NRL 2021: Brent Naden cocaine test, Penrith Panthers, NRL Grand Final 2020, Phil Gould

Phil Gould admits he does not understand why Panthers centre Brent Naden allegedly played in the grand final with cocaine in his system.

However, he did reveal that from his time in Naden’s life he has come to know the 24-year old’s struggles with mental health and is adamant there is “nothing malicious” about his actions.

Naden was provisionally suspended on Tuesday after he returned a positive-A-sample for metabolites of cocaine.

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Round 1

Naden failed drug test


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State of Origin 2020: Josh Addo-Carr, Corey Allan hit, Phil Gus Gould, fastest man on the planet, Queensland defeats NSW

Josh Addo-Carr might not be the fastest man on the planet.

And by the letter of the law Corey Allan’s professional foul on the Blues winger in the 77th minute of NSW’s 20-14 defeat in the Origin decider might not have been a penalty try.

But even the most one-eyed Maroons supporter has to admit Queensland dodged a bullet when Allan took out the Melbourne Storm flyer 15m from the try line.

Replays showed Addo-Carr was clearly in front of Cameron Munster, Valentine Holmes and Harry Grant in the race for the ball, which appeared to bounce nicely, making a clean gather by the NSW man highly likely.

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One man in no doubt was Channel 9’s Phil Gould, who called the moment like a broken record stuck on loop.

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Phil Scott: Why Vermont’s Republican Governor Might Be One of the Best

The top grade in Cato’s governors report this year went to Republican Chris Sununu of New Hampshire. He is a solid fiscal conservative and was just re‐​elected by a 65 to 33 percent margin, even though the state went to Joe Biden over Donald Trump 53 to 46. New Hampshire is a unique state in the region, with smaller government and more freedom than its neighbors.

Next door, Vermont seems quite different. It is the land of Bernie Sanders. It has higher taxes, larger government, and less freedom. Yet Vermont is headed by a Republican governor who favors restrained budgets, low taxes, and leans moderate or libertarian on social policy.

Phil Scott was just re‐​elected governor of Vermont by an impressive 69 to 28 percent margin, even though the state went for Biden over Trump 66 to 31.

Scott came to the governor’s office after serving as a state senator and Vermont’s lieutenant governor. He is a former small business owner and an active race car driver.

The governor has battled the state’s Democratic legislature over tax and spending restraint, and he does not hesitate to veto big‐​government bills. For example, Scott has vetoed property tax increases to fund schools, proposing instead to save money by cutting school bureaucracy. General fund spending rose at an annual average rate of just 2.4 percent between 2017 and 2020, and Scott has focused on trimming fat from state agencies.

In 2018, the governor signed a bill to conform to federal changes in the income tax base while cutting the state’s income tax rates across the board. That same year he signed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana possession and in 2020 he allowed a bill legalizing pot sales to become law without his signature.

Scott has defended the economy against the legislature’s proposals for carbon regulations and carbon taxes. He vetoed a costly regulatory scheme for climate change in 2020 but was overridden by the legislature.

Scott has opposed damaging minimum wage hikes. In vetoing a hike in 2020, he said, “Despite S.23’s good intentions, the reality is there are too many unintended consequences and we cannot grow the economy or make Vermont more affordable by arbitrarily forcing wage increases. I believe this legislation would end up hurting the very people it aims to help.” Unfortunately that veto was also overridden by the legislature.

Scott has vetoed bills to impose a costly paid‐​leave scheme funded by a new wage tax. In a 2020 veto message, he said, “Vermonters have made it clear they don’t want, nor can they afford, new broad‐​based taxes. We cannot continue to make the state less affordable for working Vermonters and more difficult for employers to employ them—even for well‐​intentioned programs like this one.”

As a fiscal conservative in Vermont, Phil Scott is outnumbered and does not win every battle. But he is used to strong g‐​forces on the race track, and as he battles strong g‐​forces in the state capital, voters seem to have his back.

This article first appeared on the Cato Institute blog.

Image: Reuters

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England 4-0 Iceland: Phil Foden scores twice in routine win

Foden became the youngest player in England’s history to score more than once in a match at Wembley, aged 20 years and 174 days

Phil Foden led England’s young brigade in style as they concluded their Nations League campaign with a comfortable win against Iceland in a dead rubber at Wembley.

This final game of the qualifying campaign had nothing riding on it with England’s hopes of reaching the finals ended by defeat in Belgium, and Iceland without a point in Group A2, but it was a game where Gareth Southgate’s emerging youngsters staked their claims.

Declan Rice headed England in front with his first international goal after 20 minutes before Mason Mount added a second from close range four minutes later.

Manchester City’s Foden, still only 20 and back in the fold after being dropped for breaking Covid-19 protocols in September, also demonstrated his huge potential and growing maturity on the international stage with a fine performance and late strikes as he swept in Jadon Sancho’s pass for his first England goal with 10 minutes left before quickly adding a second with a low shot.

England’s players are still fighting for places in next summer’s European Championship and the likes of Foden, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Arsenal’s teenage defender Bukayo Saka took the chance to impress manager Southgate.

Iceland were reduced to 10 men in the second half when Birkir Saevarsson was shown a second yellow card for dragging back Bukayo Saka as England dominated.

Foden’s glittering talent shines through

Foden learned a harsh lesson when he was sent home from Iceland and dropped from the next round of England games after breaking Covid-19 protocols in September.

Southgate punished the youngster but rehabilitated him in the squad and was rewarded with a demonstration of just what he can bring to England, now and in the future.

Foden is a bundle of talent and confidence and it was his delivery that offered the invitation for Rice to score the opener, then got the goals his performance deserved late on to push himself right to the forefront of Southgate’s thoughts.

It was summed up in the closing seconds when he showed remarkable skill to pull down a misplaced, skied, clearance from Harry Maguire, controlling and flicking it behind a bemused Icelandic defender.

He made his mistake, paid for it, and showed at Wembley why he is regarded as one of the great hopes for Manchester City and England.

In what has been mixed Nations League campaign for England, Foden illuminated a deserted Wembley.

Talented trio give Southgate food for thought

Declan Rice
Rice, like Foden, also scored his first England goal on Wednesday night

Southgate defended his side’s approach in the wake of the defeat against Belgium, amid suggestions his ploy of using a 3-4-3 formation with two holding midfield players was too conservative.

Here, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson unavailable because of injury, Southgate continued with Rice and Mount but also used both Grealish and Foden to add creativity.

And, in their different ways, all four made a big impact as England won a game that often had the intensity of a training work-out.

Grealish carried on where he left off in Leuven, carrying the ball into dangerous areas, wandering into space and continuing to draw fouls in threatening positions, while Foden was the star of the show.

Arsenal’s teenage defender Saka was another stand-out performer, solid in defence and dangerous in attack. He could have had goals himself but did enough to suggest he will be a serious contender for starting place in future.

Southgate now has until March to weigh up his plans as the Euros come closer and that young brigade will be at the forefront of his mind.

After the latest set of international fixtures, choose your first-choice England XI and share it with your friends.

‘Whenever you play for England there’s something to play for’

England boss Gareth Southgate: “For the last three days the mentality has been outstanding. It was a very difficult game.

“If all they’re hearing are messages it’s meaningless and there’s nothing to play for… whenever you play for England there is something to play for. There are big opportunities for young players, especially, and also for older players.

“We are trying to build and improve all the time. There was some lovely football. It was good to watch and for the young players to get the goals was very special for them.”

On Foden:“I am really pleased for him. He is such an exciting player. It was a big week for him to come back in and, of course, not easy to walk through the door when you left how you did previously.

“But for us, it was done. We knew what he is capable of and it was good to get him into the game against Ireland and to get the two goals today was a glimpse for everyone of what he is capable of.”

Foden breaks Charlton’s record – the stats

  • England have won 20 of their last 22 competitive internationals at Wembley, scoring 66 goals and conceding only eight.
  • Iceland have lost all 10 of their Nations League matches, managing to score just four goals.
  • England have won their two home international matches against Iceland by an aggregate score of 10-1.
  • Phil Foden became the youngest player in England’s history to score more than once in a match at Wembley, aged 20 years and 174 days, breaking the record held by Bobby Charlton in May 1958 versus Portugal (20 years and 208 days).
  • England had three players aged 21 or younger score in the same match for the first time since February 1883 versus Ireland (William Cobbold, Oliver Whateley and Frank Pawson).
  • Declan Rice became the first West Ham United player to score for England since Matthew Upson in June 2010 against Germany, and the second-youngest Hammers player to score for the Three Lions (21 years and 309 days) after Joe Cole in June 2003 (21 years and 207 days).
  • Since his debut in September against Denmark, Jack Grealish has won 21 fouls for England, more than any other player, while only Kieran Tripper (10) has created more chances than Grealish in this time (nine).
  • England named four players aged 21 or younger (Saka, Foden, Rice and Mount) in their starting XI for a competitive international for the first time since November 1959 versus Northern Ireland in a Home Nations match.

Player of the match

GrealishJack Grealish



  • 1Pickford
  • 2WalkerBooked at 12minsSubstituted forMingsat 64′minutes
  • 4Dier
  • 5Maguire
  • 3TrippierSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 85′minutes
  • 8Rice
  • 7MountSubstituted forWinksat 64′minutes
  • 20Saka
  • 19Foden
  • 16GrealishSubstituted forSanchoat 76′minutes
  • 9KaneSubstituted forAbrahamat 76′minutes


  • 6Keane
  • 11Sancho
  • 12Mings
  • 13Pope
  • 14Winks
  • 15Chilwell
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  • 18Calvert-Lewin
  • 21Abraham
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  • 23Bellingham


  • 12KristinssonSubstituted forHalldórssonat 45′minutes
  • 2SaevarssonBooked at 54mins
  • 5IngasonBooked at 49mins
  • 14ÁrnasonBooked at 72mins
  • 15Hermannsson
  • 23AF Skúlason
  • 4Pálsson
  • 8BjarnasonSubstituted forJóhannessonat 88′minutes
  • 16SigurjónssonSubstituted forEyjólfssonat 62′minutes
  • 20GudmundssonSubstituted forThorsteinssonat 73′minutes
  • 22BödvarssonSubstituted forSigthorssonat 73′minutes


  • 1Halldórsson
  • 3Eyjólfsson
  • 6Sampsted
  • 7Jóhannesson
  • 9Sigthorsson
  • 10Thorsteinsson
  • 11Baldursson
  • 13Rúnarsson
  • 19Gudjohnsen
  • 21Sigurdsson

Fábio Veríssimo

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Phil Gould, Wayne Bennett, selection, QLD vs NSW, Blues vs Maroons, Game III

Phil Gould believes Queensland are no chance of winning the decider at Suncorp Stadium unless they make a brutal selection call for Origin III.

Gould backed Souths’ No.1 Corey Allan to play at fullback because he doesn’t believes Valentine Holmes has enough match fitness to play the position at Origin level this season.

“Valentine Holmes hadn’t played a lot of football leading into that game,” Gould said Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

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“I just don’t know if he had the miles in the legs to deal with that kicking game that NSW came up with.

“Now Corey Allan has come in on the wing. He’s not a winger, he’s a fullback. And for mine, Valentine Holmes isn’t a fullback he’s a winger.

“A lot of coaches would be reluctant to make that change, Wayne Bennett would not.”

Allan, 22, has alternated between fullback and wing in his NRL career to date, but has played No.1 all through the junior ranks.

Allan scored five tries in 10 games for the Rabbitohs in 2020 after taking over from injured fullback Latrell Mitchell.


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At 25, Holmes has the potential to be a good fullback, but has played most of his career for the Sharks and Maroons on the wing.

Holmes scored four tries in 12 games for the Cowboys in his first season back from the NFL, but struggled with form and fitness, which is why Gould favours Allan in the No.1 jersey.

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“If I was Wayne Bennett I would be playing Valentine Holmes on the wing and Corey Allan at fullback,” Gould said.

“Corey Allan has the miles in the legs. He’s the genuine fullback and he’s done it with South Sydney up until the preliminary finals. He’s well versed in what Wayne wants and he’s also got the fitness edge.

“Valentine Holmes is a great athlete, but he hasn’t played a lot of football and I still don’t think he’s suited to playing fullback. I think he’s one of the world’s best wingers and that’s where I would be playing him.”

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State of Origin 2020: NSW Blues v Queensland Maroons, game three, Channel 9, Anastasia Palaszczuk, Phil Gould, Andrew Johns, Ray Warren

Channel Nine has told Queensland health authorities that they risk Origin III being a “technical failure” as a television spectacle.

As it stands, Nine’s commentary team of NSW-based pundits such as Phil Gould, Ray Warren and Andrew Johns won’t be allowed to travel to Brisbane for Wednesday’s decider.

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That also applies to Channel Nine’s technical team, with many residing in NSW and not being able to enter Queensland due to Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk’s hard line border stance.

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Channel Nine had asked for an exemption to allow their staff to fly to Brisbane from Sydney late last week.

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Channel 9 warning, Ray Warren, Phil Gould, ‘technical failure’, broadcast, Queensland government

Channel 9 have lashed out at the Queensland government after Channel 9’s “specialty worker” exemptions were denied by the state’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeanette Young.

Nine put in the exemption for 20 individuals 10 days ago, including five commentators, aiming to get commentators including Phil Gould, Ray Warren and Andrew Johns and key technical staff to the game, but Queensland has thrown a spanner in the works.

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The group included producers, directors, floor managers and specialty cameramen according to WWOS, while the staff would have flown in on Wednesday before being taken straight to Suncorp Stadium.

But Dr Young denied the request, saying that if the team went to Queensland, they would have to quarantine for 14 days, which would defeat the purpose of the move

“They‘re welcome to come but they will have to quarantine for 14 days,” she said.

“If they are part of the (NRL) bubble they can. If they‘re not part of that, they have to apply for an exemption to be allowed into the state and then they would have to hotel quarantine.

“I would (grant an exemption) to allow them to come into the state, and I frequently have, but they would have to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days.”

Nine fired back with a tweet, saying the decision has set the Origin decider up for “technical failure”.

“If the Qld Health Minister denies @Channel9’s ‘specialty worker’ exemptions for Wednesday’s SOO decider they will be responsible for putting the broadcast of the year’s biggest match at risk of technical failure,” Channel 9 tweeted.

“The list of exemptions include directors, producers, specialty camera operators & technical experts, not just commentators.”

However the move could also mean that Ray Warren has commentated his last game.

Recently, Warren confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that he could end his 55-year career in the commentary box.

“I’m going to sit back, relax and enjoy Christmas and January and then make a decision,” he said.

“It might have been my last grand final the other week, I honestly don’t know.

“If I’d announced before the game I wouldn’t have got through it. I get very emotional when I think about it.

“It’s hard to imagine what it would be like without broadcasting sport. It’s been five-and-a-half decades. I’ve never really treated it as a job. It’s more like a toy or a novelty. I’ve been really fortunate.”

2GB radio host Mark Levy pointed out the hypocrisy of the move, with Queensland Health allowing travel from interstate to set up the boxing ring for the Tim Tszyu and Jeff Horn fight at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium in August. 2GB is owned by Nine.

“Queensland Health allowed ‘experts’ to fly into Townsville to set up a boxing ring earlier this year, so why would the CHO deny the Channel 9 staff needed for the broadcast of the Origin decider?

“The Premier needs to stop playing politics and start acting like a human,” he tweeted.

It comes after the Queensland government also opened the State of Origin decider up to be played in front of a full capacity crowd.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palasczcuk revealed the state was easing restrictions, including the requirement for open-air stadiums to operate at 75 per cent capacity.

It will make it the largest sporting attendance since the COVID-19 pandemic suspensions and lockdowns began in March.

“I think Queenslanders are going to be very, very happy with this outcome,” Palaszczuk told reporters.

“Let‘s fill Suncorp and cheer our mighty Maroons on.”

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo praised the move.

“It has been an extraordinary season and remarkable that our final game of the year will be an Origin decider with no crowd cap,” Abdo said.

“It‘s amazing to think how far the game has come since the competition was suspended in March.”

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Phil Gould warns Blues, NSW vs QLD, Game III, Suncorp Stadium, Maroons

Phil Gould has warned NSW they are kidding themselves if they think a decider at Suncorp will be anything like Game II as they aim for a first win in a decider in Queensland in 15 years.

The Blues levelled the series with a convincing 34-10 win at ANZ Stadium, but they haven’t won a series decider in Brisbane since Andrew Johns lifted the trophy at Suncorp back in 2005.

“For a lot of these uninitiated NSW players if they think they have been to Origin well you haven’t been to Origin until you’ve gone to Suncorp Stadium and experienced it up there,” Gould said on Channel 9s TODAY Show.

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“Our record in deciders up there is very poor. I think we have only won two in history, so they have got to overcome it.

“Remember too in Adelaide both teams had to get on a plane and travel the day of the game. In Sydney only Queensland had to travel on the day of the game.

“Now the shoe is on the other foot and NSW have to travel to Brisbane on the day of the game and make sure they handle that.

“Mind you if they play anywhere near as good as they did in Game II I think they will be too strong for Queensland, but it is a completely different dynamic up there.


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“Queensland deserve to be in this decider. It is going to be decided on the one result and I think it will be a great game.”

Queensland were a shadow of the team that won the series opener 18-14 when their defence fell to pieces in Game II in enemy territory.

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However Gould believes there were a number of contributing factors to Queensland’s poor showing in Game II.

“You’ve got to remember they did lose Cameron Munster in the first couple of minutes of play, which was a huge loss,” Gould said.

“Their left-hand-side defence broke down. I don’t know if he could have changed the result in the game, but he certainly would have made it more competitive.

“The other part of this too is when you win that Game I and especially with so many rookies and you know you’ve got the Game III decider in Brisbane, it is hard to get that out of your mind.

“So NSW fans and NSW players will be lulled into a false sense of security if they think next week’s game is going to be anything like this.”

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Phil Gus Gould, Channel 9, commentary, Andrew Johns, Paul Gallen, Billy Slater, NSW v Queensland, NRL news

He might regularly drive Queenslanders crazy with his blue-tinted goggles.

He might frustrate us by grabbing hold of an idea and then repeating it ad nauseam like how good Wayne Bennett is at halftime speeches.

And he undoubtedly blew it in this year’s NRL Grand Final with his one-sided call of Penrith’s defeat against the Melbourne Storm.

But boy, we missed Phil Gould on Wednesday night.

It’s probably not a popular take but there was a gaping hole in Channel 9’s coverage of NSW’s thumping win against Queensland after its decision to keep Gus out of the commentary box.

The move to sideline one of the most polarising figures in the game was such a surprise no one took the man himself seriously when he revealed he wouldn’t be calling the contest from his normal position alongside play-by-play man Ray Warren because Nine chiefs wanted to give Andrew Johns a turn.

“I’m not calling the game tonight. Andrew Johns and Billy Slater are doing the honours. I’m just watching tonight. Looking forward to it,” Gould tweeted a few hours before kick-off.

“Andrew called Origin II last year. He deserves to call these big games. He is the future.”

Johns is undoubtedly a talented analyst with an eye for the game that rivals anyone. He’s also unafraid to be critical, as he showed in the lead-up to the game when he called for Nathan Cleary’s head and during the contest when he highlighted the rough night Xavier Coates was having.

But Gould is at a different level, as he showed during a brief appearance at halftime when he quickly summarised the source of all three NSW tries to that point in the game.

“(Queensland) are having a lot of trouble on their left side defence now (Ben) Hunt is playing five-eighth instead of (Cameron) Munster,” he said. “It looks like there’s no communication or confidence there.”

The Maroons too often found themselves outnumbered on the left edge and Gould nailed what was going wrong and why.

Even Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher admitted the game is poorer without the former NSW coach.

“Gus is an authority on the game and he sees things other people don‘t see,’’ Hatcher told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“He can’t help himself in terms of what I would call his latent bias — I think he doesn’t necessarily give a completely independent view, and I can understand that with his background — but the reality is he’s very perceptive and knows the game extremely well.

“Although everyone comments about (his commentary) for two or three days after the event, I actually think he’s good for the game.”

Nine could be forced to bring in a new face next year if Warren, 77, decides to call it a day.

But Gould, who is 15 years his junior, shouldn’t be going anywhere.

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Queensland defeats NSW, Blues team changes, Andrew Johns, Luke Keary, Phil Gus Gould, game two

NSW legend Andrew Johns has sensationally called for Blues coach Brad Fittler to dump Luke Keary following NSW’s stunning defeat in the State of Origin series opener.

Johns led the outcry from Blues legends with Phil Gould and Paul Gallen also calling for changes in the post-match wash-up.

The Blues were sensationally beaten in the biggest upset since Paul Vautin’s 1995 Maroons side swept the Blues 3-0.

It’s why the post-mortem has been so savage from the Blues’ alumni.

While Johns’ call for Keary’s head was the most dramatic statement after the game, there are also major fears from Blues greats about the selections of Clint Gutherson and Jack Wighton out of position in the centres.

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The Blues could be looking at sweeping changes for Game 2 in Sydney on Wednesday, November 11, with Cameron Murray suffering a serious hamstring injury and captain Boyd Cordner also copping another head knock.

Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is also a very real option to come onto the bench.

That’s exactly what Johns wants to happen as he called for Keary to lose his No. 6 jumper to Cody Walker in a move that would allow Papenhuyzen to make his debut from the bench.

Gould was scathing of both Keary and Cleary as neither playmaker found a way to steady the ship or create an attacking spark in the second half.

But it is Keary who should pay the price, according to Johns.

“I think that he (Walker) comes in for Luke Keary,” Johns told Channel Nine.

“After what I saw tonight over the last 15 minutes, 20 minutes, Cody Walker has to start.

“I think he has to come on at five-eighth. He provides a lot of creativity.

“When Cody came on the field, he likes to play. Likes to get his hands on the ball, and he likes to create.

“I thought there were times in that second half, obviously the Blues were on the back foot, but there were times they had quick play-the-balls and the halves didn’t stand up and play.

“At this standard, you only get a couple of opportunities a half. I thought they got bogged down, played too negative.

“But once Cody came on, (NSW) looked dangerous. And that’s where Queensland looked vulnerable.”

Johns also said Keary appeared to be a weak link in the Blues’ defensive line.

“Luke, defensively tonight, looked a little bit vulnerable on that side of the field,” Johns said.

“They have had a long year the Roosters, they have been up for a long time. What I saw tonight in the last 15 to 20 minutes I think that Cody Walker has to start.”

Despite calling for changes, Johns also cautioned against major changes to the Blues side for Game 2 because of the quick turnaround.

“Whether they have enough time to change a half combination (is the question),” he said. “They have to play next week in a must-win game. I don’t expect much changes but there will be forced changes.”

Johns and Gallen also both went public with their concern about Wighton and Gutherson in the centres after Kurt Capewell and Dane Gagai on multiple occasions ran straight through them — twice leading to tries.

“I don’t think that Wighton gets involved enough in the centres and I don’t think that Gutherson is comfortable where he is. Brad will look at it,” Johns said.

Gallen said there would be “serious conversations” inside the Blues camp about picking the two players out of position.

Meanwhile, Panthers star Cleary will also be under the pump as a result of the dominant performances from Cameron Munster and Daly Cherry-Evans after the Maroons halfback was named man of the match.

“These Blues halves have got to get themselves into the game,” Gould said in the second half.

“They are playing no football at the moment.

“The halves have to come to the fore and start to move this ball around. The two halves aren’t getting together and playing the attacking game they would like. They have to find a way to impose their will on the contest. They are not getting it their own way.”

The Blues have just seven days to find the right answers before the series goes on the line in Sydney.

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