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Come on Tony.

You don't give a shit enough about the Storm to offer one post on them? I promise I won't tell a News Ltd rep if you do.

I know you like League more than Union. I actually thought we had something there for a while.

It's driving me nuts, I'm hitting AGB in my favourites menu even more than cricket season...i'm beging, please, please, please?!

Cam,

I've been meaning to do a post, but I haven't had a chance. Rest assured, I will, even if it is late and I've missed the news cycle.

Here's a comment I wrote at a footy (our footy) site:

The sad part is that the NRL has never been better. The strength, the speed, the athleticism, the skills - the NRL is currently fantastic to watch. On top of that, the game is made-for-TV and the commentary, while still tending to the boofheaded, is enthusiastic, informative and far less pretentious and self-aggrandising than much of the AFL commentary. It has the sort of folksy, old fashioned tone that the AFL broadcast partners - a despicable phrase - are desperately trying to run away from.

Also, while the Storm copped a whack, you can see why they did it. All the Melbourne stars came to Melbourne as nobodies and developed into stars here, which meant that their pay packets ballooned. Then, when they got good, the other NRL clubs and Super League in the UK came offering big bickies. Melbourne have already lost a swag of top-line players. Their thinking would have been "Why should we let the players we developed go to other clubs?" And there's another snag: how can the NRL operate with a salary cap when the Pommy Super League (and Union can lure players) doesn't have one?

They cheated, they got caught, they seem prepared to wear it, but I bet they aren't the only team to cheat.

Obviously my perspective means next-to rock-all in an AFL forum, but someone has to put their hand up for League. May as well be me.

Whatever the Storm's motivations, their experience is a salient lesson for the Demons, who are trying to develop a large batch of youngsters and at some stage will have to endure salary cap pressure.

Good write up Tones but your comment "Why should we let the players we developed go to other clubs?" is flawed.

That role of developing players and having them pilfered by the likes of the Storm goes to Parramatta, Penrith and the Tigers.

You fellas picked off Brett Finch mid season, a great club 5/8 and Origin rep. Willie Mason went hunting for a club and the Storm, via Bellamy, put their hand up and the only reason they didn't buy him is because of his reputation and the bad news he brings. Money wasn't a factor.

Every time the Eels make the 8 which has been pretty consistent in the last decade they get raided, as have Penrith. Just about every team in the comp has a Parra junior. You fellas even took Todd Lowrie who the Eels made into something. The Eels had to stay under the cap so they had to offload him as they did Kevin Kingston, and Joe Gulavao. Even the up and coming nephew of Greg Inglis Albert Kelly got picked off by the Sharks. This stuff about the Storm developing players is bollocks.

There is not one home grown player in the Storm team. They picked off other clubs best juniors and were able to stay with a core that no one else could buy, and supplement the team annually cherry picking other clubs.

All clubs may "cheat" in a way but none have been able to get away with what the Storm could.

The Storm have single handedly ruined the comp. It was bad enough that the rules changed to accommodate their excruciatingly boring style of play, and they got to play on an illegal field, but they top it off with this massive rort.

I believe the Storm also get $10 million per annum from News Limited.

Everyone would like to see the Storm succeed but the NRL ruined the game to make way for the Storm. When I say ruin, I mean they referee differently for Storm games. Other non-Storm games are refed differently.

If you think this is a consipracy I would submit as evidence the 2008 1st State of Origin under Bellamy. NSW played a Storm game with all the wrestling, markers swooping before the ball has cleared the ruck and a very short 10 metre defence. NSW won 18-10. QLD kicked up a stink and the next two games NSWs Storm game got penalised out of the series, as the Storm should've been. I'd suggest that is why the Storm were looking at 1 win from 4 GFs when they met Parra last year. Finals series are refereed differently to the regular season.

If the NRL is serious about a Melbourne team then they need to follow the AFLs lead and go the distance without compromising the game as they did with the Swans.

It would build a more committed fan base and a proper understanding of the game rather than gifting the Storm with a guaranteed finals berth to prop up the ridiculous expectations of that fan base.

But, having just come back from another fantastic Penrith effort against the Tigers I agree with you that "the NRL has never been better." It's just that Storm games are never in the class of this sort of match. Very much like the Dragons style now. And we know why because Bellamy was tutored by the master himself Wayne Bennett. When they dominated you can guarantee that there was no way they were in the cap. They pretty much maintained the Kangaroo squad.

As for development, who couldn't develop the best juniors in the comp with $10 million pa, no media scrutiny and the whole comp bending over backwards to accomodate your style of play. Not many developed Storm players have ever produced at other clubs what they did at the Storm.

But, I hope they remain in the comp. I think there must have been a better way to punish them and still allow them to play this year, but I'll save that for another day as this is too long winded already.

Cheers.

Footnote: the above comment may contain traces of sour grapes vintage 2009, 24 years of developing bitterness first fermented in 1987, and strong elements of bias.

The florid notes of stale bananas are balanced by the salted tears of a perennial loser.

Someone please get me a wahhhmbulance.

Go Eels!

Only a mere 24 years. Pah. That's nothing.
Go the Sharks.
Sigh,

I don't think the honchos at rugby league central can complain about Melbourne rorting the system. As noted above by Monsieur Patard, refs have been rorting to ensure that Melbourne wins. In fact refs are consistently disregarding rules, just to "speed the game up" and "make it a great spectacle". Last time I looked, these phrases were not in the rule book, but terms like "scrum" and "forward pass" and "grounding the ball" are -- yet refs ignore them all the time.
Furthermore, the salary cap is in itself a system of match-fixing, designed to "even up the competition" -- again, I don't think that term is in the rule book, either.
So let's get a clear directive from the ARL: which rorts are acceptable, and which rorts aren't?

Re. The Tigers, that's another rort of sorts. The Western Suburbs Magpies were a crèche to the comp who got regularly raided by the Silvertails Manly (the most egregious offenders) and others.

With not a lot of money to keep all the talent they kept producing the club had to fold and merge with the Balmain Tigers who had a lot of money and not much talent.

It's kind of sad to see the traditional fans of the Magpies rock up at the games like yesterday in their old worn out Victa or Masterton homes sponsored Black and White V Maggies jumpers to support what is ostensibly an inner city wanker club.

It's like a horde of Germanic Teutons and Celts being decked out in Roman Legionaries kit to defend the Roman Empire that swallowed up their own lands. The Romans no longer able to supply their own infantry siphon off the best of the conquered to keep their Baths and Orgies defended and entertained in perpetuity by the blood and soil of foreigners.

The old "Catteldog" war cry of Tommy Raudonikas is now a forlorn relic of days long gone, of an Australia fast disappearing.

Tommy's call to arms must now replaced with the cry "Pomeranian" as Benji flicks another pass behind(with overthetop enthusiasm from Gus in the commentary box) to their latest purchase and import Lote Tuqiri, who fumbles it and knocks on.

Oh for the days of Dallas Donnelly, Les Boyd and Bob Cooper. Benji would be splattered doormat under their feet.

Of Cooper's style of play:

In 1982, Cooper was given the equal-longest suspension in rugby league history after he ran in to join a brawl and left three Illawarra Steelers flattened during a match at Wollongong Showground. Chairman of the NSWRL's judiciary, Jim Comans, when handing down a fifteen-month suspension to Cooper, said, "Acts such as these must be obliterated from the game, and I'll begin by obliterating you."

Hmmm, on 2nd thoughts, perhaps League is better for the obliteration of Cooper and the Magpies style of play.

Pomeranian!

Whack's lyrical - superb:

He looks a bit like you Tones if you had a moustache. He's just as vicious too!

Only you could find this act of pure malice on one of God's chosen people laughable. You have the condemning eyes of St. Mick Cronin upon you. I'll write to him and make sure you are never served at his pub in Gerringong.

On today's game where the Eastern Suburbs Roosters take on the The St George Decoy Runners watch for the Jamie "Coward" Soward short forward pass from dummy half. This class pass was introduced to the comp by the Storm. First mastered by Matt Orford who passed his skills onto the unsurpassable in forward passable Cooper Cronk.

The skill lies in having your forward allready over the advantage line whereupon you throw the ball a metre at least forward to him to score under the posts.

Parramatta fail in this department as they sometimes throw long, long, long forward passes to the winger which is wrong, wrong, wrong. Especially if it happens to Manly who are the only team ever in the history of Rugby League to have ever lost on the back of a dud refereeing decision.

Also keep an eye out for two Dragons forwards running into the the defensive line as Coward short balls to Creagh behind them who bisects up the middle. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, miraculously no defensive forward is impeded and the try is awarded. If the ref applies the old version of the shepherding rule Gus Gould will yell "no, no, no, no, noooooo" and demand all the refs be sacked.

Of course Gould hates the shepherding rule cause his bastard Bulldogs started that rot, which Bennett thought so amazing he'd try it himself and his apprentice Bellamy thinks it's actually how you play the game and is always shocked in the finals when he gets penalised.

I might sound like a whining sack of sh*t but I'm not really. I just have an eye for these things.

Prof Ross, you forgot about the term "playing the ball".

Remember The Invincibles (star player the Greatest of Legueies Ray Price) playing the Poms and everyone flabbergasted at their play the balls? They'd roll it back with never a foot touching the ball.

I remember watching a game live in the early hours of some morning, us Year 10s drunk as skunks, as our mates old man snored even drunker in his chair, being amazed at how sloppy the Pom ruck was.

Now that is de rigueur for the refs yet I don't see that the rule has changed. If they were to apply it the game would slow down which is...I shudder to think...a correct play the ball! What cauchemar!

Throbber, I commiserate. Yet the bastards got up against the Knights by 20 points. Blew my perfect tipping. Time for the Sharks to relocate to Gosford or Perth sorry to say mate. If and when they do, never, never become a Dragons fan. I'm sure you won't, but just in case you do, there's always plenty of room at Parra or Penrith.

So long as you're prepared to ultimately lose with style, panache and grace.

Phillip Ronald talks some sense as he is wont to do from time to time.

With all those representative players on their books ..., the Melbourne club was still able to find a home for quality players such as Clint Newton, Brett Finch, Luke MacDougall and Todd Lowrie when they became available. If these signings didn't raise the red flag then what about their interest in Willie Mason during last off-season? Surely someone was asking the Storm the big question.

My God - if the Cronulla Sharks, New Zealand Warriors and Canberra Raiders were at the limits of their salary caps, how come the Storm's cap was so flexible?

Someone needed to tap them on the shoulder and tell them it was all becoming a bit too obvious.

Though, as per usual he goes on to shill for his team the Roosters and beg the cap be scrapped. As Cam points out, without a cap the comp would be destroyed.

Although Gus is with me and counter to Cam: Otherwise, we take immediate measures to get the Storm under the salary cap and start them back in the competition on zero premiership points and see how good they are.

Gahhh, it is so infuriating it makes me angry. Did we expect them to let these ridiculous salary cap laws gradually pull the team apart so they could be held back with the average teams in the league?

The average teams??!! You mean the ones like the Sharks, Warriors and Raiders who provide their own to be trundled off to the Storm because they struggle even with the cap?

Or Parra who are still hunted, Mateo by the Warriors @ $450K a year, The Dogs after Inu and Kris Keating after Parra just fended them off from Mortimer? Parra who had to give almost 1/3 of the cap to Hayne to keep him? You lying cnut Phillip Ronald! Storm hasn't had to contend with poachers of Slater like we have to contend for Hayne.

Ahhh fark I'm almost apoplectic at his temerity on this point. If all teams got the lenience the Storm got they'd be up there and the Storm would be nowhere. That's what their rort means.

Forget a draft. Just simply allow private sponsorship of players and exclude juniors still playing for their home club from the cap. But of course the Roosters, the Dogs and Manly wouldn't be able to compete without shelling out a motza which runs counter to the requirements of Phillip Ronald's pay masters, the ultimate Eastern Suburbs Rorters.

Did the NRL put the kibosh on a draft because of a players' threat to build a restraint of trade case?

The AFL have been living in dread of their players doing something along the same lines.

I don't know what the NRLs position on a draft is. The cap is a restraint on trade so I don't know that there is a legal case against a draft.

My own view is that a draft ruins the club culture. I want to see my people represent me. Look at the Dogs vs Eels finals game last year that drew 70,000 plus. The fans love their clubs to be from their own (not that the Dogs are their own since their Capt is from Parra's 2001 GF side and the former capt Steve Price was a Queenslander).

The problem for the NRL is that there are Sydney teams like the Dogs, Manly and Rorters that have no home grown produce but are wealthy clubs because of their demographics.

But the teams with the biggest followings are those with home grown life long players. These are the ones that sustain NRL revenue. In which case the NRL should support them by exempting juniors from the cap and make teams like the Rorters relocate to say Bathurst where they can develop the game rather than rely on the West to develop the game for the Rorters to poach.

Penrith for instance owns clubs all over NSW and does way more for the NRL than the Rorters ever will. But Easts have the inner city big money types sitting on the panther developed juniors like a parasitic tick on a sheep's back.

From memory the NWRL tried to implement a draft in the early 90's, Terry Hill actually took the legal path and won a restraint of trade case (actually might have gone to the supreme court??).

Pat, I have to agree with Tony on the Storm developing their star players. Slater, Cronk and Smith are from my neck of the woods (Norths is my local club) and were no superstars as juniors (the Broncos would have had them sined sealed and delivered by 14 if that was the case). The Storm just had superior scouts, i think the Roosters actually stole their head scout. They found Inglis at some carnival in northern NSW, no one else was interested.

That's why I agrgue for a draft system. Let the QRL and NSWRL do what they do best and develop the juniors. Create a Under 20 competition in NSW and QLD using our existing local state teams and once players graduate from that they can enter the NRL draft. Talented players could of course enter the draft earlier. You could play the NSW U/20 champions v QLD U/20 champions on NRL GF day.

I don't like the chances of a draft eventuating because League is dominated by NSW Labour dickheads. You can hear them during the current saga 'but, but, but, the poor players'. Stuff the players they can play where they are told.

Storm 40 - Warriors...forget about the rest of the year.

Goddammit Cam you're not supposed to agree with Tony T. I've gone to great lengths here to rubbish his team and you let the cat out of the bag. Thank you very much.

Sorry Pat, being 8pm Sunday night on a long weekend i don't even have the excuse of being sober and thus of poor judjement. As you can see from my spelling i'm quite well lubricated, so my thinking is at optimum levels.

Do you think the Storm not playing for points could lead to a dangerous incident on field? Why worry about suspension?

Much better to throw them out and give Brisbane a second team.

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