With the ridiculous St Kilda dwarf stunt dominating sports reports and jokes going round on how the NRL can top the stunt, no doubt talk will soon turn to why we should ban Mad Monday. I’m not going to get into that argument as personally I believe Mad Monday is here to stay, but I have spoken to representatives of each of the eliminated clubs and have found out where their club will be spending Mad Monday.
The Eels: I realise as a Sharks fan I am totally opening myself up to ridicule here but I’ve heard the Eels will be spending their Mad Monday shopping for knives and forks to go with all their wooden spoons. It has been a horrible year and not much to cheer about for Parra fans. The only highlight being the fact that so many young players have played first grade … oh and also that the season is now nearly over.
The Dragons: Searching for a new coach. Dragon’s fans were calling for Price to be sacked about 15 minutes after he was appointed and the voices have gotten louder now that a Jarred Hayne-less eels were able to put them away last night. Surely Price won’t see out his contract. As a Dragons fan said on twitter: “The roster isn’t great but is it worth risking next year to see if Price can coach”.
The Wests Tigers: The Tiges will spend their Mad Monday wrapping Luke Brooks is cotton wool. With one 80 minute effort all the Benji controversy seemed to disappear … for a few minutes at least. A great debut from a player Tigers and league fans alike have been wrapping for many months. He has a long way to go but this kid has talent.
The Broncos: The Broncos after missing the finals for seemingly the first time ever will be spending Mad Monday is a new pub called ‘Damage Control’ … After parading the marquee signing Ben Barba, the story of his being accused of splitting a woman’s lip has become public. If the Broncos were not made aware of this incident before the signed Barba they will be FILTHY. You’d HAVE to think the Dogs HAD to make Brisbane aware. There’s a very real possibility that Barba could face a huge suspension which will impact the Broncos 2014 big time.
The Raiders: Looking for Blake Ferguson obviously. The man who started the year as ‘the’ centre is now on his way out of the Raiders and could be suspended for a year after repeated off season incidents. Ferguson needs to get his life in order and the Raiders need to employ a disciplinarian of a coach to get their side in order. There have been FAR too many incidents in the recent history of the Raiders for it to be brushed aside any more. Ricky Start is good with the discipline but hardly has the results the last few years at Cronulla and Parra.
The Panthers: The Panthers exceeded all sorts of expectations this season and will spend Mad Monday pondering the signing of Jamie Soward and the release of Lachlan Coote. Is it the right decision or will it blow up big time? Soward is a premiership winning half and was the man to lead the Dragons in the Price era. All that came crashing down but Soward was “rewarded” for a horrible start to the season with a massive contract at the Panthers. This could be a master stroke or it could be Gould’s biggest error. It’ll be a main talking point in 2014.
The Titans: The Gold Coast side will spend their end of season celebration in ‘No Man’s Land’. Did the Titans fail this season by not making the 8 or did they exceed expectations by still technically being in the race for the 8? The Titans have an amazing forward pack and 2 young talented halves but have lacked a fullback and consistency from their outside backs for years. This year was another year of questions for the Gold Coast club.
The Warriors: The New Zealand based side will spend their Mad Monday sitting and wondering what the hell happened. On their day the Warriors can blow ANYONE off the park but it just didn’t happen enough this season. They’ll belt the Dragons but their points difference is horrible due to games where they simply have not turned up and have paid the price.
For the record I expect the Knights to win and for the Cowboys to belt the Tigers completing the 8, along with the 6 sides that cannot be knocked out. I still believe the top 4 are untouchable but if the Sharks fire they could push one of those top 4 sides, if only for a half. The Dogs are a shot but with Barba likely be stood down for the rest of the season they are without their strike weapon. The Cowboys have the best 5/8 in the world and cannot be counted out but neither they nor the Knights have the quality across the park to worry the top 4.
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