Time for The Gurgler’s 2016 NRL Season Review, and we have just one last chance to moan, bitch and praise some of the NRL’s key moments.
Our 2016 NRL Season Review won’t be all negative, but it may seem to be biased that way. But if we are honest, the Sharks drought breaking premiership win aside, there wasn’t an abundance of good news stories this season.
OK Fox Sports taking over all NRL is certainly one, but it’s hard to find a great deal more.
Sure Queensland won another State of Origin series, but it was hardly a classic series.
Parramatta were a good and bad news story. Whilst supplying plenty of the bad, the way the Eels finished the season with wins, despite all the off season drama and missing so many players, was highly impressive and certainly a great point from the season. If not for the 12 point reduction they would have been finalists and hard to play. Although one could argue the 12 point drop was extremely lenient.
Canberra and Penrith may be good news stories next year.
But we’re talking about 2016 now, so without delay is our 2016 NRL Season Review with the top 10 points of interest for us.
THE SHARKS DESERVED THEIR MAIDEN PREMIERSHIP WIN
Once the game was over we were happy for them, although with turds like Fifita, Gallen and Ennis in the side, it was hard to get overly enthusiastic for their cause during the match. Playing the boring ruck destroyers Melbourne made it easier to accept their victory.
The Sharks had an incredible unbeaten run during the season, so it is hard to argue they weren’t one of the best during the regular season. Their final series perfromances were great too, beating Canberra in Canberra, reigning Premiers Cowboys and the Storm on their way to glory.
Good luck to them, a nice convenient good news story for the NRL to offer up after the Bulldogs drought breaker in the AFL the day before.
FOX SPORTS GOOD CHANNEL NEIN BAD
When the most recent TV deal was done it looked like the nightmare scenario of no Fox Sports coverage at all.
Thankfully NRL fans were given the very pleasant surprise of Fox Sports taking on all of the NRL games in 2016. And wasn’t it great?
Where Fox Sports brought a refreshing mix of commentators, reporters, analysis, and accompanying TV shows, Channel Nein looked tired and used.
Their only tricks seem to be using the Spider Cam when it was most annoying to do so, and claim victory when the Footy Show won a Logie.
Their whole commentary seems tired and in dire need of a freshen up. Yes, some of Fox Sports crew aren’t much better at times, with people having various beefs with various Fox Sports people over the season. But Fox Sorts’ rotation and overall professionalism ranks so much higher than the old two old men arguing schtick offered up by Channel Nein.
Whilst AFL’s Dennis Cometti retired to fanfare and praise after a quality innings broadcasting, Ray Warren chalks another year past his prime.
Maybe the gap in quality wouldn’t have been so pronounced had we seen a game on NRL before State of Origin, but it was awful all the same.
As a result, we’ve become Fox Sports snobs. It wouldn’t be a 2016 NRL Season Review without one final bash of Channel Nein.
CAN WE PLEASE GET THE DRAW SORTED PROPERLY FOR NEXT YEAR
Oi, NRL HQ, grow a pair and take over the scheduling for next year.
Yes there is commercial media interests to look after, but not at the detriment of you own game. And the general interest of the fans.
People love their Sunday Football, so how about sharing around the Sunday 4pm game. It has become a timeslot so full of dross, that it is the one game a week we would rarely watch.
We don’t want to see a game in Sydney between two Sydney teams just about every F***ing Week. Nor do we want a saturation of Broncos, Bulldogs and Parramatta on Fridays and Thursdays. Just the best games at the best times.
With Canberra looking strong in 2017, the NRL may not any choice but to up the Raiders usual batch of Origin time condescending allocation.
Commercial TV games really mean F*** all to us ultimately as we have Foxtel, but League fans everywhere who don’t deserve a better competition draw.
NOT GOING TO MISS MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Whilst on the draw, we are certainly glad to see Monday Night Football disappear.
With the shitload of sport we watch every weekend, we are completely sport fatigued by Monday night, so the move to a Friday night suits us well.
Arguments about that it will be hard to physically attend these games are void really, as these are the current Monday night games, and surely 6pm on a Friday night is far superior to attend than a 7pm on a Monday night.
I guess we’ll see in 2017 with the crowd numbers.
If you would like a history on Monday Night Football, we previously wrote a eulogy for Monday Night Football last month. We thought it was interesting enough to share.
STATE OF ORIGIN MUST BE STAND ALONE AND SOON
Another solid bitch that demanded to be addressed in our 2016 NRL Season Review was the Stand Alone Origin debate.
Simply put, the NRL sucks complete arse during Origin.
If it isn’t a rubbish 4, 5, or 6 game round, it is the round before the big Wednesday night games when Origin players are in camp. Or in the weeks during and after when they are rested or slightly injured enough to be left out.
It is shit, and no competition on earth ruins its own comp for so long and for such a large percentage of their season than the NRL allows around Origin time.
The NRL becomes almost unwatchable and untippable during this time and surely that is important. But you know it’s not important to the NRL. Only Origin between May and July.
The argument about the game needing to be on a Wednesday for commercial interest is rubbish too. If the game’s Grand Final can be played on a Sunday night (instead of a proper Sunday arvo 3pm kick off) and rate it’s arse off, then why wouldn’t the State of Origin clash get the same kind of exposure and rating on a Sunday night.
That would then leave the Friday night and Saturday night open to an expanded Pacific Nations test series with all teams playing each other once and a final used to determine the Pacific’s best
Any change to reduce the length of time between Game 1 and Game 3 would be great too, as it becomes tedious in the end. A standard kick off time would be a novelty and a welcome change too.
WHICH SIDE WAS THE BEST SUPPORTED in 2016
A cheap plug to our analysis of the most supported NRL Club overall in 2016. Read about our GFI – Gurgler Fan Index for Best Supported NRL Club for 2016. But it is interesting all the same.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD WITH SHARKS, CANBERRA, PENRITH, AND GOLD COAST ON THE RISE – BRONCS DOGS RABBITS CHOOKS ON THE SLIDE
It was a surprise to see clubs like South Sydney and the Roosters going so badly at times in 2017.
Equally it was a surprise when the Sharks couldn’t lose, and somehow Ricky Stuart hadn’t completely f***ed things up at Canberra, and they are now a very good rugby league side.
Not forgetting Gold Coast who were tipped by plenty to come last. Yet somehow finished in the Top 8.
Penrith finished the season very strongly, and have managed to re-sign most of their squad and should be close to favourites for next year’s comp. If they aren’t, load up early. Bet early – bet often.
Who knows, the big teams might just put things back together next year, and as a result put things back in their place. But it was great in 2016 to have such a diverse and entertaining final eight.
NEWCASTLE THE WORST SIDE IN A DECADE BUT GREAT FANS
Newcastle had the worst season in some time, and hopefully they can improve in 2017. Otherwise there’ll be even less to cheer for next year.
Given how their loyal fan showed up in 2016 despite the lack of results, they deserve better. The Knights fans rate higher than expected in our Supporter Analysis for 2016.
But with recruitment always seemingly on who is leaving rather than coming in, it looks a long, long road for the Knights.
NRL HIGH HORSE OVER FIFITA’S TEST SELECTION IS COMPLETELY LAUGHABLE
The NRL and their high horse over not selecting Andrew Fifita in the Test side, is some of their worst for the year. See above for other contenders.
If his behaviour wasn’t good enough for making the Test side, why was he allowed to play for his club. And how long does the Integrity unit need to determine guilt or not.
They have set a dangerous precedent now, that they surely will not follow and look like hypocrites at some stage in 2017.
If the behaviour is bad enough to smack their nose with a non test selection, then include State of Origin, and fine the arse out of them too, and give them plenty of weeks on the sidelines. Or maybe it will be as consistently applied as the Match Review Committee and Judiciary. Or as easy to follow as a Shoulder Charge ruling.
Pffft to the NRL.
WANT TO LEAVE NRL? NO WORRIES, THERE’s PLENTY OF TALENT BEHIND JUST WAITING FOR THEIR CHANCE
When former Gurgler Person of the Year Semi Radradra had the idea floated or leaving the NRL after a conveniently timed trip home to Fiji, it showed up one thing. That NRL players are greedy and think they are irreplaceable. But for Semi Radradra we offer up Bevan Feench. For Brett Stewart we offer up Tom Trbojevic. For South Sydney we offer up Cody Walker. For Billy Slater there is Cameron Munster.
And what about Vanivalu for the Storm and his try scoring ways.
For every big name players out, there has been an outstanding bunch of newbies ready and able to take their place. That is not mentioning the loads of talent in the two Intrust competitions in NSW and QLD who rarely get a chance.
So next time Rugby Union is used to boost contracts, Clubs should tell the players to LMB and leave for the boring as hell 15 man code and stand around for 75 minutes a game.
Or perhaps we need to talk about expansion agan. The argument for lack of playing talent is getting harder to justify.
On the flip side, please note Fox Sports, NRL and Channel 9. Jarryd Hayne is replaceable, as proved in his dream journey to NFL and Olympic Sevens.
Sure it’s great to have him back, but he is not the only story people want to hear about all the time.
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