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NRL News

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Every week The Defensive Centre takes a look at the game and the media that reports on it. White line fever The Titan’s have been dragged through the mud again, this time with allegations that current players and ex-players were using/distributing cocaine. After the allegations were made public, the team was told they couldn’t train at a school they were…

Team List Tuesday is Back!

Yes, that's right. The NRL appear to have grown a spine and stood up to the betting agencies. TLT is back people! In a move that shocked many fantasy rugby league fans, the NRL decided to bow down to betting agency pressure and move the naming of official team lists to Wednesday evenings for the upcoming season. Thankfully, someone in…
The Cowboys struggled on the road and struggled in close games again in 2014 and with the window slowly closing on club legend Jonathan Thurston can they finally get it right in 2015? Key Losses The key loss for the Cowboys in the offseason was Tariq Sims, both the Sims brothers departed the Cowboys this offseason with Tariq joining his…
The Broncos squeaked into the finals last year, a big underachievement for a side stocked with Origin and international talent. With the return of the Super Coach can we expect to see a more consistent Broncos side in 2015? Key Losses While to some Broncos fans it will not seem like a huge loss, the departure of Ben Barba to…
The Warriors started their pre-season with a less than convincing win against a spirited, but sloppy Panthers outfit in Rotorua on Saturday. In what was a home coming for a number of Panthers’ players, the game failed to provide a usually open affair for a pre-season clash. The first half was all about the Warriors’ defence, holding out four back-to-back…
I have seen the upcoming World Club Series copping plenty of flak from fans. Most of this is directed at the fact that the two teams from Australia taking place are St. George Illawarra and Brisbane, two sides who failed to get any further than the first week of the finals in the NRL. However, I believe that most of…
Following on from last weeks introduction to predictive stats article and my inflammatory piece on JT here is the first of four previews that attempts to predict how 2015 will end up. First up we have a look at the four sides I think are most likely to prop up the table. Wests Tigers 2014 record: 10-14 (13th) 2014 Expected…
In our second group of teams I have four teams that I struggle to get a read on. This means that their range between best and worst case scenarios is pretty big depending on what factors play out during the season. Newcastle Knights 2014 record: 10-14 (12th) 2014 Expected wins: 9.16 (ranked 12th, over achieved by 0.84 wins) Record in…
These four teams should be in contention for the finals, and they might even push for top four spots, but they are a class below the main contenders. Manly Sea Eagles 2014 record: 16-8 (2nd) 2014 Expected wins: 15.1 (ranked 4th, over achieved by 0.9 wins, fourth luckiest team) Record in games decided by six points or fewer: 6-2 2015…
In the last of my prediction series I look at the four teams I think will head the ladder at round 26. They all have potential chinks, but the head and the heart agree that they are the sides best built to withstand 24 rugged games in the NRL. Brisbane Broncos 2014 record: 12-12 (8th) 2014 Expected wins: 14.52 (ranked…
Ultimately, teams are always judged on how many wins and losses they had over the course of the season; that is the essence of sport. But how many wins and losses a team has one year often tells us very little about how many they will have the following year. The reality is that a record only tells us so…
Since 2008, the Cowboys have gone 14-34 in games decided by six points or less, which is a horrific record. No wonder Cowboys’ fans feel the NRL and the refs are against them; they are losing so many close games it magnifies any perceived slights. Could it be that as the Cowboys' playmaker Johnathan Thurston isn’t getting the job done…
The Sea Eagles failed to give the old guard the perfect send off when they fell in golden point to the Bulldogs in the Semi Final. Glenn Stewart, Anthony Watmough and Jason King had combined to play 714 games for the Sea Eagles and Northern Eagles, while being part of two premiership winning sides. But that experience is now gone.…
43 years of pain, court appearances, financial mismanagement and a hiatus from the competition was forgotten about as John Sutton held aloft the Provan-Summons trophy and now that they have added a Nines title the Rabbits can't stop winning. Finishing 3rd on the premiership table with 15 wins the biggest issue Souths had to deal with was which halves to…

Parramatta Eels 2015 Team Preview

With the stench of Ricky Stuart and his wooden spoons gone, Brad Arthur had what can be considered a successful season finishing with a 12 win, 12 loss, 10th position. Though it was largely on the back of inspirational fullback Jarryd Hayne, what should not be overlooked is that other recruits helped make significant improvements. Peats showed great potential at…

Vodafone Warriors 2015 Team Preview

The Warriors in 2014 appeared to be a circus act, rather than a rugby league side. A poor start to the year saw head coach Matthew Elliott sacked after just 6 rounds. New signing Jayson Bukuya was tipped to be the physical right edge player the Warriors needed to push their final prospects forward. He flopped. The emergence of Sam…
Shockwaves were sent through the NRL after the new rule changes for 2015 were released. Referees are now going to call “MOVE” early and penalise wrestling, slow release by each tackler, and choosing to separately release the tackled player. The rule now states: “the player in possession shall be immediately released ... by all defenders”. Wayne Bennett, a member of…

Tigers Announce Team

With a little over a week to go till the Auckland 9's, the Tigers announce a mix of experience and youth. Wests Tigers 2015 Auckland Nines squad (in alphabetical order): Sitaleki Akauola, Nathan Brown, Jack Buchanan, Manaia Cherrington, Josh Drinkwater, Asipeli Fine, Salesi Funaki, Delouise Hoeter, Chris Lawrence, Lamar Liolevave, Kyle Lovett, Joel Luani, Kevin Naiqama, Pat Richards, Brenden Santi,…
The Sydney Roosters have strengthened their already impressive backline for next year, with the signing of Joe Burgess from English Super League club, Wigan Warriors. Unrelated to the four brothers, the man who will undoubtedly be nicknamed Jurgess had an extremely impressive rookie year, scoring 26 tries in 29 games on the wing for Wigan. This culminated in his selection…
The St George for the Auckland 9's is Euan Aitken Mike Cooper Shannon Crook Josh Dugan Tyson Frizell Craig Garvey Nathan Green Yaw Kiti Glymin Beau Henry Dan Hunt Benji Marshall (c) Peter Mata’utia Will Matthews Eto Nabuli Jason Nightingale Adam Quinlan Joel Thompson Shannon Wakeman
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