Set of Six
Concern: Liam Fulton has been treated for concussion several times this season.
1. Tigers fuming
Wests Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer has taken the extraordinary step of phoning the NRL’s head of football, Todd Greenberg, after a game to complain about a rival player, Newcastle prop David Fa’alogo. Mayer believes Fa’alogo attacked the head of Tigers second-rower Liam Fulton, who has a history of concussion.
‘‘It’s this guy’s fourth concussion this year and obviously it’s a concern for the club,’’ Mayer said on Sunday. ‘‘We’ve looked at the tape and we believe there is something for the NRL to look at. We’ve said all year we take this sort of thing very seriously. We’d like to think the NRL will have a look tomorrow and the appropriate action is taken.’’ Still at Hunter Stadium, Wests Tigers winger Pat Richards said of his amazing deadlock-breaking field goal from near the sideline: ‘‘I actually didn’t strike it very well ... I shanked it.’’
2. Walker hobbled
South Sydney's NSW Origin hopeful Dylan Walker may have played 30 minutes of Saturday night's 34-18 win over the Warriors with a broken thumb. Afrer the Rabbitohs lost Greg Inglis to a suspected syndesmosis of the ankle and Bryson Goodwin to an elbow problem, Walker took it upon himself to stay out on nib Stadium. He is likely to be sidelined for several weeks, discounting him from Origin II.
While Inglis is keeping a brave face there aren't many people who were in the Souths sheds on Saturday who believe he will be fit for the ANZ Stadium clash on Wednesday week. If scans indicate the ankle needs pinning, he's looking at months on the sidelines rather than weeks. Nevermind Queensland, South Sydney's entire campaign could be seriously endangered.
3. Welcome competition
Penrith's in-form hooker James Segeyaro could have been forgiven for being a little snarky at the club's signing of South Sydney's Apisai Koroisau. Turns out, he's nothing of the sort. "I love watching Api play," he said in the wake of Saturday night's 36-14 win over Gold Coast.
"He's going to be one of the superstars of the future. He's very footy smart. It's going to be good for him to come to the club. I can't wait for him to come and us to have a combination. In saying that, we've got a good young bloke in Kierran Moseley." Having said all that, 'Chicko' also offered: "All the great hookers play 80 minutes and it's something I've always wanted to do."
4. Method to madness
As usual, rugby league's lack of corporate memory is leading it back to old ground. The reason we allow players to renege on contracts until round 13 is because we decided it was bad for the sport to have players signing for rival clubs months and even years in advance, and in some cases being paraded in enemy colours at media conferences.
We also accepted the anti-tampering rule could not be policed. Every time there's a James Tedesco, it deters clubs from raiding (no pun intended) each other too early. The rule is doing exactly what it was intended to do.
5. Money talks
You may have some idea of how television money keeps Origin on Wednesday nights. But there's also considerable money invested in keeping the matches three weeks apart. The break was reputedly conceived by a former NRL media staffer to maximise exposure, merchandise sales and sponsorship income. If the Origin series is condensed, as some are suggesting, the asking price for sponsorship of the series and of teams would drop dramatically.
The QRL – in particular – would lose out on considerable merchandise sales and for that reason would probably oppose playing interstate matches on three consecutive weeks. That's not to say the changes should not happen. At some point the game needs to make some tough decisions with the future in mind, even if there is a considerable financial hit as a result.
6. Brookie bog
It's hard to comprehend why Friday night's under-20s match at Brookvale Oval wasn't postponed. Despite a full day of rain, the surface wasn't too bad at the start of the Holden Cup game; by full-time it was just short of being a quagmire. The lower grade match was not televised and could surely have been rescheduled to protect the quality of a spectacle that was to be shown on national television. Still on the game, won 32-10 by Manly, Canterbury coach Des Hasler offered an interesting reply when it was put to him at the post-match media conference that his side had won seven in a row and then lost two on the trot. "Good maths," said Hasler, who then added as he left the room that two wins followed by seven losses would be more of a concern.