Are the Cowboys cooked?

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After their 27-10 loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs on Saturday night, North Queensland’s season is in trouble and I don’t know what they need to do to fix it.

That makes it five consecutive losses for the Cowboys – only the Parramatta Eels have been as disappointing on the field.

The Cowboys began the season as premiership favourites and for good reason. Last year they made the grand final despite being without Matt Scott for most of the season, Johnathan Thurston for half of it, and injuries to players like Michael Morgan and Lachlan Coote throughout.

Upsets galore ensures NRL is enthralling for all fans

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When thinking about the opening five rounds of the Telstra Premiership, the word that immediately springs to mind is “surprise”.

Whether it’s the fact the Warriors and Dragons remain unbeaten, that the Eels are yet to win a game or that Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence seem to be helping the Tigers turn back the clock to start the season with wins over Melbourne (twice) Parramatta and the Roosters, this season has been anything but predictable.

One of my favourite surprises has been the Gold Coast sitting in sixth spot on the ladder with three wins. The Titans are the highest ranked team from Queensland with the Broncos 12th with two wins and the Cowboys languishing at 14th after losing four games on the trot.

Has Wayne Bennett lost his aura?

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Suggesting Wayne Bennett has lost his aura always makes me laugh, but there has been some weird stuff to come out of the Broncos in the last week.

Let’s be clear: Bennett will be remembered as one of rugby league’s greatest mentors.

Rossdog proves rewards of persistence

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Dear Nathan (the Rossdog),

This week, I wanted to sit down and write you a letter to congratulate you as you prepare to play your 50th NRL game for the Newcastle Knights against the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday.

Not everyone will know how much this milestone means to you, but I do. I know it was your dream to play just one Telstra Premiership game, so to now have had the opportunity to play 50 games and all for the club that offered your first real chance is something special.

Refereeing crackdown the right thing for the game

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‘With great power comes great responsibility’; Uncle Ben from the first Spiderman film had it right.

Unfortunately, when it comes to rugby league, those with the greatest power and those who are charged with educating people and fans about the game are instead looking to create sensationalist headlines, push their own agendas and hurt the game which they say they love the most.

This has been exceptionally clear to me over the last couple of days as the controversy around refereeing and penalties continues.

Stay Kind Cup’s message goes beyond rugby league

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Often when I need it the most I find reminders all around me that put life into perspective.

I had one of these moments after the final siren in the 2017 playoff between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys. My beloved Eels lost 24-16 and their first finals series appearance since 2009 was over.

I was at that game with my dad, the man in the world I love the most. Not too far away were some of my favourite Cowboys fans, ARL commissioner Megan Davis and Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner, so I smiled and congratulated them on a job well done.

Mary’s Wonder Women: Same game. Our way.

This article was first written and published for The Roar.

I now have another four teams to support in rugby league, with the NRL announcing this week the clubs that have been granted inaugural licences in the 2018 Women’s Premiership.

In a historic day for footy, the Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra Dragons and New Zealand Warriors have all been granted licenses and will now begin negotiating with players to assemble their squads.

Caitlin Moran is expected to be the Roosters’ first signing, with ‘Red V’ ambassadors Samantha Bremner and Kezie Apps expected to play in red and white, while Karina Brown is being touted as a potential captain for the Brisbane Broncos.

Stop complaining about the refs, Ricky, and answer these questions about the Raiders

This article was first written and published for The Roar.

“I’ll be waiting for Todd [Greenberg] to ring me and to tell me what an obstruction is.”

First question – will a ‘texer’ suffice?

That statement is from Ricky Stuart’s press conference on Saturday night after the Canberra Raiders lost to the New Zealand Warriors 20-19 to start their 2018 season 0-3.

Predictable is not a word I’ve used to describe the NRL season so far, but what is becoming increasingly so are these types of press conferences from Ricky Stuart where he makes a decision to move the focus from what his team has done on the field to the officials and the interpretation of the rules.

The perils of supporting the Parramatta Eels

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They say a week is a long time in footy and it feels like even longer when your team is coming off the back of a heavy defeat.

It has been almost five days since I found myself in a position where I had driven more than an hour to sit in 40-degree heat to watch my team get done by 54 points by the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at Lottoland.

I am not sure what was the worst part.

It could have been that I was sitting on the hill at Brookie surrounded by Sea Eagles fans (who in their defence thought I was so pathetic, that I was very much left alone). It could have been that I had to watch my team lose, but lose in the most disappointing of ways.