Frosty reception for Tigers
Josh Massoud and Dean Ritchie From: The Daily Telegraph September 14, 2010 12:01AM
THE Wests Tigers will ask the NRL to review its controversial home final policy after being pitched into an unenviable trip to frosty Canberra on Friday night.
Both Tigers boss Stephen Humphreys and skipper Robbie Farah last night joined a host of former greats in questioning the fairness of top-four sides having to travel to meet lower-ranked opponents after dropping just a single game.
After losing to the Raiders, the second-ranked Panthers will also face a hostile crowd when they tackle the Roosters (sixth) on Saturday night.
But it’s the Tigers’ journey to Canberra that yesterday sparked most outrage, given the Raiders only confirmed their finals spot in the last round and the joint venture side were one of the most consistent teams of 2010.
“We don’t want to be seen as whingeing, because we knew the rules and we have to accept the challenge of beating the Raiders in Canberra,” Humphreys said.
"But I think it needs to be reviewed [at the end-of-year CEOs conference].
“The big factor is the travel and having your preparation interrupted by something you can’t plan for. The big thing is a team having to travel interstate or overseas to face a team outside the top four.”
Farah said the Tigers remained upbeat about saving their season on hostile turf, but believed the system is unfair in principle.
“Like Stephen said, we knew the rules and we have to play by them,” he said.
“But I think it’s something they’ve got to look at. We play 26 weeks and finished third. Now because of one loss we have to travel away with our season on the line. But whatever the case, we’re confident we can do the job.”
One Penrith player, upset at having to travel 70km east to play the Roosters, said: “Can you believe it?”
The NRL responded yesterday by stressing the clubs voted to take second-week finals to regional cities.
Benny Elias, the Balmain great, was stunned his club had to now travel to Canberra in a sudden-death match.
“It’s a disaster again,” Elias said. “It is an enormously tough call on the Tigers. I don’t think it’s fair but rules are rules and you have to abide by them.”
Penrith’s greatest player, Greg Alexander, was equally stunned that his club would be by-passing Homebush for Moore Park.
“The NRL has to answer questions about this,” he said.
"We have been banging on about this for years - about the scheduling and where the games are played.
“I know game allocations and the McIntyre system are separate but the McIntyre system stinks, it’s rotten and ordinary. It runs a poor second to the AFL system.”
Mark Geyer, the ex-Penrith Test forward, added: “It’s totally unfair. We finished second, the Roosters finished seventh. We lost a game by two points and now they get a home semi-final.”
NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley explained why his organisation takes week two semi-finals to regional cities.
“Before we implemented this, all the finals were in Sydney and no one outside of Sydney got to watch them,” Annesley said.
“The clubs voted on this in the clear light of day.”
It’s a capital crime that Wests aren’t playing at the SFS
Josh Massoud From: The Daily Telegraph September 14, 2010 12:01AM
CONTRARY to most Australians, I like going to Canberra.
I like how traffic jams clear when the lights turn green. I like the RSA policy at Mooseheads. I like Fyshwick.
But on Friday night, I’m not happy about going to Canberra.
If there was any justice whatsoever, I’d be following the pub crawlers up Foveaux St to cover the Wests Tigers v Raiders semi at the SFS.
But when it comes to the NRL’s flawed finals series, there’s less justice than a Zimbabwean courtroom. Giving Canberra - the seventh-ranked team - a home final is the most laughable sporting faux pas since John Howard’s pitiful bowling attempt on the subcontinent four years ago.
To anyone who’s faithfully tuned into the 26 weeks of premiership rounds, it’s insulting. To the Tigers - who finished equal second - it’s abhorrent.
What’s the point of playing six months of football, when the fruits of such persistent and arduous labour can rot in just 80 minutes?
The saddest thing is that it’s happened before - twice.
In 2008, the eighth-placed Warriors earned a home final against the Roosters (fourth) and plucked them. Last year, the eighth-placed Eels earned a home final against the Titans (third) and smashed them.
Now the Tigers, despite being the second-most consistent team all year, despite contributing to arguably the most epic game of rugby league ever witnessed, are in the firing line.
The NRL tells us teams that lose finals don’t deserve to stay at home.
But that’s a luxury extended to the top four in the AFL’s model.
And guess what? No one complains in Melbourne.
In Sydney, however, there were plenty of fans grumbling yesterday.
The NRL tells them the finals are a new competition. That the rules are reset in September.
This is what they should say back: Why should I bother watching in March? In April, May, June, July and August too?
If my team’s accomplishments can be undermined in one single game, why should I invest in something so fragile and unfair?
Just like the salary cap, it’s a system that gives also-rans undeserved credit at the expense of rewarding excellence. So where’s the incentive to be excellent?
It’s a joke. But we really shouldn’t whinge, save that for later.
Let’s just get the job done on Friday night.
Yeah I agree it is a joke but
I remember the dragons whinging last year and the roostsers whinging a couple of years ago
and both teams got smashed.
Focus on the game boys.
No its not a joke … We are complaining because we have to got there and play. If we had won things would have been in our favour… It was in our control and we let it slip so suck it up princess … Heads down and back to Business…
Its not foul play , Every home team has to have some advantage , too bad our home game was shared with the chooks so that was our loss …