Off-field distractions not hurting Rabbitohs says Damien Cook as club prepares for star pair's absence
Damien Cook has applauded Cody Walker's response to the blackmailing saga, and says the Rabbitohs are preparing for their star playmaker to potentially miss games once the season restarts next week. Footage was leaked through the media on Monday showing Walker kicking a man in the chest in a streetfight that allegedly took place in October last year. Reports of the incident first emerged when it was revealed Walker had reported it to police after he was blackmailed.
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The NRL has been crash testing a number of different innovations to fill the void left by crowd-less stadiums, with their latest creation being cardboard cutout fans.
The League has given fans the chance to purchase $22 cutouts of themselves, with Friday night's blockbuster between rivals the Roosters and Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium the first to feature the hilarious initiative.
It's just another way the NRL is aiming to bring fans closer to the game with limitations on crowds still in place, after artificial crowd noise was also debuted in the season re-opener between the Eels and Broncos.
NRL draw talking points: What you might have missed from the revised NRL draw
NRL draw talking points: What you might have missed from the revised NRL drawThe competition will be played out of six venues up until the end of round nine, when the NRL's stadium strategy will be revisited.
Pictures- The greatest moments in NRL history
From 1908 until 1994, Australia’s first rugby league competition was ran by New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL). However, the league along with other minor premiers were re-unified to form National Rugby League in 1998. A look at some of the most memorable moments over the years.
2015 - North Queensland Cowboys vs. Brisbane Broncos
In first NRL final that ended in a draw, North Queensland claimed victory over Brisbane 17-16 in golden point extra time. It was their first premiership title. The winning goal was scored by Johnathan Thurston (R), who was awarded the Clive Churchill medal.
'Show them up': V'landys goes to bat for Latrell
Peter V'landys has gone in to bat for Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell as a highly scrutinised six months looks set to climax in an anticipated clash with his old club.Mitchell endured a media storm through the off-season sparked by his highly publicised move to Redfern, a switch to fullback and vile racist attacks on social media.
(Pictured) Matthew Scott and Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys hold aloft the premiership trophy after winning the 2015 NRL Grand Final match.
2014 – South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Canterbury Bulldogs
Since 1971, Rabbitohs won their first ever title with the help of Sam Burgess’ (pictured) incredible performance that earned him the Clive Churchill Medal. The final score was 30-6.
2013 – Sydney Roosters vs. Manly Sea Eagles
With 18-8 lead, Manly had everything under control until the last 25 minutes when Roosters made a stunning comeback to win the final for the first time since 2002. Roosters secured 26-18 victory when Michael Jennings (pictured) broke through to ground James Maloney's grubber in the last few minutes of the game.
2012 – Melbourne Storm vs. Canterbury Bulldogs
In one of the most controversial moment in NRL history, Bulldogs’ James Graham (R) bit the ear of Storm’s Billy Slater (L), for which the former received a 12-match ban. Storm won the final 14-4.
NRL home grounds to be given green light from round 10
Only four clubs will play at their usual home grounds for the first seven weeks of the resumed season, but the rest aren't far off.The Herald has spoken to several clubs that are expecting to be able to play at their home grounds when League Central reveal the venues for the second half of the season in the coming weeks.
2008 – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs. Melbourne Storm
Team Manly thrashed their opponents by the biggest ever margin (40-0) in the game’s history. The highlight of the game was Michael Robertson’s (L) hat trick tries that made him the first player to score three tries since Steve Renouf in 1997. The final also saw Steven Menzies equal Terry Lamb's record of 349 first-grade games.
2005 – Wests Tigers vs. North Queensland Cowboys
It was the first ever grand final appearance for both the teams, where West Tigers’ won 30-16. Tigers’ Brett Hodgson displayed an incredible performance by scoring five goals.
2004 – Canterbury Bulldogs vs. Sydney Roosters
In the first half of the game, Bulldogs were trailing 13-6, but in the second half they quickly covered the lead with the help of Matt Utai and Hazem El Masri. During the last few minutes of the game, Bulldogs were leading 16-13, when Roosters’ Michael Crocker (pictured) made a break on the 40m line but was tackled by Bulldogs Captain Andrew Ryan. The Bulldogs win the final 16-13.
Roosters down Rabbitohs in front of cardboard cutout crowd
Roosters down Rabbitohs in front of cardboard cutout crowdThe third match after the resumption of the National Rugby League (NRL) saw action return to Sydney with the Roosters, champions for the last two seasons, taking on the Rabbitohs on neutral ground in Parramatta.
2003 – Penrith Panthers vs. Sydney Roosters
In the last game with Penrith, Scott Sattler made one of the greatest tackle in NRL history. It was a turning point of the game when Sattler chased down and made a tackle on the Roosters’ winger Todd Byrne (in white), sending him out of the field. Panthers won the game – 18-6.
2001 – Newcastle Knights vs. Parramatta Eels
Parramatta Eels were trailing 24-0 at high time and did everything to fight back but fell short. Knights won the final 30-24. The highlight of the match was Timana Tahu's (pictured) second-half try, where he got tangled up with Luke Burt before putting the ball down inside the chalk.
1999 – Melbourne Storm vs. St George Illawarra Dragons
At half-time Dragons were leading 14-0 and everyone thought the game was going to end in their favor. However, Storm made a stunning comeback when Anthony Mundine knocked on over the try line that proved to be a turning point in the game. Storm quickly covered up the lead to 18-14. In the 77th minute, Brett Kimmorley bombed to winger Craig Smith but before he could ground it, Dragons’ Jamie Ainscough knocked him unconscious. The video referee gave a penalty try to Storm, which was successfully converted. Storm won the game 20-18.
NRL 2020: Sam Burgess openly questions Wayne Bennett’s decision to switch South Sydney star’s position
Cameron Murray scored one of the Rabbitohs’ two tries in Friday’s loss to the Roosters but hasn’t had the same impact through three games in his new position.Burgess joined Bennett’s coaching staff this season following his shock call to retire at the end of the 2019 campaign due to a chronic shoulder injury.
1997 – Newcastle Knights vs. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Newcastle Knights’ Andrew Johns helped his team reach their first final against defending champions Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. Before the final game, there were concerns about Johns’ health as he had suffered a punctured lung, however, he went ahead and played the final. Both the teams were tied at 16-all and in the final moment of the game Johns ran down a narrow blind side and slipped a pass to winger Darren Albert who successfully scored, giving the Knights a 22-16 win over Manly.
1989 – Canberra Raiders vs. Balmain Tigers
In one of the greatest final, Canberra Raiders defeated Balmain Tigers 19-14. The final witnessed Canberra’s Steve Jackson come off the bench to score his memorable try that earned his team their first premiership.
1975 – Eastern Suburbs vs. St George
The 1975 final is best remembered for Graeme Langlands wearing white boots rather than the standard black. But the main highlight was his groin injury for which he was given a painkilling injection just before the game. Instead of reducing the pain it numbed his leg completely. Talking about the incident, he wrote in his book “Larrikin and Saint” – "It was an injection that went wrong. It wasn't the doctor's fault. The injection went in where the nerves shouldn't have been. They had moved because of all the injuries that I've had around the groin." Eastern Suburbs won 38-0.
Harry Grant ready to make the most of his long-awaited Wests Tigers opportunity
Harry Grant ready to make the most of his long-awaited Wests Tigers opportunityThe loan-swap deal between himself and the Wests Tigers' Paul Momirovski took months to get off the ground.
(Pictured) Graeme Langlands talks to media during an NRL press conference at Sydney Cricket Ground on April 1, 2014.
1970 – South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
In the 1970 final between South Sydney Rabbitohs and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, South’s captain John Sattler turned out to be a star player. In the opening moments of the game, Sattler suffered a double fracture of his jaw after being punched by Manly’s John Bucknall. However, he decided to continue playing and said to his teammate Mike Cleary, "Hold me up so they don't know I'm hurt." South Sydney won the final 23-12.
(Pictured) John Sattler talks to the media during a NRL Grand Final media opportunity at Rugby League Central in Sydney on Oct. 3, 2014.
The crowd noise which featured on top of Fox League and Channel Nine's broadcast gained the thumbs up from footy fans, and it appears the response cardboard fan idea has been equally positive.
The NRL will be played out of six venues until at least round nine, with each fans' cut out to be placed inside their respective team's home ground.
The cardboard cutout initiative can be expected to be rolled out across all venues over the rest of the weekend and in coming weeks.
Fans won't be able to enter the gates for the foreseeable future under the nation-wide social distancing measures still in place. Although, ARLC chairman has ambitiously earmarked capped crowds being introduced to games from July 1st.
While the NRL faces a major financial challenge with no crowds, the game's return from coronavirus stand down was met by record-breaking TV ratings for the Eels' 34-6 win over Brisbane on Thursday.
Penrith Panthers allow Newcastle Knights' families into ground to celebrate debuts .
Despite the strict COVID-19 protocols in place for the NRL season return, the families of three Newcastle Knights debutants were allowed into Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In line with government regulations, each NRL game in New South Wales is allowed to have 10 'outsiders' to spectate from a boxed area away from the ground.And while Sunday was a Penrith Panthers home game, they were generous enough to allow the families of young fullback Tex Hoy, as well asChris Randall and Brodie Jones, to come to the game.Fantastic.