Down Under Blog: #56 Bad Timing

Pommy Rich gives us all the mis-dealing's in the NRL in his world famous Down Under Blog.

I’m not naturally a lucky bloke, and most of my lack of luck stems from my appalling sense of timing.

In my youth I was a massive fan of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, as a lot of kids my age were – I could quote “Big Night Out” lines word for word for years. One day, I walked into the Empress pub and a mate of mine behind the bar said to me, “oh those blokes you like were just in here”, “who?” “oh that Vic and Bob, I told them you loved them and they hung around for a bit to see if you came in, but they had a train to catch!” See, no timing. I once missed out on meeting Belinda Carlisle by 5 minutes too, that meeting could’ve changed lives (mine, not hers I’m sure).

You might be wondering where this is heading in a Rugby League blog for mint’s sake, well, last week’s blog was further evidence of my terrible timing. Writing this blog is something I really enjoy, I’ve usually got something I want to say, sit down at the computer and this stream of consciousness stuff just comes out, it’s enjoyable, and I get a kick out of knowing you lot read it. Last week I decided to have a bit of a rant about mid-season signings.

My aim was to talk about the Bulldogs over here and them needing to get rid of players quickly due to them being hugely over the salary cap thanks to the mismanagement of their previous board and coaching team. Then I got side-tracked by Westy and Harris having hit the ground running since they came aboard recently (of course, my timing strikes again with Westerman now out injured).

The bulk of my blog instead became about who Rovers might sign for their relegation battle, and I mused over Chris Sandow’s availability and comedy value if they signed him.

I spellchecked, saved and emailed it off to our esteemed editor Dan, and went to bed happy. The next morning my plans for a quiet morning ignoring Twitter and going to work were ruined by our Red and White neighbours. Ruined? They literally Rect-um! Boom tish!

Rectum of Wigan

My hours slaving over a blog about mid-season signings was completely usurped by the funniest mid-season signing since Bobby Bubbles.

Karma is great isn’t it? After all the crap they gave us over “Nuggetgate”, their holier than thou attitude has now been exposed for what we always knew it was – a total smokescreen of fabricated outrage. To be fair though, a few of their keyboard warriors have been quite outspoken in their distaste for the Joel Tomkins signing, and of course the inevitable discussions have started as to whether what the Rectum did was worse or on a par with what Kelly did. So not one to shirk from a comparison here goes…..

Kelly’s incident was a bad look. Terrible in fact. He was leglessly drunk, verbally abusive and worst of all had just signed a new contract leaving Hull with a PR nightmare as the rumours that Kelly had signed were rife around the City and the wider RL world. There was a bit of conjecture that Kelly had been provoked as the video seemed to start halfway through an exchange, which gives Kelly a slight benefit of the doubt. Still a bad look though. In the end we announced his resigning after little time had elapsed, at a home game where the footage of the crowd acclaiming him, acted as a great antidote to any negative publicity he’d had. Nice work Marketing dept, earned your wages there.

Tomkins on the other hand was more then verbally abusive, he was disgusting. I’ve worked in the alcohol industry for all but the last 4 years of my working life, and I can honestly say that if I had a large, intimidating drunk walk behind my bar and physically loom over my female staff, I’d be calling the police and getting him charged with trespass. Although he never quite got to the stage of physically violent (and in fact he was almost pulled off his feet by one of the young girls), his indiscretions on the “shit-scale” of Rugby League player misbehaviour rank a hell of a lot higher than ordering McNuggets whilst questioning a young girl’s sexual morals.

Timing is also the subject of an interesting development over here at the Bulldogs. To ensure they stayed under the cap over the last few seasons they “backended” a lot of contracts. This is where the majority of the pay comes in the last one or two years of the contract, and is seen by players as a nice way to plan for the future. At the end of last season when Des Hasler went, they also got rid of the old board and elected a new one. The stuff the new team found was incredible, and if unchecked would leave them with 12 players off contract at the end of this season and still at the full cap for next year. That level of financial mismanagement is criminal, and so as I discussed last week the Doggies need to offload contracted players, and quick. So, Mbye and Woods are looking like they are out (both possibly this week) and here’s where the timing question comes in.


One of the big-name signings to arrive at Belmore this year was Kieran Foran. He’s injury prone to say the least and had missed a lot of his last season at the Warriors, however when they signed him, they assured everyone that he was fit and had passed medicals. Now the club have approached the NRL and asked if they can have the player medically retired (and paid out from NRL funds) as he’s got a neck and shoulder injury. The issue is when the injury occurred and when the club knew about this injury. If he was signed with it, then the NRL can’t pay him out on medical terms and the Bulldogs (as they signed him without due diligence) will be liable for his wages for the length of his 4-year contract, tying up the cap for years to come.

It also looks like the Morris twins will be heading to Super League next year too, and any recruitment manager worth his salt will be approaching the Dogs to “help them” by taking players off their hands.

Until next time, Up the Cream, Gerremonsard and Come on you ‘Ull.

Rich – Twitter @pommyrich



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