Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Feedback or ?fan mail? as I like to subconsciously call it is always good. If you can forget the fact that a good three quarters of it is critical, any response is complementary to an author.
For example, where a reader writes ?you?re editorial was absolute rubbish and I don?t agree with it one single bit?, an author reads ?thank you for sucking me into reading your entire article and wasting three minutes of my life on an email?.
You see, everyone wins in the great world of journalism?
So you can just imagine my shock surprise when I opened my inbox to read the first response saying;
Your last article was absolutely fantastic! Can I call you the ?league guru? from now on? Also, in a season that has been so bungled in controversy can you enlighten me on the five most over-rated things of the season? It almost appears to me as though you?re too nice to say anything negative about anyone. So how about it?
Michelle Hayes, Rooty Hill?
Unfortunately, League Unlimited already has a League Guru in the team, but I?ll give thought to writing under an alias in the near future. How?s that? In the meantime, I?ll tackle the question at hand. Here?s your five most overrated for the 2004 NRL season thus far. (Excuse me whilst I equip myself with bodily protection from the stir I?m about to cause)
5. Andrew Johns
How many of us were naive enough to think that retaining Andrew Johns was purely a matter of keeping the star player in ?this? code? Please! The entire ?Andrew Johns/Rugby Union? saga was more about keeping him out of union, than it was keeping him in league. This was just an opportunity for the NRL to flex its muscle and show it still had some form persuasive power over its stars.
To their credit they pulled off the deal, but here are the questions that I raise as a result of the extra effort. Firstly, where was the NRL when Mat Rogers and Wendell Sailor both bounced over to Union? Where were the extra incentives when the world?s best winger in Lote Tuqiri decided to follow suite?
Perhaps I should lighten up and consider what this season would?ve been like without Andrew Johns? Oh that?s right; we just went through an entire season without him anyways!
Karmichael Hunt, Sony-Bill Williams and Anthony Tupou were three upcoming stars that only few people had heard of before this season got underway. Thurston on the other hand had the press drooling all over him. These days, you?ll find that Hunt, Williams and Tupou each attract more attention than Thurston, not to mention playing time. He was acclaimed to be the next big thing in Rugby League, but the fact that Braith Anasta was able to reclaim his five-eighth position over him is testament to just how much the media got this one wrong ? for at least the year. Being dropped for who the players once voted the most overrated player in the game won?t help you in this article. Don?t get me wrong, he may have a blinder of a career with the Cowboys which commences next season. For the meantime though, he failed to live up to the hype he was showered with.
3. The Channel 9 Coverage
This has little to do with the staff. In fact the boys are second to none when it comes to calling the game and providing us with endless hours of thorough entertainment. There is however, something very irksome about an organisation that picks the two best games per round and decides to air them an hour and a half later, with commercials. Consider the fact that Fox Sports airs the remaining five games live (bar one) and uninterrupted, and you can already imagine why people would be hesitant to flick back to Channel 9. The decline in footy show ratings are testament to how tiresome of the programs coverage the public are growing. If the administrator of Channel 9 is reading, I?m prepared to make you a deal. You fix up the aforementioned and drop that waste of air time Reg Ragen, and I?ll drop you from this list. Fair deal?
2. The Danny Williams Fiasco
I can?t be absolutely certain of how it went down behind closed doors, but I?m pretty sure Williams? judicial hearing would?ve gone something along these lines;
Judiciary: Mr Williams, our top scientists have thoroughly analysed your defence case and have returned negative results. As a result, it?s with great disappointment that we find you guilty of striking and charge you? Williams: No wait; I do have amnesia I swear. I can prove it to you! Judiciary: You have two minutes. Williams: I?m sorry what am I trying to prove again? Judiciary: Hmmmmm, nice try!
*A knock is heard at the door and into the room walks CEO David Gallop.
Gallop: What?s going on in here? Judiciary: Mr Williams here is defending his striking charge. Gallop: You mean we?re still debating this? Judiciary: Yes Sir, we had to wait for scientific results as per whether or not he has amnesia as his defence so claims. Gallop: Scientists? I just forked out one million or so dollars trying to keep Andrew Johns in the game and here you are spending money on scientists! Meh, I?ll take care of this. Step aside?
Mr Williams, what was the final score of the match in which you ?allegedly? struck Mr Mark O?Neill? Williams: It was 18 to? Gallop: Thank you Mr Williams that?ll do! Quite clearly if you?re good enough to remember your own score you?re good enough to remember the bloke who absolutely pummelled you a few tackles earlier and since 18 is such a nice square number, consider that your sentence. That is all, case bloody closed. Now, the rest of you blokes lets go. There is a bunch of restless Queenslander?s expecting a sixteenth team and I need the opinion of intelligent people - ASAP!
Ok no more theatrics, hands up those of us who for even a split second actually thought that Danny Williams was innocent or had amnesia. For an incident that was so simple in solving, it attracted so much extra attention that to dub it as ?overrated? is an understatement.
Disclaimer: The National Rugby League Judicial System is probably not likely be that heinous, and Danny Williams isn?t intelligent enough to pull off a stunt like that. No reputations were directly or deliberately harmed.
1. Brett Kimmorley
Sorry Cronulla-Sutherland fans, but it had to be said. This entire article just wouldn?t make sense if he wasn?t here. Out of curiosity why isn?t Kimmorley in the Australian Olympics team competing in javelin? He has the entire ?step, step and throw something dangerous? routine so down pact that another gold medal was a bonafide certainty.
Let?s be fair to Kimmorley for a moment though, a lot of the media criticism that Kimmorley attracts had to do with his firm relationship with former club and national coach, Chris Anderson. In fact many locals even consider Kimmorley to be the reason why Preston Campbell, Nick Graham and Dean Triester all left the club within twelve months.
This season, many thought that Cronulla would shatter without Kimmorley in their line-up who sustained injury prior to State of Origin. However, life was anything but dreary for the Cronulla lads who picked up unexpected victories and unearthed two major talents in Michael Sullivan and Jason Kent, in the wake of Kimmorley?s absence. Those same critics will also argue that Kimmorley?s game is fairly one dimensional, and it?s not too difficult to see why.
When on song, Kimmorley?s kicking and passing game is second to none, but considering how much of their salary cap the Sharks dish out to him, you?d expect a stellar performance every game of the season. Unfortunately, until he brings success to Cronulla, he will always be dubbed by opposing fans, as the most overrated player in the NRL.
Regards, Jardian Ormsby.
Who did I get right? Who did I get wrong? Got any comments or questions that you?d like analysis to? Drop me a line at [email protected]