I am an avid and passionate fan of rugby league and greatly anticipate the coming Test matches, the World Cup and the next season. But I’m not alone when I say that something has gone wrong with our game.

These are the goal posts in the new league. Picture: Mark Evans

I have been a dedicated fan for over a decade, and while that may not seem that long to some, it is just under half my life and this is the first time I’ve felt disappointed by it.

Many have blamed the so called refereeing crisis, saying the officials need to be re-taught the rules but the problem goes deeper than this.

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  • Alex says:

    06:54pm | 03/12/12

    Hey Nick Good article for someone your 21 years. I ask those who have criticized as to wether Or not they could have written as well at your Age. Keep it up and hope to read more from The youth of today Read more »

  • TheRealDave says:

    06:47pm | 03/12/12

    As long as its based on NCAA rather than NFL rules. Because College Ball craps all over the No Fun League. As a side point. I retired from League aged 31, with a single game cameo at age 33. I played Gridiron this year aged 39 playing both offense and… Read more »


Being a Queenslander is something altogether greater than being a mere Australian. It allows us to regularly embrace mighty achievements, something that the rest of Australia does not understand.

'Hey Clive, what happened to Bob? Pic: Digitally created

When 13 players enter the football cauldron in Brisbane for a State of Origin game they unite with the unique pride, spirit and camaraderie of what it means to be a Queenslander. This Queensland spirit is broader than football - there are many examples throughout Queensland history to typify it.

The recent release of the 2011 Australian Census data is a good starting point for illustrating why the rest of Australia fails to appreciate what sets Queenslanders apart.

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  • white guy says:

    08:08pm | 02/07/12

    this is really racist Read more »

  • Louie the Fly says:

    07:54pm | 02/07/12

    We’ll decide that in August.  So Canberra is going to be clear and sunny for the whole month? Read more »


When you buy your ticket to the big game, you get certain privileges which don’t apply in the outside world. You get to leave your pie wrapper and beer cup at your feet. You get to yell insults at the match officials. And you get the right to boo to your heart’s content.

They're just about booing themselves

This right is not enshrined in the Australian constitution, nor even on the fine print of your ticket. But it should be, because booing at sport is as natural as cheering, even if it’s your own beloved team.

At the Super Rugby this weekend, a significant contingent of the 14,000 strong Sydney crowd booed the NSW Waratahs against the Western Force. They booed at halftime, then again at fulltime when their team’s slender lead had evaporated and they lost a match everyone expected them to win.

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  • crork says:

    03:01pm | 21/10/12

    byN91s Appreciate you sharing, great article.Really looking forward to read more. Read more »

  • Bob says:

    08:50am | 20/03/12

    I dropped rubbish as a kid, then i saw others do it as a teenager and saw behaviour i didn’t like. As an adult i’ll never drop rubbish, even in the cinema. To me it shows how much respect you have for your country regardless of whether someone is around… Read more »


Australia’s national rugby team, the Wallabies, have just just hopped into the side of a very large truck.

... and now straight back to third grade

The truck was driven by a bunch of Samoans masquerading as professional footballers, and has caused easily the biggest upset in world rugby in a decade.

This sad situation for Australian rugby, just eight weeks out from the World Cup, is made all the more amusing by the above-pictured story on Fox Sports this arvo, in which Wallaby player Nick Phipps was celebrated for his meteoric rise from third grade

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  • icon set says:

    09:19am | 02/11/12

    <a > Cold comfort!</a> Read more »

  • jf says:

    03:19pm | 18/07/11

    What sort of clown reads a piece on something they are not interested in? As the kids say met “get a life”. Read more »


I stood at a tin urinal alongside Mal Meninga once.

Gratuitous and ultimately irrelevant urinal shot. Photo: Supplied

I know it’s true because at some stage later that evening, post-urinal, amidst the hazy celebrations following a Queensland Origin win in Brisbane circa 1982, and having toasted the victory at several of the city’s nightclubs, I got a tattoo that extended up my inner calf and over the knee joint. It reads: “I stood at a tin urinal alongside Mal Meninga.’‘

Now what happens at the urinal stays at the urinal. I can only say that it was a thrill to be so near a champion footballer who, just hours before, had been tearing up Lang Park on behalf of the state. And suddenly there he was in the nightclub water closet, a bullock balanced on its hind hooves, staring into a cluster of deodoriser balls.

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  • Austin 3:16 says:

    08:58am | 16/07/11

    Seano - the NSW Minister for Truth. Give up, don’t give up who cares - the scoreboard certainly won’t. Read more »

  • Sore Toe says:

    08:12am | 16/07/11

    Who is Mal Malulinga.??  So much for fame in the world of the Square Football Club Read more »


What a victory for AFL in Sydney, hey? Over 33,000 flood the SCG to see the Swans play Hawthorn, while next door at the Sydney Football Stadium, a crowd of, ahem, 10,000 witnessed the NRL snooze fest between the Roosters and the Knights. A colourful SCG against a stadium in funereal military blue.

Maybe they need to try a different sort of reality TV. Photo: Brett Costello

That story is all over the papers. That story is easy. Lazy too.

It’s also burying the lead.

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  • Joycladdy says:

    06:44pm | 18/08/12

    iTv 3zH g4q aTl 8sC h5u zJp 3nO s2t sVq 8wG c4x hZn 5zW x6y hBp 5aU b4g jFz 5kM z9k iWo 5nC o2f  longchamp  insanity workout dvd hTb 8gB l1t rAy 1tX k0o bGi 4mH w6a vRg 9gH c3l qVl 4yW q8b nXf 2tF n7u nMt 6cW… Read more »

  • nigSoptoguink says:

    07:33pm | 04/07/12

    I realize you might be thinking that takes good thing about the salesmen with the sneaker merchants as well as keeping these via receiving a payment, however wherever but if your loyalty rest, along with your toes plus your individual pocket or perhaps if you’re faithful for you to a… Read more »


Good communication is critical in rugby and some of the stars of the Australian rugby team have taken it off the field and onto the web with a burst of activity on Twitter.

@giteau_rugby, @rabbit832 and @quadecooper before Saturday's game

Perhaps it’s from the giddy highs of their win against South Africa in Brisbane on Saturday, one of the best performances an Australian team has put on for many years. But over the weekend some of the squad’s key players have been hyperactive on the social network, talking to fans and pulling back the curtains on the Wallaby camp as they tweet about their roommates, pets, and practical jokes.

The tweeters comprise most of the Wallaby back line that starred on Saturday: Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper), Matt Giteau (@giteau_rugby), James O’Connor (@Rabbit832), Drew Mitchell (@drew_mitchell) and Adam Ashley-Cooper (@AdamCoopy).

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  • Sarah King says:

    09:13am | 13/07/11

    To Take a name of an Australian animal like Wallabies, Tassie Devils, Kangaroos, Wombats, Kookaburras, Koalas, Qualls,  etc, one needs to ask if the company who uses the names have any idea about the welfare of these poor animals? Wouldn’t it be great if support for there long term welfare… Read more »

  • All Bleek says:

    09:12am | 30/07/10

    Rugby being overtaken by Soccer for second place? Where’s your evidence for this? Because at the last QLD Roar game there weren’t even enough spectators to fill the QLD Rugby Club. Soccer is definately on the rise, but Rugby’s roots are still firmly planted in Australian culture, and moreso than… Read more »


What a week. A wave of elation swept the country in celebration of previously unimaginable sporting success. New national heroes were born.

Yeah mate it's called a trophy, you get them for winning

Or you were in Australia, where some world-beating, inspirational achievements went largely unnoticed and the nation is now facing into 18 busy sporting months where victories could well be the exception rather than the expectation.

Depending on your point of view, Australian sport is at one of its lowest-ever ebbs, or in a golden era of success – just in a bunch of sports that nobody cares very much about. Australians now bestride the world in motor sport, snooker, women’s cricket and pole vaulting.

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  • Nigel Catchlove says:

    12:11pm | 23/05/10

    What an disgusting viewpoint.  How about people who used to play sport but now don’t - there aren’t too many 48 year olds getting around AFL fields these day, but gee we still like to watch a good game.  According to your one-dimensional view I must be fat and can’t… Read more »

  • Sherekahn says:

    11:45am | 23/05/10

    Well it’s true, cyclists are viewed as a nuisance in Australia.  It is about time that we upgraded our regulations for cyclists. Bicycles should have front and rear lights fitted. Riders should wear luminous safety waistcoats of a standard colour, either the yellow or red. Red reflectors should be fitted… Read more »


Here we go. Another footy season, another pointless attempt to instruct trust-fund millionaires and insecure South Australians on the superior qualities of league over union and AFL.

Cronulla players after losing the grand final in 1973. Pic: News Ltd / File

I spent Saturday afternoon on the hill at Henson Park, a hell of a footy ground in the back streets of Sydney’s Marrickville and home to the mighty Newtown Jets. It’s a pure league experience – four bucks for parking, six bucks for admission (kids free) and cans of KB Lager. While the standard isn’t exactly first-class, there are aspects of Henson Park that you just don’t get at the big stadiums.

My favourite part of league is not the collisions or deft plays in attack, but watching a team pull together in adversity. It’s the theatre of watching 13 blokes lift themselves off the deck and put in for each other, regardless of the scoreboard. You see this sometimes in AFL, but almost never in Australian rugby union, where the backs and forwards don’t even train together, which is why the Wallabies will never beat the All Blacks with any regularity.

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  • Frank says:

    04:36pm | 24/03/10

    Ah Pierre Spies that man is the perfect athlete, quick yet extremely powerful. Read more »

  • Ben says:

    12:42am | 23/03/10

    What is it with the League ranter and the Union ranter both being united in preference of AFL over the Rugbies? Both the Rugbies are exciting to see when tries are scored because they have excitement in common. AFL on-the-other-hand has very little in common with either Rugby code and… Read more »


As a rugby union fan this is something I have wanted to say for many years and this experiment in discussing the merits of the code is really an excuse to get it off my chest. I can’t stand rugby league.

Forwards training for the real contest of rugby by scrum training with a tractor

It is just a bunch of meatheads running into each other repeatedly for 80 minutes. Most games are low-scoring affairs with extended periods of shuffling the ball up the pitch 30 yards before kicking it to the other team. And then it starts again.

For some reason the TV commentators treat this kind of action as if every bloke running into another bloke is the most exciting thing they have seen since the bike Santa left for them when they were five. They use the vocabulary of five-year-olds too.

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  • KLM says:

    08:52pm | 28/06/10

    It is an international sort played by most of the world unlike AFL and League which are mostly white games played in Australia. If you’re not white you will soon find out this very long and old truth. Ask the Mundine family and their dead relatives. Read more »

  • jack says:

    09:36pm | 22/03/10

    boring rugby every time they fom a scrum players sit down for 5min to tie there boot laces up. then there is the penalty try, a scrum forms on the 10mtr line, opposing halfback rushes into smother the ball opps penalty try awarded what a load of rubbish. and last… Read more »


Against my better judgment I turned on the rugby union on Saturday night to see the Wallabies vs the All Blacks, traditionally the biggest game on the Australian rah rah calendar.

It was probably at about the time of the fourth penalty for lying on the ball, or wrong side of the ruck or possibly, being rugby, driving the wrong make of luxury 4WD, that the remote finger got awfully itchy.

Soon I was simultaneously keeping up with the cricket, the silly science fiction movie on Channel 10 and Gordon Bray’s running commentary on how that wasn’t really a penalty under law 543, sub section b of the improperly binding to a maul code.

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  • Mommo says:

    09:56pm | 26/08/09

    Carl Palmer says:03:31pm | 26/08/09 With respect, what you’re doing on sat nite, or what your daughters boyfriend does to impress you isnt really relevant, but if you think that adds weight to your arguments, so be it.  For the record, as it may interest you, Ill be watching my… Read more »

  • Carl Palmer says:

    03:31pm | 26/08/09

    Mommo, I originally stated that last year was the first time a football code played a game (i.e. an official AFL home and away game) in every state and territory – yes including, Tassie, ACT & Darwin and whilst they played on smaller grounds still managed to increase attendances.  This… Read more »


What the hell are the Australian Rugby Union and Lote Tuqiri’s management trying to hide over the winger’s sacking from the Wallabies?

On the run: the mystery over Lote's sacking takes another side step

In another strange turn of events today lawyers for both the ARU and Lote have asked that documents relating to the case be suppressed from the media.

Lawyers acting for the ARU have said it would be “undesirable for any publicity until objective arguments were made by both sides”.

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  • Beldemon says:

    09:34pm | 07/08/09

    I’m so over fooze ball leo, so instead i’ll add some interest to the subject and ask, how you doin Read more »


News that the Australian Rugby Union has torn up the contract of Lote Tuqiri is bad news for the Wallabies players and their fans.

Tuqiri has been one of the best and most consistent performers for the Wallabies in what have been pretty lean times in recent years. It was only the year before last that the ARU saw fit to re-sign him on a $700,000 a year contract until 2012.

Great player with great hair

Yet we can’t really evaluate whether it was justified or not because the ARU isn’t saying why they sacked him.

With a series of recent crises enveloping the NRL and following John Elliot’s revelations about the AFL, the ARU will be super-sensitive to any bad publicity for its code. But the secrecy surrounding Tuqiri’s sacking only begs the question, what are they hiding?

Put simply, this stinks of the ARU wanting to protect its image as the gentleman’s code and not wanting to soil its reputation with details of why one its most highly paid players had been dumped mid-season.

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  • RAKEEF says:

    01:14am | 10/07/09

    They pay him 700k a year…Mr K I don’t think he’s a boofhead…I think the ARU are boofheads for making the commitment to resign him. We’ll see whose laughing all the way to the bank and I’m sure it wont be the ARU regardless of the outcome. Read more »

  • Sam says:

    12:47pm | 03/07/09

    Leo, having attended a rival rugby school of yours in Canberra, you can hardly take the high moral ground. I recall several years of many fellow students who were expelled from my school only to end up at yours, solely due to their rugby prowess (how many times did they… Read more »


You use different muscles when you’re fishing, You find that out the hard way on serious fishing trips. Recently I was taken out on the water after the Super 14 season with the fishing gurus from Modern Fishing magazine. I was little nervous as I was out with guys who drop a line, day in, day out and really know their stuff.

Another catch from a line out: Nathan Sharpe off the WA coast.

By the end of the day I was casting lures, my arms stiff as a board and struggling to match the distance the other guys were getting. I had to pretend that I wasn’t hurting. I couldn’t let them know I was struggling.

Fishing is my way of switching off. I love it. It’s just good to get in the boat and do battle with nature. I am lucky to live in Western Australia where the fishing is great and the scenery perfect.  My ideal day is to head out to Rottnest Island with my family or mates and just fish and swim. Throw in a couple of beers and it’s a great couple of days.

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  • Daylight robbery says:

    12:19am | 30/03/11

    Unfortunately this tourism precinct is about to be closed via no fishing zones up the Ningaloo coast as we speak Julia is buying votes from the Greens for their demand to close 30% of inshore Western Australia (10% of WA waters). Julia anticipates that the millions spent by anglers will… Read more »

  • Jen Taylor says:

    04:03pm | 23/02/11

    Based on what I saw on Sunday I’m guessing Nathan’s happy family is no more as he was seen in the ‘romantic’ company of another woman. lol Read more »


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