Matt Cleary

Author's posts

Rugby league: Australia looked like they were enjoying the off-season, but Kiwi were pumped

Mt Smart stadium was poorly attended for the men’s and women’s Tests, but the games were intriguing encountersThe month of October is something of an otherworld for Australian sport. The AFL and NRL are in hiatus, cricket is not yet in full flow, and r…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/oct/15/rugby-league-australia-looked-like-they-were-enjoying-the-off-season-but-kiwi-were-pumped

The story of the one-armed man who won an NRL grand final

Trent Robinson’s halves masterstroke: one doesn’t run, one plays as two, one guards vigilantBefore the grand final Cooper Cronk told rugby league fans, in his inimitable Cooper Cronk way, that only “God or science” would decide whether he was fit enoug…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/oct/01/the-story-of-the-one-armed-man-who-won-an-nrl-grand-final

NRL grand final: how the Storm or Roosters will win or lose it

With both sides chock full of match-winners, defensive discipline and virtuoso brilliance will tussle for supremacyDefence wins premierships, they say, and Sunday night’s grand finalists are the NRL’s best defenders.Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/30/nrl-grand-final-how-the-storm-or-roosters-will-win-or-lose-it

NRL grand final: if the gods are kind, Cronk and Slater play. But that’s the stuff of fairytales

Billy Slater is out of contention for Melbourne Storm unless the judiciary overturns a charge, Cooper Cronk of the Roosters could be out injuredTwo preliminary finals turned out two significant storylines after Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters despa…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/24/nrl-grand-final-if-the-gods-are-kind-cronk-and-slater-play-but-thats-the-stuff-of-fairytales

NRL grand final: if the gods are kind, Cronk and Slater play. But that’s the stuff of fairytales

Billy Slater is out of contention for Melbourne Storm unless the judiciary overturns a charge, Cooper Cronk of the Roosters could be out injuredTwo preliminary finals turned out two significant storylines after Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters despa…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/24/nrl-grand-final-if-the-gods-are-kind-cronk-and-slater-play-but-thats-the-stuff-of-fairytales

NRL’s immense physicality means favourites firm because they had a break

By kick-off in the preliminary finals this weekend, Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters will have been fine-tuned for a fortnightFour-time AFL premiership-winning coach Alistair Clarkson has a saying when it comes to dealing with injury: “Lose a soldie…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/17/nrls-immense-physicality-means-favourites-firm-because-they-had-a-break

Cameron Smith again the circuit-breaker for brutal, beautiful Storm | Matt Cleary

Cameron Munster grabbed the headlines against the Rabbitohs but Smith’s simple execution from dummy half was the keyIt was a simple play, something Cameron Smith has ripped off tens of thousands of times. Yet in execution, aesthetic and, crucially, con…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/10/cameron-smith-again-the-circuit-breaker-for-brutal-beautiful-storm

Nigh on impossible to pick a premiership winner as NRL finals fire up | Matt Cleary

There are no clear frontrunners with the final eight rumbling in at various levels of efficacyAnd then there were eight. Or seven if you write off St George, which you’d have to suggest you do. You could even call it six if you don’t fancy the Warriors…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/06/nigh-on-impossible-to-pick-a-premiership-winner-as-nrl-finals-fire-up

Momentum key heading into NRL finals after topsy-turvy last four rounds | Matt Cleary

The bottom eight are playing with stability and confidence while the top eight – with notable exceptions – are limping onOutside of unlikely and ultimately doomed fairy-tale finishes by Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders, the NRL’s top eight has been se…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/27/momentum-key-heading-into-nrl-finals-after-topsy-turvy-last-four-rounds

Melbourne Storm are a dynastic NRL club but Cronulla have no fear | Matt Cleary

The weekend’s game between these two heavyweights may well be a grand final previewThe 1992-93 Brisbane Broncos were the last first grade side to win back-to-back premierships. Allan Langer, Glenn Lazarus and Steve Renouf were among the best of their k…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/13/melbourne-storm-are-a-dynastic-nrl-club-but-cronulla-have-no-fear

Jarrod Lyle: the man who had a way with people and was still thinking of others at the end | Matt Cleary

It was impossible not to like the Australian golfer with the beautiful swing and a big heartJohn Daly needed cheering up. It was a Monday morning after a particularly bad missed cut and he was alone on a practice green before a pro-am at Woodlands Golf…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/09/jarrod-lyle-the-man-who-had-a-way-with-people-and-was-still-thinking-of-others-at-the-end

Future of NRL refereeing at stake as Matt Cecchin set to depart

With his revelation of death threats, fans may finally change the way they relate to officialsAt the peak of David Beckham mania in the 2002 Fifa World Cup, when sales of “Becks’ haircuts” were at an all-time high, ten-year-old Tom Sylvester decided to…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/06/future-of-nrl-refereeing-at-stake-as-matt-cecchin-set-to-depart

Referees reach tipping point after revelations about death threats | Matt Cleary

The abuse NRL official Matt Cecchin endured sheds light on a dangerous state of affairsThere are few jobs in the world in which grown men will scream obscenities in your face. Few work places feature missiles being hurled at you as you leave it. Few jo…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/04/referees-reach-tipping-point-after-revelations-about-death-threats

NRL’s proposed New York rugby league Test match is likely to fail | Matt Cleary

International exposure won’t guarantee uptake on US soil – nor will the NRL pay for itNews that the proposed rugby league Test match in New York between Australia and Tonga has run into a hurdle (the up-front costs were explained to the promoter) begs …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jul/30/nrls-proposed-new-york-rugby-league-test-match-is-likely-to-fail

TV refereeing is ruining rugby league – all in the pursuit of perfection | Matt Cleary

After last week’s Cronulla/Canberra Raiders debacle it is clear that TV angles may mean less ‘errors’, but they hurt the game by slowing it downUnlike Australian rules football which is an aerial, 360-degree affair with more in common with Quidditch, r…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jul/23/pursuit-of-nrl-adjudicating-perfection-damages-rugby-league

Cartoon hate of State of Origin demands commitment and confrontation | Matt Cleary

The series may have been decided already but there is no such thing as a dead rubber in Origin footballFor a variety of reasons the concept of friendlies to the majority of Australian sports folk is a foreign one. Be it the dearth of international foot…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jul/11/cartoon-hate-of-state-of-origin-demands-commitment-and-confrontation