NRL Round 9 Talking Points: Abuse of Kasey Badger is way out of line – on and off the field


Round 9 had some great rugby league games in a week many thought would be a walkover, but sadly once again we find ourselves stuck in referee bashing land. Here come your talking points from the weekend.

A shameful weekend

Some time today the NRL’s Head of Football Elite Competitions Graham Annesley will front the media and go over the refereeing decisions of note, and there was plenty to go round this weekend.

One month ago I put the call to Annesley to either back his refs at these Monday sessions or stop doing them at all, because too often he takes the soft option and hangs his team out to dry.

It’s time again to call for him show a little backbone. Instead of potting Kasey Badger for her management of the Wests Tigers-Canterbury game, why not highlight the players who acted like children, screaming up in her face like angry toddlers after her every decision (right or wrong) from the first whistle.

Why not denounce the avalanche of filthy abuse she copped from online man babies, who launched with glee into the referee ‘not because she’s a woman’ but with horrible sexist abuse anyway.

Mistakes were made in every game this weekend – just ask the Warriors how they thought the bunker treated them. Badger was let down badly by her touch judges and the bunker too. Many will point to four successful captain’s challenges as a crutch to abuse, but in the overall scheme this means absolutely nothing.

Half the games this weekend had two successful challenges, every game had challenges that were successful or not. That’s what they’re there for.

One of the worst things about our game is how we treat referees and I really, really hate talking about it here every week. Referees cop it every game, every decision. Everyone bags the refs. I’ve done it, you’ve done it. Every week it’s embarrassing to see how supposedly grown adults react to a referee’s decision but bloody hell, Tigers versus Bulldogs was something else.

If you know someone acting like a clown about something as meaningless as refereeing in a sports league, maybe check in on them and ask if they’re ok. We all need to be better.


— ???? Wanda ???? (@fishy_wanda) May 5, 2024

One more thing – lots of people were crying this week too for ex-players to sit in the bunker to make the calls, seemingly forgetting 283-game St George Illawarra and Bulldogs veteran Luke Patten built and ran the bunker as we currently know it (right now he’s Chair of the NRL Match Review Committee). Patten got panned during his bunker stint.

Henry Perenara played 72 NRL games before making the switch to refereeing and working the bunker too, and he got stood down after making errors in the bunker before leaving the game altogether. So what are we talking about here?

Stop trying to belt Reed Mahoney

What an unlucky fella is Bulldogs hooker Reed Mahoney. The man just continually finds himself in situations where people get so riled up trying to get to him they lose control and give away a penalty, or don’t concentrate on the game. This time it was the Tigers’ Alex Seyfarth who couldn’t keep his cool, getting binned after aiming a fairly ambitious headbutt at the Canterbury rake.

There’s an easy solution: ignore him! Sure, you might want to plant one on him and feel better but in the great tradition of Billy Slater, Michael Ennis, Paul Gallen and plenty of others, if you’re the one reacting to him, you’ve lost the battle.

Who is 2024’s biggest disappointment?

Perennial contenders South Sydney are dead last and sacked their coach, Newcastle are scraping wins but nowhere near what they promised, North Queensland have dropped out of the finals places like a rock and Parramatta can’t overcome injuries and poor play, but is the season’s biggest egg being laid across the ditch?

New Zealand came into this season with hot, hot heat after a preliminary final run and plenty to like about their squad, set-up and coach. After going down 14-8 to the Knights they sit 14th with three wins from nine games, two games outside the top eight.

Is it all as bad as we might think though? The Warriors have scored 20 or more five times and conceded 20 or more four times. They’ve got five losses by six points or less (four by four or fewer). Maybe it’s just one of those seasons?

They’ve got a rough run to their first bye of the year, with the Roosters this week, then Penrith, The Dolphins and a bye. If they can’t at least two of these, they can forget about any plans for the top four.

Good games this week

After the pleasant surprise round eight gave us, we’re into our last ‘normal’ weekend of football until Magic Round and then State of Origin ruins everything.

Things get going Thursday with Manly heading to Suncorp for The Dolphins. The Dolphins continue to challenge all comers but Manly learned a very valuable lesson last week and if they get ahead, surely will try to push on.

Friday’s pub game is the Panthers and Bulldogs which might be interesting, but runs the risk of another Penrith smothering. Friday primetime heads to Parramatta and Brisbane, a game that could have been something when the schedule was set.

Saturday starts with an intriguing matchup between Wests Tigers and the resilient Newcastle, then the Dragons and Bunnies try to move up the ladder a touch and the Storm host the table-topping Sharks in a belter.

Sunday’s set starts with the Roosters and Warriors and New Zealand could be in genuine peril here. The round wraps with the Titans and Cowboys on the Gold Coast, and Des Hasler’s men are a genuine shot at the win.

Canberra have the bye and a handy two points in the overall battle for the top eight.

This round’s random thoughts

– More James Graham on rugby league television, please. What a breath of fresh air we’re getting in the occasional Fox NRL broadcasts from someone who actually has a grasp on the modern game.
– Manly coach Anthony Seibold was quite interesting in his press conference after his Sea Eagles blew 20-0 then 24-6 to lose to Canberra 26-24. It’s worth a watch – considered, reasonable and thoughtful when he could have just done his nut and blamed all around him plus the refs.
– Am I the only one who thinks post-game coverage in the NRL is severely lacking? What happened to a good old match review and analysis instead of flicking straight to another game or another show? We’re lucky to get the game we just watched looked at in any depth maybe three times a week. If there’s going to be bugger all coverage in the aftermath of a game, why can’t we have a midweek match review show?
– What a game by James Tedesco and the Roosters, lighting up the Broncos 40-18. This is why people can’t quit them when it comes to top four and premiership talk.
– Shoutouts to The Dolphins and Newcastle, both teams with massive injury concerns but who keep turning up and ripping in. Two key wins over the Cowboys and Warriors keep the finals light on, because there’s a long way to go.
– Speaking of injuries, we just get more, more and more. Teams are already risking their depth players to injury before the State of Origin period. Who’s going to make it through?

Has to be one of the strongest injured 17’s I can remember, and not just minor issues – all those listed here will require over a month on the sideline. Absolute carnage.

A few guys shoehorned into positions but where would you have this side finishing on the 2024 ladder?

— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) May 4, 2024

What’s caught your eye this weekend, Roarers?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.