Gus rants about the “greatest atrocity committed in our game’s history,” Roosters excited about a star signing

Canterbury general manager Phil Gould has spoken out against the NRL over the independent doctor in the bunker who decides on concussion cases, making the extraordinary claim that it is “the greatest atrocity committed in the history of our game.” “.

The outspoken commentator blasted the NRL to 100% footy Monday night by likening what he called the “concussion hysteria” to “arguing with people about climate change.”

“I spoke to you about this concussion hysteria and where the game is going and why it’s going that way and who they’ve given way to – the media and doctors and lawyers. All this misinformation etc.” said Gould.

“I think the Doctor in the Bunker is the greatest atrocity committed in the history of our game. It’s confusing for players. Not every bump on the head is a concussion, not every concussion is life-threatening. It’s just total overkill.

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“I don’t know how the players and the coaches will deal with it. I understand the welfare of the players. Clubs too, coaches, everyone, doctors too.

Kalyn Ponga of the Knights takes a break during the NRL first round game between New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights at Sky Stadium on March 03, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand.

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

“Unfortunately, the club doctors got into the situation that they want the independent doctor because they don’t want to make the decision themselves. And it’s just too difficult.

“It’s not going to change, the game isn’t going to shy away from it, they’re going to keep going and it’s going to create more and more problems.

“Not every slap in the face or bump on the head requires HIA screening. It just seems like the old chap up at the bunker decided that if someone gets a bump on their head they have to go out and get a 15 minute check up, which I find utterly ridiculous.

“It’s like arguing with people about climate change. That is the same. They always throw the same garbage. How far down that rabbit hole do you want to go? Honestly, as they say, don’t argue with idiots.”

NRL chief footballer Graham Annesley had previously put the blowtorch back on clubs after a chorus of coaches – led by Canberra’s Ricky Stuart – criticized the independent doctor for being overly conservative in turning off players for concussions.

Stuart, along with Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett, Canterbury’s Cameron Ciraldo and Newcastle boss Adam O’Brien, raised concerns in the first round that the independent doctor was overly sensitive when it came to dismissing players for head injury assessments.

Independent doctors monitor a variety of television angles for signs of concussion and can alert the on-field referee to stop play and send a player off for an HIA.

The system, introduced last year, allows club doctors to treat injured players while ensuring no potential concussions are overlooked.

Annesley was quick to remind the game’s coaches that the system was put in place because of her foul.

Sebastian Kris of the Raiders comes up for the field during the NRL first round game between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders at Qld Country Bank Stadium on March 04, 2023 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Sebastian Kris. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

“The clubs have been shouting that we are introducing (partially) independent doctors because the clubs don’t trust each other,” Annesley said. “There have been all sorts of claims that they (clubs) are disrupting the (HIA) system.”

Annesley made no apology for the independent doctor being overly cautious.

“Are you perhaps more conservative today? Maybe,” he said. “Wouldn’t we all be more conservative when it comes to a player’s health than too liberal?

“(When a player) stays on the field and gets another hit, a more serious one that could make it worse. That can have a long-term impact on the player, we’ve seen too many players retire early due to head injuries.”

Annesley said only five of the 19 round one HIAs were initiated by the independent physician. These included an incident involving Canterbury winger Jacob Kiraz, who was thrown back in a tackle in the 29th minute of his side’s 6-31 loss to Manly on Saturday.

While he was off the field, the Bulldogs’ backline was unbalanced and their woes were compounded when Manly took the lead after Sin struck Kyle Flanagan. “I might have got whiplash, but I was fine after that,” said Kiraz, who was later cleared and returned to the field.

“I was confused when the physical therapist told me I had to get out. Of course I know their intentions aren’t bad and they don’t want me out of the game, but it was a crucial moment back then.

“A lot of players are suffering after their careers, so I understand the intentions.”

Suaalii signs a boost for Sydney Roosters in time

Enthusiastic teammates are advising Joseph Suaalii to become a Sydney Roosters star after the teenage sensation’s bargain basement retention lifted spirits at Bondi Junction.

Suaalii has defied big money offers from South Sydney and Wallabies manager Eddie Jones to re-sign for the Roosters by the end of the 2024 NRL season.

He is believed to have turned down multimillion-dollar offers to return to rugby or the Rabbitohs to remain with the Roosters for $750,000 next year.

“Such great news to hear,” Roosters and Queensland State of Origin backrower Nat Butcher said on Tuesday.

“He’s such a great boy and a great footballer and it’s great that he’s staying at this club.

“I see his future like a lot of other greats at our club, like Teddy (James Tedesco) and Joey Manu, and I know he’s on a similar path to them.

“So the ceiling is very high for him and I’m looking forward to seeing him achieve what he’s going to achieve.”

The amazing utility back’s re-signing comes in the bitter aftermath of Sunday’s shock season-opener loss to the Dolphins. “That was a tough question,” said playmaker Luke Keary. “Wasn’t ideal. It was obviously a big game for both clubs and our performance was disappointing. We just got beaten everywhere.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Joseph Suaalii smiles during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session at Kippax Lake on March 29, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

With the Roosters being the Premiers many pundits had predicted, Keary said the absence of key players, including Manu, was no excuse for the NRL debutants’ defeat and his side deserved every flak flying in their direction.

“Obviously, it’s the job of commentators around the game to analyze what went wrong. That’s fair and that’s what we do in here too,” he said.

“We know we have to get better and we have to get better this week straight away.”

While traditionally every season starts slowly, veteran winger Daniel Tupou admitted the Roosters were largely at a loss to explain another sloppy first-round performance.

“Only individually it costs us at crucial moments and there are a lot of lessons we have to learn from this game,” said Tupou.

“We trained very well in pre-season. We’re slow starters but it’s a long season and I feel like we’re getting better as the season progresses, game by game.”

The Roosters host the Warriors at Allianz Stadium on Saturday and will have Manu back from his preseason facial fracture.

Victor Radley also has a chance to play after Sunday’s concussion but Matt Lodge is out with his own fractured face, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ return from his back injury is also put on hold for another week.

“Obviously you’re going to miss her — Joey, Jared,” Keary said. “But every team has people outside. We have to deal with that better.”

Penrith downplays concerns over Luai Salmon explosion

Penrith has dismissed Latrell Mitchell’s claims of concerns in the Panthers camp that a relentless defeat is not a cause for concern and that heated conversations between players on the field are positive.

Thursday night’s showdown with Mitchell’s South Sydney is crucial for the Panthers as they struggle to avoid a 2-0 draw for the first time since 2016.

Mitchell stoked the fire when he cheekily claimed the Panthers’ windshield cracked this week following their 13-12 opening-round defeat by Brisbane.

Penrith has now lost two games in a row by that result, having also been beaten by St Helens in last month’s World Club Challenge.

But after losing the likes of Viliame Kikau and Apisai Koroisau in the off-season, the two-time defending champions care little about the suggestion that rivals can sense blood in the water.

“I didn’t care, I didn’t mind. That’s just Latrell. He loves that cheekiness,” said backrower Liam Martin.

“I’m sure he’s just moving. We don’t really believe in or against it. We don’t hear too much external noise, we just check it internally.”


(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

One thing the Panthers are sticking to is that there is no issue between Jarome Luai and Jaeman Salmon.

Friday night’s defeat was marred by a heated on-pitch debrief between the two, with Luai questioning why Salmon hadn’t pushed forward hard enough in a game late in the game.

Salmon could be heard replying to the five eighth that he was too tired.

Martin was also adamant that the argument was evidence of Penrith’s culture rather than a question of it.

“We built that here with our culture. Ivan (Cleary) always talks about it – the hardest part is pulling people up,” Martin said.

“They’ve built a culture here, if someone isn’t doing the right thing for the club, they can pull them up and hold them accountable.

“I’m on the receiving end of every Jarome training session. I always hear him scream.

“There is nothing wrong with that. It would probably be worse if they ignored it and didn’t talk about it.” Gus rants about the "greatest atrocity committed in our game's history," Roosters excited about a star signing

Russell Falcon

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