Grapple: 29 October 2020


6.05-6.20: Segment 1: GA and Greg Robertson-Robbo to all his mates – back to the 2 referee system- Patchy cooking chicken on the bbq with all his loser Penrith mates
· Big post gf program when we’ll dissect, bisect and analyse both NRL and NRLW games with Macca just after 6.20 and at 6.40 chat with our English expert Tom Mather- complete with Wigan accent about new book which looks at the impact of covid on rl plus an update on the English Super League

· Melbourne capped an unprecedented season with a stunning premiership win, hanging on as Penrith staged an incredible late fightback in the grand final last night as Cameron Smith led his team to a 26-20 victory for the club’s 4th grand final victory in what was an eventful and at times controversial game in front of 37,000 fans while the Broncos secured their third consecutive NRLW title and reaffirmed their status as the benchmark NRLW club with a 20-10 grand final win against the Roosters: - your initial thoughts


· Spare a thought for Storm’s Nicho Hynes who set an unwanted mark in the grand final as he became the first player in league's modern era to be selected for a grand final … but not play. The last time a team used less than 17 players in a decider was way back in 1995 between the Bulldogs and Manly. Hynes did receive a premiership ring.

· The Queensland Rugby League will maintain its state-wide footprint in 2021 following an extensive strategic review to support and enhance player development and pathways across Queensland.

Coming up after the break we’ll be joined by our resident NRL expert Greg ‘Macca’ McCallum– dissect the GF’s and update the SOO squads - all that and more here on the Grapple 101.5fm sports

6.22-6.38: Segment 2: GA, Robbo and Macca - 3-way turf talk

NRLGF: Review
· Melbourne capped an unprecedented season with a stunning premiership win, hanging on as Penrith staged an incredible late fightback in the grand final last night as Cameron Smith led his team to a 26-20 victory for the club’s 4th grand final victory in what was an eventful and at times controversial game in front of 37,000 fans.
· The loss ended the Panthers 17-game winning streak
· The game witnessed a frantic start which had everything from a brain fade in the opening play, a penalty try, two contentious no-tries, Craig Bellamy joining Raiders coach Ricky Stuart in the chair kicking stakes and why would 37 year old Cameron Smith want to retire after scoring 14 points just two shy of the most ever scored in a grand final set by Harry Bath way back in 1957 when St George d Manly 31-8 kicking 8 from 8.


· The Broncos secured their third consecutive title and reaffirmed their status as the benchmark NRLW club with a 20-10 grand final win against the Roosters. The Broncos led the Tricolours 12-10 in a high-quality contest in greasy conditions but the defending champions held their nerve while adding two second-half tries. Strong performances from Karyn Murphy Medal winner Amber Hall, Tarryn Aiken and Millie Boyle gave the Broncos an edge throughout the contest. The Tricolours gave it everything late to get back within the reach but failed with execution under pressure.

· Some heated debate to determine the best path forward for the 2021 NRLW season:

· Push for smaller ball saying a Steeden size reduction will lead to an improved on-field product with passing and kicking made easier for what are mostly smaller athletes.

· Women's Origin will increase from 30 minute to 35 minute halves this year but NRLW should stay put.


Men’s SOO:

· In its 40th year, Origin is being played at the conclusion of the club premiership season for the first time.

· 1st ever Origin game at South Australia's iconic Adelaide Oval

· Impact of the six-again infringement rule on the game's most brutal and intense form will make for interesting viewing.

· Wayne Bennett back at the helm of Queensland with assistant Mal Meninga returning as there are no international matches.

· The Blues are aiming to start their own dynasty under Brad Fittler. They can become just the third NSW team to win three consecutive Origin series (after 92-94 and 2003-05).

· 3 consecutive Wednesday night games:

o Game one: Wednesday, 4 November, 8.10pm at Adelaide Oval

o Game two: Wednesday, 11 November, 8.10pm at ANZ Stadium, Sydney

o Game three: Wednesday, 18 November, 8.10pm at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane


Maroons coach Wayne Bennett confirmed his 27-man squad after adding Melbourne Storm players Brenko Lee, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Cameron Munster, Christian Welch and Felise Kaufusi and Penrith Panthers utility Kurt Capewell after the gf.

Lee, Fa’asuamaleaui and Capewell are yet to play Origin football, taking the tally of uncapped Maroons in this year’s squad to 17. Queensland is in camp on the Gold Coast.

Jai Arrow (Gold Coast Titans) AJ Brimson (Gold Coast Titans)

Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans) Phillip Sami (Gold Coast Titans)

Edrick Lee (Newcastle Knights) Hymel Hunt (Newcastle Knights)

Valentine Holmes (Cowboys) Coen Hess (North Queensland Cowboys)

Xavier Coates (Brisbane Broncos) Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane Broncos)

Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons) Josh Kerr (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Harry Grant (Wests Tigers/Storm) Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles)

Jake Friend (Sydney Roosters) Lindsay Collins (Sydney Roosters)

Jaydn Su’A (South Sydney Rabbitohs) Corey Allan (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Dane Gagai (South Sydney Rabbitohs) Dunamis Lui (Canberra Raiders)

Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders) Kurt Capewell (Penrith Panthers)

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Melbourne Storm) Brenko Lee (Melbourne Storm)

Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm) Christian Welch (Melbourne Storm)

Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm)


Nathan Cleary, Stephen Crichton, Jarome Luai and Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers) and Josh Addo-Carr, Dale Finucane and Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne Storm) were all added to the Blues squad after the gf and trained with the squad for the first time earlier today.

Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm) Nathan Brown (Parramatta Eels)

Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Parramatta Eels) Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)

Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs) Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters)

Nick Cotric (Canberra Raiders) Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters)

Stephen Crichton (Penrith Panthers) Dale Finucane (Melbourne Storm)

Tyson Frizell (Dragons) Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels)

Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos) Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters)

Zac Lomax (Dragons) Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers)

Cameron McInnes (Dragons) Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne Storm) Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels)

Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights) James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)

Jake Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles) Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)

Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs) Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders)

Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers)

Selection for game 1 next Wednesday

Women’s SOO:
· The women's State of Origin clash will take place at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Friday, 13 November with kick-off set for 7.45pm. The Blues have won the past four interstate fixtures.


· Brisbane's NRLW dominance was rewarded with a record-equalling 12 players included in Queensland's squad for women's State of Origin on November 13 just up the road at SC Stadium.

· Nine players are in line to make their Origin debut, including Broncos contingent Tamika Upton, Tarryn Aiken, Lauren Brown, Shannon Mato, Chante Temara, Shenae Ciesiolka and Julia Robinson, who missed last year's interstate clash with a broken leg.

· Warriors pair Brianna Clark and Shaniah Power have also been rewarded for their efforts this season to be included in the squad while Dally M medallist Ali Brigginshaw is among the nine incumbents to be retained from the 2019 campaign with goal-kicking whiz Meg Ward and Chelsea Baker the only notable selection omissions.

· The Maroons won't have the services of Roosters star Charlotte Caslick, who was cleared to play in the match by Rugby Australia, only to be ruled out days later with a back injury. Another rugby sevens star, Warriors centre Evania Pelite, was also left out of the squad as she turns her attention to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

· Under current biosecurity and border restrictions in Queensland, players from both states who played for NRLW clubs based in NSW this year will be required to spend 14 days in quarantine ahead of the game.

Queensland squad

· Tarryn Aiken (Brisbane Broncos) Annette Brander (Brisbane Broncos)

· Brittany Breayley Ali Brigginshaw (Brisbane Broncos)

· Karina Brown (Warriors) Lauren Brown (Brisbane Broncos)

· Shenae Ciesiolka (Brisbane Broncos) Brianna Clark (Warriors)

· Jessika Elliston (Brisbane Broncos) Tazmin Gray (Warriors)

· Steph Hancock (Dragons) Tallisha Harden (Brisbane Broncos)

· Chelsea Lenarduzzi (Brisbane Broncos) Shannon Mato (Brisbane Broncos)

· Rona Peters Shaniah Power (Warriors)

· Julia Robinson (Brisbane Broncos) Chante Temara (Brisbane Broncos)

· Zahara Temara (Sydney Roosters) Tamika Upton (Brisbane Broncos)


· 9 players in line to make their debut with Keeley Davis (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Kennedy Cherrington (South Sydney), Filomina Hanisi (Wests Tigers), Shanice Parker (North Sydney Bears), Quincy Dodd, Sarah Togatuki (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Melanie Howard, Yasmin Meakes and Brydie Parker (Central Coast Roosters) named for the first time.

· Coach Andrew Patmore, along with captain Kezie Apps and the team will travel to the Sunshine Coast tomorrow and stay at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort.

· Kezie Apps (Helensburgh Tigers) Shaylee Bent (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

· Millie Boyle (Burleigh Bears) Kennedy Cherrington (Sharks)

· Keeley Davis (Sharks) Quincy Dodd (Bulldogs)

· Filomina Hanisi (Wests Tigers) Kylie Hilder (Central Coast Roosters)

· Melanie Howard (Central Coast Roosters) Isabelle Kelly (Central Coast Roosters)

· Corban McGregor (Cronulla Sharks) Yasmin Meakes (Central Coast Roosters)

· Brydie Parker (Central Coast Roosters) Shanice Parker (North Sydney Bears)

· Tiana Penitani (Cronulla Sharks) Jessica Sergis (Helensburgh Tigers)

· Hannah Southwell (Central Coast Roosters) Simaima Taufa (North Sydney Bears)

· Sarah Togatuki (Bulldogs) Botille Vette-Welsh (Wests Tigers)

· Acknowledge the passing of Ray Blacklock who died at the age of 65. A noted speedster, he played 93 matches in the top grade from 1976-84, including Newtown's 1981 grand final loss to Parramatta. The uncle of former international Nathan Blacklock, he made his debut at Penrith, spent two seasons at the Jets before finishing his career at Canberra in 1983-84.

Next week we’ll come up with the top 10 highs and lows from season 2020: coach sackings, Penrith crashing and burning, moon landings, fall of the Broncos, incredible sacrifices by the Warriors, rule changes- the list goes on but the experts won’t miss a beat
Coming up after the break we’ll chat with Tom Mather – hope we can understand his accent- all that and more here on the Grapple on 101.5fm sports

6.42-6.58: Segment 4: GA, Robbo and Tom Mather

Let’s start with quick update on the English Super League.

· James Graham will call time on his long and illustrious career at the end of the current Super League campaign, meaning 2020 will be his final season at St.Helens R.F.C. Graham, 35, joined the Saints Academy at the age of 11 and progressed through the ranks, making 225 appearances and scoring 53 tries. He collected a Super League Grand Final ring, three Challenge Cup winner’s medals and in the NRL he captained St George Illawarra before moving to the Canterbury Bulldogs.

· 2020 Grand Final will be played in Hull on Friday 27 November

· Salford Red Devils informed Super League and the RFL that they are unable to fulfil tomorrow night’s scheduled fixture with Warrington Wolves due to player availability issues. Warrington Wolves, under competition rules governing forfeited fixtures, will be awarded a 24-0 victory. Meanwhile the fixture between Huddersfield Giants and Castleford Tigers also scheduled for tomorrow night has been cancelled after the Tigers reported 12 positive Covid-19 tests. Super League will continue to explore fixture rescheduling options in light of these announcements.

Not an easy time for all concerned but talking about COVID Tom, you have written a comprehensive book about the impact of the virus on the NRL in 2020:

· Moon landings, rule changes, coach sackings, player payments reduced and was the number of referees- too many to mention but did you ever expect that the 2020 NRL GF would have even been played back in March this year?

· Key themes and the top 3 impacts of the virus on the game

· Critical issue is the tv ratings – sponsors, value of broadcasting rights and viewing numbers and from all reports the AFL has again beaten the NRL in the grand final TV war, but both codes came away smiling after a fruitful weekend.

· Saturday night’s AFL grand final between Richmond and Geelong attracted a national average TV audience of 3.812 million and a peak audience of 4.283 million. It was the AFL’s highest average audience since the 2016 grand final and was a 30 per cent increase on the 2019 decider, with the decision to schedule it at night playing a massive role in the positive figures.

· The NRL’s grand final between Melbourne and Penrith on Sunday attracted a national average TV audience of 2.967 million and a peak audience of 3.442 million. The national average audience represented a 12 per cent increase on last year’s figure of 2.641 million from the Sydney Roosters-Canberra decider, which was one of the smallest free-to-air audiences for an NRL grand final.

· But of concern for the NRL is that the overall Queensland average AFL audience was 523,000, up 22 per cent on last year.

· Will the State of Origin be a bumper for the NRL?

· What does it all mean for the future?

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