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NRL captains deliver their verdict on the main issues

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +2,097 / 13
    League's burning issues

    February 10, 2008


    The game's leaders pull no punches on the strongest and weakest clubs, coach axings, the rules and video refs, write Adrian Proszenko and Will Swanton.

    The game's best player predicts Nathan Brown will be the first coach sacked. Newcastle are favourites for the wooden spoon. And not everyone wants to see Wayne Bennett on the other side of the haka.

    They're just some of the findings of The Sun-Herald's exclusive survey of all 16 NRL club captains ahead of rugby league's 100th season.

    The game's leaders also revealed Melbourne will again be the team to beat and Olympic Park the most difficult venue at which to win.

    At the end of the table, the Knights are the favourites for the wooden spoon. Dally M medallist Johnathan Thurston, Cronulla captain Paul Gallen and Bulldogs counterpart Andrew Ryan all nominated the Knights for the dreaded utensil.

    Thurston, the favourite to again be crowned the game's best player, also tipped St George Illawarra's Brown as the coach most likely to face the mid-season axe.

    "No disrespect, there's a lot of coaches under the pump," he said. "Sorry Brownie." Gallen concurred: "[Brown] is in trouble if they don't go any good."

    Told his team were the popular selection for the spoon, Newcastle captain Danny Buderus said: "No one is expecting us to do anything. But I think we're going to surprise a lot of people."

    Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer believes "Canberra and Penrith have a lot to work on" to avoid last place, while Storm hooker Cameron Smith predicted Canberra would finish last and Knights coach Brian Smith would be in the firing line.

    Wests Tigers fullback Brett Hodgson jokingly insisted the joint-venture's assistant coach, Royce Simmons, should start looking for alternative employment.

    The majority of skippers backed former Kangaroos mentor Bennett to switch allegiances and join the New Zealand coaching staff for this year's World Cup. Ryan and Smith were the exceptions, however.

    "I'd like to see one of their own coach them," Smith said. Ryan added: "It's a good thing for rugby league, but [I don't agree], because he coached Australia."

    Gallen said the prospect of old sparring partners Ricky Stuart and Bennett facing off at international level was a promoter's dream, while Lockyer said the appointment would boost the World Cup. "I've always said if Wayne is involved with the Kiwis, I think it's great," Lockyer said. "It's a great year for rugby league and we've got the World Cup at the end of it. Wayne being involved is going to make that better.

    "It's professional sport now, we're seeing it in other codes, it's just part of sport. The World Cup should be the priority and it adds a bit of spice to it as well, it's only going to make it more appealing."

    While the Storm were almost the unanimous pick as the team to beat, the Roosters and the Sharks were seen as the dark horses for the title. Penrith recruit Petero Civoniceva picked up seven votes for signing of the year, well ahead of new Roosters Willie Mason and Mark O'Meley.

    All respondents backed the cut to the number of interchanges, from 12 to 10, believing it would create more attacking opportunities.

    Four captains said the grapple tackle was the major issue facing the game, although the public image of players and the salary cap also got mentions. Most didn't want the video referee to be given greater power.

    "Human error is a good thing sometimes," Hodgson said. "They slow things down to one-millionth of a second, where to the naked eye it looks a try but they pull it up."

    Predictably, questions about the Origin series went down state lines, but the two skippers not involved in interstate football - Souths co-captain David Kidwell and the Eels' Nathan Cayless - tipped Queensland.

    Most captains were happy with this year's twilight grand final. "It'd just be great to be there, it doesn't matter what time," Cayless said.
    Source: The Sun-Herald

  2. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

    +971 / 7
    I think the most telling and biggest outright winner from peer questions is that Petero is deemed the most important signing. No Webcke, no Petero, Lockyer injury concerns, and except for a "this one's for the Gipper" Wayne I still hold that the Bongos are going to be hard pressed to make the 8.
  3. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +2,097 / 13
    should run our own poll with  the same questions
  4. The Wheel

    The Wheel Well-Known Member

    +1,718 / 70
    I note that Josh Perry doesn't get a mention
  5. Jatz Crackers

    Jatz Crackers Moderator Staff Member

    +1,239 / 7
    To not be mentioned ahead of the likes of an unproven Blake Green ?

    Perry can take that to mean he has some work to do to prove the pundits wrong.
  6. fLIP

    fLIP UFO Hunter

    +784 / 15
    How can the 2007 Grand Finalists be considered a Dark Horse?

    Something tells me that despite Manly's achievements last season we are still being written off as pretenders; which is fine by me.
  7. Jatz Crackers

    Jatz Crackers Moderator Staff Member

    +1,239 / 7
    We were underrated all the way last year, and I thought there would be no way they would do the same this year. But that GF performance has put us fairly and squarly as also rans by many out there.

    Lets hope we stay flying under the radar like a south american cargo plane.
  8. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +212 / 5
    This sort of talk sells papers and means nothing more. If other Captains disregard Manly then all is good. Can you name a year in which the pre-season clear favourites actually went on to win the comp???
  9. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    +5,437 / 74
    An outstanding idea
  10. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

    +233 / 0
  11. clontaago

    clontaago Well-Known Member

    +121 / 0
    That was a pretty silly question.

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