Talk about a rough weekend for Manly.
First it was revealed that hooker Api Koroisau will leave the club at the end of the year and return to Penrith Panthers.
Then Melbourne did a number on the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval, smashing them 36-6.
In that game Manly lost Tom Trbojevic to a pectoral injury, meaning most probably his 2019 season is over.
Goodbye to any chance of making the grand final.
Then to top it off, there were ugly scenes at the game as a fan confronted Storm centre Will Chambers as he was sent to the sin-bin.
The fan was ejected from the ground, but the NRL has now threatened to strip Brookvale of finals hosting rights unless Manly addresses security concerns at the suburban venue.
All in all, a shocker of a week.
Why pay Gallen to be Gallen?
Former NSW captain Paul Gallen, who is hanging up his boots at the end of this year, has revealed he had a backroom agreement with the NRL to play the villain during past Origin series in order to promote the games in Melbourne.
According to Channel Nine, Gallen was paid extra to ‘be the bad guy’.
“It was part and parcel of where the Origin series was at,” Gallen said.
“NSW was struggling at the time, and we needed something to keep the promotion of the game going.
That (something) was me, and I did a good job of it.’’
Considering the controversies during the forward’s career, which include being accused of diving, trying to rip the stitches out of an opponent’s head, racially abusing another player and being involved in the Sharks’ ASADA drugs scandal, did the NRL really need to pay him?
Finals flurry makes for great football
The race to make the semis is heating up and has guaranteed an engaging final round of footy.
Brisbane’s vital golden-point result over Parramatta means it is into seventh spot and looking good.
But Cronulla’s loss to the Raiders puts them in eighth place and in danger of missing out.
The Sharks need to beat Wests next weekend to ensure they make the finals. If the Tigers down them though, they will be eliminated.
Newcastle Knights are also a chance if Wests don’t win, but they will need to post a big score on the Panthers and hope other results go their way. Hold on to your hats, it’s going to be a tight finish.
Mako magic melts hearts
The feel-good story of the NRL season came with a family reunion for Eels winger Maiko Sivo.
The Fijian flyer has been one of the finds of the year, scoring 16 tries and catching the eye.
Sivo, who hails from the tiny village of Momi, is close to his family although they have never seen him play live.
Until recently his father Joeli did not even own a passport and had never left Fiji.
But that all changed as Sivo’s father flew in for a visit, surprising his son at a training session.
It was a great moment that tugged at the heartstrings.
No-fuss farewell for Cooper Cronk
Cooper Cronk wants to retire at the end of the season without any fanfare or special events that have been given out to other legends of the game.
Cronk is a modern great after a star-studded career with Melbourne, Queensland, Australia and now Sydney Roosters.
He has the chance this year to bow out with a third grand final winners ring in a row, which is unprecedented.
But according to The Daily Telegraph, he doesn’t want any special recognition or fuss made of the fact he is calling it a day.
The 35-year-old from Brisbane is a special one and he has deserved to get whatever kind of farewell he wants.
The proverbial has really hit the fan in the past week in the Hunter.
After Nathan Brown decided to walk, the Knights were pummelled by the Tigers and the heat has risen on the players and the club.
Talk of a player coup, and of the members of the squad who wanted Brown out, continues.
Kalyn Ponga’s “milkshake” comment about his coach was poor and ill-timed.
Former Knights great Andrew Johns has taken shots at the disastrous way the club has been run and asked how could a coach be forced out while they still had a chance of making the semis.
The whole episode has been a poorly managed black eye for the Knights.