premiership winning – Michmutters

AFL 2022 Ben Rutten sacked as Bombers coach; Essendon board meeting, Alastair Clarkson, Paul Brasher, video

Essendon coach Ben Rutten could be sacked as early as today as the club holds a second meeting in the space of 24 hours.

3AW’s Neil Mitchell reports there is a strong belief that Rutten will not coach the final round of the season with assistant Daniel Giansiracusa to take charge of the team.

It comes as Essendon president Paul Brasher is understood to have stood down in the wake of their humiliating loss to Port Adelaide on Sunday.

The 84-point loss at Marvel Stadium looks likely to also spell the end for Rutten as well who was under intense pressure to hold onto his job just a season after leading them back into the finals.

The Bomber board will then decide whether to make a play for Alastair Clarkson.

The Hawks coaching great is the most talked about coach in the competition — and he doesn’t yet have a home, after leaving the Hawks in 2021.

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Essendon Press Conference | 03:59

The Bombers have a 7-14 win-loss record in 2022 ahead of the final match of the regular season, where they will play Richmond on Saturday night.

Brasher indicated he would step down at year’s end earlier in the season, but their sorry defeat on Sunday has seemingly sped up at that process.

“I think you’re going to see real improvement in the second half of the year,” he said at the time.“

“We don’t want honorable losses. We’re happy about effort, but that is the baseline and we’re looking to improve upon that and not going to take to light about losing to good sides by narrow margins.”

Dud Bombers pumped by Port | 01:39

An earlier internal review is said to have fallen short of what some believe is required, with reporting that there is a push for an external review wanted by some.

Rutten slammed his side’s “embarrassing effort” after fans booed players from Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

“Were bitterly disappointed,” he said.

“It was the sort of game that our members and supporters who came to the game or were watching on TV… it’s not the sort of thing they should have to watch.

“It was an embarrassing effort from our guys. It’s not something we want to stand for and not something our members and supporters should have to watch at any stage.”


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Bombers coach Ben Rutten following their heavy loss at Marvel Stadium against the Port Adelaide Power on August 14, 2022 in Melbourne. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Brasher has been unwavering in his support behind Rutten, but with the president gone a push for Clarkson has been made.

Clarkson has received formal offers from Greater Western Sydney as well as North Melbourne, with the Kangaroos tabling a five-year deal for the respected coach.

The former Hawks coach was said to have wanted to make his decision early this week, but a late push from the Bombers could see Clarkson want more time to make his decision.

On Sunday, Kangaroos great David King hit out at the Bombers for failing to make a serious play at Clarkson.

“For six months, if not 12 months, Alastair Clarkson has been sitting idle ready to be grabbed by a football club,” King said on First Crack.

“Why haven’t Essendon taken that step?

“Right now they lack system, they lack motivation and they lack standards as a footy club and I reckon the Essendon faithful are sick of it.

“Why are they gambling on a coach that is still developing when the absolute finished product is there?

“OK you’ve got to jump through a lot of hoops to get over the line, but if (Clarkson) signs at North Melbourne this week and Essendon could have got him with the list they’ve got right now, I think it’s a mistake they will rule for years.”

Dons fans heard slamming players | 00:46

King slammed the Bombers for failing to turn up and said some of the players were not playing to “AFL standard”.

“This is Essendon in a nutshell,” King lamented.

“How lax is this? Have a look at them just standing around, ambling around. This is the forward 50. There’s 10 players within arms reach of this stoppage. That (game style) is going nowhere.

“I can’t understand what they look at when they review games at the moment if that is the output of a weekend.

“We can only judge the actions they put in front of us – that is not AFL standard.”



Isaiah Papali’i Wests Tigers backflip; Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall, team news, 2023 roster, Luke Brooks future

The Wests Tigers have been told to “win the war” over star recruit Isaiah Papali’i as the club faces a “massive moment” in its history.

The Eels enforcer was seen as a major coup when he inked a three-year $1.9 million deal in November.

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But the 23-year-old is reportedly weighing up his future after the Tigers parted ways with premiership winning coach Michael Maguire.

It is the first major challenge for the Tigers new coaching group of Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah, one that could shape the immediate future of the embattled club.

Speaking on NRL360, the Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield said it was vital that the club made sure Papali’i honored his lucrative contract.

“It’s no good the Wests Tigers having the new Sheens-Benji combination at the head of the club if they’re going to back down on something like this,” Rothfield said on Wednesday.

“It’s a crunch signing for them, as important as Api (Koroisau). They’ve got to stay strong.”

Papali’i was widely seen as one of the best new buys in the competition in 2021, as he was included in the Dally M Team of the Year after a stellar first season in blue and gold.

The talented forward played 25-games for the Eels last season, having scored seven tries, averaged 150 running meters per game, and made more than 800 tackles.

What’s more, his signature saw the Tigers part ways with the likes of Luke Garner and Luciano Leilua.

Isaiah Papali'i could backflip on his Tigers deal.
Isaiah Papali’i could backflip on his Tigers deal.Source: Getty Images

NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent said the saga surrounding Papali’i had seen the club reach a crossroads.

“It’s a massive moment in the club and the new future of the club, given the new appointment of the coaches,” he said.

Kent then questioned the re-signing of Brent Naden after the club announced this week he had inked an extension until the end of the 2025 season.

“If you’re going to go out and sell your club, Brent Naden is not the guy you’re going to go ‘look who we’ve just signed, come and play with us’,” Kent said.

“They’ve got to win the war of Papali’i first.”

Co-host Braith Anasta was also surprised by the Naden announcement and the club needed to identify what a Wests Tigers player represents.

“They’ve got the opportunity here, the Wests Tigers, and you see it with the Bulldogs at the moment, to start from the bottom up again,” Anasta said.

“They’ve got Sheens, they’ve got Marshall, great look, you want to attract players. You want to attract the right players from the start, set the tone.

“What sort of personality are you looking for? What sort of player do you want to be a Wests Tigers player? That’s what I’m talking about.”

Brent Naden signed an extension with the Tigers this week.Source: Getty Images

The Australian’s Brent Read said the Naden announcement, at a time where there is uncertainty surrounding a host of big-name Tigers stars, was not what fans wanted to see.

“He’s a tell me a dozen,” he said on NRL360.

“You know what the Wests Tigers fans want to hear about? They want to hear about (Adam) Doueihi, they want to hear about (Daine) Laurie, they want to hear about (Jackson) Hastings, they want to hear about (Luke) Brooks,” Read said.

“That’s what they care about. Brent Naden they can give or take, due respect to Brent Naden, but they want to hear what’s going on with those four blokes.”

Rothfield, however, said the club was right to lock Naden down.

“I think you’re being really unfair on that young fella, I really do,” he said.

“I think he’s a handy player,” Rothfield said. “You don’t let players go alright and handy players, you don’t not sign them.”

The drama surrounding the Tigers roster is unlikely to begin and end with Papali’i.

Luke Brooks has repeatedly been linked with a move to Newcastle despite denying he wants out.

Rumors about Luke Brooks’ future at the Tigers won’t go away.Source: Supplied

Fellow half Jackson Hastings’ future is also up in the air. The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month that Hastings, who has been playing lock, could be axed as part of a roster overhaul.

This report claimed there are people within the club who believe Hastings has had a negative influence on the playing group.

This week Rothfield then revealed another rumor surrounding Brooks which will do little to quell the feeling of uncertainty at Concord.

“There’s been all sorts of rumours,” he said.

“There was a strong one (Tuesday) that Luke Brooks was going to N and Frizell was coming to Wests Tigers as a swap. As an edge forward.

“Tim Sheens said it’s not happening but a lot of people saw it as insurance if Papali’i doesn’t come.”

Wests have also reportedly inquired about former Raiders second rower John Bateman, who is currently plying his trade back in England with Wigan.

The inquiry, as reported by Fox Sports’ James Hooper, is believed to be “unrelated to Isaiah Papali’i” and his contract drama.

“Tim’s got something going on cause I spoke to him this week, I asked him about Papali’i and he said ‘he’s coming and don’t worry there’s other stuff happening,” Read added.

“Edge backrower is an area that they need to address. He’d be a really handy one for them.”



Wests Tigers transfer news; Isaiah Papali’i future, Parramatta Eels, Brisbane Broncos, transfer rumours, David Klemmer, Corey Oates, Ben Hunt, Liam Martin, Martin Taupau, Tyson Frizell, Victor Radley

The Wests Tigers have been urged to “move on” from new recruit Isaiah Papali’i and use his $1.9 million contract to make a splash in the transfer market.

The Eels enforcer Isaiah had agreed to a three-year deal with the Tigers, but the star recruit is considering a backflip which could leave the club in a tough spot.

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The 23-year-old revealed his concerns after the Tigers parted ways with premiership winning coach Michael Maguire, and has since been linked with a return to the Warriors.

Papalii inked the big-money deal last November, but told 9 News that his future is still far from certain.

“Obviously people ask me about it, just even on the street or family and friends are hitting me up but that’s kind of for my manager look after and even if I don’t stay here or I do go next year, I want to make sure that this year has no regrets,” Papalii said.

“I reckon somewhere in the off-season because this is distracting me at the moment.

“We have a massive opportunity and I don’t want to leave any stone unturned this year and look back on it and think ‘I shouldn’t have left that stuff get in the way’.”

Tom Trbojevic reveals World Cup doubts | 01:12

The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio and NRL360 co-host Paul Kent said the Tigers could not afford to wait until the end of the season for Papali’i to make a decision.

“They have a salary cap to manage, they can’t sit back and wait for this guy,” Kent said.

“That’s why they the Tigers should move on now, move on and use the money before it’s too late,” Riccio added.

“Don’t wait until November. If they do there will be no market for them,” Kent replied.

Should Tigers hear the message and cut ties with Papali’i, it leaves them with two clear options.

Spend the money now and bring in a player to bolster the side for next season or save it up and make a play for one of the big-name stars off-contract from 2023 who can begin negotiating with rivals from November 1.


Age: 32

Club: St George Dragons

Position: half-back

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

While the Dragons are reportedly leading the race for Hunt’s signature, the Tigers should do everything they can to ensure he’s wearing their colors in the future.

Hunt, who was leading the Dally M race before the count went behind closed doors, has begun negotiations with the Dragons over a two-year extension.

The Daily Telegraph have revealed that the playmaker’s management had met with the Dragons late last month.

Since then, however, the Dragons have hit turmoil.

James Hooper reported there had been a major blow-up at the Dragons following the treatment of hooker Andrew McCullough and the axing of assistant coaches Peter Gentle and Mat Head for next season.

Hunt is extremely close with McCullough, having played together at both the Dragons and Broncos as well as for Queensland. The development could provide an opening for rivals to make a move.

The Tigers, who would only be able to speak to Hunt since November 1, are in desperate need of a solution at halfback.

Jock Madden has been sporting the No. 7 jersey for the Tigers over the past couple of weeks, but with just 13 games of NRL experience to his name, the club could use a boost.

If Luke Brooks is allowed to leave it would free up plenty of money for the Tigers to make an all-in move.

Hunt is in high demand with a number of clubs interested in services, and he wouldn’t come cheap. But fresh off his Origin heroics, the Tigers should be willing to move mountains if that’s what it takes to lure the star half to the western suburbs.


Age: 27

Club: brisbane broncos

Position: wings

Current contract: expires at the end of the year

At just 27-years-old, there’s no reason why a club like the Tigers shouldn’t spend big money on a proven try scorer such as Corey Oates.

Oates, who has 188 NRL games to his name, equaled his record for most tries in a season with a double in Round 21 against the Roosters.

Corey Oats. Broncos V Storm. Picture: NRL ImagesSource: Supplied

Oates comes off contract at the end of this season with the Broncos, so he could become an immediate piece of the Tigers’ puzzle for next season.

He would also offer new coach Tim Sheens some versatility having experience playing in the back row.


Age: 28

Club: Newcastle Knights

Position: Prop

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

Klemmer was reportedly close to having his contract torn up with the Knights after being issues with a breach notice for an on-field issue.

The former New South Wales prop is on a big-money contract with the Knights, but came under fire after he verbally abused trainer Hayden Knowles during a 14-point loss to the Bulldogs.

“A big overreaction’ Johns on Klemmer | 04:26

Parramatta were reportedly interested in signing the prop for the remainder of the 2022 season on loan before the incident.

While Klemmer has been among the Knights best players, the recent incident, and his hefty contract, could convince Newcastle to agree to release him early.


Age: 25

Club: Penrith Panthers

Position: second row

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

Another player who comes off contract at the end of next season, Martin would be an incredible signing for the Tigers who could approach him from November 1.

Martin has been a key part of the Panthers’ dominance over the last few seasons and has reaped the rewards after cementing his place in the Blues Origin fold.

Liam Martin is among a list of big names who can talk with rivals since November 1.Source: Getty Images

The Panthers still need to lock down fellow Origin stars Brian To’o and Stephen Crichton which could mean Martin is gettable.

He would be a more than handy replacement for Papali’i if the Tigers can convince him to make the switch.


Age: 32

Club: Manly Sea Eagles

Position: second row

Current contract: expires at the end of the year

Sea Eagles enforcer Taupau reportedly requested an immediate release to join the Eels before the August 1 deadline.

It appears as if he wants out of Brookvale, and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, it’ll be interesting to see which colors he dons next season.

The former Kiwi international played for the Tigers for two seasons before moving to Manly for the 2016 season.

With plenty of power to throw around the field, Taupau can be an asset to any team when he’s in-form.


Age: 30

Club: Newcastle Knights

Position: second row

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

It wasn’t too long ago that Tyson Frizell was a regular for both the New South Wales Blues and Kangaroos teams.

Frizell made his name with the Dragons before securing a lucrative deal to sign with the Knights, where he’s played the last two seasons.

Tyson FrizellSource: Getty Images

While he still has one more year to run on that contract, Frizell could potentially be lured to the Tigers on a smaller deal than what he’s on now.

What’s more, his name has been mentioned as part of a potential swap deal for Luke Brooks.

While it was denied by Tim Sheens, there is clearly some movement around Frizell.


Age: 24

Club: sydney roosters

Position: Lock

Current contract: expires at the end of 2023

Hypothetically speaking, Roosters lock Victor Radley has the potential to be an incredible signing for the Tigers.

The 24-year-old, who has sworn his international allegiance to England ahead of the World Cup, has premiership winning experience and 93 NRL games to his name.

What’s more, Phil Rothfield revealed on NRL360 that the Roosters are facing a cap crunch with seven players commanding more than half their salary cap.

It could open the door for the Tigers to swoop.



Storm star Brandon Smith grilled over hip drop tackle

Cameron Munster has produced a breathtaking display as Melbourne Storm marked a history-making night with a 32-14 win over gutsy cellar-dweller Gold Coast Titans at AAMI Park on Friday night.

But the returning Brandon Smith will be facing a nervous wait after he was put on report for a hip drop tackle late in the first half.

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With the Storm leading 16-4, Smith, who had been out for the last three matches after he was banned for referee Adam Gee a “cheating bastard”, landed himself in hot water when making a legs tackle on the Titans’ Tino Fa’ asuamaleaui.

But in a week where the hip drop has been a hot topic after the Broncos’ Patrick Carrigan was banned for four weeks after his tackle saw the Tigers’ Jackson Hastings break his leg.

Unlike a usual hip drop where two players hold a player before the third man attacks the legs, Smith was in motion, slipping off the tackle and onto Fa’asuamaleaui leg.

But referee Peter Gough said: ““I understand it’s wet and he’s sliding, but what it is, is he throws his legs out which drops the weight on the backfoot.”

Premiership winning coach turned Fox Sports commentator Shane Flanagan wasn’t thrilled with the tackle.

“You can’t do it. You know you can’t put your weight on the back of the legs when a player is going away from you, and he gets himself in a bad position,” Flanagan said.

Post match, Storm coach Craig Bellamy called for the judiciary to look at the incident on its own merits.

“I just hope it gets judged on the tackle, not some of the hysteria that has gone on this week,” Bellamy said.

“That is all we ask.

“If you go on one last week, but how many have there been? If there is one in however many games since the last one.

“Pat Carrigan doesn’t go out on the field to break Hastings’ legs, they are an accident.

“I don’t see it as a real big issue in the game, but I understand that it can injure people, but there hasn’t been a whole heap this year I don’t think.

“I just hope it gets judged on that and not on it being in the news a lot this week.”

It was otherwise a good night for the Storm as they celebrated Bromwich brothers, captain Jesse (290 games) and fellow forward Kenny (211), became the first pair of brothers in NRL history to combine for 500 games (501) with the one club .

Kenny produced a first half try to make it the perfect start to the night.

But it was a hat-trick hero Munster who kickstarted the Storm surges with two first-half tries before adding a third in the second half on a night of brilliance.

Returning to the full back position where he started his career, Munster was safe at the back, dazzled with the extra room to move to rack up 252 run meters and offered tremendous leadership with his voice.

Winger David Nofoaluma, loaned from the Wests Tigers, showed off his speed and elusiveness in an impressive first start with the Storm, while center Young Tonumaipea scored a try in his first game for the Storm since 2018.

Hooker Harry Grant and five-eighth Cooper Johns were also influential for the Storm.

The Storm made a barnstorming start with three tries in the opening 22 minutes.

Xavier Coates, returning from a long-term injury, scored one of the easier tries of his career after Grant flicked out a quick pass to find him unattended in the corner.

Munster rose into the night sky to catch, spin and make his way across the line, before Kenny Bromwich got his try burrowing under Titans defenders Phillip Sami and David Fifita.

It would be a horror night for the Titans after hooker Aaron Booth succumbed to a knee injury.

The 26-year-old had to be helped off the ground by the trainers against his former club after his leg collapsed while attempting to tackle Johns.

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Wests Tigers, Michael Maguire, Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Tim Sheens, coaching

Former Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has warned Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah about the “challenge” of coaching, with the pair set to begin their new roles next season.

The Tigers confirmed last month that legends Marshall and Farah would return to the club as assistant coaches next season, under famous coach Tim Sheens.

Former Kiwi Test star Marshall will then take over from Sheens in the top job for three seasons from 2025.

Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >

Premiership winning coach Maguire is “looking forward” to seeing the famous duo reunite at the club where they both rose to fame, as they look to turn the Tigers around.

But speaking on The Back Page, ‘Madge’ also made sure to caution them about how difficult their new jobs can be.

“There’s many ways to do it so I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out,” Maguire said on The Back Page.

“Coaching is about spending time and actually coaching. They’ve got a few rookies that are going to come through and it is going to be a great challenge for the guys that are coming through in Benji and Robbie.


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“I think they’re qualified because of the experiences they’ve had but coaching is not just about what happens there. It is life, it’s about the player and looking after the quality of each individual.

“It’s going to be a really good challenge for them.”

Wests started the season with five consecutive losses before record back-to-back wins over premiership contenders Parramatta and South Sydney.

But the veteran coach of 233 NRL games was later sacked as the club continued their underwhelming form, winning just one from their next five.

Major “Reboot” need for Knights – Buzz | 01:08

The Tigers were on another noteworthy losing run before their controversial loss to the Cowboys in Round 19, before bouncing back with an emphatic win over Brisbane last week.

Reflecting on his time at the club, Maguire said that his three-and-a-half-year tenure was a “great challenge.”

“I’m really fond of my time there, even though we didn’t get to where we wanted to get to and everyone wants to win a comp,” he said.

“But what I have learned over time and being in and around various clubs, is that we’re all working for the same thing but they’re so different.

“The makings of the club, where the club fits with their juniors to the recruiting to what goes on in the background, they’re all so different and that’s what us coaches enjoy, being able to bring that together to create the success.”

Maguire coached the World No. 1 Kiwis to a convincing 20-point win over Tonga in Auckland earlier this year, with rugby league returning to New Zealand.

With the World Cup just around the corner, the 48-year-old said that he’s focused on his role with New Zealand, but revealed that he wants to win another NRL premiership.

“I’ve taken a bit of a backwards step I guess. I’m just focused on the Kiwis and I’ve enjoyed that part because you don’t have the heat of the week-in, week-out. But I do miss that.

“That’s something that has always fueled myself, the challenge of each week. I’m starting to learn what it’s like to have the weekend and your family there because you’re so used to having to rise each week.

“I’m just sort of eyes wide open at the moment. I do love it [coaching] and I want to win another comp. To be in that arena is another desire.”