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Hurt locker: your team’s injuries

ADELAIDE
Nanjing Night Net

0 matches unfit (10 - 13th): Dangerfield, Reilly, Rutten, Sloane, Smith, Talia, S.Thompson, van Berlo, Walker, Wright.

1-3 matches unfit (9 - Eq 2nd): Callinan (2), Doughty (1), Jacobs (1), Johncock (3), Mackay (1), Petrenko (2), Porplyzia (1), Tippett (2), Vince (3).

4-6 matches unfit (1 - Eq 12th): Douglas (6).

SUMMARY: Has fared brilliantly, with its formidable midfield almost entirely unscathed. Tippett is clearly the biggest concern.

BRISBANE LIONS

0 (7 - Eq 5th): Hanley, Merrett, Patfull, Raines, Redden, Rich, Rockliff.

1-3 (9 - Eq 2nd): Adcock (1), Black (3), Brown (2), Drummond (1), Lester (1), Maguire (2), Polec (2), Polkinghorne (2), Zorko (3).

4-6 (2 - Eq 8th): Banfield (6), McGrath (4).

10+ (2 - Eq 2nd): Leuenberger (14), Staker (17).

SUMMARY: The effect of long-term absences to Staker and Leuenberger, particularly on the ladder, have been underrated outside Queensland. Best players have been largely unaffected.

CARLTON

0 (4 - Eq 2nd): Betts, Garlett, Gibbs, Judd.

1-3 (9 - Eq 2nd): Armfield (1), Jamison (2), Kreuzer (2), Robinson (2), Scotland (1), Simpson (3), Tuohy (2), Warnock (2), Yarran (3).

4-6 (4 - Eq 1st): Duigan (4), Henderson (6), Murphy (6), Walker (6).

7-9 (1 - Eq 5th): Carrazzo (7).

10+ (2 - Eq 2nd): Laidler (13), Waite (10).

SUMMARY: Waite's continued injury woes have undermined the Blues' strength across half-forward. Murphy's mid-season absence was significant, while Henderson's premature end to the season leaves the back line thin.

COLLINGWOOD

0 (4 - Eq 2nd): Beams, Cloke, Toovey, Wellingham.

1-3 (8 - 9th): Blair (1), Dawes (1), Fasolo (1), Maxwell (2), O'Brien (1), Shaw (2), Sidebottom (1), Swan (2).

4-6 (4 - Eq 1st): Jolly (4), Pendlebury (4), Reid (5), Thomas (5).

7-9 (2 - Eq 2nd): Tarrant (7), Didak (9).

10+ (2 - Eq 2nd): Ball (14), Johnson (11).

SUMMARY: Horror start to the year, with Ball gone for most of it and all of its gun midfielders bar Beams being sidelined for at least a fortnight.

ESSENDON

0 (7 - Eq 5th): Bellchambers, Davey, Howlett, Jetta, Melksham, Stanton, Watson.

1-3 (9 - Eq 2nd): Carlisle (1), Crameri (3), Dempsey (2), Fletcher (1), Heppell (2), Hocking (1), Monfries (3), Pears (1), Ryder (3).

4-6 (2 - Eq 8th): Hooker (4), Hurley (6).

7-9 (1 - Eq 5th): Zaharakis (7).

10+ (1 - Eq 9th): Winderlich (12).

SUMMARY: While the injuries have been plentiful the silver lining is that few have been long term. Zaharakis'absence has been significant, while Hurley's continued inability to stay on the ground is a concern.

FREMANTLE

0 (11 - Eq 14th): Ballantyne, Barlow, Crowley, de Boer, Duffield, Ibbotson, Johnson, McPharlin, Mzungu, Pavlich, Pearce.

1-3 (5 - 13th): Broughton (2), Hill (2), Mayne (1), McPhee (3), Mundy (2).

4-6 (1 - Eq 12th): Dawson (6).

7-9 (1 - Eq 5th): Sandilands (8).

10+ (2 - Eq 2nd): Fyfe (12), Morabito (17).

SUMMARY: Has not had a lot of players go down but those who have - Fyfe and Sandilands - are, alongside Pavlich, undoubtedly in the top three. Fyfe put in a blinder in his return last week. The key will be whether he can keep the Dockers in finals contention by the time Sandilands returns.

GEELONG

0 (2 - 1st): Mackie, West.

1-3 (14 - 1st): Bartel (1), Chapman (1), Corey (1), Duncan (1), Enright (1), Hawkins (1), T.Hunt (1), Johnson (1), Kelly (3), Lonergan (1), Motlop (1), Scarlett (2), Selwood (1), Taylor (1).

4-6 (3 - Eq 4th): Christensen (5), J.Hunt (4), Podsiadly (4).

10+ (1 - Eq 9th): Varcoe (17).

SUMMARY: On the surface looks to have struggled badly with continuity, with only Mackie and West fit every week, although that could be an extension of last year's successful strategy of not taking any chances on players who are borderline.

GOLD COAST

0 (9 - Eq 10th): Bennell, Brennan, Caddy, Day, Hunt, Shaw, Smith, Stanley, Warnock.

1-3 (4 - Eq 14th): Ablett (2), Brown (3), McKenzie (1), Russell (3).

4-6 (4 - Eq 1st): Dixon (5), Matera (5), Prestia (4), Rischitelli (4).

7-9 (2 - Eq 2nd): Harbrow (9), Swallow (7).

10+ (1 - Eq 9th): Bock (13).

SUMMARY: The three long-term injury victims - Bock, Harbrow and Swallow - are arguably only exceeded in importance by captain Ablett. Bock has undoubtedly been the biggest blow.

GWS

0 (6 - 4th): Adams, Davis, McDonald, Mohr, Smith, Ward.

1-3 (9 - Eq 2nd): Bugg (1), Cameron (3), Cornes (3), Greene (1), Giles (2), Palmer (1), Power (2), Scully (2), Treloar (1).

4-6 (3 - Eq 4th): Coniglio (6), Patton (6), Shiel (5).

7-9 (1 - Eq 5th): Brogan (7).

10+ (1 - Eq 9th): O'hAilpin (16).

SUMMARY: The recycled veterans have, unsurprisingly, struggled to play out the year without interruption, with Brogan's absence felt because of the absence of mature ruck alternatives.

HAWTHORN

0 (9 - Eq 10th): Lewis, Mitchell, Puopolo, Rioli, Roughead, Schoemakers, Sewell, Stratton, Suckling.

1-3 (9 - Eq 2nd): Birchall (2), Bruest (1), Burgoyne (1), Franklin (3), Gibson (2), Guerra (3), Hale (1), Smith (3), Whitecross (1).

10+ (2 - Eq 2nd): Bailey (15), Hodge (11).

SUMMARY: Apart from Luke Hodge's frustrating year and, of late, Franklin's troublesome hamstring, 2012 has been great for the Hawks injury-wise. Roughead's return from a ruptured Achilles has been remarkable.

MELBOURNE

0 (8 - Eq 7th): Blease, Garland, Grimes, Gysberts, Howe, Martin, Rivers, Trengove.

1-3 (9 - Eq 2nd): Bail (3), Frawley (2), Jones (1), McDonald (1), McKenzie (1), Moloney (2), Sylvia (3), Tapscott (3), Watts (3).

4-6 (2 - Eq 8th): Clark (6), Jamar (4).

10+ (1 - Eq 9th): Jurrah (15).

SUMMARY: The long-term absences of Clark and Jurrah have left the Demons with one of the competition's least imposing forward lines. Jamar's recurring injury has also exposed another area in which their depth is thin: ruck.

NORTH MELBOURNE

0 (16 - 18th): Adams, Anthony, Atley, Bastinac, Firrito, Goldstein, Harper, Harvey, Macmillan, Petrie, Swallow, Tarrant, Thomas, Wells, Wright, Ziebell.

1-3 (2 - 18th): Grima (3), Thompson (2).

4-6 (1 - Eq 12th): McMahon (5).

10+ (1 - Eq 9th): McIntosh (10).

SUMMARY: Few would begrudge North's elevatation into the top eight after successive ninth placings. But with its favourable draw and remarkable run with injury it should be improving at least as much as it has.

PORT ADELAIDE

0 (8 - Eq 7th): Broadbent, Carlile, Chaplin, Cornes, Brad Ebert, Pearce, P.Stewart, Westhoff.

1-3 (6 - 12th): Boak (3), Cassisi (3), McCarthy (1), Thomas (1), Trengove (2), Wingard (2).

4-6 (2 - Eq 8th): Hartlett (5), Surjan (4).

7-9 (2 - Eq 2nd): J.Butcher (8), Schulz (7).

10+ (2 - Eq 2nd): Gray (15), Pittard (13).

SUMMARY: Scoring options cruelled by the long-term absences of Gray, Butcher and Schulz.

RICHMOND

0 (11 - Eq 14th): Cotchin, Deledio,

Grigg, Houli, Jackson, Martin, Nahas, Newman, Rance, Riewoldt, Tuck.

1-3 (4 - Eq 14th): Edwards (2), Griffiths (3), I.Maric (1), Morris (1).

4-6 (1 - Eq 12th): King (6).

7-9 (3 - 1st): Foley (7), Grimes (8), Vickery (8).

10+ (1 - Eq 9th): Astbury (12).

SUMMARY: Long-term injuries to Grimes and Foley have hurt, but at least core leaders Cotchin, Deledio and Newman have been available throughout, as have bookends Riewoldt and Rance.

ST KILDA

0 (12 - 16th): Armitage, Dal Santo, Dempster, Gilbert, Goddard, Koschitzke, Hayes, Milne, Montagna, Riewoldt, Sipposs, Steven.

1-3 (4 - Eq 14th): Geary (2), Gwilt (3), Jones (1), Saad (1).

4-6 (3 - Eq 4th): Blake (4), Fisher (5), McEvoy (6).

7-9 (1 - Eq 5th): Stanley (8).

SUMMARY: Yes, the Saints are lower on the ladder than this time last year, but strategically their trajectory looks much more positive. Hayes' knee is robust, Riewoldt is again a hard-running threat and their young players have shone.

SYDNEY

0 (13 - 17th): Bird, Bolton, Grundy, Hannebery, Jack, Jetta, Johnson, Kennedy, Malceski, McGlynn, McVeigh, Reid, Richards.

1-3 (4 - Eq 14th): Mattner (1), O'Keefe (1), Roberts-Thomson (3), Shaw (1).

4-6 (1 - Eq 12th): Goodes (6).

7-9 (1 - Eq 5th): Mumford (8).

10+ (1 - Eq 9th): Rohan (13).

SUMMARY: The Swans' top two players, Goodes and Mumford, have missed 14 matches between them but injury has hardly affected the middle to upper-core of the squad.

WEST COAST

0 (9 - Eq 10th): Cox, Darling, Gaff, Hurn, Kerr, Lynch, Masten, S.Selwood, Shuey.

1-3 (7 - Eq 10th): Glass (1), Mackenzie (1), Naitanui (2), Priddis (2), Rosa (1), Schofield (2), Waters (2).

10+ (4 - 1st): Embley (14), Kennedy (12), LeCras (17), Nicoski (17).

SUMMARY: Among the core squad most have missed no more than two matches, but it has been saddled with four major long-termers, of which Embley is the only one whose return this season looks assured.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

0 (8 - Eq 7th): Boyd, Cross, Dahlhaus, Lake, Liberatore, Minson, Picken, Wallis.

1-3 (7 - Eq 10th): Cordy (2), Griffen (1), Hargrave (1), Higgins (1), Jones (1), Murphy (1), Roughead (1).

4-6 (3 - Eq 4th): Cooney (6), Giansiracusa (4), Wood (6).

10+ (2 - Eq 2nd): Morris (17), Williams (13).

SUMMARY: There is not much for the Dogs to savour in an awful season, in which injuries cannot be blamed. Morris is no crowd-puller but is hugely under-rated as a negating defender, while Cooney's degenerative knee condition shows no signs of stabilising.

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Travis Burns cops 12-week ban

Double hit ... the nine-match ban is in addition to the three games Burns will miss after pleading guilty to this chicken wing tackle on Mose Masoe in the same game. Travis Burns
Nanjing Night Net

TRAVIS BURNS was accused last night of a ''get-square'' on Roosters prop Martin Kennedy, yet his only recourse will be a legal appeal. Having been found guilty of an intentional high tackle, he was given a nine-match ban.

When added to a separate charge stemming from the same spiteful clash in round 20, Burns will be sidelined for a total of 12 matches. So not only has he been handed the equal third-longest suspension in NRL history - albeit as a result of two charges - he has also been found guilty of a deliberate high tackle, something his counsel had warned was ''one of the worst'' accusations that could be levelled at a player.

In last night's case, which had been held over a week, the panel was given two very contrasting versions of the tackle. Burns insisted he had attempted a ''ball-and-all'' tackle, in a case of ''big man on small man''. It was an accident, he said. The prosecution described it as a deliberate high tackle - a ''get-square''.

During cross-examination, Burns was accused of ''smiling'' just after the tackle. NRL prosecutor Peter Kite maintained that Burns had a sense of ''mission accomplished'' after the tackle.

Burns, though, said: ''I'm trying to finish off a tackle. I didn't realise I'd made contact with the head until everyone rushed in.''

Kite said Burns could be seen ''leaping into the air with a swinging right arm, directed at the head of player Kennedy. It's a classic swinging-arm tackle. The left arm doesn't wrap at all, [while] the movement of the head to the side was to allow for the swinging arm. He didn't have to leap into the air to make a ball-and-all tackle.

''It was clearly a get-square against player Kennedy for whatever reason.''

Kite said the tackle was at worst intentional, and at best reckless. In contrast, Burns's counsel Nick Ghabar said the tackle was at worst reckless and at best careless.

''If he was going to make an intentional tackle, you would have thought he'd at least try a stiff arm,'' Ghabar said.

Burns repeatedly denied that he had deliberately hit Kennedy high. ''I was defending my try line,'' he said. ''He's a big guy, I'm on the try line, I'm thinking of a one-on-one tackle, a ball-and-all tackle - I wanted to wrap the ball up in one motion.''

Asked why he appeared to leap, Burns said: ''It was close to the line, he's a lot taller than me. I felt to do a ball-and-all tackle close to the line, I had to elevate myself to that height.''

Burns denied he had foreseen that contact would be made with the head or neck of Kennedy. Under cross-examination, Burns also denied Kite's assertion that he had been ''looking constantly at his [Kennedy's] head''.

''I'm not looking at the head,'' Burns said. ''I'm looking at Martin, because he's running directly at me. You've got to keep your eyes on who you're tackling.''

The panel of Royce Ayliffe, Michael Buettner and Sean Garlick took less than 10 minutes to find that Burns had committed an intentional high tackle. But the prosecution's wish for a grade-three offence was rejected by the panel, which opted for the lowest grade of the intentional scale. Thus Burns was handed a 12-match ban, having already pleaded guilty to a dangerous-contact charge over a chicken-wing tackle earlier in the same game.

The utility has already served one match of his suspension.

Burns was clearly shattered. While his contract with the Panthers expires at the end of next season, there have been suggestions that he has been told that he can look for another club next year. That search would be more difficult now. Burns will serve half of his suspension this year, leaving him with a six-match ban next year.

Head down, he walked out of Rugby League Central without uttering a word. Definitely no smile.

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Vintage gems from the vault

LIKE leadership tension in the Labor Party, some television shows simply refuse to die. On the free-to-air multichannels and nostalgia-based pay TV channels, it's as if the new millennium never happened.
Nanjing Night Net

One explanation is old shows are cheap and there are lots of channels in need of content. But there's more to it than that.

For a start, the shows with the longest shelf life are sitcoms. Most sitcoms abide by the rule that nobody learns and nobody grows, which makes them ideally suited to lives of perpetual rotation. Each episode works within a rigid universe where familiar tropes, character traits and catchphrases are repeated ad infinitum. In narrative terms, they exist in a state of suspended animation.

Interestingly, a disproportionate number of these sitcoms come from the US in the mid-1960s, which in retrospect was the golden age of the sitcom. It was, of course, a golden age for popular culture in general - a kind of cultural big bang, the effects of which are still being felt to this day. These shows reflect a world that is recognisably our own while simultaneously suffused with a comforting glow of nostalgia.

In stylistic terms, it represented a magical period between the drab austerity of the 1950s and overindulgence of the early '70s. It is a period enjoying a revival thanks to the success of Mad Men, and the cool minimalism of shows such as I Dream of Jeannie and Get Smart seem almost contemporary.

Here are 10 US sitcoms from the '60s, in order of launch date, that deserve their place in the TV schedule.

Many became more popular in syndication than when they first aired, gradually insinuating their way into the popular imagination.

Some have dated better than others, but they share fine writing and production values, and a beguiling sense of optimism.

Bewitched (1964-72)Number of episodes: 254

The first of a run of shows combining family sitcom tropes with supernatural elements. Beautiful witch Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) marries mortal Darrin (Dick York, and later Dick Sargent) and tries to lead a normal suburban life. Storylines are driven by attempts to keep Samantha's true nature hidden, and the disapproval of her mother (Agnes Moorehead), who doesn't approve of the mixed marriage. The idea of a powerful woman subverting attempts to tame her played well at a time when patriarchal structures were being challenged. Watch it on: Gem, TV1, DVD.

The Addams Family (1964-66)Number of episodes: 64

This is based on a series of New Yorker magazine cartoons about an eccentric family with supernatural capabilities. The plots are driven by the family's good-natured indifference to how they appear to straight society, and in that sense the show anticipated the emerging countercultural revolution. It features wonderful, richly drawn characters and a superb theme song. Watch it on: Fox Classics, DVD.

The Munsters (1964-66)Number of episodes: 70

This aired during the same period as The Addams Family but in this case the humour derives from the family looking like horror-movie characters while acting like a conventional sitcom family. Both shows were broadcast in black and white and this has only added to their timeless, Gothic appeal. Watch it on: DVD only.

Gilligan's Island (1964-67)Number of episodes: 98

Created by Sherwood Schwartz, who later made The Brady Bunch, this features a disparate group stranded on a deserted island.

The plots are driven by the incompatibility of the castaways and their thwarted attempts to escape, usually as a result of Gilligan's ineptitude. The early episodes were first aired in black and white but were colourised for syndication. Watch it on: Channel Nine, DVD.

Hogan's Heroes (1965-71)Number of episodes: 168

Released against a backdrop of the Cold War and US involvement in Vietnam, and with the horrors of Hitler's Final Solution relatively fresh in people's minds, a jolly World War II prisoner-of-war romp might have seemed a curious anachronism. But presenting German officers as bumbling fools possibly provided a salve of sorts for those scarred by the war. Watch it on: Channel One, DVD.

I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70)Number of episodes: 139

Inspired by the success of Bewitched and based loosely on the movie The Brass Bottle, which also stars Barbara Eden, this follows a hapless astronaut (Larry Hagman) who accidentally releases a genie (Eden) who is determined to serve him. Much of the humour comes from his thwarted attempts to control the feisty, mischievous Jeannie and conceal her true identity from colleagues and neighbours. Sidney Sheldon created the series and wrote most of the episodes. Watch it on: Gem, TV1.

Get Smart (1965-70)Number of episodes: 138

Comedian Mel Brooks devised this superb spy-show parody with Buck Henry but took a backseat after the pilot. The show's stylish mid-'60s aesthetic has a timeless appeal and its legacy is an abundance of references that have permeated popular culture - the cone of silence, the shoe phone, phrases such as ''and loving it'' and ''missed it by that much''. It was a kind of knowing slapstick, based on the repetition of deliberately bad jokes and some rich characters. Still, the show's success relied on the chemistry between Don Adams as Agent 86 Maxwell Smart, and Barbara Feldon as 99. Despite their age difference, his bumbling pratfalls and her weirdly vulnerable flirtation are a winning combination. Watch it on: Channel One, TV1.

Batman (1966-68)Number of episodes: 120

The popular DC Comics character gets a playful, quasi-psychedelic, gloriously camp television adaptation with Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as the boy wonder, Robin. Its signature motif is the use of words such as KAPOW!, BAM! and ZOK! superimposed over fight scenes - a homage both to the show's comic-book origins and the pop-art movement, which reached its apotheosis in the US in the early to mid-'60s. Watch it on: 111 Hits.

The Monkees (1966-68)Number of episodes: 58

Inspired by the success of the Beatles' movies, particularly A Hard Day's Night, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider manufactured a four-piece band for a TV show. Despite the contrived nature of the band (often referred to as the Pre-Fab Four) and the show, both surpassed expectations. The show features avant-garde film techniques and bravely shunned a laugh track. The band also railed against the restraints imposed on them, eventually writing their own material and gaining respect within the music industry. Watch it on: DVD only.

The Brady Bunch (1969-74)Number of episodes: 117

Although it was launched in the '60s, this is much more a post-'60s artefact, the blended Brady family an acknowledgment of the disruption the decade caused to family life (the creator, Sherwood Schwartz, intended Carol to be a divorcee but the network insisted this not be made explicit). Nevertheless, it is a gentle, anodyne family sitcom that seems irredeemably cheesy today. Its enduring popularity seems based more on a postmodern affection for kitsch than any intrinsic qualities. Watch it on: Channel Eleven, TV1, DVD.

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Whale of a dirty job for humpback disposal team

TOWING the massive whale carcass on Newport Beach out for a sea burial would be a difficult and dangerous task, but still far more pleasant than the ''horrible'' alternative.
Nanjing Night Net

The dead humpback became lodged in the beach's ocean swimming pool before dawn today. It was refloated on the high tide, just before 8pm and tomorrow it is likely to be carved into pieces by chainsaw and knife, when it washes ashore again.

Six chainsaw teams, normally deployed cutting up trees by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, are standing by for the grisly job.

''It's a horrible task, there's no doubt about it,'' said Geoff Ross, the co-ordinator of marine and fauna programs at the NPWS. ''It's like when you are cutting up any large organism - parts of it are very hard to cut, the sights and smells evoke emotions, it's extremely tough work.''

The 11.6-metre-long, 30 tonne humpback whale is thought to have died about three days ago, and the vast corpse was beginning to bloat with gas as it lay in the swimming pool.

The beach was closed to swimming and the whale body attracted a crowd of about 500, as well as herons, gulls, and a pair of falcons that observed developments from a nearby rock ledge.

Sections of the swimming pool's fence were removed, and staff from the Office of Environment and Heritage and Pittwater Council hoped the dead mammal would float further down the beach on the high tide.

''Once that happens, we will move in and cut it up,'' Mr Ross said. ''I'll make an incision to let out the gas that's building up inside, and then the chainsaw teams will get to work.''

Cutting up the whale means separate teams starting at the head and the tail and working inwards until the creature is divided into a series of large chunks of flesh and blubber, each weighing three or four tonnes.

''It's a very difficult process and the chainsaws get blunted quickly, so we rotate teams regularly, with the whole process taking much of the day,'' Mr Ross said. ''I'll take the opportunity to do a quick necropsy, so we can see if we can work out why the animal died.''

Tissue and DNA samples would also be taken. Beached whales often also contain human pollution, such as clumps of plastic bags, Mr Ross said.

Once the carcass is cut up, it is likely to be taken by truck to a landfill site in western Sydney, where it will take several years to decay.

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League and TV’s uneven playing field

Johnathan Thurston's contention that regional teams are subject to an unfair disadvantage because of the sway held by television at NRL headquarters is more an observation than a news story. It's patently true.
Nanjing Night Net

The problem we have in squeezing four national football codes into a country of only 22 million is that we have to paper over a helluva lot of cracks. We only have six state capitals and one of them is so small it can't support a team in any footy code.

So while we do our best to even up the playing talent between the franchises, we can't force people to like them all equally when some are based in giant cities and others in rural areas. Television likes the teams that people like the most – and because of that will work against the interests of the game's administration by pushing those teams, allowing them to demand more from sponsors.

The way our television networks are set up – out of capitals with regional affiliates - accentuates the problem.

As I wrote in Rugby League Week this week, the Central Queensland NRL bid is finding it difficult to swim against the tide of news content that comes out of the capitals and into regional areas. Football teams like the Cowboys have managed to actually send content in the other direction – but you've got to get into the comp first.

It's wrong that Canberra are never on free-to-air TV. It's wrong that Brisbane always play on Fridays. The previous administration of the NRL managed to give us uncertainty of results, even when a team based at Suncorp Stadium plays one based at Leichhardt. That's no small achievement.

The challenge for the new hierarchy is to eliminate the other inequalities which were enshrined in the current broadcast deal. Full-season scheduling will go a long way towards doing that.

Burgess boys will get England call-up

England are going to South Africa for a training camp straight after the grand final and I fully expect Luke Burgess to join brother Sam in Steve McNamara's squad. McNamara was at Sunday's South Sydney-Wests Tigers game, sitting next to George Burgess who will one day also play for his country.

Just one question though. Given that England were brushed by Australia and New Zealand for internationals this spring, and that their workload consists of just Wales and France plus (hopefully) a Tri-Nations final, why aren't they playing the South Africans as well?

Given that the Rhinos aren't in the World Cup, I don't think it's going to damage anyone's credibility if a second-string England runs up 90 or 100 against South Africa, as Australia and England did against New Zealand A and the United States respectively before the 2000 World Cup.

If we have professional rugby league players going in an officials capacity to a country where our game is played, let's get what we can out of them.

Super League dumps sponsor

Discord has been reliably informed that sponsor Stobart did not dump Super League one year into a three-year deal – it was the other way around.

And that's good news for the game. If you can't get out of a deal with someone who paid nothing, then when can you get out of one? Maybe the RFL had to stump up for the metho to wipe the adverts from the side of the trucks.

By dumping Stobart, RFL chief executive Nigel Wood has repositioned the game in the market place. Accepting a naming rights deal for nothing was tantamount to commercial suicide – staying around for the duration of the deal was actually letting go of the bridge and hurtling earthwards.

Now the league can enter talks with a new backer in a position of – comparative – strength.

League, I love it

For those of you who are new to Discord, welcome! We've been going for three years at various locations, including rugbyleague南京夜网, rleague南京夜网 and – when we got really desperate – stevemascord南京夜网. This is not a Sydney rugby league gossip column; Discord inhabits a parallel universe where people are as interested in the warring factions in Italian Rugby League as they are in how many weeks Anthony Watmough will get for a chickenwing tackle.

The key ingredient for the column, from one week to another, has been comments by readers at the bottom of this page. Feel free to fire some in the knowledge that I'll read them.

If you've gone out of your way to find us from previous locations, thanks a heap.

And click here if you want to read previous columns.

Twitter: @therealsteavis

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