Archive for the ‘Rugby League’ Category

Todd Carney Wins Case for Unfair Dismissal

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It seems you get the justice you pay for.

NRL tribunal chairman Ian Callinan QC has found in favour of Todd Carney, ruling his dismissal from the Cronulla sharks was unfair.

It was found Carney was not given adequate legal opportunity to plead his case before the Cronulla Sharks board.

The ruling opens a tiny window of opportunity for Carney’s re-admission to the NRL.

Should Carney wish to pursue a return his next step would be to lodge an unfair dismissal claim with the Industrial Relations commission. This would most likely be as expensive as it will be drawn-out. The kind of case every lawyer loves.

Chairman of the Cronulla Sharks, Damian Keogh, said the club accepted the decision of the NRL appeals committee. But he was quick to add that even despite the team’s recent poor performance they had no intention of reinstating their playmaker.

“The big oversight was that someone needed to check that the process being followed was correct,” he said to The Sunday Telegraph.

“What’s important to remember here is that it’s not a question of the facts. It’s a question of the process. But the reality of the situation is the decision would likely have been the same.

“I wouldn’t’ rule out Todd Carney returning to the NRL one day. But from my point of view there has been a lot of water that has flowed under the bridge since last June.”

Carney now plays for the English Premier League team the Catalan Dragons. He is currently sidelined with broken ribs.

Calls for NRL Trading Period Get Louder

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In the wake of the Daley Cherry-Evans and Keiran Foran defections from Manly calls for a trading window in the NRL are getting louder.

The National Rugby League is the only competition in the world without a trading window. This means that negotiations can take anytime. The problem with this is – as has spectacularly happened with Cherry-Evans – players can have their contracts formalised a season out from joining their new club.

Knowing a player is leaving for another club at the end of the season puts pressure on the incumbent clubs to get as much out of their player before they leave – often wearing out the player and risking injury. The player, on the other hand, has lost their investment in the club they are playing for, and wants to do as little as they can while honouring their contract.

The players around the off-contract player begin to view their one-time teammate with suspicion. Will they tell their new club about player weaknesses or favourite tactics? Can they be relied upon to give their all each game?

In the end it’s the fans that lose the most. Players they have spent years following and identifying with will be lining up against their side. Clubs that have spent tens of thousands of dollars bringing these players through the junior grades see their investment walking out the front door. And rugby league itself suffers, as things like loyalty and commitment are shown to have no place in the modern game.

Manly Needs to Stem the Flow

Willie Mason. Image: www.dailytelegraph.com.au

The Parramatta Eels have posted their ultimate revenge on the Manly Sea Eagles. After nearly a decade of the Eagles poaching their best players the Eels have turned the tables.

It started with players like Will Hopoate Darcy Lussick and David Gower. More recently the Eels have been removing the spine of the club with Brad Arthur and Anthony Watmough being poached by the Silvertails’ arch rival. Now, if rumours are to be believed, the coup de grace is about to be administered to a club already on its knees.

Kieran Foran has been linked with a move to the Eels, though his signing is yet to be officially confirmed by either club.

After the recent defection of Daley Cherry-Evans to the Gold Coast Titans this news sounds the death knell to the hopes of the Manly club.

Manly fans are irate at the club for allowing the splitting up the halves pairing Cherry-Evans and Foran. The two cut a swathe through opposition teams in their years playing together.

Bu the consequences of the recent exodus are dire: If losing Cherry-Evans to the virtually imploding Titans set off warning bells, then losing Foran to arch-rivals the Eels must be a clear sign of the apocalypse.

Manly players, it seems, are willing to do anything and go anywhere to leave. Rumours of discontent with coaching staff and salaries have bubbled to the surface on occasion. But it seems the club’s woes are not limited to such personal or financial disagreements.

For all intents and purposes the once proud and strong Manly club is being treated as a sinking ship – and it is each man for himself.

Titans Set to fight Cocaine Charges

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Gold Coast Titans’ Greg Bird and Dave Taylor entered pleas of not guilty yesterday in Southport’s Magistrates Court.

They are two of five Titans’ players caught up in the Crime and Corruption Commission’s investigation into cocaine distribution on the Gold Coast.

Karmichael Hunt (Reds rugby player) has already entered a guilty plea and been fined $4000 for possession of a banned substance.

Kalifa Faifai Loa will face charges of supplying cocaine on Tuesday.

Former Titans’ players Ashley Harrison and Joe Vickery will soon face their own charges of possession. While alleged kingpins, and ex-Rooster players, John Touma and John Tobin, are expected to face court on Wednesday.

The CCC is alleging the five Titans players had purchased the cocaine for personal use only.

Both Bird and Taylor were represented by hulking lawyer Campbell MacCallum.

MacCallum represents all five Titans players. He said Hunt’s guilty plea on Thursday would have no bearing on his client’s cases. Rather he suggested there were external factors influencing Hunt’s decision to plead guilty.

MacCallum told reporters he was meeting with the NRL integrity unit in an effort to have his clients readmitted to the player roster.

Titans Need to Stop Recruiting Other Clubs’ Throw-Aways

Greg Bird does it again. Image: www.samesame.com.au

80 to 1: That’s the odds on the Titans winning this year’s premiership. Anyone with even a passing interest in rugby league wouldn’t even waste the dollar at this rate.

Opinion is divided as to whether the Titans should even be in the competition. Investors have lost all their money, fans (what few poor tortured souls who remain) have lost all hope, and the players themselves have lost whatever pride they may once have had in their light blue jerseys.

The Titans have been preceded by six failed NRL Gold Coast clubs. The Titans themselves haven’t had a year go by when they weren’t part of some scandal – either in the boardroom or on the park. If they haven’t already used up all their lives they must be getting close.

One thing, by now, must be clear – the club’s policy of buying ‘troubled’ players on the cheap and turning them around has failed. The Titans have, since they began, been using a Moneyball selection process which, they hoped, would allow them to compete with the more well-heeled clubs.

And now (with the benefit of hindsight) we can see two conclusions to have emerged from this experiment:

  1. To the last man they have all under-performed; treating their tenure at the Titans more as a working holiday than a real job.
  2. Once a loser, always a loser. No amount of counselling, support, guidance, or incentives can change these losers. They are and will be what they always were.

These are not the type of people or players the Titans, the NRL, or the Gold Coast want.

There is one glaring difference between the Titans and, say, the Broncos: I have never seen the Titans finish a match too exhausted to move. But I can remember half a dozen games (just off the top of my head) where nearly every Bronco’s player was on his knees or back gasping in air. The Broncos take pride in their performance – win, lose, or draw.

If the Titans are serious about coming back from the grave (again) it’s time they looked for quality players, not other clubs’ throw-aways.

How the Titans Became Embroiled in the Cocaine Sting

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Despite the roll call of Titan’s players about to face the Southport courts, police say they are only minor players in a much larger and more elaborate drug distribution syndicate.

Players at the highest echelons of rugby league Karmichael Hunt, Greg Bird, Dave Taylor, Ashley Harrison, Steve Michaels, and Beau Fallon – along with lesser known footballers Jamie Dowling, Kalifa Faifai Loa and Joe Vickery were etted by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission in a sting targeting organised crime.

The police will allege they were caught sourcing ‘columbia’s finest on several occasions between June and December 2014. Sourcing the drug is different from dealing it, but a breach of the law nonetheless.

The sting centred around former first grade rugby league player John ‘Leather’ Touma and his ex-Roosters teammate John Tobin.

Touma moved to the Gold Coast after a drug deal going wrong saw him shot in the stomach.. Once on the glitter strip he allegedly began sourcing suppliers and distributors.

It was Greg Bird’s ill-fated Bucks party, aboard a booze cruise on last year’s Mad Monday, which saw the Titans dragged into this mess.

Police will allege Touma, was contacted by several sports stars looking for cocaine. Touma delivered on their orders. In doing so he left a trail of text messages, video, and photographic evidence capturing the transactions.

Beau Falloon and Jamie Dowling are due to face the Southport Magistrates Court this Thursday. Their appearance will likely set in motion a protracted legal process that could possibly destroy the Gold Coast Titans.

Titans’ Cocaine Investigation Widens

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John Thomas, whose original name was John Touma, has sold his Mermaid Waters unit as he goes to ground in the wake of the Titans’ drug scandal.

A former Roosters player Touma sold his property between May and December of 2013. Yet a note on the door yesterday said he had sold the property because of the rain.

Thomas’ property is listed on his bail undertaking.

Touma was arrested on December 19 last year. He was charged with trafficking cocaine and possessing five mobile phones, a large sum of cash, and a Ford Territory allegedly used in the commission of a crime..

Touma was released on a $10,000 surety on the condition he reside at his Christina Court home.

Within weeks was Touma was again in court, this time charged with possession of and supplying cocaine to John Rowland Tobin, another former Roosters player.

Yesterday, however, Touma was nowhere to be found.

Nor did his solicitor, Stephen Buchanan respond to a request for his client’s whereabouts.

Falloon and his girlfriend Elise Abood, Hunt and Dowling will have their first court appearance on March 5. Touma and Tobin are due to appear before a magistrate on 11th of March.

Prosecutors believe Touma is at the centre of a drug syndicate embroiling current and former NRL players. It has been alleged that Thomas was identified as the cocaine ringleader through phone intercepts organised by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

In time the investigation widened to include Gold coast Titans players Beau Falloon, Dave Taylor, Greg Bird, Jamie Dowling, and Kalifa Faifai Loa and former Titan Joe Vickery. All of them have since been charged with supplying of cocaine.

Others to be charged in conjunction with the investigation are Queensland Reds player Karmichael Hunt and former rugby league players John Tobin, Jason Smith, and Matt Seers.

 

Punters can name their own odds on a Titan’s premiership this year.

 

In breaking news, the NRL has taken control of the beleaguered Titans in an effort to save the club from dissolution. The NRL is now the club’s sole shareholder. It has said it will not interfere with the day-to-day running of the club, but instead aims to restructure the Titans’ for longevity.

The Titans still lack a major sponsor, but the investment made by the NRL assures their existence while the root and branch changes are made.

More Named in Titan’s Cocaine-Syndicate

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The drug scandal engulfing the Gold Coat Titans just gets worse.

Two more players have been charged and ordered to appear in court.

This brings the number of Titans’ players facing legal action for possessing or supplying cocaine to four.

Outside back Kalifa Faifai Loa and former squad member Joe Vickery were served with court notices over the weekend.

They have refused to comment on the charges against them.

The Titans already have players Beau Falloon and Jamie Dowling on charges of allegedly supplying cocaine to friends and colleagues.

This latest announcement has plunged the club into yet more crisis meetings.

Coach Neil Henry stepped into the vacant spot after his predecessor, John Cartwright, was unceremoniously sacked late last year. Over the summer Henry has tried to drill last year’s whipping boys into something approaching a competitive side.

But the Titans have been hamstrung by stupendous debts, long-running allegations of financial impropriety, an endless list of off-field run-ins with the law, mediocre on-field results, loss of training facilities, and ever dwindling game-day attendances.

As such, attracting and keeping fans and sponsors has been, and will continue to be, a real challenge for the club.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: Titans and Australian Test players Greg Bird and Dave Taylor have been named person’s of interest by investigators. Police are now concentrating their probe on six Titans and Karmichael Hunt, from the Reds.

 

Shadow of Exclusion Still Hovers Over All Stars Concept

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Another entertaining and high quality match between the Indigenous All Stars and the NRL All Stars is done. The indigenous side won a spirited battle 20-6. And while fans got to see some of the best players in the world fighting it out for four twenty minute quarters the spectre of racism still looms over the concept.

While many believe the All Stars concept is new, it has its origins in a time when racism was much more prevalent.

The first recognised rugby league match between teams selected according to race was in 1963. A team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders played against a team of white Australians at Barcauldine. Unashamedly known as ‘Blacks versus Whites’ games, the matches were played annually until 1984.

Since that first game Aboriginal sides have been competing against other racially selected teams. In 1973 a team of Aboriginal players was assembled for a match against Auckland club Te Atatu. Selecting only aboriginal players, the side competed in the Pacific Cup in 1990, 1992, and 1994.

After the close of the 1999 NRL regular season rugby league great Arthur Beetson assembled a side to play (and beat) the imposing Papua New Guinea Kumuls. Beetson went on to push for an Australia Day game against an Australian national team.

It took until 2008 for his dreams to be realised. As part of the official opening to the World Cup, on 26 October, a ‘Dreamtime Team’ was assembled to play a commemorative match against a New Zealand Maori side. The match was dubbed the ‘Welcome to the Country Match’.

In 2010 indigenous NRL player Preston Campbell sought to bring the concept back to life. Two sides were selected according to whether or not players were indigenous to the country in which they lived. The game was played prior to the regular NRL season.

Opinion is divided as to All Stars concept; its aims and relevancy.

Players are made available to respective sides according to each individual’s heritage. Whether or not a player is indigenous to their homeland seems to be a matter of conjecture. Backers say the concept improves the self-esteem and prospects of marginalised indigenous communities through a Reconciliation Action Plan.

The plan states, “Funds raised from the Harvey Norman All Stars match have provided over $7 million in funding to the 16 NRL Clubs for the purpose of delivering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific programs at the grassroots level.”

It further seeks to, ” reconnect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players with their heritage and cultural history,”

Opponents believe the concept creates another division in the national community, with ‘heritage’ taking the place of ‘race’.

There is no currently is no word for discriminating against a person according to their heritage. At last night’s game members of the audience waved countless aboriginal flags, though not one Australian (or non-indigenous) flag was to be seen.

Non-indigenous rugby league fans seem to largely ignore the game. Most are content to follow their favourite players (regardless of their heritage, race, or country of origin) during the regular season.

For many Australians the All Stars concept seems to drive a knife into attempts at reconciliation. Selecting teams according to a player’s heritage brings to the national consciousness the division between indigenous and non-indigenous elements of the Australian community. It encourages a separation (one of heritage rather than race) the indigenous community claim they are attempting to eradicate.

Footy Show Fight Night Gives Boxing a Black-Eye

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In a ridiculous night of mismatches Sonny Bill Williams emerged victorious against a grossly obese Chauncy Welliver. Known more for his ability to take rather than deliver punches Welliver never looked a chance. His body wobbled seismically with each blow, he finished the second round conceding Williams was ‘too strong’, and he never landed a significant strike against his opponent.

At 137 kg Welliver was having his first fight in two years. He was clearly underprepared and was gasping before the end of the first round.

But he did his best to put on a show – He laughed at Williams’ shots and clinched when he could, leaning his full bulk on his opponent. That he could take the best punches Williams threw at him might be cause for concern should Williams ever consider fighting a real opponent.

In fact, the script was followed by all the fighters at the Footy Show Fight Night with all the footballers winning against vastly less experienced and prepared fighters.

Like Williams, Gallen was unable to put away his opponent, despite ridiculous advantages in conditioning and training. His mixed martial arts opponent looked uncomfortable being restricted only to boxing. Nevertheless he used his height and reach intelligently.

Several times Gallen rushed in, swinging for Queen and Country, only to be jabbed away – his punches windmilling through empty air.

The glorious victories of both fighters opens the door for a possible match-up between them. Such an event, should it happen, will most likely be held after the NRL season.