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2013 Minor Semi Final :: Bluebags v Ninjas



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 18th of August 2013 (6:00pm AEST)
Full Time: Monday 2nd of September 2013 (9:00pm AEST)
Referee: LeagueNut
Venue: Henson Park



Chuck Norris Texas Death Ninjas:

Frank Grimes
jamesgould (c)

Russell Crowe's Band


Staff member
Bluebags announce their side.

1. Drew-Sta
2. muzby
3. Jason Maher
4. Danish
5. afinalsinn666

6. Eelementary
7. St_Jubbsy


Are NRL Coaching Clichés That Far Off?

You clicked the link thanks to the catchy title but being an internet veteran, there’s a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Some ancient, primordial instinct, honed on the fields of the Serengeti in ages past, is screaming at you. That’s right – this is an article about Fantasy football. (Argh! Run!)

There are only two things every footy fan in the world claims to hate: 1) When people start talking about their fantasy footy team, and 2) Formulaic, clichéd answers given by players and coaches during press conferences and interviews, and 3) Manly.

Somehow I managed to confront and combine the first two things on the list above in one sickening moment of epiphanic self-disgust like being the meat in a sandwich made of two slices of wholemeal horror.

I play fantasy footy on a little forum called VNRL. It’s my preferred comp because the selection process is an actual draft where we can’t all pick Paul Gallen, Corey Parker and Cameron Smith, plus 14 nobodies. My team has had a decent year and might make the grand final. However last week I was close to losing the must-win, second-last game of the season against a bloke who hasn’t logged in since Round 9 and has Kurt Gidley as his goal kicker.

On the forum there’s a general thread called ‘Season Discussion and Whinging Thread’. Surprisingly, this thread is mainly concerned with discussing the season and posters therein generally like a good whinge. “I’ve had a particularly tough draw”, “I’m really unlucky with injuries this year”, “State of Origin stuffs our comp”, “Please send help I’ve been held captive in this basement since Round 9″ are typical posts in the thread.

So, there I was calculating the scores of last week’s match with mounting horror because it seemed like I was going to lose by a good margin. A part of my mind immediately started composing a post I would make in the ‘Whinging’ thread. In a mindset of frustration and anger I wanted to tell the other players exactly why they were so lucky that fate had intervened on their behalf and kept me down.

And what excuses did I, the ‘coach’, catch myself drafting? What were the actual sentences I’d semi-consciously composed? “We wanted to go back to basics this year and just concentrate on scoring points. I think the boys have tried hard but just a few things haven’t gone our way.” “The referees haven’t helped, State of Origin needs to be looked at, the season is too long, there’s not enough talent to go around in this comp, I won’t speculate on whether I’ll be coaching again next year.”

I got to “the effort has been there, it’s just our execution that’s letting us down” before it hit me – I was using every cliché in the book to say pretty much nothing. I was regurgitating the very lines heard just about every week by just about every losing coach that causes us all to hurl the remote across the room and kick our dogs.
Except it wasn’t really like that at all.

These weren’t stock answers to be fed to a hungry media pack. They weren’t coached into me by some media advisor. These were sui generis: real, considered opinions on what I genuinely thought had gone wrong with my team this year.

Once the shock of catching myself using the very lines that have lost me countless remote controls over the years wore off, I wondered if in fact these lines that we hear repeated over and over aren’t just the regurgitated, empty ‘quotables’ we all assume they are.

Perhaps the language used by these people in these moments are indeed their genuine, best attempts to explain a very uncomfortable set of circumstances summed up best by one of those clichés – “this year just isn’t our year”. In other words, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to send our remotes into orbit when we hear dreck like “rebuilding phase”. Maybe we need to allow for the possibility that the coach means what he says?

As it happens, I won that match. At the press conference after the game, I was thoughtful and considered. “We played well today, but we have a lot to work on if we’re going to go far in this comp.”

And you know what? It’s true.

742 OWC
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Full-time for this game has been extended till Tuesday the 3rd of September at 9pm.


First Grade
edabomb for the Ninjas


Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction NRL Edition

One touch judge puts his flag up – his partner’s remains down. In one man’s spectrum a kick has sailed through the posts – in another’s it has fallen idly to the side. Is it perception – or something more sinister at work? Was it the nexus of the universe – or a beautiful young cheerleader that led to this mistake? Can you determine the difference? Today we’ll give you that chance – as we look at some fanciful NRL stories. Be sure to keep your eye on the ball.

Hello, I’m Jonathan Frakes – welcome to this special NRL edition of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. First we introduce you to a well-known rugby league commentator – he is the voice of the game and commentates the most important matches every year. But does he actually know where he is – and anything about what is happening in the NRL?
As the viewers tune in in New Zealand for another Sunday afternoon match in 2013 the coverage has obviously crossed early. A one way conversation is overheard by the New Zealand public – this commentator has no idea he is being heard. He is having a bit of a ramble to what can only be described as a ghostly voice on the other end of the line. Perhaps Rex Mossop is calling from above on this fine Sunday afternoon. As the conversation winds down with kick off rapidly approaching the commentators poses a question to whomever is on the other end of that line – “what round are we in? 24?”
So what do we have here viewers? A wild imagination casting aspersions on the greatest voice in the game? Or a commentator who is worried about the next round of drinks than what round the NRL is in? You be the judge and we’ll let you know later.

Now we revisit a mystery from 2003. A former Sydney Roosters winger languishing in reserve grade had accidentally double booked himself. Who actually turned out for the Roosters reserve grade side that day?
“Jesus!” he exclaimed. His band’s big break was finally here – but his footy career was also hanging in the balance. They’d been invited to a record company promotion – all the industry big-wigs would be there. His band mates reckoned they could do the job without him, but that was doubtful as he was a vocalist. They organised a stand in singer to go through rehearsal with the band that night -the results were terrible. Suddenly he had an idea – “do you play football better than you sing?” “I used to go alright when I was in the Canberra Raiders juniors programme” he replied. With that the replacement singer was given a pair of boots and told to jump on the wing for the Roosters that weekend. The concert went well – but the player’s career at the Roosters was over.
Did a player really sacrifice his first grade career for a shot at the music industry – or is this story slightly out of tune?

Finally, we have a bizarre story from 1914. This will truly shock you to core.
The year was 1914 and crossing the genders lines had been done for years. Men had played female characters in Shakespearean plays for decades. With this knowledge Wilma Paterson set out to become the first female to take part in an Australian Rugby League match. Will, as her teammates knew her, was a slight winger for the University side. She crossed for two tries that season – before being found out and sent from Sydney in disgrace.
Could a female have really played first grade rugby league? Or is this a case of feminine ideals?

Story one told us of the number one commentator in the game not knowing what round of NRL action he had shown up for. This has to be false, doesn’t it? Wrong. Reports from New Zealand in late 2013 were that this commentator had no idea what stage of the season he was in when he showed up to commentate and coverage crossed early.

Story two never happened.

Story three is correct from reports at the time. The story inspired the movie ‘She’s the Man’ – and is partially responsible for Amanda Byne’s recent meltdown.

Is it possible that not everything is as it seems? That we may currently have females and musicians playing in a competition that is commentated by oblivious old men? I’m Jonathan Frakes.
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Village Idiot
Staff member
muzby takes the first hit up for the bluebags, thinking the extended full time whistle will only delay how long till he can crack open his post-match beer.


750 words, title to end.


It helps if you’re a little nuts.

Will Chambers’ testicles were feeling sore & sorry for themselves. They were finding it hard to recover from Sam Burgess giving them a big squeeze.

Not only were Lefty and Righty finding any movement that Chambers made quite painful, they were finding it hard to show themselves in public and this was causing them trouble with other organs in the body.

“Your nervousness is making me pump blood harder!” yelled Chambers’ heart.

“You guys wincing every time our master sits down makes us go cross-eyed!” screamed the eyes.

Feeling like they were alienating themselves from other parts of the body, they spoke to Willy; who was their nearest & closest friend.

“Willy”, asked Lefty, “We’re struggling here mate. What can we do to get ourselves right again?”

Willy, who was wise for his age as he'd been around, replied “Well boys, I think you need to give Josh Graham’s testicles a call. They were in a similar predicament a few years ago.”

So Righty pulled out his t-Phone (a specific device designed for by Apple Inc. which is proof they have a product for every need) and called up Josh Graham’s testicles, who at that point were relaxing up on the Gold Coast.

Righty explained his situation to his new friends, and one of Graham’s testicles replied “Well, we were in exactly the same situation thanks to Paul Gallen. We were only able to get ourselves back on track after calling Gould.”

“Phil Gould?” asked a puzzled Righty, “Is that because his head looks like one of us?”

“No” chuckled one of Graham’s testicles, “Call G.O.U.L.D. Group Of Un-Loved & Damaged. It’s a support group for injured body parts. They were fantastic - they helped to get us right both physically and mentally.”

So after the usual pleasantries exchanged between testicles, Lefty & Righty finished the call and then put in a call straight away to G.O.U.L.D. and arranged to attend the next meeting of injured body parts.

Rocking up to the meeting they sat down in a circle of chairs, nothing a number of other body parts had already arrived. Lefty struck up a conversation with a hip joint sitting next to him.

“Hi there, what’s your name?” Lefty enquired.

“We’re Gareth Widdop’s hip” replied the ball part of the joint. “We found ourselves starting to drift apart earlier this year, we even separated at one point. But we came to G.O.U.L.D. and since then we’ve made an excellent recovery.”

“That’s fantastic” replied an excited Lefty. “Hey, who‘s that there?”

The socket part of Gareth Widdop’s hip spoke up “Ah, that’s Steve Matai’s shoulder. He’s here every week, claiming to be sore & injured. But between you and me, I reckon there’s nothing wrong with him and he’s faking.”

More parts started to enter the room and all bar one chair was filled.

Righty noticed it had a sign on it saying “RESERVED - TERRY CAMPESE FAMILY”.

“What’s that all about?” he asked Widdop’s hip.

“Oh, we keep that spot each week for one of Terry Campese’s body parts. It seems like each week there’s one in here so we decided to keep a spot open for them. Apparently G.O.U.L.D. has had close to the whole body in here over time."

Righty looked over at who had taken the seat next to him & saw a rather sad and sorry ankle sitting there so decided to introduce himself.

“G’day there, we’re Will Chambers’ testicles."

“Hi guys, I’m Jharal Yow Yeh’s ankle”

“Hi ankle” replied Lefty & Righty in unison, “Why did you come here?”

Yow Yeh’s ankle replied “I was feeling under a lot of stress there for a while. And one day I just snapped. I haven’t been the same since. But thanks to G.O.U.L.D. I’m slowly recovering. This group is fantastic for that. Actually, you guys should meet Benji Marshall’s shoulder, he’s one of our success stories. Hey, Shoulders, come meet these two.”

Marshall’s shoulder strutted over confidently. “Hi guys. Did you know I used to be injured all the time making tackles? But thanks to G.O.U.L.D. I’ve found a solution to my problem. I’ve convinced my host to switch over to Rugby Union. You don’t need to be able to tackle to play that game.”

“Playing Union instead of League?” said Righty, “You’re nuts!”

“No, I think that's you guys.” replied Marshall’s shoulders.


First Grade
James staggers off the plane, bleary eyed, and straight onto the field, taking the first hit up for the Baggers.

673 according to the OWC


Picking and Choosing

In January of 1990, I was born at the Mater Hospital in Waratah, a suburb of Newcastle. I was moved around before I could know I was moving, before finally settling in Raymond Terrace in 95. I've been thereabouts ever since. People who know that ask why I don't support the Knights? Why, most unholy of blasphemies, I support Queensland over New South Wales?

Well, let's answer those questions right now. When I was a youngster, I had a Parramatta jersey my mum had found in an op shop somewhere. I loved that old shirt, and took to proclaiming my love for a team I had never watched before, who played a sport I had never watched before. To be fair, all the other kids at school had a team, so I had to pick one or be labelled uncool.

Later on, Mum started to watch football, and I along with her. She is a rabid Knights fan, and just as rabid a New South Welshman. I watched the Knights with a certain interest, but no passion. Then I first watched State of Origin.

I fell in love with a certain player. He hit harder than anyone on the field, he had a massive energy about him, and his every action dripping with the passion he felt for his team and his state. That player was Gordon Tallis.

I immediately started cheering for the Maroons, much to the shock and disgust of my mother. I quizzed her about who he played for. She said he played for the Broncos, so I started announcing to the world my love for the Brisbane team. I never watched Broncos games, because mum only watched the Knights, but when Origin time rolled around again, I still cheered for the northern state.

Mum fell out of love with the game, one of the many casualties of the Super League War. I joined her in indifference. The game had never taken hold of my heart at that point, except for Origin.

I still cheered for the Queenslanders, though it was a rarity that I watched the games at all.

It wasn't until I was grown that I understood the passion others so obviously felt for the game. A couple of mates and I were watching the Broncos vs Storm final in 2008. My friends were interested in the game, a Manly fan who was confident on their looming place in the Grand Final, and a Broncos fan who obviously wanted his side to beat the reigning premiers. I just wanted to get drunk with friends, the game was a convenient excuse.

I was half heartedly announcing my support for the Broncos per game. That is until I saw the Storm take the field for the first time. They looked slick as ever, and my friends hated four players in particular, and that piqued my interest, borne in jealousy as I know the disdain was.

The game started and the boys looked slick as always. It was also the first game I had seen in years, and I was enraptured with it all. The defining start of my fandom and passion came in the dying throes of the game. Storm were down, and Inglis scooped up a loose ball and streaked down field for the victory. I was on my feet screaming the whole time. From that point I was hooked.

So, the question, why do I support the Storm? And Queensland? Easy. They were the first teams to really spark the passion in me. It doesn't matter if you support a team for my reasons, or because they were the team your parents or relatives supported, it doesn't matter if you base your support on geography or a sense of duty to your home. Hell, it doesn't even matter if you are a fan of a team because you like the logo or the name or the colours. As long as you are passionate and support your team, no reason in the world can be wrong.


for the Ninjas.

The Kick

It had been a season to forget for the Parramatta Eels, and as they fell to another humiliating loss, Stan sat in the stand pondering where it all went wrong.

“I’ll tell you what it is mate,” he opined, in a loud, slightly slurred voice to the couple sitting next to him. “No bloody discipline!”

They both winced, one of them being sprayed with beer flavoured spittle from his barrage.

“In my day, they’d bloody well play within the rules. That’s their problem now, they give away these penalties – that’s what kills us!”

The pair nodded politely, grimacing slightly, and made their excuses. “Just off to the bathroom, mate,” one said, as they shuffled off.

“Ahhh!” Stan yelled in disgust. He turned back to the field, just in time to see another try being scored. “Put in some bloody effort you slack bastards!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. “Stop giving away penalties, use your bloody common sense!”

A nearby mother shielded her young son’s ears. Luckily halftime halted Stan’s verbal barrage, and he raised himself, at considerable effort, towards the bar for a refill.


Stan stood in line ready to place his order. He was in his 60s, with a thinning head of snowy white hair. His skin was the kind of red colour you only see when someone has devoted a substantial proportion of their life to downing alcoholic beverages, and his overflowing gut confirmed that theory.

As he stood in line, he wobbled slightly. “Hey, what’s the flaming hold up here?” he yelled.

A few surprised faces turned around, but most knew Stan from way back. They also knew to ignore him when he reached this state. “Geez, they’re not playing with any damn discipline out there today, are they?” he continued.

As he stood there, a voice came over the loudspeaker.

“Today’s winner of the chance to win a new car is ticket number 42675. Please make your way to the field immediately.”

Stan reached into his pocket, fumbling pieces of spare change onto the ground as he tried to find his ticket. He eventually retrieved it, and looked closely.

4 ... 2 ... 6 ... 7 ... 5!

“That’s me! That’s bloody me!!!” he roared triumphantly, as he raced out of the bar.


Stan lurched towards the centre of the field. “Where’s me bloody car?” he yelled.

“Hi there!” the enthusiastic young ground announcer replied. “This is Stan, a local from Parramatta. Are you enjoying the game today, Stan?”

Stan looked suspiciously at the microphone being unceremoniously poked in his face. “No, I’m bloody not! Where’s the bleedin’ discipline?” he replied, way too loud. Feedback creaked its way through the ground P.A. system.

“Oookay,” the ground announcer cautiously replied, realising the situation. “All you need to do to win this magnificent new Subaru Impreza, is kick this ball between the posts!”

“Oh, is that all?” Stan replied, sarcastically. He looked down, narrowing his eyes at the ball, sitting on the tee. He almost looked suspicious of it.

He wasted no time. He stepped back five paces. He peered between the posts. He took a final step back and charged towards the ball.

With all his might, he swung his leg through the ball. The ball flew off the tee at a furious rate of acceleration. It headed straight for the ground announcer, who was standing to the right of Stan, smashing into his face.

The announcer fell to the ground screaming, his mouth a bloody mess. But Stan was mesmerised, as amazingly, the ball continued on its new path, straight between the posts!

“YEEEAAAHHH!” Stan yelled in celebration. “I win!”

Stan set off on an impromptu victory lap. The crowd were astonished, and confused. Stan rushed back to the middle of the ground.

“Where’s me keys!?” he asked the dazed ground announcer.

“You don’t win!” was the incredulous response. “The ball had to go straight through the posts, not off my head first! Look, I’ve lost my front teeth!”

He was indeed in a bad way. But Stan saw no mercy. He pulled him to his feet, and swung his arm back, much like his boot had a few seconds earlier. His fist smashed into the ground announcer’s face, breaking his nose.

Security quickly converged on Stan, dragging him off as the players jogged back out onto the field.

“You’re back, you useless mob!” Stan yelled at them as he was ejected from the field. “How ‘bout you show some bloody discipline this half?!”

750 words


Danish takes advantage of a confused defence after both Muzby and afinalsin666 take first hit ups in this new multi-ball version of Forum 7s... :sarcasm:

749 words title to end


A day that will live in infamy
In the history of man, certain events have shaped all of human civilisation. From the invention of tools and weaponry catapulting the humble Home Erectus to the top of the food chain, to a certain carpenter bringing the Christian faith to many (and inventing irony by being nailed to a plank of wood), humanity as we know it can be traced back to a series of important events for each generation. And as luck would have it, we are all about to witness another one of these very special moments in just a few days.

This Friday – a day, that will live (pause for effect…) in infamy – the Sydney Roosters will take on their arch rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs in an 80 minute battle royale for the minor premiership. Never before in this fan’s lifetime has 1st and 2nd squared off in the final round for the right to call themselves champion. Never before in any living footy fan’s lifetime have those teams also been the two oldest and bitter rivals in world sport. The hatred these two great clubs share for one another has split cities, suburbs, and even families. This pure unadulterated rage has managed to live on despite neither team being successful in the same season for over 70 years… but then again when your vitriol for one another outlasts the cold war something as trivial as 7 decades without ever being a genuine threat to each other isn’t going to stop you. Indeed as a dyed in the wool Roosters man born into a decidedly cardinal and myrtle family, every childhood breakfast between March and September was like a miniature Cuban missile crisis.

Even for the neutral rugby league fan this game must surely be sending the salivary glands into overdrive. The match ups across the park are mouth wateringly good;

• SBW vs Sam Burgess - Sonny will be out to avenge his embarrassing attempted tackle in round 1, while Sammy boy will want to stamp his authority as the best forward in the world all over Sonny’s stunningly gorgeous face.
• Jarrod Warea-Hargrave vs Tom/George Burgess - No street sign will be safe when these three hulks come together in a battle of the crazies.
• Pearce vs Reynolds - You can bet your bottom dollar whoever comes out on top will go a long way to securing the Blues no.7 jersey for the 2014 origin series.
• [bInglis vs the best defence in the comp - [/b]If anyone is going to find holes in the Roosters, it will be the man they call GI.
• Madge vs Robbo – The next generation of coaching, both Trent Robinson and Michael Maguire have developed two of the most consistent and ruthless squads in rugby league. The winner of this match will undoubtedly be crowned “Coach of the Year” at the upcoming Dally M awards.

Each of these match ups is a must see event in its own right. With all of them happening in the same game this is a game that could well break all television records for a rugby league regular season match, and neutral fans will turn out in droves for this game, assuming the Souths and Roosters fans don’t snap up all the tickets for themselves, of course.

At time of writing the total number of tickets already sold has exceeded 18000. Toss in 15000 season ticket holders for the Bunnies and another 16000 ANZ stadium members, and the NRL regular season attendance record of just under 52000 set back on Good Friday is looking ripe for the picking. We could even see the outright record of more than 58000 set way back in the old “match of the round” days at the SCG looking over its shoulder. A fitting record for these two old clubs.

With another NRL season coming to an end, I think can speak for all rugby league fans when I say that this game is a most fitting bookend to what has been a remarkable season. 2013 has been a true roller coaster ride of scandal, brilliance, change, and promise across the entire NRL, and frankly the best screenwriters in Hollywood could not have scripted it better than this. Regardless of the outcome on Friday, I’m going to whip out the oldest cliché in the book and say rugby league will truly be the winner come 7:45pm.

May the best rooster win (you didn’t think I could hide my bias forever, did you?)
750 words for the ninjas. The mysterious Russ makes his return.

Running in Molasses

I heard a phrase today listening to the BS Report podcast in regards to Indianapolis Colts Receiver Reggie Wayne. The question was asked is this the season he starts “Running in Molasses”.

It seems the Sharks, particularly their backline are perpetually “Running in Molasses”

Cronulla are 6th and will play in the finals. I have no doubt in my mind they will be knocked out at best in week 2 of the playoffs. That Porch light remains on.

Watching the Sharks is an utterly frustrating experience. I love this team and hate watching them. I can’t imagine what it would be like for those who are just casual or neutral observers. They are grinding team that makes every game a nail biter given their combination of making huge meters in attack followed by poor handling and inability to score enough to put teams away. The amount of times Cronulla attempts to, and succeeds in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is unfathomable as a fan of the team. It’s why they are 6th and not in the same calibre of the top 4 teams.
They have been like this since 2007 when Ricky Stuart took over as coach and have not changed since he left, regardless of player talent on the roster. They are the least exciting team watch and I’m sure this affects their ability to get on free to air TV and attract corporate sponsorship.
Cronulla are the worst in the top 8 in point’s scored. 11th overall. In fact they sit 6th and are negative 12 in points differential. They win close games and lose the odd game badly (40-0 vs Roosters, 38-6 vs Storm etc).


Think about this.

Cronulla’s top try scorer this season is NSW Origin Prop Andrew Fifita. He has crossed the line 8 times. The next best on 7 a piece is Fullback Michal Gordon and second rower Jayson Bakuya.

Cronulla’s Wingers and Centres are largely inactive or ineffective. Five try’s each to Sosaia Feki, Beau Ryan, Nathan Stapleton and Jonathan Wright. Centre Ben Pomeroy has scored 3 Try’s.

With one game to go it seems highly unlikely a player will cross the line double digit times for the fifth season in a row.
The last player to score over 10 try’s in a season was Luke Covell in 2008 with 15.

Part of this is the quality of the players. Sosaia is a rookie and is coming on, Stapleton is at best a NSW cup player and Ben Pomeroy is one of the great mysteries of the NRL. I’m sure he has hooves or flippers instead of hands. Beau has been good but injured as well.

Part of this is also the way the team plays. Cronulla attacks with the back row. Bakuya or Lewis on the Right with the Carney float, Wade Graham on the left and Paul Gallen wherever he likes regardless of how this may effect a good backline movement.

The Sharks take a lot of Penalty goals because they know they lack the pace and skill in the backs to beat the man one on one so structured plays or lucky bounces off kicks are the only way they score. I would love to see Cronulla attack with the fluidity of Manly or South Sydney but until they change their approach to the game or buy some serious backline talent sadly the Cronulla faithful will be subjected to the utter frustration that is watching this team.

Compare this with other clubs. For example the Panthers are out of the finals yet former Shark and local De La Salle junior David Simmons leads the league with 19 try’s for the season. Another former Shark Nathan Merritt has 14.

Local Junior Mitch Brown has 12 Try’s at the Dogs. Albert Kelly made his first grade debut for Cronulla in 2009. At halfback he has scored 11 try’s and has also missed time through injury.
Serial offender Blake Ferguson managed to cross the line 10 times in between being on a roof, selected for Origin, stood down and then doing the Harold Holt.

So what is it about the Sharks and attacking? This was the club that had Peachey, Rogers and ET after all. Is it just the inability to scout, keep or sign backline quality? Are they cursed? Is the coaching too conservative and tactically ineffective?
Do the back rowers get in the way? Should Carney run himself?

So many questions. So much frustration.


Staff member
Drew-Sta rocks up, ever grateful the for oppositions extension of kindness to him. He don's the magic blue, and steps out onto the field.



The Dugan’s story
... about how his life got flipped-turned upside down.


Let me tell you how I became the fullback of St George Illawarra.

I was born and raised in a little town called Tuggerranong, in the ACT. I played all my junior football at the South Tuggeranong Knights. That was my playground, that was where I did all my relaxing, that was where I learnt my trade. They were good times. I loved it there. It was home.

I grew up with good friends. I was a local, this was my town. This was my turf. I played footy on the weekend then grew up with the boys during the week at school and at home.

I progressed, I advanced and finally I became a regular at my beloved Raiders. This was my dream; this was what I had wanted to get to. I loved footy, I loved playing, and I loved the freedom and the friends it offered me. I was good, I knew it, and I excelled.

But then there were a couple of guys who were up to no good. I feel into a bad part of the neighborhood. I had a few little drinks here and there and then my club got scared and said ‘Vamoose, get out, its time you left for out there.’

I begged and I pleaded with them day after day. They let me back a few times but then it all fell away. Finally they ripped my contract all up and sent me on my way. They gave me the finger and my gear and I said ‘Well, that must be it then.’

So I cruised up the road to see my folks again. They lived up Gong way and loved the Drags. So I stayed with them and a guy called Doust decided to come by and visit my house. We sat down and had a drink, he with his crownie. I sipped orange juice like a tripped out townie. Then he put down a piece of paper and said ‘Here it is.’ It was a contract to become the Prince; a Dragons heir.

I went up to visit and tour their site. It looked fairly prissy and pricey for my like. But I stuck with it for a while and tried to see if it was my style. Is this what Gong living is like?

Then there was a dude that walked up and he had no chin. Price they called him; coach on a limb. He said ‘I need you, son, to play some footy with us.’ I said ‘I’ll see how I’m feeling, but this looks plush.’

I went back to dad and said ‘What do you think?’ He slapped me across the face and said ‘Don’t you space! This is your chance, to be something from nothing; take it my boy, you don’t get paid for humming.’

I sat and I thought. He made sense for sure. This new life was a chance to leave old mistakes ashore. So I rang Dave Smith and said ‘Can I play there?’ He said ‘You screwed up Brisbane, why not? I don’t care.’

I realised the errors of my ways. I knew I was a ruffian who had no say. I needed a chance and this Doust came through. The contract I signed was inked in blue. I asked for a uniform and they sent two. This was the gig; this was the chance. I packed my bags and went north with a dance.

By the time I rocked up the media was there. They snapped and clapped and said I was a breath of fresh air. I smiled right back and said ‘Sure, whatever you say.’ I wasn't about to give them a pay day. They’d need to earn it, just like I. Chances aren’t given – they’re received from a sire.

I walked to the pitch dressed in red and white garb. Today was training and I intended to go hard. I pulled up to the sideline and looked at my kingdom; I was finally there. I sat on my throne as the Dragon-Prince of Bel Air.

OWC - 690
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Eozsmiles, faking a cramp out wide for the Ninjas.

749 OWC including title

The Tail Wags The Dog

Regardless of the ability a football coach holds, his acceptance, success, and legacy will be determined by his personality and playing style. Trophies alone are not enough. Distinguished coaches will understand the contradictions and complexities this brings. They can't please everybody. While all coaches want their team to play "smart", if they don't play "hard", they will lose. Sometimes players need to be kicked, other times cuddled. They know fans won't enjoy a boring game but will revel in the victory. Sometimes though, that isn't enough for a player, let alone a fan.

Warren Ryan was such a good football coach that he was mimicked by all. He was also disliked.

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs team of the 1980's started a defensive revolution that saw the five metre rule tackled out of the game. Traditionally, defensive lines slid towards the sideline, following the ball and covering outside defenders. Ryan's theory was to contract his defenders instead of stretching them, suffocating the attacking side of time and space. He assembled a forward pack that followed orders and loved brutality. Coupled with fibreglass shoulder pads, they literally bashed teams into submission on the muddied cricket pitches of suburban ovals.

The 1985 Grand Final is remembered by most as a tightly fought 7-6 victory to the Bulldogs. Amongst the finer details is Ryan's tactic of having his kicker's "bomb" the ball high, trapping the opposing winger or fullback inside or near the in-goal area. The rule maker's had not caught up with Ryan yet. The isolated defenders stood little chance of returning the ball to the field of play, and were invariably trapped in-goal or close to it. Other coaches copied, and in 1987 a rule was introduced allowing a twenty metre restart for a player caught the ball on the full within their own in-goal area.

Ryan's success made for effective rather than attractive football. This didn't matter to him. He collected wins. Players who believed in him collected representative jumpers. The Bulldogs won back to back premierships in 1984/85 and were runner-up in 1986. It was of no concern to Ryan that these three matches combined for a total of only 29 points.

Statistical and anecdotal evidence places Warren Ryan with the elite of football coaches. Despite this success, he was not immune to the disquiet of fans or disgruntlement of players. Widespread acceptance of his "up and in" defensive structure and the increasing fitness of players stifled attack and led to the implementation of the ten metre defensive rule. People often cite this influence, along with the 1987 rule change, as marks of his coaching genius. But genius is often maligned. Ryan was seen as a negative coach. Knowing that employing Ryan usually brought player unrest and boring football, fans were divided on whether they wanted him at their club. Knowing his affection for hard work and hard decisions, many players felt likewise.

On more than one occasion during his career, Ryan found himself at odds with his troops. He was not the first coach to be in this position, nor the last. His commitment to discipline and perfection caused rifts with both stars and toilers alike. He was not a player's coach, he was a winner's coach. Steve Mortimer famously pleaded not to be shackled. The Newcastle Knights were at times overwhelmed by his high standards. His prickly personality and penchant for mind games meant that animosity followed. A list of enemies remains.

This paints a grim picture for a coach without the record of Ryan. Even a coach with his success and intelligence could not always gain the full support of the playing group. Premierships at Canterbury didn't stop players from rebelling. The prospect of the greatest modern player, Andrew Johns, working with one of football's greatest minds failed to produce a united front in Newcastle.

Neil Henry lost too many games this year. Then he lost the playing group. Naturally, he lost his job. A chief architect of Queensland's representative reign couldn't win over the fans or the players. David Furner had faith in Blake Ferguson, and his supporters lost faith in him. Steve Price has been lambasted by supporters and critics, both for his team's performance and playing style. The man that Wayne Bennett groomed as his heir seems to be on borrowed time.

Personality, as much as performance, will tattoo a coach's career. And if a mentor of Ryan's quality struggled to satisfy, the average coach has no chance.
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Jason Maher

Why Are Rugby League Fans Such Good Coaches And Rugby League Coaches So Useless?

Rugby League coaching must be the easiest job in the world. Yes, I know coaching has possibly the worst job security of any job in existence. I know coaches are under tremendous pressure to perform from owners, fans, and sponsors. I know that no matter how talented the coach, if the players don’t buy into his philosophy, he won’t get results, and he’ll be out the door. But just think about it for a moment. If you listen to your average Rugby League supporter, coaches are going out of their way to make a ridiculously easy task look very, very difficult. That is the only possible explanation for how every coach in the game seems to continually and obstinately ignore what is bleedingly obvious to every 2-bit fan with a keyboard.

Take the 2013 version of the St. George-Illawarra Dragons for instance. Steve Price will no doubt be feeling very nervous after a 6th straight loss (a joint venture record) to wooden spooners elect Parramatta. The Dragons performance was diabolical, and a lot of players looked disinterested. Despite some good recruits, whoever ends up coaching the Dragons next year is going to have a mountain to climb. However, if you ask your average Dragons fan what the problem is and how to fix it, they’ll more than likely be able to give you a detailed answer on which players should be picked in which positions, which players need to brought in, and what the team tactics should be. First off, the Dragons should punt Mitch Rein, and replace him with the next Cameron Smith, Cameron King. Next, Nathan Fien should be given the same the same treatment as Rein, and replaced by… anyone at all, really. Obviously the Dragons need to throw the ball around more and have more players in motion to keep the defence in two minds and provide options for some second phase play. Defensively, they simply need an attitude adjustment. The forwards need to run straight and hard, no fancy-pants dancing around trying to pretend they are elusive halfbacks. And so on and so forth.

The obvious question is: why is that fans can figure this stuff out, but Steve Price cannot? If it’s that bleedingly obvious, which it is, then Price is obviously playing dumb to make it look like his job is hard, for some sort of twisted ego-boosting reason. A bloke who actually played first grade could not be that clueless about how the game should be played, could not have such impaired judgement on the strengths and weaknesses of his players. To be honest, it’s probably high time Peter Doust called Price’s bluff, and put a fan - or better yet, a group of fans - in charge so they can demonstrate how ridiculously easy it is to coach a Rugby League team to success. It’s colour-by-numbers stuff.

It’s not just the Dragons, it’s the same for all teams. The fans always know exactly what needs to be done and how to go about doing it. It’s high time the powers that be at both the clubs and the NRL realised this and bit the bullet. Sack every NRL coach immediately, and place a committee of fans in charge of each club. They can use all the modern communication tools to work things out collectively, while a few representatives each week can implement the plans on the ground at training and on match day. Forget about salary caps and other such nonsense designed to even out the competition. Putting the fans in charge would make the competition so equal we’d have to resort to coin tosses to decide the top 8 each year. Implementing the obvious solutions for each team simultaneously would leave us with 16 perfectly balanced and equally talented teams, all performing at exactly the same high standard.

You know it makes sense. And I'm not Sam Kekovich.


Edit: Word count is 660 including title.
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Staff member
The whistle is blown!

5v5. Well done guys :) And thank you to the Ninja's for the extension.


First Grade
Hi all - sorry for the delay, been a busy week.


It helps if you’re a little nuts (750 words)
Very good - anything that conjures up those sorts of mental pictures deserves a good score.
Score = 92

Picking and Choosing (673 words)
It didn't really hook me in at the start but I really enjoyed the finish - a strong point well made.
Score = 83

A day that will live in infamy (749 words)
A nice preview story - although a few typos affected your score.
Score = 80

The Dugan’s story (690 words)
This was a tricky idea to pull off. It wasn't quite as polished as it could have been but a good effort overall.
Score = 83

Jason Maher
Why Are Rugby League Fans Such Good Coaches And Rugby League Coaches So Useless? (660 words)
I felt like this one was building to a punch line but it never quite came. Unfortunately the article has to be disqualified due to being edited after full-time.
Score = 80 (Article disqualified, score not counted)


Are NRL Coaching Clichés That Far Off? (738 words)
I like "epiphany" stories, unfortunately Fantasy Football is a complete mystery to me so I may not have understood all of your points.
Score = 81

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction NRL Edition (738 words)
It took me a while to figure out what was going on here - once it clicked it all started to make sense.
Score = 84

The Kick (750 words)
This reminded me of a Roald Dahl story - somehow wrapped up but unfinished at the same time. Another good read.
Score = 87

Russell Crowe's Band
Running in Molasses (749 words)
More questions than answers but that was the point. There were quite a few typos and grammar errors that affected your score.
Score = 77

The Tail Wags The Dog (749 words)
I really enjoyed this one - a nice history lesson with plenty of wise words.
Score = 90

Result: Ninjas 419 defeated Bluebags 338
POTM: muzby (Bluebags) :clap:


Thanks ref! Well done Ninjas, we live to fight another week. Bad luck Bluebags, it was very close, and I'm glad the game wasn't decided by the editing mishap. :)


First Grade
Thanks Ref - well done to muzby on POTM and the rest of the Bluebags for a great game.