Archive for the ‘Rugby League’ Category

Commonwealth Games Commentators Show Us Just how Bad the Channel 9 Talking Heads are.

The commentating at this Commonwealth Games has shown, once and for all, the paucity of talent, ideas and direction of the commentators involved with Channel Nine’s NRL.

The on-air calling of these events actually focused on the sporting drama unfolding on screen. Something unthinkable for rugby league commentators like Ray Hadley or Ray Warren.

The two hour rugby league game you watch on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon has 40 minutes of commercials. But of the actual game being broadcast the commentary (on average) runs to this:

  • 10 minutes of commentary advertising other NRL promotions.
  • 15 minutes discussing other channel nine programs.
  • 15 minutes of self-indulgent waffle (Ray Hadley talking about hair cream or Ray Warren talking about golf)
  • 10 minutes of glorious silence.
  • 10 minutes of commentary about the game from sideline commentators.
  • 10 minutes of discussion about other players or teams, present or past.
  • 10 minutes – that’s right, only 10 minutes – of commentary about the game you tuned in to watch!


The worst commentator on TV, Ray Hadley. Photo:

The worst commentator on TV, Ray Hadley. Photo:

Rugby League fans don’t want to listen to Ray Hadley’s pointless ramblings about his lunch, or to hear the two Rays advertising other shows or products. They switch on to watch (and listen to) the game.

Most people I know hit the mute button when the Channel Nine commentators begin their advertising. They count to 30 and turn the sound back on.

If the NRL are serious about protecting and promoting their brand they would do very well to immediately dismiss the meretricious, self-glorifying, inept buffoons ruining the spectacle of their games.

The Commonwealth Games has shown us there are much better commentators out there.

Titans Lose Main Sponsor.

Moribund NRL football club the Gold Coast Titans have had another nail hammered into their coffin. Their major sponsor iSelect has pulled the pin on it’s four-year deal, leaving the club with no sponsor at the end of the year. iSelect had the option of remaining the club’s main sponsor until the end of 2016, but have chosen to part ways with the club in the wake of fresh investigations from the NRL integrity unit.

Titans Chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle. Photo:

Titans Chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle. Photo:

Just like the inquiry into illegal drugs in sport, the integrity unit’s probe is dragging ever on. The investigation is now into its eighth month, with no sign of a conclusion on the horizon. “We haven’t been given time frames,” said a clearly frustrated Rebecca Frizelle (Titans’ chairwoman), “as it is an NRL investigation which is ongoing at this point in time, however the NRL has indicated that they would like to finalise it as soon as possible.”

Titans boss, graham Anneslyey, is out beating the drum in a desperate effort to replace the income deficit left by iSelect’s departure. He told reporters he will be meeting with two major international businesses this week.

On Friday Pivotal Homes signed up with the Titans as sponsors to next year’s Auckland Nines tournament. And while this is one piece of most needed good news for the football franchise, it is nowhere near enough.

Frizelle reiterated the club’s openness and compliance with the NRL auditors, “We have provided full access to all Titans records and documentation including the financials,” she said.

Should the Titans be dragged down by this latest controversy the consequences would be severe. Should the Gold Coast franchise lose their right to host a club in the NRL it is unlikely they would get the opportunity again.

Titans face audit for financial ‘irregularities’

NRL whipping boys, the Gold Coast Titans, are being investigated (again) for possible payment irregularities. Already struggling with on-field performances, this latest probe further embroils the club and alienates it from its fans.

Integrity-unit auditors have begun combing through the Titan’s books after being alerted to possible irregularities. These have been rumoured to be worth around $400,000. Strangely, it was the Titans’ boss Graham Annesley who reported the concerns.

Annesley was quick to not point the finger at his predecessor Michael Searle. Both Searle and David May (previous CEO) have denied any criminality and say they are happy to assist the investigation.

Michael Searle. Photo:

Michael Searle. Photo:

The Titans will have their books examined for a number of irregularities, much of which seem to have taken place under Searle’s directorship: A $417,392 lan to Titans 4 Tomorrow from the Titans football club (Searle says the loan has been repaid); concerns over the $2.32 million of government funding received by the Titans last year and the $1.98 million paid in wages to staff; questions over an undisclosed merchandise deal; the rumors of a survey predicting anything up to 87% of members would return if Searle was removed; questions from key Titan employees over methods employed in routine bookkeeping.

This integrity-unit examination comes as the club has ordered an internal review to understand what is going wrong – both on the field and off it. Michael Searle insists the Titans are properly run and the future of the club is bright. The newly installed board is determined to rebuild the titans and the integrity-unit have been given unhindered access to whatever materials they need.

Griffin faces sack from Broncos

Broncos coach Anthony Griffin is expected to be given the sack today, after the return to the club of super-coach Wayne Bennett was made public.

Bennett is understood to have accepted a three-year contract worth $4 million dollars to return o the club at the end of the season.

Under Griffin’s tutelage, the Bronco’s have performed ‘adequately’. But their gut-wrenching loss to the Sharks a few weeks ago had many wondering what needed to be changed.  And while it is unfair to blame the coach for a team’s on-field performance the Broncos have made no secret of their wish to reclaim Bennett. For his part Bennett, somewhat churlishly, was quoted by News Corporation as telling the Bronco club directors he was ready to return and rebuild the club.

Griffin is understandably disappointed, but intends to honour his contract and see out the year. At the end of the season he will be a coach without a club, perhaps looking overseas for employment.

Bennett has had mixed success in his post-Broncos coaching. He led the St George Dragons to a premiership before leaving them floundering. While his time at the Newcastle Knights, most agree, has been an unmitigated disaster. The reason for the poor performance of the Knights has been attributed to off-field factors. But many wonder just how Bennett tried to mitigate the effects.

The Broncos board began pursing Bennett in May. They have had numerous meetings, and discussions with him and finally extended an offer too good for the coach to refuse.

The players were informed of the decision to sack their coach prior to the announcement made to the media.

New Zealand Warriors Lift the Hearts of All Rugby League Fans With scrum Push Try

Thankyou New Zealand Warriors for showing the rugby league world the value of scrimmaging.

For too long scrums in rugby league have been an outright embarrassment. If the players don’t want to scrimmage then the formation should be removed from the game. But while it is still part of the game it ought to be contested with the same professionalism as every other aspect of the sport.

Warriors score after winning the scrum against the feed by Parramatta. Photo:

Warriors score after winning the scrum against the feed by Parramatta. Photo:

Instead there has been a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ not to contest the ball. But as this ‘agreement’ has become accepted, and coaches have taken their ‘winning’ the ball for granted, strategies have emerged.

One such strategy had coaches pulling all their forwards from the scrum, so that when their team ‘won’ the ball they wold have more larger attackers against a string of smaller defenders.

Coaches and players had previously defended the ‘no-contest’ scrum by saying it added to the spectacle – enabling more one-on-one attacks; as six men from each team were effectively taken out of play.

Purists argued that the no-contest scrum was (and is) not part of the game.

Rugby League scrums were already a joke:  The ball routinely being fed into the second row – sometimes even being pushed behind them, and straight to the feet of the lock. Referees have always been content to look the other way and allow play to progress.

On Saturday the New Zealand Warriors turned back the clock and showed just how complacent the rest of the league has become. Only ten meters out from their own line the Parramatta Eels fed the scrum and were pushed back by the Warriors. The Warriors were able to regather the ball and score another try – and good on them.

A poll found that 94% of respondents wanted to see scrums contested. Not only is it simply complying with the rules of the game as they stand, but the contest adds to viewers’ enjoyment. 5% disagreed believing the well-documented dangers of scrimmaging out-weighed any benefts.