KICKING off ?From the Couch? (FTC) for 2005 with a swipe at the inconsistency of the NRL judiciary is not the ideal way to start the season but after Danny Nutley was suspended for two weeks for pulling out of a dangerous throw the issue must be addressed. Bagging one of the key components of the administration of Rugby League in Australia is something no one wants to do but with Nutley rubbed out over an incident that warranted only a penalty on the night something must be said. Apart from the Nutley and Keith Galloway (who should have faced suspension) case, it appears that when it comes to Round 1 every year high tackles are treated with the a stance which goes along the lines of ?given it is the first round we?ll forgive the players for not quite getting their technique right, and anyone who strays too high we?ll slap on the wrist?. And the NRL wonders why the fans lack genuine respect for the current judiciary system. Without going into a range of specific tackles that weren?t sighted (and there were quite a few) only Brett Kimmorley and Terry Hill were charged with careless high tackles. Both incidents bordered on reckless given Kimmorley jumped into his high shot on Luke Rooney, and Hill made no attempt to hit any part of Jerome Ropati?s body other than the young centre?s head. If we were in Round 13 I?m willing to suggest Kimmorley (who received on week only due to carry over points) and Hill would be facing at least two weeks on the sidelines for each tackle.
YES The Mighty Bears are top of the table and determined to stay there as they travel down to WIN Stadium to challenge the Dragons in both Premier League and Jersey Flegg. Watch the sparks fly in as the Bears come up against a former team mate from Norths' 2004 semi-final Jersey Flegg team centre Lee Te Maari, who has been named in the Dragons' Premier League team. Rumor also has it that the Dragons will ensure a beefed up forward pack including former Roosters player Willie Tupou.
WHILE England's Six Nations campaign comes to an unflattering halt this Saturday, the capital's other code is just starting to warm up.
ST Albans Centurions continued their impressive build up to the National League 3 campaign with a comprehensive victory over the London Skolars reserve grade side, in a curtain raiser to the Challenge Cup tie with French giants Pia. The final score 34-16 in Centurions favour only partially tells the story of a tough game which had to end on 65mins with a Skolars player going down with what appeared to be a serious injury and both sides agreeing to call an end to the game.
THE Giants have signed 22-year-old Newcastle Falcons centre Stephen Jones on a full-time contract until the end of the season. Jones, who will join the Giants immediately, has played representative Rugby Union for England at U18 and U19 level and is currently part of the Scotland U21 squad. He is 5? 11? and 89kg and has been allocated squad number 26 in the Giants full time squad.
THE London Broncos are poised to fight on in English Superleague as they continue to battle opposing teams on a number of fronts. In the past month Broncos management has seen Wigan, Bradford, Leigh and Salford vote to eliminate the club from Superleague after the Bronco?s liquidation. To add to London?s problems, Vinnie Anderson abandoned negotiations in order to sign with St Helens, and Broncos contracted forward, Lee Hopkins, has reportedly been approached by Wigan.
COACHES Gary Charlton and Martin Oglanby have named a 22-man squad for Cumbria?s opening game of the 2004/5 BARLA County Championship on Sunday.
CANBERRA have secured a 3-year deal, rumoured to be worth $1 million, with Carlton and United Breweries in a great boost ahead of their season opener at Bruce Stadium this week. And sources close to the club believe the Raiders are also close to securing a 2005 sleeve sponsor.
SHARKS forward Danny Nutley has been suspended for two matches following a guilty verdict for a grade one dangerous throw at last night's judiciary hearing.
SOUTH Sydney have announced that they will move their home games away from Aussie Stadium to Olympic Park at Homebush from 2006.
FRIDAY, 18th March 2005
AFTER a rip-snorting first round, we now turn our focus to the second chapter of the minor premiership, where sometimes things don't go exactly to plan?
Cowboys v Bulldogs at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Friday 7.30pm
ROOSTERS and New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart says he's fed up with NRL players using rugby union as a bargaining chip in contract negotiations purely to up the player's asking price.
A wise old coach (I believe Chris Anderson was his name) once declared that all you need to win a football match is two quality props and a halfback of high ability. Interesting and prophetic words indeed.
SHARKIES prop Danny Nutley will contest a grade one dangerous throw charge at the NRL judiciary tonight in an effort to be cleared for Sunday afternoon's game against Manly at Brookvale Oval.