Warrick Nicolson

Articles Written: 115

Recent Articles by Warrick Nicolson

If there is one game you have to see this year...

MAKE sure you catch a replay of the Parramatta Eels and the Cronulla Sharks farce at Parramatta Stadium.

Two referees better than one?

IT appears that after another NRL season of consistent inconsistency from the bulk of the refereeing ranks, the NRL may be about to trial a new way to find that elusive quality week in week out. League Unlimited has learned that the NRL is moving on an idea to have a regular season game officiated by a pair of referees using an interchange format. While information at this stage is sketchy, the likely game will feature a pair of teams out of finals contention, so no contending team could point to ?inconsistency? costing them a lucrative playoff birth. Games that fit the profile from Round 25 include South Sydney vs. Cronulla and the Wests Tigers against North Queensland. With all four teams mathematically eliminated from mid-September action, it gives the NRL the opportunity to trial their less experienced referees under an interchange format. Not surprisingly, the most consistent referees this year are indeed the only three fulltime referees employed by the NRL. Bill Harrigan, Steve Clark, and Tim Mander are clearly a cut above their part-time counterparts and the NRL may use this experiment to possibly pair off the part-timers for the coming seasons. Even if this experiment is indeed a one off, you have to give the NRL marks for trying something to get consistency back into rugby league.

Two referees better than one?

IT appears that after another NRL season of consistent inconsistency from the bulk of the refereeing ranks, the NRL may be about to trial a new way to find that elusive quality week in week out. League Unlimited has learned that the NRL is moving on an idea to have a regular season game officiated by a pair of referees using an interchange format. While information at this stage is sketchy, the likely game will feature a pair of teams out of finals contention, so no contending team could point to ?inconsistency? costing them a lucrative playoff birth. Games that fit the profile from Round 25 include South Sydney vs. Cronulla and the Wests Tigers against North Queensland. With all four teams mathematically eliminated from mid-September action, it gives the NRL the opportunity to trial their less experienced referees under an interchange format. Not surprisingly, the most consistent referees this year are indeed the only three fulltime referees employed by the NRL. Bill Harrigan, Steve Clark, and Tim Mander are clearly a cut above their part-time counterparts and the NRL may use this experiment to possibly pair off the part-timers for the coming seasons. Even if this experiment is indeed a one off, you have to give the NRL marks for trying something to get consistency back into rugby league.

Two referees better than one?

IT appears that after another NRL season of consistent inconsistency from the bulk of the refereeing ranks, the NRL may be about to trial a new way to find that elusive quality week in week out. League Unlimited has learned that the NRL is moving on an idea to have a regular season game officiated by a pair of referees using an interchange format. While information at this stage is sketchy, the likely game will feature a pair of teams out of finals contention, so no contending team could point to ?inconsistency? costing them a lucrative playoff birth. Games that fit the profile from Round 25 include South Sydney vs. Cronulla and the Wests Tigers against North Queensland. With all four teams mathematically eliminated from mid-September action, it gives the NRL the opportunity to trial their less experienced referees under an interchange format. Not surprisingly, the most consistent referees this year are indeed the only three fulltime referees employed by the NRL. Bill Harrigan, Steve Clark, and Tim Mander are clearly a cut above their part-time counterparts and the NRL may use this experiment to possibly pair off the part-timers for the coming seasons. Even if this experiment is indeed a one off, you have to give the NRL marks for trying something to get consistency back into rugby league.

League Player Ratings: Grand Final

A horrible refereeing performance, a video refereeing decision that was just plain wrong and Matt Geyer playing the worst game in a Grand Final in recent memory; all in all a Grand Final that may be remembered for what was poor rather than what was good which is a shame. The good was the fact the Brisbane Broncos just played controlled and effective football over 80 minutes and proved once again that it doesn?t matter what happens over the course of a season ? what matters is what both teams do in 80 minutes on the last Sunday night of the season. Melbourne have had a great season but you don?t win a premiership without a great Grand Final performance and Brisbane know all about putting it together on Grand Final day. With Shane Webcke retiring the game marked the end of the post-2000 era at the Broncos and personally I liked the fact both he and Darren Lockyer could cap this era with a premiership of their own. Congratulations Brisbane. 2006 GRAND FINALBRISBANE BRONCOS 15 def MELBOURNE STORM 8Man of the Match ? Darren LOCKYER, BRIJust shaded Tonie Carroll and the official Clive Churchill winner Shaun Berrigan as the best player in the Grand Final. Controlled the Brisbane game plan from the outset and looked composed throughout, allowing his team mates to feed off his confidence and post their 6th premiership. His kicking game kept the Broncos going in the first half when Melbourne had most of the attacking field position which resulted in Brisbane needing a good kick to end their sets from well inside their own half. Set up Justin Hodges for the Broncos first try with a superb inside ball that drew Scott Hill out of the line and created the gap for Hodges to stroll through. Then teamed with Tonie Carroll on the right side to send Brent Tate over for the try that put the Broncos up by 6 points with 17 minutes to play. Capped the game off with a 33m field goal he struck sweet and gave the Broncos an unbeatable 7 point lead with only 7 minutes left. A true champion player who has now won a premiership for his team rather than being simply one of a few great players in a side as he was in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Even though he won the Clive Churchill in 2000 he was still not the leader of the side and in a year when many wrote him off as a champion early on ? he has well and truly left egg on their collective faces. POS STORM LPR FB SLATER, Billy 6 WI GEYER, Matt 3 CE KING, Matthew 7 CE INGLIS, Greg 7 WI TURNER, Steve 5 FE HILL, Scott 7 HB CRONK, Cooper 7 PR KAUFUSI, Antonio 6 HK SMITH, Cameron 7 PR WHITE, Brett 5 SR KIDWELL, David 6 SR HOFFMAN, Ryan 6 LK JOHNSON, Dallas 6 BN SMITH, Jeremy 5 BN FRIEND, Nathan 5 BN CROSS, Ben 5 BN BLAIR, Adam 5 TEAM TOTALS 98 POS BRONCOS LPRFB HODGES, Justin 7 WI BOYD, Darius 7 CE TATE, Brent 7 CE STAGG, David 7 WI HUNT, Karmichael 6 FE LOCKYER, Darren ? 8 HB PERRY, Shane 6 PR WEBCKE, Shane 7 HK BERRIGAN, Shaun 8 PR CIVONICEVA, Petero 7 SR THAIDAY, Sam 6 SR THORN, Brad 7 LK CARROLL, Tonie 8 BN PARKER, Corey 6 BN CARLAW, Dane 6 BN HANNANT, Ben 5 BN McGUIRE, Casey 6 TEAM TOTALS 114 3 ? D Lockyer (8/BRI) 2 ? T Carroll (8/BRI) 1 ? S Berrigan (8/BRI) The Player of the Finals [must play in 3 games (incl. Grand Final) to qualify and sorted on Average LPR]8.0 ? D Lockyer (BRI) 7.7 ? C Smith (MEL), C Cronk (MEL)7.5 ? J Hodges (BRI), S Berrigan (BRI), G Inglis (MEL), T Carroll (BRI)7.3 ? P Civoniceva (BRI), T Carroll (BRI), B Slater (MEL) Darren Lockyer takes out the Player of the Finals Award for 2006. QF v STI: 6 SF v NEW: 8 PF v BUL: 10 GF v MEL: 8 Total: 32 in 4 Games at an LPR Average of 8.0

League Player Ratings: Preliminary Finals

THE cream has risen to the top. No matter how loyal a fan you are to your team surely nobody can claim that the better team didn?t win either of the Preliminary Finals on the weekend. The Broncos produced arguably the greatest second half of football seen not only this year but perhaps for many a year to overwhelm the Bulldogs; while the Dragons just couldn?t turn back the Storm?s methodical and efficient style and saw another season pass by without that much anticipated title. But to the games and the standout individual performances. 1st PRELIMINARY FINAL

Tougher to pick than a broken nose

A little birdie told me today that picking a winner in Broncos and Bulldogs game tonight was tougher than picking a broken nose and given his melon resembles that of Dane Carlaw?s last Saturday night, I guess I?ll have to take his word for it.

League Player Ratings ? Elimination Semi Finals

AND then there were four. After two one-sided semi finals over the weekend, the Newcastle Knights and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles are no longer in the running for the 2006 Telstra Premiership. With their comprehensive victories the St.George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Broncos live to fight another day in the Preliminary Finals this weekend. League Player Ratings is the only non-newspaper affiliated Ratings service covering the NRL and after completing the regular season for subscribers, NSC is covering the Finals for League Unlimited. The LPR is a ranking out of 10, as a guide 3 is the lowest score and for a very early injury, 4 is for an mid-game injury if nothing significant was done or a player has a very poor performance, 5 is a poor performance below standard, 6 is a standard performance, 7 is a very good performance, 8 is an excellent performance, 9 is an outstanding performance and 10 is an unbelievable performance. Here is the LPR for every player in Week Two of the Finals, and for those who like the 3-2-1 method it is included after each Team List incorporating the LPR. 1st Elimination Semi FinalST.GEORGE-ILLAWARRA 28 def MANLY-WARRINGAH 0 Man of the Match ? Luke BAILEY, STIAnd you thought Bailey had a superb game last weekend. This was the best performance from a front rower this season and even though his stats don?t have the gaudiness you?d think would accompany a statement like that ? just re-watch the game tape and see how the front row position should be played. Every hit-up had vigour in it, every hit-up had interest metres tacked on the end, every hit-up was a statement that Bailey was not prepared to end his career at the Dragons just yet. If the Dragons are to get by the Storm and into the Grand Final, they need Bailey (and his partners in crime ? Justin Poore and Jason Ryles) to reproduce another sterling effort like this. POS DRAGONS LPRFB GREENSHIELDS, Clint 7 WI NAIQAMA, Wes 7 CE MILLARD, Daryl 6 CE COOPER, Matt 7 WI MORRIS, Brett 8 FE BARRETT, Trent ? 7 HB HORNBY, Ben 7 PR BAILEY, Luke 9 HK GORRELL, Aaron 6 PR RYLES, Jason 7 SR BICKERSTAFF, Matt 7 SR SIMS, Ashton 7 LK TIMMINS, Shaun 6 BN CREAGH, Ben 7 BN WICKS, Danny 6 BN POORE, Justin 8 BN HEAD, Mathew 6 TEAM TOTALS 118 POS SEA EAGLES LPRFB STEWART, Brett 5 WI ROBERTSON, Michael 6 CE HICKS, Chris 6 CE MATAI, Steve 6 WI STEPHENSON, Paul 5 FE BURNS, Travis 5 HB ORFORD, Matt 6 PR KING, Jason 6 HK MONAGHAN, Michael 5 PR KITE, Brent 7 SR MENZIES, Steven 7 SR WATMOUGH, Anthony 5 LK KENNEDY, Ben ? 7 BN DUNLEY, Shayne 6 BN WILLIAMSON, Luke 4 BN LEULUAI, Kylie 6 BN BRYANT, Mark 5 TEAM TOTALS 97 3 ? L Bailey (9/STI) 2 ? B Morris (8/STI) 1 ? J Poore (8/STI) 2nd Elimination Semi FinalBRISBANE BRONCOS 50 def NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 6 Man of the Match ? Darren LOCKYER, BRIIn a game when the Broncos were ruthless after withstanding Newcastle?s opening 15 minutes, Lockyer was only one of six players who had excellent games. Just edged Shaun Berrigan for the award on the back of a strong kicking game and his constant movement to get into position for possession on both sides of the field. This is Lockyer?s greatest strength since moving to five-eighth. He lost an element of his support play shifting from fullback but he has evolved into a playmaker who touches the ball regularly on both sides of the field. His Try Involvement Ratio (Tries+Primary Assists+Secondary Assists/Total Team Tries) was an impressive 62.5% (from 1 Try, 2 Primary Assists and 2 Secondary Assists) ahead of Berrigan at 50% (2PA+2SA). We told you he was in great form entering the Finals and that the Dragons game may have been an aberration and Lockyer proved that correct. POS KNIGHTS LPRFB GIDLEY, Kurt 8 WI CARNEY, Brian 5 CE GIDLEY, Matthew 5 CE CARMONT, George 5 WI QUINN, Anthony 5 FE MULLEN, Jarrod 5 HB JOHNS, Andrew ? 6 PR PERRY, Josh 4 HK QUIGLEY, Luke 6 PR WOOLNOUGH, Adam 6 SR REYNOLDSON, Kirk 5 SR NEWTON, Clint 5 LK TANNER, Reegan 5 BN DAVICO, Luke 5 BN SMITH, Craig 6 BN BROWN, Riley 5 BN LOWRIE, Todd 5 TEAM TOTALS 91 POS BRONCOS LPRFB HODGES, Justin 8 WI BOYD, Darius 7 CE TATE, Brent 7 CE STAGG, David 7 WI HUNT, Karmichael 8 FE LOCKYER, Darren ? 8 HB PERRY, Shane 6 PR WEBCKE, Shane 7 HK BERRIGAN, Shaun 8 PR CIVONICEVA, Petero 8 SR THAIDAY, Sam 5 SR THORN, Brad 7 LK CARROLL, Tonie 8 BN PARKER, Corey 7 BN CARLAW, Dane 6 BN HANNANT, Ben 5 BN McGUIRE, Casey 6 TEAM TOTALS 118 3 ? D Lockyer (8/BRI) 2 ? S Berrigan (8/BRI) 1 ? P Civoniceva (8/BRI) CENTREBET PREMIERSHIP MARKET ? September 18, 2006$3.20 Dragons (Last Week: $4.65)$3.25 Bulldogs (LW: $3.00)$3.75 Broncos (LW: $6.00)$4.25 Storm (LW: $3.40) The Player of the Finals [must play in 3 games (incl. Grand Final) to qualify and sorted on Average LPR]After 2 Games Minium8.5 - L Bailey (STI)7.5 - P Civoniceva, S Webcke, J Hodges (BRI), C Greenshields, B Morris (STI) League Player Ratings will return following the completion of next weekend?s Preliminary Finals.

What a difference a year makes

THE first week of the NRL Finals for 2006 have come and gone, with Canberra and Parramatta no longer in the picture and just six teams remaining in the hunt for October glory. With the Semi Finals kicking off Friday night, let?s take a look at the differences between the lineups the Sea Eagles, Dragons, Knights and Broncos had in their last game of 2005 and the sides they named for this weekend.

League Player Ratings ? Qualifying Finals

WEEK One of the Finals has thrown up just the one ?surprise? with the Dragons traveling to Suncorp to take the chocolates from the Broncos, but the rest of the games saw the favourite emerge victorious. League Player Ratings is the only non-newspaper/magazine affiliated Ratings service covering the NRL and after completing the regular season for subscribers, NSC is covering the Finals for League Unlimited. The LPR is a ranking out of 10, as a guide 3 is the lowest score and for a very early injury, 4 is for an mid-game injury if nothing significant was done or a player has a very poor performance, 5 is a poor performance below standard, 6 is a standard performance, 7 is a very good performance, 8 is an excellent performance, 9 is an outstanding performance and 10 is an unbelievable performance. Here is the LPR for every player in Week One of the Finals, and for those who like the 3-2-1 method (which is sketchy at best in providing the games best and most consistent player) it is included after each Team List incorporating the LPR. 1st Qualifying Final NEWCASTLE 25 def MANLY-WARRINGAH 18 Man of the Match ? Andrew Johns, NEW

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