If the Queensland Maroons want to find the biggest grub in State of Origin they might want to look a bit closer to home.
Meanwhile, the sacking of Titans’ high performance manager Klint Hoare has put under pressure Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook on notice.
Read on for all the latest NRL news in Jimmy Brings.
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THE REAL GRUB OF ORIGIN – AND IT’S NOT LIAM MARTIN
If Blues backrower Liam Martin is – as the Queensland media have dubbed him – the new Paul Gallen then I am an astronaut.
Gallen was famously the Blues enforcer all of Queensland loved to hate after the NSW forward labeled everyone north of the Tweed River “two heads”.
But you’ve only got to line-up Queensland forward Felise Kaufusi’s match review committee and judicial rap sheet against Martin’s to figure out who the real villain playing in State of Origin II on Sunday night is.
Kaufusi has been charged with nine separate offenses and suspended for five weeks compared to Martin who has been charged with three offenses and suspended for a grand total of one match.
As the Eighth Immortal, Joey Johns, stated after Kaufusi somehow escaped suspension over the Sam Walker elbow in round 14, Kaufusi should be buying a lottery ticket.
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If there’s anyone qualified to talk about playing tough in State of Origin, it’s NSW champion and Australian front rower Steve Roach.
‘Blocker’ went up against all of the hard-nosed Maroons packs of the 1980s and early 1990s and couldn’t help but laugh at the barbs being thrown at Blues backrower Martin.
“If they’re trying to make Liam Martin out to be villain, they should look in their own backyard. It’s a no contest when you put Martin up against Felise Kaufusi. Have a look at their records. Case closed.”
Maroons forward Kaufusi’s rap sheet makes for ugly reading – seven dangerous contact charges including two chicken wings, a head slam, a grapple tackle and a charge of attacking an opponents head.
There’s also a tripping charge and careless high tackle charge.
Compared to Kaufusi, Martin’s still got the L-plates on.
The Blues backrower has only served one week on the sidelines suspended for a dangerous throw with his other two charges being contrary contact for attacking an opponents head and dangerous contact with a kicker.
You know it’s State of Origin time when a dirt file gets leaked to the media and turned into headlines.
It’s all part of the theater and it adds to the build-up of what’s at stake.
TITANS SACKING MAKES HOLBROOK NERVOUS
The Gold Coast Titans have quietly said goodbye to high performance manager Klint Hoare – who was a very close ally of head coach Justin Holbrook.
The Titans have been one of the biggest disappointments of 2022 with the move viewed as a warning shot that everyone at the club is under pressure.
The 13th Immortal Mal Meninga has also been spotted making weekly trips from Canberra to the Gold Coast to spend more time hands-on with Holbrook.
The Gold Coast are currently sitting last on the NRL ladder with only three wins from 15 games.
In fairness the Titans have been missing $1.2 million man David Fifita for six games and young gun fullback Jayden Campbell has only managed seven NRL appearances but it’s impossible to overlook how poor they’ve been.
There was genuine reason for optimism on the Gold Coast after they went within one pass of making it through to week two of the finals last year but what can go wrong, has gone wrong.
It was clearly a recruitment mistake letting captain Jamal Fogarty leave to join the Canberra Raiders.
Fifita will be back for the Titans round 16 match with the Knights in Newcastle but there’s no question the departure of Titans high performance manager Hoare has put everyone on notice.
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CROWE AND BENNETT LOCK HORNS OVER BURGESS
Wayne Bennett and Russell Crowe have spoken about the Sam Burgess situation with the Dolphins and South Sydney still locked in a standoff over who will secure the Rabbitohs 2014 Clive Churchill Medal winner as an assistant coach for next season.
The Bunnies initially wanted Burgess to work in a lower grades coaching role next year but after the Dolphins trumped them with an offer to work as Bennett’s right hand man, South Sydney have bumped up their offer.
Burgess was all but gone to the Dolphins to be one of Bennett’s assistants to the point where the champion forward was looking at property in Brisbane last week.
But Souths and Crowe in particular are refusing to lose him.
Supercoach Bennett and The Gladiator remain great mates from the seven-time premiership winner’s time coaching at Redfern with the trio all spending time staying at Crowe’s Nana Glenn property last month.
Burgess is believed to be genuinely torn about his next move. For the time being he’s focused on the team he’s coaching on the NSW mid north coast at Coffs Harbor the Orara Valley Axemen.
The Axemen are currently sitting on top of the ladder with six wins and only the one loss.
It’ll be a major coup for whoever ends up landing Sam on their coaching staff.
SHARKS CIRCLE NEW CONTRACT FOR MOYLAN
The Cronulla Sharks are closing in on putting the finishing touches on a new two-year contract for playmaker Matt Moylan.
Moylan, who turned 31 earlier this month, has played every game for the Sharks this season and rubber-stamped his new contract with a man of the match performance against the Gold Coast in Coffs Harbor in round 14.
After an injury-plagued three seasons where he managed only 34 NRL matches, Moylan made the major career decision to accept a $450,000 hair cut this season and has backed himself to win a new deal.
The Sharks were initially looking at only a one-year extension but the way he’s been able to play all 14 matches this year and his application to training has impressed everyone at Cronulla.
Expect Moylan’s new deal to be a two-year contract worth around the $800,000 mark.
Given the way his combination with Nicho Hynes has developed it’s a smart play from the Sharks.
COLLINS DECISION WAS A LOTTERY
There were plenty of good judges shaking their heads about how Roosters and Queensland forward Lindsay Collins escaped with a fine for his dangerous throw on Eels center Waqa Blake in round 15.
It had a striking resemblance to a tackle Raiders star Jack Wighton made on Warriors fullback Reece Walsh in round eight when the Blues center was hit with a grade two dangerous throw charge and suspended for two weeks.
The conspiracy theorists are suggesting Collins only got a grade one charge and a $2500 fine so the Roosters prop had a saloon passage into the Maroons State of Origin side for Origin II.
We’re in no way suggesting that but it was a surprise decision.
ALL BARK NO BITE
We had a good laugh at our old sparring partner Dean Bulldog Ritchie taking pot shots about our yarn on Luke Brooks being in the firing line to be dropped at Wests Tigers.
This is the same journo who complained about being sick and tired of journos bagging other journos’ yarns not so long ago over his Kalyn Ponga contract fiasco.
Remember that one?
The Knights have sensationally pulled the Kalyn Ponga contract. The Knights have sensationally re-tabled the deal.
It’s on. No, no, hold on, it’s off. Hold the phone, it’s back on.
For the record we had Wests Tigers decision makers on the phone on Tuesday morning wanting to know how we’d got hold of the information about Brooks being dropped.
The conversations they’d had at the club were supposed to remain private.
Brooks was scheduled for a Tuesday meeting with interim coach Brett Kimmorley at Concord but that was canceled after other media got wind of it.
Brooks will now meet Kimmorley on Thursday to discuss the next steps at Wests Tigers.
The plan on Monday night was the Tigers were going to drop him.