WHILE it may be all over for the Newcastle Knights and Brisbane Broncos in 2003, six teams still remain in the hunt for the Telstra Premiership.
After the weekend began with two upsets, it ended with both the Knights and the Broncos licking their wounds and lamenting their failure to overcome second half season obstacles.
For the Knights the loss of skipper Andrew Johns with a neck injury with a handful of rounds to play, all but sealed their fate.
While for the Broncos the drain of the representative season and mid-term injuries to Darren Lockyer and Gorden Tallis ruined a brilliant first half of the year.
An old footy clich? is ?injuries are part of the game?, but the stark reality is they ARE the main reason teams fail to live up to expectations season in, season out.
Just consider the injury toll for both sides (during the season) featured names such as:
Johns, Lockyer, Tallis, Kennedy, O?Davis, MacDougall, Tate, Ikin, Parsons, Simpson etc.
No side in this salary cap age can possibly have the depth to cover such significant player loss, and injuries are the main reason both sides finished at the foot of the Top 8.
IN the wake of the farcical scenes at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night, one has to wonder if the reintroduction of the 5 minute sin binning option would help referees better control matches that teeter on the edge of anarchy.
MAKE sure you catch a replay of the Parramatta Eels and the Cronulla Sharks farce at Parramatta Stadium.
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.
WELL well well, it appears the North Sydney Bears are not dead after all.
IF you can't get enough footy, head out to Campbelltown Stadium on May 21st to see the NSWRL Jim Beam Cup Representative Side take on the might of the Brisbane Capitals.
REGULARLY we hear about a player being the 'next big thing' well before he makes his first grade debut. Rarely however, does that player deliver on that promise in his first game of top flight football.
MANLY hopes of springing an upset this weekend took a hit today, when goal kicking five-eighth Ben Walker was ruled out of the side to face the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday night.
Walker had been named in the run-on side, but will now be replaced by youngster Luke Dorn.
ALTHOUGH statistics never tell the whole story when it comes to judging the success of NRL coaches, they go a long way in giving scope to a coaches ability over a period of time.
Does a winning record translate into a successful coach?
WITH current Manly coach Peter Sharp this evening announcing he would not re-apply for the position in 2004.