NRL News: ‘I can get us out of this’ – Demetriou fights to save job, Robinson rejects concussion critics


Souths coach Jason Demetriou is adamant he can not only save his job by turning their season around but see out the remainder of his contract amid speculation he could be axed after Saturday’s crucial clash with Cronulla.

Increased conjecture over Demetriou’s replacement, with Mal Meninga’s name the latest to be thrown up as an option, only adds to the speculation that the meeting with the Sharks could be his last game in charge.

There has been talk that Rabbitohs assistant coach Ben Hornby could also step up to the role on an interim basis, while Wayne Bennett remains unsigned beyond this season.

A bye either side of games with Cronulla and Melbourne would give the Rabbitohs time to settle on alternatives should they opt to part ways with Demetriou, who has made one of the boldest calls of his tenure by dropping Cook. 

Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“It’s not something I’m thinking about to be honest,” he said in a NewsCorp interview when asked about the rumours about this tenure coming to an end.

“I can’t control what people are saying and speculating. The critics were saying this at the end of last year and they were saying it all off-season, so it won’t make any difference to the narrative whether I think about it or not.

“The only thing that makes a difference is making sure the players feel the energy from me and they respond this week, which I believe they will. I’m handling it OK, I really am.

“It’s not ideal the situation we’re in but it’s not my first rodeo in this environment and it’s business as usual for me.”

Meninga would be unlikely to take over full time but fill in as caretaker for the rest of the season if Souths think Hornby is not ready for that role with Bennett to take over next year, returning to the club after his Dolphins duties are done when he hands over to Kristian Woolf.

South Sydney chief executive Blake Solly insists the Rabbitohs haven’t begun planning for life after Demetriou and club director Nick Hatzistergos was also adamant on Wednesday night that the board had not asked for a short list, and said on social media none had been provided.

“Without a doubt I believe I can get us out of this,” Demetriou said. “It wasn’t long ago I was given a three-year extension.

“I need trust in the players to do the job and I have full trust in the group.”

Robbo hits back about Roosters’ concussion policy

Trent Robinson has played down concerns over James Tedesco’s latest concussion, confident the Sydney Roosters captain is well on the path to recovery.

Tedesco will miss Thursday night’s clash against the Knights after being knocked out trying to tackle a rampaging Viliame Kikau in last week’s game against the Bulldogs.

Externally, the head knock raised concerns over the fullback’s future, with the concussion believed to be the 10th of his career.

Tedesco himself has been largely unfazed by the situation, stating publicly last Saturday that he had pulled up fine from the knock.

Robinson has also taken confidence.

The Roosters are among the most cautious clubs in the NRL when it comes to concussions, having regularly given players extended breaks to recover.

They also sent medical staff to Pittsburgh last year for further studies on head knocks, including diagnosing different types in line with symptoms.

And with that in mind, Robinson is confident the latest incident is not a major concern for his fullback.

“We feel like we’re in a really good spot compared to where a lot of judgment has been in the last few years,” he said. 

“We’re more advanced to look after our players. 

“And within that, Ted’s been in a really good space. 

“The day after the game he was really clear on conversations he had with the referee … and different discussions before he went off. 

“So that memory was quite clear. It is definitely symptoms-based, and he’s on the right track there.”

Robinson said the Pittsburgh trip had prompted his medical staff to look differently at concussions.

“We’ve probably learned more in the last year around concussions than any other time,” he said. 

“A lot of people see concussion as one thing. We’ve done a lot of research. 

“If you hurt your leg, people will start saying ‘Well, what did you hurt? Did you hurt your knee? Did you hurt your hammy?’ 

“When people ask about did you get concussion, there’s no more questions, where it’s a little bit deeper than that. 

“There’s different types of concussions. And then there’s different treatments to that from what we’ve learned, so that’s been a real benefit for us.”

Robinson also conceded the NRL’s bunker was right to send off winger Dom Young for a high shot on Blake Taaffe last week against Canterbury. After the match the coach said the call was inconsistent with other high shots, but he changed his position on Wednesday.

“From me reviewing it again and talking to both referees, it was definitely a send-off,” Robinson said. “The technical points and actions of Dom didn’t look like a send-off, but the result of his actions definitely did.”

(with AAP)

‘One of our better players’: Gutho defends Brown, sends warning to fellow Eels

Captain Clint Gutherson has warned more of his Parramatta teammates may face the axe, claiming the Eels have let Dylan Brown down as he adjusts to life as a NRL halfback.

Seeking to spark the Eels’ 2-3 season, Brad Arthur has dropped winger Maika Sivo and rookie Blaize Talagi for Saturday’s home clash with North Queensland. 

Arthur shuffled the deck, bringing Daejarn Asi in for Talagi at five-eighth as Brown juggles his run-first approach with the need to steer the Eels around the park. 

The Eels have yet to win a game since halfback Mitchell Moses went down with a broken foot a fortnight ago and Gutherson warned more changes could come if Parramatta don’t respond to last week’s 41-8 hammering away to Canberra.

“Those (dropped) guys haven’t kicked stones, they’ve still got a job to do,” Gutherson said. 

“The players that are going to come in, they have to make sure they’re playing well otherwise, they are going to be other people on the chopping block as well.

“Blaize is a rookie, you’re probably asking a lot for him to take the pressure off (Brown and) Daejarn’s done it before.”

Brown’s move to fill Moses’ shoes has been met with plenty of scrutiny, but Gutherson argued such criticism was unwarranted. 

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“Dyl has been doing that (well), he’s been one of our better players the last two weeks,” Gutherson said. 

“He kicked well, he ran the ball and there’s probably a handful of other players who’ve been letting the team down. 

“We know what we have to do to fix it and we have to do that this week. 

“I’m there to do what I can do for the team, I don’t need to be doing anyone else’s job, the other 16 players have got to do their job.” 

Sivo’s axing was the biggest surprise of them all. 

The big Fijian winger, who has 90 tries in 105 NRL games, has been a near ever-present for the Eels since his debut in 2019.

But the 10-Test international has clearly been below his best since returning from a suspension in round four. 

“It’s probably a confidence thing for Maika because when he’s on and feeling good he’s one of the best wingers in the comp,” Gutherson added.

“He’s got to get back to being Maika.

“We need that Maika every week and the NRL is such a tough sport it’s hard to win games – you need 17 players doing their job and we haven’t had that the last two weeks.”

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