NRL Bulldogs training at Belmore Sports Ground. Coach Des Hasler under pressure. Access to training for the media to training was cut to 4 minutes as Des signalled to cut it short. pic Stephen Cooper
NRL Bulldogs training at Belmore Sports Ground. Coach Des Hasler under pressure. Access to training for the media to training was cut to 4 minutes as Des signalled to cut it short. pic Stephen Cooper

Highlights, lowlights: Dogs can’t blame Des forever

WHEN will the new directors at the Canterbury Bulldogs start to accept some responsibility for this debacle of a season at Belmore? They can't blame Ray Dib, Des Hasler or Raelene Castle for the fact the Bulldogs are now favourites to win the wooden spoon.

They didn't release Aaron Woods or Moses Mbye halfway through the season, leaving coach Dean Pay with a depleted roster. That was the new board.

To release both players when they had already lost Kieran Foran for the remainder of the season has left Pay with a club lacking both talent and experience.

GRIM FUTURE FOR REF ERRORS

The day will surely come when clubs will consider their legal options over the more costly refereeing mistakes. The NRL is a business as much as a sport. Winning is everything.

As a result of Friday night's refereeing, the Raiders are officially out of the running for the finals.

It will cost them around 3000 fans at their next home game.

It could cost them sponsorship bonuses and merchandise sales. Even membership sales for 2019.

Potentially it could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

FITZY NRL'S MOST IMPROVED

Who is the most improved player in the NRL this year. Damien Cook at the Rabbitohs? Maybe Edrick Lee at the Cronulla Sharks? Tariq Sims at the Dragons? Corey Thompson at the Wests Tigers or Victor Radley at the Roosters?

I'd be going for Newcastle Knights edge forward Lachlan Fitzgibbon who had another blinder against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday afternoon. Eight tackle busts and a threat whenever he touched the football. This guy is good enough to play State of Origin.

 

Fitzgibbon is one of the most improved players in the league. Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images.
Fitzgibbon is one of the most improved players in the league. Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images.

 

HIGHLIGHT

The log jam at the top of the table with only four points separating the top eight sides. This is the most open competition we can recall. Any of the eight sides could lift the trophy on grand final day.

HIGHLIGHT II

The wonderful Erin Molan returning from maternity leave to allow your columnist to escape from the lunatics on the 2GB Continuous Call team on Saturday afternoons.

LOWLIGHT

Todd Greenberg's predictable response to the refereeing crisis that he will wait to review it at the end of the season.

What about right now. What about getting the right people on the appointments panel this week. People who recognise Matt Cecchin as clearly the best in the game.

BLOWN IT AGAIN

The last time the NRL 'reviewed' refereeing was at last year's World Cup. It was supposed to be a trial for the one-referee system.

Halfway through the tournament they abandoned the 'review' despite the fact the one referee allowed games to flow and some absolutely breathtaking football.

GRUB-O-WAR

We recently wrote that the grubbiest act of the season was Joey Leilua's sledging after scoring a try on full-time against the Bulldogs. Then Anthony Milford comes along and pulls the hair of Panthers forward Corey Harawira-Naera

JT'S BEEN ROBBED

It must be getting more and more embarrassing for Sydney Roosters assistant coach Jason Taylor as Robbie Farah continues on with his fantastic comeback form and a win in his 250th game for the Wests Tigers against the Rabbitohs on Saturday night.

SEPARATED AT BIRTH

Check out the melons on Parramatta Eels star Mitchell Moses and Knights fullback Nick Meaney. They look even more like twins than George and Tom Burgess.

Knights rookie Nick Meaney.
Knights rookie Nick Meaney.

UNLEASH THE PEACH

Surely Panthers coach Anthony Griffin needs to somehow and somewhere find a starting jersey for the game's best utility player, Tyrone Peachey, in the run home to the finals.

360 VIEW

Catch you tonight on NRL 360 on Fox Sports with Paul Kent and Ben Ikin to discuss the biggest issues in the game as we head into retro round.

Special guests as part of retro round are premiership-winning coaches John Monie and Chris Anderson.

 

Parramatta star Mitchell Moses.
Parramatta star Mitchell Moses.


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