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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bring it on 

Did someone just scream sex scandal?

Well, you know what that means - the 2007 rugby league season must be about to start!
Less than two weeks out from the season kick-off, the National Rugby League has been rocked by another off-field incident with Gold Coast front rower Anthony Laffranchi charged with sexual assault.

While the pre-season allegations against Laffranchi aren't stopping him from playing this weekend in his club's debut against St George Illawarra he's following on the fine pre-season tradition of bringing rugby league into disrepute just before kick off.

Laffranchi follows Penrith captain's Craig Gower's rather public indiscretion a few months before last season:
At the centre of the controversy surrounding Gower is the allegation that he groped the daughter of league legend Wayne Pierce at a presentation dinner for the Jack Newton Celebrity Golf Challenge on the Sunshine Coast....Gower is also accused of damaging a golf car, walking around naked at a Sunshine Coast resort, being kicked out of an official function and harassing the partner of a high-profile journalist.

And, of course, the "we play dirty" Bulldogs big night out the year before.

So anyway, onwards and upwards - NRL 2007 round 1.

And what a season we've got - two games on a Friday, a new team in the comp, and lets not forget the greatest thing of all...our weekends will become a day longer!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, we have Monday Night football.

So girlfriends everywhere, you can stick that "there's no reason to be drinking on a Monday night" theory right up your ass.

We've got the league expert's seasons predictions up at onthepunt - bear in mind in 2006 he lost more money than he won...

But the analysis makes interesting reading.

While he rates the Storm, the Broncos and the Cowboys he predicts mid-table finishes for the Warriors -"Brent Webb is a massive loss" - the Bulldogs, the Dragons, the Knights and mid to top for the Eels .

But then he proceeds to rip the shit out of the Tigers, Roosters, Rabbits, Panthers, Tigers, Titans and especially the Sharks:
On paper, they challenge for the worst line-up in the NRL, with only Kimmorley and Gallen having the ability to continually play at a level higher than a regular first grader. There is no doubt that Kimmorley needed a shake up to his playing style and enthusiasm for the game. The arrival of new coach Stuart may be just the tonic, but there still has to be a massive chance that these two dominant characters with large egos will not end up combining satisfactorily, and this season could be an absolute blow out for the Sharks until Stuart gets to put his own mark on the squad through player recruitment and retention at season’s end. Even given a harmonious coach/captain relationship, Cronulla will need a fit Ben Ross, and repeats of good ’06 seasons from Thompson, Gallen and Dykes as well as a lot of luck. Their home ground advantage has evaporated over the past couple of seasons, and I can see the Shire’s winless streak almost certainly reaching 41 years. In summary, the Sharks are an ordinary looking side with lots of negative questionables, leading to them being my standout Wooden Spoon tip.

Take that you lowly rats.

The Raiders he suggests may surprise:
For Canberra, the first grade hopes will be pinned on teenagers and rookies like new halves combination, Todd Carney and Michael Dobson. Add some of the best young forwards in the game like Weyman and Leahroyd-Lahrs along with a number of Alan Tongue style role players and defenders, and I am certain that Canberra will upset many sides. One thing is for sure though, they will be outsiders just about every time they go around (which is just how they like it).

The TAB has even kindly posted its odds early for this weekend's clashes.

Round 1 we have -

Broncos - Cowboys
Titans - Dragons
Sea Eagles - Raiders
Storm - Tigers
Knights - Bulldogs
Sharks - Panthers
Roosters - Rabbits
Warriors - Eels

Check back later this week for Bennyasena's Round 1 tips!

Afterthought: this blog was supposed to be solely focused on league - but then I read this on the web and felt I just had to comment: I mean come on kids, this sort of behaviour is just shit.

I agree the season has started with sex, sex and more sex.
Who is the ex NZ league player up on rape charges?????


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