Monthly Archives: June 2011
Over the last few weeks things have been very serious ‘on the try line’ and I thought this week I’d lighten the mood.
Today’s topic is something that’s rather personal to me. It’s all about growing beards. I did some research this week and apparently in a day-to-day conference you could call me Noobrabaham Lincoln because of my inability to grow any sort of beard that makes me look like an adult. So today I’d like to celebrate some of the better cookie dusters in the NRL in the past 5 years. I’ve happily named this list Team Galifianakis because the man grows a beard whilst waiting for the bus. Without further ado here is the starting line-up for Team Galifianakis.
At number 1 is the current fullback for the Tigers – Wade McKinnon. Look at that solid patch of elevated pubic hair? This picture was taken during the ‘season of beard growing’ they had at the Warriors in 2009 (what am I saying? Every year is the ‘season of beard growing’ at the Warriors). I’m certain McKinnon grew this thing as a way of saying “look everybody, I may have boy like features but I can grow this super Man-like beard”. The same could be said about his random tattoos.
At number 2, on the wing we have David ‘Wolf-man’ Williams. This photo was taken during the ‘women of league’ round so David had a reason to change it to pink, right? I mean it’s not because the guy is a walking tool? Wolf-man’s beard became such a commodity that nobody even noticed that the guy can’t even play football. People become obsessed and missed every time he dropped the ball, saying things like “well it’s lucky he has such a great soup strainer”.
Our first centre is Michael Jennings. Jennings beard is so perfectly trimmed you’d think he went to Ella Rouge to get it done. Jennings started growing his beard this season and from what I can tell he hasn’t had the best one so far, so maybe it’s time to shave off the old face Velcro. Better yet maybe Gus Gould should take him to the same beautician who has been dying his hair for 25 years…have you seen that thing? Father Christmas came early to the mountains this year. Anyway I digress…
Simon Mannering was also part of the ‘Season of the Beard’ at the Warriors. I’m sorry but I have no silly comment to make about his nut duster so I’ll move onto a man that needs no introduction.
Big Manu ‘Monster’ Vatuvai has one of the best nicknames in the NRL. You don’t get given a nickname like Monster and not have the game to back it up (hence why Willie Mason never got given it). Not only does he have a great nickname but his face fluff is in perfect symmetry with his head. Creating what I like to call a ‘Rounder Beard’. This is where the head hair meets the facial hair at a perfect point to create a solid round shape for your head.
Playing a little bit out of position in Team Galifianakis is Greg Inglis. The best part about GI’s beard is that it takes only 80 minutes to grow, like one of those midday infomercials. “That’s right folks; you can have this beard from kick off to last whistle”. I swear I see him clean shaven at the start of every match. It’s scary and very depressing for me being a Noobraham Lincoln.
I know why Jonathon Thurston grew his Cat Stevens like-beard, its so referees couldn’t hear him when he was throwing curses there way. It’s the perfect covering. Or maybe he grew it to offset the fact that when he wears his headgear his hair sprays out like it’s trying to escape from the blob. Its time to shave the mop JT, I think Jennings knows a good beautician?
No, that’s not Jake Da Muss its former front rower for the Warriors Ruben Wiki, although you could be forgiven for that mistake. The only fun fact I have about Wiki is that I went on Ruben Wikis Wiki (mouthful), I found out that the name for his much awaited book was called…wait for it…Ruben Wiki. That must have had the publisher stumped for days coming up with that title.
Don’t be fooled people…Cameron Smith only has a beard because he cannot shave the small ‘bum like’ section he has on his chin. He would look really weird clean shaven with an arse like hole on his face – complete with hair. So ‘Cam’ grows his beard, unlike his name which was shortened after his first few years in the spotlight.
Is that a forest fire? No it’s just Brad Meyers and his boycott on anything that cuts hair. Honestly once tackled he resembles a fireworks factory exploding with hair and ash everywhere. Under that beard he actually looks like this .Crazy huh?
Don’t laugh at this but Steve Southern actually grows his beard because it’s safer that way. You tell me what’s better: SPF 30+ sun cream or a bush fire-like beard to protect your skin from melanoma? This isn’t funny guys…some thigh ticklers are grown for safety’s sake.
Isn’t it better to grow a beard before you lose your job than after they fire you? I’m sure that’s what Kirk Reynoldson thought when Newcastle where going to give him the boot. He figured he was going to be unemployed soon so why not make the people at Centrelink think you are one of them? Good plan there Kirky.
Dallas Johnson would be the captain of our team. His facial fluff is thick but he doesn’t look like a homeless person. It’s trimmed but not enough to make you think he went to the Jennings school of beauty. It’s Man-like but the fact that he performs 675 tacklers per game suggests that anyway. Plus his name is Dallas, if there ever was a man in the NRL worthy of a beard it’s anyone named after an American city.
Few points before I leave you:
- Searched the internet for a long time trying to find other nicknames for beards. I’ve put 9 in this article. See if you can find them all.
- I also searched for a name for someone who can’t grow a beard very well and only found 2 in ‘Noobraham Lincoln’ and ‘douche fag’. You can see why I went with the first.
- If you have any more nicknames for beards please put them in the comments so I can add them to the article.
- I need to find 4 bench players, thoughts?
I thought I’d use this small amount of space to tell you about a few things coming up ‘on the try line’ for subscribers and casual readers.
- State of Origin Part 3 – My Queensland Dream Team
- The Gibson Roster – A list of players ‘On The Try Line’ have kept a close eye on
- Hero’s and Spines – Who and what does your team rely on?
- Dally M live diary – 3 shady characters running through the shambles of the Dally M Awards Evening
Also next year we are hoping to implement a few of the following features
- A complete website overhaul
- A classic footy tipping competition with an ‘On The Try Line’ twist
- ‘On The Try Line Dream and Nightmare Teams’ – the ultimate NRL fantasy competition
So stay tuned for all those great things coming your way ‘on the try line’.
If you’re just joining us then check out Part 1 here. Let’s get into the juicy end of the table with the top 8 teams as it stands after Round 15…
McKenna: Hey, unless you’re gonna kiss me, get your hands off my ass.
This one is for the Newcastle fans that every year go through a roller-coaster ride named ‘we are in the 8 but we still don’t stand a chance.’ Up and down they go, leaving little doubt that they will be the first team knocked out. I’ve watched the Knights this year shaking my head thinking when will this madness stop. I guess next year when the Batman and Robin team of Boyd and Bennett swoop in and start throwing their football weight around. Until then I will bet my brand new Miley Cyrus watch that Newcastle will see the finals this year but won’t go any further than the semis. Don’t believe me? Two points:
- Your two superstars, Mullen and Gidley are probably getting injured whilst I write this. They are the only reason physio’s are still employed in the Hunter.
- Their only attacking move is straight out of the Under 7’s handbook. The old pass it to the big guy (Uate) and watch him score
You can’t win a premiership when you are relying too heavily on those things. So it’s time for you to use the old South Sydney quote of “next year is our year”.
Jack Rose: Oh that’s great! That’s just F*CKING great! Did you get that?
I was dying to find a good quote for the boys from across the Pacific but I couldn’t get anything. Then I started to think to myself that there hasn’t been much said about the Warriors this season. Then I caught onto the fact that they might be one of the top 8 sleepers. Why? Well they don’t lose players to State of Origin, they have a white guy playing halfback (I’ve always said this was key) and Mateo is finally playing with a team that is ready to catch those crazy offloads he throws.
Plus how is this for consistency: 7 losses and 7 wins with for – 255 & against – 256. This tells me 2 things
- If the Warriors were a Twitter hash tag they would be #evenstevens.
- The Warriors can only get better as their team finds a working structure
Mark me down right now…seriously copy this or write it down somewhere…as saying that the Warriors are the sleeper team for 2011. The only reason they wouldn’t be starts with Krisnan and ends with Inu, outside of that you will see them come September time.
Tony D’Amato: That’s what a leader’s about: sacrifice. The times he’s gotta sacrifice because he’s gotta lead, by example. Not by fear and not by self-pity.
This one is for my cuzzie Benji Marshall. Benji can do things that make even the Editor say “that’s crazy”. Just on the weekend he threw a long ball that made Joey Johns say wow. The problem the Tigers have with Benji is that he doesn’t want to be a leader. He doesn’t want to be the person who gets blamed when they go down. So he shies away from leading his team. Now to make things more confusing, I agree with Benji. Marshall is a hero and not a leader; there is a huge difference (which I will explain some other time). For now let’s just say Robbie Farah is the leader for the Tigers. Robbie needs to pull Benji aside, when the tigers are down by like 16 points and say “I’m the leader and you’re the hero, save us from this mess, if you can’t I’ll take the blame”. He needs to know that Tigers want him to be Wolverine and not Cyclops. Most Tigers fans are happy to lose, as long as Benji doesn’t disappear halfway through a game.
You know which Tigers player I love watching play this year? Andrew Fifita. Simply because he looks like he would be kind of fun hang around. He is always smiling even when inflicting pain on opponents. Plus he has a great name to say…say it now in your head 5 times…do it…how much fun is it? I could say it all day. He would definitely make the commentators delight.
Tony D’Amato: You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen…
This one is for the Brisbane Broncos and their captain Darren Lockyer. The way Brisbane are coming together for him is just astonishing. They look hungry for victory but I think they look hungrier to give Lockyer a ‘going away present’ of sorts. I don’t have much to say about Brisbane because you can never call them a sleeper or a top 8 fake. If they are there, then they are a real threat to any of the teams. The thing they have on their side is that fact that they are playing for Lockyer. Something like that can push teams over the line like Manly a few years ago with Steve Menzies going to the UK.
Tony D’Amato: On any given Sunday you’re gonna win or you’re gonna lose. The point is – can you win or lose like a man?
I would like to dedicate this quote to Jonathon Thurston. JT has had the painstaking job of putting up with players like Carl Webb, Michael Barney and Manese Mankafoa pretty much all of his career. On top of that he has to put up with injuries to his sidekicks Aaron Payne and Matt Bowen as well. Through it all he has taken the flak from every media outlet, from Gus Gould saying ‘No No No’ and from me screaming every season since 2005 “why are they losing now, they have the same team?” Finally his team are in a position to strike hard. Maybe it was the addition of Dallas ‘Chops’ Johnson, or maybe its Matt Scott and his ability to crush small buildings in a single bound. Whatever it is they are currently 4th of the table and don’t look like stopping. The question still remains that on the day you lose, which you will do because you can’t beat Melbourne, Brisbane or St George, can you take it like a man JT? Or will this be the end for you and your ‘love’ for North Queensland?
Luther ‘Shark’ Lavay: In football, you have the offense and the defense. You can’t have one without the other. Respect will be paid
Respect is paid to the Red V for this one. The Dragons have looked good on both sides of the field. With or without the ball they look like a side ready for the finals again. The question is are they hungry enough? I think if Brisbane were to meet St George in a grand final then the Broncos could take it on the back of Lockyer’s Legacy. The Dragons are playing good footy but isn’t it inevitable that they would lose that need to win? Considering that last year they learnt all kinds of lessons off the back of a terrible September in 2009. The need to win a second trophy doesn’t compare to the need to win the first. That’s just the way it works sometimes. I’m not saying they can’t do it, I’m just saying that if they were to come up against a Tigers or Roosters outfit like last year – the hunger factor would definitely come into play.
One player who I’ve enjoyed watching play this year is Jamie Soward. Doesn’t he look like he loves playing football at the moment? Not only that but doesn’t he look like he loves the Dragons? Some players just find teams that make sense; I think Soward has found that at St George.
(Side Note – other players who found a team where they fit in perfectly include Peter Wallace, Michael Ennis, Willie Tonga and Feleti Mateo.)
Tony D’Amato: [to Beamen] You’re very, very young… and your very, very stupid.
Number 6 and 7 of the Manly Sea Eagles get this quote. Do any Manly fans believe that these youngsters can take them all the way in September? I’m not at all saying that Foran and DCE (Daly Cherry Evans) are bad players. What I am saying is that they don’t have the experience you need to guide your team to victory. I just feel there is too much youth in key positions for Manly. Of there 1,6,7 and 9 they have collectively only played 290 games in first grade. Let’s compare that to say Melbourne – where the 1, 7 and 9 have played 571. That kind of experience wins finals football. Of the 17 or so players Manly field only 6 have played more than 150 games and one of those is Joe Galuvao. I’m really not talking out of my arse people. Here is another prediction for you Manly fans…I will be saying the same thing come September…no amount of wins or losses will sway me.
Tony D’Amato: We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And, we can stay here, get the sh*t kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light.
I said at the start of the year that Melbourne Storm will come out and make everybody eat a large servings of humble pie. Currently sitting first on the table they are mixing the ingredients. Even with Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk on Origin duty they are still winning games. It’s freakish. The big question is how will everybody react if they win? I for one would be stoked because my prediction came true but others may not be so happy. I saw the other day that people were still asking the question “how can Melbourne be first placed and not be cheating?” That’s a good question and I know how. Games that Melbourne should have by 40 points 2 years ago, they are winning by lesser margins this year. They went back to a simple formula of grinding out wins and its working. Take a look…9 of their games this year have been decided by 1 or 2 tries. That’s a huge difference, compared to 4 games decided by the same thing in 2009. That’s how the Storm are winning without cheating. Have at look at the numbers yourself (link this)
Still predicating a Melbourne v St George Grand Final but who do you think wants it more? The team that won last year or the team that was robbed last year?
(side note – I only found out that the young winger named Sisa Waqa doesn’t say his last name as ‘Whacker’ but actually as ‘Wonga’.)
(side side note – Dane Nielsen has the funniest running style in the NRL right now. When he runs his whole body moves but his head is frozen in place, its weird. He looks like a snake charmer and I giggle every time he gets the ball)
That’s the June Report done for the 2011 season. I must say though that by the time September comes around none of this will have mattered. What does matter is how you play on those game days. Teams like the Warriors, Parramatta and the Tigers have proved that at any point you can challenge the best in September and it can go either way. I’ll again wait for that challenge to present itself to my Rabbits but I don’t think it will be 2011. Hopefully this year is your team’s years to look for glory. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch Any Given Sunday again….that was the June Report ‘on the try line’.
Welcome to the June Report for the 2011 NRL season. The plan we have ‘On the try line’ is to give you rugby league stories a little differently than the other media outlets. Instead of giving you a report card or a ‘who, what, how and when’ type article, here at OTTL we will be using the medium of cinema to bring forth the feelings we have about players, teams, coaches and management within the NRL. For the 2011 June Report I’ll be using a classic Oliver Stone movie ‘Any Given Sunday’. I’m hoping at this point you haven’t said something like “I’ve never seen that movie” but if you have then don’t worry because I’ll try to break it down for you quickly.
Al Pacino (Tony D’Amato) is a struggling football coach of the Miami Sharks, Cameron Diaz (Christina Pagniacci) is the new owner after her father passed away and left her the side, Jamie Foxx (Willie Beaman) is the 2nd string quarterback who is looking for a football identity and LL Cool J (Julian Washington) is the journeyman wide receiver who is trying to avoid losing at all costs. All these actors mash up in a story of triumph (Hollywood sports style) and bring us one of the more entertaining of Football movies (except for LL Cool J who I’m sure attended the Summer Bay School of Acting…I think that’s on Ramsey Street?) which includes one of those speeches that you hope your coach would give your team before a HUGE game. Did you get tingles watching that?
I’ll be using quotes from the movie and dedicating them to players, coaches and teams. Lets start off with the current NRL chumps (Bottom Eight)
Christina Pagniacci: “No intensity, no victory”
This line could be used as the Gold Coast Titans motto in 2011. Do they even want to win? Canberra are watching them and saying “wow this team is really bad…and they got Scott Prince there”. It’s crazy because they have the tools, they should have the knowhow but it feels like they’ve had a football lobotomy over the pre-season. Maybe it’s too much sun but they are currently sitting as odds on favourites to win the wooden spoon this year. I’m guessing the Gold Coast management think the same way I do because they are buying up players like it’s the new ‘planking’.
The key for the Gold Coast to get off the bottom is for Scott Prince to turn chicken sh*t into chicken salad, if they can’t help him do that then they better get used to the view from there.
Tony D’Amato: “If you’re gonna be a loser, raise your hand. IF you’re gonna act like a pussy, raise your hand.”
[Julian Washington stands up and raises his hand]
Tony D’Amato:” What the hell are you doing, J?”
Julian Washington:” Well, I didn’t want you to be the only pussy with your hand up, so I thought I’d help you out.”
This quote is perfect for a comparison between Canberra and Gold Coast. Both standing with their hands up saying “we’re are the worst team in the NRL.” At least Canberra has the excuse of not having Dugan for a few games, losing Campese for the whole season and having Matt Orford as your starting halfback. Maybe they should have a playoff game where the loser takes the wooden spoon no matter the outcome in September. There is nothing good that can come from Canberra this season. I can’t even pin point a hero that can save them in this dire time of need.
Jack Rose: “It’s like my ex-wife. 21 different personalities and 7 of them hated me.”
The quote is dedicated to the Roosters who have done a perfect impersonation of Jekyll & Hyde from the Grand Final last year. For them to have a shot at the 8 they need a ‘football personality’ that includes Todd Carneys magic, Braith Anastas hard work and Mitchell Pearce’s fantastic kicking game. They have all the pieces of the puzzle but they just don’t seem to know where everything fits. If I’m Brian Smith (thank god I’m not) I’d be playing a simple spine of 1 – Minichello, 6 – Carney, 7 – Pearce, 9 – Friend and 13 – Anasta. That right there is a youthful, experienced and winning combination. That’s the only thing that’s going to get the Roosters back in the 8.
Dr. Harvey Mandrake: “Perfect. F*ck. Ok stay here and get… butt f*cked by 12 Neanderthals. Bitch”
Dedicated to the following players: Paul Gallen, Nate Gardiner, Anthony Topou and Wade Graham. If you know what’s good for you, you will find another side where the management respect their players, fans actually show up to games and might have a premiership or two under its belt. Staying at Cronulla means you won’t have those ‘luxuries’. Flannagan might be trying to build an empire but Richard Fisk (Sharks CEO) is trying to tear it down from the inside. Get out while you can and find a club that will respect you as a player.
(Side note – Every year people give Cronulla, Gold Coast and Canberra a chance. Even if they make the finals they lack the experience, player power or skill to win. The whole thing just baffles me.)
Willie Beamen: “I’m trying to win coach. I ain’t trying to disrespect nobody, but winning is the only thing I respect”
I’ve got to dedicate this quote to Jarred Hayne. Is it me or is the ‘Hayne Plane’ starting to look like it’s carrying enough luggage to fill a A380? Not only is he carrying a retirement home of NRL stars on his shoulders but he also has to put up with the media smashing him every day. Why does the blame lay on him if Parramatta can’t get the two points? When does one player become the perspective on a whole team? I don’t know the answer to that but one man can’t do every job. Give Parramatta a chance to be good, or to be terrible but just don’t expect Jarred Hayne to save them either way. The ‘Hayne Plane’ will fly again if you give him wind to soar on…not Carl Webb, Casey Maguire and Jeff Robson.
Julian Washington: “What the f*ck you mean, I’m dying inside? Motherf*cker. Kiss my Armani ass! You know what I did for this team? I’ll take ya f*ckin’ life!”
How perfect is this quote for the way Shane Richardson and Russell Crowe handled the Chris ‘take care of my kids’ Sandow’s move to Parramatta? Instead of acting like gentlemen and well-wishing Sandow, they turned around and acted like bullies in a playground. ‘Dummies Guide for being a sports CEO” for you Richo, when you lose a player you tell everybody that ‘you hope they succeed at the other team and you’re glad that you could have brought them to this point’. That’s it. Inside you can be a ball of anger but you need to remember that you took a gamble signing Nathan Merritt and John Sutton and it backfired. IT’S YOUR FAULT, not Sandows.
Here is a question that I ask myself when watching South Sydney play – “which South Sydney is taking the field today?” They change their football personalities more than an episode of ‘United States of Tara’. I just can’t keep up with them. Outside of Greg Inglis and Dave Taylor the team just look flat and tired. That’s why South Sydney has earned their place in the ‘don’t deserve to be in the 8’ basket.
(side note – how good is GI? Let me tell you – 10 games played, 3 Tries, 907 Metres ran, 4 linebreaks, 9 offloads and 105 Tackles. The Editor keeps telling me that Inglis wasn’t even worth it. Well those numbers right there say to me that’s money well spent. Keep it up GI)
Luther ‘Shark’ Lavay: “Coach, calm down you’re gonna have a stroke!”
Montezuma Monroe: “I don’t get strokes muthaf*cka! I give ‘em!”
Prior to his decision to step down, I can see Matt Elliot screaming this whilst red faced and watching his team stuff up time and time again. Was it really his fault that Penrith are sitting just outside the 8? I mean they are in a better position than Parra, Sharks, Roosters and Raiders and their coaches haven’t been fired. Plus all those teams didn’t lose a player like Michael Gordon to injury or give up a player like Frank Pritchard in the offseason. So why was Elliot’s head on the chopping block? To complicate things instead of buying a new coach Penrith went and hired Gus Gould, to do what exactly?
Penrith can win games the same way their management can succeed, simplicity. If you can’t do the simple things right, like hiring a new coach or completing sets of six then you don’t deserve a finals appearance. My buddy Richard (extreme Penrith fan) thinks that Penrith need to “spend a few hours drilling these (basic) skills every week (like an under 7s squad), it might help improve their game” and I totally agree.
Kevin Branson: “Cherubini’s down. “
Dr. Harvey Mandrake: “Cherubini! What did he fall off the bench?”
This quote is dedicated to ex-Bulldogs 5’8 Ben Roberts. Roberts played 7 minutes in Round 1 and got a full 80 minutes last weekend. What a waste of talent to have him playing for Ryde Eastwood for 3 months. Parramatta are actually laughing that they stole his contract from underneath Canterbury. The Eels should have said, “If you’re not using him then can he come and be the wind beneath Haynes wings?” That’s not the only thing going wrong at Belmore this year as they travel from favourites to 9th position in just 15 rounds. If they actually want to be part of the Top 8 I think they have to go back to that simple style of football they played last year and the start of this season. It shouldn’t be too hard considering their roster includes good role players like David Stagg and Michael Ennis, not to mention young guns like Tolman and Hodgkinson. Don’t give up hope Doggies fans.
I realise I’m coming off been rather negative during this whole ‘Bottom 8’ review so I thought I’d finish Part 1 on a good note…
Tony D’Amato: “Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him.”
This one is for Todd Greenberg (CEO of the Bulldogs) because this guy took a team that not too long ago was dealing with salary cap issues, a rape case and some of the worst fans in rugby league and made it squeaky clean. Greenberg saturated the team with brands like ‘camp quality’ and brought in some of the best young talent in the game. He is also responsible for the return of that ‘grass roots’ image by bringing back the Belmore in the Canterbury-Belmore Bulldogs. He made the players, the fans and everyone else happy to be part of a Bulldogs team that stood for more than stupid past mistakes. Plus he seems to be a real class act in a place where CEO’s have their heads up each other’s arses. Tip of the hat to you Todd.
Check out Part 2 right here
I couldn’t have a website based on Rugby League and not make any comments about last night’s State of Origin match (Some of this might seem rather scrambled because its 12:32am).
[Part 2 in my 3 part Origin series]
I decided that Part 2 and 3 of my Origin series would be my NSW and QLD Dream Teams. I’ve looked at the 400 odd players to have played Origin since 1982 and split them into a team. To make selecting my teams easier I decided to build the team around one player. This player I call my ‘Foundation Player’ (FP). The teams will be built solely on the fact that my FP is the Alpha Dog.