WITH around half of the footy season now in our rear view mirror, I thought I’d take a look back over the past few months of the NRL and give out some gongs for those that are outstanding, and for those that who aren’t. Ok lets start.
Most surprising team –
The Broncos have definitely surprised, as have the Dolphins in their inaugural season, but for mine the surprise packets of the NRL this season are the NZ Warriors. Currently sitting in 6th position on 20 points, Andrew Webster’s new look Warriors have been a ‘must watch’ this season. With Shaun Johnson playing some vintage footy, they also have the forwards to compete with any pack in the comp. Opposing teams will be hoping they don’t get a home semi once September hits.
Most disappointing team –
Of course the Dragons have been, as have the Bulldogs who promised so much, but for mine after 16 rounds it’s the Roosters who have been the most disappointing. With an abundance of rep players and internationals, Trent Robinson’s charges just haven’t been able to find their mojo this season. Sitting in 11th spot on the ladder they were incredibly lucky to get a win over the hapless Knights last weekend, they must improve big time if they want to create any kind of dent in finals action.
The buy of the year –
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has been great for the Dolphins after leaving the Cowboys, as has Jmaine Hopgood for the Eels after leaving the foot of the mountains where he starred in the NSW cup last year. But my buy of the year has to be Reece Walsh, who went from the Warriors to the Broncos in what was a major coup for the QLD footy club. Since arriving he has been the noticeable X factor for Kevvie Walters Broncs, establishing a great combination around the ruck with Mam and Reynolds. His 2023 form has been irresistible.
Biggest issue of the year –
Has to be the hip drop tackle. It came, it saw, it was scrutinised then kicked out of town! The frenzy that this tackle created had everyone from players, coaches, fans, and commentators scratching their collective heads as to what and where did this tackle actually originate from. Surely clubs weren’t practicing this at training sessions? What, and risk injury to its players? Not likely. I think it was just a by product of how bloody big and strong the modern day footballer has become. Players are trying their hardest to bring down opposing juggernauts anyway they can, unfortunately sometimes resulting in falling on the back of an opponent’s legs. A nasty tackle that I hope is gone for good or at least only seen inadvertently like other tackles such as the crusher, cannonball, and grapple!
2023 Grand Finalists –
As I sit here and tap away, I can’t see anything other than a Panthers v Rabbitohs grand final…. again. The Broncos and Storm will obviously be thereabouts but I think the Panthers will take down the Rabbits in the big one this year …. again!
See you at the game.
PS if you’re in the market for a car, go see my good mate Toby at Sinclair Hyundai on York Rd. Tell him I sent ya!
MG (random Westie) OAM