Michael Hagan structured the team meant the Knights were a shadow of themselves without Andrew.

    One thing is certain, come Grand Final day, the Newcastle side that lined up was more than a match for Parramatta, based on their form through-out the season with Andrew Johns in the line-up. The myth that Parramatta lost the match due to choking on their greatest stage is mistaken – they were beaten by the best team in 2001.

    Well, for all bar eight matches, anyway.

    -----------------

    750 words
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  15. joshie

    joshie Live Update Team

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    [​IMG]

    And that is time! Referee, do yo thang!
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  16. byrne_rovelli_fan82

    byrne_rovelli_fan82 First Grade

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    Wow, I didn't know full-time was at half one in the morning! lol.

    Well done all writers and good luck to both teams, take it away ref!
     
  17. edabomb

    edabomb First Grade

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    Well done to all players on a 5v5. Good luck all.
     
  18. Monk

    Monk Referee

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    So proud of you Bunnies, we'll definitely be competitive this season!

    Some great reads here! Best of luck to everyone!
     
  19. Lambretta

    Lambretta First Grade

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    Some bloody good reads there guys. Great game, well played
     
  20. Marshall_magic

    Marshall_magic Coach

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    Well done to all involved, some great reads, looks like the Ninjas will be tough to beat again this year.
     

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