Robert Dillon: Seven Days in League

THURSDAY TOUGH CUSTOMER: How would Sam Thaiday and his Maroons mates go against the White Walkers and other nasties from Game of Thrones?
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RUGBY league media south of the border are conducting the annual post-Origin inquisition after last night’s capitulation in the series decider.

Do we need a new coach?

Do we need a complete cleanout of players?

DUMB AND DUMBER: Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson.

Is there something inherently flawed in our team culture?

Should we just forfeit for the next five years until we are sure that Thurston, Smith, Cronk and turncoat Inglis are safely retired?

All seem like reasonable propositions to Seven Days.

But the real reason for our dismal failure should be no secret. As Gus Gould pointed out during Channel Nine’s broadcast, the boys in blue simply couldn’t match those dirty, rotten Cane Toads on the Telstra Tracker.

I mean, what hope did they have?

Even if you make more attacking metres, complete more sets, make fewer errors and tackle everything in a Maroons jumper, if you don’t measure up on the Telstra Tracker, there can be only oneoutcome.

What exactly is the Telstra Tracker? Apparently it’s an intensity-meter.

How it works, I have no idea. But Gus says it’s important, so it must be.

FRIDAYIT’Salmost three years since he left town butWayne Bennett clearly still has a soft spot for Newcastle.

Today he does his old clubafavourby announcing they have signed Brisbane prop Herman Ese’ese.

“He’s going to Newcastle. He’s going,”Benny confirms.

“He’s done great but that’s how the salary cap works. He was looking for a little bit more income and we couldn’t match that.”

Good old Benny. He’s saved the Knights’ media staff the hassle of typing up a statement and posting it on the club website.

Newcastle officials no doubt appreciate the kind gesture.

Mind you, there are some narks on social media pointing out that only a few months ago the Broncos took umbrage when Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan revealed Brisbane had signed Jack Bird.

At the time, Brisbane formally complained to the NRL.

This case is obviously a bit different. Flano is a premiership-winning coach but, unlike Wayne, he’s not a law unto himself who is bigger than the game.

SATURDAYSADLY I miss out on a reunion with the aforementioned master coach when I travel with my mate Mick the miner, former lower-grade enforcer at Lakes United, to Olympic Parkto watch mighty Arsenal in action against Western Sydney Wanderers.

We arrive early and find a TV in the local pub, where we monitor developments as Newcastlehost the Broncos.

It’s all looking good for the Knights at 6-all, but my heart sinks when the siren soundsfor half-time and they are leading 12-6.

We all know what’s comingnext.

Sure enough, for the eighth time in nine games this season, they let their first-half lead slip and cop a 34-22 beating.

SUNDAYA SUNDAY newspaper carriesa front-page headline that declares NRL “creeps” will soon be facinglife bans if they are found guilty of treating women disrespectfully.

Presumably it’s just coincidence that this yarn surfaces within 24 hours of a sex scandal that costs two high-ranking AFL officials their jobs.

At Brookvale, the Silvertails’ hot form continues with a 28-16 trouncing of the Tigers. The highlight is a runaway try from the Fijian flyer, Akuila Uate, wearing what appears suspiciously like a beanie.

MONDAYDARCY Lussick is facingperhaps the most embarrassing sanction of the season after being charged withpulling Aaron Woods’hair in a tackle during the win againstthe Tigers.

Lussick is busted for draggingWoods down with two handfuls of his long, flowing locks, an offence that is set to cost him a$1350 fine.

It is a further reminder of the laughing stock that rugby league has become.

No longer allowed to stiff-arm, speartackle, shoulder charge or punch an opponent in the face, players are resorting to cheap shots straight from the pre-school playground. It’s only a matter of time before someone is suspended for giving a rival a Chinese burn.

Meanwhile, veteran Sam Thaiday appears unconcerned about reports that Brisbane will not re-sign him when his contract expires at the end of next season.

“I might go into acting …season eight of Game of Thrones, maybe,’’ Thaiday jokes.“Who knows?

“There’s many, many things I can do. I’ve got a lot of tricks in my bag and we’ll see.”

Personally I’d love to see Slammin’ Sam get a run in Game of Thrones, along withCameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, JT, GI and all the rest of the Maroons.

Hopefully they’d all be eaten or barbecued by a fire-breathing dragon and give the Blues some hope of winning next year’s series.

TUESDAYNEWS breaks that notorious duo Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson embarked on an eight-hour drinking bender on the Friday before Origin III, prompting an official investigation by the NSW Rugby League.

Dugan argues: “We were with two of our good mates having lunchanda fewbeers. We were home at a respectable hourandthere’s nothing more to it — it was six days [sic]out from the game.”

It’s hard to decide if this is a disgrace or, as some are saying, a storm in a schooner glass. I’m entitled to think the latter. The whole episode suggests Dumb (Dugan) and Dumber (Ferguson) have matured …I mean, at least they were drinking beer, instead of Vodka Cruisers.

WEDNESDAYI am concerned that the TAB’s “most losses” market appears to have disappeared. Surely all bets aren’t off in the race for this year’s spoon?

After contacting head office, I am relieved the market is still active. The Knights are paying $1.05, but the Tigers, at $8, might be worth a speculative flutter.

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