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 I’ve actually got a few articles in the ‘draft’ section but they are old and outdated.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…
At the start of the year I made some predictions of where I thought teams would end up at the end of Round 26. Well its Round 16 and…
|My predictions for the 2012 Ladder||Actual 2012 Ladder|
Yep, so far 1 from 16 which is terrible! Still 10 rounds of footy left before it matters just how terrible I go in this years ‘footy footy footy’ table tipping comp. Anyway…its time for an article I’ve named ‘The June Report”. If you didnt catch last years article it looked something like this – but to sum it up I use movie quotes to describe how good/bad the teams are doing in 2012. This year I thought I would lighten the mood and do something funny. Before we begin please watch this…”THAT’S AWESOME”. Thats right…its time to kick it Old School. So Part 1 will cover all of the bottom 8 teams and Part 2 will finish up with the top of the table. Lets get into it. Starting with…
Mitch Martin: “True love is hard to find, sometimes you think you have true love and then you catch the early flight home from San Diego and a couple of nude people jump out of your bathroom blindfolded like a goddamn magic show ready to double team your girlfriend…”
Yes, it was love at first sight when the management team were watching the tail end of the 2011 season and seeing all the good things that Chris Sandow was doing for South Sydney. They imagined the love Sandow and Hanyne could make on the football field. The intense romance that their big forwards would find with Crissy stirring the ship or the relationship he could have with those speedy wingers name Willie and Esi.
Yet it seems it wasn’t meant to be. Sandow is a shell of the player he was this time last year. His defence got WORSE (if thats possible), he doesnt control the game at all, he never gets the ball to Hayne early and his forwards are lucky to be given a reasonable pass. What seemed like love was really just lust.
Frank: A little housewarming gift.
Mitch: I actually gave this to you for your wedding.
Frank: This model?
Mitch: That exact one
Am I only person that remembers how Gus Gould “helped” South Sydney when they where re-instated in 2002? I must be because every single Panthers fan was so pumped about him joining the club. Never mention they fact that after basically putting Souths into more debt he just took off – thanks Phil.Now he is doing the same thing at Penrith and his excuse is that they ‘are trying to fight a code war in Western Sydney’ – comon!!
Penrith have had glimpses of being a rugby league team this year but they can’t seem to string together 80 mins of footy. It probably doesn’t help that this year they have lost one of their best players in Michael Gordon (signed with the Sharks), told there BEST player he wasn’t allowed to be Captain anymore (Luke Lewis) and pushed their best attacking weapon into NSW Cup (Michael Jennings).
Yet does any of that have to do with the war between AFL and NRL? NO WAY – It’s just bad management!
Frank: “Honey, you think KFC is still open?”
Sorry…Roosters…Chicken…it was the best I could do and I had to have this quote in. I’ll be very careful here because there is a very vocal friend of mine who is on the Roosters Protection Warpath this year. This basically involves rubbing a Roosters victory/Souths loss in Rabbitohs fans faces. So here goes…
The Roosters are exactly the side I thought they would be this year. They really needed a big signing this year and it never came. They lost Perrett *cough who cares* but there still a piece of the puzzle missing. Sometimes I watch them play and think they could be a semi finals team. Then the 2nd half will start and they will leak 20 points like its nothing. This shows when you consider they are 3rd in Points Against. They need to tighten up defensively and move Braith out of the number 6 jersey…gosh when will Smith realise he is a backrower…anywhooo. I stand by my prediction of 12th for the Roosters in 2012…so JB.
Beanie: Whose life is ruined?
Mitch: Let’s see. Blue’s dead. Frank’s divorced. I’ve lost my house. Nicole thinks I’m a total jackass. And we got nine kids who are gonna get expelled from school and you’re not even gonna help them out.
At the start of the year I stated that Canberra are not a top 8 side. You can’t win a competition when your two best players (Josh Dugan and Terry Campese) are always injured. It’s a model for disaster and yet Canberra have learned nothing after two years of the same stuff happening. I continue to dry retch when people talk about the Raiders playing semi finals football when there coach and CEO (who are brothers by the way) continue to have a different focus. They are just a mess of a football team.
Speaking of a mess of a football team…
Jerry: “What sort of actual association will you have with the university? “
Beanie: “Well, legally speaking, there will be a loose affiliation. But, we will give nothing back to the academic community. As well as provide no public service of any kind. This much I promise you.”
Want to talk about terrible buys this season? Nathan Tinkler got the worst buy for sure. Newcastle are currently travelling worse than they where this time last year (Rick Fox giggles). Bennett seems disinterested (more so for him anyway), Darius just isn’t there, Gidley is injured (no surprise), Uate can’t catch the ball, Tahu is ‘Tahu” and Newcastle dont even look like a top 8 side.
Run while you still can Nathan…they will stone you in Newcastle if you don’t bring them some glory.
Beanie: ”Frank here was staring at a white picket fence. Now he’s single, he’s broke, and has second-degree burns all over his body. And I see a spark in his eye that I haven’t seen in fifteen years.”
I was pretty mean to the Titans at the start of the year. I laughed at the chance of them being in the 8 at seasons end. They needed to buy a 5/8 after Mat Rogers retirement (wait is he still retired or just permanently injured?) and instead they purchased two centres and lock/second rower. Add this to their financial troubles and you have land slide rugby league club.
That being said I think the Titans are actually turning it around. Maybe not to make semi finals football but enough to scare a few teams into thinking they are. I really like Aiden Sezer who is potentially the future of the club and Scott Prince hasn’t being doing stupid brain snap stuff as regularly as he did at the start of the season. I think things are looking sunnier up in the Gold Coast.
Marissa: That’s really, loud.
Frank: Yeah, thanks. Took the restrictor plate off to give the Red Dragon a little more juice. But it’s not exactly street legal, so keep it on the down low.
[waving to a neighbor]
Frank: Hey Mike!
Jules (the trivia host at the Petersham Inn) is a huge Dragons fan. He asked me a good question the other day saying:
“If the powers that be said that your team were given a premiership at the cost of sucking for 2 years, would you take it?”
I said hands down I would ride that bad boy all the way to Chalmers Street!!
Its funny because the Dragons have been a juggernaut in the last 3 years and yet coming into this season they where glossed over to make the top 8. Sure it doesnt help that they lost a few players and a superstar coach but did that mean they werent even going to contend when the core of their squad was still present? I think its very foolish to right off the Dragons just yet.
To put it into perspective…this week the Dragons play Canberra (should be an easy win), then they have the BYE, then they play Cronulla (a team just begging to fall from grace) and then South Sydney (whom they only lost to in Golden Point last time). They win all those matches and the Dragons are a top 8 team. Don’t give up hope just yet Dragons fans.
Frank: I had an awesome time!
Beanie: I know that you had an awesome time. I think the entire town knows you had an awesome time.
The Warriors were living off that ‘awesome’ time last season when they sneaked into the Grand Finals. Everybody had them either winning the competition or making a strong case to do so in 2012…well havent things changed.
Watching the Warriors play can be like playing spin the bottle…only one of the girls is your cousin and the other is Erin McNaught. You could end up playing the best game EVER or you could end up in a really really bad situation. That is because the Warriors are the ultimate rocks and diamonds team. They could show up and play fantastic second phase football, hell they nearly beat Melbourne playing that way. Other times they will show up and play park footy at best.
One thing I wont do here is speculate where they will end up because you just never know. They are a streaky team and one 3 game winning streak will see them in the finals…so I just hope for the Warriors fans sake that we all end up in a serious make out session with Miss McNaught.
Thats it for the bottom 8 teams. Stayed tuned for Part 2 coming out very soon.