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Terry Campese tells Raiders straight

Set of Six

Expert help: Daniel Tupou will be well prepared for Wednesday thanks to AFL star Tadhg Kennelly.

Expert help: Daniel Tupou will be well prepared for Wednesday thanks to AFL star Tadhg Kennelly. Photo: Getty Images

1. Unhappy Campo

Canberra captain Terry Campese gathered his teammates in a circle after flogging the Cowboys and told them they had nothing to celebrate at the end of a poor month. Next year is likely to be Campese’s last at the club; he and prop David Shillington are likely to be much in demand in Super League. The Raiders are auctioning all their yellow jerseys from Sunday’s win — except one.

Exciting debutant Mitch Cornish has been told he can keep his No.14 shirt and an extra one has been printed for the promotion, which raises money for cancer research at allbids.com.au. And the club has decided against appealing Ricky Stuart’s $10,000 fine for ‘‘excessive’’ criticism of referees. Officials believe that if Stuart had not said ‘‘shit’’, he would not have copped the sanction.

No nonsense: Terry Campese.

No nonsense: Terry Campese. Photo: Getty Images

2. Raiders think big

The big win over a depleted North Queensland won’t prevent the Canberra Raiders from attempting to live up to their nickname in the coming weeks. Chief executive Don Furner said he hoped to meet Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis this week and progress talks with Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco and Penrith winger Josh Mansour. He also expects an answer from Melbourne back-rower Kevin Proctor.

‘‘We’re more active than we have been,’’ he conceded. The Storm were always confident of keeping Proctor if they lost Ryan Hoffman, which has happened. Penrith’s Phil Gould  repeatedly said in TV commentary on Sunday that Cowboys winger Curtis Rona had ‘‘signed elsewhere’’. That club is Canterbury, not Canberra, who had been pursuing him.

3. Blocking Bird

It’s hard to believe anyone seriously thought Greg Bird should have been NSW’s 18th man in Origin I. Bird was a certain NSW selection and as such would not have been available to play for Gold Coast against the Warriors on Saturday night. So how can he count against his suspension a game he would not have played in? It’s OK to say a player or coach ‘‘would never’’ feign an injury to get someone into the team who served his suspension the previous weekend.

Who would have thought a bloke would be kicked out of a World Cup side to make way for a star who changed his mind? The Blues were entitled to try it on but the NRL had to block the Bird move. You can’t write rules expecting goodwill. If you do, you’ll be let down eventually.

4. Higher hurdle

Tedesco won the Anthony Minichiello Medal as players’ player, and Queensland Origin debutant Aiden Guerra man of the tournament, at the recent Italian Rugby League presentation. But recent International Federation decisions will make it difficult for the successes of Italy and the US in 2013 to be repeated at the 2017 tournament in Australia.

Both have been told they are out of the World Cup unless they become full members of the RLIF, which would mean sorting out their domestic squabbles and meeting a host of criteria. And qualifiers are to be held mid-year, deliberately excluding NRL and Super League players. Officials want the strongest league countries at the World Cup, not those that sent the most immigrants to Australia 50 years ago. We agree.

5. Tupou gets help

Will flying wingman Daniel Tupou be as effective chasing the kicks of unfamiliar halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson on Wednesday? Tupou has played all his first grade with Sydney Roosters and has had great success leaping after kicks launched by ousted Blues James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce. ‘‘I’ve been talking to Trent and Josh and they’ve been giving me advice on when [they’ll] kick and what’s going on,’’ Tupou told Set Of Six in Coffs Harbour.

‘‘That’s definitely helped.’’ But if Tupou stars on Wednesday, he’ll have an Irishman and the AFL to thank. The 22-year-old says kicking and catching practice with Tadhg Kennelly at the Roosters has been invaluable. Tupou says he expects the  crowd to ‘‘call us names we don’t like’’.

6. Rubbery numbers

Last Monday’s item about the  Brisbane Broncos posting two ‘‘attendance’’ figures — tickets sold and the number who actually showed up — raised eyebrows at other NRL clubs and venues. If the NRL is going to benchmark clubs and fund them accordingly, with crowds one criteria, it makes no sense to let them conjure up whatever figure they choose.

Some venues are already worried about getting caught up in what could  be called fraud and have made overtures to discuss the issue directly with the league. This places the NRL in an interesting position: does it even care if people show up, as long as the money is in the bank?

6 comments so far

  • World cup qualifiers should be held at the end of season, so the best English Super League/NRL players can play. Like the 4 nations is held end of year. RL is lucky is basically has a global rugby league season unlike rugby union. RU has no global rugby season, with the premiers comps aligned at same time of year. Be better for both US/Italy, and other emerging nations, if the RLIF scheduled matches at end of the English super league/NRL season, to get best players.

    Commenter
    Joshua
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 26, 2014, 12:04AM
    • Good point about the crowds, there needs to be a uniform independent way of crowd counting. There are too many fanciful numbers broadcast at the moment

      Commenter
      Peeko
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 2:00AM
      • well... I bought four tickets to the AUS-NZ match last month and the kids were sick so I went by myself... looking at the crowd there and what was reported I reckon its not just the clubs that report whatever numbers work best for them...

        Commenter
        interested observer
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        May 27, 2014, 10:33AM
    • It is no surprise that the Broncos figures are rubbery. Most well-placed business people in Brisbane know that there are always plenty of Broncos tickets to be given away. I was once offered 400.

      Commenter
      Brisraider
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 10:16AM
      • What about the crowds at some of those AFL games I was watching on free to air television over the weekend. I might fly to Adelaide to catch a game it looked that exciting. I have not really enjoyed AFL in the past but I get to watch so much of it these days it is really growing on me.

        Commenter
        Haggis
        Location
        North of sydney
        Date and time
        May 26, 2014, 1:09PM
        • Origin 2002 - QLD Loti Tuqiri- Queensland selectors named one winger as TBA (To Be Announced). Although he wouldn't have been eligible to play for them if he'd been in the Origin side, the Broncos named Tuqiri. He sat out the club match and his name appeared on the Maroons team sheet.

          Commenter
          G-Man
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          May 26, 2014, 9:08PM

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