An open letter to Manly coach Geoff Toovey.

Dear Sir,

Let’s examine some recent evidence.

Manly centre Steve Matai leaps into the air to clothesline George Burgess with a violent swinging forearm and only gets a one week suspension with an early guilty plea.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey spits the dummy.

Manly fullback Brett Stewart drops his elbow into Andrew Everingham’s jaw, even though Andrew wasn’t even carrying the ball, and gets away with the offence through an early guilty plea.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey has a whinge.

Manly forward Richie Fa’aoso drops Greg Inglis on his head not once, but twice, in a blatant and dangerous spear tackle and only gets an eight week suspension. Bulldogs centre Krisnan Inu got five weeks for doing it only once to Greg Inglis. Based on the precedence Richie Fa’aoso should have got at least ten.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey sooks to the cameras.

Manly forward Jason King also hits Greg Inglis with a spear tackle and drops him on his head, resulting in six stitches for the South Sydney fullback. No penalty at the time. No charges laid.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey bitches about how unfairly his team are treated.

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Anyone could easily think that this list of misdemeanours occurred throughout an entire season, but they didn’t.  They happened in one spiteful 80 minutes of Rugby League when Manly coach Geoff Toovey’s team showed up to fight and the South Sydney Rabbitohs concentrated on playing football.

In the post match conference, after Souths had run out convincing winners, Manly coach Geoff Toovey complained that the elbow to the jaw and the swinging arm did not warrant penalties. Manly coach Geoff Toovey also suggested that Greg Inglis was taking dives and falling on his head on purpose.

WTF Manly coach Geoff Toovey! Are you serious?

Manly captain Jamie Lyon claimed Greg Inglis head butted the ground on purpose so he could get a quick play-the-ball.

Yeah, right.

Manly winger Jorge Taufua thought the illegal forearm by Manly centre Steve Matai, was “f. . .ng awesome, man, I love playing outside that guy. When he pulls it off, I just lose it.”

Oh dear!

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Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans thought the illegal forearm by Manly centre Steve Matai was “a cracker of a hit.”

I wonder if he would feel the same if it was his face that Manly centre Steve Matai sought to rearrange with his right forearm.

Sensibly Manly forward Richie Fa’aoso hasn’t commented yet. Don’t forget though that this is the same guy who hit Gold Coast forward Ashley Harrison with an illegal shoulder charge earlier in the season. Ashley was left concussed and had to be stretchered off the field. Manly coach Geoff Toovey lashed out at the judiciary via every media outlet he could find that would listen to his insane rantings and managed to have the charge downgraded. Richie Fa’aoso only got a one week ban.

Manly forwards Justin Horo and Brenton Lawrence were put on report for dropping West Tigers centre Blake Ayshford on his head in round 4. Nothing happened to them.

These are not simply heavy hits from hard men in a tough game of Rugby League. They are blatant, illegal practices from a coach with no other ideas.

Greg Inglis & Adam Reynolds from South Sydney

Greg Inglis (with stitches) and Adam Reynolds from South Sydney

Well congratulations Manly coach Geoff Toovey, you have once again galvanised the entire rugby league community into a hatred for your team, something previous Manly coach Des Hasler had worked so hard to change.

Perhaps, Manly coach Geoff Toovey, you should concentrate on actually coaching your players on how to play football? Thuggery and brutal stupidity might have you riding high on the competition ladder at the moment, but as your players build up an unsavoury reputation with the judiciary, and the suspensions become longer and longer, you will slide into oblivion.

Just a thought.

P.S: Yes I am a South Sydney supporter and no, I have never played Rugby League outside of high-school. So what makes me qualified to comment? Check out the video above and see for yourself.

Images from the Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, and Fox Sports.

Its the 10th Anniversary Since Souths Were Reinstated Back Into The NRL

Today, 6 July 2011, marks ten years since the South Sydney Rabbitohs won reinstatement to the National Rugby League.

I remember that dark day when the Pride of the League, one of the few remaining foundation clubs, was banished for no other reason than they refused to capitulate to the arbitrary and unreasonable demands of the despots who controlled the game. Howls of protest echoed from Redfern and the surrounding suburbs as fans struggled to come to grips with the loss of their red and green heroes. Celebrities, high-profile businessmen and average joes, united in their pain and anger, flooded the mailrooms of our major newspapers and clogged the phone systems of callback radio shows.

We were not going to go quietly into the night.

Donations came in from wealthy benefactors. Lawyers agreed to work pro bono. Exhibition matches at Redfern Oval between a combined South Sydney Rabbitohs and North Sydney Bears side, and the visiting national sides of Lebanon and the USA (American Tomahawks), were staged to raise money.

Then we marched!

Some say there were over 80,000 people at Town Hall on that sunny Sunday afternoon in November. I reckon it was closer to 100,000. I was there with my son, my father and my brother-in-law plodding our way toward George Street, shoulder to shoulder with thousands of unhappy humans. An Eastern-Suburbs devotee in a brand new jersey was walking next to us. I thought he was there to gloat, so I asked him what he was doing. His reply:

“You think Roosters supporters don’t care what they did to you guys? Its a disgrace and should not be allowed to happen to ANY team.”

He was right, so I shook his hand and thanked him. We would be rivals again in a couple of years, but not today.

As the throngs assembled at Town Hall I noticed that the crowd was not just coloured cardinal and myrtle. Broncos, Bears, Bulldogs, Eels, Sea Eagles and Sharks made up some large numbers. Magpies, Tigers, Steelers and Dragons vented their anger at being forced to merge. Even the long extinct Jets were there. Whether they liked the Rabbitohs or not, Australia’s Rugby League community had come out in force to protest the injustice perpetrated upon on their game.

South’s legal team went back to court and, on the 6th of July 2001, they won the right to field a team in the 2002 competition and beyond.

We were back – finally.

It’s been a long, hard journey since reinstatement. There’s not been a lot to cheer about, but at least we have a team to cheer for.

Glory, Glory to South Sydney!