Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday's NRL Mingle

The neat display outside Hunter Stadium marking 100 years since the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli.

Kurt, It’s time to go.
In the words of Gretel Killeen, It’s time to go. These words could not apply to Kurt Gidley more after his complete shocker in the Knights’ loss to the cowboys on Saturday. What’s more the Knights have Australian representative Sione Mata'utia playing reserve grade or sitting on the bench. Sione’s impact was instantaneous when we came on for the Knights in the second half. His runaway try was a sign of what the kid can do, charging straight at, and through, Johnathan Thurston. Gidley would be perfectly suited for the English Super League and would find his feet in a permanent position, which is something he has struggled to do here in the NRL.
Austin or Victor?
Is it just me or is Blake Austin from the Raiders trying to impersonate their mascot Victor the Viking? The goatee-beard and haircut are strikingly similar. If he is looking for inspiration in the almighty Victor, it’s working because Austin has been on fire in his now established five-eighth role. The Raiders are four and four for the year which is a comfortable record to have at this stage of the season. Their win against South Sydney showed the team Ricky Stuart has put together has some potent players. Stuart has struggled for coaching success at club level and no one gets hammered more than him if things go south, but if there is one club he might actually put it together at, it’s the Raiders. Clubs should look out around the end of the season if the Raiders are stalking the top eight.
ANZAC Day brilliant
Those in the media suggesting sport and ANZAC Day are bordering on crossing the line of promotion and respect do have a point and will keep the governing bodies in check, but the games and ceremonies held on the weekend in the NRL couldn’t be more respectful. All games featured the New Zealand and Australian anthems, as well as the commemorative ceremonies and the last post. For those who are unable to attend Dawn or ANZAC services, the games provide another opportunity to pay respect. They also provide an alternative to heading to a pub or club for those who don’t drink to participate in ANZAC day activities.
Rebuilt Storm
The Melbourne Storm might have lost in a close one on the weekend, but what’s clear is they will remain a real player in this year’s fight for the title. They currently sit in 3rd place with five wins and three losses. With an injury-disrupted off-season to their ageing stars, many commentators predicted the Storm would struggle this season. Craig Bellamy recently stated that something “wasn’t right” with the team last year that he failed to see and correct at the time. He’s sure found the solution this year, and the addition of Blake Green to complement Cooper Cronk in the halves has been a sublime compliment by Bellamy.
Dugan deserving of spot
Josh Dugan has managed to turn his life around as has been well promoted by the media, but was he really that bad to begin with? All Dugan has done is keep out of trouble and put his best foot forward, which is all he needed to do. The raw kid that emerged for the Raiders way back in 2011 had so much natural talent he was drawing comparison to the great Brett Mullins, and Billy Slater at the time. It’s a shame it didn’t work out for the Raiders as Dugan is potentially a premiership-winning fullback such are his efforts and influence on the park. With hard-head Mary McGregor now pushing Dugan to reach his best, we should finally see him flourish. His Kangaroos birth is a just result of his talent and hard work coming together.