NRL Round 19 – Prop in the Canefield: You gotta love footy!




Round 18 kicked off with the Eels up against the Rabbitohs and the Rabbitohs were too strong for the hapless Eels and they continue to give their supporters hope that they may be able to make it into the eight. The loss of Mitchell however is a significant blow for them for the next few weeks. The appointment of Ryles as coach may see an improvement in their play.  What can I say about the Sharks in the first game on Friday night? I think that’s enough! The second game on Friday night saw the Broncos up against the Panthers where the Broncs were desperate for a win. They are missing Reynolds. They are simply not playing well enough at the moment to trouble the top sides. It was an entertaining game and the Panthers seem to have their measure.

The first of the Saturday games was a genuine thriller. The Bulldogs winning in a field goal shoot out. The Warriors can consider themselves unlucky because the 73rd minute tackle on Martin should’ve bought about a penalty. The contact by Salmon was deemed dangerous and he attained a suspension (and a broken jaw) at the review panel yet the officials had 6 minutes to look at and let it go.  I think there were 7 shots at field goal before Burton nailed his in the 87th minute. It was a very entertaining match. The second game went as predicted and the Storm were far too strong for the Tigers. The Storm are looking like they are warming up for a finals joust. The Sea Eagles and Cowboys put on another thriller which I watched on the big screen at the Hoey Moey Hotel at Coffs. The Cowboys had 6 attempts and got one whereas DCE didn’t miss with his second to seal an 83rd minute win. Cherry-Evans can’t be given 2 goes as he was able to bring the Cowboys down again. The Cowboys could be feeling a little unlucky in that game but they certainly had their chances.

The first Sunday game saw Jared Waerea-Hargreaves playing his 307th match, the most for any Rooster. I was listening to the game on the radio as I was in Coffs Harbour for the national schoolboy championships and JWH, true to form, got put on report for a Grade 3, did a stint in the bin and got his face busted and that’s how he’s genuinely played throughout his career. He then copped 4 weeks at the judiciary. The Roosters were way too strong for the Dragons in the second half and it is a worrying trend for the Saints this year as the half-time score was close. Their second half performances fall off too regularly at the Dragons for mine. Finally, the Knights proved to be too strong for the Raiders and with Ponga back in the team they had more confidence. They had that little bit of extra sharpness and were able to beat the Raiders who continue to slide down the ladder.

Round 19 is another shortened round because of the Origin but each game is important for the Eight. On Thursday night, the Wayne match has the Dolphins up against the Rabbitohs. Both sides are missing key players but the battle of the fullbacks will be one of great interest as to what Wayne will do. The young Jai Gray up against Trai Fuller who would be one of the finds of the season. It’s really important for both sides to win this game but it looks as though the Rabbits might just have an edge for this one. Surely in the second game the Sharks can beat the Tigers but, as you know, I just cannot get the Sharks so I’m going to stick with the Sharks even though they are without Hynes. Tiger supporters will have hope.

The first game on Saturday has the Titans against the Eels at Cbus Super Stadium. David Fifita must wonder what he has to do to be in the Origin team. I can’t understand why he is not in the side but in Billy we trust! I think the Titans may be too good for the Eels who have struggled over the last couple of weeks and just can’t seem to win games. The Eels are without Moses so that won’t help. The Dragons and Broncos game is really critical for both sides and there are a number of players out but the Broncos should be able to put out a side that should beat the Hunt-less Dragons. I noted that Jack Bird is close to a return and he will add – if he is fit – some extra zing to that side. The final match has the Sea Eagles against the Knights.  Tom Trbojevic back at fullback is a massive plus for them and I think the Eagles will be too strong given the Knights are without Ponga, Best and Gagai.

So, my selections are Rabbits, Sharks ????, Titans, Broncos and Sea Eagles.

I went and watched the National 15 Boys and Girls Championships last week in Port Macquarie and then went to the Opens at Coffs Harbour. It was a difficult week at Port Macquarie as the rain set in and many grounds were closed. The ASSRL executive did a great job getting the games played and we got to visit footy fields in Wauchope and Kempsey. The rain followed us to Coffs Harbour where the Open Championships were being held and the first two games were played at what can best be described as the boutique Bellingen Magpies Oval in the heart of Bellingen. For the record, New South Wales CHS beat Queensland in both the boys’ and girls’ finals and the Open championships will be played on Friday. I will put the result in next week.

The State of Origin is a must win of course for Queensland and I think they can do it. I am a bit surprised at the non-selection of Fifita and I can’t understand how he couldn’t have been slotted into the side somewhere. Mitchell is a big ‘out’ and Ponga is a big ‘in’ and I am looking forward to the game.

About four years ago when I was given responsibility for buying birthday presents, I decided that the perfect birthday present for my three sons and myself was to buy tickets to the Queensland State of Origin match. Jake, Tom, Pat, the Crabman, his son Santa (as in Claws) and myself go into the city early on Origin day and have a birthday steak meal. Dressed in maroon, we discuss the game and then go to the great Lang Park. For the last couple of years, we’ve watched Queensland win the game. We celebrate our birthdays and people in the restaurant find it amazing that all 6 blokes could all be born on the same day! They are even more amazed when we explain to them that it changes every year to the Queensland home game. The Origin state of fluid birthday! It works out a treat so, if you are wanting to take the hassle out of birthdays or looking for a new birthday present, this is the go. To state the bleeding obvious, Queensland need to play better than they did in Melbourne and I’m sure they will. The crowd is worth points. Every Queenslander knows that so now it’s a matter of the boys going out there, doing the job and making sure I (we) have a happy birthday!

My season prediction positions after Round 12:  Penrith 2nd, Broncos 11th, Melbourne 1st, Souths 13th, Roosters 3rd, Cowboys 8th, Newcastle 9th and St George 10th.


Odd Rugby League field goal facts!
Eric Simms has three field goal records: most field goals – 86; most field goals in a season – 29 in1968 (he shares that record with Barry Glasgow); and 5 in a game against Penrith in 1969;
Dave Bolton kicked 2 field goals two weeks in a row against Manly in the semi and then Souths in the 1969 GF boilover;
Bob Fulton kicked 58 field goals but field goals were reduced in his 5th season of 14;
Ken Wilson kicked the field goal in the only 1-0 game against St George in 1973;
Benny Elias has the most for a forward with 33;
DCE has the most of the current players with 28;

Field goals dropped from 2 points to 1 in 1971 and back to 2 for outside the 40 in 2021.


PS: No players in in this year’s Qld U/20, U/18, U15 or U12 teams has a name starting with the letter E.


You gotta love footy!


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  1. Ian Hauser says

    Matt, those bloody Sharks have certainly got into our heads! Without Hynes for several weeks, I think they’ll continue to slide – and join the Broncos as early season leaders, late season faders!

  2. Uncle Gilbo says

    Prop in the canefield, the reason why Fifita is not in the Qld side is most of his line breaks, are that he runs over halves and when his side is attacking the line he seems to go to dummyhalf alot.

  3. Andrew Smith says

    I have a cherished childhood memory of the Bellingen Oval. In the mid 70’s I traveled down from the Mighty Clarence with the ol’ man to watch him play in a rep cricket match. He top scored with 70 odd as I recall, which helped to seal a win for the Lower Clarence Cricket Association. One of his sixes went over the “grand”stand into the tennis courts. As you are aware Prop his hand/eye coordination was not passed onto his eldest son.

  4. have another crack Mate

  5. Matt O'Hanlon says

    Uncle Gilbo I admire Fifita for running over halves! Some halves like yourself and Grubby Half deserved to be run over for continual annoyance of forwards! I would love to see Fifita tap dancing all over Moses and Luai- surely you would as well?
    That would be a fair 6 at Bellingen Andrew so maybe you got the ol’ man’s strength- you know the old saying about the Ox ( which fits a few non half backs I know) where they have the 2 similarities- large in one little in the other (strength and Brains) lol

  6. Paul Neale says

    Great column again Prop and Grubby half back marker of 8.75 this week and really loved the odd footy fact again, keep them coming please. For the first time this year I have nervous butterflies a week out from SOO, bring it on with the gay guy to score 2 and his Knight team mate to score a 50m solo effort to seal the game. I will have tour wardrobe ideas soon for u to select from , sorry didn’t have for this weeks edition Prop but graphics team flat out doing all the playing kits for QMC (QLD Murri Carnival) with 130 teams from under 14 to opens, plus 40 teams from 6-12, being played in September. Lastly, this Grubby old half back don’t miss getting run over by you big blokes from the engine room, in fact playing my best footy at 59 from the lounge chair. QUEENSLANDER

  7. Matt O'Hanlon says

    Stay solid GBH – 2 to Gagai and the winner to Ponga. (Both ex Mackay High students) sounds fitting. I hope you have passed on Rat Junior this week and no hurry on tour gear lol! What growth the QMC has had- would bring a big smile to a jersey makers face! All I need now is for the Maroons to provide my birthday present!

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