The Sin Bin - Marvin France's take on the NRL
With another one-sided Origin series on the cards, The Sin Bin has decided to shun Queensland's annual coronation ceremony by revealing our highly anticipated mid-season awards.
Here’s the winners and sinners from the opening 13 rounds…
‘HOW DOES HE STILL HAVE A JOB’ AWARD - Perhaps this gong should be renamed ‘thank God my bosses are too tight to fire me’ because that’s the only thing keeping Parramatta boss Stephen Kearney in the job. The Kiwi coach has presided over the club’s worst start since 1960 but having shelved out a hefty pay-out fee to former boss Daniel Anderson to get their man, the Eels board are refusing to go down the same road with Kearney.
‘BRITTLE BRITS’ AWARD - The NRL has been blessed with a glut of quality Englishman of late. Now, if only they could just stay on the field. Rampaging Rabbitoh Sam Burgess is experiencing a second-straight injury-plagued season, while Tigers forward Gareth Ellis has been sidelined with a fractured foot. British Bulldog James Graham is flying the flag, though, and doing so in style - the skilful prop shaping as one of the buys of the year.
‘TRASH TO TREASURE’ AWARD - Krisnan Inu couldn’t catch a cold for the Warriors. But in his two matches since being shipped off to the Bulldogs the enigmatic winger has scored three tries, a man-of-the-match award and a game-winning drop goal. The best part of all this for Canterbury - he came at bargain $50,000.
‘WHERE DID THEY COME FROM’ AWARD - Rugby league’s hard luck story since, well, they were established in 1967, the luckless Sharks are flying high this year in joint third on the ladder. The financially stricken club don’t have a chief executive nor a major sponsor, but they do have a title-contending football team as shown when they dealt Melbourne their only defeat of the season in round 10.
‘WHO’S GONNA STOP US’ AWARD - They may have slipped up against the Sharks but the Storm have been far and away the best team in the competition. With Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk pulling the strings a legitimate title seems inevitable. However, they do tend to rely heavily on the ‘Big Three’ and with them all involved in Origin, there is the danger of the Storm running out of steam come finals time.
‘THE ENTERTAINER’ AWARD - In a game dominated by Goliaths who can lift small cars over their heads with one arm, there’s nothing better than watching fleet-footed Davids make them look silly - and with nine tries and 12 line-breaks, Ben Barba has had the lions share of laughs so far. The Bulldogs fullback does things with the ball most wouldn’t dream of, and he’s added a defensive element to his game this year that has seen him save as many four-pointers as he’s scored.
‘GET OVER IT’ AWARD - New South Wales were well within their rights to blow up over Greg Inglis’ match-sealing try in Origin I - but not for three weeks. The Blues’ bleating continued right up to the eve of today’s clash when Stuart snubbed the final press conference. Yet as bad as the call was, it didn’t cost them the game. That was down to a lack of creativity on attack and unless they fix that problem in Sydney today the tears will be flowing for another 12 months.