Robert Dillon: Seven Days in League

Saturday, 13. July 2019

THURSDAYIF Nathan Brown ever grows tired of coaching the NRL cellar dwellers, he shouldn’t have any problem launching a new career as a restaurant critic.
Nanjing Night Net

BON APPETIT: Nathan Brown has a lot on his plate, trying to coach the Knights and sign players for next season.

Seems like Browny has dined atjust about every eatery in town entertaining potential recruits. Last night it was Shaun Kenny-Dowall in The Junction.

Hopefully these blokes are splitting the bill. I mean, the Knights are $1 million or more under the salary cap, but I’d hate to think they get bustedfor athird-party sponsorship rort (ie offering prospective signings free feeds).

I’m guessing Browny must be getting a bit sickof the sneaky iPhone photos that keeppopping up in the next day’s paper. Perhaps the answer is to play host at home.

As our archive picture reveals, he’s no Nigella Lawson in the kitchen, but he’s no mug.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Nathan Brown and Shaun Kenny-Dowall dine out in The Junction last week.

Meanwhile, on a slow news day, reports surface that star Tigers Aaron Woods and James Tedesco have signed with the Bulldogs and Chooks respectively.

Just when you’d think that makes them $1.05 favourites to collect the Dally M award for most dysfunctional club, it is revealed the Knights have arrived in Townsville minus skipper Trent Hodkinson, who has been punted. This is shaping as a deadset photo finish.

FRIDAYTHE weekly diatribe arrives from the Maitland Maniac, labelling the Newcastle media “dopey c—s” for not reportingthe Knights “are not fit and mentally tough enough to compete in the NRL”.

He then adds: “Nathan Brown has coached the Knights for 31 games for two wins, 28 losses and a draw. Winning percentage: 15.5. What a Joke! Much like you, Robert Dillon!”

I might be a dopey c— and I might be a joke, and maths was never my strongest suit. But at least I know how to work out a percentage, unlike the Maitland Maniac. (Two divided by 31, times 100, equals 6.45 per cent.)

Meanwhile, the Knights erroneously announce Sione Mata’utia will become the youngest skipper in the club’s history against the Cows tomorrow night.

They have apparently forgotten Jarrod Mullen was nine months younger than Sione is when he captained the Knights in round 11, 2007.

Mind you, Mullo would probably prefer to forget that too, given Newcastle copped a club-record 71-6 hammering from the Broncos.

SATURDAYBUNNIES prop George Burgess is in strife again after impersonating a sledgehammer squashing a grape with a shoulder charge last night on Broncos dynamo Anthony Milford.

Given his loading for previous offences, big George is looking at a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

It gets Seven Days to thinking. George’s identical twin brother Tom surely doesn’t have a track record as bad as his sibling’s.

Maybe they need to change jumpers before they run out, thenany mayhem George commits will go on Tom’s rap sheet and be viewed more leniently by the judiciary.

Meanwhile, up in Townsville, the Knights get dusted 24-12 but the Novocastrian faithful are celebrating nonetheless.

Two of the Cows’ tries are scored by future Newcastle Hall of Famer Kalyn Ponga.

It’s great to see the 19-year-old carving it up in the NRL, but I’m a bit worriedthat each try he scores for the Cows might be one less thathe scores for Newcastle.

Someone needs to tell him to start saving them for next year.

SUNDAYTIGERS skipper Aaron Woods emulates our Kalyn by helping towel up his future club, as the Tigers down the Doggies 18-12.

Canterbury look home and hosed until Tigers halfback Luke Brooks –the last 25 per cent remaining of the not-so-big four –produces a miracle play to create a try for winger Kevin Naqaima.

Replays of the match-winning “meaty” show Brooks wrong-footing Dogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds, who in trademark fashion then sticks out his leg. It’s a reflex action, but Reynolds –for some reason nicknamed “Grub” –is a serial offender.

Honestly, he’s been responsible for more bad trips than the Beatles in their Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds days.

All the talk at the post-match press conference is about Tigers fans booing big Woodsy.

I guess they need someone to boo, now that Jason Taylor is no longer coaching them.

MONDAYTIGERS chairwoman Marina Go and chief executive Justin Pascoe issue a statement, asking fans to stopbooing their own players.

It’s a fair point.

Back in the day, the time-honouredtheory was that fans pay their money at the gate and are entitled to voice their opinions.

But these are more enlightened times, and I fear it is inevitable that one day soon a player will sue spectators for bullying and harassment.

TUESDAYCOACH Brown politely shuts down questions about (former?) captain Hodkinson at his weekly press conference.

“Can we move on to the next topic please?” he asks.

Fair enough, but what is the next topic?

Maybe: “Does the prospect of a third consecutivewooden spooncause you insomnia?” Or: “Why do rivalplayerskeep giving Newcastle the Basil Brush?” Or: “What hope are you of re-signing Dane Gagai?” Or even: “What’s your favourite restaurant in town?”

It’s all a bit awkward for everyone, but hopefully Browny and Hodko are still on good terms.

If not, maybe it’s time for them to sit down and break bread. Browny’s shout.

WEDNESDAYTHE Tigers confirm the signing of Warriors prop Ben Matulino.

Matulino recently visited Newcastle for talks with Knights officials, who insist they did not make him a formal offer but are not denying they may have taken him out for a feed and picked up the tab.

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