NRL 2020: rule changes, scrums, Bunker, six-again, Round 20, Broncos vs Cowboys, Warriors vs Manly Sea Eagles


The NRL will trial four new rules during the dead rubber style matches this weekend and just like when any other time changes have been introduced to the great game, there’s been a mixed reaction.

The rules, which will be trialled in Thursday’s Broncos-Cowboys clash and Sunday’s Warriors-Manly match, include a change to the Bunker referral process, forwards-only scrums, a handover rather than a scrum for kicks into touch and the use of the six-again rule for 10-metre infringements.

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Round 20

The Bunker change, deemed by The Australian’s Brent Read as a “no-brainer,” will be welcomed by everyone after a blunder in last week’s Rabbitohs-Bulldogs clash saw Jaxson Paulo awarded a try despite his foot going over the touchline.



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New Zealand Warriors vs Manly Sea Eagles Tips, Teams and Odds – NRL 2020 Round 20


Round 20 of the NRL season will see New Zealand Warriors host
Manly Sea Eagles
at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday September 27, 2020. Manly Sea Eagles are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 2:00 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the New Zealand Warriors vs.
Manly Sea Eagles
game live.

When: Sunday September 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm

Where: Central Coast Stadium

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

New Zealand Warriors vs Manly Sea Eagles Odds

New Zealand Warriors vs Manly Sea Eagles Preview

Sunday will see Central Coast Stadium play host to a dead rubber between New Zealand Warriors and Manly Sea Eagles.

It’s been a hell of a long season for the Warriors and they’ll be looking forward to getting home no doubt.

Tipping them to go out on a high here and upset Manly.

New Zealand Warriors vs Manly Sea Eagles Tip





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NRL 2020: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Addin Fonua-Blake confirms New Zealand Warriors move


Manly prop Addin Fonua-Blake has confirmed his move to the Warriors on a three-year deal after the Tongan international asked for a release from the Sea Eagles last week.

The front-rower, 24, took to social media on Tuesday to thank his Manly teammates after the club gave him permission to speak to rival sides.

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“Hardest decision I’ve had to make of my career but after 6 years with this family my time has come to an end,” Fonua-Blake wrote on Instagram.

Round 20

“I’d like to thank everyone from the coaching staff and all the players to all the loyal fans that stuck with us/me through every hard time we had over the past 6 years.



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West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood Magpies Tips, Teams and Odds – AFL 2020 Elimination Final


West Coast Eagles host
Collingwood Magpies
at Optus Stadium on Saturday October 3, 2020. West Coast Eagles are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 8:10 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the West Coast Eagles vs.
Collingwood Magpies
game live.

When: Saturday October 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Where: Optus Stadium

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood Magpies Odds

West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood Magpies Preview

Another finals thriller looks set to take place when West Coast host Collingwood in a repeat of the 2018 AFL Grand Final.

Obviously the 2018 Grand Final didn’t go the way of Collingwood and would love to get a bit of payback on the Eagles here.

These two sides have been a bit unconvincing recently so it’s hard to line the two sides up on form.

Backing the Eagles to win this as it’s hard to find too many flaws in their side at the moment.

First Goal Scorer

First Goal Scorer:

Josh J. Kennedy at $.





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Eagles would be ‘pretty confident’ facing the Pies: Nathan Buckley


But Buckley said the Magpies would not use that round eight game as a reference point. “One thing I won’t be doing is looking back at how we played that game because we played a long way from where we have for the majority of this year.

“If you’re using that as a check point, I’m happy for others to do that but we won’t be.”

Buckley was disappointed with Collingwood’s loss to Port Adelaide, in a match that would have given the Pies a home final in Queensland, rather than one in Perth against the formidable West Coast.

Buckley said they would have liked to win, not just for the club, “but for Pendles”. Captain Scott Pendlebury set a club record for games played (314), passing Tony Shaw and also Buckley’s own record for most games as captain.

“It is disappointing not to get the job done. I don’t think it was a lack of effort or want. We didn’t do the basics well enough. We didn’t test them with effective ball use often enough.”

Buckley suggested the loss could be read two ways, given Port were the top side.

“If that’s the best team in the comp – and the ladder shows that they are – we’re either not far away or a long way away. It’s quite marginal in the contest….we’ll get learnings out of that.”

Buckley said the Pies had overused handball under pressure: “It’s a familiar refrain but we were probably too happy to look for handballs under pressure, slippery conditions. We went forwards better in periods, trusted our contest a little bit more.”

But the Collingwood coach said the Pies had “to take the positives out of our year and out of this performance” and then “look to improve on where we fell short”.

Buckley said Port were very good “inside” the contest, “in particular in clearance, in particular in centre bounce.” Port won the centre bounces 14-4 over the match and dominated that area in the second half, giving them a territorial advantage (inside 50 entries were 35 to Port’s 44).

Buckley said the Magpies would be familiar with the travelling and quarantine set-up in Joondalup. “We would have an elimination final here or one in Perth. In the end, you’ve got to win – that doesn’t change.”

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NRL 2020: State of Origin, Michael Morgan injury, Cowboys, Tom Trbojevic injury, Manly Sea Eagles, NSW, Brad Fittler


Cowboys star Michael Morgan has reportedly ruled himself out of this year’s State of Origin series, while freshly injured Manly star Tom Trbojevic has been urged to do the same as part of his “responsibility” to the club.

The horrific injury toll of this season has already had an effect on Origin with Broncos star David Fifita ruled out of the series after picking up a serious ankle injury over the weekend.

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Now, according to 7 News, Cowboys skipper and incumbent Maroons centre Michael Morgan has made the call to sit out of the series due to a shoulder injury that’s hindered him to just six games this year.

Round 20

“7 News understands Morgan has ruled himself out of the series due to a nagging shoulder injury,” reporter Chris Garry said on Monday.



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Pies trying to avoid Eagles in Perth, Port go for top spot


A good quarter for Port Adelaide. They’ve opened up a gap on the Pies in a tight contest, off the back of good work from centre bounces and an inspired bit of ruck work from Charlie Dixon.

He wasn’t in the game marking and contesting but inserted himself through that ruck grab and goal.

Worryingly for the Pies, Jordan De Goey has only had two touches. But the ball hasn’t been up there much.

Port are also ruling the skies, taking 11 intercept marks to four. They’re doing well even with Tom Clurey out of the side injured.

There were four lead changes in that second term too.

Grundy and Lycett in the ruck.Credit:Getty Images



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NRL 2020: Manly Sea Eagles vs Gold Coast Titans, live stream, live blog, live scores, SuperCoach, Tom Trbojevic, highlights


The high-flying Titans completely outclassed an error-riddled Manly pack to bag their fourth straight win and equal the club’s highest ever score with a 42-24 demolition at Lottoland.

All eyes were on Manly’s superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic who made his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined since Round 6. It was a forgettable afternoon for Turbo, who besides an impressive chase, had a rusty return.

MATCH CENTRE: Sea Eagles vs Titans, scores, stats, teams, SuperCoach

NSW coach Brad Fittler will be sweating over Trbojevic who left the field with a shoulder “stinger” as the Origin series creeps closer.

Round 19

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Kieran Foran opens up on late fan’s hope for his return to Manly Sea Eagles


‘‘What transpires between her family and the club is confidential. We do not comment on who donates what to our foundation. That’s between the individual and the club. What I will say is that there is no link between anything that may happen and any player being signed by our club. That can’t happen.’’

Duchen was a highly respected figure in the legal fraternity. She had close relationships with Foran, Api Koroisau and Dylan Walker.

Foran this week paid tribute to her on Instagram.

‘‘I want her family to know how much I respect her,’’ he said. ‘‘We always talked about me going back to Manly and she would ask me all the time if I could make it happen. Obviously if things fell into place and I ended up there again she would be in my thoughts every day I was there. I know it’s what she wanted and of course the move has appeal to me. I don’t know if it’s possible. It would be a lovely way for me to honour her memory and her contribution to my life.’’

The pending departure of Addin Fonua-Blake will free up room in the Sea Eagles’ salary cap for Foran to finish up at Manly, but a deal is yet to be struck.

Bunker blues

The bunker is such a headache for the NRL that officials have privately floated the idea of utilising the views of its biggest critics – television commentators such as Phil Gould, Paul Gallen and Andrew Johns – to help officials make decisions.

The discussion has been held internally and was raised by NRL head of football Graham Annesley. But with Peter V’landys in charge, the focus is on ramping up technology and reducing the number of voices in the bunker.

It’s something I’ve heard externally, but we need to go the other way and remove the voices.

Peter V’landys

The latest moves to restore the bunker’s credibility – cutting back to one official – are high risk. Tapping into TV commentary to avoid howlers is something Annesley liked the idea of, but it won’t happen.

‘‘It’s something I’ve heard externally, but we need to go the other way and remove the voices,’’ V’landys said. ‘‘My view is the way we need to move is towards a greater reliance on technology. Things like Hawkeye are changing all the time and we need to be at the cutting edge. We will review the technology and develop that area.’’

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Annesley was clearly frustrated this week when the bunker denied Roosters prop Lindsay Collins a try in their game against the Knights. The bungle occurred when the senior review official in the bunker and his assistant – a former player – could not agree on the decision. So Annesley dumped ex-players from the bunker. It is a high-risk strategy that will heap more pressure on officials who make the wrong call.

Many believe a better strategy involves three officials reviewing contentious decisions to ensure the worst-case scenario is a 2-1 verdict. Another model discussed at the NRL entails somebody listening to the TV commentary and giving the official a ‘‘heads up’’.

‘‘The experts don’t always get it right in commentary,’’ V’landys said. ‘‘In fact, I think the bunker criticism is over the top. It gets the right decision 99 per cent of the time.’’

Sam dunk

The Sam Burgess ‘‘comeback’’ story has plenty of appeal. We’ve seen the publicity generated by Sonny Bill Williams’ return.

The potential return of Sam Burgess is fraught with issues.Credit:Getty

But the idea carries a fundamental flaw: when he left the NRL at the end of last season, Burgess signed a document stating he would never play professionally again. The mere suggestion has prompted a backlash from clubs.

There is also another can of worms that could be opened around his retirement and the way it happened if Souths start to push the envelope. Stay tuned.

Clause and effect

The Joseph Suaalii story has a life of its own. At 17 he is a walking headline, as league and rugby do battle for his services while he completes his year 11 exams. It makes for uncomfortable reporting but the money, hype and talent put him on the radar of every media outlet. His family was criticised because someone advised them to try and insert clauses into the deal he is negotiating with Souths and Rugby Australia that would allow him to leave whenever he wants.

As Paul Gallen said on 100% Footy, it’s the kind of demand befitting Sonny Bill Williams. Wayne Bennett wasn’t happy and confirmed the clauses are a stumbling block. Souths believe the Olympics are Suaalii’s goal. One club insider told me he needs to tell them which sport he wants to play before they can make another offer.

Interim measures?

The delay in the interview process for the Broncos coaching job has led to all kinds of stories. The most interesting suggestion to come my way is Stephen Kearney to be an interim coach next year, followed by Craig Bellamy in 2022. It’s hard to think the Broncos would want to sacrifice a year, and Bellamy has said 2021 will be his last. But rugby league is full of odd happenings and if you can get Bellamy it may be worth burning a year.

Tough to watch

Fox Sports gets a lot of things right with its NRL coverage, but last Saturday night it dropped the ball during the pre-game tribute to Joel Dark. He lost his life a few days short of his 20th birthday playing the game he loved. It devastated his famous cousin, Australia, NSW and Roosters captain Boyd Cordner.

The way Fox trained a camera and zoomed in on Cordner’s face during the minute’s silence was, at best, poorly thought-out. At worst it was trying to exploit a man during a moment of genuine pain.

The camera was on Cordner in the hope Fox would capture a tear. The same image was broadcast on the big screen at the SCG, so Cordner could see himself in pain.

There were 25 other players on the field. Not one other was shown. The silence was for Dark, a Newcastle Knights junior. He died from a head knock suffered playing in the Newcastle competition. The Roosters were playing Newcastle.

We get that Fox Sports wanted to capture the emotion of the moment, but there is a way of doing it that allows all involved to retain their dignity. They could have shown the shot of Cordner on replay.

It was ghoulish. I felt so uncomfortable for Boyd.

One of Cordner’s inner circle

It would have had the impact they wanted and it would have appeared more respectful.
As one of Cordner’s inner circle said to me: ‘‘It was ghoulish. I felt so uncomfortable for Boyd. I didn’t want to bring it up when we spoke because he’s had a difficult week.’’

I spoke to some of Fox Sports’ on-air talent about the coverage and they said they were uncomfortable. Yes, I work for Nine – the owners of this masthead – and my view will be dismissed as an agenda. Only a brave Fox employee would publicly raise their concerns.

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‘‘Emotion plays a major role in professional sports and our audience shared Boyd’s tragic loss,’’ Fox’s executive director Steve Crawley said. ‘‘He is a powerful, much-admired public figure and I think that minute’s silence drew everyone closer to him. When he set up the first try, I think even opposition fans felt good for him and when he banged his head and had to go off … that was sad. I’m not saying we were right or wrong, I’m just saying we told the story as it was.’’

Fox’s tabloid approach to the way it covers the sport is entertaining and can be informative. But it should leave the tabloid style for its magazine and panels programs, not the game coverage.

It was a difficult night for Cordner, but his tough mindset shone through, as it does whenever he plays. He was all class and started the game with vigour and power, as if he was making a point or dedicating himself to his younger relative, who he loved so much.

And Joel was on his mind after he suffered the head knock that resulted in him leaving the game. After passing all of his concussion tests, Cordner started talking to the Roosters doctor about his family, not the game. At that point the doctor rightly ruled him out of the match as he knew he was not in the right frame of mind to play on.

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Gold Coast Titans, Young Tonumaipea ‘robbed’ of hat-trick against Manly Sea Eagles


Gold Coast Titans winger Young Tonumaipea was robbed of a stunning try during Saturday’s NRL match against the Manly Sea Eagles.

After 19 minutes, scores were tied 6-6 at Brookvale Oval when Titans playmaker Ashley Taylor booted a grubber towards the left wing.

Tonumaipea sprinted past the Manly defensive line to collect the ball, but fumbled as he dived over the tryline, assisted by a shove from opposition winger Albert Hopoate.

The decision was sent to the Bunker, and replays showed Tonumaipea bobbled the footy before catching it on his knee inches above the turf.

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Fox League commentator Dan Ginnane said: “He didn’t get a good bounce, and he still gets it down … brilliant!

“He’s kept his hands on that all the way.”

Balmain Tigers great Steve Roach replied: “He’s onside for sure; Tonumaipea collects the footy and somehow hangs onto it. That’s a great try.

“I think that’s sweet; good hands. He’s got control on the way down.”

NRL LIVE SCORES: Round 19 match centres

However, the try was disallowed after the Bunker official argued: “The ball comes loose, he fails to regrip the ball prior to the ball contacting the ground.”

Titans coach Justin Holbrook was visibly disgusted by the contentious decision as a splutter of boos rung around Brookvale Oval.

Sports journalist Roy Ward tweeted: “I’m not one to get too grumpy with the bunker officials but whoever took that try off Young Tonumaipea should have had a balaclava on. Absolutely robbed him of a super try.”

READ MORE: Joey gobsmacked by baffling footy fail

At halftime, former Queensland Maroons coach Mal Meninga told Fox League: “I thought he had control … the ball was in his hands, and as he hits the ground, I thought he had control.

Meanwhile, on-field referee Matt Hoyen left the field in the 14th minute with a suspected calf injury. AAP journalist Scott Bailey tweeted: “Two 3pm games in a row where the referee has gone down … No one will want to do Bulldogs-Panthers next week.”

Although Tonumaipea was denied early, the 28-year-old managed to snare two tries before the main interval. The Samoa representative embarrassed Manly’s defensive line, his blistering pace and fake passes enough to give the visitors a 22-12 lead at halftime.

Tonumaipea has never scored an NRL hat-trick, but has 40 minutes to achieve the rare feat.

Gold Coast will secure their fourth consecutive victory in the NRL is they topple the Sea Eagles.

Sports reporter Mark Gottlieb tweeted: “Gee this Titans team is fun to watch. A real joy after slogging through so many frustrating seasons lately. Shame they left their run too late for them to make the eight.”



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