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Abuse of Kasey Badger goes way beyond the pale – both on and off the field – The Roar

Round 9 saw some great rugby league matches in a week that many thought would be a walkover, but unfortunately we’re stuck in referee bashing land once again. Here come your talking points from the weekend.

A disgraceful weekend

Sometime today, Graham Annesley, head of the NRL’s elite football competitions, will face the media and discuss the referees’ key decisions, and there was plenty to do this weekend.

A month ago I called on Annesley to either support his referees in these Monday sessions or to stop altogether, because too often he chooses the soft option and leaves his team hanging.

It’s time again to call on him to show some backbone. Instead of slamming Kasey Badger for her management of the Wests Tigers-Canterbury game, why not highlight the players who acted like children and screamed in her face like angry toddlers after every decision (right or wrong ) from the first whistle.

Why not denounce the avalanche of vile abuse she endured from online man-babies, who gleefully charged at the referee ‘not because she’s a woman’, but with horrendous sexist abuse anyway.

Mistakes were made in every game this weekend. Just ask the Warriors how they felt the bunker treated them. Badger was badly let down by her linesmen and also by the bunker. Many will point to four successful captain challenges as a crutch for abuse, but in the grand scheme of things this means absolutely nothing.

Half of the games this weekend had two successful challenges, each game had challenges that were either successful or not. That’s what they are for.

One of the worst things about our game is the way we treat referees, and I really hate talking about that every week. Referees are involved in every match and every decision. Everyone grabs the referees. I did it, you did it. Every week it’s embarrassing to see how supposedly grown adults react to a referee’s decision, but damn, Tigers vs. Bulldogs was something else.

If you know someone who acts like a clown about something as pointless as being a referee in a sports competition, come over to him/her and ask if they’re okay. We all need to get better.

One more thing: many people also cried this week about ex-players having to sit in the bunker to make the calls, seemingly forgetting the 283-game St George Illawarra and Bulldogs veteran Luke Patten who built and ran the bunker we have today (he currently chairs the NRL Match Review Committee). Patten was panned during his bunker stint.

Henry Perenara played 72 NRL matches before moving to referee and also working in the bunker, and he was withdrawn after making mistakes in the bunker before leaving the game altogether. So what are we talking about here?

Stop trying to belt Reed Mahoney

What an unlucky guy Bulldogs hooker Reed Mahoney is. The man constantly finds himself in situations where people get so excited trying to catch him that they lose control and give away a penalty, or don’t concentrate on the game. This time it was the Tigers’ Alex Seyfarth who couldn’t keep his composure and was thrown out after aiming a rather ambitious headbutt at the Canterbury rake.

There is a simple solution: ignore him! Sure, you might want to cheer him on and feel better, but in the great tradition of Billy Slater, Michael Ennis, Paul Gallen and a host of others, if you’re the one responding to him, you’ve lost the battle.

Who is the biggest disappointment of 2024?

Perennial contenders South Sydney are in last place and have fired their coach, Newcastle are picking up wins but not coming close to what they promised, North Queensland has fallen like a rock from the final places and Parramatta can’t shake injuries and poor play overcome, but has the best of the season been thrown into the water?

New Zealand started this season in a hot, hot heat after a preliminary final and there was a lot to say about their squad, line-up and coach. After falling 14-8 to the Knights, they sit 14th with three wins from nine games, two games outside the top eight.

But is it all as bad as we might think? The Warriors have scored twenty or more five times and conceded twenty or more four times. They have five losses by six points or fewer (four by four or fewer). Maybe it’s just one of those seasons?

They’ve had a tough run heading into their first bye of the year, with the Roosters this week, then Penrith, The Dolphins and a bye. If they can’t get at least two, they can forget all plans for the top four.

Good games this week

After the pleasant surprise that round eight gave us, we’re heading into our last ‘normal’ weekend of football until Magic Round and then State of Origin ruins everything.

Things go well on Thursday when Manly go to Suncorp to face The Dolphins. The Dolphins continue to challenge all comers, but Manly learned a very valuable lesson last week and as they progress they will certainly look to persevere.

Friday’s pub game features the Panthers and Bulldogs, which may be interesting, but risks stifling Penrith again. Primetime goes to Parramatta and Brisbane on Friday, a match that could have been something if the schedule had been known.

Saturday starts with an intriguing match between Wests Tigers and a resilient Newcastle, before the Dragons and Bunnies look to step up and the Storm host top-flight Sharks in a belter.

Sunday’s set starts with the Roosters and Warriors and New Zealand could be in real danger here. The round ends with the Titans and Cowboys on the Gold Coast, and Des Hasler’s men have a real chance of victory.

Canberra have the bye and a handy two points in the overall battle for the top eight.

This round’s random thoughts

– More James Graham on rugby league television, please. What a breath of fresh air we get in the occasional Fox NRL broadcasts from someone who really understands the modern game.
– Manly coach Anthony Seibold was quite interesting in his press conference after his Sea Eagles lost 20-0, then 24-6, losing 26-24 to Canberra. It’s worth watching – well-considered, reasonable and thoughtful, when he could have just gone crazy and blamed everyone around him and the referees.
– Am I the only one who thinks post-match coverage is sorely lacking in the NRL? What happened to good old match review and analysis instead of jumping straight to another game or show? We’re fortunate enough to be able to watch the game we just watched in depth maybe three times a week. If there is a lot of focus on reporting in the aftermath of a match, why can’t we have a match review during the week?
– What a play from James Tedesco and the Roosters, lighting up the Broncos 40-18. This is why people can’t pass them up when it comes to the top four and premiership talks.
– Shoutouts to The Dolphins and Newcastle, both teams with major injury concerns but who keep showing up and charging in. Two important wins over the Cowboys and Warriors keep the finals alive as there is still a long way to go.
– Speaking of injuries: we are getting more and more. Teams are already risking their depth players getting injured before the State of Origin period. Who’s going to make it?

What did you notice this weekend, Roarers?