First off I wanted to say I’m sorry for the lack of articles this season. Its getting harder and harder for me to manage my job where I get paid (aka 9-5) and the work I do for On The Try Line (aka my passion). I’ve actually got a few articles in the ‘draft’ section but they are old and outdated. Secondly, I’d like to thank my brother for the clever name of this article (his fantasy team has the same name). Here is an article I’ve been thinking about since Round 4.
I’m going top give you a little resume of a player and I want you to tell me who you think it is:
He is a 2o something year old fullback who in his debut season scored 17 tries in 16 games. He is one of the fastest, most creative fullbacks who has appeared in that club for almost 10 years. He is the kind of player that commentators love saying his name, opposing coaches hate seeing him score tries and fans just LOVE with every part of their body.
He won the Dally M Player of the Year award and in the same year led his team to the Grand Final on the back of what some would say was ‘the best football played in the last 5 years’. He is the kind of player who makes his team look first class no matter how little experience or skill they really have.
Although his team didn’t win the Grand Final…losing to the juggernaut that is the Melbourne Storm…you got the sense that this player was onto bigger things. Until the start of the next season…when everything went wrong.
So who am I talking about?
Nope, not Ben Barba…let me give you a hint. Re-read that passage again and think about the 2009 NRL Season.
Yep it’s Jarryd Hayne.
How have we missed this MASSIVE comparison between what Jarryd Hayne did in 2009 and what Ben Barba did last season?
The lead up to the finals in 2009 saw Hayne do some amazing things including this and this (side note – I love the comments Rabs makes in both of these videos). You couldn’t fault this kid and people were excited about what he could do on the field. People became Parra fans going into that GF (if you weren’t a Melbourne fan) just because we all fell in love with Hayne. Now watch this…that try against Manly is actually what set off the comparison. I remember thinking to myself ‘man this reminds me so much of Jarryd Hayne’.
Still don’t believe me?
Both Grand Final teams (2009 Parra & 2012 Bulldogs) had Krisnan Inu (yeah and before you say it the dude is CURSED), both teams had rookie 5/8′s (Mortimor and Reynolds), stalwart halfbacks who were chasing contracts (Robson and Keating), one player who drove you crazy as a fan (Mateo and Pritchard), polarising Islander big men (Moimoi and Kasiano) and a host of players ready for the scrapheap (Reddy, Grothe, Lowrie, Ben Smith, Corey Payne, Sam Perrett and Greg Eastwood). Now most of those players aren’t setting the world on fire..I mean some of them have played for New Zealand and 1 of them has played Origin football (Grothe). Yet both fullbacks took those teams to the Grand Final.
I’m sure with those last few lines I’ve totally offended Bulldogs and probably Parra fans but the truth of the matter is that the Bulldogs haven’t started the season the season the way they wanted to and I think most fans are waiting for Ben Barba to get ‘back into form’.
But ask yourself this question…what if he IS in form? What if the way he is playing is what you should expect from him every weekend? What if last seasons ‘run’ was just a freak thing much like the taking off of the 2009 Hayne Plane?
To me it appears that the 2012 season is the ‘black sheep’ of Barba’s NRL career. His first season he played 3 games and the Bulldogs didn’t win one of those games. His sophmore season he was dropped to NSW Cup after a fight with Jamal Idris. 2010 saw him earn the nickname of ‘The X Factor’ but mainly because he was injected into games at the 50th minute off the bench. 2011 was his first season as a starter and he topped the try scorers list for that season.
The truth of the matter is that Ben Barba had an amazing year in 2012. Maybe too good a year. Losing him for 3 games has had the reverse effect on the team as far as confidence and creativity go. Outside of last nights game he really hasn’t been a factor, let alone ‘The X Factor’ for Canterbury. The season isn’t over but if I’m a Doggies fan I’d start hoping my team can grind out wins rather than hoping that the 2013 Barba will become the 2012 Barba.
Lets be honest…most of the stuff they are talking about on any rugby league related website right now is just junk. Players complaining about not getting paid enough, shoulder charges being banned, the return of Sonny Bill, the loss of Folau…its all just the same old boring crap. So instead of going on and on about that stuff, I would like to do something a little bit different. I want to talk about the current roster of team mascots…(wait before you close the explorer page…I promise to make you laugh just once. It will be worth it)
After a long conversation about football with my buddy Jabs, he asked me if I thought that the 2009 Finals series would have worked out the same if they used the current finals system instead of the McIntyre System. I thought about it for about 2 weeks ago and decided to map it out and see what it might look like. What followed was 28 emails back and forth where we basically dissected multiple finals series and a potential finals curse. Thought I’d give you an insight to this madness…
It was the first week in October and we were enjoying the froth from a cool beer. I remember that beer vividly because we had purchased one of those stupid Heineken kegs that give you 40% foam with your beer. But it was grand final day so nobody really cared HOW the beer tasted.
Now only two teams are left to ask the big question…who will be the best team for the 2012 season?
Can Melbourne finally go down in the history books without an asterisk next to their name? Will Melbourne prove that as long as you have a solid 1, 7 and 9 you can pretty much recruit any one and win a competition? Will it prove that Craig Bellamy truly is the next ‘supercoach’?
On the flip side if Canterbury win then Des Hasler would be the first coach ever to change clubs and win a premiership consecutively. Surely that would provide him with a strong application for that ‘supercoach’ title, wouldn’t it? That being said can the Bulldogs, more specifically Ben Barba defeat the curse of the Dally M? Lastly will Krisnan Inu lose another Grand Final with a different squad (Parramatta and Warriors)?
Obviously we wont know the answers to those questions until the 80th minute mark come Sunday evening. So lets not worry about them for the moment. Lets just talk about what happened on the weekend…since I was waaaay to catatonic to speak about the games last week. Starting with…