WHAT DO YOU RECKON?
I reckon calls for the Gold Coast Titans to be relocated to Brisbane are off the mark. Brisbane might be able to maintain another NRL club but I don’t think packing up the Titans and sending them up the highway is the answer. The Gold Coast is a rugby league town, there is no question about that, and the NRL should do everything it can to continue to have a strong presence on the Glitter Strip. The problem with running a team on the Coast is just that – it’s on the Coast. The weather, the beaches and the lifestyle make it hard to attract fans away from the other natural attractions of one of Australia’s favourite holiday locations. Which is not to say that rugby league should walk away and leave the market open to the big-spending AFL. The game must remain on the Coast in some form or another, but I am not a big believer in relocation. Rugby league is a tribal game. Fans give their allegiance to a club that represents their town, region, or patch of dirt. Flying in a club from somewhere else and simply saying, “we are now yours, support us” never works in my opinion. I reckon another club could be representing Brisbane before too long, but it will be a brand-new entity, not an old one transplanted from somewhere else. What do YOU reckon?
I reckon the Broncos are right in making the signature of Matt Gillett their number one priority but I would be just as keen to lock up Tevita Pangai Jnr long-term before his current deal expires at the end of the season. Gillett is the club’s marquee forward at the moment, but Pangai is the man the club can build its future on. His performance against the much-vaunted Cowboys pack at Suncorp Stadium last Friday night was as good as anything I can remember from a Broncos front rower. The most impressive part of his game was that it didn’t rely on any one element. His defence was as good as his attack, and that’s saying something. The former Knights junior showed last season that he has some sublime ball skills – who can forget his no-look flick pass to set up James Roberts against the Titans? – but it was his overall energy and enthusiasm that really impressed in Friday’s Queensland derby. He was everywhere, leading the way for a side that had plenty to prove after the first round loss to the Dragons. Pangai Jnr credits his current form to cutting back on the fast food and slimming down from a 127kg blimp to a 112kg stealth bomber. I reckon the Broncos should pull out the cheque book and pay the Tongan terror whatever he wants to stay at Red Hill for years to come – and make sure he doesn’t spent it all on Maccas and KFC. What do YOU reckon?
I reckon there was a silver lining to the Broncos’ loss to the Dragons in week one, and that was the return of Andrew McCullough. He might not have played the full game, but just seeing him back on the field and getting through his work without any issues was almost as good as a win for Brisbane fans. McCullough might not get the wraps of some of his bigger name team-mates, but for mine he is the heart and soul of the Broncos and the team will need him to show the way when they play what could be their most important game of the season on Friday night. I know that sounds ridiculous after just one round, but if Brisbane are going to find the self-belief needed to make an impression in 2018, they have to aim up against the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium. I’m not saying they definitely have to win, but at the very least they must put in the kind of performance that proves to the fans – and most of all to themselves – that they have the personnel to match it with the best. And let’s face it, that’s what the Cowboys are. Their win over the Sharks was not a classic by any means. Johnathan Thurston was understandably well off his best, Matt Scott was also short of a gallop and Michael Morgan was on the sideline, but if the Cowboys can still register a win against a top side despite those setbacks, it shows just how good they are going to be at full strength. The competition favourites up against a Broncos side with everything to play for? I reckon it’s going to be a ripper. What do YOU reckon?
I reckon Queensland Reds fans saw the future at Suncorp Stadium last Friday night, and hopefully this Saturday they will see the present. The Reds’ 18-10 win over the much-favoured Brumbies was a stunning result built on youth, enthusiasm and, above all, good old fashioned guts. It had Brad Thorn written all over it. With five players aged 21 or under the Reds could have been expected to buckle late in the game but if anything they got stronger. It is that sort of mental and physical fortitude that Thorn epitomised throughout his incredible career and now he is instilling it in the next generation of Queensland rugby. Saturday night’s Suncorp Stadium showdown with the Bulls from South Africa will be another huge test. The demands of professional rugby take a huge toll on young bodies and minds and backing up week after week will be a tough ask, but on what they showed on Friday this team is building a platform that will win back the respect – and fans – that have been lost over the last few seasons. I reckon in two or three years we will look back at the signing of Brad Thorn as one of the most significant moments in Queensland rugby history. What do YOU reckon?