NRL Round 11 – Prop in the Canefield: You Gotta Love Footy!


After his crab-themed contribution last week, we obtained exclusive images of our regular columnist Prop hard at work in his sideline pastime as a chef. Today we offer this first insight into his style in the kitchen.


The Prop as chef


Toowoomba is regarded as one of the great Rugby League towns, so I ventured up there last Thursday to meet with my mate Tiny to have a beer and watch the game. That was most probably my first mistake as we decided to go to the Irish Club Pub and set about having a few pints of Guinness. Tiny, as is his way, had his dash of raspberry cordial in the lovely Irish drink. There’s a problem with Guinness, however. If you have a bit too much of it too early, the blarney can take control. I must say we didn’t actually get to watch too much of the footy and, given he’s a Blues supporter, I was glad that we didn’t. Nevertheless, what I did see through Guinness goggles clearly shows that the women’s game has come a long way in the last couple of years. What a way to start Magic Round and what a crowd to start with. I must say the food was very good but sleep was poor as Tiny forgot his C Pap! Whilst I’m not perfect, this was like sharing a room with a dragon!

The Prospector provided an interesting concept to me during the week. He suggested that if V’Landys is sending the 18th team to PNG and they have to build a multi-million dollar compound, it opens up a whole lot of options for the future. Players who may be incarcerated in Australia or stood down for whatever reason would be able to go straight into the compound in PNG under a form of house arrest! He felt that maybe there would be a problem with away games but certainly at home it would be no problem. You can work on your team list of those you could choose from to make up a side including management, financial advice, and coaching.  Interesting concept, Prospector.

You have to give it to the Canberra Raiders. They really should not have won their match against the Bulldogs. When they were down to 11 men, you would have thought the game was all over but, as I have thought for a while,  the Bulldogs lack the necessary grunt up front and can’t control the centre of the field. Whitehead certainly makes a massive difference to the Canberra side. He was very good. Canberra are a very young team and they do have mistakes in them, and whilst I can’t see them troubling the top sides in the competition, they certainly could make the eight. Canterbury, on the other hand, have plenty of good players, but they just can’t control the centre of the field.

In the main game, the Broncos looked early in the match like they’re going to put the sword through Manly. They got out to a 12- nil lead and the game looked like it was all over. It proved, however, to be a very entertaining match. Carrigan was outstanding and is one of the best players in the competition. Cobbo also shows that he is a true star player of this side and can play anywhere in the three-quarter line. Manly just couldn’t turn their field position into the points they needed to win the match. The Broncos looked gone when Haas left the field limping however, as commentator Dan Guinane said, “it was a magic round miracle” when he returned a few minutes later. The 13-12 win to the Broncos was most probably deserved and Magic Round started with two highly entertaining games.

The first Saturday game was between the Knights and the Titans. The Knights got away to an early start but the Titans fought back to lead 24-10 at half-time. However, as has been the case, they just couldn’t complete that victory and ended up losing 28 to 24. There was a tough call on Kelly but I don’t know that that was what cost the Titans the game. Armstrong certainly looks like a good player and he will  attract a lot of attention when Ponga comes back.

Whilst I’ve been concerned about Cronulla’s ability to put the top sides away, I have to reassess that form after their sterling victory over the Roosters. What a great game. The Roosters threw everything at Cronulla but they were able to withstand it and have shown the mettle to be a top four side and a probable premiership contender.

The final game for Day Two was the battle of the disappointing sides of the competition. The Cowboys and Rabbits match never really reached any great heights, although the fact that it was tight at the end led to good viewing.  Cowboys coach Payton has a bit to worry about from where I sit. Clearly Souths have their problems but maybe the signing of Bennett will boost them more into next year.

The third day of Magic Round started with the Panthers and the Warriors. The Warriors showed some real pluck that has certainly been missing for the last four or five weeks. They had a well-earned win over the Panthers who were again without Cleary and maybe that’s starting to tell them a little bit. The Warriors need to turn the next few weeks into winning games. In the second game, we saw the storm flog Parramatta and the coach was sacked. The final game, I guess, was best described by Wayne Bennett as the good, the bad and the ugly. The game reached no great heights but it’s a pretty tough ask to be the last game on the last day of what was a tremendous round of rugby league. Six of the eight games had close finishes. The women’s Origin started off on the Thursday and the Dolphins and the Tigers finished off on the Sunday afternoon. Lang held up well and it was a tremendous exhibition. It’s great to hear that the NRL has decided to keep Magic Round in Brisbane for the next four years – that is a real bonus.

The Investigator contacted me to say he had a beer with a tremendous player from the 70s, Neil ‘Bing’ Pringle, who is a regular reader of Almanac Rugby League. Bing (I hope you don’t mind me using this moniker) was a top line lock for Newtown and Balmain. I even had his Scanlan’s Footy Card back in the 70s! The Investigator asked Bing what he thought of the modern game. He said he felt like a ‘jilted lover’

“I would be in court for character assassination of the rule makers, referees and bunker officials. The game that I love is guilty of infidelity. The players and their athletic prowess are continually let down by the inadequacies of the adjudicators.”

Thanks, Bing, and we look forward to you sharing some insights when the Investigator prods you, so look after the Investigator! Let’s hope in Round 12- Indigenous Round – as we near the halfway mark, we can avoid too many Bunker bombs! Canterbury and St George on Thursday Night kick off the round. Only a close score will benefit this game. I worry about the Bulldogs’ ability to control the middle, so I feel the Dragons will be too strong.  The first Friday night game is the Cowboys versus the Tigers. One would think that the Cowboys have to win this match. They got a win last week but their form has been poor. I just can’t see you any way for the West Tigers to get a win yet.  The main game is in an interesting one as the Sea Eagles versus the Storm at Brookie is always a great clash. We know Manly are always competitive at home (except when ‘home’ is Lang Park) and the Storm are suffering from some injuries. It should be a tremendous match.

There are three games on Saturday with most interest in the first two. The Raiders versus Roosters will give us an idea of where the men in green are at but, at the same time, the Roosters need to win this game. I fancy the Roosters but they need to be on their game. The Sharks v Panthers match-up is the end of a three-game run that everyone knew would determine Cronulla’s credentials. So far, they are well placed in the competition. They have beaten top sides in the last two weeks in the Storm and the Roosters and this weekend they take on the Panthers.  At the completion of those three games – almost a triple crown – they will be the real deal and deservedly at the top of the table.

I’m not sure that we can say much about the Rabbits/Eels match-up. Again, we have to hope it is close but neither of these sides has shown any penchant for solid defence in the last month. The Eels have already lost one big game this week trying to gain the signature of Wayne Bennett! I have a feeling that, given the disruption in the Eels camp, it may not be a happy night for their supporters.

The Broncos and Titans always put on a big game. The Broncos win these at a rate of 2 to 1. I can’t see the Titans troubling the Broncos this weekend as they are too strong and fast.  The final game also has plenty of interest as the Warriors are up against the Dolphins in Auckland. The Dolphins, again, are the surprise packet of the competition and have positioned themselves on the verge of the semi-finals before the halfway mark of the season. The Warriors were much better last week in their win over Penrith. Given that performance, maybe Webster has turned their season around. They will need to hope so. I think the Warriors will be too strong for the Dolphins in New Zealand based on last week’s game.

 So, my selections are St George, Cowboys, Storm, Roosters, Sharks, Rabbits, Broncos and Warriors

The Queensland Secondary Schools Boys Under 15 and Under 18 Championships were at Burleigh and Cbus and I enjoyed watching some great footy. Metropolitan North won the Under 15s defeating Sunshine Coast and Comp starts Saturday and finishes with finals at Cbus on Tuesday.

Odd Rugby League fact: Russell Fairfax was sacked as the Eastern Suburbs coach in 1990 and replaced by the legendary Bunny Reilly for 2 matches (McGahan was on Kiwi duty) before Hugh McGahan took the reigns as Captain/Coach for the last 6 games.  Hugh McGahan won 3 of these, which was half of their season wins. Mark Murray was appointed coach in 1991 and McGahan played on. Murray was sacked half way through 1994. Wally Lewis was the last Captain/Coach in the top league in 1992.

You gotta love footy!


After that fulsome coverage, you probably need sustenance to face the rest of the day. How about mud crab mustard sandwiches?



Images courtesy of Matt O’Hanlon.


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  1. Ian Hauser says

    Classic images, Prop. Do you do home deliveries? Mates rates for Almanac members, perhaps?

    The Prospector may be onto something with his PNG proposal. There’s no shortage of potential recruits under such an approach. Only the laws of defamation and libel stop us from spelling out the names.

    As for Tiny’s raspberry cordial additive, I’ll take a pass!

  2. Matt O'Hanlon says

    Maybe I could speak to the Crabman about a 3 day tour for a lucky reader or better still- a hard working editor and we have picked our teams for the compound- plenty to choose from but the coach is a problem- we need a Brubaker type or maybe a Major John Riesman just to keep the troops in line!

  3. Theo Hanlon says

    I hope you and tiny left a window open, the atmosphere would be flammable come morning!

  4. Russel Hansen says

    Neil Pringle not a fan of the bunker, nor the greatest lottery of all time, the 6 again ??

    shock me !!!

    another great read, Prop! love it !!

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