Articles by Play The Ball

I write this piece on Sunday afternoon – the best part of 24 hours on from the Warriors humiliating loss to the Canberra Raiders. I have spent the daytime hours since trying to figure out how they try to fix this mess up and trying to figure out who the players are that coach Andrew McFadden believes are not putting in enough effort. Let’s start with that perceived lack of effort. As a whole I found myself questioning the team’s commitment when watching the game play out. Where was the...
The Warriors players involved in the prescription drugs issue clearly deserve to be punished for their behaviour but there also needs to be serious caution around how that might play out. There is genuine concern about the mental well-being of the players involved and that does need to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind when dealing with this issue. Life is much more important than a game of football. My job as a rugby league commentator is to observe all aspects of the football club...
Five of the six misbehaving Warriors players were misusing prescription pills and energy drinks on their now infamous night out last week. Now we know the full story we can see the end result is they shouldn’t be playing in the test this week. We have arrived at the right end result but the manner in which we got there is still wrong in my opinion however. The Warriors shouldn’t have been the ones to ban them from playing international footy – that is the responsibility of the national...
Jim Doyle and the Warriors have totally over-stepped their mark by banning their six naughty NRL players from playing international footy this week. They have no jurisdiction to do it. Make no mistake – they have banned them and for some crazy reason the New Zealand Rugby League, Samoa, Tonga and the NRL have stood by and allowed this to happen. The game cannot allow this if they want to keep a shred of credibility for international rugby league. The International Rugby League...
I don’t want to sound like I’m beating up on the Warriors after one disappointing loss – even the best teams have bad days. Problem is however that I can see more bad days than good ones ahead with the approach the Warriors are employing at the moment. They have high ambitions – a top six finish a bare minimum according to managing director Jim Doyle – and the expectation from fans is also high given the number of high profile players on their 2016 roster. I think they got it wrong out of...
The Warriors poor start to the season cannot go unchecked. Someone needs to be axed. This isn’t one of those knee-jerk, over-the-top reactions fans have when their team doesn’t deliver first up. It is what needs to happen to turn things around before yet another NRL season is wasted. Warriors boss Jim Doyle made it very clear that anything less than a top six finishing position would be determined as a failure in 2016. Good on him for demanding excellence. The way the first two weeks have...
New year but the same pathetic showing first up from the Warriors to open the new NRL season. Coach Andrew McFadden described his side’s first half against the Tigers as “passive.” Close Andrew – but the word starting with “p” you were looking for was pathetic. It seems to be the usual way the Warriors begin a season these days. This is not your run-of-the-mill average Warriors side and this is no normal season in the NRL. “We got better in the second half,” and “we’ll be better for that...
The beach towels are already getting towards the back of the closet and this summer’s jandals are all but worn through. That means its footy season! The Broncos and Eels open the 2016 season tonight so I guess I should have a crack at trying to predict how the season might pan out. Silly really given the variables – injuries, rep season, rookie impact, momentum, refereeing decisions, impact of new rule changes etc but I’ll have a go none the less. As boring as it might be it is hard to go...
This might sound like a beat-up on Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell – it is nothing personal however. The guy seems like a good fella. He has all the attributes we like in pro sportsmen from a personality point of view. The problem is though, he’s missing the key ingredients to be a successful first grade player. The NRL Nines over the weekend provided the perfect example of how Hurrell just won’t cut it at the elite level – at least not in a Warriors side that already has plenty of what he...
It has become too easy to crack first grade. Staying there and surviving is another thing altogether but kids are getting opportunities these days long before they deserve them. Too many players arrive in the top flight on the back of one or two strong skills but with major shortcomings in other areas. This mentality produces footballers that are not mentally as developed as other sporting codes. The NRL prides itself on being one of the toughest professional sporting leagues in the world...
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