Reports indicate that the Cronulla Sharks will appoint Lyall Gorman as their new club CEO on Tuesday morning. This is arguably the best signing the Sharks have made since they welcomed a certain young, former Eels second rower to the club.
The impending appointment of Gorman, the man credited with creating the incredibly successful Western Sydney Wanderers brand, is a sign that the Sharks are dead serious in achieving success both on and off the park.
Gorman, who is also a former head of the A League, replaces former CEO Steve Noyce, whose position was made redundant by the Sharks board due to a management restructure.
I spoke with Mr Noyce during his tenure earlier this season for around half an hour. Even though we disagreed on many aspects of the season to date and the vision of the club, I could never doubt his passion for the club and its players.
Whether or not you were a fan of Noyce, there is little doubt that the Sharks, after a horror 2014, needed fresh blood and fresh ideas.
In Gorman, the Sharks have signed one of the best sporting administrators in modern time. His success at the Wanderers is absolutely incredible considering the club is still only its third season of existence.
The Sharks have enjoyed a successful off-season player movement wise. They have added former Origin hooker Michael Ennis and former Dally M medallist Ben Barba, amongst a host of new faces, proving there are plans in motion to improve on field.
Gorman’s appointment sends a very strong message that things off field are also going to take a turn for the better.
Reports earlier this season linked Gorman both the Brisbane Lions and Carlton CEO positions, while recently he was linked to a job within Racing NSW.
His appointment is truly a coup for the struggling Sharks, who have seemingly taken every step required to ensure 2015 and beyond is as far removed from 2014 as possible.
Since returning to the club, Shark’s coach Shane Flnnagan has spoken about overhauling the club’s culture. Gorman, who handled both the Danny Vukovic and Brendon Santalab cases with dignity, is just the man to oversee said cultural change.
Gorman has an incredible reputation as one of the best sporting administrators in the country, and his presence is NOTHING but a positive for the black, white and blue.
2015 is shaping up as quite the year for the Sharks. If the squad plays to its potential, and Gorman can work his magic, 2014 will be nothing but an afterthought.
For more on the Sharks in 2015, be sure to look out for “Nowhere but Up! Up! Cronulla in 2015” in Monstasport Magazine’s first edition, out December 15th.
Things may be about to become even better for the Sharks, as premiership and 4 nation winning centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall has been heavily linked with the club. His signing, which would be subsidised by the Roosters, would complete a formidable backline for the Shire club.
At only 26 years of age, SKD has done it all, and would add a serious attacking threat in the centres at the Sharks. His potential partnership with either Gagan, Holmes or Brown would be absolutely lethal.by Daniel
For those who have not yet heard, the international Golden Boot candidates have been narrowed down to just six names – Sam Burgess, James Graham, Greg Inglis, Shaun Johnson, Jesse Bromwich and last year’s winner, Johnathan Thurston.
With all due respect Bromwich and Johnson, although both have had outstanding seasons, are probably long shots when it comes to claiming the award.
Johnson was amazing at times during the season, and was probably the player of recent Four Nations tournament, but he had too many games during the season where he simply wasn’t a major factor.
Bromwich has a career best year but I don’t see him producing ‘big plays’ in terms of highlight reel passes, kicks or show and goes, to rate up there with the other four.
Feasibly any of the other four could win the award.
If a gun were held to my head, or my house was placed on the line, my money would be on Sam Burgess taking out the award.
As much as people, mainly non South Sydney fans to be honest, cringe as Russel Crowe and the majority of the Channel 9 commentary team fawn over the English superstar, there can be absolutely no denying his ability as a footballer.
For the record, I believe Greg Inglis to be the most completely footballer to play the game. If he were to win the award, I would not be at all surprised.
Burgess, man of the match in the Grand Final, exits the game to play Rugby Union, and in my view do so with the Golden Boot in his possession.
When the chips were down for South Sydney, Burgess was the man there to take the tough hit up or make that physical tackle. He scored ten tries in his 23 regular season games, which as a forward is an amazing achievement.
To put this effort into perspective, he outscored the Sharks top try scorer Sosaia Feki, who scored nine on the wing in 20 games.
He also chimed in for an astonishing 3800+ metres with the ball. Greg Inglis, from fullback where he has plenty of space to rack up metres from kick returns, only made 3279.
I doubt anyone could begrudge Burgess the award.
I have to admit tho, if I were one of the judges, I’d be very tempted to give the nod to co-Dally M medallist in Johnathan Thurston.
Thurston, at times, single handily won games off his own backs for the Cowboys. It’s no coincidence that the Cowboys positive run of results coincided with their superstar half’s return to form.
He has made a habit of making players around him look far better than they otherwise have.
Thurston could bag his second straight Golden Boot, and add it to his growing collection of individual honours, but hand on heart, and many may disagree, Sam Burgess was the man in 2014.
I wonder why the man Thurston shared the Dally M medal with, Jarryd Hayne, was not included in the short list. I would have thought he was a near certainty given his heroics for both club and state in 2014.
I almost can’t believe we will be treated to live Sunday afternoon footy next season. Unless of course you live in QLD, which NRL boss Dave Smith has often referred to as the heartland of the game. The big catch is the 4:15 time slot, which will mean, for the midseason rounds, games will finish in the cold of the night. Baby steps.by Daniel
This is a question I have addressed in the past, but after the fallout from Paul Gallen’s heat of the moment tweet during the week, I think it’s more than worth revisiting.
For professional athletes, not just in Rugby League, but across all sports, is social media worth the risk?
In this modern day and age, a comment can reach thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, within seconds thanks to twitter, facebook and the like.
A heat of the moment comment can cause irreversible damage before the person who posted said comment has time to even delete something they then deem unsuitable.
How many of us have woken up on a Sunday morning after a big Saturday night on the drink, looked through our posts from the night before and regretted posting something?
For those of us with around a thousand followers, mostly of like minded fans, that’s not a huge concern. For professional athletes, who are followed by tens or hundreds of thousands of fans of differing opinions, the outcome can be very different.
I’m neither defending nor encouraging Gallen’s comments, but I’d think it’s fairly safe to guess that a fair few people out there have had choice words about their employer on social media.
The only difference is, they don’t follow, nor have thousands of eyes watching over every comment.
This past week’s comment was not the only time social media has made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Who could ever forget the unforgivable use Robbie Farah had to endure thanks to a coward hiding behind the anonymity of twitter?
I won’t give that pest the satisfaction of repeating the tone of his comments but those who remember will surely be just as disgusted as I am.
Every single day I see pot shots taken at players of a variety of sports, sent by those who know very well they can hide behind a profile that doesn’t contain any details.
Just today I read numerous threats of violence toward a member of the press for a simple opinion. For the record I didn’t agree with the opinion, but I hardly wish harm upon someone with a different stance than mine.
Is it really worth it for these players to have social media?
In some sports, social media is the best way to make fans aware of upcoming events. Boxers for instance use the avenue extremely well to promote fights, and build fan bases.
The ability to interact with fans, and banter with those who are playfully taking a dig, is a fun way to get your mind off the day to day grind.
I’ve spoken to players who read messages of encouragement after losses, or enjoy the interacting with fans after big wins.
Surely players should be able to partake in something that the everyday man or woman can enjoy, despite the bigger percentage of idiots looking to get a reaction?
I’d love to get some feedback on this. If you were a professional footballer, or member of any sport, would you persist with social media despite the drawbacks?
England’s Big Chance
If England are unable to beat a Kangaroos side missing the likes of Thurston, Gallen, Scott, Tamou, Myles and co, they might as well give it up.
The Kiwis were brilliant last Saturday Night and totally outclassed the understrength Roos, setting up a must win contest against England for the home side.
A loss for the Australian side would hardly be the end of the world, and would probably be good for international football, but a loss for England would surely hurt far more.
England have the players to worry the Roos, but will have to improve ten fold on their efforts against Samoa to do so.
For the life of me I still can’t understand Tim Sheens’ decision to play Robbie Farah off the bench in the Four Nations.
I’ve gone on file, and will once again do so, in saying that I am a big fan of Farah’s, but I don’t see the need for a specialist hooker when you have the ultimate 80 minute hooker in Cam Smith.
I understand Farah’s utility value, but surely a specialist second-rower with the ability to slot in at five-eighth or hooker would be a better option.
Greg Bird is in the run on squad and has played plenty of five-eight during his time so there’s no real need to play a specialist half off the bench either.
Since when are sides picked on the possibility of injury anyways?
Other Stories Of Interest
On Saturday November 22nd, from the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland, we will witness one of the most unique events in boxing, when eight of the best Cruiserweights from Australia and New Zealand do battle in the Super 8’s Tournament.
Although three fighters are yet to be announced, ‘team’ Australia will be represented by Daniel Ammann, Anthony Mccracken and the favourite to take out the crowd, Brad ‘Hollywood’ Pitt.
Of course the term ‘team’ Australia means very little, as this is of course a tournament and will see every man for himself.
For those who aren’t sure how the Super 8’s work, Brad summed it up perfectly: “The Super 8 is an eight-man cruiserweight knockout tournament. If you win you’re on to the next round and if you lose you’re out! Each round will be 3 explosive minutes”
As previously mentioned, Brad, who is looking to bounce back from the first defeat of his career at the hands of David Aloua, is the betting favourite to take out the crowd. His big-hitting, big power style is perfectly suited to short, sharp fights.
“There is a really good mixture of fighters but it doesn’t really concern me who is going in it” he said, with the usual laid back confidence he has become known for. “Yes, this kind of tournament really suits me. I am feeling very confident, but with any fight you just adapt, it’s all boxing.”
You have to wonder how the possibility of two further fights later in the night must affect the mentality of fighters entering the tournament. Is it smart to look for an early knockout to conserve energy for later fights?
When asked this very question, Pitt was straight to the point. “I’ll approach this like I do all my fights. When you start looking for the knock out they never come”.
Interestingly, as mentioned, Daniel Ammann is a common opponent of Pitt, and the man he last fought in David Aloua. Pitt knocked Ammann out in the second round of their contest in 2011. Ammann however, took a unanimous decision over Pitt’s conqueror in Aloua.
This sets up what could very possibly be the most intriguing matchup of the tournament, should of course both men meet. When asked whether he’d welcome a rematch with Ammann, Pitt was in no mood to play promoter.
“If I draw him I draw him, he’s in the tournament so I would be happy to fight him” he said.
There is a very real chance that the winner of the Super 8’s could meet the winner of another feature bout on the card between David Aloua and Daniel Baff. The winner of that possible matchup would likely be in a position to lineup a future World Title shot.
The prospect of an Aloua v Pitt rematch is something that has been discussed within boxing circles, and would certainly not look out of place headlining any card in the near future.
When pressed on the possibility of a rematch with the man who ended his undefeated streak as a professional, Pitt pulled no punches: “I’d love a re match. I think it will happen.” he said, adding “Not making excuses or taking anything away from David but I lost that fight 6 weeks before in training camp. He got lucky, but that’s boxing. I have learnt a lot from that fight.”
Due to an injury suffered in training camp, Pitt’s last fight was over seven months ago. He certainly won’t be using the injury as an excuse should he not get the job done in Auckland saying “it’s healed up perfect and making me feel stronger”.
The Super 8’s is sure to be an awesome occasion. With a talented crop partaking in the tournament, as well as a feature bout between the aforementioned Aloua and Braff, it’s one not to be missed. That’s not even taking into account the Heavyweight Main event between Shane Cameron and Kali Meehan.
With a big, and loud partisan crowd expected in Auckland, ‘Hollywood’ did not seem overly phased when asked how he would be received by the crowd: “Hopefully they warm to me when I start knocking a few people out!” he proclaimed.
The tournament promises to be an exciting, all action event, and will help shape the future of the Cruiserweight Division both within Australia and New Zealand.
Pitt, who has 12 knockouts from his 15 wins is the perfect candidate for the knockout style set up. We’re tipping a Pitt win in the final over a fellow Aussie.
We just hope Brad hasn’t signed on to be paid by the hour.
Other Stories Of Interest
Another day, another supposed ‘crisis’ in the Shire as much maligned CEO Steve Noyce was yesterday removed from his position at the club in what the Sharks are referring to as a ‘restructure’.
As it stands the Sharks currently don’t have a coach, a captain, or a CEO, through a variety of reasons. The media couldn’t slap the “Sharks In Turmoil” tag on the club quickly enough.
I for one don’t believe the Sharks are in turmoil.
The Sharks, who have had two incredibly tough seasons both on and off the field, may have been in turmoil since the ‘darkest day in sport’ press conference, but with players ready to return from suspensions and with coach Shane Flanagan about a week away from returning, one could argue the light at the end of the tunnel is finally shining.
There is absolutely no doubt that drastic measures had to be taken, and I applaud the Sharks board for doing their research, deciding on a restructure, and taking action.
For too long, fans of the Sharks have been promised new dawns, only for those news dawns to become false dawns.
The election of a new board was supposed to bring success both commercially and on field, but unfortunately they have had to spend more time dealing with negative headlines than moving forward thanks to the Asada issue.
Let’s make it clear right now, although the likelihood of civil action threatens to drag the Asada saga into a third year, the majority of the damage has been done.
Players are currently serving their suspensions and will return with a clean slate.
Last season the Sharks collected the dreaded wooden spoon. To come last, by so far, in a salary cap based competition, is quite frankly unacceptable.
Something needed to change, and it looks like that is exactly what is about to be implemented … much needed change.
I have been an open critic of the Sharks last season, to support a team for life only to see them fade away they did, quite frankly hurts, but I’ve made a vow to focus on the positives going forward.
Amongst the doom and gloom of 2014 were some good signs:
- The brightest young talent to feature at the club in many years in Valentine Holmes debuted in the top grade, showed signs of incredible potential, and was re-signed to a long-term contract.
- Jacob Gagan and Nu Brown also made their top grade debuts and performed admirably. Gagan and Holmes may form a deadly combination out wide outside the aforementioned Brown.
- The club signed the Dragons most promising Holden Cup player in Junior Kangaroo Jack Bird. The potential this youngster has is downright scary.
- Top try scorer Sosaia Feki has continued to improve, also signing a new deal at the club.
-Former Origin fullback Michael Gordon played his best football in many years, possibly in his career.
- The club managed to re-sign in demand prop Andrew Fifita.
The Sharks missed out on some serious talent in the player market, but have also secured some talent. Local junior Mitch Brown returns to the club a better player than he left, whilst former NSW hooker Michael Ennis should add some much needed experience to help aid a young backline develop.
The biggest plus however, is the fact that not once last season did the Sharks field their strongest possible line up.
Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis, Andrew Fifita, arguably three of the best players at the club, were unable to feature consistently due to injury and suspension.
Yes, the Sharks have not had a brilliant two seasons, but moving forward, the club is moving in a brighter position.
Currently linked with superstar Ben Barba, it looks as though the club has made its ambitions clear.
With memberships set to go on sale early next month, I hope we see youngsters Gagan, Holmes and Brown front and centre of any membership brochures beside established stars Gallen and Graham.
We all know that the Sharks are yet to win a premiership. We all know the club ‘won’ the wooden spoon last season. We all know that mistakes have been made.
It’s now time to look to the future.
With a bunch of new recruits on hand, and work to be done yet during the off-season, the side should be much stronger in 2015.
Michael Ennis is the 80 minute hooker the Sharks have been looking for going on a few seasons now.
Valentine Holmes, Jacob Gagan, Nu Brown and Jack Bird are genuine prospects, the likes the Sharks haven’t had in many years.
Sharks in turmoil just as a CEO was made redundant due to a restructure? As long suffering Sharks fans will tell you … this is nothin’!
The light at the end of the tunnel may be another season, two seasons, or five seasons away, but the fact is, there is light.
Other Stories Of Interest
With 2014 done and dusted, although the party remains in full swing in Redfern, attention has turned to 2015 and beyond.
Each and every side has dipped into the transfer market, some far more so than others of course. Teams such as the Sharks, Titans and Tigers have recruited in decent numbers, reflecting their need to overhaul their rosters to achieve success.
We have decided to take a look at what we consider to be the 10 biggest transfers heading from 2014 into 2015.
To clarify, the below isn’t just down to who are the best players being transferred, but more so the importance of each transfer for the future club’s needs etc.
For the purpose of this we haven’t considered rumoured transfers that the media have ‘confirmed’ are happening, we are only going off what is officially confirmed by each side.
Please let us know if you agree, as per usual we love the feedback. If possible, please click ‘like’ on the facebook page to keep up to date with any future features.
10. Matt Allwood (Raiders to Warriors)
Matt Allwood is not the biggest name amongst the offseason player movements, having played only a handful of first grade games in the nation’s capital, but he signing is a big one for the Warrior. Having lost Kevin Locke and with Dane Nielsen seemingly forgotten, the Warriors have an unsettled position available out wide.
Their Holden Cup side again enjoyed great success, and there are no shortage of options out wide, however the Warriors laid their cards on the table when they recruited the talented Canberra youngster. Allwood showed great promise during his time in Green and very well could be the man to partner Konrad Hurrell next season.
9. Blake Green (Wigan Warriors to Storm)
Blake Green went from fringe NRL first grader to a premiership winning half in Super League in a short space of time. Although there is no comparison quality wise between the competitions, enjoying success can do wonders to a player’s career.
Green is coming home to play in the number six at the Storm after the Melbourners struggled in their attempts to partner Cooper Cronk this season. Ben Hampton has been re-signed and looks like Green’s biggest challenger but Green should get the nod. If he fires as he does for Wigan, the Storm will be far improved for it. If he fails, it could mean the number six jersey is passed around for yet another season.
8. Jack Bird (Dragons to Sharks)
This may be a little left-field considering Bird is yet to play first grade, however the wraps on the youngster are huge. Having played representative football during his junior career, Bird has been recruited to join the youth movement at the Sharks. A young back rower who will likely play centre if he plays first grade early in the season, Bird has all the tools to become a star.
Dragons fans have taken to social media to express their frustrations over allowing Bird to move to their local rivals, which is probably the best sign of a players ability. A backline consisting of young Holmes and Bird, both Junior Kangaroos in the upcoming test against the Junior Kiwis, has an exciting feel about it for those in the Shire.
7. Michael Lichaa (Sharks to Bulldogs)
The Bulldogs have arguably taken the biggest recruitment punt of all sides in allowing former NSW number nine Michael Ennis leave in order to sign an unproven, although talented, youngster. Lichaa has long been seen by Sharks fans as a player of great potential, and at times looked the goods in a struggling side in 2014.
He has been given a fairly large multi-year contract and will be expected to fit straight in come round one next season. It is a huge gamble, but there is no doubt that Lichaa has plenty of ability. Whether he can lift to the level of Michael Ennis in 2015 is a big question, and one plenty have had their say on. Could be a master stroke, could be a huge failure, but we probably won’t know for at least another 12 months.
6. Ben Hannant (Broncos to Cowboys)
This is a move that has somewhat gone under the radar. The former Origin and international prop struggled to hold down a first grade spot in 2014 for the Broncos, however his move to the Cowboys could restart his career. His addition to the squad will form a fearsome prop rotation with Kangaroo props Scott and Tamou.
A one year deal that has reportedly not broken the bank, this is a low risk, high reward move for the northern Queenslanders. As fan of the big man, I hope the move is a successful one for Hannant also. Once rated amongst the elite front rowers of the game, he is far too talented to be jumping in and out of the top grade. Big signing … literally.
5. Glenn Stewart (Sea Eagles to Rabbitohs)
Possibly the biggest name signing of the lot, as on his day, there are few more damaging out wide than Glenn Stewart. The only question is, what type of Glenn Stewart are the Rabbits getting? The Stewart who is capable of changing a game with brilliant skill, or the injury affected Glenn Stewart who spends more time in the headlines for gossip rather than footy?
The Bunnies have lost a genuine superstar in Sam Burgess, but in Stewart, they have gone a long way to replacing him. If you thought the Bunnies centres were dangerous now, wait until the man who has formed the best back-row/centre combo in the game with Jamie Lyon comes on board.
4. Ryan Hoffman (Storm to Warriors)
This was something that caught me a little off guard as I genuinely thought it was a formality that Hoffman would re-sign for the Storm. A huge pick up for the Warriors who really could have used another experienced head this season. Hoffman has done it all, and is still firing on all cylinders despite just turning 30.
Will join Simon Mannering to form a fearsome Warriors back row in 2015. His addition to the side suddenly makes his outside men all the more dangerous, and when you’re potentially talking about players such as Hurrell, that could be scary. Disaster aside, I can’t see how this signing doesn’t prove to be a big success.
3. Michael Ennis (Bulldogs to Sharks)
The addition of former Blue Michael Ennis should finally put an end to the Sharks ridiculous shared hooking duties of recent years. Having lost Morris, De Gois and Lichaa, the Sharks needed to land an experienced number nine to help guide their young backline around, and in Ennis, they achieved just that.
The Sharks problems in 2014 are well documented, but in 2015 there is a sense of a clean slate, and Ennis will be key in achieving any level of success. Will make plenty of tackles and provide an experienced head, and most importantly will pass on his knowledge of the role to Shark young gun Brad Dietz, who at the end of Ennis’s two-year contract should be a long way to being ready to take over long term.
2. Tariq Sims (Cowboys to Knights)
The Knights needed a signing in the mould of Tariq Sims in the world possible way after a horror 2014 season. In aging forward pack was in need of youth and aggression and in the young Origin hopeful they have found both in spades. Sims, whose development was stunted by a horrible run with injuries, may finally realise his potential in the Hunter.
The 24 year-old can play anywhere in the forward pack and will be looked upon to make a big impact early in 2015. Big, fast, and talented with ball in hand, Sims has the potential to become anything. This is one I will be watching closely as Sims provides great entertainment whether with, or without the ball. Newcastle should win big here.
1. Anthony Milford (Raiders to Broncos)
Milford has shown signs that he may become the next superstar in our game. The Raiders made every effort possible to keep their talented number one, however the Broncos ultimately won out, and should reap the benefits for the next decade. Milford is on the cusp of Maroon selection and would be considered almost a certainty if not for the presence of the likes of Slater and Inglis.
Earmarked to a move into the halves to solve the Broncos woes in the number six jersey, Milford is the most important signing of any thus far for 2015. If he fires, he and Hunt could fire the Broncos deep into the finals. If he doesn’t live up to expectations, the Broncos have a lot of money invested in him, and have lost Josh Hoffman to accommodate the freakishly talented 20 year old. Under Bennett, Milford could quickly go from the ‘next big thing’ to genuine superstar.
Other Stories Of Interest
In the wake of his brilliant 2014, and starring performance in last Sunday’s Grand Final win for South Sydney, Luke Keary looks as though he has again become the subject of an interstate tug of war for his services.
Last season the decision was made that Luke Keary was eligible only to play for the NSW State Of Origin side, despite his request to be made eligible for QLD.
Keary, who was born in Ipswich, which is genuinely in QLD despite jokes from South of the board, played his first junior game of footy in NSW, after moving to the blue state at 10 years of age.
The rules are ridiculously complicated and near impossible to put into words. The below image is taken from the nrl website and explains, as best it can, where a player is eligible to play.
Under the rules, Keary must represent NSW, having moved as mentioned when he was 10 years of age. He played the majority of his league in NSW. He attended the majority of his schooling life in NSW.
Is the fact he played most of his junior league in NSW enough to overturn the fact he was born and raised in QLD?
As someone on social media mentioned earlier “this is State of Origin, not state of selection”. As per the rules Keary must either play for NSW or miss out on Origin selection.
The Player’s Association have come out and thrown their support behind the Rabbitohs youngster, saying they will fight for his right to represent QLD.
As someone who was born and has lived in NSW my entire life, bar three months, I cannot begin to understand Keary’s thought process.
He was born in QLD and spent the first 10 years of his life in the State, and has made it very clear he wants to represent the state of his birth.
This is obviously not a decision made to simply enhance his chances of playing rep footy next year. With Thurston, Cronk, Cherry Evans and Hunt in front of him in the pecking order, it’s highly unlikely he will feature in the next few years.
If he were to accept his eligibility for NSW, he would be in the reckoning next season as NSW, despite victory, still do not look settled on their halves pairing at State level.
There are a few trains of thought on this issue:
1)He is eligible for NSW and must either play for them or forget Origin
2)He should be allowed to play for QLD after being born there and openly stating his intentions to play for QLD.
3)Some NSW fans don’t want him anywhere near the side. If he doesn’t want to play for them, he shouldn’t be considered.
4)If they were to change the rules for Keary, they’d have to bend them for anyone else in a similar situation. What would be the point of having the criteria in the first place?
The new rules were put in place to avoid a Greg Inglis like situation. Inglis who was born and played his first footy in NSW, was able to represent QLD on the basis he played his first under 18’s game in QLD.
There have been multiple examples of players representing either State through loopholes, whether it be Tony Carroll and Adrian Lamb playing for QLD, or James Tamou or even the great Peter Stirling playing for NSW.
Under the current rules, which cover everyone across the game, Keary is eligible only for NSW and cannot play for QLD. Rules are rules and if they were able to be bent, they’d be pointless in existence.
Keary must represent NSW.
As someone who was born and raised in QLD, is that really fair?
Other Stories Of Interest
South Sydney’s amazing 30-6 victory over a valiant but out matched Bulldogs side brought to an end a brilliant 2014 football season, and unfortunately the off season.
Luckily for fans of the game, the Four Nations kicks off soon and will at least shorten the length of the off season, which with the addition of the nines isn’t really that long now.
Although the nations tournament carries its own important, it should be a chance to blood a few youngsters with a look toward the future.
A host of top line players have been ruled out through injury, suspension and the need to rest nagging injuries, and given the emergence of young talents within the top clubs, the timing has never been better to reward form with national selection.
To clarify, the below team is is the 17 we would choose, not the 17 we expect to be selected. Please let us know who you’d have run out to represent the country by liking the facebook page and hitting us up.
Fullback: Jarryd Hayne
The co-winner of 2014’s Dally M medal did everything within his power and then some, to get his side into the eighth this season. Although the Eels ultimately fell short, Hayne had to make do with the highest individual honour, and a State of Origin victory. He will be somewhere in the squad, whether it be at fullback or centre, but I’d play Hayne in his natural position.
Wing: Brett Morris
Morris had an injury interrupted season but showed signs of his very best at club level, and there will be few who will forget his Origin heroics. On his day Morris is the best winger in the game, and his try big game experience will be almost as important as his try-scoring ability in a new look backline. Despite his side’s failure to play finals football, will be the first winger chosen and rightfully so.
Centre: Dylan Walker
On the back of what I still consider to be a centre of the year season, Walker should continue his incredible form in a Kangaroos jersey. With Josh Morris out injured, there is no reason Walker should not be blooded in the four nations tournament. May have to split the job with Michael Jennings however I’d take the chance to blood the youngster who will be a rep main stay.
Centre: Greg Inglis
Will likely play fullback, but due to his record breaking try scoring feats at Origin level, I think he’d bring more to the centre position than Hayne, and also provide an experienced head inside Alex Johnston. Inglis had a blockbuster season and should carry plenty of confidence with him after the Bunnies title win. Will be an experienced head in camp with the injection of youth.
Wing: Alex Johnston
With Darius Boyd unavailable and other wingers suffering indifferent form, Johnston is the the option we would take. His form is outstanding and there is no doubt at all his confidence is through the roof on the back of a try-scoring Grand Final performance. Playing outside Inglis, or Hayne, will provide him with all the knowledge, and supply of football, he should need to make a huge impact.
Five-Eighth: Johnathan Thurston
Despite calls to instill Cherry-Evans as the full-time half partner of Cooper Cronk, Thurston is just too good to overlook. Anyone with any doubts of his amazing talent only needs to see the medal hanging around his neck. Thurston is still the best half in the game, whether at five-eighth or halfback. Will provide the debutants with plenty of opportunity.
Halfback: Cooper Cronk
Despite spending some time off the paddock due to injury after Origin One, Cronk is still the best option at halfback. DCE’s time will come, but as mentioned before, Thurston and Cronk is the way we would go. Once again, with two young outside backs on debut, experience is key, and there aren’t many in the game better in big games than the Storm halfback.
Prop: Aiden Tolman
With Scott, Gallen, Tamou, Myles and Fifita all unavailable, the stocks up front are thin, but with Tolman available, it’s hardly the end of the world. It’s a shock that Tolman is yet to play rep footy beyond three Country jerseys. Tolman was an unsung hero in the Dogs charge to the Grand Final, playing second fiddle to James Graham. The Four Nations may be his chance to step out of Graham’s shadow so to speak.
Hooker: Cameron Smith
Despite the decent form of Robbie Farah and his comments earlier in the season, there is no doubt the Aussie captain is still the best hooker in the business. For ours Smith will have two props on their international debut so his delivery will have to be at his usual top class. Melbourne crashed out in the first week of the finals, and QLD lost the Origin shield, Smith will be chomping at the bit come kick off. He is not use to losing.
Prop: Aaron Woods
Once again, if Gallen, Fifita, Scott etc were available, Woods probably wouldn’t feature, however he won’t let anyone down. His efforts in Origin earlier this year were enough to suggest he could match it with James Graham, George Burgess and Jesse Bromwich in the upcoming tournament. Will be called upon to battle it with three of the best props in the world right now, so will need to be at his best.
Second Row: Greg Bird
An automatic selection in any rep side, Bird provides aggression, ball playing skill, and everything else a top second rower should. The Titans had a woeful season, despite a brilliant opening, but Bird certainly put in an honest shift. There’s nothing that can be said here that hasn’t been said re Bird before, he’ll be amongst the first player picked.
Second Row: Boyd Cordner
The Roosters and Origin star will be a valuable part of Tim Sheens’ side in the upcoming series. Cordner will surely add to his three Kangaroo caps. The 22 year old still has his best footy in front of him, and this upcoming tourney may be the true arrival of the Taree born hardman. The 2013 second rower of the year may be required to play big minutes with a young bench, however as shown during his time in the tri-colours, that shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Lock: Corey Parker
Another obvious selection after yet another brilliant season for the Broncos. Although he didn’t post the stats that he has been known for in previous years, there’s a sense of working smarter in 2014. Man of the Match in origin three, where he put in one of the best performances of the entire series, Parker has plenty of big game experience to add to the talent he has shown in his 299 club games.
Reserve: David Klemmer
David Klemmer is yet to start an NRL game but is a likely Roos bolter thanks again to the injuries and suspensions of the big name props named previously. Klemmer was earmarked for rep duties even before his first grade debut and he has not disappointed. Not known for big minutes or a huge work rate, however the two-metre tall giant will be used in short, sharp bursts as a wrecking ball.
Reserve: Josh Jackson
If you plan on picking on form, there are few in better form than the Dogs second rower. Possibly the most underrated player in the competition, if Jackson can continue his form, he will come in to serious Origin selection next year. The 23 year old had a breakout season and it should be rewarded with a green and gold jumper. His versatility will also come in handy should there be an injury within the run on squad.
Reserve: Aiden Guerra
Another play, who on form, would be incredibly difficult to overlook. I’m still shocked at the fact he was overlooked at the second rower of the year at the Dally M’s, such were his performances for the Roosters. Debuted in Origin this year and looked right at home. Has one international cap for Italy, however will make the move into the Kangaroos set up.
Reserve: Josh McGuire
It’s time to do away with wasting Cherry-Evans on the bench. DCE is an amazing player but Cronk, Thurston and Smith are all 80 minute players. With Gallen and Scott not there to smash through opposition forward lines in the early stages, the Kangaroos may need further back up from the bench. Josh McGuire is the man for the job. He is capable of playing big minutes if needed and can put on a momentum changing hit. A big metre eater and a deserved debutant for the Roos after his 2010 jersey or Samoa.
Other Stories Of Interest
With the grand final now just a little more than 48 hours away, South Sydney have been installed as clear favourites according to the betting agencies.
Fans of both sides are now feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement as the big clash grows closer.
As with every big contest, the result could hinge on the result of an indivual contest, be it in the forwards, the halves, or even out wide.
We have broken down the battles and will keep a score update after each, hopefully resulting in a clear winner of Sunday’s Grand Final:
Fullbacks: Greg Inglis vs Sam Perrett
Greg Inglis is without a doubt one of the greatest players of the modern generation. He has done it all. Sam Perrett has put in a brilliant effort all season in the number one despite having to read reports constantly that the Dogs are chasing big name fullbacks. As honest a job as Perrett does at the back, there’s really no contest here. If Inglis plays well, the Bunnies are a long way on their way to winning the game. Souths 1 – 0 Dogs
Wingers: Alex Johnston and Lote Tuquiri vs Corey Thompson and Mitch Brown
At the start of the season it looked as though the wing positions would be the weakness for the Bunnies, but thanks mainly to the emergence of Alex Johnston, it has become a strength. Lote Tuquiri has refound form at the perfect time. Corey Thompson has been a revelation out side for the Dogs, while Mitch Brown, although not a genuine superstar, never lets you down. Both are capable of scoring plenty of tries, however Johnston earns the points for his side here. Souths 2 – 0 Dogs
Centres: Kiriome Auva’a and Dylan Walker vs Tim Lafai and Josh Morris
I’m still shocked that Dylan Walker didn’t win the centre of the year award, such has been his amazing form in 2014. Kirome Auva’a has announced himself as a genuine star of the game after starring for the Sharks/Storm NSW cup side last year. Tim Lafai would have been right there in the centre of the year award also. He has come a long way in 2014. We all know what Josh Morris is capable of. He kept Greg Inglis quiet in Origin and has a habit of scoring big tries in big games. As brilliant as the Bunnies centres are, Morris and Lafai get the nod. Souths 2 – 1 Bulldogs
Five-Eighths: Luke Keary vs Josh Reynolds
Luke Keary’s form has allowed John Sutton to move into the second row, which strengthens the Bunnies across the board. His partnership with Adam Reynolds late in the season has been a key factor in the Bunnies success. Josh Reynolds, when his mind is on the job, is one of the best in the business, as shown by his performances in the first two Origins. If Reynolds can limit the niggle, his upside is a little higher right now than Keary. Souths 2 – 2 Bulldogs
Halfbacks: Adam Reynolds vs Trent Hodkinson
It’s hard to believe just a few months ago there were reports that Reynolds would be allowed to move clubs before the deadline. His kicking game has been top notch, and his running game much improved from his early season. Trent Hodkinson led the Blues to an Origin victory, and slotted a massive field goal to sink the Dogs, whilst injured. Both halfbacks have the ability to lead their side to victory, however in this huge gane, you have to go with the current NSW halfback. Souths 2 – 3 Bulldogs
Props: George Burgess and David Tyrell vs Aiden Tolman and James Graham
You couldn’t pay me enough to run at either of these front row combos. George Burgess has established himself as one of the best big men in the business despite his young age. David Tyrell might not have the name value of his front row partner, but he has been top notch all season. Aiden Tolman is extremely unlucky not to have an Origin cap to his name. He will toil all day, will tackle himself into exhaustion and can provide a huge play when needed. James Graham is the top front rower in the game right now. Graham could produce the play that decides this game. Souths 2 – 4 Bulldogs
Hookers: Apisau Koroisau vs Moses Mbye
Assuming Michael Ennis is out of the game, this is the battle of the second string hookers, yet neither will let their side down. Koroisau slotted in extremely well in Luke’s absense earlier in the season, and Souths fans will be confident he can do the same again. Moses Mbye is a great young player with a huge future, however not at number nine. Josh Reynolds is likely to slot into dummy half allowing Mbye to play in the halves. Koroisau for mine. Souths 3 – 4 Bulldogs
Second Rowers: Ben Te’o and John Sutton vs Josh Jackson and Tony Williams
Ben Te’o, since his return from suspension, has added another dimension to the Bunnies pack. John Sutton has the ball playing skill of a five-eighth and the strength of a second rower. He is a dangerous proposition for any defender. Josh Jackson, on current form, would be right there for Origin selection. His potential is scary. Tony Williams, when on song, can break open any defense. For the slack he cops on social media, Williams can turn a game in an instant. Unfortunately for Dogs fans, he just can’t find that wrecking machine form consistently. Souths take this one, just. Souths 4 – 4 Bulldogs
Locks: Sam Burgess vs Greg Eastwood
Sam Burgess is the main man up front for the Bunnies, this would be a secret to no one. He’s the favourite to capture the Clive Churchill medal, and for good reason. Burgess can wreck defenses like a front rower, but can ball play like a five-eighth. Greg Eastwood has produced a stellar 2014 and should be back in rep reconning after Sunday. Eastwood is incredibly quick for his size, and can sure put a hit on. As good as Eastwood is, Burgess is arguably the premier forward in the game right now. Souths 5 – 4 Bulldogs
Bench: Kyle Turner, Tom Burgess, Chris McQueen and Jason Clark vs Tim Brown, Dale Finucane, David Klemmer and Frank Pritchard/Reni Mautua
You can judge the strength of a side by their bench, and both of these sides have top class benches. Burgess is a carbon copy of his brother, both in look and ability. Chris McQueen is a genuine match winner and has plenty of big game experience. Turner and Clark won’t attract the same attention as the other two bigger names, but that hasn’t stopped them fullfilling their roles brilliantly.
Tim Brown and Dale Finucane are no nonsense backrowers with plenty of energy. Neither will score a bag of tries, they have two between them in their careers, but both will eat up plenty of metres and sap plenty of energy from opposition defenses. David Klemmer is a mountain of a man who siimply refuses to conform to the head down, run straight front row mentality of old. The fourth bench spot is up for grabs, but either way, both Pritchard and Mautua have plenty of big game experience, and aggression.
This is an incredibly tough one to pick, yet it could be the clash that determines the game. McQueen’s ability to make a break, or pop that vital ball sways it for me. The other players cancel each other out, but I think McQueen is the difference. Souths 6 – 4 Bulldogs
Coaches: Michael Maguire vs Des Hasler
Michael Maguire has transformed the foundation clubs into a genuine NRL super power during his time in charge at redfern. He has gotten the best out of young players, and has re launched the careers of older players such as John Sutton. Des Hasler has instilled a forward dominated, rough and tumble defensive game at Belmore than has many referring to the Dogs Of War days. Both coaches are amongst the top in the game, but at this stage, Hasler is the only one who has delivered an NRL Premiership. Souths 6 – 5 Bulldogs
Verdict: This is going to be a ripper of a Grand Final. The Bunnies are short price favourites, however there is some genuine value in the Dogs at over $3. Both sides are chock full of talent across the park. Sam Burgess and James Graham are arguably the best players in the world in their positions. We’re tipping the Bunnies by 8 although we must admit we tipped the Sea Eagles last year, so we appologise in advance Souths fans.
Other Stories Of Interest
The world’s largest mixed martial arts company, the UFC, is returning to Australian shores on November 8th from All Phones Arena, Sydney.
Main eventing the card, UFC Fight Night 55, will be a five-round Middleweight grudge match between heated rivals Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping.
Featuring on the undercard are a host of Australian fighters including Ultimate Fighter winner Robert Whittaker, Anthony Perosh, and Heavyweight knockout specialist Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei.
Soa, who stands 6 foot 4 and weighs in at just under the Heavyweight cut off of 265 pounds, is set to take on Polish submission specialist Daniel Omielanczuk.
Taking some time out of his fight camp we spoke to Soa before what is sure to be a highlight fight come November 8th, re his upcoming bout,his motivation, and the hard work put in to ensure his return to the UFC was a successful one.
Follow Soa On Twitter: @soathehulk – Instagram: http://instagram.com/soathehulk
Dan Nichols: You’re scheduled to fight dangerous Polish Heavyweight Daniel Omielanczuk at UFC Fight Night on November 8th. What can fans expect to see in this monster clash?
Soa Palelei: They can expect for both of us to walk in and put on a show. We’re both wanting to get a win and we’re both explosive fighters. Stay tuned November 8th
Dan: Omielanczuk has nine submission wins from his 16 career victories. You of course have 17 knockout victories. Without giving too much away, do you alter your fight style depending on your opponent, or do you head in focused on your own strengths?
Soa: We have been working on all aspects and i mean all. I can’t give the game plan away but we have been working hard here at AKA Thailand and come november 8th you’ll see
Dan: Omielanczuk is yet to be finished in his career with all of his four losses coming via decision. Can you deliver his first career knockout or submission loss?
Soa: We have to wait and see what happens. We;re both explosive fighters and i just know that its going to be a great bout.
Dan: What’s it like to be returning to fight in front of an home country crowd? Do you feel any extra pressure, or does it just add to the motivation?
Soa: There’s always pressure regardless of where you fight. I’m honoured to be fighting in Australia but I need to make sure I’m ready to do my job and do it well.
Dan: Your last fight was a defeat at the hands of Jared Rosholt. What went wrong on the night? How hard is it to lift your head up and try to learn after a loss?
Soa: Everyone loses even the greatest. i don’t want to feel that feeling again. Jared was the better man that night however we move past it and focus on the next bout.
Dan: Prior to your most recent loss you had put together an amazing run of 11 straight victories. They say winning becomes a habit, is this true or was it all down to hard work?
Soa: Hard ass work!!! i work my butt off. I ran 6 days a week and sometimes 5 times a day. Hard work pays off for real, I’ve proven that time again.
Dan: This is of course your second stint in the UFC. Has it been a change in attitude, training or have you just matured as a fighter than has allowed you to taste success since your return to the top company?
Soa: I had to change everything. My team changed and my mental state changed. You can be ready physically but if your mind aint right nothing will work. I had to grow as a man and as a fighter I’m much smarter now I know what I need to do and I get it done.
Dan: Your social media pages are full of motivational quotes and photos. How much of training is mental? Where does your motivation come from?
Soa: Its the same as training physically like i just said, we need to be ready 100% all aspects mind body and soul. You have got to surround yourself with positivity and people whom bring you up and support you. I have a great support system and if something aint right I make it right.
Dan: Since returning to the UFC, your number of twitter followers have skyrocketed, yet you remain committed to interacting with fans. How important is that relationship between you and your fans? Any message for those fans as you prepare for what should be a ripper of a fight?
Soa: I worked my ass of for 4 years to get back into the UFC and my fans rallied for me to Dana White to the point I’m blocked on his account lol. I love all my fans and thank them all for their continuous support. They have always been there buying seats and pay-per–views, much love to them all. I would like to thank you for this opportunity and thank my sponsors Mackboots, Southern Crossfit, R9WA, Limousine Excursions, Pier 42 resort and spa, My Urban Swagga, Stunning Smiles, Innovative Hair Loss Solutions, SuperStars and Legends, Lakes Designer Meats, Peaches Fresh Food, Empire Property Solutions, Visi, A.P Concreting and Thinkin IT. My team and lastly but not least “The Hulk” family.
Monstasport wants to thank Soa and his team for taking the time out to talk to us. We’re looking forward to seeing Soa, and all the Aussie fighters, fight on home soil. Be sure to follow Soa on twitter (@soathehulk) instagram (soathehulk) and facebook (pages/Soa-The-Hulk-Palelei/111561455546470) … Tickets for UFC Fight Night 55 are on sale through ticketek.
Other Stories Of Interest