How 'control freaks' had their power taken
The most meticulous planners in the NRL have had their power taken, leaving us with the most even competition in years.I've heard plenty of pundits suggest there should be an asterisk next to the 2020 premiers, but I have no doubt whoever lifts the Provan-Summons Trophy on Grand Final day will describe it as the greatest challenge they've ever faced in the NRL.
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They are one of just two unbeaten teams and considered genuine premiership contenders in 2020 – but Phil Gould believes the Parramatta Eels could face a major reality check against a ‘roughhouse’ Manly side on Saturday night.
After scraping past Canterbury 8-2 in Round 1, Brad Arthur’s men belted Gold Coast 46-6 and made another statement with a 34-6 romp over Brisbane in the season relaunch last Thursday.
The Eels’ won their first three games in their previous three premiership-winning seasons in the 1980s and the inevitable talk of a first title in 34 years has already begun.
'They're not the side they were': Gould
Phil Gould believes the Melbourne Storm have been on an "incremental decline over the years".Coming off a comprehensive 22-6 loss at home to the Canberra Raiders on Saturday night, the Storm were "completely outplayed" by a Green Machine fine tuned by the experienced hand of Ricky Stuart.
But two-time premiership-winning coach Gould has openly questioned the Eels’ credentials ahead of their Round 4 grudge match against Des Hasler’s men.
“This is a game that might tell us whether Parramatta are serious or not,” Gould told The Six Tackles with Gus podcast on Wide World of Sports.
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.
How NRL market allows for big-money busts
Phil Gould has taken aim the systematic problems that have allowed player managers to dominate the NRL market.The instances of highly paid players failing to live up to their contracts only seems to be increasing as the league secures rich broadcast deals amid a 24/7 media cycle.
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.
(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.
Phil Gould believes million-dollar players must contribute to a '60-70% win ratio'
Million-dollar contracts are fairly common in the current NRL landscape - but when you are earning the big bucks, you have to come up with the big plays.Players like Daly Cherry-Evans, James Tedesco and Jason Taumalolo are all on reported seven-figure salaries for their respective clubs.
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.
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.
Parramatta astonishing start sets new record
It's one of the reasons they're amongst the premiership favourites, and the Eels have done something not seen for more than 30 years.The Eels have conceded just 14 points in three games, a feat that has seen them installed as one of the favourites to win the NRL title.
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.
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.
Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic labels Parramatta the NRL's 'benchmark' as old rivals prepare to lock horns
Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic has welcomed the challenge his side faces in the hot Parramatta Eels, declaring them the 'benchmark' team of the competition.It's shaping up to be one of the games of the round, with the 3-0 Eels flying atop the NRL ladder after last week's emphatic win over Brisbane and the Sea Eagles not too far behind after Sunday's 32-6 drubbing of the Bulldogs.
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.
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.
Gus' grave concern for fate of Broncos franchise
Phil Gould has expressed "real concern" over the development of the Broncos franchise following the club's historic loss to the Roosters.The decorated club were embarrassed by the back-to-back NRL premiers at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night, a performance that has since invited a torrent of criticism to come crashing down on Red Hill.
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.
(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.
“If Parramatta have got their heads in the clouds because they’ve had these wins, played a bit of good footy and scored some tries, they are not going to get that latitude against Manly.
“This is going to be an in-your-face-type experience for them and it will be very interesting to see how Parramatta deal with this.
“Now if you remember at the back end of last year they won their semi-final (against the Broncos) 58-0 and went down to Melbourne the next week and got beat 32-0.
“And that’s Parramatta, that’s where they were last year – when things are going good they can tear you apart but when you stand up to them and you don’t get the space they want and with your attack you’re actually attacking them … and Manly won’t be backward in that regard.”
The sixth-placed Sea Eagles are coming off a 32-6 thumping of lowly Canterbury and are themselves expected to play finals football this season.
“I’m going to tip Manly, I just think there’s a little bit of roughhouse about them that I’m yet to see from Parramatta,” Gould added.
“… Addin Fonua-Blake, Martin Tapau, Joel Thompson, Curtis Sironen, Jake Trbojevic – these fellas have got blood in their nostrils and they’re not going over there to watch Parramatta play fancy – let me tell you.
“.. This is a roughhouse mob, they’re not going to take any prisoners, look, there’ll be fur everywhere.
“Parramatta Eels, I’m putting you on notice, Manly is coming to get you. They’re going to be right in your face.
“Now, Parramatta might just go zing, zing, zing, run around them and lead 20-0 … but if Parramatta think they’re going to finesse their way through this one they are in for a rude shock.”
Gus unleashes on NRL referees' biggest problem .
League great Phil Gould has unloaded on NRL referees for focusing too much on tries that could be disallowed on the margins.Gould's comments came after a controversial play late in Manly's defeat against Parramatta, where a last-minute Sea Eagles try was disallowed due to a pass from Trbojevic being ruled forward prior to Rueben Garrick crossing the try line.