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2013 Round 1 :: Saints vs Titans



A few seasons ago the Titans were on top of the world as far as Forum 7's was concerned, now they're back as the new kids on the block facing an Saints side who isn't ready to let their side fade back into the shadows after an enormous 2012 season where they won the Premiership. Can new Saints captain SGL pick up from where they left off at the end of last season or will Titanic and his Titans rise from the ashes and start off 2013 with a win?

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 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: Wednesday 01 / 05 / 13 (23:00 AEST)
Full Time: Monday 13 / 05 / 13 (21:00 AEST)
Referee: Non Terminator
Venue: WIN Stadium

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First Grade
v Dragons

1. Amadean
2. Tittoolate
3. Misanthrope
4. Madunit
5. Titanic


6. bgdc


Glad to be back on the paddock.

746 below the bar




7 Subjects on which I would gladly take Joey Johns’ advice

Please note: this article is a work of fiction; a parody of famous Persons. It bears no resemblance to reality. The author has absolutely no way of knowing whether Persons mentioned in the following article have ever spoken of behaved in such fashions as are indicated, implied or stated. He’s pretty sure they’re not like this.

I was inspired by John Singleton’s now-famous respect for the opinion of former rugby league player and Immortal Andrew ‘Joey’ Johns. On the, partial, basis of half-arsed rumours spouted by Joey, John Singleton launched an investigation that a) stopped him betting 100,000 Aussie dollars, b) broke up a multi-decade working friendship with Gai Waterhouse and c) occupied the front pages of every bloody newspaper for the last 6 years (apparently).

Similarly inspired by rumour and freshly-ground Italian innuendo is concocted the following list of subjects on which I would similarly respect Joey’s opinion.

1. Things not to put up my nose

Most people can, independently, come up with a list of nasally-contraindicated items. Most people would say “No Joey, you go back to being a football commentator and, I guess, racing identity? Yeah, thanks mate, but I already know not to stick the new iPad Mini up my nostrils”.

Most people are wrong - although not about the iPad Mini. For you see, rank and unfair rumour around the nightclubs of Newcastle has it that Joey had a vocal opinion on the use of a $50 buck note. Or rather, how it shouldn't be rolled, stuck up one’s nostril and used as an inhalant-assistant. It seems Joey was wise to the uncleanliness of money, and that “you can get really sick like that mate, like germs and stuff from people’s hands”.

Apparently the smart move is to cut up a bit of Macca’s straw.

2. Horse racing

The front part of the horse goes forward. This is the bit with the teeth. A man sits on the horse and faces the teeth. Many horses run somewhere together, and the first set of horse teeth to pass a line wins money. The man’s teeth need to be on the horse when this happens, probably. Yeah, I know a bit about horse racing alright. It was that bit, back there, about the teeth.

Joey knows much more: if the horse is “off” then it will “finish closer to last than first”. The dude is so up on this stuff he doesn’t even need to mention absolute direction, but can discuss relative placement probabilities without discussing teeth. But not without mentioning the bookmaker he got the (probably not illegal) tip from.

3. Dealing with an estranged brother.

This one is a bit sad. If you are sad because your brother no longer talks to you, give Joey a call. You can be sad together.

4. Smooth, subtle pick up lines to use in smooth, subtle Newcastle night clubs

Making friends with attractive young ladies with whom you've not been previously acquainted can be hard. If bits of you are liable to get hard at inappropriate times then the situation can become harder still.

Joey has ‘got your back’ here too. The trick is to throw up on the Newcastle nightclub’s bouncer’s shoes (the one with all the boozy frosty-drinks [the club, not the shoes]). The next bit involves walking on to the dance floor in an entertainingly weave-y fashion. Then grab one of the firm buttocks of the closest attractive young lady, and say “f**k yeah!”.

This works. Seriously. But it may first be necessary to be very, very good at football.

5. Elocution

Many people think elocution is both necessary and worthwhile: enabling easy vocal comprehension by your audience may lead to increased likelihood of being on TV. Paul Harragon is famously of this disposition – the man speaks beautifully, clearly and warmly about some health plan thingy. He spent a great deal of time being taught to talk and it is paying off nicely.

But I would rather take Joey’s advice on the subject: who gives a f**k if the punters can understand a damn word you mumble, Nine pays nicely anyway. Actually, maybe the bit from the end of point 3 applies here too. Sorry Chief.

6. Hair styles

The man has great hair.

7. Winning Origin

Have New South Wales won an Origin series since Joey stopped playing? Probably not, but who can remember that far back?
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The mighty Dragons, fresh off a bonding session at the Glasshouse, run onto WIN Stadium.

1. SGL (c)
2. redvforlife
3. whall15
4. Hutty1986
5. Slippery Morris

No interchange, every bugger seems to be on holiday!

E-Squared - Joke or the Future

NRL CEO David Smith has a future vision of the NRL to revolve around a philosophy he calls "E-Squared". Standing for entertainment and engagement, Smith sees this as the best way to move the game forward, from juniors to First Grade and representative football. This formula, E-Squared = Fan Commitment, he believes, will move the game forward by promoting match day as an all day family event as opposed to an eighty minute weekly engagement.

He has however hit some (rather loud) roadblocks for his vision, namely in 2GB presenter Ray Hadley and Daily Telegraph Rugby League writer Paul Kent. The latter has compared this philosophy to the birth of Super League, where people like John Ribot were boldly declaring players like Ian Roberts were going to be household names in China. Ray went as close to a personal attack as he could, declaring morale was low at NRL headquarters and the E-Squared philosophy was not going to work, making particular reference to western Sydney venues as the grounds for his retort. Both brought up their arguments at the same time as the City versus Country ticketing fiasco, which was a major blunder by the NRL but I would venture will never happen again.

"It's not about entertainment and engagement." Hadley said.

"It's about getting bums on seats and making it affordable for people in difficult times to get to football. That's what it's about!"

The issue I have here is that he offers no alternative. Ticket pricing for families has been an issue for many years, and will be an issue for many more to come. It will require consultation with various state and local governments to resolve this issue. As for getting bums on seats, Smith's E-Squared vision is exactly about that, getting fans to games as an event and not as just a game of football. The people Hadley referenced in the western Sydney bars are some of the people Smith is trying to engage. At the moment, if they are sitting in the pub watching football, they are not involved with their team. The money is going to an alternate venue.

Smith's plan is to get these disengaged people out of pubs and clubs and into NRL venues. The off the cuff comments about jumping castles and rock bands show a willingness to engage with two current major demographics in families and males. Some small scale E-Squared initiatives have happened, such as the Dragons having Australian electro-pop band The Potbelleez perform live at WIN Stadium prior to the game against Brisbane in partnership with current back of jersey sponsor Jeep, for whom the band provide music in their current TV advertisements. While this is not exactly how E-Squared would roll out, as the performance occurred between the Under 20s and First Grade, it is a tentative look into the future of game day. Current events like half time Under 6s games would still form a key part of this philosophy as it engages with the local community and families, but it is the entire day where attracting people to the ground will change.

People like Ray still think of game day as a few beers at the club, head over to the game then head back to the club, but that's not for everyone. You need only look at the financial position of these clubs to see that today's consumer has a diminishing desire for the Three Bs: bistro, beers, and betting. The consumer wants something more. Player sightings, children's entertainment, popular culture, these are some of the things people want for today's football grounds as a way of getting the best value out of their entertainment dollar. These people already know that a day at the football is expensive with ticket prices and in venue food and drink, so what they need is something extra to keep them coming back. Realistically, the NRL needs E-Squared before game day becomes an afterthought to the consumer.

David Smith's idea of E-Squared is one which the NRL needs. It can bring back the masses to game day to invest in their NRL club. Paul Kent and Ray Hadley are using populist rhetoric against someone and something they either do not understand, or more more to the point, do not want to understand.

718 words


Hutty sprints onto the field for the Dragons as the crowd (in his head) roars its approval.

2013: what happens next?

I know my Rugby League.

I’m a brilliant tipster, a wizard at Fantasy NRL and with a dash of talent and a hint of size, I probably would have played 300-plus first grade games. Plus, my knees, back and shoulders aren’t real good.

The time I tipped an incredible 28 consecutive matches at the back-end of the 2005 season is etched permanently into the history books (I personally think they need to start typing them up instead of carving them into stone, but I’m sure it’s something the Commission will be looking into). I once even had Brett Morris as my Fantasy NRL captain the week he got over 100 points. That equates to over 200 points from just one player.

Yep, I’m that bloody good.

Now, my devoted fans and avid readers, it’s time for Hutty to lend his expert eye over the rest of the 2013 season. Who’s good, who’s bad? Which side is even worse than bad? (Well that’s easy; Parramatta). Some haters have claimed I am a little bit too biased towards the St George Illawarra Dragons, so to appease those narrow-minded fools, I will be leaving the Saints out of my magical predictions. So strap yourselves in and get ready to feel the G’s.

Once that’s done, take off your seatbelt and read my fearless predictions.

The contenders:

Melbourne Storm: Who’d have thought that a side led by an accountant and a jockey would be favourites to win the premiership? Throw into the mix a doofus like Jason Ryles and you wonder how the blokes in purple could win any games at all! But win they do, and win plenty more they will (Will I continue to write like Yoda? Not sure.)

Manly Sea Eagles: Their halfback might look like he should be wearing thick black-rimmed glasses ironically in a café somewhere, but the ‘Seagles’ mean business. Also, I hope Steve Matai gets a haircut like this:


Sydney Roosters: SBW, MJ, JM, JWH. LOL, FMD there’s some talent in this side! The latte-sippers can defend too. Remains to be seen if the poor coffee available at Telstra Stadium would hurt the Chooks’ hopes on grand final day.

South Sydney Rabbitohs: With Rusty at the helm (or still heavily involved, or maybe the club is too afraid to tell him to p*ss off), the Bunnies should have no shortage of telecommunications devices available in between games. I’m too classy to imply that Souths’ fans are toothless bogans with a life-long affiliation with Centrelink, so I won’t.

Who’s next in line after the ‘big 4’?

Newcastle Knights: Despite the controversy caused by Wayne Bennett cranking ‘Oh When the Saints’ on the PA at Hunter Stadium when he arrived at the club in early 2012, the locals have really warmed to Clint Eastwood’s surly cousin. Strong forward pack and Gidley is always a chance of getting injured, so that should help too.

Brisbane Broncos: Plenty thought the Broncos would struggle when old Laramie-voice Locky retired, but the ‘give it to Hodgo’ mantra seems to be working a treat so far this season. Also, do you remember Scott Minto? He had a funny face.

North Queensland Cowboys: Another side with more big names than an Indian phone book, the Cowboys will be lasso-ing plenty of opponents come year’s end, plus any other rodeo/horse-riding reference you may care to use.

Thanks for coming:

For there to be genuine title contenders to show off their dominance, there has to be some putrid sides for them to use as cannon fodder. Here are a couple of prime examples.

Wests Tigers: Benji’s struggling, thousands of injuries and rumours abound that Robbie Farah can’t even cook. There are some serious issues here. The existence of Tim Moltzen (in any capacity at the club) continues to be a huge concern.

Parramatta Eels: Coached by an angry little bloke that once claimed his New South Wales Blues would be ‘happy to win one game’ in a THREE-GAME SERIES. When your coach has an attitude like that, no wonder the players would rather be at Woolies on game day. To be fair, Woolworths has an excellent bakery section, but that’s probably beside the point here.

So there you have it, the man once voted ‘most likely to succeed’ (by himself) has had his say.

But what’s that you ask? Name the premiers?
I say load up on the side that scores more points on grand final day.

You’re welcome.

748 words, including title


· http://manlycurls.com/blog_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/high-top-fade-black-men-haircuts-kinky-curly-hair.jpeg


First Grade
Titanic for the Titans (750 OWC)


F8 … back to the furor

A surprising announcement was made today by the ARLC about a future version of Fantasy rugby league. No, it’s not Dream Team 2014, it’s a totally different concept from a completely different era. It’s Fantasy Football 1908, a version of the game that will allow you to travel back in time to the beginnings of the greatest game of all.

This version is made in partnership with the National Rugby League and the game will celebrate 100+ years of one of the world’s oldest rugby league competitions.

Fantasy Football 1908 or F8 or Fate offers players the chance to put their skills to the test in the very first season of the Australian Rugby League. You will be able to select players from any of the original seven (7) clubs involved in the 1908/09 season and guide them to league and premiership glory.

To ensure State sentiments are protected the original seven Sydney clubs; Glebe, East Sydney, Newtown, Balmain, South Sydney, North Sydney and Newcastle have been augmented with founding Brisbane club Past Grammars.

What’s interesting is that you will play by the rules that were in place at that time and there are some pretty weird ones: no substitutions being permitted during matches; the limited tackle rule had not yet been introduced to the game and players were able to race into tackles fists flying during the first ten minutes of the game without fear of being sent off or conceding penalties.

Not only are there rule adaptations but scoring three for a try and two for a field goal will addle the minds of many. There are some other challenges as well, such as the settling-period, geographic recruitment zones and the inimitable contested scrum. One bonus is the no golden point rule and the subsequent reverting to those bygone days when a draw was a fair measure of both teams efforts on the day.

“This latest addition to the Fantasy Football family is so good, it’s unreal, even for a novice like me,” enthused ARLC CEO Dave Smith. “We’ve worked hard to recreate the excitement of the turn of the previous century rugby league football and the results have to be experienced to be believed.”

Here are some of the main features you can look forward to from Fantasy Football 1908:

20th Century match engine
Everything on and around the fields will look as it did when the league was first formed; from the muddy recreation grounds and the crowds of gentlemen spectators through to the players’ spindly movements and the way the greasy leather ball moved through the air.

All clubs, jerseys and players from the 1908/09 season
Manage any of the original NSW Rugby League clubs’ players across one league and delve deeper than ever into traditional rugby league engaging a comprehensive database of more than 150 players and staff drawn from clubs across the Australia and New Zealand. The roster includes the legendary Herbert Messenger, great value at £10.

User interface
F8 boasts a brand new ‘early 20th century’ style interface and skin reflecting the game’s era including heritage grandstands modeled on those displayed in the ARLC’s rugby league museum. All graphics are in sepia featuring a weathered edge appearance.

Play by the original football rules
Overcome all the hurdles that coaches don’t need to worry about in the present game. Have an injury? Well you can’t make a substitution. Think he was hit high? Think again, there’s no such thing. And was that really a bad decision? It doesn’t really matter, as arguing with the referee just wasn’t done back then.

Overcome the challenges of the original game
You will experience real life problems of the era, such as; players are called up to join the army leaving you with a hole in your squad. In many cases players were unable to resist the persuasive arguments of their rugby union supporting employers and retired, whilst others played under pseudonyms.

Fantasy Football 1908 Forum Etiquette
In keeping with the theme, all bloggers must refer to each other by the appropriate suffix such as Mister or Sir whilst refraining from using modern day vernacular. Abbreviations such as WTF and LMAO are frowned upon whilst more time-honored phraseology like gadzooks and spiffing are encouraged.

Plus all player and staff movements from the 1908/09 season.
Painstaking research has provided a window to our past through player profiling, with births, deaths and marriages uncovering genealogical links to the players of today.


whall15 for the Dragons.

741 words, as per the O.W.C.
[FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]The Importance of the International Game[/FONT]

[FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]It is absolutely paramount to the future of the sport that we love, Rugby League that we focus on it's international aspects. First and foremost we need to treat it with the respect that it deserves rather than as a mere afterthought.[/FONT]

[FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]The first thing that we need to do is to implement impartial and neutral referees in international matches. I am an Australian so this is not coming from a sore loser's perspective but I believe that it was a complete aberration that Ashley Klein, as an Australian got to referee the ANZAC Test. I don't see why we can't fly over a Super League referee, we've done it before and in my view that's worked out quite well and even if there are logistical problems with that idea we could at the very least get a referee out of Papua New Guinea. If one of FIFA's top referees, Ravshan Irmatov can come from Uzbekistan I see no reason why a Papuan referee couldn't referee a one-off game.[/FONT]

[FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]Secondly and perhaps most importantly we've got a World Cup at the end of this year and we must take advantage of this opportunity. I think we should have every match of this World Cup televised on Free To Air television. I think it's important that the rugby league supporting public can get to know more about Rugby League than simply the ANZAC test matches and games against England and you can look at the great spectacle between Tonga and Samoa to see an example of this, if matches like Slovakia vs Algeria can pull very good ratings for SBS at 2am, I think that big Pacific Island derbies in particularly can do very well, especially if promoted correctly. Look at the players potentially available for the respective nations, for Fiji you've got Jarryd Hayne, Akuila Uate, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Petero Civoniceva, for Samoa you've got Roy Asotasi and Kalifa FaiFai Loa and for Tonga you've got Jason Taumalolo and Fuifui Moimoi. Of course, what is probably the greatest drawcard is England and with players like the Burgess brothers and the Gareths, both Widdop and Ellis, they're a marketer's dream.[/FONT]

[FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]Thirdly, to continue this theme of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I think that it's fundamentally important that our representatives in the media start treating the international side with a little more respect. Some are better than others, and I think that Peter Sterling in particular deserves a glowing review for this as whenever I've seen him talk about the international he treats it not only with respect but he seems genuinely knowledgeable about it and this is of course Steve Mascord's forte, Phil Gould's the worst in this respect. Unlike some, I don't mind Phil Gould, except for when he carries on with Rabbits and in particular I quite liked him on the Sunday Roast, before Nine ruined it but I think that his contempt and total disregard to international Rugby League is not only unfortunate but is quite despicable.[/FONT]

[FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]My final idea is unfortunately probably just a pipe dream but I think that it's important that as a game we invest more into the Pacific Islands. NRL clubs should be investing in academies in the Pacific as well as in Papua New Guinea, I think this is the next growth area for Rugby League and I think that we can start to dislodge Union with the professional (as well as unrestricted international player) advantage that we have in the region. I realise that this may well be logistically difficult and I also recognise that this may not immediately be the best decision to be made from a financial perspective, I'd eventually like to see this culminate with a PNG side in the NRL, with a broad Pacific focus. I think that in the future we could have a phenomenally competitive international game with Australia, England, France, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea all able to compete with each other and although depth-wise we're nowhere near soccer with the sheer number of countries that play the game, to have 8 nations fighting it out at very top world be sensational and would be a real testament to the sport.

[FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]For those of us who say, too long don't read I think that this piece can be summarised with a single sentence. Treat International Rugby League with the respect that it deserves and it will pay dividends.[/FONT]


Staff member
Misanthrope tucks the ball under his wing and hits one up for the Titans.

The Kurt Problem

There comes a time in all great players' careers when a player's positive history with a club is outweighed by the detrimental effects they now have on the field. It's a sad thing when a player who once won games with their actions begins to do more harm than good, but it's a fact of life.

In the same way that Seinfeld opted to end on a high rather than limping off the field, all good to great players need to decide when the time has come to call it a day. As a player, they must ask themselves: “Do I continue to cling to the past (and the all important pay cheque)? Or do I do what's best for the team and hang up the boots”.

For one of Newcastle's favourite sons, I fear the time to make that choice has come and gone.

I still recall an article in the Daily Telegraph in the lead up to Kurt Gidley's debut for the Knights in which he'd square off against Trent Barrett in a crucial game. While I don't remember the score – I do recall that we lost and that Kurt did not have the best of games.

Over time, that jittery young five eighth matured into a passable dummy half, a solid utility, and a damn fine fullback. His time as Newcastle #1 – to me – is amongst the top ten player performances by a Knight in the post Johns era. His support play, last ditch tackling, and overall influence on the game were so good that he became a regular fixture in both the NSW and Australian teams.

But with the advent of Darius Boyd and the changing nature of the game, I fear that Kurt's contributions to the Knights are behind him. While he still clings to a first grade spot by virtue of his reputation and the '(c)' that goes beside his name on the team sheet – I'm having to strain my doubtlessly beer addled noggin a bit to remember the last time I consider Kurt Gidley a game-breaker for us.

With Uncle Wayne clear in his preference for Princess Boyd and nobody wanting to take the risk on Kurt in the centres, I begin to wonder where room can be found for him in the best 17 at all.

He's not a half's asshole and that is shown week in and week out as he cracks under pressure with ball in hand. Truthfully, he's only ever been a marginally better playmaker than the likes of Shane Perry or Sean Rudder – and without a Johns or Lockyer at his side, his contributions waver between the acceptable and the infuriating.

His kicking game (although it may be generous to call it that) has been a running joke for so long now that my eyes actually roll before he even puts boot to ball these days.

In dummy half then? Buderus' two games for us this year have eclipsed anything Kurt has put in during his cameo #9 performances. With Travis Waddell, Tyrone Roberts, Adam Clydesdale, and even Matt Hilder all ahead of him in the hooker pecking order – you're starting to see that there isn't a lot of room for Kurt these days.

“How about an impact hooker from the bench?”

The two best hookers in the game – Farah and Smith – don't need somebody subbing in to make them look good. And if by some chance they did, they certainly would want somebody who is capable of actually being something other than solid.

You want your forwards or your fullback to be solid. Your impact player needs to be something special.

So, we're left with the fact that Kurt Gidley is a leader. With Beau Scott, Jeremy Smith, Jarrod Mullen, and Danny Buderus out of the picture for now – the only other leadership options would be Chris Houston or Willie Mason.

Wait... what's wrong with that? Are we really persisting with a wasted spot in the 17 because we don't want to name a new captain?

The truth is that even with the injuries we're carrying at the moment, Kurt Gidley in the seventeen is not something we require given his limited play-making ability. We've got backs and forwards out the wazoo, a fullback we're stuck with for better or worse, and the sad fact that a jittery cat has a better ability to handle a crunch situation than Kurt.

Thanks for the memories, Kurt. You were a great club man, but it's time to go. Kindly step aside.

OWC: 750 including title
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And now, after a recuperative season's R&R, Tittoolate springs back onto the field to sniff victory again for the MIGHTY TITANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

734 OWC below the line



The Company We Keep

Probably there is no better pub discussion then “who should be named (a Rugby League Week) Immortal?” Passions run, loyalty resonates, tempers flare, stats are flung (and perhaps embellished); and the argument doesn’t end – and frankly who would want it to? There are so many great Queenslanders, and a small handful of other blokes, who warrant consideration.

Rugby League Week (RLW) kicked a big goal in 1981 on introducing the Immortal concept and so layered fine gilt on their brand, which to now has not tarnished. Clive Churchill, Reg Gasnier, Johnny Raper, Bobby Fulton, Graeme Langlands, ‘Big Artie’ Arthur Beetson and that arch cockroach nemesis Wally ‘The Emperor’ Lewis: those names ring out through the history of the game. By forging the Immortal concept for our sport, RLW appropriated to its brand some of the veneration that goes hand in glove with those mighty names. All retail brands seek this passage to nirvana: leaping from being admired to cultural icon status.

So, having built brand-association with the most loved names in the game, has RLW ‘knocked-on over the line’? Last year RLW, in what history may ruefully judge as a moment of misty-eyed but misguided generosity, named Andrew Johns as the eighth Immortal. In so doing they put him on the same pedestal as those seven great legends and inextricably linked his brand with theirs.

It is abundantly clear that Johns was a gifted player. He had more ‘time’ to make and execute decisions than just about any player of recent times. His laser-like passes put countless men ‘through the gap’. He gave no quarter in defence and fronted up to the biggest and best, taking all-comers head on. His boot showed a surgeon’s skill, turning around opponents time and time again so they could curse another Johns-inspired try under their posts. Johns landed eight, in all, Dally M awards; five RLW players of the year; and carries an armload of other prestigious awards like the Clive Churchill and Provan Summons medals. Undoubtedly he was the standout player of his time.

So, who else? We could think Mal Meninga and Allan Langer lay claims to stand in the Immortal’s midst. Surely Darren Lockyer, in a couple of years, will be a shoe-in? Going back a bit, how about Bob Lidner? Or elect Wayne ‘Chuckles’ Bennett, if RLW broadens their measure to include the most influential thinker and team-builder the game as seen? But for Andrew Johns, his football prowess and peerless on-field record convincingly merits some sort of recognition. Yes, even if he was born way south of the Tweed.

But is the Immortal yardstick just measuring the player? Should it measure the man? Is Immortal selection purely recognition of achievement or de facto a promotion to role model? Could mishandling of the Immortals membership erase the brand value RLW accrued? To understand the brand impact, let’s take a quick, if whimsically musical, retrospective on Johns’ non-League notoriety.

Firstly, “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother”: Andrew continued to work with Channel 9 after they sacked brother Matthew – however deservedly some might say. Is money is thicker than blood?

Next, “Ebony and Ivory” stands out in the Greg Inglis name-calling affair. Timana Tahu showed himself to be a man of action and principle. What did Johns show himself to be?

How about that old family favourite “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? The kids can sit around the dinner table and muse at all the things one can stick up one’s schnoz.

And now good ol’ Joey has re-recorded Dr Hook’s 1972 cracker “The things I didn’t say” and Schiller/Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. He kicked one out on the full by blabbing then retracting then hoping to forget More Joyous.

John Singleton said, “How can he be so strong off the field and so weak off it?” Those words must resonate around the boardroom at Bauer Media Group (publishers of RLW). Andrew Johns’ off-field gaffs inevitably reflect on his Immortal status and weigh on the brand that created the concept. RLW is not a moral arbiter; it’s a business. The journalists write about footy for the man on the street. They, me, you; all of us have some clay in our feet. This piece is not judgement on Johns per se, but “Where to now?” for the Immortal and RLW brand is a valid question. As is: “Can Immortal status be retracted?”

Slippery Morris

First Grade
Slipper Morris for the Dragons
746 Words


What type of fan are you?


Fans come in all different shapes and sizes. You have the fans that would literally kill for their football club.

What you ask, "kill"?

Well yeah, in 1985 before a European Cup final a group of Liverpool fans breached a fence to get to some Juventus supporters. The Juventus fans ran back on the terraces and away from the threat into a concrete retaining wall. Fans already seated near the wall were crushed and eventually the wall collapsed. Many people climbed over to safety, but many others died or were badly injured. This resulted in Fourteen Liverpool fans found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and each sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

The disaster was later described as "the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions".

The NRL have been lucky not to have had a tragedy like that occur but it shows that there are some fans who are just extremists and football around Europe is filled with these types of people. Fans that just go to a game to fight other supporters. The NRL have been very lucky as all fans that go to a game go to actually watch the game and not to target opposition fans. Well so far that is the case and hopefully it will remain as there have not been any headlines about this type of thing in the past.

Then you have supporters who follow the club but really don't know much about the club at all. They keep an eye out for results every now and then and may go to a game whenever they feel like it. They like to keep up to date with how the team is going but don't know much about who is in the team, what positions some players play, they are just in it to support someone who is close to them that supports the team. Be somewhat involved in the NRL by supporting a team. My wife is a great example and I am sure there are many others that their partners would fall into this category. When asked by someone who does she go for she will say with pride "The mighty Dragons" but then five minutes later will say to me "Does Trent Barrett still play for the Dragons?".

Then you have the distant fans who live in a different state or country and would love to go to every game but have to contend with just watching it on the internet or delayed on TV. They would log onto the internet to see for any gossip or go on the forums to share their views with the other fans.

Then you have the NRL hardcore fan who would go to every game, buy all the gear available, renew their memberships, attend the odd training sessions and visit the forums daily to chat with the other fans. The Dragons are on their minds 24/7 and their moods are mostly dictated by the games played. If the team wins they are on cloud nine, as if they won a million dollars but if their teams loses then god help anyone near them. It's as if they have just been sacked from their job, had their car stolen, or been advised of some tragic news. The world just crumbles around them.

These fans also have a selective memory where they won't remember where they left their keys but ask them who was the St George Illawarra fullback in the 1999 Grand Final and within seconds will tell you it was Luke Patten who then got injured and had Nathan Blacklock take his place. To the last detail.

What determines how much of a fan is how much impact the team has in your life and your mood. If you hear a result or some news about the club and within seconds forget about it then you're not as passionate as the hardcore fan.

But if you are a hardcore fan, when you hear a bad result or news of a player leaving the club or injured the stress levels increase dramatically.

Does this mean you'll go on a killing spree? Well, let's hope not. But you can still have your fits of passion, allowing your mind go into overdrive in trying analyze the reasons behind the bad news.

If you can get through it without picking up the nearest fence paling, then you'll still have the joy of looking forward to next week.
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First Grade
***substitution notice***

Due to inclement weather Madunit has been unable to raise himself from the lethargy that has gripped his coffee mug and has been subbed by bgdc.


bgdc for the Titans returns after a very long layoff (749 officially)



It’s a long way to the top

Scotland was the first country in the world to have encouraged women to play football. In the 18th century football was linked to local marriage customs in the Highlands. Single women would play football games against married women. Single men would watch these games and use the evidence of their footballing ability to help them select prospective brides.

Although there were sporadic attempts to bring the obviously fairer sex into competitive team sports in the early 20th century, it wasn’t until the outbreak of hostilities in 1949 that the shackles were finally released and women were granted a general equality in the work place. This of course led to emancipation in other arenas not the least of which was the rugby league field.

Much has been written previously about the pros and cons of women in league and the entertainment value that they do, or do not, provide. This article will not focus on that unwinnable debate, however, for the record let it be known that in this writers opinion rugby league is more about health, fitness and community than beers, pies and trophies.

Perhaps if there were more women actively participating on the field rather than in the canteen there would be, in the words of one James Maloney, a lot less bbq-ing alone. However, there are those hardy souls amongst women who continue to push the envelope, not always with the desired result.

Take Laura Johnston as an example. Laura was a former club soccer player at the University of South Queensland and arrived at the Gold Coast Titans’ training center wearing flat-heeled, leopard-print shoes then changed into her workout gear. Her trial was based around playing on the wing and being a first class goal kicker, a position up for grabs due to the late defection of Scott Prince.

There had been unavoidable hints of a bad ending but it wasn’t until Laura actually kicked the football, twice, that this circus turned into sheer burlesque. She didn’t take a single warm-up kick. While others around her attempted penalties and kickoffs for half an hour before their auditions, Johnston merely stretched and jogged.

She was the first woman ever to try out at an NRL franchise, required 20 seconds to tee up the ball inside the Titans training field at Skilled Park. Then the 22 year old booted the kickoff all of 16 meters — 19 meters, if you counted the roll. Even the cynical TV cameramen who had begun a betting pool as to where her kickoff would land had never imagined such a failure.

Laura teed it up again at the 30 meter mark, and didn’t even reach the tryline this time – twenty meters, maybe 24. An official arrived, chatted briefly then accepted the ball from her. A scheduled third attempt was called off.

Johnston later cited an injured quad as the problem, yet there was more to it than that. It is every qualified woman’s nightmare, a moment like this, when a surprisingly unprepared job candidate attempts to play ball with the men. One gender barrier may have been breached on that Sunday, but this anemic display did no female any great favors.

“I’ve always been game, I tried to work through it but I couldn’t today,” Laura said of her injury. “I know I can do better. Hopefully the scouts will look at my technique. It’s not just length. It’s form.”

Nobody wants to be cruel here but length, form? After watching her mis-kick two footballs, you simply had to wonder: Why had she bothered? And why had the Titans so willingly gone along with what might well have been a publicity stunt?

Even accounting for nerves and a sore muscle, the effort was feeble. When Johnston was asked how far she usually kicked off in practice, she offered, “It’s hard to tell.” Laura’s vanity epitomized Arnold Glasow’s philosophy that “in life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goal posts are.”

Irrespective of her failings, women’s rugby league continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The club scene is strong, the international scene is developing well and the women who play are not some cosmetic appendage to the male version.

The NRL might be a stretch but as Hilary Clinton declared: “Going out and playing football with the boys, when I was a tomboy, was a great way to learn about winning and losing, and most girls don't have that experience.”
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First Grade
Well there you go ... after a season's hiatus the Titans are back and all the better for the hit out. Congratulations team, great reads all of you. Thanks Saints for the run and over to you Mr. Referee, sir.
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Amadean - 87
A writing style I have definitely missed. Subtle humour really is hard to find sometimes in this competition.

Titanic - 91
Fantastic, an early contending article. Original concept brilliantly executed.

Misanthrope - 87
We've all been there with a beloved player. So take the hint. Also, I love Sean Rudder still.

Tittoolate - 88
A common subject today, but still a very good read. Loved the end.

BGDC - 86
May have been a long layoff, but no foot wrong in this one.


Scott Gourley's Lovechild - 87
It's sometimes difficult to get your point across during an article like this. You've done a great job, a good perspective on a recent issue. Very well in-depth, very well written.

Hutty1986 - 84
This article is a bit of a hit and miss for me. Some great lines though.

whall15 - 86
A piece on the International game, been said and done, but still a well written piece. Can't deny that.

Slippery Morris - 88
People have really been picking up on the writing styles, love it. Very relatable.



Staff member
Great captain's knock there, Titanic/boss.

Good effort on the first hit out, Titans. Commiserations to the Dragons.

EDIT: Oh, and thanks ref!

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