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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    NRL Rugby League 2022

    NRL Rugby League 2022-screenshot-2021-12-20-17-57-a

    If Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, then the NRL pre-season is surely the least wonderful.
    While we're tucking into Christmas hams, going to the pub a little bit more than we should and deciding that we're really going to clean up our act in January — and we really do mean it, honest — all 16 NRL clubs are hard at work, plotting their premiership charges for 2022.

    They say titles are won in the summer, when smart teams have been training down the house and — through some high-performance magic — just about everybody is in the best shape of their lives after their toughest pre-season ever.

    Nobody has more ground to make up than the bottom four teams. So, in the first part of our off-season preview, let's take a look at the teams who propped up the ladder in 2021 and the biggest question they need to answer before the trials kick off early next year.



    NRL Rugby League 2022-screenshot-2021-12-20-18-02-a

    Canterbury Bulldogs


    Question: Can all the new pieces fit?
    Answer: Canterbury are currently embroiled in the club's longest period outside the finals in living memory — the last time they spent so long outside the playoffs was the early 1960s — but their aggressive recruitment drive could finally end the miserable time they've endured in recent years.


    North Queensland Cowboys

    Question: Is Jason Taumalolo still the king?
    Answer: North Queensland have been in the midst of a long, stop-start rebuild for several years now, but the one thing they could rely on was Jason Taumalolo.

    But a succession of broken hands kept the $10 million man off the field and rule changes have hamstrung his effectiveness to the point where he is no longer the undisputed king of the forwards as he once was.

    In 2021 he averaged 155 metres per game — a respectable total for most — but, for Taumalolo, it was his worst return per game since 2015.



    Brisbane Broncos

    Question: What can Adam Reynolds bring off the field?
    Answer: Adam Reynolds has been good at the things he's good at for so long now we know exactly what to expect from the former Rabbitoh: His kicking game will be on-song, both in general play and from the tee, and he'll run Brisbane around the park expertly.

    Simply put, Reynolds helps make the players around him better, but the Broncos will be banking on the fact he can do just that for more than just 80 minutes a week.


    Wests Tigers

    Question: Is Luke Brooks worth it?
    Answer: The daily Luke Brooks updates came thick and fast through the summer, as they often do, with Brooks again supposedly on the nose at the Tigers, as he is often claimed to be, but in the end the result stayed the same as it has for many years now with Brooks remaining at Concord.

    There's a case to be made that a fresh start might be best for player and club, but what is clear is that something needs to change for Brooks and the Tigers.



    Lot's mere here
    Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago ...


  2. #2
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    What have Cronulla got on their hands with new playmaker Nicho Hynes?

    The post above ran through the biggest question for the sides who finished in the bottom four in 2021.
    Now we're knocking things up a notch.

    The difference between making the finals and missing them is often slim indeed. If the Sharks and Raiders had won one more game (and both sides had plenty of each-way defeats), they would have made the play-offs instead of the Titans.

    Even if a team only scrapes in by the skin of their teeth and are brutally dismantled in the first week, it's still better than the alternative.

    Every team who missed out on the finals by a narrow margin believes they're only a piece or two away from taking that next step, so here's where that step might be taken for the teams who finished from 9th to 12th in 2021.



    New Zealand Warriors

    Question: How long is too long on the road?

    Answer: If the Warriors make their return to New Zealand in time for their Round 15 clash with Penrith, it will mark 1,063 days since they play a home game.

    Think about everything that's happened to you since August 30, 2019.

    Think about the highs and the lows, the wins and the losses, the stupid quarantine fads and hobbies you picked up in lockdown only to gleefully abandon them once we could all go outside again.
    Think about the person you were then and the person you are now.
    It's a long time.



    St George Illawarra Dragons

    Question: Has Jack Bird finally found a home?

    Answer
    : Bird's return to St George Illawarra was a low key success story in 2021 – after years of injury problems, Bird strung together a very solid season and had good showings at fullback, centre, five-eighth and backrow.

    The question now, as it always seems to be with Bird, is where to place him permanently and slotting in as a ball-playing middle forward, in the style of Cameron Murray and Victor Radley, seems the best fit.



    Canberra Raiders

    Question: How do they sort out the backline?

    Answer:
    Yardage from the back five has been an important part of any successful team for years now, but with the rule changes made to the game in the past two seasons, it's now become mandatory.


    Canberra have long been blessed with metre-eaters up front, like Josh Papalii and Joseph Tapine, but outside of Jordan Rapana (164 metres per game), they just weren't getting enough from the rest of the backline out of their own end for much of 2021.


    Cronulla Sharks

    Question: What do the Sharks have with Nicho Hynes?

    Answer: In his first year as a regular starter, Hynes was superb for Melbourne in 2021.
    But most of his best work came at fullback – he's only played four full games in the halves in his NRL career.
    Plenty of other clubs would have taken a chance on Hynes as their long term halfback or five-eighth if the Sharks had not and there's no such thing as a sure thing.



    All the Analysis is here

  3. #3
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    Ex-NRL star Frank Pritchard fighting for life due to COVID-19 complications

    Retired Canterbury, Penrith, Parramatta and New Zealand Test star Frank Pritchard is reportedly in hospital on New Year’s Eve fighting for his life.


    Nine.com.au reported on Friday night that the 38-year-old was on life support as a result of complications from COVID-19.

    It is believed he has a collapsed lung and other major health issues as a result of the virus.
    “We’re all praying for him, that he gets better and back to his family,” player manager Mario Tartak told News Corp.
    Meanwhile, News Corp reports that rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has survived a COVID scare after being admitted to hospital in Wagga Wagga. Johns, a Herald columnist, has since returned to Sydney and is reportedly said to be in good health.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    NRL announces rule changes ahead of 2022 season

    The NRL will revert back to giving penalties for ruck infringements and offsides when teams are coming out of their own end, in the biggest rule tweak for 2022.

    Key points:

    • In a bid to stop teams deliberately slowing the ruck early in the set, any infringements given away in a team's 40-metre zone will now result in a penalty
    • The NRL has removed trainers' right to stop play if a player is injured, with the exception of head knocks
    • Another change will result in teams only given a free interchange when a player is the victim of foul play that results in a sin bin or send off


    League officials confirmed another three changes on Wednesday — to injury stoppages, free interchanges from foul play and team list protocols.
    But it will be the amendment to the set-restart rule that will have the biggest impact on games.

    In a bid to stop teams deliberately slowing the ruck early in the set, any infringements given away in a team's 40-metre zone will now result in a penalty.

    "This will provide an additional deterrence to defending teams who are willing to concede set restarts to gain a tactical advantage," the NRL said in a statement.
    "It will also provide more opportunities for teams receiving the penalty to attack from a better field position."
    Meanwhile, the NRL has stripped away trainers' right to stop play in a player is injured, but head knocks are an exception.

    It means only the referee, touch judge or bunker will be able to order for play to be stopped in the event of a serious injury of any kind with the exception of concussions.

    HERE

  5. #5
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    • The NRL has removed trainers' right to stop play if a player is injured, with the exception of head knocks
    What's the bet that frequency of "head knocks" increases this year

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    ^They'll soon figure out some way to take advantage (rort) any new rule, that's a given.

    Using technology to rule on forward passes is what I'd really like to see, there'll be no getting around that.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Rugby league Immortal Johnny Raper dies, aged 82


  8. #8
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Olsen Filipaina also passes overnight.





    • Olsen Filipaina was battling kidney failure and was admitted to Westmead Hospital in January
    • The former five-eighth led New Zealand to a historic victory over a Wally Lewis-captained Australia in 1895
    • Filipaina scored 108 points in 29 Tests for the Kiwis from 1977-86 and was named a NZRL Legend of League in 2007

  9. #9
    On a walkabout Loy Toy's Avatar
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    I played against Johnny Raper's younger brothers Gerard and Peter but they were not as good as him.

    Had a few beers with Johnny up at Kings Cross and he was a bit of a legend there after his footy days.

    RIP.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Footy returns this afternoon/tonight.

    Times below are Aussie Daylight Saving times so deduct 4 hours

    All Stars schedule

    All times AEST
    4:00pm — Gates Open at Parramatta Stadium
    4:05pm — Touch Football, Indigenous vs. Māori All Stars
    5:20pm — Women's, Indigenous vs. Māori All Stars
    8:10pm — Men's, Indigenous vs. Māori All Stars


    All the Bla Bla is here

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    Thailand Expat prawnograph's Avatar
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    NZ: Manu Vatuvei sent to jail for importing methamphetamine
    Mar 02 2022

    Former rugby league star Manu Vatuvei has been sentenced to three years and seven months in jail for importing methamphetamine.




    Vatuvei was once the pride of New Zealand rugby league, playing 226 games for the Warriors, 29 tests for the Kiwis and two more for Mate Ma'a Tonga.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    NRL kicks off this arvo/evening


    Times are AEDST ... meaning they are 4 hours ahead of Thai time.

    Penrith Panthers v Manly Sea Eagles, BlueBet Stadium, Thursday 8.05pm
    (Disappointing that the Stadium has been named after a sports betting company)

    Canberra Raiders v Cronulla Sharks, GIO Stadium, Friday 6pm

    Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights, SCG, Saturday 3pm

    New Zealand Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons, Sunshine Coast Stadium, Saturday 5:30pm (Note, not a home ground for the Warriors, being played at Sunshine Coast )

    Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm, CommBank Stadium Saturday 7.35pm

    Parramatta Eels v Gold Coast Titans, CommBank Stadium, Sunday, 4pm

    North Queensland Cowboys v Canterbury Bankstown-Bulldogs, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Sunday, 6:15pm

    All the commentary is here ... NRL 2022: Round 1 previews for all eight games
    Last edited by David48atTD; 10-03-2022 at 06:30 AM.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    • Panthers vs SEA EAGLES ... Cleary is out for the first 3 games, Isaah Yeo will not be match fit yet as he didn't play the Trial games



    • Raiders vs SHARKS ... Sharks Coach Craig Fitzgibbon has caught Covid, Nicho Hynes and Matt Moylan in the halves for the first time. When I flipped the coin, it came up Sharks



    • Broncos vs RABBITOHS ... Would have been great to see Adam Reynolds play his old Club, be he also has Covid. Latrell Mitchell is still suspended ... as he should be, amazing talent, dirty player and I hate that.



    • ROOSTERS vs Knights ... Can't go past the Chooks



    • Warriors vs DRAGONS ... Can the Red V win their first game since PartyGate?



    • Tigers vs STORM ... Will the Storm keep their 1st game winning streak going. They have lost Munster and Grant are suspended (remember that video and the white powder?) and Papenhuyzen is resting an ankle



    • EELS vs Titans ... Huge win by Parra over the Panthers in a trial, new halves combo for the Titans



    • COWBOYS vs Bulldogs ... Flipped the coin and it came up Cowboys. Interestingly Phil Gould now overseeing the Bulldogs’ rebuild ... so maybe interesting to follow them in a few years time. One of my Sons will be pleased.

  14. #14
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    Thank Jeebus the greatest game of all is back, finally some real entertainment on tv again! Agree with all your picks David6uldv8 but with one exception. I cannot see the Hynes (great player) and Moylan (heap of shit) halves pairing working, one is a highly gifted impulse player and the other is a heap of shit and I'm not seeing how they'll work well together. Raiders win. As always I won't be having a punt till at least week 4, betting on these early games is madness till we see how all the teams look, how new players are fitting in, and how they gel on the field.

    Chooks are well fancied to win the Premiership with good reason and I think the Eels will go well this year too but there's no way I'm putting money on this, there's no other team sport in the world where the chances of losing half your team in a few weeks to season ending injuries is a real as in the NRL.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Well worth a look, even if you have to sign-in


  16. #16
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Hell of a Round 1 ... that Eagles/Panthers match was bruising.

    NRL injuries and suspensions, team by team

    Broncos

    Tesi Niu (hamstring, Round 2)
    Thomas Flegler (suspended, Round 4)
    Xavier Willison (knee, mid-season)


    Bulldogs

    Tevita Pangai jnr (hamstring, Round 2)
    Chris Patolo (concussion, Round 2)
    Jeremy Marshall-King (concussion, Round 2)
    Brent Naden (concussion, Round 2)
    Braidon Burns (concussion, Round 2)
    Raymond Faitala-Mariner (foot, Round 2-3)
    Matt Doorey (knee, mid-season)


    Cowboys

    Reuben Cotter (hamstring, Round 2-3)
    Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (knee, Round 3-4)
    Ben Hampton (hamstring, Round 3-4)
    Lachlan Burr (hip – early retirement)


    Dragons

    Billy Burns (foot, Round 3-4)
    Jayden Sullivan (hamstring (Round 3-4)
    Aaron Woods (hamstring, Round 4-5)
    Max Feagai (ankle, indefinite)
    Josh McGuire (suspended, Round 6)


    Eels

    Ryan Matterson (hamstring, Round 4-5)
    Sean Russell (ribs, lung indefinite)
    Maika Sivo (knee, June-July)
    Haze Dunster (knee, season)


    Knights

    Daniel Saifiti (leg, Round 2-3)
    Sauaso Sue (suspended, Round 3)
    Jayden Brailey (Achilles, June-July)
    Bailey Hodgson (elbow, indefinite)
    Hymel Hunt (knee, indefinite)


    Panthers

    Nathan Cleary (shoulder, Round 4)
    Mavrik Geyer (elbow, TBC)
    Moses Leota (shoulder, Round 9-11)


    Rabbitohs

    Liam Knight (ankle, Round 5)
    Blake Taaffe (ankle, Round 5)


    Raiders

    Brad Schneider (COVID, Round 3)
    Jarrod Croker (back, TBC)
    Peter Hola (knee, Round 2-4)
    Jordan Rapana (suspended, Round 3)
    Josh Hodgson (knee, Round 4-5)
    Jamal Fogarty (knee, Round 15)
    Harley Smith-Shields (ACL, season)


    Roosters

    Victor Radley (concussion, Round 2)
    Sam Verrills (thumb, Round 5-6)
    Joseph Suaalii (foot, Round 3-4)


    Sea Eagles

    Karl Lawton (concussion, Round 2-3)
    Dylan Walker (leg, Round 2)
    Josh Schuster (ankle, Round 3-5)
    Ben Trbojevic (knee, Round 3-5)
    Josh Aloiai (suspended, Round 4)


    Sharks

    Connor Tracey (groin, Round 2-3)
    Cameron McInnes (knee, Round 2-3)
    Jack Williams (knee, Round 3)
    Braydon Trindall (suspended, Round 3)
    Wade Graham (ankle, Round 4-6)


    Storm

    Cooper Johns (shoulder, Round 3-5)
    Brandon Smith (hand, Round 4-7)
    Christian Welch (Achilles, season)
    George Jennings (knee, season)
    Tui Kamikamica (stood down)


    Tigers

    Jacob Liddle (knee, Round 4-6)
    Adam Doueihi (knee, Round 8-14)
    Tommy Talau (knee, mid-season)
    Asu Kepaoa (pectoral, mid-season)
    Shawn Blore (ACL, season)


    Titans

    Joe Vuna (knee, mid-season)


    Warriors

    Viliami Vailea (knee, Round 5)
    Shaun Johnson (pec, Round 5)
    Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (thumb, Round 9-11)
    Tohu Harris (knee, June-July)

    NRL 2022 injuries, suspension, team lists, casualty ward

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Well, I got a new coin and going with ...


    • STORM vs Rabbitohs
    • Dragons vs PANTHERS
    • ROOSTERS vs Sea Eagles
    • TITANS vs Warriors
    • Sharks vs EELS
    • Cowboys vs RAIDERS
    • KNIGHTS vs Tigers
    • Bulldogs vs BRONCOS

  18. #18
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    ^Chooks v Silvertails is the game of the round, both teams were very ordinary in their first week games and both teams are capable of so much more. A real coin toss..

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Broncos - top 8 material this year?

    I think so ... barring a horrific injury toll, as in the Chooks last year.

  20. #20
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    Surely no team could ever have a season like the Chooks did last year when it comes to injuries? I forget the exact numbers, but of the players making up their 10 million dollar salary cap there was about 5.7 million dollars worth of them either out injured or medically retired from the game forever by the end of the year! Never seen such bad luck..

    I don't rate the Bronco's and can't see them making the 8 this year again. I have no faith in the coach and am fully expecting them to be incapable of playing decent footy unless they get a big early lead and even then, they'll shit themselves in the last 20 mins as they did for all of last year. If anyone thinks Reynolds is going to be their savior, they're kidding themselves. Happy to be proven wrong though!

  21. #21
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    I'm not a dragons fan, but gee, they had to play against the referees as well as the panthers on Friday.

    I've always been a Tigers fan, but I can't bring myself to watch them anymore.
    This year the only thing they'll win is the wooden spoon.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TizMe View Post
    I've always been a Tigers fan, but I can't bring myself to watch them anymore.
    This year the only thing they'll win is the wooden spoon.
    Feel sorry for you TizMe. It's a mess, they can sack Madge but even Craig Bellamy couldn't get a squad like that to be competitive. And while they're in this slump with the coach's neck in a noose and nobody knowing who might replace him if/when he does get the punt, they're no chance of attracting any decent players to help dig them out of the hole. Not going to be a good year for Tigers fans

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    Hopefully Tim Sheens is working some magic in the background regarding recruitment and player retention.

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    ^Not sure if you've seen the very recent interview Matty Johns did with him, but Sheens is completely impossible to not like. Can't think of a better man to be making the hard decisions needed to put the Tigers back on the map again.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Well, I bought a new coin and going with ... Roosters, Panthers, Knights, Rabbitohs, Storm, Sharks, Eels, Warriors

    Cowboys/Warriors is a definite coin flip.

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