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Getting in bed with a bookmaker requires protection


Steve Mascord

Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse.

Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse. Photo: Rob Homer

Rugby league is getting $50 million from Tom Waterhouse. What would the salary for a fulltime integrity commissioner be? $150,000?

Discord is willing to go as far as to say that to accept this money from a bookmaker without appointing a fulltime integrity commissioner would be reckless and irresponsible. Morally, it's wrong to take the cash from betting without accepting the attendant responsibilities.

The Ryan Tandy affair was a salutary lesson in how dangerous punting can be to our sport. European soccer players being paid many times more than NRL stars have been tempted to cheat with big money at stake.

Horse racing and dog racing exist on the moolah that comes in from punters, but they have stewards and rugby league does not. How much do we have to speculate to imagine a betting scandal that equals the Melbourne Storm salary cap crisis in scope and implication?

My point here is simple: the Independent Commission has delivered many of the things that the NRL needed as a major business, but lacked. This is another one.


It's interesting that Andrew Chalmers, the former chairman of the New Zealand Rugby League, looks like being involved in the new administration at Salford.

But having a club teeter on the brink with three weeks left before the start of the season is terrible. I hope there are no sanctions from the RFL as a result of the club's financial difficulties. It seems a weird hypocrisy that the governing body will help a club out of debt – but then dock them points for going broke.

Discord has no problem with clubs being held accountable for the actions of their fans, because they have the power to lock out fans.

But fans, players and coaches have no power over incompetent administrators, do they?


I've been asked for opinion on Kevin Sinfield being handed the Golden Boot. Please excuse me if I repeat myself in a few different forums on this.

Yes, I write for Rugby League World. No, I did not vote on the Golden Boot or the positional awards this year.

The Golden Boot (rightly, in my opinion) gives precedence to international football. Rugby League World, and Open Rugby before it, have always pushed this aspect of the game.

It is Australia and New Zealand who refused to play England last October. They players wanted the spring off. So in many ways, it's their own fault they were disadvantaged in an award that focuses on internationals.

Sinfield also did have a very good year, leading Leeds to the Super League title, kicking magnificently in the play-offs and succeeding clubmate Jamie Peacock as national captain.

I could argue that Sinfield was the most outstanding individual of the year in either hemisphere. Ben Barba didn't even play Origin last year.

But here's where myself and my Rugby League World colleagues disagree.

For the Golden Boot to retain its lustre, it still should go to a player who is conceivably the best in the world. The factors above should separate outstanding candidates, not elevate someone else.

Is Kevin Sinfield, at 32 and not judged the best in his position, conceivably the best practitioner in the world of the one million-odd people who play rugby league?

Surely even his stoutest supporters would pause before answering in the affirmative.

It's really a matter for the judges and those who guide them, then, to decide if the Golden Boot is still to be awarded to the best player in the world.


Feedback now and we had some good ones last week.

Paulmac asks why Japan are coming to Australia to play Portugal in a month or two. The same reason Australia plays soccer friendlies in England – the players are here. Most of the players on both sides would be involved in footy at some level in Oz and their clubs would not be allowing them to go on a jolly to Bangkok in the middle of the pre-season!

Chris talked about having Queensland and NSW tour overseas. Queensland toured the UK in 1983 (I have the highlights on VHS somewhere) and NSW toured New Zealand in the late 1970s. But again, the fear is that these sides would perform better than Australia, and it would diminish international football. The odds say this would happen at some stage. Personally, I think NSW or Queensland B would thrash Wales, Scotland and France and hurt those countries' development.

Howe Synott said the Folau decision was not just about money. Yes, there appeared to be procrastination on a number of fronts – including the salary cap auditor. My point is, I just can't see him as the big fish that got away, as many do.

There was a nice debate on players taking dives. Quidgybo said anyone who goes down and stays down should be replaced. But would this lead to players taking dives for extra interchanges instead of for penalties?

Scottmit said teams did not take advantage of attacking opportunities from the scrum. That's why they've trialled giving the attacking team an extra man, I guess. The rule-makers want to encourage this again.

10 comments so far

  • Ok, so in 2010 Ryan Tandy and others try to fix part of an NRL game. Ever since the NRL has FURTHER embraced gambling. I think its disgusting and filth. Nothing good results from gambling. Look at how horse racing and other things are affected. Its just rotten. Drugs and gambling are the curses of sport.

    And also Channel 9 shoves the odds down our throat every 15 minutes. Its awful.

    Date and time
    January 11, 2013, 12:34PM
    • Best way to get attacking football and build tension as te game progresses is to allow 3 replacements but, once replaced, no return to the field. Helps with the salary cap, requires fitness as well as strength and lets the "little" blokes make breaks with sidesteps and swwerves (remember them?) at the back end of the game.

      Long Xuyen
      Viet Nam
      Date and time
      January 11, 2013, 1:27PM
      • When money (gambling) is involved, corruption will soon creep in. League needs an Integrity Commissioner/Steward Panel.

        JR Brand
        Date and time
        January 11, 2013, 1:53PM
        • Couldn't agree more about an integrity commisioner. Have we even heard the last of the Tandy affair? And that was for a betting option that LOST!
          As for the Golden Boot, it needs to be the best player in the world - NOT international RL. The obvious dilemma is the lack of games for Aus & NZ last year, but more so, the lack of games for minor nations. I can't wait for the superstar with dual eligibility choose the more minor nation to represent - because that's where his heart is. Like Jennings for Samoa (I think), of Hayne/Tuquiri for Fiji (I wish they had to choose at the start of their career which country they wanted to represent and stick with it becaue that would grow the international game.) With the limited number of games the minor's play, the award being limited to internationals only may serve to further dilute the international game. Make it best player in the world. And that should not be Barba - great year, but he couldn't even get a game for Qld when the positional incumbent got injured! Mind you, he was a poor omission - he should have played off the bench all three games in my opinion. Cam Smith's excellence is overlooked because its what we expect. He delivers. Easily best player last year.

          Date and time
          January 11, 2013, 3:43PM
          • It seems to me there is only an outcry and an investigation into a betting scandal if the financial loser is the bookmaker. If the financial loss is suffered by the mug punters no-one cares. Case in point would be the great odds offered against Canterbury Bulldogs losing another game in the 2012 season after their round 16 win over Melbourne Storm. In the lead up to their round 25 clash against Canberra it seemed common knowledge that Canterbury was going to lose that game. Sure bookies lost money on anyone betting on Canberra to win in that round but that was far outweighed by what they were carrying against Canterbury not losing the last 10 games of the season.
            Similarly the way the very ordinary 2011 Warriors team got such a charmed run to the 2011 finals especially against Melbourne while a Rugby Union world cup was being held in that market, Please, we're not that stupid.
            You bet the League needs an Integrity commissioner, the starting point is in the statistics and then the referees. What team consistently has the most of their tries referred to the video ref while their opponents have the least?

            Date and time
            January 11, 2013, 6:18PM
            • Regarding the trialling of the rule to give the attacking team the extra man from the scrum, whilst its an attempt to create attacking opportunities, which we like, surely this is the job of the players, not the law makers. If we look at other changes that law makers have brought in the last 100 years to increase attacking opportunities, the 10m rule, non contested scrums, 13 rather than 15 players etc, it still left an even playing field between the 2 teams. This is the first rule change that I can recall that has the objective of giving an unfair advantage to a particular side.

              Is this an admission that players can no longer create attacking opportunities other than running the ball and kicking to the corner? If this is the case, then its a sad indictment, especially given all the advantages the attacking team has (no stripping of the ball, no rucking at the play the ball, no pushing in scrums etc). But I am not sure what the fix is? Is one required, why can't we have a nice close defensive game and be happy?

              Bad Robot
              Date and time
              January 11, 2013, 11:54PM
              • Agreed. Some rule changes enhance the game, but this one would be too artificial, and would affect the game adversely in other ways.

                When lawmakers think they can artificially make the game more exciting, it usually doesn't work. Look at the "powerplay" in Cricket - does that make it more exciting - no! It just means everyone knows when the runs are going to be scored.

                Likewise, this rule would just mean that as soon as you get an attacking scrum in the opponents' quarter, everyone knows a try is coming.

                Date and time
                January 16, 2013, 10:36AM
            • You've missed my point on players having to leave the field if they stay down. If a player forces the clock to be stopped because they are unable (or unwilling) to get back to their feet then they would have to leave the field. That player would not be able to come back on the field until the next change in possession or a set period like 2 minutes. Call it a mandatory medical assessment. Whether the team plays down a player for that period or replaces him immediately is totally up to the team. But if they replace him it's not a free interchange, it's charged just like any other interchange. It's similar to a player being forced to the sideline for blood. The team can either play down a man until he is ready to come back or they can use an interchange to replace him. The onus is on the player not to force the game to be stopped unless they are genuinely unable to get up.

              Date and time
              January 12, 2013, 3:22AM
              • Steve

                While I don't necessarily agree with governments handing money to sporting bodies. I think here there is a real community benefit if they did so that NRL (or any other footy code) don't rely on or benefit from gambling.

                Nip this gambling scourge in the bud now.

                Date and time
                January 12, 2013, 11:47AM
                • the odd gamble here and there is a lot of fun and many people do it occaisionally and responsibly. however it does become a problem when as you say channel 9 are sticking tom waterhouse's odds up 3 times a game and being mentioned by the commmentators another couple. this is how american footy has been for years and years though and it's the way we are headed as a resulting combination of nrl,club and individual player's hunger for more money. tv rights, tickets and membership only get you so far.
                  i have more of a problem with an individual or team being sponsored by a gambling outfit - like centrebet - thats downright dodgy.

                  Date and time
                  January 13, 2013, 9:37AM

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                  NRL Season 2015

                  Round 1
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                  PAR 42 vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
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                  NEW 24 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
                  GCT 18 vs WST 19 Report Stats
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                  PEN 24 vs CBY 18 Report Stats
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                  STG 4 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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                  Round 2
                  Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  CBY 32 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
                  CRO 2 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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                  PEN 40 vs GCT Report Stats
                  MAN 24 vs MEL 22 Stats
                  NQL 14 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
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                  SOU 34 vs SYD 26 Stats
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                  Round 3
                  Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  MAN 12 vs CBY 16 Report Stats
                  BRI 44 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
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                  NZW 29 vs PAR 16 Report Stats
                  CBR 20 vs STG 22 Report Stats
                  MEL 36 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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                  SOU 20 vs WST 6 Report Stats
                  GCT 18 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
                  Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  SYD 20 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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                  Round 4
                  Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  PAR 29 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
                  WST 24 vs CBY 25 Report Stats
                  Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  NEW 26 vs PEN 14 Report Stats
                  CRO 22 vs GCT 24 Report Stats
                  STG 12 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
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                  NZW 16 vs BRI 24 Report Stats
                  SYD 34 vs CBR 6 Report Stats
                  Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
                  NQL 18 vs MEL 17 Stats
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                  Round 5
                  Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
                  CBY 17 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
                  GCT 16 vs BRI 26 Report Stats
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                  MAN 16 vs CBR 29 Report Stats
                  NEW vs STG 13 Report Stats
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                  PAR 6 vs WST 22 Report Stats
                  MEL 30 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
                  PEN 10 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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                  Round 6
                  Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
                  BRI 22 vs SYD 18 Report Stats
                  CRO 22 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
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                  PAR 16 vs GCT 38 Report Stats
                  NZW 32 vs WST 22 Report Stats
                  PEN 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
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                  CBR 10 vs MEL 14 Report Stats
                  STG 31 vs CBY 6 Report Stats
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                  Round 7
                  Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
                  CBY 28 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
                  STG 12 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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                  GCT 32 vs PEN 6 Report Stats
                  NQL 28 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
                  MEL 17 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
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                  WST 22 vs CBR 30 Report Stats
                  NEW 22 vs PAR 28 Report Stats
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                  CRO 18 vs SOU 10 Stats
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                  Round 8
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                  CBY 14 vs WST 38 Stats
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                  NZW 28 vs GCT 32 Report Stats
                  NEW 24 vs NQL 26 Report Stats
                  SYD 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
                  MEL 10 vs MAN 12 Stats
                  BRI 28 vs PAR 16 Stats
                  Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
                  PEN 26 vs CRO 18 Stats
                  SOU 22 vs CBR 30 Stats
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                  Round 9
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                  BRI 8 vs PEN 5 Report Stats
                  SYD 36 vs WST 4 Stats
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                  CBR 56 vs GCT 16 Stats
                  CRO 16 vs NZW 20 Stats
                  NQL 23 vs CBY 16 Stats
                  Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
                  MAN 30 vs NEW 10 Stats
                  PAR 10 vs MEL 28 Stats
                  Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
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                  Round 10
                  Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
                  CBY 10 vs SYD 24 Stats
                  NQL 31 vs BRI 20 Stats
                  Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
                  PAR 13 vs NZW 17 Report Stats
                  GCT 22 vs CRO 23 Report Stats
                  MEL 16 vs SOU 12 Stats
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                  STG 32 vs CBR 18 Report Stats
                  NEW 22 vs WST 12 Stats
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                  MAN 10 vs PEN 11 Stats
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                  Round 11
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                  SOU 14 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
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                  WST vs NQL 8 Stats
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                  CBR 34 vs CBY 41 Stats
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                  Round 12
                  Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
                  PEN vs PAR 19:45Pepper Stadium
                  Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
                  GCT vs SOU 15:00Cbus Super Stadium
                  CBR vs BRI 17:30GIO Stadium
                  NQL vs MAN 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
                  Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
                  NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
                  STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
                  Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
                  SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
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                  Round 13
                  Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
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                  NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
                  SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
                  PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
                  Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
                  CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
                  Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
                  CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
                  PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
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                  Round 14
                  Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
                  WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
                  Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
                  NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
                  Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
                  GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
                  Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
                  MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
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                  Round 15
                  Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
                  MAN vs WST 19:45BO
                  Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
                  CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
                  GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
                  CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
                  Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
                  NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
                  MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
                  Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
                  STG vs SYD 19:00AS
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                  Round 16
                  Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
                  BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
                  SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
                  Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
                  NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
                  NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
                  PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
                  Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
                  SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
                  WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
                  Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
                  CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
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                  Round 17
                  Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
                  PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
                  Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
                  STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
                  Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
                  MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
                  Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
                  WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
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                  Round 18
                  Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
                  CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
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                  PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
                  CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
                  Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
                  CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
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                  GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
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                  Round 19
                  Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
                  PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
                  MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
                  Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
                  CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
                  NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
                  STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
                  Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
                  SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
                  BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
                  Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
                  MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
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                  Round 20
                  Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
                  BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
                  WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
                  Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
                  SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
                  MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
                  Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
                  PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
                  CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
                  Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
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                  Round 21
                  Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
                  Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
                  NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
                  STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
                  SOU vs PEN 00:00ANZ
                  SYD vs CBY 00:00AS
                  MAN vs BRI 00:00TBA
                  WST vs MEL 00:00VAS
                  GCT vs PAR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
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                  Round 22
                  Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
                  NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
                  Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
                  BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
                  NEW vs SYD 00:00HS
                  CBR vs WST 00:00GIO Stadium
                  MAN vs SOU 00:00BO
                  CRO vs NQL 00:00Remondis Stadium
                  MEL vs GCT 00:00AAMI
                  PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
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                  Round 23
                  Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
                  BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
                  CBY vs GCT 00:00TBA
                  NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
                  PEN vs NZW 00:00Pepper Stadium
                  CBR vs MAN 00:00GIO Stadium
                  SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
                  CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
                  WST vs NEW 00:00CSS
                  View All Fixtures
                  Round 24
                  Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
                  NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
                  Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
                  STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
                  SOU vs CBY 00:00ANZ
                  SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
                  MAN vs PAR 00:00BO
                  CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
                  MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
                  GCT vs CBR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
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                  Round 25
                  Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
                  PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
                  NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
                  SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
                  CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
                  MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
                  MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
                  WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
                  GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
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                  Round 26
                  Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
                  BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
                  CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
                  NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
                  STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
                  PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
                  PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
                  SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
                  CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
                  View All Fixtures
                  NRL Ladder 2015
                  Overall standings
                  Team P W L D Pts
                  Melbourne Storm 10 7 3 0 16
                  Brisbane Broncos 11 8 3 0 16
                  St George-Illawarra Dragons 10 7 3 0 16
                  North Queensland Cowboys 11 8 3 0 16
                  Sydney Roosters 10 5 5 0 12
                  South Sydney Rabbitohs 11 6 5 0 12
                  Warriors 10 5 5 0 12
                  Penrith Panthers 10 5 5 0 12
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