Each year we present 50 random rugby league thoughts. Here are the first 25 for 2018. As always please let us know your thoughts below or via social media.
1. I wrote in the pre-season that both the Panthers and Sharks would benefit from the Maloney/Moylan swap deal. It is one of the rare occasions I have predicted something correctly. The Panthers are a far more dangerous side with Maloney in the halves while the Sharks seem to be finding some real attacking flair down their left side through Moylan. The Sharks are obviously looking long-term while the Panthers want immediate success.
2. Some fans of the game are turned off by the hype but there is no doubting that Kalyn Pong is the next megastar of our game. He can literally do it all after playing 50+ minutes at lock for the Maroons. It’s scary to think how good this kid can be.
3. Despite not playing top tier rep footy, it’s ridiculous to deny John Sutton a testimonial. All the work he does on and off the field cannot be discounted due to a lack of rep jumpers. Insane decision to deny the request.
4. Although still far from perfect, the bunker decision making has certainly improved this season. Props to those responsible.
5. I love weekend. The only change I would make is Origin has to be on a Saturday night. Celebrating into Sunday morning sure leaves a sore head for us south of the boarder. Both games on Saturday were incredible while the women’s game on Friday MUST become a yearly fixture.
6. Speaking of women’s Origin, I’d love to see it become a two game series if it is possible. As shown by reports of a player being forced to choose between the game and work, there are challenges, but an aggregate series with a game each in NSW and QLD would be amazing.
7. Thursday night footy is far from ideal but I’d much rather my side play Thursday than the awful Friday evening time-slot. It’s near impossible to enjoy the game on the train home from work. I dare say a few others are in a similar situation.
8. I’d much rather stay home on a Friday night that battle traffic on a Friday night for Allianz Stadium games. Judging by the crowd numbers, I’m not the only one.
9. Matt Nable cops a lot of grief on social media for his commentary but I challenge you to name a single more passionate commentator across any sport.
10. No, neither the referees nor commentators have a grudge against your side.
11. I’m all for both the negative and positive of the game being played out in the media. The game is far from perfect. That said, the same people have been saying the same things for many years. Maybe it’s time for fresh views?
12. I love that Peter Beattie is so interactive, good and bad, across social media.
13. I’m absolutely loving the 1pm NSW Cup games on Saturday afternoon. Brilliant entre for the NRL each weekend and some BRILLIANT footy being played. Go the Jets.
14. Angus Crichton is the most likable man in rugby league … apart from signing for the Roosters.
15. The Sharks would be silly not to look at bringing back Grand Final winner Ben Barba to the club, but that said, Valentine Holmes is shaping as something really special. It’s not as easy a thought process as you’d imagine.
16. Pre-game entertainment doesn’t matter a whole lot.
17. Faint calls on social media to bin game three when an Origin series is already decided are crazy. This is a brilliant opportunity for Kevin Walters to debut Ash Taylor and play Ponga for 80 minutes without a huge amount of pressure.
18. I still can’t believe the NRL are making NSW accept the Origin shield in front of a QLD crowd. That is one of the most ridiculous events in our game.
19. A Tonga vs Kangaroos tour MUST be close. Book it for two weeks post Grand Final and let’er rip!!!
20. It would really sad to see so many big names pull out of New Zealand selection. It’s a chance to re-build but what Kiwi side sans RTS and Shaun Johnson doesn’t resemble a B team?
21. It’s good to see Robbie Farah back at the Tigers. Huge props to Anthony Seibold who allowed it to happen. Many coaches wouldn’t, nor could you blame them. It’s a good story and hopefully erases the pain of the past.
22. Mid-season transfers are a bad look. Moses Mbye lined up for the Dogs having been told he’d be going to the Tigers after the game. That can’t be good for his preparation.
23. Speaking of Mbye, for the life of me I can’t see how the Dogs cap is even close to full, let alone at a point where Mbye and Woods need to be moved on. Those responsible for the Dog’s cap mess should be black listed from the game. Yuk.
24. Jarryd Hayne has looked re energised for the Eels since his return. The Eels need Dally M medal winning Hayne or they’ll finish with the spoon.
25. Remember when I tipped the Warriors to finish last and the Eels to finish 4th? Ugh.