Its become increasingly clear that nobody cares who will win the minor premiership as much as which of the teams currently located from 8-14 will be playing finals football. Its a crazy race mid table and I thought it would be fun to investigate who has the potential to be a top 8 team and who doesn’t.
(If you missed Part 1 just click here)
Again before we start you must watch this to get yourself ready.
Beanie: “Max, can you earmuff for me? We are going to get so much ass here, it’s going to be sick. I’m talking like crazy boy band ass.”
Thats seriously what everybody thought at the start of the season for the Tigers. Apparently they were just going to walk into semi finals football because they came so close last year. It was like every totally missed the fact that TIM MOLTZEN IS NOT A HALFBACK. The absense of Robert Lui meant Benji had to step AGAIN and he just wasn’t ready for that load. Here is what I said about Benji this time last year:
“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. “
That and he cant defend to save his life!! Sorry Tigers but 2012 is not your year…again.
Frank: Fill it up again! Fill it up again! It’s so good once it hits your lips
How good does victory taste? Especially when it’s your team that’s enjoying that sweet taste. Just like Frank the Tank I don’t want South Sydney to stop winning. They have totally exceeded my expectations this year and I love it. Reynolds has to be ROTY and Inglis is putting his hand up to be Dally M (oh no). But Souths look like a team that’s ready to play finals footy.
Whether that happens or not is totally up to them. The games they have lost this year were mostly due to laziness and being complacent. They have a few more rounds to turn that around and look hungry for 80 minutes. Let’s see if that happens or not…
Marissa: Just as long as you promise to take it easy.
Frank: What do you mean?
Marissa: You know exactly what I mean. You’ve come a long way since Frank the Tank and we don’t want him coming back, do we?
Frank: Honey, Frank the Tank is not coming back, OK? That part of me is over. Water under the bridge. I promise.
Last year I made the mistake of saying that Manly wouldn’t be playing finals footy (hello 2011 premiership) so I wont be as hasty this year. I will say that this season they have been all over the place. The discipline that we saw when Hasler was at the helm is gone and most times they are playing catch up footy.
Jamie Lyon has been good, DCE has had his moments and even Foran is doing good stuff (when he isn’t injured). Plus Manly have signed a youthful pack for the next few seasons and I think the younger guys are the way forward for them. Get some new youth in and blood them early. Get rid of the old fellas who continue to get injured or drain your salary cap. Manly might not win the premiership this year but they are currently putting every team on notice for the next 2-3 years.
Mitch: Please be honest with me. Tell me this is the first time this has ever happened.
Heidi: Well, do you want me to be honest or do you want me to tell you this is the first time?
Must we have this conversation every year with the Cowboys? I’ll keep it short and sweet for everybody playing at home. The Cowboys will quietly enter finals football and not even come close to playing in the Grand Final. I refuse to salute Thurston as the best player in the game until he can take this team to the Grand Final. That is all…
Nicole: I heard one of your pledges died. Is that true?
Mitch: Well, yes, but Blue was really old. And I feel pretty confident when we get the autopsy back it’ll say natural causes.
Get excited Cronulla fans. No matter what happens from this point onwards you are currently having the best season in a long time. Who would have thought that a drunk (Carney), a dude with a broken neck (Ross), a Parramatta reject (Robson), a dude whose name sounds like everyone has a lisp (Fifita) and a fat Wade Graham could put you in such a good position? Its awesome for the pretty people of the shire.
In all seriousness though this is the best thing that could happen to the Sharks…winning games that is. They have been struggling to get member numbers and any kind of support for their team. Good on them for getting this far. I mean there is no way they can win the premiership with this ragtag bunch but being in the top 8 is better than battling for the wooden spoon…trust me…I know…I’m a Souths fan.
Frank: Hey, I just want to thank you one last time for being here. It’s the best day ever.
Beanie: Don’t even start with me, Franklin, okay? You need to walk away from this ASAP.
Beanie: You need to get out, Frankie. This is it. It’s now or never. You need to get out of here while you’re still single.
Frank: I’m not single.
Beanie: She’s 30 yards away, you’re single now.
Frank: Come on, Marissa’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Beanie: Why don’t you give that six months. You don’t think that’ll change? I got a wife, kids. Do I seem like a happy guy to you, Frankie?
Beanie: There’s my wife. See that? Always smiling? Hi, honey. Judging, watching, “Look at the baby.”
Mitch Martin: She’s coming down the aisle, Beanie. Let it go.
Thats right let it go. We all got so hung up on Lockyer leaving the Broncos we forgot how good they are without him. Corey Norman is my favourite player to watch this year. Anthony Griffin totally flipped him from being a second rate Karmichael Hunt to a starting five eighth. The recipe Norman follows is simplicity with a dash of cunning and that always makes for good footy to watch.
Plus the ‘baby’ Broncos aren’t really toddlers at all. Their forward pack is scary with the likes of Thaiday, Hannatt, Petro, T’eo and Alex Glenn. All of these guys are vicious and unforgiving. The Broncos are my dark horse in this finals race. Nobody would expect a team of younger dudes to take the title but with Peter Wallace and Norman controlling traffic you never know whats going to happen. Shine on you crazy diamond(s).
Weensie: [after learning he's going to be expelled] Listen, this is a serious situation. I mean, I’m kicked out of school. I don’t know what I’m gonna do, man. My mom’s gonna kill me.
Mitch: C’mon, she’s not gonna kill you.
Weensie: Yes she is. See, I’m the first one to go to college in my family and when I left she said, “Weensie, if you screw this up, I’ll kill you.” She showed me the knife.
Please take a moment to re-live that quote…classic. Also doesn’t it make you think about Dessie Hasler? My favourite ‘door’ hating coach has been very quiet this year. Almost too quiet if you ask me. Its like the calm before the storm. Like we are one bad refereeing decision away from him ripping every door off ANZ stadium. Can’t you just feel it?
Despite that the Bulldogs are team that I knew they could be this year. Fantastic combo of youth and experience. Josh Reynolds is doing good things in the middle (he actually has a bit of a temper, anyone else notice this?), James Graham has to be the best pick this year as far as signings go, Ben Barba is a freak and Morris earned his way into a NSW side. I truly believe Dessie is the reason behind all of this. The doggies squad didnt stray too far away from the lineup they had last year and look at them now. Hasler is great at that kind of stuff.
As far as being a premiership team goes? I really can’t say. If picking a winning side was based on the names next to the number 6 and 7 I would have to say the Bulldogs lose that race. Reynolds is good but he is no Corey Norman or Keiran Foran. Keating is having his best season of NRL footy but he is not Cooper Cronk or Peter Wallace. That doesn’t mean they can’t win it, its just something to think about.
Frank: Uhhh… Actually, I’d like to jump in and take that one, Jimmy, If you don’t mind.
James Carville: Have at it, Hoss.
Frank: [Frank takes a drink of water, makes a funny face and grunts] Recent research has shown that empirical evidence for globalization of corporate innovation is very limited and as a corollary the market for technologies is shrinking. As a world leader, it’s important for America to provide systematic research grants for our scientists. I believe strongly there will always be a need for us to have a well-articulated innovation policy with emphasis on human resource development. Thank you.
[Frank grunts, makes a face and goes limp; audience applauds]
Frank: What happened? I blacked out
Dean Pritchard: That was interesting. ha ha. Thank you very much. And, uh, your rebuttal? Mr. Carville.
James Carville: Oh… It… We… have no response. That was perfect.
Frank: That’s the way you do it! That’s the way you debate!
On several occasions I’ve said this quote to myself after watching Melbourne play footy. They will do something simple and make it look beautiful…you watch the replay and you think ‘wow’. Then you realise the build up they had to get to that point and your surprised again. Then you work out they have been doing it all game. Finally when your team loses to them you say “thats how you do it, thats how you debate”…or in this case play rugby league.
Melbourne are the kings of simple footy. They complete sets, they look for repeat sets and they season all that with a dash of creativity. But the big element is right in the middle of the park. In game that seems to be won by the team who controls the ruck its no wonder Melbourne are currently sitting in first place. Call it wrestling, call it slowing down the play, call it what you want…Melbourne are better than your team offensively and defensively at the play the ball.
Plus Cameron Smith is a silent assasian, Billy Slater is a robot (as stated previously) and Cooper Cronk’s kicking game is rugby leagues version of a wet dream. Can you honestly say they can’t win come September? I just don’t know who can stop them.
Thats it. Another June Report done and dusted. If you didn’t laugh at any of these quotes maybe your a robot too or maybe you are taking the NRL a little bit too seriously. If you still think losing is something your team can’t afford this season then is going to be tough for you. Every single team in the top 8 could easily be in the bottom 8 come September with a streak of bad luck. So enjoy your time at the top and remember to have fun…thats what we are doing here On The Try Line…
oh and p.s. We’re Going Streaking!!!
The ‘Off Season Chronicles’ continues with a thoughtful letter to Santa Claus
Well Santa I think you’ve got some explaining to do for your efforts this year. Now let’s be honest you really didn’t fulfil many of the wishes I had for the 2011 season, did you? Oh sure you did grant me my annual ‘please let the Roosters be below us on the table’ request and ‘please help us to defeat Parramatta at any opportunity’ and for those I’m very thankful. Big thanks also for the stocking fillers of ‘Shaun Johnsons no bones side step’ and the ‘I’m-sure-it-was-a-knock-on try that Benji Marshall’ scored in the finals against St George, those were great, but what about all those things on my list that I didn’t receive?
The 2011 rugby league season only increased my love and passion for the sport, if that’s at all possible. As a fan I struggled to watch my team sit outside of the top tier…but as Editor-in-chief of the ‘On the Try Line’ the biggest struggle came every week. Having to come up with new stories and ideas that would actually get you reading was often time consuming, occasionally annoying, rarely useful but most of the time it was fun to do.