Feature Article

Cockbain – National Rugby Championship is ‘vital’

Wednesday January 22, 2014 by  

World Cup winning Wallaby Matt Cockbain is well placed to comment on the importance of the new National Rugby Championship (NRC). The RaboDirect Rebels Assistant Coach finished his career off with a stint in the now-defunct Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) in 2007, a competition he thought ended prematurely.

“I was asked by Gary Gray and Rod Macqueen to come down and be a part of the original Melbourne Rebels in the 2007 Australian Rugby Championship, when I was initially going to retire from playing,” Cockbain explains.

“It was the coming together of a number of Sydney & Brisbane club players, but we were very short on experience. That was something which I was able to provide with my background. At the age of 35, I was running around with the young blokes and some of the players in the current Rebels I’ve played with or against! Read more

Jack out of the box

Tuesday August 14, 2012 by  

Jack Ziebell returns this weekend from one of the most controversial suspensions in recent years. Should he change the way he plays? Nick Mockford looks into it further.

It’s been a crazy weekend of football. Again.

The Selwood antics, which most certainly were deliberate, and a pesky football that continued to cross the boundary line, perhaps not quite as deliberately. There were a couple of phenomenal performances from young Brownlow Medallists-in-waiting, several outstanding games borne out of high finals stakes, and another controversial press conference from a Scott twin. Read more

My own Dally M awards

Thursday September 8, 2011 by  

KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) – On Tuesday night Billy Slater was a worthy winner of the Dally M award for best player throughout the 2011 season. I can’t fault any of the award winners and can’t really justify why anyone else should have claimed a category.

Today I name my team of the year – these guys aren’t necessarily the best in their position, but they are the ones I have enjoyed watching. Yep, a popularity contest!

Fullback – Josh Hoffman (Broncos)

It’s a real shame injury has punctuated his season but Hoffman showed enough in his 16 games to prove he is an absolute gem. He’s been a more than worthy heir to Karmichael Hunt and will be New Zealand’s main fullback for a long time. Great in defence, attack and counter-attack. Also wonderful at a live match to sit behind the posts and watch Hoffman organise defenders. Read more

The greatest player I have ever seen

Thursday September 1, 2011 by  

KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) – On Sunday I will be one of more than 50,000 Brisbane fans to officially pay tribute to retiring superstar Darren Lockyer. All the rugby league I have ever watched has been in the Lockyer era and it will be quite surreal knowing he won’t be there anymore. Put simply – Darren Lockyer is the best in this business I have had the pleasure to watch with my own eyes.

Debut Season

When I was about 10 years old we used to go to the old Brisbane ANZ Stadium to watch the Broncos play – the year this began was 1995. That also happened to be the year a skinny blonde kid from Roma debuted at the great club as well.

My first Lockyer memory is of him kicking an easy goal late in a match and telling my grandparents, “Hey Darren Lockyer is on, this new kid is pretty good”. Of course I was the kid and how would I know talent, but I must have heard it somewhere and that judge was fairly good! Read more

The end of an era

Thursday August 18, 2011 by  

KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) – I started seriously following rugby league in the mid-90’s and remember attending my first game in 1995, watching Darren Lockyer’s early games at Brisbane’s version of ANZ Stadium.

His retirement is a big one for me, but so is everyone else’s this season. These are guys I have grown up with in rugby league and really, from next year, there will be no one left from my own personal ‘old-school’. Today I will pay my own tribute to the other 2011 retiring stars. Read more

A disappointing week all round

Thursday August 11, 2011 by  

KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) – It’s been another funny old week in the NRL and one that has sort of summed up the 2011 season. On one hand, I have loved watching the good teams play.

This current top eight will be in the Finals barring some kind of miracle – and we’ve known that for a month. The bottom eight have largely been terrible with Canberra, Parramatta, Roosters and Gold Coast at no stage challenging for a Finals berth. While I normally try and write positively, there’s too much negativity to avoid this week.

Parra woes

I don’t like Parramatta, I don’t support them and quite frankly I don’t care what happens at that club. But I do feel sorry for their fans, the coach and people like Nathan Hindmarsh. They were belted by 50 points the other night and probably deserved it. Read more

My thoughts on standalone Origin

Thursday August 4, 2011 by  

KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) – Last week we finally saw the formation of our independent commissioners to put us right on the verge of making this much talked about transformation. One of the big issues in recent months has been State of Origin with standalone games on a weekend favoured by players and clubs.

That will leave us with no club football at all for three (or four with the Test Match) weekends of the season. But I have a solution.

The Clubs

Most players and NRL clubs seem to agree Origin will be best suited to a Sunday night, with no other club games for that entire weekend. That means no one will be without their best players for potentially three matches of the season and no one has to back-up any less than five days after the match. This is a perfectly valid argument. Read more

Headlines, Crap Games and the outsiders

Thursday July 28, 2011 by  

KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) –Well, Week 21 of the 2011 NRL Premiership has been another one full of drama and interest. Before hitting some of the bigger issues – how about Canberra’s win on Monday night!!

That is one of the great hoodoos in any Australian support and you’d almost think it was scripted! But one last gasp try won’t make or break the season for either side. Moving on, and Jarryd Hayne kicks us off this week.

Player Behaviour Read more

Premiership a race in five

Thursday July 21, 2011 by  

KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) – If your team is not currently in the top third of the competition then I’m sorry, it’s time to plan for next year.

The current ladder reads Storm, Manly, Dragons, Broncos and Cowboys. The race for the last three spots will be exciting and these sides may give fans some hope, but with just 11 weeks to go the fab five are the only genuine contenders.

Manly – Team to Beat Read more

The Great Expansion Debate

Thursday July 14, 2011 by  

KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) – It seems a sure thing the NRL will increase by at least two sides at some stage in the next five years. The new Brisbane bid is the latest in the news with their claims as to why they must be given one of the licenses.

I live in Brisbane but am probably in the minority by stating I think there are better options to expand towards a ‘National’ rugby league competition. Without getting too deep with a corporate or demographic debate, I’m going to rate the contenders in order from an NRL fans’ perspective. Read more