Shorts and Socks…

22/06/2013

Grant Trouville Action Photographic
Grant Trouville Action Photographic

NRL boss Dave Smith says that fighting will be penalised with sin bin time if it occurs in Origin 2. It was to be expected I suppose that the responses from current players would be negative and guys like Greg Bird and Paul Gallen led the way; you wouldn’t want to look soft to other NRL players would you? Surprising though it was for me, if reported accurately, that someone like Mick Cronin would suggest that wrestling should be more of a concern. Tommy Raudonikis we could have all predicted and laughed.

How good was it to see the words of Darren Lockyer in a measured assessment with a broad view of what is good for the game. His interview in Daily Telegraph Friday 21st June covered it brilliantly. He said it for all of us who love the game and its toughness but also want it to grow by meeting the standards of today’s potential viewers and certainly our current and future young players.

The game is tough enough without brawling and fighting; the challenge for players should be to play as hard as possible within the rules; rise above any baiting or intimidation; cop your medicine when you get hit hard but legally, get up and go again showing all the skills you and your teammates possess.

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It’s now come to light that one of the “hottest” talents in footy at present can’t play NRL this season. No not Panther’s Matt Moylan it’s another graduate of the NYC competition. Kane Evans is wowing them weekly in the Newtown Jets team (Roosters feeder club). I watched him score two and lose the ball as he was hit for a third try versus Tom Burgess and his North Sydney  (Souths feeder club) teammates a couple of weeks back.

Evans and last night’s NRL debutant for Roosters Dylan Napa were absolutely awesome winning the game on the back of their strong, physically intimidating performances.

I am not sure of my facts here but I am told that Napa got the nod for his NRL spot based on salary cap auditor Ian Schubert’s concession because of Roosters three Origin players being unavailable last night. So it’s back to Newtown for Napa next week alongside Evans.

Why was Napa permitted to play and not Evans? With their second tier cap being exhausted already the Roosters were likely told they could use the player who would exceed that cap by the least amount!  It sounds unfair to the players, wrong and complex but it does operate that way for a reason and has been the case for many seasons. Schubert is acting in accordance with the rules and without prejudice to one club over another.

For that rule to change mid-season would appear to be very unfair to some clubs.
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Daniel Mortimer’s performance as “stand in” half back in the Roosters win over the Bulldogs was a beauty. Not so much that he was a match winner (although he may have saved it for the Roosters with his timely spoil of Barba’s attempted regain of great chip kick in the dying minutes).

Rather because he did his job for the team without any ego issues or attempted glory chasing plays. He did what he does well almost every game he ever plays, from the bench or even in NSW Cup. He competes hard and does the very basic things without any fuss.

In fact last night I would say he played within his own not very broad limits for the sake a the simple approach his coach and teammates wanted of him; and did it very nicely. Enough for no-one to complain about losing because of Origin half back and five-eighth missing!

He reflects what I feel is a better way for most young (or old) half backs to play. Rather than trying to tick off the “shopping list” of activities of A Johns or J Thurston or the flair-based stuff of B Marshall, he limits himself to what he is good at (and works hard at training to gradually expand his list).  Too many halves are being coached or expected, sometimes in their self-evaluations, that their value to the team is measured by how many different kicks and tricks they can show every week. Jeff Robson is another like Morts displaying patience and determination with very little ego.

Give me guys who can catch, pass, read, communicate, tackle and most of all compete hard. Wow that’s difficult enough to do in the NRL consistently.