NRL 2006 – Who Will Make The Anzac Test Team?

Eel gets crushed but team wins game

Howdy Troppo Readers! Ken has kindly asked me to come on board and be Troppo’s NRL columnist. Some of you may know me as a one-eyed (or even blind) Parramatta Eels fan. But have no fear. I will not allow my love of the Eels in any way to lead me down the insipid path of having balanced or objective opinions. Given the teams for first rep game, the ANZAC test between Australia and New Zealand, will be announced in a few days looking at the possible side is a topical first post.

Fullback: Anthony Minichello. No surprise here.

Wing: Matt King. Yes he plays centre for the Storm but is big and fast and will do the job.

Centre: Justin Hodges. Bugger Money Bags Gaz. Hodges has been in fine form and though unlikely to be picked because of Stuart deserves a spot.

Centre: Timana Tahu. Has been in great touch for the Eels and will carve’em up out wid if given the room.

Wing: Eric Grothe jr. Guru’s time has come. He got a test jumper on the Kangaroo tour and deserves a run.

Next weekend sees Ken’s team Manly up against Shaun’s beloved Parra. Sparks may fly at Club Troppo.

5/8: Darren Lockyer. Lockyer’s form hasn’t been great but he has served the team well. But his form continues ordinary then he should be on notice. Origin will reveal all.

Half: Andrew Johns. No argument here. If another body part of John’s fails before the test then Jonathon Thurston will slot in well.Lock: Ben Kennedy. One of the factors in Manly’s early season form.

Second Row: Nathan Hindmarsh. Form has been patchy but was excellent on Friday night and will tackle to the last.

Second Row: Luke O’Donnell: The dominance of the Cowboys deserves to be rewarded and O’Donnell has been playing well.

Prop: Steve Price. Flying under the radar over in Auckland but would do a great job.Hooker: Danny Buderus. Shades the Tiger’s Robbie Farah for the spot but Buderus form does not warranted dropping.

Prop: Petro Civoniceva. Doing the hard yards up front for the Broncos and deserves a spot.

Bench:

Willie Mason. The Bad Boy for Love has been playing well for the Dogs and great off the bench.

Jonathon Thurston. Deserves a run given the form he is in. Unlucky not to be in the run of side.

Steve Simpson. Another big man who will be needed given how the NZ forwards are likely to play.

Craig Fitzgibbon. Lucky to make the side and probably will end up in the run on team however would do well off the bench.

Coach:

Ricky Stuart. The trouble with Coach Grumpy was that he tended to play favourites. Stuart has the same problem.

Some players, while not in the best form, still deserve a run while a few others were running on borrowed time during the Kangaroos tour. The side above is a good mix of old hands and a few younger ones. Given the Kiwis thumped the Aussies 24-0 last time this will be one hard fought game. But I see no reason why a few newer players could not be blooded.

Update: The Australian test side has been announced. It is Anthony Minichiello, Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Timana Tahu, Darren Lockyer (c), Andrew Johns, Willie Mason, Danny Buderus, Petero Civoniceva, Luke O’Donnell, Nathan Hindmarsh, Ben Kennedy. Interchange: Johnathan Thurston, Mark O’Meley, Steve Menzies, Steve Simpson.

No surprises in the backs (I do think Cooper’s form does not warrant selection) but I am surprised to the Mason selected as one of the run on props.

Bring on the Kiwis!

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Jason
15 years ago

Check out my team picks at http://stoush.net/

Not too far from yours actually. Willing to cede Grothe, agree on Hodges and O’Donnell, but Lockyer and Flopsgibbon??? Noooooo!

Shaun
15 years ago

Lockyer is lucky but I will give him the benefit of the doubt. If Mini is out then Bowen should come in. If Johns is gone then Thurston as well. Fitzgibbon will be there because Stuart is coach. I’m glad Murray is SOS coach this year. Be a few shake ups I think.

Shaun
15 years ago

I meant SOO. I hope SOO does not become SOS this year.

Amanda
15 years ago

I for one am desperate for Gasnier to be picked. Imagine the joy of witnessing him be loudly booed by 52,000 every time he touched the ball? Heaven.

Plus, there would also be the possibility he would have a shocker of a game, just to make a few yawnion execs squirm.

So many tantalising possibilities!

Shaun
15 years ago

You have a devious mind Amanda. The only problem with that idea is if Australia were to lose if would give Stuart something more to whine about.

And I don’t like this notion of rewarding players for good efforts 6 months ago as hinted by Stuart and the selectors. I want a team that will beat the Kiwis on May 5th not one that lost 24 nil 6 months ago.

Hear a rumour today that Thurston is not being considered given no selectors are atttending the Roosters v Cowboys game. Then again the Aussie coach will be in attendance.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

Shaun

Is this you in this photo? Or some other Shaun Cronin? And are you related to the great Mick or is it just a Parra coincidence?

Shaun
15 years ago

Nah, that is not me Ken. I’m better looking.

Funny I was asked about being related to Mick picking up tickets yesterday for Sunday’s Parra v Manly game. I’m not related that I know of but it was the likley reason why I started with the Eels after a brief flirtation with the Sharks in the ’76 Grand Final (the earliest I can remember watching a game).

Vee
Vee
15 years ago

Grothe Junior and the Bench is the only thing I really have a problem with from that side.

I could say Lockyer doesn’t deserve to be there and he doesn’t but he’ll be picked either Matt Orford or Scott Prince got the aussie jumper – Johns is on his last legs literally

vee
vee
15 years ago

should get the 7 jumper now on is what I meant

cs
cs
15 years ago

So, the question the selectors face is, which of the players [sic] in this game [sic] can most withstand 80 minutes of hitting themselves in the forehead with a brick?

Ok, Ok … but I owed you Leaguies a few …

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

cs

While I certainly agree with you and Patrick that RU is inherently a better, faster and more interesting game than RL (at least when played at higher levels as in Super 14 compared with NRL), it isn’t obvious to me that the subjective player experience for RU pigs at least is any less like bashing your forehead with a brick than rugby league.

Chris, I sincerely hope you’re not just trying to pick a fight with Shaun and the leaguies for the sake of it. That wouldn’t be at all like you. It may be a shithouse game that’s only played outside Australia in a few towns in northern England and by Kiwis not good enough to make the All Blacks, but people who grew up with league have it in their blood, and we shouldn’t disparage their sporting tastes, plebeian and misguided as they may be, by sarcastic insertion of parenthetic “sic” notations.

Shaun
15 years ago

Forgive him Ken. cs knows not what he is doing. After we unload Money Bags Fire Up Gaz on ’em it is the ARU’s problem what to do with the dud. He is just getting his licks in while he can. ;-)

The good thing is the Kiwis and Poms are making internationals a proper contest again. I do think the Aussie selectors have their heads in the sand re selection.

I do understand the attraction of the Rugby World Cup. I went to the 2003 Final and it was magnificent. I remember when Tuqiri scored the first try and the total stranger next me and I hug as if long lost friends. A brilliant night even though we lost. The atmosphere was just incredible. Any athlete would love to play in such an atmosphere.

Then again, union has nothing like State of Origin. That is something else.

Amanda
15 years ago

and we shouldn’t disparage their sporting tastes,

I was rather hoping you would. Speaking for myself, animosity towards yawnion players/supporters/asaconcept is my chief animating principle. Without it I am a mere husk, an empty shell of a human.

I’ve had a few half hearted attempts at trolling yawnion threads but I really don’t have it in me. But if you say it on a *league* thread its not trolling. Merely an uncontroversial statement of fact.

Shorter me: bring. it. on.

cs
cs
15 years ago

Settle Amanda (and Ken). I just had one shot at getting square in me. As you were.

Amanda
15 years ago

I just had one shot at getting square in me.

Disappointing. No fun at all.

Vee
Vee
15 years ago

Union faster – nup. It could be if the officials would stop giving so many unnecessary penalties. Unfortunately League has picked up a Union habit of allowing multiple forward passes to be gotten away with. Then again it can’t really be faster if its players are slower cos they’re heavier now can it. Not to mention Union’s elitist origins and one last shot, if League’s about a brick to the face, Unions about a spiked stud to the face while the person’s down and they call that the game they play in heaven? Its got nothing on the greatest game of all. :P

Seriously we should be picking on AFL, its a bigger fumblefest than Union and League put together and I say that from trying to see what 80 000 victorians and other southern states see in it. I’ve tried but out of the 3 codes mentioned, its the least entertaining.