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2013 Grand Final :: Souths v Titans



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 reseves for home side; +2 for away)
* No 'TBA' or changing players named
* Captains must stick with original teams named

Rules: http://www.forumsevens.com.au/rules.php
Official Word Counter: http://www.forumsevens.com.au/wordcount.php

Kick Off: Sunday 29th of September 2013 (6:00pm AEST)
Full Time: Monday 14th of October 2013 (9:00pm AEST)
Referee: Non Terminator + LeagueNut
Venue: The Front Row Stadium


Best of luck to all involved.


First Grade

1. Amadean
2. madunit
3. Misanthrope
4. Tittoolate

5. Titanic

6. bgdc
7. lockyno1


Souths team for the big one. Best of luck to everyone involved.


Monk (c)
Marshall Magic

Tommy Smith
Horrie is God


Staff member
Misanthrope hits the field running for the Titans.

Would the Real Tomahawks Please Stand Up?

A few years ago I remember tuning in to watch the US Tomahawks take on the indomitable Australian Kangaroos at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. The game came at the end of a lengthy overseas tour by modern standards, and Australia looked tired and out of place playing that motley crew of amateurs and expats on an AstroTurf field.

Somehow, the US Tomahawks got up 18-0 at one point. Call it laziness from the Aussies, but it was one of the most thrilling bits of international rugby league I’d ever seen. In a sport where results are almost always a foregone conclusion at international level, it looked like I might live to see an upset.

Of course, it wasn’t to be. The Kangaroos pulled their figurative thumbs out of their figurative asses and ended up overturning the plucky locals 36-24 to finish their tour on a winning note.

Regardless of the result, it’s safe to say I developed a massive soft spot for the underdogs from the US. Years later, I still own the US Tomahawks jersey that a forummer was kind enough to send me, and if my dating history is anything to go by – I’m a bigger fan of the US than ever.

So, it was with excitement that I watched the build towards this year’s World Cup and the Tomahawks coming out party as an international rugby league nation. After the hard yards put in by countless expats and dedicated locals to get the game off the ground in the land of NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, things were finally turning around for the US. I’d finally get to see guys like Taco Pope and Curtiz Kunz getting a run against the best in the world.
And fresh off a Colonial Cup series win over a surprisingly competitive Canada and with NRL standard players like Clint Newton and the Paulo brothers putting their hands up, we’d be in for a real treat.

And then I saw the squad.

It’s a bigger disconnect than the brain-fart that sees Mitchell Pearce continually touted as a representative level at half. It’s worse than that time Queensland named ‘TBA’ on the wing. It’s a bigger f**k up than Parramatta’s 2013 season.

Put simply, it’s criminal.

There are a few recognizable names on there for the right reasons: Clint Newton, Joseph & Junior Paulo, and Ryan McGoldrick. Then there are names you might recognize if you were watching league ten years ago: guys like Matt Petersen and Mark Shipway.

There’s a slew of guys playing NSW or QLD Cup. A guy pulled out of retirement. A few rugby ‘converts’ who haven’t ever played a game of rugby league in their lives, and a pair of brothers from Canberra who admit to not even knowing the anthem of the country they’re so proud to represent.

Local players and administrators were understandably baffled when they saw the side.
“As someone who plays in the states, I don't recognize too many of those names,” quoted one AMNRL player.

Daryl ‘Spinner’ Howard, a former Tomahawks player and head coach of the Jacksonville Axemen, has perhaps been most vocal in his criticism of the side selected by coach, Ben Kelly.

“The bottom line is the selection of the USA National Team is a total joke,” he has said, and it’s hard to disagree with him. Very few of the players who took the field in the recent Colonial Cup against Canada were invited to come along, while guys like Newcastle Souths player Mark Shipway, players from a likely fictional Hawaiian league, and a trio of union players with no ties to the true rugby are able to walk into the side.

Some have likened it to the Italy situation, but they couldn’t be farther apart. While it’s true there are very few ‘real Italians’ in the squad, they’ve at least stacked their side with NRL standard players who will give them a realistic shot at doing well and boosting the game at home.

The US side is the difference between losing 42-8 to the Cook Islands and losing 60-4. If they’re going to cop a hiding, at least let it be with players who have some pride in their nation and who their nation can be proud of.

I type this wearing my US Tomahawks jersey, with two US visits in the last five years, and with three US exes.

I expect I’ll be getting a call up any minute now.

WORD COUNT: 750 (including title)
Marshall Magic on for Souths

Investigation Complete

After a disgruntled Geoff Toovey called for an investigation into the officiation in the NRL we have secretly conducted one, trying to find if there is a fault in the referees’ integrity and where the fault lies. We are ready to present our findings, but be warned, if you don't like explosive reports then I suggest you stop reading now.

Let's look at the Finals; in week one we had a few games called into question. First of all the Sharks scored a seventh tackle try to knock out the Cowboys, the last Queensland team standing in the competition. This was step one in the plan. While everyone at the ground was losing their minds, the NRL sent representatives out to narrow the field in between the games at the double header. This resulted in an abnormally low scoring game between the Roosters and Sea Eagles, the relevance of which may seem unclear now, but we will demonstrate all adds up.

On the night prior to this game we saw the Storm lose to the Bunnies, with plenty of questionable decisions going the way of the red and green. The point of this was to set up a B-story, with the Storm loss setting them up to meet Wayne Bennett's Knights, who beat the Dogs in a game that was completely left alone.

In week two of the Finals, we saw Manly knock out the Sharks, with Taufua scoring a try that should never have been given considering he clearly dropped the ball. This game also contained the most blatant event that our investigation uncovered with John Morris paid to tackle a marker off the ball, which resulted in a Sharks' try being called back.

The following night we saw Melbourne go down to the Knights. There appeared to be nothing suspicious about this game, BUT we can confirm that Nathan Tinkler was offering Storm players free horses to make sure the Knights won. The ARLC knew all about this, but were happy to let it slide because they felt the result would be a good one for the game, giving an easier path for the Roosters to the grand final. It is understood that the only Melbourne player to engage with Tinkler was Billy Slater, a former jockey.

This takes us to the Preliminary Finals, Souths vs Manly and Easts vs Newcastle. Here's where the fun really starts. You would think that an Easts vs Souths Grand Final would be what the ARLC really wanted. Well if you thought that you'd be wrong. You see, that's too obvious, and if you fix a result and produce the optimal outcome, then said fix is going to get found out. So, the ARLC went a different route, they fixed a Roosters/Manly grand final. Hence the field tampering in week one, giving us a classic encounter, thus ensuring that in three weeks time they'd have a rematch with a great back story.

So how did they make this happen? Well for the Souths/Manly game, the Souths players were given a special type of peptide that transforms you into a borderline superhero for fifteen minutes then completely flattens you for the following two hours. The players were given this by the ARLC, and told it was completely WADA compliant when in fact it was not. The reason this method was chosen was again to throw the scent; since the game was under strict scrutiny from ASADA, it was something nobody would suspect. This explains why Souths fell in a screaming heap.

The Roosters and Knights game did not require much fixing, although it is believed ninjas inserted a metal chip in Buderus' head while he was asleep one night, and likewise a giant magnet was inserted into Waraea-Hargreaves' elbow, in an attempt to take the former out of the game (completely legally), which indeed happened. We cannot fully confirm or deny this allegation, as this matter is still under investigation.

Come the grand final, the Roosters took it out, but controversy reigned with a questionable try to Kenny-Dowall off a forward pass. A couple of fake outs were thrown in, including a Manly penalty try (which conveniently prevented a Roosters sin-binning) and awarding the CC Medal to Cherry-Evans over Maloney. But the plan worked perfectly, the Roosters won and to top it all off, the ARLC got their wish, Sonny Bill Williams will be in the NRL in 2014.


741 words


First Grade
Titanic for the Titans (750 OWC) ... good luck one and all.



There was a woman at work when she received a phone call that her daughter was ill.

A club CEO was driving back to work from a meeting with a certain married woman of questionable morals when the manager of Bluey, the club’s superstar, rang him to say that the player was leaving to go to a "more professional" club.

She left work and stopped by a pharmacy to get some medication for her daughter. 

He drove to a seaside lookout near a pharmacy to better contemplate his dilemma.

She returned to her car to find that she had locked the keys inside the car when she went into the pharmacy and was now unable to get into her car to drive home.

As he sat in the car looking at the crashing surf he noticed a stupid sheila had locked herself out of her car. Wait, not just any sheila, that Bluey’s missus.

She didn’t know what to do and started to panic, so she called home and told the baby sitter what had happened and that she did not know what to do. The baby sitter told her to find a coat hanger and see if that would open the door.

The dill walked over to him and asked if he had a coat hanger she could borrow … as if I’d help her after what her hubby’s just gone and done? I’ve got bigger worries than that, bugger off.

The woman frantically looked around and eventually found a length of old rusty wire that had been thrown down on the ground, possibly by someone else who also had locked their keys in their car.

The lucky bitch found some wire ... some people have all the good fortune.

Then she looked at the wire and realised, "I don’t know how to use this." So she bowed her head and asked God to send her some help.

In so doing as always, she obeyed the command to never stop praying. Do you think God would reward her for that?

My club is in ruins and now my best player has gone, “I’m stuffed, what can I do?” He stared at the waves and silently did something he hadn’t done since he was a child at Sunday School, he prayed. Do you think God would reward him for that?

Within five minutes a motorcycle roared up and pulled into the parking space next to her car. A rough, dirty-looking biker got off and saw her situation. He asked if he could help her. The woman thought, "This is what you sent to help me, God?"

A loud roar snapped the CEO from his revelry, “Geez, a friggin’ thug that’s just what I need. Thank God he’s going to harass that woman.”

Though frightened, in desperation she finally told him yes, as she really needed to hurry and get home to her sick daughter. The brute walked over to the car and in less than one minute the door was opened.

Holy crap and all things miraculous, behind those tats and the beard that looks like, wait yes it is, it’s Stevie the NYC Player of the Year from two years ago. Where did he get to? God, who cares, my prayers have been answered.

She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "Thank you so much! You are such a good man."

He looks in pretty good nick but in need of a few bucks and I certainly have the bucks now. Yee-ha, I’ve still got it. One doors closes and another opens. Now, I’ll just mosey over and have a little chat.

The man replied; "No, I’m not a good guy, my friend. I just got out of prison for car theft." The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out to God, "You even sent me a professional." She got in her car and raced off to help her daughter.

Hey Stevie, that is you, right? How about we have a chat about you going round with the Devils next season? My prayers have been answered … we could really do with a pro like you.

The bloke reached inside his sleeveless denim jacket, withdrew a wicked-looking knife, smirked and said, “A ‘pro’ ya reckon? Well you’re right about that, now hand over your wallet and keys. Perhaps you should be a more careful what you pray for”
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Bubbles on for Souths...

Aftermath of a GF

My vision blurs, colour and movement in pixelated fog. Hand brushes across my face and I’m genuinely surprised when it comes away wet. That’s when I realise I’m crying, tears streaming, splashing onto my jersey. My jersey! Rooooooooosters! Holy shit, we’ve won the comp!!

As I am lifted off the ground, burly arms crushing the breath from me, I have not yet heard about SKD and his broken jaw, playing almost the entire game with excruciating pain and a mouthful of blood... and still didn’t f#ck up and hand the ball and the game over! This yarn of courage along with others to come out of Grand Final day will all be heard, to pass into fable as if penned by Aesop herself.

But for now, the only knowledge my brain can process is we’d won. Standing in front of the bar in my Rooster buddy’s man-cave watching a steady stream of clear liquid glistening under the lights as it splashes its way over innocuous looking shot glasses; burning throat, watering eyes, face grimacing... repeat. Clumsy over zealous hugs, clumsier high-fives, then burning throat, watering eyes, face grimacing... repeat. Yelling memories, words tumbling and rolling on top of each other until a new language emerges (“Shennnoo” =“How bout that try by Jenko?”), clumsy over zealous hugs, clumsier high-fives, then burning throat, watering eyes, face grimacing... repeat!

Monday morning, head pounding, eyes glued together, mouth tasting of arse and someone poking my shoulder. I’m awake! Argh, don’t try and sit up. Twinkling blue eyes staring at me from claustrophobically close range and I wonder why I ever thought it would be a good idea to have a second child at 38; I’m too old for this shit! Danny Glover is unceremoniously shoved aside as I ignore my own advice and sit bolt upright; “We’re the 2013 Premiers, go you mighty Choo...!” Thirty seconds later I’m hugging porcelain, trying to survive the purging.

Two hours later and I’m behind the wheel of my car feeling somewhat confident. Galvanised by a few tentative bites of grease, Nurofen, a large can of V and an enjoyable game of ‘Let’s relive highlights from our Grand Final victory’ and I am winding my way back up the mountain. Cursing the curving tar snaking upwards, cursing the drivers who insist on sitting in the right lane doing 15 under the limit, cursing the RBT unit that appears around a bend, flashing blue lights and signalling arms! I wish I wasn’t wearing my Roosters jersey, fearing the red in it will act like a flag to a bull. Phew, heart pounding in rhythym with my head and I cruise by, innocent as freshly driven snow.

Home, couch, replay of game; brief thought about workload and deadlines, before dismissing reality. Seinfeld reruns, random food placed in front of me, water bottle refilled as if by magic, head stuck to the couch cushion, stumble to bed... blissful dreams of SBW breaks and Tupou’s gravity defying feats!

Tuesday morning; shit, second night in a row I’ve slept with my contact lenses in. Stare into the mirror to have my worst fears confirmed, looks like I’ve punched twelve cones in a row, beady red orbs hidden in folds of dark bags that have settled in beneath my seedy looking eyes. Luckily I look beyond my own reflection to bask upon the image of Mini holding aloft the most of sought after of prizes in the NRL, the Proven-Summers Trophy!

Full-blown panic as I open my emails and check the workload I had so summarily dismissed. Shit, no way I can get it done! Have no choice, so start typing. Hours of blurred words and fingers across the keyboard; punctuations of ““Have you got anything for dinner, babe?” Shit. “No, forgot about that.” “Did you send that email off to the solicitor, babe?” Shit, shit. “Sorry, forgot about that.” Shit, shit, shit “I forgot to get toilet paper too, babe, before you ask!”

Nighttime and I’ve finally stopped. Husband laughing hysterically, “Well, things have really gone to shit around here, haven’t they babe?” I start to form an indignant reply before I look down at myself, still in my pijamas with Roosters jersey that I haven’t taken off since Sunday and so instead grin stupidly. “But... but the Chooks won the Grand Final.” “Go the mighty Roosters, the red, white and bluesters” my husband crows and I fall just that bit more in love, happy to have survived!

Word Count: 750 on the dot!


Tittoolate pulls on his boots and Titans jumper, jogs out to the field of dreams with the fireworks and roar of the crowd, and sets himself for a mighty 2013 final. Good luck to all!

742 words via OWC below the line.


If it were any other team….

A tale of two brains.

Readers of my earlier ‘finals’ article will note with ribald humour that my skill as a picker of winners leaves room for improvement. Not only was I sadly wrong but once that refereeing blunder annihilated North Queensland, my tribally-inspired passion for finals matches was left without a connection. This would see me seeking poor comfort in punting (at which I have an expensive track record), red wine (are they making the bottles smaller these days?) and golf (known colloquially as ‘whack-f**k).

So being a ‘league tragic’, my right brain invented a fresh tribal motivation to maintain excitement through to Grand Final day. My left brain was swayed by NRL lore that we can support two clubs: ours and that playing Manly. So, c’mon the chooks!

Advice for travellers: In Melbourne, delete Manly and insert Collingwood.

This self-deception offered the veneer of rationale so both sides suspended their innate incredulity where it comes to all things NSW and League. In this frame of mind I settled down to watch two flying fowl teams take to the field of dreams.

I admit I enjoyed the game, having earlier decided the Silver-tails were going down. The match had all the trappings of a memorable contest: hearty defence, breathtaking speed and agility in attack, admirable team synergies and scintillating stars. And the right team, i.e. those playing Manly, won! What could be better? My right brain was happily awash with red wine, pizza and courtesy of the ‘team playing Manly’ ruse, the victory of my assumed team. My left brain, appropriately anaesthetised, opted for discretion.

When I paused to reflect some days later, my troubled left brain raised flags of protest to my consciousness. This rational brain had ceded ground to my need for tribal solidarity but, when invited, tabled vital issues surrounding the Roosters’ win.

The first flag I acknowledged was stories in The Australian and Fairfax in which allegations of some Roosters misusing Human Growth Hormone resurfaced, apparently by up to six players. The Australian went so far as to name three: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Boyd Cordner and Sam Moa. The story featured organised crime, potential drug cheating, cover-ups, the NRL integrity unit plus present and past Sydney players.

Flag-the-second was raised over Sonny Bill Williams. Everyone either does, or should, despise him on principle. His inclusion in any team is enough to warrant them losing were justice to prevail.

The last flag related to the quality of refereeing and some of the howlers delivered during the game. The north shore supporters probably feel aggrieved about how the whistle-blowers conducted themselves. Were I one I’d be railing and ranting with the best of them, claiming an NRL conspiracy about the refereeing against North Queensland and during the Grand Final.

Clearly Manly had the early running. Looking sharp and dangerous, they made the Roosters seem bantam-ish before the match officials changed the balance. The referees overlooked Pearce’s 4th minute knock-on, close to his line. They gave another bonus by overlooking his hand in Foran’s play-the-ball issue at the 12th. And on the cusp of half-time, the Roosters were wrongly afforded a scrum feed when Jennings touched a Manly grubber before it went out. My left brain was wondering ‘in a fair match, how would the first half have turned?’

But these pale into insignificance compared to Maloney’s forward pass. Even my 94 year old, mostly blind and deeply-disinterested-in-rugby-league mother would have spotted this. Left brain demanded “what’s the point of having video referees, review systems, microphones and the works if blindingly obvious mistakes are not corrected?” The right brain stayed wisely silent.

Maybe the ridiculous penalty try situation was officialdom’s recompense for the earlier calamity. For we can be sure a penalty try was never warranted: firstly it was not 100% certain that a try would have resulted but for the interference; and secondly because the TV commentary switched to Wally Lewis on the sideline who said it was not on. And we bow to the Emperor’s Pope-like infallibility.

Both sides of my deeply troubled brain sat down to argue this out. Evidence from the left included possible cheating, the execrable SBW and dodgy decisions. The right side nodded empathetically. “Ordinarily”, it said, “I’d be swayed by your argument if it were any other team but Manly”. The left shrugged in resignation, knowing it was beaten.

Both wandered off for a beer.
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Amadean struts on proudly for the Titans with 749 words below the bar.



League fans are doing it wrong


There was a footy match the other week, a pretty good one too. As Grand Finals go it was certainly one of the better matches I haven’t attended.

A friend of mine was there:

“The largest boo and the most projectiles I have ever seen thrown at a football game occured simultaneously two tackles after Lyon had been taken out. The penalty to the roosters (essentially given because Hayne was being abused by the entire Manly side for his earlier f$ckup) nearly cause a riot in our section.” [sic]

That...that doesn’t sound great, even apart from his grammar. It doesn’t sound fun, safe or anything remotely ‘sporting’. Norm Provan and Arthur Summons it ain’t.

But there is an alternative. Let me tell you about the Tokyo Swallows vs. the Hiroshima Carp, September 28th, 2013.

Hold on, I’ll save you the Googling. These are baseball teams in Japan’s premier Central League. Yes, baseball. Yes, I know it’s a dull pansy form of cricket. No, I’m not drunk (mostly). Look, give me a second here, ok? I promise this won’t seem so stupid in 400 words’ time.

Since moving to Tokyo 6 months ago, bereft of League we are, my girlfriend and I have become huge Swallows fans. And only part because I get to wear a shirt around town saying ‘Swallows’ in huge letters. Heh. Yeah, that one doesn’t get old.

The reason for this nigh-inexplicable fandom? The crowds.

Now I’ve been part of Game 3 State of Origin, Grand Final and last-day Ashes crowds. Hell, I was at Black Sabbath’s final concert. Being with an amped-up mass of people can be exhilarating, relaxing, scary and wonderful. The Roosters-Eagles Grand Final match would’ve been like this.

But yet I would’ve much rather been at the Swallows-Carp match. Heresy? Perhaps. But not insanity.

The Swallows-Carp crowd was, for want of a better word, happy. Meiji-Jingu Stadium (just across the road from Prince Chichibu Stadium where the Mighty Blossoms play [damn but Japan is hilarious]) was crammed with 38,000 people who were very happy to be there. This wasn’t an important match, but rather an end-of-season bottom-of-table dead rubber. And the sell-out crowd were having a great time.

I know this, because I was dancing and singing along with them.

It goes a little like this: there are two teams playing, and fans arrange themselves on opposite sides of the stadium (home left, away right). Damn near everyone wears the team strip. Pretty girls incessantly walk past with kegs of beer on their backs, or sausages on their front. The action is slow, but evenly paced. Good times.

9 innings of ordinary match are played, so each team is at bat 9 times: there are 9 opportunities for the crowd to sing, dance and encourage their batters. Note the relatively strong contrast with the last Raiders’ game I went to, which featured 80 minutes of an almost silent crowd (except when inviting the refs to do something anatomically improbable).

This singing and dancing may not sound like fun. I can assure you it is, but the fun/not fun aspect of the crowd participation really is the point I’m trying to make here.

The regular game ended 2-2, and so the match went into 3-innings of overtime. The crowd sang louder, the tension mounted, the Hiroshima fans’ syncopated bat-nodding dance became ever more fervid, the Swallows’ umbrella-pushing chant-a-long became even more deep and emotional.

The game ended in a tie nonetheless.

Then something extraordinary happened.

I’d been walking through the crowds under the stadium (on my way to the gents’ or popcorn stands or yakitori bars or whatever) and had, as comes naturally to a League fan, given the opposing fans the finger. They looked at me a bit oddly for this, but I figured they just weren’t as deep into the game as I was.

I was wrong.

When the overtime innings ended. The Hiroshima (the away team), stood up and sang the Tokyo Swallows’ home-run song. They then chanted ‘Arigatou’ (thanks) loudly three times. Then our side of the stadium stood up and sang ‘Victorious Carp’, then chanted ‘Arigatou’.
Then Hiroshima stood up and sang the strike-song of our top pitcher (Miyamoto-san, I have his jersey!). And we responded.

The fans spent 20 minutes after full-time thanking each other for a good, tight, hard, close match. It was electrifying.

I can’t shake the feeling that League fans are doing it wrong.
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Monk darts onto the field to post Soc's article via proxy. Bring out the Slurpee's coz this one is a 711 word doozy.

On The Wagon

Unfortunately the regular season has been and gone. Being a Panthers supporter mid September is usually the time to decide which bandwagon to latch on to for the finals series. Sadly the top eight of 2013 is lacking any sentimental favourites that are a realistic chance of taking out the big prize. Our great game is infinitely more enjoyable when you care about the result so I need to make a choice. Some poor team is going to cop the poison chalice that is my support.

Roosters: For a Panthers fan to support the latte sippers is as unnatural as for the Pope to praise Allah. There is the East vs West thing going on and the bitterness still remains from the years of enduring Freddy running around in the red, white and blue. Freddy is long retired and the majority of the Roosters players are proving that Bondi is no longer the transit lounge. Also with the circumstances of Jennings ending up with the Chooks, it is hard to feel any ill will towards him. There is a lot to like about the 2013 Roosters; I am just not sure I can do it.

Souths: Forever touted as the pride of the league with a 42 year drought on the cusp of being broken. They’ve been one of the best teams of the year and a good chance of going all the way. What a fairy tale! In saying that, I think I would rather be flayed by a turd covered butter knife than support the Homebush Burgi. Cheque book Rugby League isn’t up your ally? Pigs arse. Souths have become the polar opposite of all they claim to represent. They have become more Rooster like than the Chooks ever were; without the modern day success. At least I have an anti-hero to cheer against.

Melbourne: But, but, they are Melbourne! I can’t in good conscience support them except against Souths.

Manly: Everybody hates them except their supporters... and me. I don’t love them, not even close, but it is hard not to admire them. They’re an outstanding team. They don’t seem like the Silvertails anymore. Rubbish ground, poor management and they don’t often feature signing superstars from other clubs. Yet they are always thereabouts come September. That is the problem, the thing stopping me hoisting the maroon and white flag. It would be nice to see someone else have a turn.

Cronulla: Who wouldn’t enjoy seeing the Sharks finally win one? The poor old Sharkies have gone close a few times but can’t seem to get it over the line. Maybe this is the year? For me the added bonus that the Sharks now feature more of my favourite Panthers than my own team is hard to ignore. The whole ASADA investigation has tainted them a bit, but what the hell, innocent until proven otherwise should be the Australian way.

Bulldogs: Don’t hate them but certainly not a fan. I just can’t get excited about them; even last year in the big one against the Storm I just couldn’t care. Besides, I would be concerned that if I ever became emotionally invested in them I may feel the need to destroy a train when they lose. Not really the right fit. Thanks, but no thanks.

Newcastle: The chances of them making it to the big dance are pretty remote. The Bennett factor would give their fans some hope, but it is a pretty flimsy wagon to be hitching up to. Chances are I will be cheering for them in any of their appearances but it will most likely be in vain.

Cowboys: The likable Queensland team. Matt Bowen’s final season would be the perfect time for the Cowboys to win the big one. They have hit form at the right time of year, but it is doubtful they have the fire-power to compete with the top 4 teams. As much as I would enjoy seeing them win, it is another wagon just waiting for the wheels to fall off.

So after much deliberation I will be hitching up to the wobbly old wagon from Cronulla... until they inevitably fail. Once that happens I will need to fight all that comes naturally and cheer for the Chooks.


First Grade
byrne_rovelli_fan82 for South Sydney


The Sam Tomkins Experiment

It was rugby league’s worst kept secret. Despite best efforts from the NZ Warriors Rugby League club and their English Super League counterparts, Wigan Warriors to keep it all under wraps, rumors broke like wild fire. It was no longer a question of if this guy was coming, it was a matter of when and it had everyone talking.

One of Super League’s elite players and arguably the best in the world (oh, I can hear Storm fans throwing tantrums right about now) was making the move Downunder.

Sam Tomkins.


If you’ve been hiding under a rugby league rock in the last few years you wouldn’t know Sam Tomkins. I admit I don’t know much about him myself until his NRL move rumors surfaced. I barely watch the Super League; I had always referred to it as the poor man’s NRL. Now I may live to regret ignoring it.

Sam Tomkins has been one of the most talked about Rugby League individuals over that side of the world. In mild terms he’s the Super League version of the Storm’s Billy Slater. Hated, loved and feared all rolled into one. He’s collected quite a lot of trophies over the past few years, individually and as part of a team. He has compiled quite a list of achievements in his career...all except the still elusive RLWC which he’s got a chance of nabbing in the next few weeks.

So, Sam has achieved everything he can possibly do at the highest level in Super League. What was left? It would be a shame to just walk away from the game at his age. He still had lots more to offer the sport. What sort of a challenge did he want? Is there a competition which can help him expand his ever-growing trophy collection?

Answer: Yes, the NRL.

Australia’s National Rugby League competition is still considered the premier rugby league comp in the world. Some ESL players have come and gone, tasted success and left quite an impression. More recently big names such as Sam Burgess and his younger brothers at South Sydney have made a huge impact on the NRL. Some impacts have been not as good as others, with a few off-field reps and even some on-field reputations. The difference is these guys could forge huge careers back home if they hadn’t already. Instead they chose to come to the NRL and to chase the biggest domestic glory of all.

Gone are the days where the ESL was just the happy retirement fund comp for the ageing NRL players. In turn, for some Super League players the NRL was just a place to gain experience for a while before returning home. Nowadays, the Super League wants to conquer it all (see “The 1997 Super League War”) and prove they have just as many quality players, if not more.

For Tomkins, this is exactly what he wants. He is coming out here to test himself and pit his talents against some of the best in the rugby league world.

"For me this is about taking another step up in my career by testing myself in the NRL. It has always been a goal of mine and now it's going to happen.'' – Sam Tomkins. News.com.au

He’s mentioned previously about this being ‘his dream move’.

The question remains ... will it turn out the way he might expect? The demand for the best of the best in the NRL is of a different standard to what he is used to at home. The game is different; tensions run higher, it’s a lot tougher and he’s having no easy ride the second he steps onto the NRL field.

Excitement dangles in the air just like a carrot on a string. We don’t know what to expect from him. He may not know what to expect from us. It is all fine and dandy to have the favourable statistics sitting pretty next to his name and the shiny trophies tucked away in the cupboard.

This is a whole new ball game though. If he fails to deliver and the media hype turns out to be just that, hype, the dream is all it will ever be and he could find himself on the wrong end of the field and on the wrong side of the world!

Let the experiment begin.....


730 words between '~' lines according to official word counter and quote was taken from news.com.au and here is the link for the article where the quote came from:



Monk takes the field one more with his own article in hand.

750 Words.


More than you know

“See that man over there? That’s Graham Murray; he’s the coach of the Roosters”

I’ll never forget laying eyes on the man for the very first time at my very first Roosters game. He looked out into the sea of red white and blue and smiled. Even though I knew it wasn’t, it felt like that smile was for me, the kid who was wearing an oversized Roosters jersey because he was ‘going to grow into it’.

I grew into it, and then some.

I didn’t know his history at the time, how much work he had done to get where he was but I was so happy he was our coach, and I didn’t even know why until a giant walked onto the field. He wasn’t just a giant either, he was an English giant who was about to become my favourite player.

I looked up at my father who explained to me that Adrian Morley used to play for a team in England called Leeds which used to be coached by Graham Murray. As an eight year old, it was hard for me to understand why someone would move to the other side of the world just to play football under a coach he knows. But I understood why you’d make the move for Murray; he seemed like the greatest coach in the world. As Murray’s time at the Roosters came to an end I adopted the Cowboys as my second team as my own little thank you to the man who brought Adrian Morley to the other side of the world.

Eventually Adrian Morley left the NRL and as I wiped the tears from my eyes I vowed that every time an English player came to the Roosters I would love them and support them as if they were big Mozza. Unfortunately for me, the next player to come down had a face only a mother could love, and his name was Jordan Tansy. Because of my oath to Mozza I tried my best to give Tansy a chance, even when other supporters would not. But I had learnt that there was a very ugly side to English football (in more ways than one) and as it stands Tansy proved to be a rather poor investment.

Having been burnt by Tansy’s poor showing, the arrival of Sam Moa left me hesitant when I should have been optimistic. Moa soon left me eating a rather large portion of humble pie and I enjoyed watching his physical play and often had to double back thinking that I was watching Mozza in his prime. While Sammy Moa lacked the charm of an English accent which made Mozza so loveable, no one could deny that he was a beast and added a whole lot of grunt to the Roosters forward back. His arrival combined with the success of Gareth Ellis, James Graham, Gareth Widdop and the Burgess Brothers has provided many Super League players with a channel into the NRL, with the aim of proving that they’re able to match it with the best, even if it means packing your bags and moving across the globe.

With so many Super League players having success in the NRL, the International game is looking to be in better shape than ever. Who would have thought that the English side would be chock full of Australian household names? With players like Sam Tomkins, Remi Casty, Lee Mossop, Gareth Hock and Mike Cooper coming down to make it big in Australia the quality of football is only going to get better, both at the club and representative levels.

Without the fond memories of Mozza running through defenders I probably wouldn’t be as excited to have Super League players making their way into our competition and I think a lot of other supporters are in the same boat. For many of the 20-something year old fans of Rugby League, watching Adrian Morley was their first experience of an Englishman playing down-under and I think it’s fair to say that his success, along with Stacy Jones and a few other massive overseas names, was the catalyst to promote the international game.

In closing, I would like to offer up a huge thanks to the late Graham Murray for his role in bringing Adrian Morley to the NRL. It might have seemed like something so minor at the time, but Graham Murray did so much more for Rugby League than he will even know.
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Suppose I better call time on this one.

Some quality articles in this bunch, over to LN and NT for the reffing.


First Grade
Guys I am in DC at the moment and after getting up at 3am to post my article I was horrified to find out that we didn't get a team onto the field. I apologise to all those who have tried to keep the competition going that due to my commitments I was unable to action our bench.

Sorry to my team who have struggled bravely all year and congrats to Souths who are deserved champions.


First Grade
Guys I am in DC at the moment and after getting up at 3am to post my article I was horrified to find out that we didn't get a team onto the field. I apologise to all those who have tried to keep the competition going that due to my commitments I was unable to action our bench.

Sorry to my team who have struggled bravely all year and congrats to Souths who are deserved champions.

You'r ein DC? Woo!!! I was too way back in August. How you liking it? Understandable don't worry Titanic. Sometimes things happen. I don't believe anything is over until we see proof!! Enjoy your time in DC though!
Well seeing as my mum and sister are here because of brushfire season may need to be patient with me. I'll try my hardest to do them at some point today.


Staff member
Given the situation (and the fact the result isn't exactly up in the air), I don't think anybody minds, mate.

Hope all's well.


First Grade
Now in SFO and jumped on to commiserate but will just raise the level of anticipation :)

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