Why the Tigers are unhappy with Robbie Farah … again
Ah, Robbie. You’ve done it again. He’s not even at the Tigers, but he’s still getting under the skin of his old club.
Farah raised eyebrows with his tackle on Mitchell Moses in the first half of Friday night’s game that left the Tigers No.6 clutching the same ankle he injured in the All Stars game last month.
There are people in Tiger Town who weren’t too impressed with the way Farah manipulated his former teammate’s foot while he was held on the floor in a tackle at ANZ Stadium. When asked if Farah deliberately twisted the ankle of his Lebanon teammate, one Tigers insider said: “What do you reckon?”
There were plenty of words exchanged between Farah and his former teammates during the grudge match, with captain Aaron Woods making a beeline for his ex-skipper throughout the contest. It’s interesting to note Farah didn’t make an appearance in the Wests Tigers sheds after the game.
Farah business: The Wests Tigers aren’t happy with Robbie Farah’s tackle on Mitchell Moses.
Eels won’t get back on Hayne plane
???There’s been so much talk about Jarryd Hayne over the past week, and it will only intensify as he prepares to face his old team for the first time in round three.
However, don’t expect his old club to have a lash at him when he starts planning for what he will do in 2018. Hayne has an option to stay at the Titans next year, but all is not well on the holiday strip between the former 49ers running back and his new club.
Hayne has already admitted he will weigh up all his options. It’s unlikely Parramatta will be one of them. The Eels aren’t keen on bringing Hayne back to the club and are more than happy with the development of fullback Bevan French, who they view as the face of the club over the next decade.
They’ve also been left scarred by Hayne turning down the chance to return to the club last season in favour of a lucrative deal with the Titans. Things can change quickly in rugby league, but they’ll have to change dramatically if the Eels are to have another lash at bringing the prodigal son home.
Light touch welcome for Frizell
It was great to see Tyson Frizell get away with touching referee Henry Perenara on Saturday without an overreaction from the governing body. The Dragons back-rower was the victim of a bizarre crackdown last year, serving a one-game ban for the most innocuous of touches of an official.
The NRL is rightfully trying to set an example to young kids and has done a great job of ensuring players treat officals with respect, but there’s touching the referee and there’s what Tyson Frizell has now done twice.
His latest, where he came into minor contact with the official against the Panthers last week – probably happens three or four times a round if you look closely. Under the revamped judiciary system, Frizell would have been fined if he was found to have made avoidable contact, however the contact was reviewed by the match review committee and deemed incidental as Frizell positioned himself in the defensive line. Thankfully common sense prevailed.
Minimal contact: Tyson Frizell touches referee Henry Perenara during the Dragons’ round-one win over Penrith.
Johnson open to offers
A couple of n clubs have fielded calls to get a gauge of their interest in the Warriors No.7. The whispers about Shaun Johnson being frustrated with the merry-go-round of coaches and tired of the fishbowl of Auckland are getting louder.
The Warriors are deep in negotiations to keep him at the club, but if things don’t progress soon, expect him to start talking to those n clubs monitoring the situation across the ditch.
Bunker bunkers down
It was refreshing to see referees backing themselves to make decisions over the opening round of the season. The bunker was called in to adjudicate on tries an average of 3.54 times per game last season. That dropped to 2.1 over the first round of the new season. More of that, please.
Taylor stitched up
The Wests Tigers have made some dud purchases in recent years, but Elijah Taylor could well be their best buy in a long time. He’s as tough as they come.
He felt the full force of Sam Burgess in a bone-crushing tackle on Friday night and remarkably got straight back to his feet and kept running with blood pouring out of his ear. He required eight stitches to repair the damage.
Lobe blow: Elijah Taylor needed eight stitches after clash with Sam Burgess.
???Panthers furious with Packer tackle
Penrith are livid over a tackle from Dragons prop Russell Packer that fractured the eye socket of Peta Hiku. The Panthers back played the next 78 minutes with the fracture after a swinging arm from the St George Illawarra front-rower collected him.
Packer wasn’t penalised for the swinging arm, nor was he charged by the match review committee. Hiku will now miss the next month of football.
The NSW Blues have decided to train at Leichhardt Oval when they set up camp in Sydney for game two. They did train at Coogee Oval during their beachside camps, however they often found themselves on the look out for a new ground when the council would close the ground in wet weather.
Mini’s Italian job
Roosters legend Anthony Minichiello will join Cameron Ciraldo in the Italian coaching box at this year’s world cup, overseeing a side that could feature Tigers superstar James Tedesco.
“If he doesn’t get picked for then we can’t wait to have him in the side. But I think he will be there with ,” said Minichiello, who will be Italy’s assistant coach.
“He’s the form fullback of the competition. He played centre for us in the 2013 World Cup and you just knew he was something special. He was electric. You knew this kid was going to be something.”
Minichiello insists he never contemplated coming out of retirement to play in the World Cup for the Azzuri.
“No way. The Roosters were trying desperately to get me to play nines this year,” he said. “But once I’m retired, I’m retired. I retired at the right time and have no aspirations to pull on a jersey again.”
World Cup-bound: Anthony Minichiello (right) has been announced as assistant coach for the Italian rugby league team, alongside head coach Cameron Ciraldo. Photo: Steve Christo