Welcome to the first ever edition of the Hills Hoist. This will be an enjoyable look at Rugby League for the everyday fan. This isn't the place to discuss the controversy, this will be a place to have a look at opinions, history and prediction.
Each edition there will be several sections, some strange, some normal: The Dream Team: We will have a look at different members of LeagueUnlimited's Dream Team, their top seventeen from the players they've seen. On This Day: A look at different events to happen during the history of Rugby League. Forgotten Faces: Former cult figures. The players we thought would be a household, but have been lost in time. The Top Ten: The list, the greatest ten of some different things. Rubber Tips: The new way to decide who will win blockbusters.
So without further ado, I welcome you to the June 21 edition of Hills Hoist! There will be more sections to come, but this might do for now!
The Dream Team I will start with my own Dream Team. As a back story, I began watching Rugby League during the 1999 season and despite friends and teachers trying to get me to become a Dragons fan, I chose the Roosters instead. Since then, I have compiled a list of my favourite team of seventeen to watch. This includes a few I have enjoyed watching in the English league.
So here is my personal Dream Team: Anthony Minichiello, Brett Mullins, Steve Menzies, Matt Sing, Brian Carney, Brad Fittler (c), Scott Prince, Adrian Morley, Brad Drew, Steve Price, Gorden Tallis, Ali Lauiti'iti, Luke Ricketson. Bench: Preston Campbell, Ruben Wiki, Kylie Leuluai, David Solomona. Coach: Graham Murray.
On This Day June 21 2002 - The Sydney Roosters and Parramatta Eels drew 12-all in what was the final draw before the Golden Point rule was included in club matches. The Eels lead 10-2 at half-time, but the Roosters clawed their way back with tries to Luke Phillips and Craig Wing. 1997 - The Western Reds became the first (and eventually only) Australian side in the Super League's World Club Challenge to be kept scoreless in a match. The Perth side lost 24-0 to the Paris St. Germain team. 1988 - The Queensland State Of Origin side claim the 1988 series as a whitewash with a big 38-22 win. Sam Backo scored two tries and Gary Belcher scored fourteen points. 1947 - The Parramatta Eels, after eight losses finally score their first win in NSWRFL history. The 13-8 win over the Western Suburbs was a complete shock, as the Magpies were 1st place coming into the match.
Forgotten Faces In this little section we will have a look at some of those first graders who gained some impact, but barely get mentioned these days.
Many of the Northern Eagles players are barely remembered these days. Those obvious ones such as Kimmorley, O'Meley, Hopoate and Menzies are famed for their works with other clubs (mostly Manly...) but one of the lesser remembered members of this short-lived team is the first Forgotten Face.
The second most experienced Northern Eagle, Brendon Reeves appeared in 144 first grade matches for Illawarra, Manly and the joint-venture Northern Eagles outfit. A safe fullback, his skills kept him in first grade for a good career. After retiring in 2003 he joined the Port side in the Wollongong league.
He was a shining light in a dark time for the maroon and white.
Top Ten The most dominant performances of the last decade.
10 - Sydney Roosters 40 d. Canterbury Bulldogs 12 (2008) It was billed as one of the matches of the decade. Sonny-Bill Williams versus Willie Mason. It wasn't the biggest of thrashings, but nobody expected the 40-12 scoreline. Willie scored two tries in the match to sour and anger his former fans. 9 - Melbourne Storm 66 d. Penrith Panthers 14 (2004) An incredible show, still stunning the premiers. Both sides were lightly affected by injury and Origin selection but that didn't stop the Storm from their eleven try performance, lead by a hat-trick to Steve Turner. Orford nabbed eleven goals from twelve attempts as the Storm took an 18-10 lead and turned the Panthers inside out. 8 - Manly Sea Eagles 56 d. Sydney Roosters 0 (2007) This match finished an era for the Roosters. It also finished the coaching career of Chris Anderson. A complete riot, the Sea Eagles made the Roosters look like easily beatable rookies. 7 - Melbourne Storm 70 d. St George Illawarra Dragons 10 (2000) This Grand Final replay was always going to be hyped by the pre-game talk. Dragons five-eighth Anthony Mundine kept saying the Storm side didn't deserve the 1999 premiership and they would seek revenge. It worked. 6 - Penrith Panthers 72 d. Manly Sea Eagles 12 (2004) Famous Amos Roberts put 28 points into this match where the Panthers put their premiership claim up levels. Highlighted by a 42-0 second half, the Panthers displayed their finest effort of the decade 5 - Sydney Roosters 44 d. New Zealand Warriors 0 (2002) In what would end up being a Grand Final preview, the Roosters put out an amazing attacking effort to put their place for the title after the Bulldogs were stripped off competition points. This displayed what would be the end of the Roosters season, with efforts like these being normal for the outfit. 4 - Cronulla Sharks 52 d. Canterbury Bulldogs 10 (2001) The second placed Canterbury side were bundled out of the 2001 finals by a strong Sharks side. The Bulldogs side missed star five-eighth Braith Anasta for the game and it hurt them. 3 - Parramatta Eels 74 d. Cronulla Sharks 4 (2003) An infamous match, remembered for David Peachey's send off (for waving his hands). Lyon's five try effort was undermanned by the refereeing which saw the Sharks down to ten men for part of the match. 2 - Cronulla Sharks 64 d. Newcastle Knights 14 (2002) Earlier in the season the Knights beat the Sharks 52-8 with the Johns brothers facing off for the first time. In this match the role completely reversed. Despite Matt Johns being injured and unable to play in this match, Brett Kimmorley ran riot in a 28 point performance. 1 - Manly Sea Eagles 40 d. Melbourne Storm 0 (2008 Grand Final) What else did you expect to see at the top of this list? The complete annihalation in the biggest game of the year and the perfect way to send veteran Steve Menzies out. They said the 1975 margin would never be beaten, Manly proved them wrong.
Special mention - Australia defeating Great Britain 64-10 mid-way through the 2002 season.
Rubber Tips Remember back at school when we all (well...I did) used to write things on a rubber and throw them - whatever it landed on showed the comedic outcome. Apparently it showed some evil truths about me. I am bringing the rubber back each week to determine the winners of a close game to come. What better way to start than Origin 2? For the record the two big sides read "HOME 1-12" and "AWAY 1-12", the long ends read "HOME 13+" and "AWAY 13+" whilst the tiny ends read "HOME GOLDEN POINT" and "AWAY GOLDEN POINT".
So time to flip it! And the result is...Home 1-12! So we'll be watching a close New South Wales victory...maybe.
That will be it for the Hills Hoist, see you for another edition in a few days.