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Round 4: Easts Vs Souths >>The Foundation Cup<<


Easts Vs Souths

Game Thread

Please note - This is a game thread only, therefore only game posts can be made here (Teams, Articles). Any other posts will result in loss of points.

**Referee Blows Game On!**

Full Time: Wednesday 18th June, 2003. 9:00PM AEST

Referee: Willow


South Sydney Team:
1. Seano (c)
2. RedDragon
3. Olympic_park
4. Terracecider
5. Bunny Boy


olympic park

By Olympic Park
Souths #3

At the City vs. Country match John Singleton spoke about having a team on the Central Coast. The area is a growing one and with lots of young families it makes sense for a team to be there &#8211; it is more than likely possible that some of the next breed of rugby league stars will come from the area. But why does Singleton &#8216;single&#8217; out Melbourne and say we should step aside for a team on the Central Coast?

League fans realise that a 15-team competition is obviously not the way to go, and that there are a few areas of Australia where there is either no league team or not enough league teams whilst suburban Sydney has 9 teams. Areas needing teams are the Gold Coast (QLD), Central Coast (NSW,) a second team in Brisbane (QLD); and Wellington (NZ), or Perth (WA) wouldn&#8217;t go astray either. But part of the problem of the 15-team competition is the fact that it has an odd number of teams. So by adding the two places which need teams (Gold Coast and Central Coast), you are only adding to the problem rather than trying to solve it.

So we are left with the dilemma of only allowing one of the teams into the competition or to add three teams to make the NRL list to 18? The most obvious choice for the next team (after Central and Gold coasts) would have to be another team in Brisbane. How does a city like Brisbane (with nearly two million people) with an enormous league following have only 1 team? Brisbane could easily support two NRL teams and a team on the Gold Coast would make healthy competition of rugby league in Australia&#8217;s second league state, making the balance of league between NSW and QLD from 11:2 to 12:4 (assuming introduction of teams to Gold Coast, Central Coast and a second Brisbane team) which is more balanced population: teams.

Let&#8217;s look at expansion vs. relocation. Is it worth and necessary for the NRL to have teams in Sydney which may be in financial difficulty or to relocate them to places which have a great potential for rugby league? If we relocated some of the Sydney teams we would still be left with the problem of a 15-team competition although it would mean there would be fewer teams in Sydney. Relocation would probably work out a bit like some of the mergers in the NRL when there were far too many Sydney-based teams after Super League &#8211; just look at the (now defunct) Northern Eagles. North Sydney was a team full of pride and tradition and now they are left with no representation at the highest level of the game, whilst Manly have just survived the near-death experience. What would have happened if neither team survived? And we all remember Souths!!!

And what do we do about the threat of the invasion of Australia&#8217;s two other major football codes &#8211; AFL and rugby union? The AFL pumps millions of dollars each year into its two northern interstate clubs (the Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans) in the form of paying for advertising and media coverage, and huge increases and concessions on the salary cap. The NRL realised that they needed to expand the game into the heart of AFL territory yet considering that they need to have a team here in Melbourne they do not provide much assistance the way the opposition codes support their teams. Even a small concession of $250,000 would assist Melbourne in the expansion of the game at both first-grade and grassroots levels where it is needed most. If Brisbane had not accepted the merger with the Fitzroy team in Melbourne and the $8m cash incentive they certainly wouldn&#8217;t be where they are today. On the other hand, Melbourne has established itself well and won a premiership so does not need a struggling Sydney-based team to relocate/merge here.

It comes down to one simple point &#8211; where the NRL do not have a team and do not help their juniors, AFL and rugby union will try to take over. The Gold and Central coasts have enormous potential and the other codes realise this. The possibility of long-term relocation of Wests Tigers to Perth is another option (considering heritage and name) to expand the code. More teams in the NRL covering more of Australia is the way to go, and 3-5 years is a realistic timeline to get these teams up and running in Australia&#8217;s greatest football competition.

Word count: 750 words
Helen_of_Troy - Interviews Craig Fitzgibbon Words 746

“I’m ready,” I said, speaking with the simplicity of a great star who had somehow managed to retain the common touch. As I glided along in my BMW 3 Series coupe, I had never felt more like a Roosters Supporter in my life…. The Latte drinking BMW driving ‘rich bitch’ tag was certainly an image I could handle.

To ease my nerves I began to sing a song, just a little ditty that came to me as I was driving. Sung to the tune of My Favourite Things.

At fulltime the siren declares you the winner,
The adage rings true and your truly a grinner
They’ve packaged the points in your teams colour strings
These are a few of my favourite things

Just at half time with no points on the board
You sank to your knees and just prayed when they scored
The pride in your jersey and Premiership rings
These are a few of my favourite things

The ref and his whistle proclaim ‘It is a TRY’
You’ve got the game won there’s a tear in your eye
Your club song is playing and everyone sings
These are a few of my favourite things

When the ref’s blind, and a loss stings, when I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favourite things and then I don’t feel … so bad.

After being stopped by a police officer and charged with disturbing the peace, I finally made it to training. Stepping out of the air-conditioned car in my Rooster blue cashmere tailor-made suit, the heat was overwealming, but an interview with Craig Fitzgibbon after a training session kept me focused.

“The Lady looks hot, throw her a Gator”, yelled Ronnie, “And while your at it, get her some training gear.” "WHAT", I thought, aren’t they impressed with the Rooster Supporters image that is so widely touted? Walking back out onto the paddock in a pair of Rooster shorts that dangled to my ankles and a jersey flicking around my knees, I had never felt more like a Rooster Supporter in my life….

Craig Fitzgibbon was warming down as I approached him, he had finished some slow jogging and was stretching to achieve greater flexibility, holding the stretches for sixty, helping the muscles relax and reduce tension. It would be my turn during the recovery process.

“Craig”, I said, “I’m Helen of Troy~… “You know, from The Seven's.” The lazy smile that lit up his face assured me I wasn’t dreaming. Dear Reader, it is with the greatest of pleasure I record verbatim my interview with CRAIG FITZGIBBON.

H.o.T: “Craig, after winning two player of the year awards in a row, being rewarded for your outstanding efforts with a Premiership and an Australian Cap, plus also being loved by each and every Rooster supporter for what you’ve personally done for us. What exactly did you feel when you walked to the grandstand and accepted one of the greatest awards of all ... the Clive Churchill Medal? (I finally paused to breathe)

C.F: "It is all a bit of a blur. I felt a bit embarrassed at the organisation of the presentation, as I really wasn’t sure which way to go. But overall I’m very thrilled."

“Did you buy Brad Fittler a few beers after winning the medal?”

"We had a few beers together and it was a Big Celebration, I am not really sure who paid."

“Who is the fellow Rooster player who most makes you feel like you are glad you are playing for the Roosters?”

"The whole team, can’t really single one out, we are all close."

“What did you feel mentally before your third Grand Final in four years? Were you more nervous to get the hudu off your back?”

"Felt great. Not nervous at all, I was really looking forward to it. The other Grand Finals just made me more hungry for this one."

“Craig how has your family helped you achieve all that you have?”

"They have been very supportive in all aspects of my life. Always let me make the decision and then stick by me."

“How does it feel working with Ricky Stuart?”

"Great. Sticky has shown a lot of faith in me so I have tried to return that by playing to my best potential. It is a privilege to work with Ricky Stuart”

“So Craig, did I look a nonce turning up in a suit to training this afternoon…?”


The Backpacker

The Backpacker #11 – Debuting in the run on side and praying I don’t knock on in the second hit up of the game for EASTS

These Boots were made for Walking…

The well-publicised departure from South’s and subsequent signing by the Roosters of Chris Walker has been a contentious issue amongst the Rugby League fraternity. Did he ‘do the right thing’ by leaving South’s when he decided his heart wasn’t in it or did he ‘take the easy option’ by not taking a good hard look at his attitude and implementing strategies to improve it and, ultimately, his on field performance?

There's no denying that Walker had a relatively ‘golden start’ to his career, playing with the Bronco’s, an established team with an established ‘winning’ culture, for the most part. In four seasons, playing 67 games and scoring 40 tries for the Broncos, anyone could have been forgiven for thinking Walker was a good signing for South’s but, were there not signs, even before the ink on the correspondence between the club and player was dry, that something was amiss in the head of Chris? Speculation about negotiations with other clubs lead to South’s making a statement that they had a binding agreement with both Walker brothers for 2003 / 04 and the NRL ruling that no other club could negotiate with either brother after reviewing all correspondence between South’s and the players¹. In hindsight, South’s may have been better off to rescind their offer or look into the underlying rumblings of discontent a little further at this point.

Hindsight, however, is a wonderful thing and the reality is, Chris Walker went to South’s and played a grand total of 5 less than memorable games for them before approaching management for a release from his contract citing personal issues, concern about his form and a need to re-evaluate his league career. For his trouble, Walker got a release with no stipulations regarding not playing for another NRL club (ala Blacklock’s release from the Dragons), got paid (reportedly) $150, 000 for his 5 games and obtained a contract with the Roosters. Not bad going for a bloke re – evaluating his league career. Should South’s have released him and should the Roosters have purchased him? That’s a matter for debate.

South’s could have refused the release but realistically, what would they have done with him? A player who doesn’t want to be somewhere and is not prepared to put in the hard yards is looking at being released anyway, which ultimately, would have cost the club more than the $150,000. Any other options available to them – having him sit out, play in premier grade or for the feeder club etc – would have cost them more money as well. South’s could have spent time trying to sort out the underlying problems but, ultimately, they were hamstrung. They cut their losses, chose the most fiscally viable option available to them and released Walker.

Enter the Roosters. Picking up Walker for $45,000 after Politis stated they wouldn’t be signing him. The uproar was well documented, dividing even the most hard core of Rooster fans. Should we have signed a player who had shown the commitment and resolve of a frat boy trying not to get drunk at a party, or should we have passed the opportunity at signing a SOO player for a pittance, up? Ethically, it’s questionable but there’s never been a lot of ethics involved with player signings at any club. Strategically, it seemed like a good move to have cover during SOO but hamstrings are fickle things. Technically, the signing could ensure a bit of attacking flair but defensively, it could cost points unless Walker is the ultimate student in Stuarts school of ‘no excuses defence’.

Only time will tell whether Walker turns into the ‘buy of the year’ but, regardless, I’m one Rooster fan that won’t be sending him a congratulatory card if we lift the holy grail this year. Even if, on the way, he lays his body on the line and intimidates like our Pommy hitman, wins big matches for us like our messiah and pulls off 40 odd tackles week in and week out like our home grown junior. He has shown he lacks loyalty, honour and determination when the chips are down, three fundamental characteristics required to be part of any ‘team’. It’s easy to be part of a team that has a culture of winning. A true champion is the backbone of a team that’s lacking that winning feeling. When Masters wrote “…I hope former Coogee Wombat…Byrne…steals the honours…” I thought, me too mate. Me too! Now there’s a player who has put in the hard yards.


750 words, not including title.

¹Statement from South's made on official South Sydney website 09/10/02


Takes a big Luke Bailey hit-up for Souths! :twisted:

*RedDragon #9 South Sydney Rabbitohs

Bring Back the Biff?

A view held by the infamous Reg Reagan.
But should we indeed, bring &#8220;Bring Back the Biff&#8221;?
There was once an era in Rugby League where nearly every game seemed to have a fight, or some sort of ongoing sledging and punishing contest between the players. Yet those days are looked on as The &#8220;Good ole days&#8221;. So the players obviously didn&#8217;t hate playing back in those times, in those rough games. Quite the opposite, they relish in the fact they played in that era. They are proud to be apart of the roughest era in Rugby League.
Today, however, the game as seemed to calm down, much to Reg Reagan&#8217;s disliking and also many other fans. IS Matthew Johns trying to tell us something through his good mate Regy? And on a lesser note &#8220;Trent&#8221; the flight attendant? I hope for his wife&#8217;s sake that he isn&#8217;t trying to give us any hints when he plays the part of &#8220;Trent&#8221;.

A fight in a game of top level Rugby League is rare these days, but when a fight does break out, the crowd loves it and it becomes a highlight in the game. For example the only thing I remember of the Warriors vs Broncos game, was and absolute beauty of a punch thrown by Kevin Campion that landed square on Shane Webckes&#8217; head.

A fight makes the game a more fiery encounter between the two teams that are playing and the intensity level picks up. The defense becomes very punishing and the props look like kamikazes running head on into the opposition defenses, in an attempt to assert their authority and strength over the other team. The crowd becomes loud and vocal and they begin to wage their own war of words towards the other opposition.

But, is on field fights the way we want the juniors to be growing up and becoming like? Do we want juniors to idolize players that go out and start fights week in and week out? And what about the crowd. They may enjoy the fights, but sometimes the crowd can become a bit too intense and the war of words between opposition supporters can turn ugly and into a fight with fists. We do not want this. We want Rugby League venues to be a place where we can go, young or old, and sit down and watch a good game of football without having to be worried about idiot is the crowd throwing projectiles and starting fights.

On the other hand, it could be seen that the bad crowd behaviour could be more blamed on the alcohol, and not on the fights on the field.

How exactly would we &#8220;bring Back the Biff&#8221;? Its not like the NRL board can sit down and decide they want the Biff back in the game. It has to be brought in by the players. The most intense on field battles are caused by loyalty. Loyalty to their team and team mates.
Loyalty is not a word that is associated with many sports in this day and age. However that era that seemed so long ago, was jam packed with loyalty. You didn&#8217;t have players traveling to 3 to 4 clubs in their careers.

It is not so much the fighting that people enjoy in games of Rugby League, rather it is how the level steps up a notch. Every player on the field is trying to show that they are tougher than their opposing player.
Everybody loves watching Shane Webcke play because of his fierce, and brutal runs. Everybody loves the sound of big impact in tackles, and the players equally love pulling them off.
Shaun Timmins and Lincoln Withers are big hitters that are not known for fighting, yet they make the game just as rough with their ground shaking tackles.

Should we Bring Back the Biff? I think some biff back into the game would be great. The rougher the game the more enjoyable. However we don&#8217;t want it getting to the point where there is a massive fight each and every match, with players getting taken off to hospital week in and week out.

Bring Back the Biff!

Word Count 707
Including name and Title


Souths Captain Seano
The Suncorp Debate

There has been plenty of talk recently about the condition of the playing surface at the newly revamped Lang Park. Since the first game at Suncorp Stadium in Round 12, when the Brisbane Broncos played the Newcastle Knights, the playing surface has been under intense scrutiny. There have been many people who have come and spoken out about the playing surface, however opinion is divided.

It was easy enough to notice that during the Round 12 encounter between the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights that something was not right. A newly renovated stadium, costing a reported 280 million dollars, featuring state of the art seating, unrivalled atmosphere and brilliant corporate facilities, however there was something that was not right. The playing surface, at least before kick off, looked fine and was to fit right in with the other aspects of the breath-taking stadium. However it was not long before it was plain to see that the ground was not ready.

The amount of sand which was leaping after players boots as they ran gave the first indications from kick off, and was followed soon after by the amount of grass and sand which flew at the first tackle. However, the rugby league fraternity could not fault the stadium in their commentary. The focus of comments referred to the facilities of the stadium and the atmosphere present in the ground, and even though these things are true, the actual playing surface warrants more than a passing comment.

In my opinion, the turf laid down is not safe to play on. This is obvious to see simply because of the number of players that were present in the Round 12 clash, and also the first State of Origin, who were unable to keep their feet, and also due to the amount of grass and sand which would not stay in the turf! This is, however, only my opinion and as is the way of opinions every person has one, but it is an opinion which would be widely held.

During the First State of Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium on the 11th of June, it was a war of attrition. The images broadcast around the world were bloody, ferocious but also thoroughly entertaining. The images of the players still tackling while crippled, having head wounds stapled shut, and basically playing like men possessed was a great advertisement for Rugby League. However, there were also some fairly serious injuries, like those sustained by Justin Hodges and Paul Bowman to name the two most serious injuries. Injuries are, as we all know, part and parcel of Rugby League however in Fridays Telegraph we see that Justin Hodges is thinking of suing the management of Suncorp Stadium for damages!

Irrespective of whatever has been said about the stadium and playing surface, by players and media alike, if a player has been injured and wishes to sue the management of the ground then one of two things can be assumed:
* Either the player is mercenary, spoilt and money hungry, or
* The players do indeed hold a deep seated fear for their safety when playing on a surface which they feel is unsafe.

I am not going to pass judgement on what Justin Hodges is thinking of doing. However I am of the opinion that injuries are going to happen irrespective of where you are playing and are basically bad luck. However, an important question to be raised is that should the management of a wonderful stadium such as Suncorp put itself at risk by playing games with millions of dollars of talent on the park, on a surface which they have openly admitted to not being 100%?

However when everything is said and done injuries will still occur even on the best playing surface. The spectacle of the first State of Origin match was not at all diminished by the quality of the ground, if anything the atmosphere that was so obvious on television made for a gripping and involving match. However if players are not comfortable playing, or are thinking about suing for injuries, then that leaves our great game in a definitely vulnerable state.

word count ~700


Terracesider: Souths No.7.

Book Review: Rugby's Great Split; Class, Culture And The Origins Of Rugby League Football. By Tony Collins; London: Cass, 1998 (reprinted 1999, 2003). $48.54 (pbk).

Many Rugby League (R.L.) fans will probably be at least vaguely familiar with the story of the game's origins: in 1895 at a meeting at the George Hotel in Huddersfield, 22 clubs broke away from the Rugby Football Union (R.F.U.) over arguments about 'broken-time' payments and formed the Northern Rugby Football Union (N.U.); similar arguments in Australia led to the formation of the New South Wales Rugby League (N.S.W.R.L.) in 1907; over the subsequent decades, changes to the laws of the game, enacted by the N.U. and the N.S.W.R.L. evolved a distinctive form of rugby football, known throughout the world from 1922 by its Australian title: Rugby League. However, possibly fewer fans will be aware of precisely why the broken-time debate could not be resolved, or why the breakaway bodies felt compelled to change the laws of the game to such an extent. In Rugby's Great Split, Tony Collins (currently, the official R.L. archivist) provides answers to these questions which should be of interest to R.L. supporters throughout the world.

Drawing on contemporary newspaper accounts and the frustratingly few surviving official records, Collins has painstakingly pieced together the most detailed historical account still in print of the origins of R.L.. Chapter One recounts how organised rugby developed in mid-19th century English public (i.e. private) schools, as part of a character-building strategy intended to produce gentlemen fit to rule an empire. During the 1870s, as the game began to be played by the middle classes throughout England, rugby became a source of intense civic rivalry between many cities and towns.

As a successful rugby team became a symbol of civic pride, the local notables running the clubs sought to recruit the best players available, many of whom were working class. In chapter two Collins examines the consequent development of tensions throughout the 1880s between some of R.F.U.'s middle clases administrators' resolutely amateur ideology and the working class players, who not only expected to be compensated for wages lost through time taken off work to play rugby (the so-called 'broken-time' payments), but also to be paid a wage commensurate wiith their skills. The chapter climaxes in 1886 with the R.F.U.'s first anti-professionalism regulations.

As chapter three demonstrates, whatever the R.F.U. might decree, by the late 1880s amateurism was being overwhelmed by commercialism. Especially in Yorkshire and Lancashire, rugby's dominance was being challenged by the increasing popularity of professional soccer. The regional authorities successfully countered with leagues and knock-out cups, generating huge crowds and a significant income used by many clubs to recruit what were in effect 'professional' players. Yet some of the R.F.U.'s national administrators clung to the old amateur ethos and launched a witch-hunt against the nascent professionalism.

Chapter four describes the climax of the witch-hunt at the 1893 R.F.U. Annual General Meeting and the subsequent establishment of the N.U. in 1895. Collins argues convincingly that a feasible compromise over broken-time payments was frustrated by an influential faction within the R.F.U. whose motives were worries that the working classes would eventually wrest control of the game from the middle-classes. Indeed, to Collins the R.F.U.'s anti-professionalism was a hypocritical example of classism rather than a point of high principle because, whereas working class players were denied payments even for lost wages, the 'gentlemen' amateur players were allowed extremely generous 'expenses'.

Finally, Chapters five and six deal with the first fifteen years of the N.U., including: the constant struggle against victimisation by the R.F.U.; the many rule changes designed to attract more spectators; the early development of R.L. in Australia and New Zealand; and the importance of the early international matches to the game's survival.

This review has highlighted only the main narrative lines of Collins' complex, yet highly readable book, which contains also a mass of interesting material about particular clubs and about 19th century attitudes to society in general and to sport in particular. There is scope for further research to deepen our understanding of R.L.'s origins, for example: investigations of the roles of key actors in the debates over professionalism and establishment of the N.U.; and studies locating R.L. within in the wider context of late 19th century British and Australian society. However, it is a tribute to Dr Collins that all future such work will be surely built on the foundations laid in his definitive book Rugby's Great Split .

(750 words)


RoostarGirl - Eastern Suburbs Roosters
Word Count - 706.


Brad "Freddy" Fittler's football career may have started with humble beginnings but he is now arguably the most successful footballer of the modern era.

Brad Fittler was educated at St Mary's High School before transferring to complete years 11 and 12 at McCarthy Catholic Senior High School in Emu Plains. Freddy played for a local Junior Rugby League team of Cambridge Park and went on to play first grade for the Penrith Panthers whilst still in High School at McCarthy. He made his first grade debut for the Panthers against Wests back in August 20th 1989.

Brad Fittler went on to play in grand final winning team of the Penrith Panthers over the Canberra Raiders back in 1991 and in that same year Freddy won a place on his first Kangaroo Tour.

It was not until the Super League war broke out that Freddy was forced out of the Penrith Club and into the Roosters.

Brad was on the 1995 World Cup Tour when the Super League War broke out. Whilst away Penrith decided that the best option for their survival would be to transfer to the Super League Competition.

Brad Fittler was clearly one of Penrith's most valuable players at that time and was not notified of the Club&#8217;s decision until it was made. Freddy was clearly distressed by what had occurred in his absence and he along with a few other high profile players decided that he wanted to stay with the ARL Competition. This was ultimately what forced Brad Fittler out of Penrith, as he was left with no alternative but to look for a Club within the ARL Competition.

Brad Fittler leaving the Panthers to join another strong ARL Club left only 2 teams in the race or chase for Brad Fittler. They were the Sydney City Roosters and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. The Roosters were tipped to be the lucky club to gain his signature and so it was...as Freddy decided to join his long time mentor and friend Phil "Gus" Gould.

The day Brad Fittler joined the Roosters was a day I will never forget and from that moment onwards the Roosters looked certain to be a team destined for great things.

During his time with the Roosters Freddy was appointed the Captain of the NSW Blues and has represented the Blues on 29 occasions and is one of the most capped New South Wales Origin players of all times. Freddy has also represented Australia in 34 Tests of which he captained the Australian Team on 20 occasions and has played his part in a total of three Kangaroo Tours and 2 World Cup Tours.

Freddy has helped steer the Roosters to every Finals Series since joining the club back in 1996. The Roosters have been extremely successful since Brad joined the club, which has culminated in two grand final appearances in three years seasons 2000 and 2002.

Freddy decided that he would forego all representative duties in Season 2002 to help concentrate on captaining the Roosters to their first Premiership win in 27 years. This seemed to be a masterstroke for both Freddy and the Roosters, as the Club and Freddy were both rewarded by his efforts. Freddy was able to hold up a Premiership Trophy as a worthy Captain and Premier of 2002. Freddy also went on to captain the Roosters to their victory in the World Club Challenge in England on the 14 February 2003.

I now would like to wish Brad all the luck for the rest of this season and in his quest to win back to back premierships for the Roosters which the Roosters accomplished back in 1974-1975.

Freddy is a true inspiration to his fellow players and supporters of Rugby League. Freddy is a great leader who always leads by example both on and off the field and I know that all of the young Roosters players look up to and aspire to become like Freddy.

This is what inspired my article. Brad Fittler may have begun his career at the foot of the mountains in Penrith but he truly has flourished and is now on top of the mountains with the Sydney Roosters.


Bunny Boy

When stupidity overrides brilliance…
By Bunny Boy
Souths #5

Rugby League footballers in this day and age don’t have much to do at all apart from playing the game they supposedly love. They get up in the morning, head off to the training ground, do some laps , drills , gym work and so forth, perhaps watch a few videos, do some media interviews (if your important enough), then come game day play for 80 minutes and that’s it.

How much do they get paid you ask? Well it varies from a measly 50k to a possible 500k plus sponsorship dollars and so forth. This is a pretty large amount of money considering Rugby League isn’t really a global game. It is also a lot of money considering that a lot of these fulltime players don’t have other jobs outside rugby league.

Apart from rugby league, many players, especially the younger ones do absolutely nothing. They do not even worry about what the future holds for them. The odd player might get a run on the footy show, foxtel rugby league programme and so forth, but what about the rest?

Now this is where the problem lies with players who have nothing to do with their time heading down the wrong path and perhaps even tarnishing their image. It all has to do with morals and ethics being vanished out of Rugby League and the game being more of a business than a sport.

My argument is based upon many rugby league footballers over the last decade or so who have not been the best role models to children in Australia, even though their talent on the football pitch said otherwise. Players such as Craig Field, Kevin McGuiness, Darrell Trindall, Julian O’Neill and so forth have all tarnished their own name because of stupidity. All cases were different to each other, and perhaps they have changed, but that does not mean it won’t happen in the future with other NRL superstars.

The NRL can not afford to have young players head in the wrong direction when they have a taste of first grade rugby league. They can not allow them to spend their spare time trying recreational drugs, getting blind drunk and so forth. Schemes need to be put in place to educate young players that the opportunity they have been given to play Rugby League is a very special one and that they should not take it for granted because it could all fall to pieces in front of them just as quickly as it eventuated.

Not only is it essential to help rugby league players be successful in their life after footy, but they are role models in our society to children who look up to them, and the NRL can not have bad press of players taking recreational drugs and so forth floating around because then children will see it as more acceptable to do.

Ultimately, the National Rugby League should implement a plan for each player on the NRL ranks to help them along. A plan like the following could be used.

Step 1: For Flegg and Premier League players have a course for them to attend outlining the effects of recreational drug use , alcohol and so forth. Then train them how to put forward these ideas to children whom they will be visiting on a regular basis in schools in the city and country.

Step 2: Send the players around to schools in the city and country doing drills with them as well as outlining the negative effects of drugs.

Step 3: When the player has played 2 season of NRL footy the NRL should implement a plan for them to reach their goals of what they want to do after they finish playing.

Step 4: At careers end the NRL should help the player find routes to the goals the player set to achieve for life after footy.

If these above steps are used players will realize that there is more to life after footy and that the time they have playing footy is precious and should not be wasted. A positive vibe will be sent out from the NRL to children in the community which will help see these heroes in an even better light.

Word Count = 713

Genghis Chan

Lord Reynoldson
Roosters #5

Player Safety, is the NRL doing enough?

What is more important, reacting to serious injuries, or preventing serious injuries? Clearly, preventing player injury is more important. Commissioner Jim Hall does not appear to be helping the fight for player safety. The best way to keep players safe is to stop dangerous tackles altogether. The best way to stop dangerous tackles is to severely penalise players regardless of the extent of injury to an opponent, and based upon the injuries that could have been sustained. 3 amazing incidents this year would suggest that the NRL needs to take a look at what the judiciary is doing and fix it up.

1) Luke O’Donnell was charged with striking a Canberra player earlier this year. The judiciary members were publicly said to be awaiting the results of scans on the victims face to see the extent of the fractures sustained. To me, that is saying that if you only minorly injure someone, the judiciary will be lenient. Why look at the extent of an injury? What should be looked at, is the possibility of the extent of the injury. What is more likely to stop a player from a repeat offence, a few weeks for a minor injury on striking someone, or a long stint on the sideline for a serious offence, regardless of how injured a player happened to get as a result of the offence?

2) The most astounding case not to appear before the judiciary, Ben Harris up ended a Roosters player in a spear tackle back in round 9. No action was taken. That tackle was very reminiscent of one back in 2000, where Steve Kearney ended the career of Jarod McCracken. As a result of the tackle, Kearney copped an 8-week suspension. 8 weeks was probably being lenient, but that is not the issue here. Ben Harris received a simple penalty against him. In what could have been only centimetres away from ended another player’s career, Harris got a simple slap on the wrist. Will that teach him to not do it again? I certainly wouldn’t put money on it not happening again. It’s only a matter of time before he gets back into the bad habit.

3) To a lesser extent, in round 12 Justin Hodges got Billy Slater in a high tackle. Slater was clearly slipping, and if it weren’t for his lack of footwork in that play, would have copped Justin Hodges arm right on the chin with the first contact. Why should a player be let off for what is a reckless high tackle simply because a player trips over? Similar tackles at the same height that have hit players this year and in years gone past, have resulted in careless high tackle charges. Careless? If those tackles have been careless then Saddam Hussein and George W.Bush are best friends. How often are players charged for reckless high tackles? Well, like all judiciary matters, that depends on the extent of the injury. Hodges put in a high and reckless shot that would have seen him on the sidelines for a week if Slater had not slipped over. Ironically, him avoiding suspension and sitting on the sideline, put him in the Origin match which know has him sitting on the sideline for the entire season. However, there is still no deterent for him to not go into a tackle with a high shot again.

When the judiciary can look past the injury sustained and concentrate on the severeness a players action can cause, whether it be career ending, life threatening, or jaw breaking, then start handing out sentences that will make players take a look at their tackling technique to ensure they are doing the right thing. When that happens, we can have a much safer competition. Whether a player hits their own team mate high by accident, misses over the top, or misses due to an opponents poor footwork, they should be brought into line for their reckless actions which can cause serious harm. There are not enough reckless tackle charges handed out. When someone does get charged, it’s normally a grade 1 careless high tackle charge that doesn’t even see them miss a game. There should be a mandatory 1 game suspension for all charges levelled out by Commissioner Jim Hall. Regardless of the injury sustained, unless the sentences handed out get more serious, there is not enough being done to deter players and result in a lack of player safety.

748 words (including title)


Ozzie - Roosters


Many years ago a footballer hero of mine was a player by the name of &#8220;Ding&#8221; Doyle who played centre for Harden. Ding was a part of a great Harden side. He wasn&#8217;t an overly big player but he was fast, elusive and a hard tackler, the complete centre. Many a time I had saw him stand up to much bigger centres and finish on top of them in the battle for supremacy.

When Ding retired he became our U/18 coach however, Ding was showing the effects of a long, hard career on the field and off it. His love of a beer was well known and at 37 his knees and body were shot from the many blows on the field he had taken.

The next year, Ding put up his hand to play again to help Harden out with their lack of numbers and quality players. He was, in my opinion, over the hill and had no right to be on the paddock. But I was to learn a lesson from him I would never forget in my football career.

It was a cold day in Crookwell in 1969, and little did I know how the day would unfold as I led the u/18&#8217;s onto the paddock. It started to snow and it made every tackle hurt on the cold and frozen field. We had run up a comfortable lead when the first grade coach walked into the dressing shed and told me that I was being pulled off to rest, as I would be reserve for the first grade.

Imagine my terror as I was going to possibly make my first grade debut in the sleet, something I was looking forward to (not) as I was already shivering in my wet football gear.

For anyone who has been to Crookwell there isn&#8217;t a warm place at the ground &#8211; the grand stand is commonly known as the &#8220;Chook Pen&#8221; because it looked like one and it was open to the rain, sleet and wind. The dressing sheds were always cold and dank and not a place to sit to try and keep warm.

The Reserve grade game came and in a blur it was over and I was back in the dressing shed freezing in my wet socks and shorts trying to listen to the 1st grade coach&#8217;s game speech. Who cared? I thought, I was only reserve.

Well my worst fears were realised. Within five minutes into the game our outside centre broke his arm. I was hauled from underneath the blankets, given a quick &#8220;good luck&#8221; from the coach and sent into the fray. Bloody lovely, I thought, &#8220;here I am freezing, and having to play outside Ding as well, he&#8217;s past it, just my luck.&#8221;

After twenty minutes of play I hadn&#8217;t received one pass from Ding, when all of a sudden a gap as wide as the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened up in front of me. I received a beautiful pass from Ding and under the posts I went. I had just scored my first try in First Grade. The same thing happened in the second half &#8211; beauty my second try.

Needless to say we won and I was feeling on top of the world. I looked for Ding and saw him slumped in the corner of the shed. Nose broken, a tooth knock out of his head and a big black eye. He tried to wink and I just burst out laughing, however it suddenly dawned on me &#8211; here was the guy who was over the hill carrying the wounds that I could have received. Not once during the game did I not get a &#8220;hospital pass&#8221; or a pass in heavy traffic. He took the brunt of the defence and only gave me the ball when I was in the clear.

When I thanked him he smiled to me and said &#8220;one day you&#8217;ll have to do what I did- just remember to look after your mate&#8221;. That day I learnt a lot of humility and a lesson on not selling your teammates short.

Country towns never change &#8211; The years have rolled on. Ding always had his seat in the pub that was his and you could always guarantee that he would be there on a Saturday to say good day to. Now that seat is empty but his words still live with me and will forever - &#8220;look after your mate&#8221;.






An interview with Craig Fitzgibbon and some great anedotes in the lead up. Can't wait for the conclusion.
744 words (inc title).
Score: 8.4

The Backpacker
An excellent summary of the turbulent history of Chris Walker.
756 words (inc title).
Score: 8.6 less .2 word count penalty
Total = 8.4

A top-notch account of the carreer of one the modern game's great players, Brad Fittler
715 words (inc title)
Score: 8.0

Lord Reynoldson
Player Safety, is the NRL doing enough? A well researched look at the penalties handed out for dangerous play.
748 words (inc title)
Score: 8.9

Well that brought tear to my eye. First hand account of the greatness of mateship that can only be found on the footy field.
748 words (inc title).
Score: 8.5



Olympic Park
In depth view of the expansion and/or reloaction proposals and a warning about the threat from other codes. 760 words (inc title). Score: 8.4 less .2 word count penalty
Total = 8.2

Bring back the Biff. Commendable sentiments and a look at both sides of the fight... I mean debate.
702 words (inc title).
Score: 7.9

The controversy regarding the Suncorp playing surface. Very current.
696 words (inc title).
Score: 8.0

An excellent review of an Excellent book, Tony Collins' Rugby's Great Split.
746 words (inc title).
Score: 9.4

Bunny Boy
When stupidity overrides brilliance. A tricky subject about players and their responsibilties to themselves and the game's image. A possible solution as well.
708 words (inc title)
Score: 8.4


Roosters 42.2 defeat Souths 41.9
and win the inaugural Foundation Cup.
Forummer of the match: Terracesider (Souths)

Well played everybody.
What a great Game and hats off to a fantastic Souths team.

We will all be looking forward to meeting next year for the Annual Foundation Cup Challenge.


Congrats to the Roosters and congrats to our own Terracesider who won man of the match with an outstanding 9.4
Well Done to everyone.

All I can say is bring on the next team...I think its the Rhinos :twisted:

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