NRL General Discussion Thread - 2019

I bleed Maroon

State of Origin Rep
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25% win percentage is above average?
It goes beyond just percentages Pete and I am surprised you don't realize that to be honest. Again I'm not a cheerleader for Nathan Brown, he is not the man to lead them to the title, but he has clearly done a good job getting what was a horrific side into something even close to contendership.
 

Big Pete

International Captain
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It goes beyond just percentages Pete and I am surprised you don't realize that to be honest. Again I'm not a cheerleader for Nathan Brown, he is not the man to lead them to the title, but he has clearly done a good job getting what was a horrific side into something even close to contendership.
He'd been there for four seasons, what has he really achieved? How much more time was he supposed to be afforded with his W/L record?
 

Super Freak

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I could cut Brown some slack for the first couple of years as those years were never about the performances on the field.

But the Knights recruited quite well for the past couple of seasons and have a pretty talented roster but he has failed to get the best out of them. He has failed miserably.
 

Jedhead

NRL Player
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It goes beyond just percentages Pete and I am surprised you don't realize that to be honest. Again I'm not a cheerleader for Nathan Brown, he is not the man to lead them to the title, but he has clearly done a good job getting what was a horrific side into something even close to contendership.
I hear what you're saying. I made the quip because I remember Old Benny was the only coach that defended him when he was getting bagged out as a rookie coach with St. George. It's obvious he forgot this or was perhaps oblivious to Benny's support. Nevertheless, to come out with that 'little head' quote about Benny was just plain classless. So i think if you choose to live by the sword you should expect the same.
 

mrslong

State of Origin Rep
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Patriots Nation
It's hard not to sympathize with him. His well above average tenure as coach of the Knights has been rewarded with the single most humiliating exit probably ever.
25% win and 2 wooden spoons isn’t above average! It’s beyond bad.

That said, he recruited well and is leaving them better off then when he arrived so he definitely deserves better than what they’ve done to him.
 

Big Pete

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Even if you account for his first two seasons, it's still a 39% win record from two seasons. I just struggle to see how it could be considered above average when really all he did was have the luxury to patiently wait around collecting wooden spoon after wooden spoon and make a couple of opportunistic signings. The only signing that could be considered good foresight was Ponga and even so, it could all be for naught if Ponga decides to go to the highest bidder.

There's more to rebuilding a club than signing two star players on maximum value. It's about achieving balance in the roster and ensuring that the players who come through the system can become effective contributors in the NRL. Of all the players who have come through the Knights system, only Daniel Saifiti and Fitzgibbon can really make that claim.

You also have to give young players from other clubs an opportunity and the players who have come to the club like Ramien, Ese'ese, Pauli, Watson etc. all failed to establish themselves.

I would like to know what the board was supposed to do. Judging from all the chatter, Brown's career was in jeopardy after he opened the season 1-5. His sacking was imminent until Newcastle went on a run, but when that ended and they went on another losing run they had to think about the future. They made their enquiries to ensure they could find somebody who would actually be an improvement and when word travelled to Brown he fell on his sword. I fail to see how this was unfair on Brown.

At the end of the day, if I was a Newcastle fan, I'd be happy with this outcome. Brown was merely a caretaker coach seeing the club through a tumalteous period, when the club was in the position to actually challenge again, they needed to make the appropriate changes and the coach was one of them. As Brown has said, there will always be jobs in the game for him and hopefully for his sake, the next place he goes to isn't in as rough a shape.
 

Kimlo

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Source: Herald Sun

Storm legend Cameron Smith should be celebrated, not demonised, writes Mark Robinson

“He has tirelessly worked to reach the mountaintop in life. He is respectful, gracious, humble and kind. He has found balance with his family and work. He has excelled at his chosen profession through dedication, mental strength and a relentless drive to be the best. So, why do people hate him so much?’’

That was written about legendary Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the New York Daily News in February, 2018. The same could be written about Melbourne Storm immortal Cameron Smith in August, 2019.

Cameron Smith acknowledges fans after Storm beat the Titans last week. Pic: Getty Images

Cameron Smith acknowledges fans after Storm beat the Titans last week. Pic: Getty Images

Why does NSW media and fans bully and ridicule one of rugby league’s all-time greats?
Down south, we can’t comprehend it. Smith, a Queenslander made famous in Melbourne — and there might be the issue for these pesky people north of northern Victoria — is on the verge of being booed out of the game. We’ve seen it before in the AFL. Adam Goodes, the two-time Brownlow medallist, was forced to escape the game after being mercilessly pilloried by antagonistic media types and the mob joined the pile on.

Storm has spoken to Smith about what they say are personal attacks and is understood to have spoken to broadcasters this week about what they believe is unfair critiquing of the world’s greatest-ever hooker. Yep, it’s that urgent and depressing. Smith has a year to run on his contract with Storm, was recently celebrated for being the first player to reach 400 league games, but is suddenly said to be weighing up his future. For all elite sportspeople, criticism of performance comes with the territory, and Smith is wearing criticism in recent times.

Adam Goodes was booed out of the AFL. Pic: Phil Hillyard

Adam Goodes was booed out of the AFL. Pic: Phil Hillyard

Smith is revered down south, but doesn’t get the same treatment in NSW. Pic: AAP

Smith is revered down south, but doesn’t get the same treatment in NSW. Pic: AAP

But when family is introduced into the discussion, the criticism becomes deeply personal. In mid-July, the NRL presented Smith’s wife Barb a $15,000 diamond ring to celebrate her husband’s 400th game. Yes, the money could’ve been spent elsewhere, which I said at the time on Macquarie Radio, but it really was a harmless discussion. If the NRL saw fit to give her the gift, good on them. And good on you, Barb. The gift wasn’t warmly welcomed in sections of Sydney media and the fan base.


It even made front-page news in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which the Storm privately wonders is carrying a vendetta against Smith and the club. Not all media are on a witch hunt. Warren Smith from Fox Sports recently tweeted: “Cameron Smith’s greatest crime? Winning. A lot. For Melbourne, Queensland and Australia. Had he grown up in Padstow (in Sydney’s west) and helped NSW win 11 out of 12 Origin series he’d be given an annual ticker tape parade down George Street.’’
Cameron Smith’s greatest crime?
Winning.
A lot.
For Melbourne, Queensland and Australia.
Had he grown up in Padstow and helped NSW win 11 out of 12 Origin series he’d be given an annual ticker tape parade down George Street.
The Smiths didn’t ask for the ring, but strangely the Smiths and the NRL were being lambasted. And the 24-7 coverage on social media of anything controversial is hardly bedtime reading for your kids. The upshot is Smith is being hounded off the ground and on it, in mainstream media and in the online hell hole, and the fun of playing league in his twilight years is being swiped from him by the week.


Indeed, you could argue Smith and the Storm have been targets for a very long time. To find out exactly why, best we go back. Collective NSW didn’t like Storm when they entered the competition in 1998. They particularly didn’t like it when they won the premiership in the their second season, 1999.

Brett White, Smith and Ben Cross with the 2007 premiership — the trophy later stripped.

Brett White, Smith and Ben Cross with the 2007 premiership — the trophy later stripped.

They didn’t like them being perennial finalists. They didn’t like them because they accused Storm of bringing “wrestling’’ into the sport. “The grapple, the chicken wing, the rolling pin — they’ve all come into the NRL from the Storm,’’ Cronulla captain Paul Gallen wrote two weeks ago. They didn’t like them winning more premierships. They didn’t like the salary-cap cheating (OK, we’ll give you that one). They didn’t like that Smith and Billy Slater and Co said they weren’t aware of the salary-cap cheating (you can’t have that one). They didn’t like Smith and Slater and Co beating them senseless for a decade in the State of Origin.


They didn’t like it when Alex McKinnon was left paralysed in a tackle in 2014 (no one did) and Smith’s alleged lack of sympathy on the field. An article in 2015 written by journalist Danny Weidler carried the headline: ‘As Alex McKinnon moves on, Cameron Smith is still playing the victim’. The Storm say it was a ridiculous article.

There was no stripping Storm’s 2017 premiership. Pic: Getty Images

There was no stripping Storm’s 2017 premiership. Pic: Getty Images

Smith with another win over the Blues. Pic: Brett Costello

Smith with another win over the Blues. Pic: Brett Costello

They don’t like Smith’s tactics at hooker, such as being third man in on the tackle and laying on blokes, which is called slowing the play, which is a league-wide tactic. They don’t like the “wishbone tackle’’, the “chicken wing’’ or the latest one, the “wing nut’’, which they said was employed by Smith on Canberra young gun Bailey Simonsson’s left ear earlier this month.


They don’t like Smith because, they say, he talks to the referee too much. They have dubbed him Referee Smith. And you’d think league players, at times, have had a set against Smith. Twice Smith has won the Golden Boot, which is awarded to the best player in the world. The first time was in 2007. The next was in 2017. In 2017, he also won the Dally M award (our Brownlow Medal), captained the Storm to the premiership, captained Queensland to a 2-1 series victory over New South Wales in State of Origin and captained Australia to win the World Cup final against England at Lang Park. But his peers weren’t so enthusiastic about Smith in the same year.

The Smith tackle on Bailey Simonsson that sparked fresh outrage. Pic: AAP

The Smith tackle on Bailey Simonsson that sparked fresh outrage. Pic: AAP

He was voted best player in the world, the best player in the comp, yet the NRL players association players’ champion award was given to James Tedesco. In recent weeks, Storm coach Craig Bellamy has gone into bat for his team and Smith over criticism that they don’t play in the spirit of the game. South Sydney fired shots. Bellamy returned fire. And never too far away from tipping on the Storm is Manly.

This week Manly plays Storm at Brookvale Oval. Those two teams hate each other. And not sure Manly coach Des Hasler and Bellamy get together at Christmas, either. The backdrop to this encounter, of course, is the sudden booing of Smith by fans and the accusation he employs grubby tactics. Grubby? In a sport dominated by headlines of players getting drunk and stripping naked at piss-ups, of being involved in disgraceful behaviour with women and domestic violence, somehow a champion of the league community is the No.1 villain.


Smith should be celebrated and not demonised.
 

Tom

State of Origin Rep
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Lol poor Cam. Imagine comparing his situation to Goodes though, lol.
Had a good laugh at this this morning. My favourite part was the author claiming everyone outside Sydney loves him. I also wasn't sure what I was reading exactly, the author seems to spend as much time criticising him as telling everyone to leave Cam alone.
 

Kimlo

International Captain
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Had a good laugh at this this morning. My favourite part was the author claiming everyone outside Sydney loves him. I also wasn't sure what I was reading exactly, the author seems to spend as much time criticising him as telling everyone to leave Cam alone.
But when family is introduced into the discussion, the criticism becomes deeply personal. In mid-July, the NRL presented Smith’s wife Barb a $15,000 diamond ring to celebrate her husband’s 400th game. Yes, the money could’ve been spent elsewhere, which I said at the time on Macquarie Radio, but it really was a harmless discussion. If the NRL saw fit to give her the gift, good on them. And good on you, Barb. The gift wasn’t warmly welcomed in sections of Sydney media and the fan base.
"deeply personal" lol, did a single person actually criticise Barb or Smith for this? All the outrage was directed at the NRL for perceived special treatment.
 
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Tom

State of Origin Rep
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"deeply personal" lol, did a single person actually criticise Barb or Smith for this? All the outrage was directed at the NRL for perceived special treatment.
Your comment probably could have done without the "perceived"
 

gordjw

NRL Player
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Sunny Canberra
Yeah, the author lists a bunch of shit the Storm/Smith have done over the years, and makes absolutely no attempt to justify any of them.
So... yes, they’re arseholes?
 
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