NICK TEDESCHI wraps up the Grand Final in the latest instalment of From the Couch.

True Grand Final Player Ratings

Player ratings out of 10 tend be limited to between six and eight in mainstream media publications. Here we do the honour of operating within the full bounds.

PENRITH

Dylan Edwards (7)
Stephen Crichton (6.5)
Paul Momirovski (4)
Matt Burton (8)
Brian To’o (7.5)
Jarome Luai (8)
Nathan Cleary (7.5)
Moses Leota  (7)
Api Koroisau (7.5)
James Fisher-Harris (6)
Liam Martin (7.5)
Kurt Capewell (5.5)
Isaiah Yeo (8.5)
Viliame Kikau (6.5)
Tyrone May (2)
Scott Sorensen (6)
Spencer Leniu (6.5)

SOUTH SYDNEY

Blake Taafe (4)
Alex Johnston (3.5)
Dane Gagai (6)
Campbell Graham (2)
Jaxson Paulo (0.5)
Cody Walker (8)
Adam Reynolds (6.5)
Mark Nicholls (5.5)
Damien Cook (7)
Tevita Tatola (7)
Keaon Koloamatangi (7.5)
Jaydn Su’A (4.5)
Cameron Murray (9)
Benji Marshall (3.5)
Jacob Host (1.5)
Tom Burgess (7.5)
Jai Arrow (1.5)

Chargedown Calamity

Phil Gould was right. Ray Warren was right. Andrew Johns was right. The rule that says a player charging out of the line who knocks a ball down when the ball is kicked has not performed a chargedown is total stupidity and cost Souths dearly. What should have been a fresh set for the Rabbitohs saw Penrith get the ball with the cherry on top being Souths losing a challenge. If a player is rushing out to put pressure on a kicker, he is playing at the ball. To argue otherwise is total stupidity.

Brian To’o is Killing Us All

Brian To’o needs to be stopped. His niceness is making the rest of us look awful. Not only is he widely loved by both fans and teammates and not only is he now a premiership winner but straight after winning he proposes to his girlfriend just after full-time. Somebody needs to find some skeletons and fast because he is making us all look like pretty ordinary folks.

Nine Is a Trip Back in Time

They say you get what you pay for and that is certainly the case with the Nine commentary of Rugby League. Watching the pregame and halftime and the call for those of us accustomed to Fox NRL was utterly jarring. While Fox is hardly a bastion of intelligence – Blocker, Spud, Braith all get regular commentary gigs – it is like reading The Sun Also Rises compared to Nine’s Daily Mail. It is such an unpleasant experience listening to Gus’ agenda-laden rants and Joey trying to use too many words and the rest of them doing their best to avoid saying anything of any real meaning. Presentation of big-time sport really doesn’t get much worse.

Memo to the NRL Marketing Department

Great job with Mossy. He was brilliant. Turns out Rugby League fans like Chisel. So here is the playbook going forward for the NRL. Try to get Tina Turner. If Tina says no, try to get Chisel. If Chisel says no, try to get Barnsey. If Barnesy says no, get Mossy. And if Mossy says no, find Tina Turner and Cold Chisel cover bands and get them.

Further Memo to the NRL Marketing Department

Nobody knows or cares what a Timmy Trumpet is. He lacked the sensual hip thrusts of Tim Cappello and was playing a far inferior instrument.

Viva La France

French Rugby League received a massive shot in the arm on the weekend with Catalans reaching their inaugural Grand Final and Toulouse Olympique winning their way into the Million Pound Game on the back of a 51-12 demolition of Batley, a match they will host. The French game has struggled since the 1950s but is enjoying a much-deserved renaissance and will explode if Catalans wins and Toulouse wins promotion.

Fun Fact #1

Ricky Stuart leads all coaches in games coached since his last premiership win with 414.

Fun Fact #2

Nathan Brown leads all active coaches in most games coached without a premiership with 269 and sits third all-time behind Brian Smith and Graham Murray. Both Smith and Murray coached in Grand Finals.

Fun Fact #3

Ivan Cleary became the second coach in the history of the game to win his first premiership after coaching at least three clubs. The other: Jack Gibson. Both Cleary and Gibson did so at their second stint at the club they won a premiership with.

Betting Market of the Week

Who is enjoying Penrith’s premiership the least?

$2.30: Wayne Bennett
$3.00: Phil Gould
$5.00: Wayne Scurrah
$1.40: Every Wests Tigers fan

Rumour Mill

Dylan Walker has been lined with a budget move to Canterbury. Josh Hodgson has been linked with the Gold Coast in a potential swap move with Jamal Fogarty. It has been speculated that Ray Warren may have called his last Grand Final on Sunday night but he will likely be back for his 46th decider next season.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week

Penrith got away with it but playing Tyrone May was a risk the Panthers really didn’t need to take and putting him on the field certainly was a gamble that should have been avoided. May has awful hands, no speed and is a liability in defence. He came on late and had a very bad drop with Penrith putting their foot on the throat of Souths. What Cleary sees in May is a mystery as deep and as unfathomable as time itself.

The Coaching Crosshairs

Trent Barrett should be deeply fearful of his job security for two reasons not related to the fact that he is actually a very ordinary coach with a very ordinary record. Firstly, Phil Gould has had very little time at the Bulldogs yet already needs a new axe because of its overuse in hacking away at the roster. Secondly, Phil Gould will clearly sack anybody as he was responsible for sacking new-premiership winning coach Ivan Cleary from the team he eventually took to the premiership. Gould has a trigger finger and it won’t take him long to realise that Barrett offers absolutely nothing.

Watch It

While the Canberra Raiders and Brisbane Broncos never met in a Grand Final in the early 1990s when both teams dominated, winning four of the first five premierships of that decade between them, they did meet in the 1990 reserve grade decider. The Raiders team was captained by Craig Bellamy and featured the likes of David Barnhill. Wayne Collins and Mark Lowry. The Broncos team featured one of the great centres of all-time in Steve Renouf as well as Alan Cann, Brett Plowman, Scott Tronc and John Plath. Brisbane would win a thrilling affair. Watch it here.