Tim Mannah: A player worth talking up

This article was first written and published for the Roar and was also co-authored by Joseph Sponholz.

In recent weeks, Todd Greenberg has been encouraging the rugby league family to #TalkUpTheGame.

Tired of those that profess to love the game but use their influence to try and hurt the game, Todd has encouraged all of us to be advocates of the game and share stories about the good deeds and characters that often go unnoticed. Trust me, there are plenty.

On the weekend while celebrating the Parramatta Eels’ 44-10 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles the behaviour of one player stood out to me as someone worthy of ‘talking up’.

LADIES WHO LOB: A Fed Cup Full of Inspiring Women

This story was written by Nicole Hunt.

In the opening game on day two of the Fed Cup tie between Australia and the Netherlands, Aussie Ash Barty was 0-30 down only to then fire off an unplayable serve followed by two aces.  She fought back calmly to win that game despite the slight delay caused by the ringing of a phone in the crowd.

She looks steady but she doesn’t get it all her own way. She gets a break opportunity in the 8th game but can’t convert it on the scoreboard. I don’t think I’ve seen Ash so athletic and she seems more and more comfortable on court. Yesterday even the captain of the Netherlands team said publicly just how impressed he was with Ash’s game.  She takes the first set 6-4 and they trade breaks to start the second set.

Are the Cowboys cooked?

This article was first written for and published  for The Roar.

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

This article was first written and published for NRL.com.

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?

This article was first written for and published for The Roar

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

This article was first written and published for NRL.com

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

This article was first written for and published by The Roar.

‘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

This article was first written and published for NRL.com.

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.