BY CURTIS WOODWARD
HASLER FOR COACH OF THE YEAR
This website hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with the Manly Sea Eagles – especially after their media manager blocked @the81stminute from the official Sea Eagles Twitter page for a harmless joke about Nate Myles. But you have to give credit to their 2019 roster and coach Des Hasler for what they have already achieved this season. They sit 5th and just hammered old foes Parramatta in a good old fashioned Brookvale ambush. I saw Manly live at Cronulla a little earlier this year and was impressed by their line speed and agility. They’re a completely different team under Hasler.
WESTS TIGERS FANS LIVING IN DENIAL
Following up a story right here on the81stminute.com from a few days back, some Wests Tigers out there still believe they are a top 8 chance. Let’s be real, here. Wests Tigers simply don’t have the talent to beat the best teams in the competition. What makes this time of year even more frustrating for Wests Tigers supporters is the false hope their strong early season form always gives them. It’s easy to look like contenders in round three or four when the best sides are playing at 60 or 65%.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO HENSON PARK THIS SATURDAY
The annual Beer, Footy and Food Festival hits Henson Park this Saturday as Newtown host Canterbury-Bankstown from 3pm. Saturday’s event “will expand on its 2018 roster and welcome 30 brewers to Henson Park from across Australia,” Newtown’s website reads.
“There’s also a plethora of food on offer with 15 local food trucks and businesses setting up shop.”
Kids can enjoy “a giant tiger slide, a mechanical footy, petting zoo, obstacle course, jumping castles, face painters and more.”
I’ll be there with the boys in the commentary box calling all the action for steelesports.com.au.
DRAGONS CAN’T AFFORD TO SACK MCGREGOR
We have to take offense at The Sydney Morning Herald’s Danny Weidler calling frustrated Dragons fans ‘keyboard warriors’ just because they can’t support the current coach. We’ve heard a million reasons why St George Illawarra aren’t cutting the mustard but apparently McGregor is off limits. Realistically, the Dragons can’t afford to pay McGregor out so they’re stuck with him.
AUSTIN POWERS INTO ENGLISH SQUAD
Good on Blake Austin for making the English train-on squad. The former Raiders star has moved to the Super League where he’s having a wow of a season with Warrington. Austin has come under fire from some quarters for aligning himself to England. Austin’s grandmother is English and he has been pretty vocal about representing her and making his family proud. But this is all old news. Wayne Bennett has been chasing Austin since 2016 and Austin was on record then saying he was keen to play.
9s TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD? REALLY?
Rugby league plans on taking the World Cup 9s to the rest of the world. ‘World domination’ one headline spruiked. Yeah, yeah, we’ll believe it when we see it. The 2025 World Cup in North America is cooked, Canberra and Manly were meant to play in China, Penrith and Brisbane in Hawaii. Hell, we’re still playing mid-season Tests between Fiji and Tonga at Leichhardt or Campbelltown.
The inaugural World Cup 9s takes place in October at Parramatta’s Bankwest Stadium.