Takeaway Roast – Bateman v Hooper

First edition of the ‘Takeaway Roast’ where I’ll give my take on the John Bateman v James Hooper stories from the weekend.

First a quick timeline of events:

Friday afternoon: James Hooper writes a story claiming that the Canberra Raiders had rejected 4 release requests by John Bateman’s management since last years Grand Final. When contacted by Fox, Bateman’s manager Isaac Moses was quoted “You’re wrong. You’ll see the full story.”
Fox Sports stood by the story
Later that afternoon, Fox update that story by Hooper claiming that Bateman is being shopped to rival clubs

Friday Evening: John Bateman takes to Twitter calling it a “bullshit story”, saying he has never asked for a release

Saturday morning: Raiders CEO Don Furner states that Bateman has been allowed to speak to other clubs

Saturday evening: John Bateman clarifies his position saying the Raiders gave him permission to speak with other clubs due to salary cap issues next year, and “have nothing for me from 2022”.

Sunday: James Hooper stands by his story on Triple M saying John “is ducking and diving a little bit”.

So what is the truth?

For me it’s a little bit of Column A, a little bit of Column B, with some extra salt and pepper.

Love or hate Isaac Moses, he is there to get the most for his client and himself (not necessarily in that order).

Under contract until the end of 2021, Bateman can’t speak with other clubs until November of 2020.

Moses is not going to sit on his arse for the next year waiting until he can speak with other clubs to get paid.

Getting a contract upgrade, or the ability to speak with other clubs to find out what they are willing to pay, is best for both Bateman (and of course Moses).

While not specifically asking for a ‘release’, Bateman/Moses would have been asking to speak with other clubs to get a value estimate.

Raiders could then negotiate to extend/upgrade to that, or THEN Bateman/Moses could ask for a release if they’re not happy.

Bateman even said this in his tweet on Saturday saying “I have a renegotiation clause in my deal for every year and that’s why we are working through it”

Asking for a release, and the ability to speak to other clubs to test your value, are 2 totally different things.

With both Moses and Bateman denying the ‘release’ part of Hooper’s story, and Hooper’s track record of misinformation, personally I am believing Bateman that he didn’t ask for a release, just the ability to test his value.

But let’s wait and see….


‘Player Revolt’ gets some clarity

It looks like a deal has been made between the players and the NRL on returning to training, after several media outlets reported that the players were set to strike over pay.

Joel Thompson (a director of the RLPA) took to twitter to clarify some misconceptions:

When asked exactly what those issues were, Thompson responded:

It looks as though the players will return to their clubs this coming Monday for a welfare seminar, where they will be updated on the pay arrangements going forward

What If: Bellamy to the Raiders

For me this is the biggest ‘sliding doors’ moment in the NRL of the past 20 years.

Back in 2002 the Raiders had a choice to sign Bellamy as coach.
They instead chose Matthew Elliott, who in his 5 year tenure would make the finals 4 times, without winning once.

So what if they chose Bellamy instead?

In 2002-2004 Bellamy would have got to work with talent looking to take that next step in their career like Joel and Michael Monaghan, Luke Davico, Ryan O’Hara, Alan Tongue, while mixing have veterans like Ruben Wiki, Clinton Schifcofske, and Jason Croker.

2005-2007 he would have a young halves pairing of Todd Carney and Terry Campese., as well as up and coming forwards like Michael Weyman, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Neville Costigan.

Another interesting piece of the puzzle was that before the 2003 season, Cameron Smith was touted as a replacement for then #9 Simon Woolford. He toured the facilites and was nearly going to sign. Instead Bellmay at the Storm favoured him over stalwart Richard Swain who would later joined Brisbane.

So…what if Bellamy at Canberra convinced Smith to sign with the Raiders?

Would a Bellamy/Smith partnership with all the talent that Raiders had in the mid 2000’s, lead the Raiders to raising the trophy at the end of the year multiple times?

I think so…

Living out of a car, to Player of the Year

Brandon Smith. “Bulldog”. “Wombat”. “The Cheese”. A character of the game that has turned into a cult figure among fans.

Last night he held a Q & A with Christian Welch on the Storm’s Instagram Live and he talked about what he is learning from the “GOAT”, Sandor and Munster training for social media, and what it’s like getting a spray from coach Craig Bellamy.

He also talked about moving to Brisbane in 2014 as a 16 year old after being sacked for off-field issues by the Cowboys.

“It was hard getting sacked by the coach, sitting there with my Mum and Dad” Smith told Welch.

“At the time my older brother had moved to Brisbane to play for Wynnum Manly and I moved back in with him”

“We had a few run ins…I ended up hanging out with all my mates that had moved from to Brisbane…and I ended up for like 3 months, sleeping in my mates car”

Picture Credit – SMP Images

Smith went on to explain he actually preferred it. He liked hanging with his mates having a good time, having no place to stay and running out of gas, ringing RACQ for $15 of fuel every now and then until they cancelled their subscriptions.

And it seemed to spur him on.

He would continue to turn up everday to train for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Mal Meninga Cup. Not letting his unique living arrangements interfer with his football

“My footy was still good…sleeping in a car or not, I’m still gonna rock up and train my arse off. Same with the game, I’m gonna play as hard as I can.”

And that he did.

A standout in the Mal Meninga Cup that year, winning the Player of the Year award and earning a new contract with the Cowboys.

Picture Credit – UQ Sport

(Quotes via Storm Instagram)


NRL.com currently have voting for best player in each position.
I thought I would look at the best strike centre, in my opinion

There is no doubt the Broncos were the team of the 90’s
4 Premierships in 7 years.
Langer, Lockyer, Walters, Tallis, Webcke, Sailor…the list goes on.
Renouf was also an integral part of the 90’s Broncos.
In and out of the team in 89/90, he would win the 1990 reserve grade Premiership, before cementing his place in the starting side in 1991 with 15 tries from 20 games, and QLD rewarding him with a spot on the bench in game 1 of that State of Origin series.
He would go on to make 13 appearances for the Maroons

The next year after lighting up the season with a memorable length of the field try in the Grand Final win over the Dragons, Renouf would make his Australian Debut in the World Cup final, scoring the only try in Australia’s 10-6 victory.
Renouf scored 11 tries in his 10 appearances for the Kangaroos.

Renouf’s try scoring strike rate over his 11 year career (140 tries in 169 games at Centre, S/R – 1.20 games per try) was phenomenal, bettered only by winger Ken Irvine.
7 players for the Broncos have scored 4 tries in a match, with Renouf the only one to do it multiple times. 5 times in fact.

Renouf’s time in Australia was cut short due to injury. A broken foot at age 28 forced him to retire from rep footy, with a broken arm just after his 29th birthday ending his Australian career.

Spending 2 years in England where he scored 43 tries in 59 games, showed that he still had it, and we missed some vintage years from “The Pearl”

R.I.P Greg Alexander

Greg “Brandy” Alexander’s commentating career was murdered last night after he was left hanging for a handshake in the after match post show for the Charity Shield

The footage is below but we must warn you, what you’re about to see may be disturbing for some viewers

The culprit for the murder was newly appointed Rabbitohs captain Adam Reynolds.

After tapping Brandy on the back to give the intention of a handshake, Reynolds just simply turns and brazenly walks away without offering his hand, in one of the most disturbing brushes on broadcast TV in recent memory.

Reynolds whereabouts are currently unknown after he was swifty taken away on the team bus moments after this assassination

Our thoughts and prayers go out the Greg, and his Fox Footy colleagues during this tough period.

How We Can Improve The All Stars Concept

The Indigenous v Maori All Stars match from the weekend was a resounding success, with a 25% increase in the crowd attendance, and 15% increase in TV viewers from the previous year.

(Congrats to the people boycotting it)

Are there ways we can make it bigger and better though?

As a huge fan of US sports and the way they run their competitions, I often look at what they do and how we can incorporate it into the NRL.

One thing I love is how the NFL have 2 weeks between their Championship games and the Super Bowl, allowing for their Pro Bowl and Skills Challenge to be held in between.

Starting the NRL season 1 week earlier and having a 2 week break between the Preliminary Finals and Grand Final, would allow a weekend that the NRL could hold a celebration of rugby league.

With a similar skills challenge (Fastest Man/Woman, Goal Kicking, Passing etc.) and Women’s All Star match on the Friday night, Under 23’s All Star match and NRL All Star match on the Saturday night, and the highlight being the Indigenous v Maori Men’s and Women’s matches on the Sunday.

How big would it be if all this was held at Bankwest Stadium? The place would be packed!

Add the teams involved in the Grand Final with attendances for signing sessions, press conferences etc. and utilise the 2 weeks to pump the Grand Final up even more.

Majority of the Indigenous and Maori players in the Super League could also be involved in the game with their season close to wrapping up at that stage, with most teams eliminated from their finals series.

Downside being that we have players involved in the Grand Final that will be unavailable, but even now that still affects the players in England for the World Club Challenge.

Either way I hope the NRL look at ways to make this game one of the highlight pieces of our game, as it sure has become entertaining as hell.

Son Of Steelers Legend Gets Crack In Trial

Tyran Wishart named for Dragons Trial

Dragons fans will see a familiar name in their trial against the Knights on Saturday.

Rod Wishart spent 10 seasons with the Steelers, and 1 with the Dragons in the inaugural season as a joint venture, and also represented his state and country on multiple times.

Now his son Tyran will run out for the Red V after he was named in the trial squad.

Tyran has been plying his trade as a five-eighth in Jersey Flegg the past 2 seasons, and will be interesting to see how much game time he gets this weekend

Dragons Hit With Trio Of Injuries

Paul McGregor’s job just got a little harder with the possibility he will be without Korbin Sims, Matt Dufty, and Cameron McInnes for the start of the season.

Korbin Sims is definitely ruled out after suffering a re-fracture of his arm that he broke in 2019.

Terrible news for Korbin who was seen to be clearly frustrated after the incident, and broke down not long after.

Earlier in the day, livewire back Matt Dufty was taken to the Perth hospital with a suspected fractured cheekbone. He will have to wait for scans to confirm.
He also faces a long trip home as he will have to take the train if the damage is that bad.

The biggest loss will be Dragons Captain Cam McInnes who was suspected of an MCL sprain, unknown how bad as yet.

Thoughts up for the trio, and we hope the injuries are not as bad as first reported.