Bennett to remain at Broncos for 2019

The Brisbane Broncos have today announced, via social media, super coach Wayne Bennett will see-out his contract and will coach the Broncos in 2019. 

This would, therefore, mean incumbent coach Anthony Siebold will be at the helm of the South Sydney Rabbitohs for the 2019 season. 

This is great news for both clubs and players as they can now move on and get stuck into pre-season training without the coaching cloud hovering above both clubs. 

Now, will this harm the 2019 seasons for both clubs? 

Players will know they have a new coach coming in 2020, shouldn’t that mean they will be out there to impress?

Let’s face it, at the end of the day the players just want to play right.

The question is, however, will either coach have one eye on the team that will be theirs in 2020?

Or, do they focus on the job at hand in 2019?

Does Bennett or Siebold have a say in who stays and who goes at either club?

Or, is this a situation where the CEO’s take control until 2020 comes by?

It will all make for an interesting season ahead for both clubs.

Souths are in a great position, Siebold took them to within a game of a GF in his first year as head coach, he certainly has a squad there that could go all the way. 

The Broncos had an inconsistent year last year but still managed to make finals and unearth some huge junior talent while they were at it. 

What a way it would be to go out if Bennett took them all the way to a premiership in his final year at the Broncos?

Given his history, it very well could happen, a bit of an ‘up yours’ to the Broncos hierarchy while also saying “I’ve still got it”. 

The Thursday night clash on the 2nd of May, when these clubs meet for the first time in 2019, will certainly have some extra spice and feel to it. 

How do you think the clubs will fare in 2019 let us know in the comments below?


Opinion: Could Cullen fix the Broncos’ halves problem?

Could the solution to the Brisbane Broncos’ halves problem be right under the noses?

It’s no secret the Broncos halves combination was one of the main reason they hadn’t performed to their full potential in 2018.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima individually but together, not a good match.

I also understand what Wayne Bennett was trying to do.

Most NRL coaches look to have two types of halves, a runner of the ball and a playmaker who steers the team around the park.

Bennett looked to opt for two runners and use the experience of Andrew McCullough to steer the team around.

Throw into the mix, Jack Bird, the third running half who could have transitioned into a playmaker.

Now, this doesn’t sound too bad in theory but a huge gamble.

What Bennett didn’t plan on was the huge injury toll they copped throughout the year, who can though.

I still think he relied too much on Jack Bird.

What is wrong with buying, or developing a young, playmaker?

Well, there was one option right under their nose.

The young 24-year-old captain for the Redcliffe Dolphins, Cameron Cullen.

I’ll be upfront from the start, I am a huge fan of Cullen and have been from the start of his career in the Intrust Super Cup (Qld Cup).

Joining the Burleigh Bears in 2016, Cullens debuted in the NRL for the Gold Coast Titans and then later in the year took the Bears to a Premiership win.

In 2017, Cullen joined the Manly Sea Eagles and played five games off the bench as a utility.

Late 2017, Cullen was released from his Sea Eagles contract due to family reasons and signed with the Adam Mogg coached Redcliffe Dolphins.

Cullen told Mogg he wanted to take on a senior role in this squad and shortly after was appointed the captain.

In September 2018, Cullen led the Dolphins to their first premiership in many years.

Cullen is a natural playmaker, always looking for opportunities in every attacking play.

Nine Network commentator Scott Sattler has previously praised Cullen on how he attacks the defensive line.

Most playmakers will sit back and watch and see what happens.

Not Cullen, when he receives the ball, he accelerates.

Making it harder for the defensive-line to read what he is about to do.

Defensively, Cullen is similar to Johnathan Thurston, at 80kg, not the biggest guy on the field but will throw his body into any challenge in front of him.

One thing to note here is the Dolphins are a feeder club to the Broncos.

So why was Cullen overlooked?

Yes, 10 NRL games isn’t a huge amount of first-grade experience but he has at least had a taste of what to expect.

This on the surface appears to be a huge oversight for the Broncos.

A young playmaker with a different take on his role, but also a mature mindset to handle the big stage, as captain.

I understand the Broncos have bigger problems at the moment but if they aren’t keeping a close eye on this young playmaker, they will not stand a chance for 2019.

Opinion: Gallen is in no position to lecture on integrity

Cronulla Sharks Fullback Valentine Holmes has been released from his contract to pursue an NFL career. Sports Talk’s Terry Pascoe takes a look at the reaction from the Sharks Captain Paul Gallen.

Valentine Holmes this week has confirmed on social media he will walk away from the Cronulla Sharks and rugby league to pursue a career in the NFL, effective immediately.

The 23-year-old has played 105 NRL games, 5 State of Origin matches for Queensland and represented Australia 13 times.

It had been rumoured the premiership winner was in high demand with an all-out fight been the Cronulla Sharks and North Queensland Cowboys throwing all the money they had at the superstar.

The latest was Holmes was offered $5 million to stay at the Shire, which would have made him the highest paid player in the Sharks history.

I applaud the young man, why not have a crack at the hugely popular sport, especially if it has been a lifelong ambition to play in the sport.  

I mean, the kid is 23, he could have a decent crack at the American sport over a 5 year period and still come back a stronger and bigger player than when he left rugby league.

This would be in stark contrast of Jarryd Hayne’s attempt at the ripe age of 28.

Since the announcement, the overall reaction to the news has been positive, except for his Sharks captain Paul Gallen.

Gallen has called for Holmes to be banned from playing in the NRL again.

What purpose does this serve?

This is absolutely ludicrous to ban a player for simply following a new career path, particular with the free publicity the NRL are going to gain from any success Holmes has from this venture.

Gallen told the Nine Network he couldn’t see how this was good for the integrity of the game.

What damage has Holmes possible done to rugby league by switching to gridiron?

I can think of something else that did in-fact saw the integrity of the game take a hit.

Peptides, performance-enhancing your body to get the edge over your opponent.

I hate to break it to you Paul but cheating is what effects the integrity of the game, not merely switching to a new sport.

Before any of the keyboard warriors lose their minds and start defending him by saying he didn’t know he was getting pumped with, I just want to say one thing.

Gallen, as well as his teammates, admitted guilt the moment they accepted their bans.

There is enough education around the game which affirms it is the sole responsibility of the athlete themselves to stay clean, not the clubs, not the coach and certainly not old mate down the road at the local supplements shop.

I know because I have gone through the education with the NRL myself.

Blaming the club and/or the medical staff is no different to Shane Warne blaming his Mum, yet he was rubbed out of cricket for two years.

I can understand why he is upset, Holmes will be a huge void to fill.

But please, spare me the lecture about the integrity of the game and focus on signing a new Fullback.

Opinion: Sacking Archer is only one part of the problem

The news of the Director of Refereeing Tony Archer being sacked has Sports Talk regular Terry Pascoe believing this is only one part of the problem.

It has been reported the Director of Refereeing Tony Anchor has been stood down from his position.

This is off the back of numerous controversies throughout the 2018 NRL season and beyond.

Well,  this is what most reports are alluding to.

Let’s take a step back and have a look at the standard of refereeing in the NRL over the last few years. 

Archer was appointed the head coach of the referees in 2014 after Daniel Anderson’s one-year appearance.

Let’s also remember, Anderson replaced Bill Harrigan &Stuart Raper, who replaced long-standing referee boss Robert Finch.

The NRL have sacked five-referee coaches in less than eight years, almost as bad as some of the NRL clubs.

Do you think the standard of refereeing has improved since this merry-go-round started?

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the same people making these blatant errors, the referees themselves, are still refereeing!

Why hasn’t there been a major change in the ranks of the referees?

I get the idea we need to keep the experience on the field but the new referees aren’t coming straight off the street.

A lot of them have been officiating for a decade at the state level.

So, why aren’t we letting these experienced individuals move up into first grade, especially if the current crew aren’t performing?

Do we really need 10 officials with 200 games of experience each to be refereeing at a top level if they are not performing?

It feels like they want regular faces in the game over getting decisions right.

Case in point, Clayton Sharpe officiated 201 Intrust Super Cup games and was widely praised for his 2012 Grand Final performance for having only blown two penalties the whole game.

Now, this wasn’t because he threw the rule book out the window.

This was because he had control, patience and more importantly, he had the ability to read the game.

So, why wasn’t he moved up to the next level? 

It’s believed it’s because of his age.

Apparently, being in your early 30’s is too old to move up to the NRL.

It’s understood the reason Sharpe wasn’t offered a full-time contract was that they thought they would only get a couple of years out of him.

Am I the only one that thinks this is ridiculous?

Shouldn’t our focus be on decision making and not your age?

My next point is there has been a slow decline in recent years of the quality of football we are seeing.

Little infringements being let go because we want the game to flow, only for coaches to exploit, and rightly so.

Coaches are in the business of winning and will do so at whatever the cost.

In my opinion, and some of the referee coaches in the system, this is because of the loose way Archer refereed himself.

The 2018 ‘crackdown’ should never have happened if the referees were officiating correctly from the start of his reign.

They were simply trying to fix a problem he had created.

So, if coaches are in the business of winning at whatever cost, why can’t referees be appointed on their decision making, at whatever cost?

Especially, if the minimum wage for a referee is $150k per year.

OPINION: 2019 halves options for QLD NRL teams

With offseason training in full swing, Sports Talk regular Cameron Anchor takes a look at the halves options for the Queensland NRL teams.

Plenty to look forward to for the 2019 season.

What strikes me for all QLD sides, is they all have halves pairings that are up in the air at this stage.

We all know how important it is to have quality halves on the paddock that work well together. 

So let’s have a look at some of the options,

Gold Coast Titans

The Titans will be looking to improve on previous poor seasons and whoever partners Ash Taylor will go a long way to helping them in doing that.

Obviously, AJ Brimson had a breakout year in 2018 but he also covers the FB role and is probably best suited there.

Tyrone Roberts back from a stint overseas could also fill that role?

Then you have Bryce Cartwright a huge recruit last year that didn’t live up to the hype, could 2019 be the year he shines again? 

North Queensland Cowboys

Can you replace the great man JT?

No, you can’t, so who helps Michael Morgan in trying to fill the void as best as they can?

Te Marie Martin played a bit of everywhere in 2018 and is a known half.

You also have Jake Clifford who tore the Intrust Super Cup to shreds in 2018 and as a result of that good form finished the year playing alongside JT. 

Brisbane Broncos

Well by the looks of things Anthony Milford the Broncos player of the year in 2018 will be one starting half.

So who partners him?

Kodi Nikorima had an up and down year although finished the year strong, earning himself a starting role in the halves for the NZ Kiwis.

Then you have Sean O’Sullivan the new recruit from the Roosters who had a taste of first grade in 2018 and didn’t disappoint.

Is he the controlling halfback the Broncos have been screaming for?

Or, Troy Dargan who’s been playing consistent footy in Q cup for some time now. 

Is there anyone I’ve missed? Let me know how you think the halves pairings will pan out in the comments below.