The Grapple: Thursday 18 March 2021

Time Segments Notes
6.00-6.08 Segment 1: Panel  
6.08-6.10 Break  
6.10-6.18 Segment 1 (continued): Panel  
6.18-6.22 Break  
6.22-6.28 Segment 2: Macca phone interview with panel  
6.28-6.30 Break  
6.30-6.38 Segment 2 (continued): Macca etc.  
6.38-6.42 Break  
6.42-6.48 Segment 3: Panel  
6.48-6.50 Break  
6.50-6.59 Segment 3 (continued): Panel  
6.59 Sign-off  

Segment 1



  • Sharks d St George Illawarra 32-18 to get their premiership campaign off to a winning start for the first time since 2013. The kicking game of halfback Chad Townsend was the key.
  • The Raiders capitalised on an error riddled second half by the Wests Tigers sending 15,680 Canberra fans home happy with Jordan Rapana scoring a double in their 30-12 win. ‘Cakes’ at it again for the Tigers. Can’t say it was another brain explosion!!
  • Penrith opened their account with a 24-0 win over the Cowboys. It was Penrith's 10th consecutive victory at Panthers Stadium in front of a COVID-restricted crowd of 14,077.
  • A ruthless Roosters rattled up seven tries in a record 46-4 Sydney Cricket Ground carve-up. James Tedesco and Brett Morris both helped themselves to hat-tricks.
  • Warriors coach Nathan Brown liked the heart he saw in Saturday's 19-6 win against the Titans.
  • Broncos suffered a heartbreaking 24-16 after leading 16-0 as the slippery Eels slipped passed the shoddy Broncos.  Hooker Reed Mahoney kick-started the revival when he darted over from dummy half in the 48th minute.
  • Knights co-captain Daniel Saifiti celebrated his 100th NRL game with a brace of tries as his side beat the same old Canterbury 32-16.
  • A dazzling double from Ryan Papenhuyzen sparked Melbourne to a 26-18 win over South Sydney in Melb as the premiers made the perfect start.  Papenhuyzen and Cameron Munster showed that the title defence is in safe hands as the Storm piled on 22 points in the opening 30 minutes.


  • The opening round landed as the biggest season opener in subscription history thanks to combined numbers across Foxtel linear, Kayo, Foxtel Now, Foxtel GO.
  • The national audience average of 372,000 was up 28% on Round 1 in 2020.
  • Thursday’s Storm v Rabbitohs match averaged of 487,000 combined -as the highest rating Round One and the highest rating Thursday night match ever. Friday’s Broncos v Eels averaged 429,000.
  • Total attendance: 115,941; Round 1 average: 14,493


Sunshine Coast Gympie RL:

  • 1 Men commenced on the weekend: Beerwah 44 d Maroochydore 22-high scoring 8 tries to 4, Gympie 10 d Caboolture 4-Ryley Drayton try and goal for the Devils, Noosa 42 d Stanley River 6-7 tries to 1 and Kawana d Nambour 24-0.
  • 2: wins to Stanley River, Kawana, Caboolture-Adam Otter 2 tries and 4 goals for the snakes-coach Mark Stimson very happy as he also crossed the line; Beerwah over Coolum and Bribie d Caloundra
  • U/18 boys: Maroochydore d Beachmere; Nambour over Kawana, Coolum d Beerwah –Daniel Deering 2 tries and 2 goals for Coolum and Caloundra d Bribie; Noosa-bye
  • Round 2 Div. 1: Sat- Stanley River/Kawana - 5.30pm at Woodford; Gympie/Nambour and Caloundra/Beerwah; Sun- Cab/Maroochydore 3pm

o   Special mention for SR as holding a benefit day for Jackson Hepner- Jackson is a former wolves junior and is battling cancer. The club will be donating 50% of the gate takings from this weekend’s 1st home game plus donation collections during the games. The club would love to see as many turn up and support this worthy cause. Good luck Jackson.

  • 2B starts this weekend: Yandina/Kawana and Mary Valley/Beerwah- double header on Sat; Palmwoods-bye
  • Open women starts 27 March


  • Mal Meninga – Falcons d Wynnum 50-8 on Sat-Eliot Smethills, Ryan Hargraves and Mason Peut doubles and Reuben Howes 5 goals; v Mustangs at SC on Sat 1.30pm
  • u/16’s- bye; v Mustangs Sat at SC at 12.10pm
  • In their 1st ever u/19 women’s game on Sat, Falcons d Bulls 28-18 –Brodie Capstick double; bye this weekend
  • Brisbane RL A-grade: Pre-season round 2 this weekend on Sat: Bulimba-bye

3.00pm, Frank Lind Oval: West Brisbane Panthers v Wynnum Jnrs (Res 1.30pm)

3.00pm, Mathieson Oval: Pine Rivers v Beenleigh (Res 1.30pm)

6.00pm, Emerson Park: Valleys v Normanby (Res 4.30pm)

6.00pm, Leo Williams Oval: Carina v Brighton (Res 4.30pm)


  • Qld Cup: Round 1 – all starts Saturday: Falcons/Pride 3pm at Sunny Coast and Cutters/Dolphins

Sunshine Coast Falcons: Nicho Hynes at full back; Cooper Johns 5/8; Todd Murphy-half and Jarrod Mullen on the bench; Coach: Sam Mawhinney

The 2021 Cup season will be played over 19 rounds (with a split round in Round 8). The top eight of the 14 clubs will contest the finals series throughout September in a battle to win through to the grand final at Redcliffe on Sunday, September 26.

The premiership winner will take on the best from the NSWRL Cup the following weekend.


  • New North Queensland coach Todd Payten said that he was focused on protecting the $10m man Jason Taumalolo's longevity, yet will come under enormous pressure to rethink his plans if the champion lock's output remains as diminished as it was in round 1 loss to the Knights.
  • More stats this time social media followers- Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and despite having two fewer teams, NRL clubs still hold more cumulative followers than the AFL (8.71 million versus 8.56 million).
    • So which code is the most dominant? And what is Australia's most popular team?
    • Traditional measures such as memberships and crowd averages undoubtedly show the AFL as the nation's favourite. But technology has changed the way we consume sport, meaning streams and followers are perhaps more accurate metrics in determining the true influence, reach and brand power of Australia's football teams.

Top 10 clubs by followers:

  1. Brisbane Broncos: 1,062,252                     2. Melbourne Storm: 894,326
  2. Warriors: 799,744                                      4. South Sydney Rabbitohs: 781,187
  3. Collingwood Football Club: 756,220        6. Essendon Football Club: 682,638
  4. Richmond Football Club: 659,195             8. Hawthorn Football Club: 623,176
  5. West Coast Eagles: 619,982                      10. Carlton Football Club: 594,541


  • QRL has announced Thurston will join the Maroonsas an assistant coach for the 2021 State of Origin series. Green has also retained the services of experienced mentor Neil Henry, who assisted Wayne Bennett during the Maroons’ 2-1 series victory over NSW in November.
  • Looks like Manly Sea Eagles coach Dr Des Hasler is set to sign a new two-year deal with the club. Speculation has been rife around Hasler's future at the Sea Eaglesas he's now in the final year of a three-year contract and began season 2021 with a 46-4 drubbing at the hands of the Sydney Roosters on Saturday.
  • Warriors recruit Euan Aitken will miss half the NRL season after injuring his ankle in his club debut on Saturday.
  • Concussion issues for Roosters co-captains Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner
  • The Cowboys have confirmed their interest in Broncos halfback Tom Dearden with the halfback likely to hit the open market if he doesn’t get a shot at first grade soon. Dearden has reportedly put a six-week timeframe on deciding his future after he visited Townsville less than a month ago
  • Two Brisbane young guns could be set to follow David Fifita to Queensland rival the Gold Coast Titans with star centre Kotoni Staggs and teenager Brendan Piakura both been linked to a move away from Red Hill, with the Titans circling the pair. Staggs is one of the most sought after signatures in the NRL, with several rival clubs ken on his services after a breakout 2020 season. Despite publicly stating his desire to remain with Broncos, there is persistent interest from the Titans, Bulldogs and Eels.
  • The Sea Eagles have made a massive play for off-contract Eels star Nathan Brown. Brown, whose contract expires at the end of 2021, has been offered a lucrative deal to switch to the Sea Eagles in 2022. It’s believed the Eels have already tabled a two-year deal worth around $600,000 a season but Brown is yet to accept the offer.
  • Parramatta coach Brad Arthur expects backrower Ryan Matterson to stay at the Eels despite reports that Matterson‘s manager circulated an email last week asking interested clubs to come forward.

Segment 2: 6.22-6.28: Macca and panel

  • Macca’s 1 minute round 1 NRL summary
  • The NRL has granted boom youngster Joseph Suaaliian exemption to make his first-grade debut this season before he turns 18. In granting the exemption the NRL said they considered a range of factors including; Suaalii's results from an independent medical and psychological assessments, the individual circumstances of the player's development to this point and a welfare and education management plan provided by the Sydney Roosters.
  • ill join illustrious company with over 70 other players in same category and to name a few starting with 1st ever being Charlie Fraser in 1910:

Jason Taumalolo 2010 17             Wade Graham 2008 17           Israel Folau 2007 17

Mitchell Pearce 2007 17              Chris Lawrence 20061 7        Dave Taylor 2006 17

Keith Galloway 2003 17              Brett Seymour 2002 17          Steve Turner 2002 17

Justin Hodges 2000 17                 Luke Burt 1999 17                  Brett Finch 1999 17

Mark O’Meley 1999 17                Todd Payten 1996 17              Paul Mellor 1991 16

Jamie Ainscough 1990 17            John Simon 1990 17               Danny Mamo 1989 17

Brad Fittler 1989 17                     Billy Moore 1989 17              Jason Bell 1989 17

Laurie Daley 1987 1                     Andrew Ettingshausen 1983 17

Gavin Miller 1977 17                   Robert Finch 1974 17             Graham Eadie 1971 17

Dennis Ward 1964 16                   Dennis Tutty 1964 17             Ted Glossop 1951 17

Brian Bevan 1942 17                    Dick Dunn 1938 17                Jack Arnold 1936 16

Dave Brown 1930 17                    Ray Stehr 1929 16                  Frank Burge 1911 16

Charles Fraser 1910 17

  • Greg Inglis is set to revive his representative career and help England prepare for the World Cup in a mid-year match against a Combined Nations All Stars made up of Super League players.
  • Fellow Australians James Maloney, Josh Reynolds, Joel Thompson and Bevan French, New Zealand’s Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Tonga’s Konrad Hurrell and Manu Ma’u, Fiji’s Kevin Naiqama and Korbin Sims and Lachlan Coote (Scotland) are also likely to be considered.
  • The historic clash will be played at in Warrington - on June 25, which coincides with the NRL’s stand-alone representative round.
  • It is expected that New Zealand will play Tonga and other Pacific nations will be in action on the same weekend as the PNG Hunters and Fiji Silktails are based in Australia for the coming season.
  • The clash with the Combined Nations All Stars will be part of an historic double-header, in which the England women’s team will play Wales for the first time. England and Wales will also face off in a wheelchair international on June 26.


  • English Super League: Round 1-27 March

St Helens v Salford; Leigh v Wigan; Wakefield v Leeds; Catalans Dragons v Hull KR; Hull FC v Huddersfield and Castleford v Warrington;

Magic Weekend will also return to Newcastle's St James' Park across the weekend of 29-30 May.

Break: 6.28-6.30

Segment 2 (continued): 6.30-6.38

Preview and selections round 2; match officials – any surprises?

Tonight: Eels/Storm











Segment 3: Panel

Follow up to Macca and panel selections etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *