TOMORROW is the kick off of the Auckland Rugby League, 2005 Mad Butcher Fox Memorial.
IT?S Origin Time and unless you?ve been hiding under a rock for the past 6 weeks you should be counting down the days til Origin I at Suncorp Stadium May 25th. Both teams have named very strong squads with the only significant injury absences being Andrew Johns, Mark O?Meley and Willie Mason for the Blues while Willie Tonga and Brent Tate are unavailable for the Maroons. And a host of talented players were overlooked which suggests we are in for a treat come Wednesday. In a special From the Couch we take an in-depth look at the players involved in Origin I.
PLAYERS have come and gone, as have sponsors, coaches and even our name; however, the one constant for Tigers fans since 1934 has been Leichhardt Oval (we don't speak of the Parramatta Stadium debacle). I personally refer to it as the ?heartland?, not just of the Tigers but also of Rugby League in this country.
ONCE or twice a year there comes a day when Murray can?t win.
ORIGIN time makes me shake. I get that filled up with anticipation that by kickoff time, I can hardly hold my beer steady. Most of my mates are the same, which is one of the reasons I always watch it out in the backyard.
Ahhh..State of Origin night, one of only 5 nights of the year when police ignore noise complaints.
When there is more beer sold, than any other day of the year. Not bad for the middle of Winter.
Mates of mine that aren?t as obsessed with Origin as the majority of posters in this forum are, often ask me to explain what it is about Origin football that makes it tick.
I have always replied with, ?You give me a word, any word, and I?ll describe how that word fits into Origin history.
So here we go:
Hunger- Billy Moore
Passion- There?s an old tale that Trevor Gillmeister tells regarding the 1995 camp before the 1st origin match of which he was captain. They were all sitting in the room together and a few of the old legends were telling the young blokes what it meant to them to play for Queensland. Fatty asked Choppy Close to step forward, so he did. He was about 5 words into his speech before he choked up with tears and couldn?t go on.
The axe says that a young Robbie O leaned over to him from the chair behind and said ?Give me the bloody Guernsey; I?m ready to play now!?
Doubt- It was quite clear that most centre combinations that faced Mal Meninga and Gene Miles in the early 80?s had doubt running through their head, every time these blokes touched the ball
Judgment- Michael O?Connor. Whether judging the right time to step an opponent or the angle at which to place the ball for a sideline kick in the rain
Desire- At some stage of the Origin campaign every diehard fan watching the match at home desires to be out on the field, giving it all for their state
Pain- Paul Bowman playing on one leg, Michael Devere getting his head stapled on the field. The last 5 minutes of any origin game. Golden point extra time. But by far, the biggest pain comes when the reality sets in that your team has lost the series, and it will be 12 months before they get the chance to make amends.
Sorrow- RIP Peter Jackson, one of the true passionate greats
Adrenaline- Gorden Tallis V Bill Harrigan 2000 can?t name a person watching that match that the adrenaline didn?t affect. Wally Lewis V Mark Geyer 1991 another moment when men and women of all ages rose and screamed at either Lewis or Geyer.
Contact- Cement v Queensland, The Axe v New South Wales
Aggression- The Tallis tackle on Hodgson. Any number of tackles or elbows thrown by Les Boyd. Eric Grothe up the sideline. Jamie Goddard decking bargearse.
Sadness- Thursday morning after a loss, getting out of bed, buying the local rag and reading the wash-up.
Complete- Brett Kenny
Error- 10 metres out from your own goal line. In any other game, this means try time. In origin, it means work,work,work.
Magician- Walter Lewis
Mistake- Phil Duke, Justin Hodges
Blockbuster- 1991 Series. 2 Points separated the sides over the whole series
Therapy- Before the game XXXX, after a loss, professional help is needed.
Tight- 1st Game 1995 Queensland 2 def NSW 0
Blowout- 3rd game 2000 NSW 56 def Qld 16,
Revenge- 1st Game 2001 Qld 34 def NSW16,
Huge- Webke, Sironen, Roach, Harrogan, Backo, Clyde, Mason, Alfie?s heart
A couple of apologies are in order, at the head of this week's offering; both to men who can lay claim to being among the most astute politicians of our age.
COULD the tides be turning in the Total Rl.com Rugby League Conference Premier Wales? Although champions Bridgend Blue Bulls have started as strong as ever winning their first three matches, last season's other play-off sides, Aberavon Fighting Irish and Torfaen Tigers have both struggled to find form.
Aberavon won their first match but were then hammered at home to Bridgend the following week while Torfaen have lost their first two matches against Newport Titans and Cardiff Demons.
WEEK two of split Round 5 of the Bartercard Cup kicks off this evening at Massey Park, Papakura, where the Jetz take on the Wellington franchise. The Jetz are going along very well and should move up the table tonight, with the home crowd providing plenty of motivation.
NZRL Vice Chairman Selwyn Bennett has today confirmed the make up of the appointment panel that will consider applications and make recommendations to the NZRL Board of Directors.
Q: Why are you now introducing this Super League strategy
WIGAN captain Kris Radlinski is set to make his return from a hamstring injury in Friday?s game against Huddersfield.
THE full details of a strategy for the future of the engage Super League has been unveiled today.
The RFL?s Executive Chairman Richard Lewis made a presentation to the media alongside RFL Chief Operatiing Officer Nigel Wood.
The main points of the presentation and the strategy are:
Super League is in its tenth season with the engage Super League competition currently enjoying great success on many fronts.
The League is supported by strong broadcast agreements with major partners Sky Sports and secondary rights holders BBC Sport.
Attendances are increasing, an exciting new partnership is in place with a new main sponsor Engage Mutual Assurance, new stadia have been developed with more planned and the Championship deciding Grand Final is a major date in the British sporting calendar.
This success provides a great platform on which to plan and build further progress.
The following are a result of engage Super League clubs resolving that they and the RFL can work collectively towards some agreed aspirations and overall objectives:
Super League to seek to expand to 14 clubs
Super League Membership criteria strengthened / Promotion method amended
Player workload / season calendar assessed
Positive emphasis placed on developing each club?s businesses via marketing and commercial growth
Ongoing RFL support for the currently successful partnerships with clubs which create the Junior Player Production and Coach Education Programmes
?Employed? Match Officials operating by 2007 - to enable better preparation and training by leading Match Officials
Parramatta Eels 18 v Manly Sea Eagles 12
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 16 v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 34
FULLTIME score: Round 11
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 16 v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 18