Over the years we have all become use to hearing ridiculous statements coming out of England. Whether it be clubs trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their own supporters by pumping the tyres of old imports, English magazines giving false accolades to English players to boost circulation numbers, of even the RFL itself playing misdirection with supporters to take the focus away from the terrible way they run the game….English Rugby League types say some very stupid things at times.
We may have reached a new low however when serial offender Brian McDermott opened his mouth, something that never seems to end well.
McDermott was talking up the re-signing of 36 year old English forward Jamie Peacock yesterday when he vaulted the former English captain into rare company….and compared him to Rugby League legend Petero Civoniceva.
“He’s incredible and he’s not just a machine, mentally he’s getting better and his influence over the group is immense.You’d put him up there, if not higher, than (former Australia and Fiji international) Petero Civoniceva with his standing in the game, He’s one in a million. I don’t think we’ll get another one like him.”
I’m sorry….what did he just say?
Petero Civoniceva started his first grade Rugby League career back in 1998. That season he was named the Brisbane Broncos rookie of the year and played a part in the clubs Grand Final success.
Civoniceva’s size and mobility quickly saw him ranked as one of the best forwards in the game. Playing alongside Shane Webcke, Civoniceva was a nightmare for opposition clubs to handle. He would go on to win a second Premiership with the Bronco’s in 2006 (Having missed out of playing in their 2000 triumph) and in 2012 become one of the few players in Australian Rugby League history to play 300 first grade games.
Civoniceva played 33 games for Queensland at State Of Origin level, an amazing record and one that saw him win the State Of Origin series many times.
Petero Civoniceva is the most capped forward in Australian Rugby League history. He played 45 games for the Australian Kangaroo’s over the course of a decade and won ever piece of silverware available at international level outside of the World Cup.
Civoniceva would then go on to captain Fiji, an effort that saw him become one of the very few players in the games history to have played 50 international matches. A remarkable feat for a front rower.
Civoniceva did all of this against the worlds best players in the worlds toughest competition.
Only an idiot would suggest that Jamie Peacock is anywhere near Petero Civoniceva in terms of playing ability, on and off field achievements, and most importantly his standing in the game.
Petero Civoniceva is one of the markers in the games modern history. A player that set a standard for others to follow. The way he handled himself on and off the field was exemplary.
Head-to-head, Civoniceva always beat Peacock. Always. There was never ever a point where Peacock was not dominated by Civoniceva. It was an unfair match up. To make a comparison between the two is completely unfair to Peacock who simply was not near the level of Civoniceva as a player.
As for their standing off the field, I think McDermott’s comments just run along the same lines as some of his other insular, ignorant comments about the game. You have to remember that the environment in English Rugby League at times doesn’t allow for stupidity to be called out. Certain sections of the English game insulate themselves from reality. That is never helped by certain English Rugby League journalists who think their job is to run PR for certain Super League clubs.
Thankfully that is all slowly changing and we are seeing many within the English game open their eyes to the bigger picture. That will never apply to Brian McDermott though.
These type of stupid statements that McDermott has become famous for help no one. No doubt they embarrass Jamie Peacock, who himself will know where he stands compared to Civoniceva. Fans don’t buy into it either, they switch off when hyperbolic statements like this dribble out of the game.
You would wish that a professional Rugby League coach would be more measured when they make big statements about the games history, however, I’ve given up on hoping that Brian McDermott will wake up to himself in that sense.
Jamie Peacock was a solid performer that had success in England but that was found wanting when he faced the best in the world. He did his best, but his best days were played in an era where there were simply better players in the game that outperformed him.
Players like Petero Civoniceva…
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com