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10 Queenslanders in Test side to work on their combinations by TONY CURRIE

R

ound 6 of the NRL literally represents 25% of the season gone and at this early stage a strong factor has emerged. First and foremost it is clear that defence is the order of the day. Throughout my career and all that I have learnt about Rugby League, one thing stands out. That one thing is defence is the cornerstone of every element regarding the game. It is the foundation stone that builds the character of a team. It is the element that gives a team confidence t1o promote the ball in attack. It is the component that produces confidence within a team. Now people may say that attack is what wins games but my belief is that anyone can plant the ball over the whitewash but it takes a degree of courage to bring down a player running at close to 30 kph and weighing 110kg. The Storm were fantastic in keeping out the Rabbitohs last weekend. To hold them to 12 points showed fortitude and commitment and I am sure Melbourne are hell bent on going back to back based on their defence. They certainly know tries will automatically come with the quality of player they possess. Manly have averaged only 9 points leaked per game. This is exceptional and must make them fair contenders to be there at season’s end. The Roosters have surprised me. Other than a hiccup against Canberra, their defence has been outstanding. Their defensive player mix is right with workers and big hitters. Their average to start the first quarter of the season is 11 points and

Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley with star centre Greg Inglis. Sorry Laurie (NSW 2013 coach) but Greg’s a Queenslander and is one of 10 in the Test team to play this weekend against New Zealand. Image: Rhonda Hagan

this far excels their 2012 average of 26 points. The selectors have made their choices for the Test team to take on the Kiwis this Friday in Canberra. There were really no surprises and it looks like they have erred on the side of safety by picking a solid, proven combination. I would have thought it was a great opportunity to blood some new stock and further strengthen our Kangaroo depth. Ten Queenslanders in the side is testimony to the magnificent Maroon Origin run of victories. With Origin around the corner, it seems like the Queenslanders get an early chance to work on their combinations.

Bad luck New South Wales! The NRL Referees are still performing at much improved standards but there are a couple of areas they need to concentrate on. Again, it is at the play the ball where they must be strong on their officiating. Countless times I see players laying on the tackled player and unashamedly looking at the Referee waiting for him to say get off. Come on Refs, if he looks at you, penalise straight away. They are only playing you and it is another attempt to dilute your control of the game. The Markers are also playing silly games with the Referees. Watch how they point which way they are going but more importantly

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watch how early they break before the ball is played. They split far too early and it goes undetected even with two referees on the paddock. This gives the defending side an unfair advantage by shoring up the middle of the ruck. When was the last time an attacking break was made down the middle? Just a final comment about the ASADA investigation in the NRL. ASADA have created many waves without producing much evidence. So far people have lost their jobs without a charge being laid.

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I am all for cleaning the game up and getting to the people involved but the process is flawed. The ARL Commission needs to lead from the front and be strong, but more than ever, be aware of future problems instead of band-aiding and trying to minimise the damage done. “I know for a fact that 80 NRL players are on the take to manipulate exotic betting in games. I am not prepared to name them at this stage but will work with authorities to determine the depth of the corruption.

Those 80 players should come forward now and their penalties will be reduced depending upon their cooperation levels.” Sorry! This is pure fiction but doesn’t it sound familiar? Making accusations is easy. Anyone can do it. I would have thought that ASADA would hold all the evidence and proof before they attacked the sport, not making the claims, and then trying to prove it or leaking information which continues to damage the sport.


10 Queenslanders in NRL Test side