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2013 Round 5 :: Ninjas vs Saints



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 28th of July 2013 (6:00pm AEST)
Full Time: Monday 12th of August 2013 (9:00pm AEST)
Referee: LeagueNut
Venue: Reliant Stadium



Chuck Norris Texas Death Ninjas:

Frank Grimes
jamesgould (c)

Saints team, which despite appearances looks like we will be playing short.

1. SGL
2. Slippery Morris
3. DB
4. Hutty1986
5. Tanner Ave


6. Godz Illa
7. Elias1983


At last, the thuggery has come to an end

The terrible spectre of ruthless on-field violence has again reared its scaly head and howled at the moon with the voice of the damned and the charnel-house breath of someone who doesn’t floss very often.

Mere weeks have passed since Paul Gallen attempted to panel-beat the lumps out of Nate Myles’s face causing untold damage to the psyches of journalists everywhere and changing the face of rugby league forever.

Not Nate Myles’s face. The face that rugby league presents to the world. A face recently stripped of shoulder charges and now a face without punches raining down upon it like rain made of punches.

A face lifted by the removal of knuckles crashing into it. A face that people everywhere will now definitely want to stroke with their eyeballs firmly on the TV screens that show rugby league at its about-faced best.

It’s a face that is instantly more beautiful; more Brad Pitt than acne-pitted. In their wisdom the very best sports minds and league critics pointed out to the rest of us that without punches, people who usually don’t watch the sport will now no longer continue to not watch.

Rugby league saved itself from a Fight Club style self-beating when its ruling elite declared that after 100+ years of punching-on being an inherent risk of a ferocious collision sport, the rules against knuckling an opponent’s mush will now be enforced.

The sport has taken the drastic step of introducing what they’ve termed “referees” – non-playing participants in the game whose job it is to oversee and enforce the rules of the sport on the fly. They even get whistles and natty little flags.

It remains to be seen if this innovation will have any effect but if it’s half as efficacious as the removal of bony balls of fist from stony countenances has been in terms of improving rugby league, it may prove to be a masterstroke.

Dave Smith et al, take a bow.

The measures introduced to mollify the reasonable and measured concerns of rugby league’s reluctant critics have gone a long way to healing the incredible damage done by Paul Gallen’s fists to the national psyche.

No longer do we fear letting our guard down to snatch a few minutes desperately-needed sleep. We’ve stopped telling our children horrible, nightmarish bedtime stories about NSW captains hiding under their beds.

Crime has dropped 97% in the last week as the soothed populace returned home from the wildernesses they’d fled to in blind, animal panic at the thought of a couple of rugby league players duking it out on the TV.

We’d just learned to breathe normally again when out of nowhere more on-field violence has skewered us like the delicate butterflies we are to the cardboard of hate by some sort of evil of butterflies collector.

You don’t need it spelled out any clearer than that.
We have once again been collectively assaulted in our homes by the gruesome sight of on-field violence.

When AFL club Fremantle Dockers ‘tagger’ Ryan Crowley pinched his opponent – North Melbourne’s Brent Harvey – in an undisclosed location an undisclosed number of times, he may as well have been pinching our hard-won innocence.

With every nasty squeeze of Harvey’s tortured flesh between the hammer of Crowley’s forefinger and the anvil of his thumb, he was doing more than visiting barbaric violence like some hideous reptilian beast, for example dinosaurs.

He was ripping the stitches out of our collective wounds, pinching the barely-healed scars with his malicious, grasping claws.

It was a horse-bite of hate that once again had us gathering our loved ones to our bosoms and running for the hills in fear of the end of civilisation as the gaping wound left by this act of savagery left us all wailing and gnashing our teeth.

However, once again the responsible governing body of the sport in question has stepped into the breach to stem the psychic bleeding and coax us down out of the trees.

Crowley will be fined somewhere between $900 and $1200 for his ruthless act.

This will send a strong message to his fellow AFL players that like their rugby league playing cousins, this sort of thuggish rubbish will not be tolerated.

We can un-board the windows, unload the shotgun, restore the electricity and once again return to our TV screens in time for more rugby league, safe at last.

For now.

739 OWC


First Grade
edabomb for the Ninjas


The Canberra Raiders 2009 – 2013: A case study

Five years is a long time in the National Rugby League these days. Empires can rise, fall, and rise again within that period – as the Melbourne Storm have shown us. The side I support – the Canberra Raiders – have endured a fascinating five year stint since David Furner took over as coach in 2009. Since then the Raiders have decided to put their franchise in the hands of a talent laden juniors development programme. With Anthony Milford, another talented Raiders junior, looking set to leave the club in 2014 – now is as good a time as any to appraise how the plan is working.

I’m the first to admit that this has been a decision that is hard to argue with. The Raiders have traditionally struggled to attract top tier talent to the region for a multitude of reasons – primarily the fact that Canberra is seen as an unattractive venue for 20-somethings. In 2009 the Raiders were coming off a sixth place finish and the NRL and a Premiership in the National Under 20s Competition. The future looked bright – as did the prospect of combining the clubs juniors base with the improving top grade side.

I began to write this article as a season by season account of what has happened – but that’s not really what I want to examine today. The fact of the matter is that the Raiders have endured a 2013 from Hell – off-field indiscretions have marred the season and the club has struggled to build any continuity. The problem with this is that is the fifth year running that the club has endured such negativity. The struggles of 2011 and 2012 were largely driven by injured personnel, and the club achieved some great results with late winning runs in 2010 and 2012. The simple matter is though that the Raiders have competed for a Premiership in ten years – and even then that is being remarkably kind to the 2003 roster.

The two major incidents to rock the Raiders this season have centred around Josh Dugan and Anthony Milford. Both players at the very top tier of talent – the type of guys that the Raiders could never bring in from outside. With the Raiders relying on breeding their own talent these are the type of players they need to maximise production out of. The fact that these guys are in their early twenties maximises the risk of mis-behaviour – as evidenced by Dugan’s rap sheet. Dugan left the Raiders after posting images of himself drinking when he should have been at a recovery session, and challenging the authority of the coach (not the best idea when his brother is the CEO). In the case of Milford much has been said – and it is hard to know what the truth is. If his father really is as ill as his manager is letting on then his return to Brisbane is best for all involved. It only serves to illustrate the number of things that can go wrong with a younger roster.

So when a club has been rebuilding for five years and suddenly loses its two top talents within the one season – where does it go? With a halves pairing of an aging Terry Campese and a struggling Josh McCrone is there much hope? There is a junior New South Wales halfback waiting in the wings – but as we all know transitioning into the halves in the NRL is the toughest job of all. With the club needing to launch another rebuild the patience of long-time fans is being tested.

When looking at the Raiders past five years I am reminded of a famous quote attributed to John Lennon, but used by others before him – “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. While the junior method is the way forward for the Raiders it is becoming increasingly frustrating as a fan to watch other ‘bought’ rosters turning things around in one off-season. The Raiders need to ensure they have incredibly strong leadership at the top to get the most out of these talents – an area they are clearly struggling in currently. If they can do this, and plug a few gaps with experienced free agents then the future is bright – but as shown in the past five years the room for error in this policy is incredibly small.

And patience is wearing thin.

736 OWC


First Grade
Frank_Grimes for the Ninjas

It’s not that bad…

In this day and age we see the game shrinking slowly but surely away from its “hard as nails, working class” roots, and one can’t help but wonder “Is our game really our game anymore?” With the now dead shoulder charge, and the once revived, but embarrassingly flat-lining biff, many are now calling the game of Rugby League soft. Players are apparently soon to expect lengthy bans for performance enhancing substance use. But is it really that bad? The current doping saga has been handled so poorly that it seems to be leaving a much larger perceived impression than it should. Are we maybe over-reacting a tad, and should we perhaps take a look around us and recognise that League is still one of the toughest and most well run sports on the planet?

If we were to cast our gaze over some of the competing sports in Australia and abroad, the situation is actually quite worse. AFL seems to continually sweep their issues under the carpet, but can no longer hide the extent of the impact Essendon’s doping scandal will have on the code.

One look at the NFL, or as some scribes are calling it the ‘No Fun League’ will tell a similar tale. Recently the NFL instituted a crackdown on celebrations or anything that could be considered ‘taunting’ the opponent. The list of gestures and actions banned by the governing body is a long as it is laughable and includes:

Sack Dances
Home run swing
Incredible Hulk
Spiking/spinning the ball
Throwing the ball
Pointing (hand or ball)
Verbal taunts
Military salute
Standing over opponent

Wait, dancing? Players will be penalised (most likely a yardage penalty on a restart) for dancing? And what about pointing? Or the military salute? Let’s get some perspective here. The NFL recently welcomed Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick back to the game. Michael Vick, the owner and operator of Bad Newz Kennels – a dog fighting business involved in some of the most heinous acts of cruelty against ever committed against animals, which included among other atrocities, drowning, hanging and electrocuting of dogs. Vick was convicted, and served his time with the obligatory apology tour associated with any NFL player wrongdoing. But what is so perplexing is that the NFL seems more concerned about players dancing after a touchdown or big play, presenting a bad image for the game, than the image of convicted felons returning to the elite level in their sport.

The NFL is keen to stamp out these taunting behaviours in the hopes that it will protect the games image of good sportsmanship, but really, is the thought of someone pointing at a player, or spinning the ball after making a big play turning anyone away from the game? I'll let you know it's not with 10.1 million viewers tuning into a pre-season opener just over a week ago.

Let’s move over to Baseball, and the Biogenesis scandal which saw 14 players suspended for a combined total of 876 games for taking prohibited performance enhancing substances, Alex Rodriguez being slapped with the biggest suspension of them all at 211 games through his lack of cooperation with Major League Baseball. But these suspensions are not new to the sport, with a long and chequered history of players having their records tarnished due to doping.

No sport is without controversy, or administration that at times can make baffling decisions, but when Rugby League’s problems are put into context against the issues that plague other sports, they pale in comparison. As the NFL and other sports move to steam roll the passion out of their game, we should ‘celebrate’ the fact that it still exists in ours. Punch ups will come and go. Shoulder charges will fade into obscurity. Or not, but whatever happens, millions of screaming fans will turn up, tune in and let it all out in support of their favourite team each year. The numbers are only going up, and the passion is being passed down from generation to generation.

So the next time you lament the soft penalty for a shoulder charge, or the 'handbags at 20 paces' shoving match that has replaced our beloved biff, remember - it could be a lot bloody worse...

711 words including title - OWC


For the Ninjas.

The Ref

Adam felt his phone vibrate, as he sat staring at his work computer screen. His screen was filled with spreadsheets ... Adam having not done any actual work for some time, but to the passerby he looked busy, and he made sure to move the mouse every so often, so that the screen didn’t lock.

He had something else on his mind, and he had a feeling this phone call was it. His hand shook as he pulled it out of his pocket, and slowly pushed the green Answer button.

“He ... hello?” he nervously stammered.

“Hello, is this Adam?” came the response.

“Yes?” he tried to calmly reply.

“Brilliant, this is Daniel Anderson. Listen, as I was saying to you the other week, I’ve been watching you closely in the Holden Cup. You’ve been going well.”

“Thanks!” Adam responded – way too loud and enthusiastically. “I, I mean ... thanks.” he tried again, his voice an octave lower this time.

“You heard about the Sam Kasiano no-try debacle? Basically it means there’s an opening in first grade this week, and I want you to take it. You keen?”

Adam let out a loud woohoo and leapt out of his chair, pumping his fist into the air. “I’m there!” he triumphantly replied down the line.


Adam had always wanted to be a referee. Nobody really knew how it all began, and even Adam himself couldn’t quite explain where his dream came from, but it had driven him. For a long time.

He refereed his first game of back yard footy when he was only six years old. By the age of seven he’d saved enough pocket money to purchase a top of the line metal whistle.

At nine years of age he sent off his first player, and as he entered high school he was given the rare privilege of being named official school referee of the year, three years running.

He was always destined for greatness, but still, it was his remarkable drive that stood out to anyone who saw him. While other referees were happy to learn the rules and maintain a respectable level of fitness, Adam drove himself beyond whatever boundaries he could find. He would train until physically sick, and read the rulebook fifteen times each day.

His first grade debut would without doubt be the greatest moment of his life.


Adam had one more look at the Big League programme, just to check his name was still there in print. Relieved to see that it was, he put the magazine aside. He reverentially pulled his rulebook off the table, and settled down in front of the fireplace.

He’d already read it 27 times today ... but with the debut the next day, he’d better go through it another ten or so times, he reasoned.

As he wearily leafed through it, his eyelids began to droop, and he dropped off.


Adam awoke. He looked around. He was attached to cables, and there was some sort of regular beeping noise. His blurry vision eventually cleared, and he realised he was in hospital.

“Nurse!” he croaked as loud as possible, “What happened?”

A nearby nurse rushed over. “You were in a fire. Something you were reading fell into your fireplace, and set the room alight. Luckily your neighbour noticed, and pulled you to safety. He saved your life!”

“Forget that.” Adam struggled up and out of the bed, “I’ve got a game to referee!”


Adam took his spot at the coin toss.

“I hear you had a spot of bother last night, ref?” one of the captains politely asked.

“Yeah, all good now though.” came Adam’s husky reply.


Adam raced onto the field, feeling amazing, despite his near death experience. He watched as the two sides took their positions, and the ball was put on its tee ready for kick-off.

“Ready when you are.” he heard his co-referee say in his ear-piece.

Adam extended his arm, put his whistle to his lips, and blew.


He struggled to breathe in again, and blew again with all his might.


He tried one more time, felt his legs wobble, and fell to the ground. Trainers rushed on, and Adam was assisted from the field.

“He’s lost his puff!” a crowd member laughed, as Adam was carried off.


Adam never regained his whistle blowing ability, and went down in history as rugby league’s shortest serving first grade referee.

He died at the ripe old age of 87, some say of a broken heart.

750 words.


First Grade
DB for Saints - 750 words


The NRL finally decided to cash in on the WWE and Professional Wrestling front, and introduce an NRL Royal Rumble. Each team has one representative, either a current or former player. Who it is stays a mystery though.

The first entrant is Anthony ‘The Man’ Mundine. The boxing ‘champion’ is out to a pretty negative crowd reaction. But who is ‘The Man’ facing. The Broncos song then gets played, and out comes big Gordon Tallis Big Gordy is on his way out, and is getting more cheers than Mundine – more to the fact of what damage he can do to him.

As Tallis is heading into the ring, Mundine charges at him. Tallis ducks, and Mundine is eliminated. That was easy. The next entrant is up, and it's Brett Hodgson on his way out. In a scene reminiscent of a certain State of Origin match, Tallis picks him up by the collar, and throws him over the top rope. Elimination 2.

The next entrant comes out, and it’s Andrew Johns. Surprisingly Andrew has learnt to fight since the Jamie Goddard affair and is holding his own against Tallis. He ends up getting Tallis to the corner and Tallis is down sitting at the turnbuckle. You can see what’s coming next. Joey runs and jumps, arse first right into Tallis. He looks knocked out. He is celebrating like he’s won the thing, and does not realize the next entrant, John Hopoate was out. As ‘Hoppa’ makes his way to the top of the turnbuckle, the crowd are chanting… “Give him the Galloway.” Hoppa dives, with a shoulder straight to the head of Johns. Johns falls to the ground and is out cold. Hoppa picks him up, and throws him over the top. Elimination.

Time for the next entrant, which is Luke Ricketson, who has brought out his valet, Kate Waterhouse. Jumping the gun, Andrew ‘ET’ Ettinghausen. More interested in chatting up Kate, he is eliminated by the referees for not getting into the ring in time.

The next entrant, Chris Sandow is too eliminated in the same fashion, but instead of trying to pick up Kate Waterhouse, he tried to place a bet ensuring he was the last man standing – unfortunately he didn’t realize Kate was the wrong Waterhouse.

In a bizarre turn of events, the next entrant is also eliminated before he gets in the ring, as apparently it is illegal in this rumble to drink a Cruiser on the way down to the ring. Sorry Blake Ferguson.

The next entrant could be the only true wrestler in this event. It’s Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith. He sprints to the ring, and immediately puts Hopoate into a grapple. With the help of Ricketson, they are able to throw Hoppa over the top rope. He is eliminated. Smith then sneakily picks up Ricketson by the shorts, and over the top rope. He is eliminated too.
The next entrant is George Burgess, or is it Thomas. We don’t know. He runs in and throws Smith over the rope. Elimination!!! Tallis gets up, and George turns around. Something that looked like a python holding an apple in its mouth, knocked Tallis out and he rolls all the way out of the ring.

Dave Taylor is out and on a rampage. He charges down, and delivers a spear that shook George Burgess. He is down clutching his ribs. After stomping a few times on Burgess, his attention turns to the young Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell. Taylor throws the first one, and it’s on. They eventually take each other over the top rope, and both get eliminated.

The next entrant is Mark “MG’ Geyer, who is happy no-one is in the ring with him. But he is joined by Cowboys great, who after accidentally running into the referee, decides it’s a great idea to defecate in his shoe. MG wants nothing to do with this and jumps over the top rope. This though was spotted by another referee who disqualifies him. The last entrant Terry Lamb is over the moon. He is standing with only George Burgess in his way. Lamb lures George near the ropes, and as George charges, Lamp catapults him over the top. Lamb celebrates. He is the champion – or so he thought. Tallis not being eliminated before as he rolled out the ring, sneaks up behind Lamb, who is on top of the turnbuckle, and pushes him off.

Gordon Tallis is your first NRL Royal Rumble Winner.
Last edited:

Slippery Morris

First Grade
Slippery Morris
St George Dragons
743 Words


Marquee Player System - Great idea…Or is it?

On the 12th of July on NRL 360 Dave Smith revealed that the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) discussed the pressing issues in the game. He said that at the forefront of the discussion was the salary cap and how to stop the exodus of the game’s stars.
Dave Smith said that a marquee player signing, which would fall outside of the salary cap, would give NRL teams more scope to hold onto the big names.
He said “We really want to keep the likes of Sonny Bill Williams in the comp,”.
That makes great sense to me. Not.
So what they are saying is that the NRL will not let teams pay their juniors top dollar to keep them in the game by excluding them from the salary cap but exclude these so called "Marquee players" from the salary cap.

The most perplexing thing about this is the marquee players mentioned were Isreal Folau and Sonny Bill Williams. If the Storm and the Bulldogs were allowed to pay them top dollar they would not have left the NRL in the first place. Let’s face it, the marquee players they want to attract are ex-NRL stars that left the game because they were not allowed to stay at their clubs to earn the big bucks they deserved. They instead went to Rugby Union to earn the cash they thought they deserved. I am sure Isreal Folau would still be at the Melbourne Storm playing his 100+ NRL game as well as representing QLD and Australia if he was allowed to be paid the big dollars to stay. I dare say the same for Sonny Bill. I am sure if the Bulldogs were able to pay him what he was worth he may have been more tempted to stay.

Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers and Lote Tuqiri to mention a few all left because they got great offers to join Rugby Union only to come back once they made their dough to play the game they love. They made more money playing Rugby Union than they would of playing rugby league and that is because of the salary cap as their clubs were no able to match the offers they were give to jump ship.

Luke Rooney loved the Panthers yet left to play Rugby because the Panthers could not offer him enough to stay again because of the salary cap. He did not want to play for any other NRL club. The same is probably happening now with Benji Marshall. I am sure if the Tigers were allowed to exclude him from the cap because he served over 10 years at the club he would still be a Tiger next season and beyond but the club were forced to make a decision on either losing their good up and coming juniors or keep Benji.

I thought that the reason for the juniors not to be included in the cap was because some teams with a smaller junior base would be disadvantaged. With this new marquee player system wouldn't the same apply their? The rich teams can just buy a chockfull of marquee signings whilst the poorer clubs who probably develop junior’s struggle keeping their own talent under the cap.

It is a simple solution. Once a player hits 100 or 150 first grade games in the NRL for the club he has made his debut for, he is exempt from the cap. If the player played his junior football in the under 20’s for that team those games can also be included. Once the player leaves the club he has made his debut in the NRL, no exemptions apply for that player. They can also lower the salary cap to 2million as it would only apply to players outside the club.

If the NRL does bring out this marquee rule they will have to make it clear what makes a player ‘marquee”? I think that may be opening the door for more issues down the track if they are not careful here.

Although the NRL see this as a huge issue which it clearly is, I think there is another huge issue that they need to also include in the review and that is the wrestling in the tackles and how the standard of the games is suffering because of it.

Can’t wait to see what comes out of this review Dave Smith, good luck.

Reference : http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-ceo-dave-smith-looking-seriously-at-marquee-player-system/story-fni3fbgz-1226689116744


Eozsmiles for the ninjas
748 words owc including title and quotation


"Fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat" - Elizabeth Bowen

Fate pays no regard to a man's dreams. His will is cast aside, his determination worthless. The best preparation is no guard against it's fickle finger. In Rugby League, it can break the heart of a club and crush the aspirations of a player. It can force them to rue missed opportunities and to question themselves. When it involves a suspended player or the bounce of the ball, questioning skill or technique is often valid. But in the case of injury these questions usually go unanswered, and the moment that caused it unforeseen.

Although people around the game know that everyone must take their turn with fate, it doesn't lessen the impact of the heaviest blows. Players will offer sympathy to fallen team mates and rivals alike, knowing that these things move in cycles. They know it could be their turn soon. It might only cost them a match or it could end a season. It could mean that a premiership slips by, or that a career ends. Whether by fair or foul is of no consequence. The end result is the same. Although cultured to be hard, it's as though these men feel a phantom pain.

When Justin Hodges' Achilles tendon collapsed this past weekend, one would think that the hopes of the Brisbane Broncos 2013 season collapsed with it. Hodges is an elite attacking weapon and one of the leagues most experienced, and at times vicious, combatants. His strength and footwork regularly sees him upstage his direct opponent. While his attacking thrust will be missed immediately, it is the long term ramifications of this injury that twist the knife. A ruptured Achilles tendon can require a twelve month rehabilitation process, meaning that the loss of Hodges' highly respected leadership will be felt for not only the remainder of this season but also for the first half of the 2014 season. Two seasons potentially crippled in one moment.

When Hodges fell, he was untouched by an opponent. There was no forceful tackle or illegal play. He wasn't caught in an awkward position. His body simply gave up. When his team mates came to offer support, he shooed them away. It wasn't their fault. He didn't want their words. His body had failed him, and it left him furious. There was nobody to blame. No words could soothe. This was not the first serious injury he had suffered. It didn't seem fair to be his turn again.

At the beginning of the 2012 season, Jharal Yow Yeh had the Rugby League world at his feet. At the tender age of 22 he was already an Australian and Queensland representative, and in 2011 was named the Rugby League International Federation rookie of the year. He was the latest high quality player to roll off the famed Brisbane Broncos production line, and looked to have a long and stellar career ahead. But on one night in April 2012 that all seemingly ended.

Jharal did nothing wrong. He was big, fast, strong, and adept under the high kick. This led to many of his teams attacking raids ending with the ball being sent skywards toward his side of the field. A combination of skill and physicality meant that he regularly won these contests.

The ball was launched and Yow Yeh's eyes locked to it. He selflessly propelled himself towards it's intended destination as he had so many times before. It is a process that is becoming maligned by fans - five hit-ups followed by a cross field kick for the athletic outside backs to leap at. While we are resigned to seeing this tactic played out endlessly, sport will always take it's chance to upset the status quo. This routine kick and chase would leave Jharal's right ankle virtually destroyed, and a promising career in tatters.

Bodies covering the turf and then flying into the air or colliding at such pace is fraught with danger. Players and fans grimace when they see a player, friend or foe, in obvious pain. They understand it is a by-product of our code, but will never enjoy it. And they all understand that it is never far away from their club or themselves.

When Jharal was sprawled on the ground, with bone sticking through his right sock, he realised it was his turn. The first words he would hear needed to be sympathetic, and they were.

Those soft words came from Justin Hodges.
Cross Code Hoppers - What To Do?

With the much publicised move of Benji Marshall to Super Rugby franchise the Auckland Blues, the NRL and the media are carrying on about how to retain the best players in the game.

The issue for a player like Marshall though now represents a scenario that has only come up once before with Sonny Bill Williams: how to retain players from international backgrounds whose careers are heavily publicised by the NRL. For the two examples, they come from a country where the All Blacks are king, to wear the All Black jersey is seen as the crowning achievement of a persons life no matter their background. While the Kiwi jersey is revered by those from a Rugby League background, an All Black jersey is revered by all. Rugby Union 7's is now also an Olympic sport, giving those whose pathway to sporting greatness is severely hampered by lack of knowledge of the game or weak skills set in fifteen a side Rugby a new outlet to achieve recognition outside of the Rugby World Cup. Add in the significant financial superiority New Zealand Rugby has, it is hard not to see the attraction.

Now what is the NRL to do? They cannot tempt to lure them with the "lofty" heights of State of Origin, as they have nominated themselves as representing New Zealand and hence are ineligible. They cannot throw money hand over fist at them, as this would be to the disadvantage to the NRL clubs not benefiting from their participation; and as an aside similar tactics by the AFL in Sydney with players like Tony Lockett did not reap any significant benefit for the sport or the team. The answer can only be the same as the problem itself: the international game.

International Rugby League, the unloved red-headed bastard child of the Rugby League world. Treated with contempt by Australia, it has had a knock on effect to devaluing the sport on a global scale. Australia play New Zealand once a year around ANZAC Day in a game more often than not that proves to be a hiding to nowhere. England, having broken away from the Great Britain mantle some years ago, has reduced itself to playing "tests" against the Exiles: foreign players in the Super League System. The Rugby League World Cup, to be held this year, has hardly had a mention outside of a few posts on Facebook and the occasional question of which NRL players are going to use a parents or great grandparent's passport to play for a "secondary" nation. This back handed treatment of the international game provides no incentive for a player not eligible for State of Origin to stick around in the thirteen man code.

But there is time for change. Too late for Benji Marshall and most likely Sonny Bill Williams if media reports are anything to go by, but soon enough to help the next crop. Full internationals need to be reinstated and need to be publicised as the top of Rugby League. Financially, it will initially need support from both the NRL and Super League, but with enough love and care the game in time can stand on its own two feet. And when it stands on its own two feet, it brings in pride for a teams jersey, the honour of wearing your country's colours, and the financial rewards that go along.

So for the future of our sport, and to retain the best from here and overseas, lets see the love for the international game rise once again!


First Grade
Howdy partners.


At last, the thuggery has come to an end (740 words)
I enjoyed this. Even though parts of it read like a Daily Telegraph article, I still think it deserves a decent score.
Score = 88

The Canberra Raiders 2009 – 2013: A case study (736 words)
This one didn't quite "mesh" for me. You've made some good points but it jumps around a bit, it felt like it was missing some glue to hold everything together.
Score = 82

It’s not that bad… (711 words)
A nice read - a bit of perspective is always good. Now I'm trying to figure out how our referees would signal a "dancing penalty"...
Score = 86

The Ref (750 words)
Excellent. I think good stories are supposed to provoke a reaction, so I'm not going to penalise you for making me feel like slapping you around the ears (how could you do that to Adam?!?).
Score = 89

Faultless (748 words)
A sombre article but still a very good read. I liked the way you tied the two players together at the end.
Score = 87


NRL MEETS THE WWE (750 words)
Just the right amount of strange to make it enjoyable. Did Gorden Tallis really get knocked out by a penis?
Score = 86

Slippery Morris
Marquee Player System - Great idea…Or is it? (741 words)
An interesting read. There are more questions raised than solutions offered but that's not always a bad thing. A couple of typos affected your score, and the last-minute comment about wrestling seemed a bit out of place.
Score = 80

Scott Gourley's Lovechild
Cross Code Hoppers - What To Do? (597 words)
You make a lot of sense but the article came across as very rushed. You also missed the 650 word count minimum.
Score = 76 (Includes 5 point word count penalty)

Result: Ninjas 432 defeated Dragons 242
POTM: jamesgould (Ninjas) :clap:


Thanks for the marks, ref! :)

Well played both sides. Bad luck on not getting the five in Dragons, I think the Ninjas can sympathise on that, we've had plenty of problems with it this season.

Ninjas, finally our first win of the season, now on to the semis!!!


First Grade
Thanks for the marks LN. I can definitely agree with your opinion on my article :)

Bad luck Saints. Hopefully you can come back from this in a big way in 2014.


Howdy partners.


At last, the thuggery has come to an end (740 words)
I enjoyed this. Even though parts of it read like a Daily Telegraph article, I still think it deserves a decent score.
Score = 88

Result: Ninjas 432 defeated Dragons 242
POTM: jamesgould (Ninjas) :clap:

That was the idea haha
Of course my article was rushed, I only started it after Doctor Who finished that night, and finished it a minute before cut-off!!!

10 more minutes and I'd have 5 more points...


First Grade
Howdy partners.


NRL MEETS THE WWE (750 words)
Just the right amount of strange to make it enjoyable. Did Gorden Tallis really get knocked out by a penis?
Score = 86

He sure did.... I toyed with the idea of George and Tom swapping before the ref saw, but in light of recent pictures, the third leg was a better option

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