Seven Days in League: Stop whingeing, for Pete’s sake

27/08/2018 Posted by admin

GREATEST GAME OF ALL: ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie with a young Newcastle Knights fan.THURSDAYTIMES were when the great Wayne Bennett was right up there alongsideGandhi, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa.
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These days it just seems to be open slather with regards to the old fox, who’s copping it left, right and centre, for reasons that escape me.

Following hot on the heels of Nathan Brown’s cryptic comment about Bennett “thinking with his little head”(whatever that means), Foxtel commentator Michael Ennis relives an anecdote from his playing days at Brisbane.

The Menace recalls how after a training session one day, Benny strode from the showers “like John Wayne”, wearing nothing but a trademark scowl.

“He looked like a scarecrow with pubic hair,”Ennis declares.

Hope that hasn’t put you off your breakfast.

FRIDAYTHE theory that footballers are creatures of habit is reinforced when the Knights tackle Melbourne at AAMI Park.

As Newcastle’s players trot out for the pre-match warm-up, they turn left to the northern end of the ground.

All except hooker Slade Griffin, who briefly turns right, towards the southern end, before the penny drops and he realises he is no longer playing for the blokes in purple.

In the later game, a star of the future emerges as Kurt Dillon debuts for the Sharkies in their loss to St George Illawarra.

They might as well hand him the Dally M rookie-of-the-year award now. He’s a household name in the making, mark my words.

SATURDAYAN awkwardsituation is avoided at North Sydney Oval when Robbie Farah drops out of theNSW Cup clash withWestern Suburbs.

The two sides are competing for the first time for the Jason Taylor Cup, named after the goalkicking halfback who spent time at both the Magpies and Bears.

Norths end up winning by a field goal, and JT is entitled to breathe a sigh of relief that he doesn’t have to shake hands and present the trophy toFarah… who might have felt an urge to smash it over his former coach’s head.

SUNDAYTHE closing ceremony at the Gold Coast CommonwealthGames is a reminder to all and sundry of exactly who has beenthe star of the show –Peter Beattie.

The chairman of the organising committee (and newly appointedhead of the ARL Commission) makes the wise tactical decision for Channel Seven’s telecast to kick off after the athletes have entered the stadium.

I mean, the competitorshave had more than enough limelight over the past two weeks.Bloody prima donnas.

It’s time for former politicians and the like to share in the kudos. And the speech from Beattie is enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

It’s reassuring to think that, out of the endless array ofpossible candidates, this is the man who has been chosen to oversee rugby league. The game’s future could not be in safer hands.

MONDAYARL Commission chairman Beattie,not surprisingly still basking in the glory of the Commonwealth Games, takes the chance to put the so-called world game in its place.

During a livebreakfast-TV interview, he notices a young kid wearing a blue-and-red football kit.

“Obviously you’re a Knights supporter,” he declares. The kid is actually wearing a Barcelona FC shirt, but with a minimum of fuss and fanfare Beattie has subtly remindedeveryone that rugby league is the greatest game of all, and that soccer is in such direshape their clubs have to plagiarise NRL playing strips.

It is, of course, a well-known fact that Barcelona switched to a blue-and-red stripes after Newcastle’s 1997 grand final win against Manly, which still holds a warmplace inthe heartsof the Catalonian faithful.

Buoyed by his boss’s promotional masterstroke,NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg follows suit by taking aim at unnamed “crisis merchants” on Twitter and launchingthe hashtag #NRLtalkthegameup.

Talk the game up … wow, where to start? How about: the Australian rugby league team win more games (and trophies) than the Wallabies and Socceroos. What more needs to be said?

TUESDAYKNIGHTS veteran Chris Heighington reveals the secret to the Wests Tigers’ unexpected success this season –up-and-in defence.

First developed by Warren Ryan at Newtown almost 40 years ago and also known as “umbrella” defence, it involves the outside backs sprinting up to stifle their opposite numbers and force the ball back towards the centre of the field.

For some reason, it’s fallen by the wayside in recent times, but Tigers coach Ivan Cleary is clearly of the view that what’s old is new.

Continuing the retro theme, the Tigers are preparing to wear shoulder pads and black boots in Saturday’s clash with Newcastle in Tamworth.

Later,news breaks that Knights coach Nathan Brown has dropped five-eighth Brock Lamb to reserve grade.

Unfortunately for Brock, he’s a sub-editors’ favourite.

A headline reading “Lamb to the slaughter” ran after Newcastle lost 38-0 on his NRL debut. Last season he copped “Lamb’s shank” after a costly duffed kick against Canterbury.

Tomorrow’s back page is going to read “Lamb chop”.

As my former sports editor, Kevin Cranson, often said: “You might as well be hung for a sheep as a Lamb.”

WEDNESDAYPETER Beattie takes aim at his misguided critics.

“I just think one of the problems is that we are getting to a stage of being a pack of whingers,” he said.

“I just say to Australia we’re bigger than this, we should be about positive things, about building things, about doing things and we shouldn’t try to tear down people who want do that … frankly unless we stop whingeing we’re going to go down a long gurgler and it’s not going to be very good.”

Hear hear, Peter. You tell the whingeing bludgers.

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