This week a rule change exposed the Golden Boot award while Manly came to terms with Trent Barrett in a weird agreement.
GOLDEN BOOT FARCE – TOMMY WHO?
The prestigious Golden Boot Award has been slammed by Australian rugby league legends as England’s Tommy Makinson was named the recipient for 2018. Brad Fittler and Greg Alexander voicing their opinions quite strongly about the decision. Fittler suggesting that James Tedesco was a more fitting winner. And he probably would be, had it not been for a change in the way the award is handed out. This seemed to catch a few people out, including the respected Steve Mascord.
I asked to be removed from the Golden Boot panel about five weeks ago because I’ve hardly watched any NRL this year – maybe four games. That’s when I was told I’d not read the criteria properly – it’s only @IntlRL. So I stayed on.
— Steve Mascord (@therealsteavis) November 9, 2018
Maybe this change to the rules will be a wake up call to people involved in the game in Australia, that test football needs to be higher on the agenda.
SOUTH SYDNEY RETAIN JUNIORS
Penrith Panthers for so many years have led the way with re-signing for local products. South Sydney deserve that recognition as well with two of the most exciting players putting pen to paper during the week. Campbell Graham at only 19 years old has played 21 NRL games for the Bunnies and will be their long term wing option at the club, an outstanding prospect. Cameron Murray will turn 21 in January and has 34 appearances in the top grade to his name, not afraid to take on more experienced opponents. Both come off contract at the end of 2021.
ISABELLE KELLY WINS INAUGURAL WOMEN’S BOOT
Whilst there was controversy over the men’s Golden Boot winner, there was less fanfare about the winner of the first edition of the women’s award being Isabelle Kelly. She was one of Australia’s best at the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup, and followed it up with an outstanding match in the Women’s State of Origin back in June. What a groundbreaking year for the women’s game in Australia off the back of last year’s World Cup success, with increased television coverage thanks to the introduction of a four-team Women’s NRL played during the men’s finals series.
BAZ ON LEAVE WITH PAY
Most Manly fans are relieved for some closure with Trent Barrett after an agreement was reached during the week. But don’t celebrate so fast! Barrett will still be on the payroll of the Sea Eagles, but won’t be required to turn up in his capacity as a coach.
“On the understanding that Trent abides by his obligations under his employment contract, he is entitled to and will be paid each month in accordance with his contract.”, said the Sea Eagles statement on Friday.
It doesn’t quite give Manly a breakaway from Barrett and puts at risk off-field issues for the club in 2019. Quite possibly 2020 will be the best chance for Manly to return to somewhere near their capabilities. Give Hasler one-year to get the club back into place and the year after a good crack at the premiership title with the players he want, and Barrett finally locked out of the club.
OTHER NOTABLE NEWS
Brian Kelly has been given the all clear by Manly to join the Gold Coast Titans for next season. The Titans are starting to build their roster nicely as Tyrone Peachey made his first appearance for the side in an interview this week.
Lachlan Burr is off to the New Zealand Warriors after being part of the Canterbury Bulldogs’ successful Intrust Super Premiership title. He’ll be looking to play NRL for the first time in three years after making 24 appearances, almost exclusively for the Gold Coast Titans.
And this news is tied in with James Gavet’s move from the Warriors to Newcastle Knights. At 29, this will be Gavet’s fifth club after previous stints at the Bulldogs, Tigers, Broncos and the Warriors.