What's new
The Front Row Forums

Register a free account today to become a member of the world's largest Rugby League discussion forum! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Willow Cup :: Titans vs Ninjas - Final



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 23rd of March 2014
Full Time: Monday 7th of April 2014 (9:00pm Sydney Time)
Referee: Non Terminator & LeagueNut
Venue: The Front Row Stadium


Best of luck to all involved.


First Grade
Titans team

1. Amadean
2. Misanthrope
3. Tittoolate


4. Hoggmaster
5. bgdc
6. Titanic
7. Rug13y


Chuck Norris Texas Death Ninjas:

jamesgould (c)

Frank Grimes
Russell Crowe's Band
Vin Fizz


First Grade
saints4ever received the pass from the kickoff and charges into the defense for the ninjas.

For better or for worse (750 words)

There is an age old saying/comical story when it comes to Rugby League.

A woman is complaining to her husband; “You and that damn game! Every week, the same thing! You act like it’s a matter of life and death!”

“Don’t be stupid woman,” he replies. “It’s much more than that.”

While the joke can be applied to any sport, this week something made me think of it in a whole new light.

The Rugby League world learned of the early diagnosis of Alex McKinnon; being that he could be a quadriplegic. While there is still hope, this has shaken fans to their core. Every one of us loves this sport/have played this sport /knows someone who has. While you have a past legend in John Sattler saying that the game has “lost him” because the toughness and gladiator aspect has been removed, and officials and journalists crying foul over diminishing crowds and TV audiences, suddenly we have a 22 year old man only just out of a coma.

Michael Clarke offered his sympathies as a fellow athlete. Wayne Bennett, notorious for saying nothing to the media regardless of the situation, wrote a piece in the newspaper that brought a lump to the throat. These were two of many TV and radio personalities to speak up on the terribly sad situation, offering their best wishes to all involved, yet the fans of Newcastle and the game, for the most part could only watch and wait, silently. Hoping and or praying, if that’s their thing.

Until this week.

I had the privilege to play a small part in a rather unique and spontaneous act of kindness and generosity, inspired by a simple question on the Jubilee Avenue sub forum of League Unlimited; “What can we do?” and the hashtag slogan #RiseForAlex. Whether this would’ve happened had the quiet red head not debuted for the club we will never know, but the fact remains Alex Mckinnon was a Dragon before he was a Knight. The Dragons have a small yet strong legacy when it comes to signs and banners for their players; most are represented by them and they have been pointed out in Friday Night Football and the Sunday Roast. The comedy and the creativity are all in good fun and yet at a financial cost to the bearer.

So it was really no surprise when the idea was brought up to make a banner for Alex. This was agreed to immediately, yet there was a hesitancy against initial slogans such as “Forever in our hearts” etc. While his team mates had every right to shed tears in the on-field huddle before their mauling of the Sharks last week, the simple fact is, the man is not dead. And while there is hope, should he in fact be unable to move, this does not mean his life is over.

Once a slogan had been pitched and accepted, a tidy sum of money had been agreed in principal to be deposited into a bank account from several of us who frequent the forum. And then we were told someone had heard what we were planning and offered to design the banner with the chosen words at no cost. All we had to do was organise someone to pick it up. The banner was ready and picked up within 48 hours.

The next step was to get the message out there. Not what we had done, more so to the McKinnon family and Alex himself that even when nothing could help, strangers did something. The RLW Mole re tweeted, so did Greg Pritchard, Wendell Sailor, the SCG and the Dragons along with many fans. Finally, I personally tweeted the photo to the Knights, asking if it could somehow be forwarded to the McKinnon's. I received a reply, saying yes it would be done and the support has been tremendous.

Rugby League fans are a curious bunch. We fight, we swear and argue. But we are all brought together by the game and the heroes that wear our colours. Doing what we wish we could do.

We carry them in our hearts, even if we can’t carry them in our arms.

While his struggles are far from over, it is the hope that perhaps this act of humanity can help him rise, even if fate denies him the ability to walk.

The game we love is more than life and death, and that my friends, is no joke.

Last edited:


The reserve's siren sounds. Its time. TTLs first run-on for '14. Enthusiastically TTL chucks back his beer, pulls on the boots, vainly attempts to touch his toes as a warm-up and jogs on to Titan's first grade with his esteemed team mates and offers this 742 words below the line (OWC).


In the Genes?– An Origin Hypothesis

It struck me over dinner. Sweating in the Singapore heat, I listened to mate Steve as he revisited his Origin experiences in various Asian bars. Perhaps it was the chilli stingray, but my grey matter went into overdrive as I hypothesised that the State of Origin impact on the blue tribe may actually alter optimism, belief, hope and risk responses. Could it be that losing repeatedly traps the cockroaches into an inescapable loser’s paradigm where they re-enact loser scenarios? More! Are they simply stuck in a losers’ loop or is it much more sinister than that? In essence, a continuum of ‘Loserness’ where the eight year increments of loss have altered the fabric of Blues genetic makeup??

I postulate a Loserness model with two polarities: “Consciously Incompetent” repeat offenders; and “Unconsciously Incompetent” paradigm absorbers (1) . Considering Blues show up year after year for the ritual emotional cycle of a) optimism (defy history), b) shock (the Refs are blind), c) disbelief (wha?), d) realisation (oh the déjà vu!), e) deep depression (sob) one could apply ‘consciously incompetent’. But I wondered if they’ve absorbed losing more at some genetic level; hence ‘unconsciously incompetent’.

Back to dinner and to explain where my hypothesis came from.

Sometimes congenital losers compel themselves to play into our hands. After covering the safe subjects (kids, work, old colleague’s peccadilloes, chilli crab) the League God nudged Steve into delivering a massive knock-on. He asked me, naively, if I follow the footy. “Mate”, I responded earnestly, “I follow any code played by real men i.e. not soccer”.

My run of luck continued. Steve asked me where I came from. “Darling Downs, mate” was my confident reply.

“Great” said Steve, “do you watch Origin? We could catch the series here if we find the right bar.”

“So Steve” I slyly responded, not gaining eye contact lest he back pedal and change the subject “I know you lived at Broady for years but aren’t you, um, Blue?”

The throng (Mrs TTL and Steve’s spouse) hushed. They knew the significance of the answer and could see the Origin trap into which Steve was meandering. Mrs TTL, brave soul from south of the Tweed and immune to my regular Origin rants, was ready to boot me under the table should I be too, well, Queenslanderish.

Steve, putting a brave face on obvious pain: “Yeah mate, I’m a cockroach” and proceeded to talk about his father-in-law who, though Wagga-born, barracks for the Maroons (the wisdom of the aged?) and his teenage son, born on the Gold Coast and a passionate Cane Toad. “What about last year when we came so close…. Etc…etc…” But I was only half listening. I was in secret, grateful commune with the League God.

And so I started. Yes, shamelessly I wallowed in tribal loser-bashing. I was, so I was informed in short order the next morning, at my boorish Queensland best.

But did Steve tell me where to stick my head? Did he respond with epithets citing the Blues former glory? Change the subject to Sheffield Shield or Aussie Rules? None! He tried to provoke by revisiting the behaviour of Lang Park crowds. A fair effort, but easily deflected. For the rest of my humorous diatribe he just copped it like it was the usual role of a southerner to bear witness to the wonders of Queensland’s winning streak. But then, and this prompted the Loserness/loser gene theory, Steve started musing about the ultimate death of Origin if Queensland were to keep winning.

A Consciously Incompetent loser would layer defence against my barbs before accepting a) he knows Queensland will win, but b) he doesn’t care, he’s going to keep fronting up and to hell with the cost because one day the Blues will triumph!

An Unconsciously Incompetent loser absorbs the paradigm of ‘Queensland Wins, NSW Loses’ at a genetic level. He accepts this as so incontestably true that he starts to worry about not being able to wallow with his co-losers each future origin season.

Steve, otherwise intelligent, urbane and successful, exhibited the latter which indicates that his Loserness is not operating on a conscious level. Blues are indeed trapped in the loser’s paradigm where they compel each other to re-enact last years soul destroying losses. Loserness has filtered down from conscious to subconscious to genes.

1. Apologies to Noel Burch of Gordon Training International who developed the Conscious Competence Ladder.


Staff member
Misanthrope hits the park for House Titans!

Game of Clubs

It had been almost two years since the cessation of hostilities in what had been known as the Super League War, and even now tensions still remained between those who had stayed true to the realm and those who had aligned themselves with the pretender to the throne, Lord Murdoch of Fox Studios.

The seventeen great houses of Enarelsteros gathered at Clubs Landing to discuss matters of state.

“A toast,” Lord Ettingshausen of House Cronulla stood with a goblet of wine in hand, “To the continued success of Enarelsteros and all those who sit here tonight”.

The other sixteen lords and ladies stood to join the toast, but there was hesitance in some of them. Rumours had swirled for months about a plan to reduce the Kingdom by dissolving some of the ancestral houses and dividing their land up amongst the other, more powerful houses.

Nervous looks were exchanged between allies and old foes alike. Only last year, House Illawarra had been forced into subjugation by the Dragons of Oki Jubilee – their proud history reduced to little more than a token visit from the noble family on occasion. The men and women gathered around the table feared a similar fate awaited them.

“If I may speak,” Lord Raudonikis of House Campbelltown croaked, exchanging a knowing smile with Lord Whittaker of House Balmain, “Lord Whittaker and I have an announcement to make”.

The chatter around the table went quiet. Would this be the first of the disollutions? Which one of these proud houses would cease to exist?

“As you all know,” he continued, “My son, Leo Dynevor, is of marriageable age; I and Lord Whittaker have decided upon a marriage. House Balmain and House Campbelltown will be no more; instead we will be House Wests!”

After a moments silence, applause rang out. They had come expecting bloodshed. A joining of houses in such an equitable way was an unexpected surprise.

“These are glad tidings,” intoned Lord Toovey of Manly-Warringah, “and we would like to give our best to the happy couple. That is not the only good news on this day, though!”

A murmur of anticipation went out. There had been rumours for some time that House Manly had approached their bitter rivals from North Sydney about a marriage of convenience. For months the Bears of North Sydney had sought to relocate their lands to the unclaimed and fertile Central Coast, but dogged resistance from the locals and the harsh weather had dogged them every step of the way. Could this be the first bloody take-over?

“It is with great pride that I announce a joining of my proud family and our… ahem… ‘friends’ from the North Shore”.

All eyes turned to Lord Buettner of House North Sydney, who had long been a vocal enemy of the Sea Eagles. His head was hung in shame. He would not meet their eyes as he spoke.

“It is true,” he said sadly, “We have agreed to a joining of our houses. May House Northern Eagles forever reign in the North.”

Startled gasps rippled around the room. Lord Toovey motioned for the men to release Lord Buettner’s daughter, Jasinda Taylor.

“This is indeed a glorious day,” spoke King Moffett, “As you all know, we have been charged with the task of reducing this kingdom’s noble houses. With these two unions, we need only remove one more house before beginning the next season… of harvesting”.

House Brisbane, House Bondi, and House Melbourne seemed unphased by this news.

“I object,” spoke Lord Piggins of House Redfern, “These proud houses, North Sydney, Balmain, and Campbelltown deserve better! Why must we fear death while upstarts like House Melbourne and House Cowboys prosper?”

Some of the oldest houses shouted their agreement. Lord Buettner looked up with hope in his eyes, while the Lords of Campbelltown and Balmain shared an uncertain glance.

“Heresey!” shouted Lord Ribot of House News Limited, “I charge thee with Heresey! The Red God demands blood!”

King Moffett moved to stand between Ribot and Piggins.

“Please, Lord Piggins,” he said with a calming hand on the fat man’s shoulder, “Can we not do this peacefully?”

“Never,” Piggins growled.

He never felt the knife slip in under his ribs.

As he felt his life blood ebb from him, he knew his house was dead. The last words he heard, hissed into his ear by Ribot as he ran a knife across his throat:

“The Murdochs send their regards”


WORD COUNT: 744 including title

Last edited:


Amadean for the Titans with 735 tongue-in-cheeks



Australian Rugby League Commission Press Release: Complete Ban on Lifting Tackles to Commence from May 2014


After full consideration and analysis, the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has of 5pm today, the 7th of April 2014, informed all affiliated leagues and clubs within Australia that a complete ‘blanket’ ban on dangerous ‘lifting’ tackles will be in effect from the 1st of May 2014.

This is an important step towards safeguarding the long-term health of Rugby League players in Australia. The Commission believes ‘lifting’ tackles are a threat to the well-being of all players in Australia, regardless of professional status, age or skill-level.

In its role as the official governing body of Australia’s leading football code, the ARLC has a duty to protect all players, wherever possible, by careful and continual adjustment to the laws of the game. These adjustments are not made lightly in response to any one single incident, but are the result of years of research and testing. It is the Commission’s duty to fully engage with healthcare professionals in research, treatment and media roles in the preparation and implementation of any and all rule adjustments.

The potential success of this rule change is well-demonstrated by the success of previous alterations to the laws of the game. A particularly successful case in point concerns the outlawing of the dangerous ‘cannonball’ tackle in July 2011. The ‘cannonball’ tackle, in which a vertically-held player has their legs charged by an incoming player, was responsible for literally some potential injuries. In the seasons since the outlawing of this tackle-style, leg injuries almost completely disappeared from the premier NRL competition.

A further demonstration of the ARLC’s effective continual adjustment of the rules of the game is the ‘shoulder-charge’ tackle. Evidence of this tackle’s potential danger to players consistently amounted across the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons, as well as several incidents in 2010. The ARLC gave instructions to NRL referees in 2014 to indicate a much stronger line against ‘shoulder-charge’ tackles must be taken. Since this ‘line-in-the-sand’ was drawn, there have been very nearly almost zero incidents of dizziness during matches and sore heads in the match-recovery period. The Commission also notes the complete absence of decapitations during the 2014 season, across all grades, no doubt in part due to the removal of this dangerous tackle.

Looking forward towards the 2015 season, the Commission is morally bound to continue to closely evaluate all aspects of the game. Clubs, coaches and players should be aware that several ‘hot spots’ are under close evaluation, and should consider altering their playing, coaching and fashion styles accordingly.

The high reported tendency of players, at all grades, to partake to occasional excess of alcoholic beverages in the post-match period is of serious concern. These frequently dangerous ‘piss-ups’ appear to be more common after victories, and often occur in or around the leagues clubs involved in the preceding match. Drinking alcohol has been linked by leading researchers with death, disability, decreased mental capacity and being forced to leave the Canberra Raiders. At the current point is remains unclear whether the Commission is able to take direct action against players who put themselves in situations of such serious risk, but an advisory panel lead by non-sports-playing legal professionals is due to report back in late 2014.

Of further leading concern is the repeated evidence that ‘being completely rubbish’ is starting to have damaging long-term effects on the physical and mental well-being of NSW Origin fans. The Commission will continue to investigate methods of supporting NSW players and fans via undeserved Kangaroo selection and the ignoring of salary cap violations.

Also high on the Commission’s ‘hit list’ is the worrying prevalence of ‘skinned knee’s’. A ‘skinned knee’ is a mild to fairly mild epidermal abrasion of or around the major lower-leg joint, or ‘knee’. This is a particular concern in the junior and country leagues, where pitch quality may vary dramatically according to weather and funding. Current research indicates that strong action towards preventing such injuries may lead to strong decreases in the number and volume of small children crying around the ruck area, with corresponding decreases in the laundry costs for their mums. The Commission welcomes suggestions from interested parties or half-wit journalists as to how this problem may best be managed.
Last edited:


Eozsmiles in jumper number 17 for the Ninjas

749 OWC

It's All Fun And Games Until Someone loses A Job

There is more to the game than winning or losing. It is a rich sentiment, and one we occasionally need reminding of. Sport is a hobby for the vast majority. Emotions will rise and fall each week and each season with the fortunes of our team. You win some, you lose some. But we all return for one reason - it is fun for us.

For them, the competitors, it is different. At NRL level, winning and losing separates the winners from the losers. Enjoyment is measured in victory and defeat. It defines a player or coach. Perhaps expectedly, we were reminded of this fact with the sacking of Matthew Elliott.

Rugby League is wrestling with blandness. Fans are tiring of routine in our game. It's there to be seen on a number of levels. From team tactics to the media, many are arguing that the game is lacking personality. In the lead up to a match we see players giving rehearsed answers to the same questions each week. Sometimes clubs impose a media ban and we don't see or hear anyone. Coaches talk of discipline, possession, respect for the opposition, and little else. Eighty minutes of grappling, one-out runs, and bombs will be followed by a slightly more excitable set of interviews. Unfortunately, it is usually the defeated coach displaying emotion, with the officiating the cause. The press corps would appreciate a David Warner or Nick Cummins. Fans would love a Preston Campbell. Maybe even a Benji Marshall.

Certain sections of the media will fuel the angst this causes, but more importantly, respected voices will openly encourage this overall performance. After a convincing early season win, a champion footballer and experienced commentator such as Peter sterling or Phil Gould will remark that the Grand Final is a long way away. A tense but risk-free game will be described as a rehearsal for finals football. The coaches will agree after the game. They are all correct. Tight ships sail the farthest.

Elliott's most successful season as a coach was 2010, when he took Penrith to the top four. With arguably his strongest side, he instigated a high scoring brand of football which delighted supporters. They scored 645 points, 86 more than their nearest rival. Although their finals campaign ended abruptly, Panthers fans hadn't had this much fun in years.

It was much different twelve months earlier. In an oft-repeated scene, Elliott's job was under threat. But if he thought football was the most important thing in the world, he failed to show it. Strolling into what looked to be his final press conference, Elliott mockingly "noosed" himself with his neck-tie. Sadly, it may be this relaxed philosophy on life that means he never again holds a head coaching position. His teams have floated between good and bad seasons for almost a decade, never showing the consistent drive of a Bellamy or Ryan coached side. Experts will say a team is the reflection of their coach. Elliott's teams play as though winning doesn't always matter. They play as though they are thinking about more important things.

It is rumoured that when Gould took the reins at Penrith, his first assignment was to meet Elliott to discuss his approach to football. He left the meeting thirty minutes later with no idea what Matthew had been talking about. Perhaps his affection for Zen Buddhism and Sun Tzu confused the players as much as Gus. Nevertheless, this made me want to listen to Elliott talk about football. Long time fans of the game have been hearing the views of Sterling, Gould, and Fulton (amongst others) for years. Without questioning their knowledge, I know these views by heart. Add to this a selection of cardboard ex-players still finding their way in the media, and fans receive a repetitive and narrow range of opinions.

During a previous hiatus from coaching, Elliott appeared as a panellist on a variety of Rugby League shows. He was well received by viewers, no doubt due to his original and informed input. Being so close to the modern game meant his views were relevant, and his approach to the game meant they were fresh.

Matthew Elliott won't be lost to the game. Being intelligent and jocular will make him popular in the media. One suspects he will enjoy himself there. A place where fans can appreciate different ideas. Somewhere that personality is valued, and it doesn't matter who won or lost.
Last edited:


First Grade
I suppose that's time ... great to see the Final as 3 v 3 ... good job both teams ... over to you Mr. Referee.

Saints4Ever - For Better Or For Worse
751 Words

LN: A very good point and well made, although it felt a little "jumpy" to read in some parts. 82 (following 2 point penalty)

NT: Watch out for the word limit. Also, for future reference (even though it was not included in this instance) keep the word limit away from the title. As for the article, not the greatest of flowing articles, but gets a great point across quite well. 83 (following 2 point penalty)


Jamesgould - Taking The Stand
750 Words

LN: I can see what you're going for but it didn't quite hit the mark for me. There's a sense of taking too long to get to the point, and also of leaving the reader wanting more at the end. 83

NT: This is way off the mark. Always dangerous going with one of these articles and waiting until the end to hit a punchline. Didn't go far enough for me. Not a bad idea, but execution let you down, sorry to say. 79


Eozsmiles - It's All Fun And Games Until Someone Loses A Job
749 Words

LN: A fairly "black and white" analysis without a lot of punch, but still well written with good points made throughout. 85

NT: Not a bad assessment on the subject. Good depth involved. 85


Tittoolate - In The Genes? - An Origin Hypothesis
743 Words

LN: loved this one, even as a Blues supporter - but please don't do a similar piece about Kiwi genes. 93

NT: First thing I noted, watch the heading. No space after the question mark, could've been a huge problem for the word count. Moving on from that, very little to be said. Great stories need great writing. Thankfully this story had an execution worth delivering. 90


Misanthrope - Game Of Clubs
744 Words

LN: Brilliant. I'm presuming this was inspired by Game of Thrones, and (as I'm one of the 23 people who've never watched that show) I hope I haven't missed too many clever references. 93

NT: I once did an article like this, comparing the Brad Fittler coaching reign to that of Caesar. Didn't receive well. This is brilliant. Thankfully (you can thank my wife for making me watch the show), I got the references. Knowing I am marking a Titans article, can't really surprise me as to who this is... 92


Amadean - Australian Rugby League Commission Press Release: Complete Ban on Lifting Tackles to Commence from May 2014
716 words

LN: It's funny because it's true (or could easily be true!). As is often the case with the "press release" angle it was pretty dry to read. 84

NT: Love it. Love it. 86


A harsh score for a Final. Thank you to all who entered, congratulations to the Titans. Massively delivered.


Thanks for the quick turn-around referees! The two-marking system is interesting - more feedback is always good.

Congratulations Titans!


Thanks Refs for the reviews, so quick!

Also to the Ninjas, great reads and thanks for the game.

WooHoo Titans! Beers and Cheers all round!



Staff member
Solid turnout from both sides, and happy to have been part of the Titans win.

Thanks to the refs for giving me my first 90+ score since my Knights days!


First Grade
Sorry for my belated posting, I have been knobbing it up in Beijing.

Well done lads ... a great start to the season with some hard-earned silverware. Thanks Ninjas, I'm sure that'll shake some of the cobwebs out and we'll look forward to you returning serve during the coming season.

Chris, 90's+ ... great stuff ... and Mark ... it must be in the jeans :)

Thanks referees, as always your efforts are very much appreciated.

Hey Steve, finally got our filthy paws on it ... that must hurt ;-) isn't it about time for a comeback?
Last edited:

Latest posts