3 days ago
Where do you want to go today?
Gold Coast Titans...
Basic Training. To work on their defence: Despite eclipsing the Panthers in their second place playoff, the Titans are conceding far too many points for a team sitting outright second on the ladder. Their points differential of just 20 is significantly less than Manly's and Penrith's, and miles behind the table topping Dragons.
But is points differential even relevant? With Melbourne out of the running, the team currently in eighth are the Tigers at -9, and only the Bulldogs at 15 are in the black behind them. With St George Illawarra threatening to run away with the competition, and every other team incapable of showing any consistency, the Gold Coast's placing despite their defensive deficiencies might be the biggest indicator of just how mediocre the 2010 competition is going to be.
Scott Prince, Patrick Ah Van, Luke Burt...
Rugby training. To do the teaching, that is. A rugby toff colleague of mine tried to convince me that the skill level of the 15-man code is superior, with his argument being that contested scrums and lineouts add two extra dimensions to the play. But why don't we ever see a rugby player exhibit the supreme skill of Messrs Prince, Ah Van and Burt in scoring tries, just as these three did during their Round 8 matches?
For some, it's because there's not enough room for outside backs. Another response is that rugby players don't have the creative freedom afforded leagueies. The truth, however, is far more simplistic: rugby players just aren't as skilful.
St George Illawarra Dragons...
A loss. This column's preference for discussing the table toppers rather than mid-table mediocrity means the Dragons come up more than any other side. Luckily for the writer and (hopefully) the readers, the lack of scrutiny towards the Dragons means that there is still scope for originality. To be negative about a team on top with a 7-1 record, off the back of a 38-0 win, might be churlish, but it's worth noting just one key point - or two, as it were.
A look at the ladder shows that only two points separate the Dragons from the pack. Just two points, despite their clear domination of every team not illegally assembled. The Dragons risk burning out even worse than in 2009, not because they are chokers, but because the bar is so low this season that teams nowhere near as good are still within touching distance.
A loss never does any team good, despite the clich