Down Under Blog #74 “Consistently Inconsistent”

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

Well Magic Weekend was bloody awful. Hull get hammered by a Huddersfield team that have no business putting 50+ points past anyone, least of all a Hull FC side that on paper should have beaten them easily, L**ds and Rovers won, Wests Tigers lost, my NRL tipping ended the round at 3 from 8 (at one stage I was 0-4), and a load of NSW Blues players went down injured. If Carlsberg did weekends – this was the throbbing hangover of the Monday morning, when your regrets and shame come washing over you as you open a weary eye, it feels like something crapped in your mouth, and you suspect you may have  propositioned your mother in law the night before.

It seems that yet again we’re having a rollercoaster season at Hull. From the heights of ecstasy to the depths of despair within seven days. I won’t dwell on it too much, as my job here is to talk NRL and my experiences of being a Hull supporter in exile, and besides our esteemed editor Dan wrote a VERY accurate piece on the Huddersfield loss online. Suffice to say though, changes need to be made. I can’t think of another team that can ship 50+ points in RL history yet still be considered a team that could beat anyone on their day. That’s just plain weird and to quote Gus Gould, defence comes from attitude. How is it that we can defend like lunatics away at Warrington, yet look totally disinterested seven days later? Something is clearly lacking with our leadership, coaching but most of all our attitude.

Hopefully the likely clear out at the end of this season will go some way to rectifying this, but with the same regime in charge, won’t the new intake get the same jaded, half-hearted and cliched “commitment to the cause” that we’re currently suffering through?

Some of the names I’m hearing as potential recruits are underwhelming too if the rumours about Ligi Sao are to be believed then you have to keep your fingers well and truly crossed that someone has spotted a diamond in the rough along the Sam Moa lines because when I’ve seen him play I’ve been less than impressed.

Josh Jones is a great signing, and fits the bill of what we need perfectly. Manu Ma’u would be an interesting one, although it will be nerve wracking to see if he would get a visa after a three year stint in jail as a youth. Manu and his brother were convicted of assault after invading a birthday party and (this is a direct quote from the judge) “unleashing hell”. Upon his release, He threw himself back into RL and despite initially being refused an Australian Visa to play games over here, he managed to get a sponsor, and signed with the Eels. Like many Polynesian men, Ma’u has become a committed Christian and is by all accounts a reformed character with a great standing in his community. Parramatta fans love him, and even though he’s been a little unlucky with injuries, they’ve all been “contact” injuries like a depressed cheekbone fracture, and nothing structural at all, so hopefully he’ll be robust. He’s a big unit and hits hard in defence, he wouldn’t be a bad signing if he gets clearance.

Back to the subject of inconsistency, and my tipping…. Bloody hell what a week in the NRL for upsets. The Panthers FINALLY fired, and even though you could say it was a scrappy and perhaps lucky win, you have to be good enough to take the chances that are presented to you.

Interestingly the fact that James Maloney was missing for them probably helped them, as Nathan Cleary HAD to take the game by the scruff of the neck and run it. His performance probably cemented his scrum half spot in the Blues team, especially as the night after, NSW Origin hopeful Luke Keary got concussed early in the Roosters v Newcastle game. Not unlike Jamie Shaul, this is Keary’s third head knock in quick succession and he now has to undergo an independent Neurologist examination before he’s cleared to come back.

The Roosters paid the price for resting Cooper Cronk for this game, especially after Keary went off – although it was interesting to watch just how much this game meant to ex-Rooster Mitchell Pearce. He was everywhere and made a real point of kissing the Newcastle badge as he slid over for his try late on.  To be honest he was nothing short of magnificent on the night. The capacity crowd went wild, and Newcastle are now in the top four. Kalyn Ponga was sublime too – he may well be the player that Queensland spring a surprise shock though in a couple of weeks—he’s another outstanding player.

The Blues halfback conundrum continued at the Souths v Tigers game with Adam Reynolds going off with a nasty looking leg injury. Add to that a jaw /cheekbone knock to Tyson Frizell, and Brad Fittler must have been thinking he’d broken a mirror. Most experts (me included if I can call myself that?!?) have a NSW win either 2-1 or even 3-0 this year, but honestly, the more I look at the situation unfolding – Cleary picked despite being in a horrendous run of form with his club side, no right centre to speak of so a recall for veteran Josh Morris, and the bench looks a little light too, I’m leaning towards a much closer origin series than I was a few weeks back.

Anyway, onwards and upwards, it’ll be just like Hull to now go on a four game unbeaten run and get to Wembley again….. one thing you can be sure of – you won’t see whatever is coming until it’s happening to us, and even then you won’t believe your eyes!

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

Rich – Twitter @pommyrich


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