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Willow Cup :: Souths vs Ninjas - Round 1



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:
* 3 -V- 3 (+ 4 reserves for each side)
* 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 2nd of March 2014
Full Time: Monday 17th of March 2014 (9:00pm Sydney Time)
Referee: Non Terminator
Venue: Redfern Oval


Best of luck to all involved.


Souths are ready to talk some smack and go back to back!

Souths R da bes

Marshall Magic
Horrie is God
Tommy Smith


Monk runs out onto the field with Taylor Swift blaring in the background. Aw yeah!

734 words according to Mr Word Counter


No Idea


Have you ever been really drunk and thought that a kebab with extra hot chilli sauce was a good idea? Only to realise the next morning that every nook and cranny in your body is spewing out a substance which can only be described as lava from the depths of hell into what used to be a nice clean toilet bowl?

Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us.

Say you’re a fan of Rugby League (or a Souths fan, that’s fine too); there may be times when you think that things need to happen to better the game, or whatever other lame ass excuse you can find to tell people about your horrible ideas. Regardless, your ideas are woeful and here’s why:

- Names on the back of jerseys.

Sure it may seem like a great idea, until you realise that a Sonny-Bill Williams jersey will set you back an extra $50, on-top of the already stupidly high jersey prices. Guess you’re getting that Daniel Mortimer jersey that you always wanted instead!

“What was that son? You want a Gareth Widdop jersey for your birthday? I’m sorry but we’re a little strapped for cash at the moment, here’s a Craig Garvey jersey that was 80% off! You can wear that to school tomorrow if you want!”

Oh? You think that’s just a problem for stupid kids and horrible parents to deal with? Let me assure you that it’s not. Try being the poor Parramatta fan who thought that buying a Chris Sandow jersey when he was going to be the competition's greatest halfback in an up-and-coming Eels side was the greatest idea since hiring Daniel Anderson. Guess what? Now it collects radioactive dust in his closet of shame along with the 2001 Grand Final Jersey. Go Parra!

If you think that’s not too bad, well it gets worse. When the NRL realises that they can make ass-loads (yes, that is a technical term) of money from customisable names on the back of jerseys, society will show its true face, and let me assure you that I would rather French kiss a balding Phil Gould than read what 'the general public' thinks makes them original and unique.


“Da King ov QLD”

“Cum Bak Izzy”


Is this what you want? This sort of anarchy in our own backyard!? Think of the children!

- The NFL V2

If there is anything I have noticed being a Rugby League fan for about 15 years now, it’s that the only thing more annoying than Souths supporters after a Round 1 victory are NFL fans who think that copying what the NFL does will make Rugby League a world-wide hit and boost our International prowess.

The NFL has been touted as probably one of the greatest spectacles of our time, which is a fairly agreeable statement. As far as being a spectacular performance piece, the only thing that can come close to duplicating that sort of drama and heartbreak is the chorus of a Taylor Swift song. Adding an off-season draft is not going to be the single thing to push our game into the limelight and bring us billion dollar TV deals. In fact, such a radical addition to the off-season has the potential to completely disrupt the lower grade competitions which we hold so close to our heart.

Instead of players developing through their local club with dreams of playing for their hometown side, younger players will choose the more successful lower grade sides, because they’re the ones which will give them the best chance to get drafted higher – increasing their salary as an unproven rookie player to astronomical heights. Clubs like the Bulldogs, who are so well known for being ‘bred not bought’ will likely lose all of their local talent, which is an absolute tragedy. The worst part however, is that rookie players will basically have a three year window (if that) to cement themselves a place in their clubs top 25 before they’re thrown away like week old beef stew.

So there you go. All your great ideas which were formed in the local RSL after one too many $3 beers have gone up in smoke. Your dreams of a Souths jersey with “Macca Rulz” on the back will never become a reality. So what now? Well, try coming up with ideas on the shitter, that’s where I get mine...
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Staff member
soc123_au taking the pass from Monk to take another hitup. 745 words says the owc.

The Clutch

Rugby League is a funny game; we all look at stats when picking supercoach teams, the media bombard us with them in game previews and during commentary. The stats are a handy tool to see who is hot and who is not, but there is one story they can never tell. That story is the clutch play.

Round 1 the Storm faced Manly at Brookvale Oval. There is no love lost between these teams and this game seemed set for the rivalry to continue. As the first half played out it seemed the doomsayers regarding the big 3 may be proven correct as Manly raced away to a 20 point lead in as many minutes. Admittedly the big 3 were only 2 for this match up, with Cooper Cronk sidelined through injury. Melbourne have done it in the past without him, so a 20 point margin was unexpected. At the end of the half Melbourne had managed to score a try to keep the game within reach.

In the second half, the Storm seemed to find their way and managed to claw their way back to take a 2 point lead. The last 15 minutes developed into an arm wrestle until Manly were able to draw level with 7 minutes to go. At the end of time what seemed impossible just 60 minutes earlier had come to fruition. The game was going into golden point. Normally one could be forgiven for backing the Storm in this situation. Cooper Cronk is a cool customer & knows how to kick a field goal. Sadly for the Storm he was sitting in the stands. In the 85th minute of his 262nd NRL game Cameron Smith steps up and calmly pots his first ever field goal. The stats will show the field goal, but they don’t tell the story of how it came to be.

Fast forward to Round 2. Cronk is back and it is a milestone day for the Storm. Billy Slater is playing his 250th and Smith is breaking the club record for games played in the purple strip. They are facing off against the Panthers who have an abysmal record against the Storm and especially so in Melbourne. The stats point to an easy Storm victory.

The first half commences and the Panthers show they have come to spoil the party. Some brutal defence and uncharacteristic poor discipline from the Storm sees the Panthers applying the pressure. Despite this the Storm take first blood and run out to an 8 point lead after having been dominated in both field position and possession. Penrith finally post some points and the half finishes with the Storm ahead 14 points to 10. Looking at the stats it appears that the scoreline should be reversed.

The second half sees a reversal in pretty much every stat except the scoreboard. Melbourne have all the possession, penalties and field position, however it’s Penrith who manages to post points and draw level. At the 60 minute mark Billy Slater is sin binned for a professional foul, from the resulting penalty Penrith somehow take the lead. Down to 12 men it looks like the Storm are about to have their party ruined. Enter Cooper Cronk. Some wonderful kicking sees Penrith robbed of field position and pinned at the wrong end of the field. With 12 to go The Storm draw level with a penalty as a result of the field position. The Storm led by Cronk keep applying the pressure and with 5 to go as expected he slots a field goal. Things seem to be following the script. The Panthers who have fought hard all game are set to prove they can come up with a clutch play of their own. 90 seconds from time Peter Wallace steps up and slots a one pointer of his own and the game seems destined for golden point.

Cameron Smith knows what needs to be done. In absolutely appalling conditions, he drills the kick off at the sideline. The Panthers can see what is happening, but are powerless to stop it. In the ensuing set they work towards the posts & Cronk again steps up with a field goal. Game over. Or is it? The Panthers try a sneaky kick off of their own. It pays off and they get a penalty on full time 42 meters out. Wallace lines up the shot that if successful will win the game. Sadly he isn’t Cameron Smith.


First Grade
saints4ever receives the kick off for the ninjas. 747 words

Enough is Enough

Despite the very few cases found and the fizzer it appears to be, the ASADA saga has taken something from everyone that follows this great game of Rugby League. Whether you’re an avid fan, a spectator or a member of one of the club’s named, you’ve no doubt gone through a world of emotions since the “blackest day in Australian sport” line was dropped. Fear and anxiety turned to boredom and then anger. Finally, we face a void. No one is the wiser and we are all waiting for the “shocking truths” that we have been promised are going to come. For almost eighteen months. Today, generally, fans have given up caring. Day after day there is no word and fans are helpless, having to just wait, frustrated in the knowledge the saga is taking so long and there is nothing they can do. There is one man however, who could've.

Shane Flanagan, while waiting on the results of his, the Sharks and Trent Elkin's appeal to NRL CEO David Smith, had every right to feel nervous. The fact the bans were even appealed surprised many. It was very unlikely the bans and fines would be overturned, seeing as though the man going over the appeals was the same that handed out the punishment in the first place.

The punishments were upheld and the circus that has been the ASADA investigation continues on its grinding, spluttering way. A very small yet important part of this slowness has been the Sharks and Flanagan himself. To this day he has professed his innocence and denies any wrong doing over the alleged supplements debacle of 2011. This is of course, his prerogative. It also seems as though he is in the business of going further, thumbing his nose at the NRL big wigs as a man with nothing to hide. He did this by showing up to the Sharks trial match against the West Tigers at Resmondis Stadium and watching the contest from a private box supplied to him by the club. Keep in mind his ban wipes ALL direct or indirect contact with the club, the staff and its players. Something so impossible to police, the clause borders on the ridiculous.

Luckily for him, although the NRL were threatening to fine him again for what was thought to be a breach of his ban, Flanagan escaped the further wrath of David Smith. His defence was that his son was playing SG Ball in the Sharks junior competition and he was simply watching him. As anyone lucky enough to be a father would surely say, you would have to be a cold hearted individual to deny a father what should be a proud, intimate memory. I am not about to do that. What I am going to do is question the logic behind a few points.

One, if Flanagan was going to be at the game, why did the Sharks provide a private box? If he truly understood and respected his ban, the stand or the hill is the place for him. He is not the coach anymore. He is a paying fan of the game. Secondly, the SG ball game was played well before the first grade game. Why, did he stay if he was only there in the first place to watch his son? Perhaps the box could be excused, if he simply left before the first grade teams started.

Flanagan and the club finally decided not to appeal the bans last week, in what was surely a win for common sense. The ASADA affair has cost them over a million dollars so far. Should they or Flanagan have appealed the rejection they would’ve dragged the cash strapped club and the NRL through the Supreme Court, wasting more time and money unless they secured an unlikely victory. The choice to stand down has at least righted a very slow and lost ship.

If all you aim to do is prove another person wrong, by doing anything to prove yourself right, you end up bashing your head against a brick wall. Flanagan needs to realize there is more than just his reputation at stake. Things like the well-being of men under his charge (as there are now law suits against the club from former players over the supplements), the integrity of a club so often under financial scrutiny and the pride of thousands of fans still waiting for that elusive first premiership.
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749 OWC

A Captain's Knock

Sometimes a player's entire career can be captured in a single passage of play. A decade or more of toil is encapsulated into one small victory. Knowing a player long enough to recognise these moments gives a fan great joy. Watching the likes of Darren Lockyer torment the Blues defence with the same deft touch in his final Origin game as he did his first brings to mind why we admired him for so long. Seeing Steven Menzies follow the play to score a try in his final Grand Final left Manly fans with a lifelong memory, a snapshot of his finest attributes.

There are many reasons why we grow to love certain players. Individuals have varying tastes and admire different things in our game - the strength of the forwards, the flair of the backs, or the skill of the halves. But it takes more than these generic traits to give a player his character. More complex and emotive virtues define not only the superstars of Rugby League, but also our lesser known heroes. Loyalty is prized above almost all else. Fans have a special place in their heart for the players that have suffered through the same failed campaigns and who have experienced the same highs. Courage is expected. Teammate's respect the players who fight above their weight, the players that inspire others to follow them into the fray. These attributes can be displayed without winning trophies or wearing representative jumpers.

Midway through the second half of a tightly contested match last Friday night, the monstrous South Sydney pack had started to get the better of their counterparts from Manly. Behind 12-6 on the scoreboard and without some of their senior players, the Sea Eagles were ripe for the picking. The Rabbitoh's smelt blood. Englishman Sam Burgess was happy to lead the way, with both words and actions. Manly had found themselves in an ambush, and needed to be saved.

This moment would be for Jason King.

King was born in Manly and has played every football game of his life there. At 31 years of age, and nearer to the end of his playing days than the start, he has risen to the rank of Sea Eagles co-captain. He is the man trusted to lead his team both on and off the field, through good times and bad. And for King, last season was bad.

Major shoulder surgery in April ended King's season, and rumours swirled that perhaps his twelve year career was over, too. For the second time in three years he watched from the sideline as his team contested a Grand Final, this time as they were defeated. With his hulking frame unable to compete, he had been reduced to merely a spectator, akin to a security guard escorting players around the dressing room. He would have asked himself hard questions. His loved ones would have asked him the same questions, along with his doctor and his coaches. They are questions about belief, ability, desire, and the future.

King answered all those questions during one fiery period of Friday night's match and showed all Rugby League followers why he is respected so much by the Sea Eagles faithful.

It was King's first match in a year, and as the South Sydney forwards rolled forward in search of prey, he launched a one man counter attack. Some would say he made himself the bait. There were no thoughts of winning this war alone. As he attacked Sam verbally and his brothers physically, King's moves were both maniacal and measured. The results were twofold. The young Manly replacements who were unsure of their next move now had a man to follow. The old man who had dragged himself from rehab to pre-season to here was now in his element. It was leadership in it's most pure and barbaric form, and the conflict it created changed the momentum of the contest. Because while King engaged the entire South Sydney pack in trench warfare, Manly mobilised their troops on the flanks. Fast feet and quicker thinking led to the equalising try, not machismo and muscle.

As a lifelong Rugby League fan, the effort of King made me smile. The assault he submitted himself to was fierce, as was his retaliation. He led with command and nous. He played with ferocity and selflessness, the pain and doubt forgotten. And he did it for the only club he knows, the way he always has.

This moment defined him.
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Bubbles takes the final hit up for Souths

When a Picture Paints a Thousand Words... Yet I Only Get 750

Seriously, how bad was it?


It is a date we don't look forward to, a date on the sporting calendar circled in dark spiteful black circles of ink. My husband, a proud long-suffering Eels fan and myself, a proud high-flying Roosters fan, take our customary positions on the battered and arse-imprinted couch to watch our two teams take to the field. It hasn't gone well for my husband in recent history, however another year, another story with a different ending... fingers crossed!

After a good win against the Warriors in Round One, my husband is all smiling good-humoured banter. After a poor performance against our arch rivals, I am bottled enthusiasm, confidence under a tight rein. It doesn't take long for the scoreboard to start clicking over, at least on the tricolour side of the ledger and I am clapping grins, albeit a much more subdued version of myself when playing another team, any other team.

And then the assault begins. Half-time over and assault doesn't even begin to cover what transpires in the second half. The Roosters should have been charged with GBH, Grievous Bodily Harm, or JWH as it's now been renamed since Saturday night. They are clinical, ruthless and have acted with malicious forethought, however in their defence Parramatta did bend over pretty darn easily!

My cheers morph into gasps and groans as an avalanche of points bury the last embers of hope in my husband's heart. I can literally see the spark sputter out after the back-to-back-to-back-to-back attacking raid of the reigning Premiers early in the second stanza. This is not just hope for this particular eighty minutes of football. This is hope for Season 2014, hope for the future, hope for humanity itself, all crushed beneath Bondi boots.

It is from here on that I cease enjoying the spectacle. Only six short days ago I had been riding the wave of emotion crashing from my husband as his Eels won their first game played since his beloved father had passed away, late December of last year. This is a man who was so passionate about his club that his casket was borne atop the shoulders of his son and others and in this way was carried aloft into the Chapel to the haunting strains of “When the Eels are flying, they're electrifying...”!

“I just need them to win for dad.” So much pressure, so much expectation on one game of football. So much pressure, so much expectation on the twice wooden spooners (with a good chance at a three-peat). However, in this instance the Eels managed to deliver a victory in honour of one of their most ardent of fans, sadly lost way too early.

Six days later and there's a crime being committed at Allianz Stadium! And on this couch, a soul is being crushed, the weight of defeat and lost hope bending my husband's shoulders. I am at once trying to be the consoling partner, the supportive wife, the dutiful house Frau, all the while wearing the tricolours, much like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

One executive decision later and the football is canned in favour of The Walking Dead, being in need as we are for some viewing with less blood and carnage. My jersey has been discreetly covered by a jacket and my husband's ranting is becoming more sporadic and less venomous as I prise the last beer for the night out of his half lifeless hand.

Having survived another encounter between our sides, the harshest so far, I place a blanket gently over his prone, snore-filled torso. press the record button for the replay of Roosters v Eels, which I'm really looking forward to watching tomorrow... on my own!

I sag back into the couch further until I am a bundle of spent energy. “Jesus Christ” I mutter under my breath so as not to wake the sleeping monster beside me, “and this is only the second round.” The weight of twenty-four more rounds of this emotional roller-coaster settles atop my chest, pressing the air from my lungs. “Oh Freddy the Great One” I whisper, my eyes raised to the framed picture of my tricolour deity, “give me the fortitude to cop the losses, the grace to lose with dignity and the strength to survive another season with a bipolar Eels supporter – Amen!”


Word count: 731
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RCB for the Ninjas
750 words between the *****


Boo! Different Shirt! Boo!

“You are actually rooting for the clothes, when you get right down to it.”
“You are standing and cheering for your clothes to beat the clothes from another city”

Jerry Seinfeld was right. The same human being is loved one season and hated the next just because he changed his colours.

Andrew Fifita has signed with the Bulldogs. He has traded in his sky blue with black and white hoops for royal blue and white chevrons.

I wish him all the best in his new attire. He will enjoy a substantial pay rise and has job security for four more seasons. That’s a great thing to have in modern Australia considering what has happened in the automotive industry and the shakeup in the Australian public service. In uncertain economic times it is great to have security.

Fan reaction has been mixed. Most Bulldogs fans I have spoken to are happy that Andrew has signed, but have questioned the alleged price tag and the need for another monster forward when they crave a creative fullback and hooker.

Cronulla fans have thrown a predictable tantrum and turned to twitter to vent their frustration at the Cronulla Sharks club for not signing him, the media for reporting it and the man himself, Andrew (some of which has been particularly vile).

They talk about things like “loyalty”, but forget that this is a business. I would also ask Sharkies fans to remember that the club showed no such “loyalty” to Greg Bird when he needed it most, or to David Peachey, who was sent packing when he desired to stay and was still up to first grade.

Andrew has made a financial decision for himself and his family. He is entitled to do so. Rugby league is a brutal and at times dangerous game. Take a moment to consider Simon Dwyer or Taniella Tuiaki who had their careers cut short by injury.

Peter Sterling’s stellar career was ended by recurring shoulder injuries. Such is the nature of the game.

Former Australian winger Jharal Yow-Yeh suffered a horrendous leg injury and retired from the game as of today. You never know what will end your career and when. So to have financial security given the limited window of opportunity is very important.

The problem, for mine is the process.

The NRL has a system in place where star players like Canberra’s Anthony Milford and Cronulla’s Andrew Fifita can sign a contract a year out to play for another team. That’s hard to swallow for the fans of the club losing that player. Fans question whether their minds are on the job. If you watched Andrew last Monday night there was no doubt his mind was elsewhere.

At the same time, the Bulldogs and Broncos fans are delighted, but have a nervous wait until June 30 because that player could renege on said contract.

In 2013 Josh Papalii had signed with the Eels. He decided to stay with Canberra at the 11th hour. Several seasons ago Luke Lewis had signed with South Sydney, only to stay at Penrith after reneging. What kind of system is this? I sign a contract but I can change my mind and my employer has four months to talk me into it?

This is a flawed system. A much better way would be to copy the likes of the NFL in America and have a free agency period after the Grand Final. The player plays for his club, has a four week window to after the final game to renegotiate with the current employer and then test the open market as a free agent if an agreement is not made.

This would negate the uncertainty of decisions made mid-season, which no doubt have an effect on the playing group and players involved.

The fans and members would also benefit, as they could enjoy that player for the entire season without the empty feeling of knowing that player has already committed elsewhere and may not have it in his heart to make that last ditch tackle. Certainly effort and desire would no longer be questioned. If anything players coming off contract will be trying harder, as there is hay to be made while the sun is shining.

I will enjoy the remaining games Andrew has left in my clubs laundry. I will cheer him this year and it is highly likely boo him the next because that’s what we do. We boo the guy in the different shirt.


Southern Sydney 259

No Idea
Did you write this article on the shitter? It's pretty easy to get ideas floating around, piece of piss really. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Even them. Maybe.

The Clutch
Where was the clutch last year when they lost to the bloody Newcastle Knights? Check mate. Whatever name they have for it, it works. Well described.

When A Picture Paints A Thousand Words... Yet I Only Get 750
Best article title ever. You guys do realise we play each other again in just four weeks. Worried about your marraige. My mother was actually so taken back by Parramatta's loss, she has managed to actually forget about it after a good night sleep. The wonderful son I am, I reminded her. A few times. Constantly.

Not So Ginger Ninjas 260

Enough Is Enough
It's nothing more than a giant shit sandwich on the sports news pages now, isn't it? A reminder to always double check, looking at Remondis Stadium there. Sounds like you haven't had enough ASADA yet.

A Captain's Knock
Ahh Jason King. We all thought you had gone away. And now you're beating up Englishmen. Australian of the Year.

Boo! Different Shirt! Boo!
Great way of describing it. The problem I see with articles is when people complain about problems and stop. But you actually came up with something worth discussing. You are making me use my head thinking about your points. At nine thirty. Dick.


Well played Souths and well done Ninjas. Doesn't get any closer.
Top work RCB.
Thankyou as always ref :)


Congrats Ninjas and well played Souths - a very high quality match to begin to the season. Great start to the year as we look to defend the Willow Cup ... you beauty RCB!!! :D


Congrats Ninjas and in RCB for POTM well deserved and thanks NT for uber fast reffing. 1 point, that's harsh lol!

NT, we are well aware of the upcoming rematch. My Rooster mate suggested a while ago that he, myself and my husband go along to watch the one at Parra Stadium - you should have heard the language my husband used to describe how much he wasn't going to it lol! On the plus side, I've got a babysitter if I choose to ditch him and go with my rooster mate instead.