With the 2014 season about to begin the supporters of 16 National Rugby League clubs have hearts filled with hope and minds filled with dreams. Right now, anyone can win the Grand Final.
Basically, everyone is too bloody happy for my liking!
I could have written a normal season preview but there are only about 50,000 of them posted online. So this year I’ve decided to do something different. I’m going to roast every single team in the National Rugby League.
Be warned, if you are one these people that attaches their self esteem or self worth to your club, you probably won’t want to read on. This web site isn’t for people that want to get angry at the world. With that said, lets get this season preview under way!
Anthony Minichiello couldn’t cop the tip when the Roosters tried to push him out the door last year and now he is back to try and ruin their title defense. I’m not even sure that Minichiello is even being paid this year. I think he just keeps turning up to training and no one has the heart to tell him to go away. Sonny Bill Williams doesn’t have that issue. He enjoyed his time at the club so much he is already packed up and ready to leave as soon as the season season finishes. For SBW the season always finishes in the semi finals, because on his return to Rugby League his very worst games have been in the big games that count.
Eels players pushed hard to get Brad Arthur at the club, and that’s great. However, the Eels players are terrible! They don’t win anything! Why would they know what type of coach they need! Jarryd Hayne’s best season was 2009 and that was coming off the 2008 World Cup where he played for Fiji and found God. This time around he is coming off a World Cup where he played for Australia, so no doubt he found binge drinking and complacency. The Eels season rests on the shoulders of Chris Sandow. Now that is a gamble!
Gold Coast Titans
Everyone gets a life contract! Even a complete bludger like William Zillman doesn’t need to ever worry about his place in this side. That’s what happens when your club is founded by the guy in the iSelect adverts. John Cartwright has done an amazing job of guiding this team no where. When Albert Kelly is your linchpin you know you’re living on dangerous ground. He is a great player who plays at a million miles an hours, but you worry he is going to just get crunched at some point!
You can feel Craig Bellamy is ready to press the eject button on this mob as his star player get older and those free boats and Harvey Norman vouchers run out. At what point does Billy Slater become a waste of money if he is always carrying injuries? Cameron Smith is weighing up a big offer to move to the Broncos but rest assured the Storm will pull about 5 international players out of their arse at some point this season.
Manly Sea Eagles
As Geoff Toovey goes into a 8 month long melt down and the Stewart brothers get injured as soon as it really starts to matter, at least the Sea Eagles can look forward to more infighting amongst their board members and rain soaked days sitting on the hill at the worst ground in Australian sport. No wonder Cherry-Evans is looking to move to Brisbane as soon as his contract is up. He is surrounded by pensioners just as he is about the take the mantle as the best halfback in the game.
The National Rugby League’s retirement home. With an owner that has less money than I do and a coach that has been mailing it in with a half arsed job ever since he arrived at the place, the Knights season once again comes down to a bunch of old, injury prone players who have proven time and time again that they can’t win anything. Jarrod Mullen is as reliable as Kurt Gidley and Kurt Gidley is as reliable as Jarrod Mullen. When Willie Mason is one of your star players and it’s not 2004 any more, you have massive problems.
North Queensland Cowboys
Any time you can overpay a halfback that has never led you to any sort of success, you have to do it, right? While they no longer have Matthew Bowen at the back, they at least have Lachlan Coote…oh, shit. This is Paul Greens first coaching job at NRL. Somewhere out there Trent Barrett is cying about that, his eye mascara running everywhere.
New Zealand Warriors
They are coached by Matthew Elliott. What more do you need to know? This is a club that didn’t want to pay Ivan Cleary and James Maloney what they were worth to stay, and then went out and invested close on a million dollars into a skinny bloke from Wigan called Sam. On the bright side, at least the Warriors make predicting the NRL Grand Final winners a choice out of 15 teams. Lets just hope they stay off those nasty energy drinks and prescription drugs that were the sole reason New Zealand lost the World Cup according to the NZRL.
Corey Norman at fullback didn’t work last year but hey, at least they have Josh Hoffman. So what do the Broncos do? They go out and buy everyone’s favourite son-in-law in Ben Barba. That wasn’t enough though. They also wanted to get Anthony Milford from the club Ricky Stuart is currently killing. This club is run like a fantasy Rugby League team that is run but a complete and utter idiot. On the bright side, at least they have a bunch of under achieving, middle of the road players who have never achieved anything to put around these players. That and the medical bills of Justin Hodges.
Forget the stories of redemption, Tony Williams needs to stop being a lazy waste of space. This is a player that walked into the club with a big contract and didn’t give a stuff about playing the game last year. Lazy. There is no other word for it. James Graham will be looking to go one whole season without committing a human rights violation. A big ask considering he wants wants to fight Sam Burgess to the death at some point this season. The highlight of the Bulldogs season is sure to be the return of all of those players they signed to huge contracts who quickly ditched the joint and went on to have bigger, better careers elsewhere.
Nothing cements a recruitment drive like sucking the final dregs out of Jamie Soward’s career, giving Peter Wallace a job that allows him to hold off that eventual brickies labourer post he has been heading towards for the last three years, and then signing a player the Gold Coast Titans were disappointed in! Five year plan? Give me five minutes and I could come up with something better than this! Don’t worry Panthers fans, between the new logo and the great big bloody hole in the stadium where the old scoreboard used to be, at least you can all look forward to watching Michael Jennings “poor attitude” winning everything in sight!
St George/Illawarra Dragons
Oust Doust is about the smartest thing you will ever hear a Dragons supporter say. This is a club that’s recruitment policy is a mess. Sure Widdop is a handy player but Dugan is more likely to be injured or arrested than he is to string three games together. They have no halfback at all, they have no real front rowers and they have too many players that just don’t turn up when it counts. When the Dragons aren’t even good enough to choke in games that matter I think we all miss out.
Ricky Stuart is on the verge of being a Matthew Elliott level club killer. We are talking, scorched earth, unusable, a nothing left to salvage type of coach. For the talent the Raiders do have, their season relies on Terry Campese being healthy. Hoping Terry Campese is healthy is like hoping that Ricky Stuart won’t kill you club, sucking the very soul out of the place, and then leaving you in a better position than when he arrived. It will not happen. Still, at least we won’t have to see the murder of a club happen on free to air TV because Channel 9 doesn’t think Canberra exists.
Mick Potter is a terrible coach who will be fired within the next few months. You can tell this is a club that has no leader. Their player recruitment is beyond terrible. When your star recruit is a 30+ year old winger from Super League, you’re in trouble. Luke Brooks has been anointed the second coming by some Tigers fans. He’d be better off turning water into wine so they can all get pissed and forget this season ever happened. This is a reserve grade quality lineup. They won’t just win the wooden spoon, they’ll have it wrapped up by July.
The funny thing is that Sharks fans look at their lineup and don’t realize that half of them will be suspended really soon. No wonder Andrew Fifita is looking to go and play Rugby Union. Only the Sharks would have enough empty corporate boxes to allow the suspended coach to continue to coach as he has always done. I feel sorry for Flanagan, I mean, you’re implicated in the alleged systematic use of prohibited drugs among your own players, and everyone gets on your back about it! What is the world coming to! On the bright side, at least Paul Gallen will give his all for the Sharks….you know, in between rep games and boxing.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Welcome to 8 months of Sam Burgess shitting on your grave as his family struts around like they own the joint. Rest assured they don’t, that’s Russell Crowe. He owns your soul. On the bright side, you just wasted John Suttons best season and hey, any time you can add Lote Tuqiri’s busted frame to your squad you’ve just got to do it!
With their Standard Definition coverage and self serving commentators talking about horse racing, giving shout outs to their mates and trying to make us watch the unbearable shit that passes for drama these days, Channel 9 makes you glad the mute button was ever invented.
As Mark Gasnier tries his best to form sentences and Braith Anasta surprises you ever time he mentions he still plays the game, we have to put up with Ben Ikin dropping names and Paul Kent grinding an axe with who ever has pissed him off lately. Really entertaining stuff.
The Dally M’s
Darren Lockyer never won a Dally M medal and he is one of the most consistent players to ever lace on a boot. So how much is this thing really worth anyway? Seriously, how much would you pay for one of these medals on eBay? I’d probably fork over $200 just to use it as a really fancy coaster. Go look through the list of Dally M medal winners and see how many of them actually lead their team to Grand Final success that year.
The 2014 Grand Final
The chance for all Rugby League supporters to piss and moan about Grand Final entertainment. We say the AFL do it better while AFL supporters say the NRL does it better as they wear flannel and contemplate cheer missed kicks. No doubt two completely unlikable teams will once again make the big show this year.
Good luck to you and your club. You’re really going to need it. This is a close season and I think we will see a lot happening. I expect we will see some massive changes to the way the game is run, the salary cap…there is a lot to look forward to. My tip for the Grand Final? South Sydney vs the Melbourne Storm. Yes…again.
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
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