Shorts and Sweets July 16


Shorts and Sweets July 16

Steve Mascord’s post-game interviews ( see: Mascord’s NRL Wrap: Round 18) with Matt Bowen and Cowboy’s coach Neil Henry made for a great read. The apparent honesty and frankness about the Cowboy’s favourite and his future seems to be something the Tigers and Benji Marshall and plenty of other clubs in their dealings with players could take careful notice of.
It certainly seems as if the little legend is being given every opportunity to regain good enough form for him to want to play again in 2014 and for the club to want that too.

Benji’s situation appears a little more like both parties are a little unsure of each other’s attitudes for a future association. Let’s hope it is smooth sailing for another footy legend and one club man to transition through the departure lounge to Rugby and Waratahs? Wow that will be some connection for coach Michael Cheika to play with net season – Benji, Kurtley and Israel?

It seems as if there might be another exit from one club with a twist that we don’t often see. Kevin Kingston’s pink slip may have changed colour with a likely extension of his contract now being tipped.
I reckon this is a sign of really great management by Ivan Cleary and Phil Gould at the Panthers admin level. It might look a bit like they are jumping all over the place but I don’t see it like that at all.
They seem to have a clear vision of where their footy club is headed and have tried hard to build a club that has the right balance of the qualities they value. Sometimes the non-renewal of a player is not because he is not a good player and a good bloke but simply about what else is needed by the club and how many you have a certain type of player and person that needs to be recruited.
That they now can see a way to include Kevin K for 2014 doesn’t mean they rate him differently but could be other circumstances have changed to make it possible to have their cake and eat it too!
Good on all parties for having the character and discipline to conduct themselves so well through what must still have been quite difficult throughout.

Here is what we said in pre-season about Kevin Kingston:

WHAT I REALLY LIKE ABOUT THEM: Kevin Kingston as captain. I have never coached him or even spoken to him, but anyone I have spoken to tells me of his personal attitude and his absolute desire for the team to do well. This may be the most significant move the Panthers bosses made since the disappointments of 2012 (you can read more on this here: Panthers Pre-season Preview)

I got a feeling that Round 18 may have been a bit misleading.

I reckon not too many people would be getting off the Storm given what we all know their Origin players mean to them. The misleading bit could be more about that in reverse. The really dud performances by the remainder of the club might be a truer guide to the end of the season. Maybe the guns won’t be able to lift this lot up as they have managed in the past.

And the Dogs? I really liked the look of them but the Storm were so poor. I want to see more of them. Sometimes a performance like that is the catalyst, at others it’s a false dawn! Let’s see what goes on there this week and beyond.

So too Manly? Last two starts they have racked up massive scores but against depleted Cows and “deleted” Parra I reckon there is still a bit to be proved yet. They look like they have enough in the tank already and an encouraging run in so playoffs and probably top 4 is just what they need to perhaps give one or two a rest if they manage to have it in the back a few weeks before playoffs begin.
Cows are starting to look and sound like basket cases but I still reckon IF Scott and Toumou get themselves rocking again with Thurston and Tate it’s just a skinny chance of happening for them.

Panthers looked a little guilty of cruising versus Parra but they may have started to hit the wall after weeks of playing at or near their peak. The clash with the very physical and ultra- experienced Newcastle this week will be a much better guide to them holding onto the playoff spot they currently sit in.

Parra remained consistent. I heard Hindy and Matt Johns suggest they worked hard and fans walked out saying they were happier with that performance against Panthers. Sorry I couldn’t see it at all. (More about the Eels and where they are headed later in the week.)