It is easy to understand why Brisbane cannot stand the sight of Melbourne, who have used their blueprint for success to whip them at nearly every corner
Amazingly, it has been 11 years since the Brisbane Broncos have tasted premiership success. For a powerhouse club that tasted triumph so early and so often, it has been a lifetime.
The famous 15-8 win over the Melbourne Storm in the 2006 grand final won’t top any lists of greatest title deciders but it does mark the point where the great Broncos wave that swept over rugby league in the 1990s and early 2000s began to recede.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/22/storm-v-broncos-a-one-sided-rivalry-forged-in-fire-of-2006-nrl-grand-final
For all his shortcomings, in the end it was the coach’s inability to recognise Canterbury’s history or value the importance of culture that undid him
He arrived in 2011 hot off a premiership win at Manly and hailed as a white knight but six years later Des Hasler leaves Belmore as one of the most unpopular figures in club history.
After dillying and dallying for a year – even extending his contract for two seasons just five months back – the Bulldogs finally moved on Hasler, axing him on Tuesday night.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/20/not-even-des-haslers-successes-at-bulldogs-insulated-him-from-his-failings
It is hard to grasp where it all went wrong for the Rabbitohs coach just three years after orchestrating one of the club’s defining moments
On a chilly October evening less than three years ago, Michael Maguire led South Sydney to their drought-breaking 21st premiership after an agonising wait of 43 years that saw the club mired in mediocrity, devastated financially and thrown out of the league.
To all at Redfern, Maguire was a hero, the architect behind the title win most thought would never happen. He galvanised a fanbase behind a team that played hard-nosed aggressive football, the kind of rugby league Souths diehards not only love but breathe.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/07/from-nrl-premiership-to-souths-exit-door-the-downfall-of-michael-maguire
The acrimony on the Gold Coast is about team culture and the roles of stars in it. It is a battle neither the coach nor the player will winIf a single word was to define the 2017 rugby league season, it is the term culture. It permeated the State of Or…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/15/clash-of-the-titans-jarryd-hayne-and-neil-henry-on-collision-course-from-outset
As long as there have been referees, there have been complaints about them but it is apparent the head official no longer controls on-field action
To label the standard of current NRL refereeing a crisis would be to undersell through cliché just how damaging poor officiating has been to rugby league – the standard at which officials are operating is having a more negative impact than nearly anything else in the sport.
Getting universal agreement on any matter in rugby league is about as likely as spotting the Loch Ness monster in Sydney Harbour but almost to a man there was agreement that Sia Soliola should have been sent off for his tackle that was both late and high, and left Billy Slater splayed motionless on the Canberra Stadium turf.
Referees today are crippled by a combination of fear of creating imbalance and a misguided sense of superiority
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/25/losing-control-outrage-at-non-send-off-highlights-core-problem-with-nrl-referees
Having dominated the first three halves of football in the series, Laurie Daley’s Blues showed that NSW still doesn’t quite ‘get’ State of Origin
Once again, New South Wales have nobody to blame for a State of Origin series defeat but themselves. This loss is on Laurie Daley. It is on Mitchell Pearce. It is on the powerbrokers who continually make excuses and refuse to enact cultural change, continually accept conservative decision-making, and who are clearly more scared of losing than they are desperate for victory.
If the 2017 Origin series was played on paper, New South Wales would have lifted the State of Origin shield. But the game is played along the lines of other intangibles: psychology, aptitude, camaraderie, leadership. In that sense, a Queensland team that seemed inferior when you looked at the team sheets bore the Blues down in game two before blitzing them in the decider.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/13/nsw-have-nobody-to-blame-but-themselves-for-state-of-origin-pain
In the long history of the game, it is hard to think of a single match in which both coaches’ positions have been so precarious
It is being called the biggest game in rugby league history, such is the hyperbole that surrounds all things State of Origin. Those claims lack historical perspective, but there is absolutely no doubt that Wednesday’s decider at Suncorp Stadium is an affair of immense proportion.
The stakes are breathtakingly high. And the two with the most chips in the middle are opposing coaches Laurie Daley and Kevin Walters. Fair or not, the losing mentor is almost certain to lose their job for the 2018 series. This is all-in, heads-up, no limit hold ‘em. The players are standing. The cards have been flipped. The flop is down. The turn has been shown. It all swings on the river.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/11/coaches-head-into-zero-sum-state-of-origin-decider-with-all-on-the-line
The Maroons have always thrived on an ‘us against the world’ mentality but it is rare that they have so pointedly ignored one of their own
By snubbing Daly Cherry-Evans in favour of Ben Hunt as Johnathan Thurston’s replacement for the Origin decider, Queensland selectors have ignored both form and class.
Cherry-Evans leads the NRL in try assists this season and has been the form half of the premiership over the last month but was ignored in favour of Brisbane half Hunt, who was dropped to Ipswich and only returned to the Broncos’ starting side in the 42-12 loss to the Storm last Friday. The Broncos are 3-6 this season with Hunt as a starter and 7-0 without him in the No7.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/03/daly-cherry-evans-state-of-origin-snub-raises-questions-in-queensland-camp
A generational talent, Johnathan Thurston leaves representative arena having achieved it all | Nick Tedeschi
He won’t get the fairytale Origin farewell but it will matter little because his entire career has been one never-ending story of success, joy and triumph
The Origin career of one of Queensland’s true greats has come to a sad and unfulfilling end, Johnathan Thurston ruled out for the remainder of the 2017 season at a run-of-the-mill press conference in Townsville.
It is a cruel and bitter blow for the most durable player in State of Origin history, a player who defied size and the years to play an incredible 36 consecutive matches in the Maroon. A rotator cuff injury sustained in State of Origin II requires immediate surgery and a six-month recovery.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/24/a-generational-talent-johnathan-thurston-leaves-representative-arena-having-achieved-it-all
- New South Wales Blues 16-18 Queensland Maroons
- Johnathan Thurston boots Maroons to Game II win at ANZ Stadium
Never count out a champion. Like an ageing heavyweight fighting on spit and experience, Queensland willed themselves to an unlikely 18-16 win over New South Wales in Game II of the State of Origin series.
In a match New South Wales dominated – and then murdered – a 78th minute try to winger Dane Gagai followed by a piercing sideline conversion to Johnathan Thurston proved the difference.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/21/queensland-keep-state-of-origin-hopes-alive-with-thrilling-late-win-over-nsw
In a defining match in State of Origin history, NSW ripped out Queensland’s heart and showed it to them at Suncorp Stadium. But the series is not over yet
You can never write off a champion but for all intents and purposes, the long and brilliant Queensland dynasty is dead after New South Wales slayed the Maroons at Suncorp, a 28-4 defeat that is Queensland’s worst in over a decade. In nearly every facet of the game, the Blues dominated.
The match was a defining one in State of Origin history, the game the Blues blasted the Maroons with some almighty roundhouses and took the ascendancy back. It will be a few years at the very least before Queensland gets it back.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/01/a-new-generation-of-blues-come-of-age-in-fast-and-furious-win-over-maroons
Mitchell Pearce given another chance as Billy Slater’s Origin career hits end of road | Nick Tedeschi
The Rooster’s inclusion in the Blues’ team for this year’s Origin opener will divide opinion as much as the omission of Slater leaves a state in shock
Mitchell Pearce has been recalled by NSW coach Laurie Daley on the same day Billy Slater’s long and storied career with Queensland appears to have been ended by Queensland mentor Kevin Walters.
Pearce, channelling the cockroach name the NSW side has colloquially became known as, was thought to have had a black line ruled through his name after his infamous pre-season scandal last year but has been given yet another lifeline by a Blues coach smitten with his club form.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/23/mitchell-pearce-given-another-chance-as-billy-slaters-origin-career-hits-end-of-road