Yes, the month that delivers a busy schedule of work parties, family catch ups, and shopping expeditions, not to forget a visit from a portly, silver-haired fella in a red suit, also dishes up a silly season of rugby league speculation and stories.
NRL news rarely slows down and The Corner Post has you covered.
The recent release of the NRL and NRLW draws had its share of winners and losers.
South Sydney did exceptionally well, with 12 home games included in their 16 Sydney based matches. They were also blessed with an amazing total of 19 seven days or longer turnarounds.
The Broncos should look at buying a lotto ticket after they were drawn to receive 18 seven days or longer turnarounds. The difficulty of their draw is relatively low, playing four of the 2023 top 8 just the once.(Raiders, Sharks, Knights and Warriors).
It was no surprise to see Cronulla get another easy draw, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Parramatta enjoy more favourable scheduling compared to 2023. The beginning and end to the year will be much kinder, and they’ll actually receive a bye during the Origin series. However, what may go unnoticed is the fact that they do play the Broncos, Roosters and Tigers late in the season after each of them are fresh off their respective byes.
With no new clubs entering the competition, the 2024 season will closely mirror that of 2023, with some notable changes.
1. The largest talking point of the 2024 itinerary is the women’s State of Origin series. By popular demand, the series will increase to a 3 game contest rather than a two games series decided via score aggregate.
2. The Eels will have more than 2 home games in 2024! After receiving a mere 2 home games in 2023, the side will receive five home games across Eric Tweedale, CommBank and Allianz Stadiums next year. In reality that’s four genuine home games, but it’s a step in the right direction.
3. As per 2023, double headers will continue to be a regular feature of the 2024 season. Round 2 has the Eels and Roosters headlining a double header at Allianz Stadium, and Round 3 sees the Cowboys and Broncos kick off another at Totally Workwear Stadium. Both the Broncos and Titans will host a match at Cbus Super Stadium on the Saturday of Round 8, and Round 9 will end with two double headers, with two matchups at Queensland Country Bank, and the other at CommBank Stadium.
With new coaches, double headers and extensive recruitment, NRLW footy is looking bigger than ever for the 2024 season, and we can’t wait to witness all the action and passion.
Big Name Warriors Return
Warriors fan favourite Chanel Harris-Tavita made his return to footy this week when he arrived at Warriors pre-season training. The star was photographed looking cheerful and energised at training, a contrast to the confusion he felt as he departed the NRL world at the end of Samoa’s 2022 World Cup campaign.
Photos of CHT began to surface over platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and continued to excite Warriors fans anticipating that their team will go even further in 2024.
Former Warriors fullback and Dally M winner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck also made his return to the club in preseason training. A stint with the Blues Rugby Team proved unsuccessful, and now a return to the Warriors gives him the opportunity to link with star half Shaun Johnson.
Debate surrounding RTS’ return was centred around positional dilemmas, with Kiwis fullback Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad playing extraordinary footy during the Warriors NRL, Finals and representative campaigns, cementing himself as the Warriors first choice at the back. RTS has confirmed he signed with the knowledge that he would be playing in the centre position, and supporters are anticipating a big impact on a Warriors side already on the rise.
Georgallis Appointed Eels NRLW Coach
The Parramatta Eels have confirmed the appointment of Steve Georgallis as Head Coach for the 2024 NRLW season. Mirroring their male counterparts, the female Eels backed up a 2022 Grand Final appearance with a disappointing 2023 season.
The Eels NRLW team has failed to win more then two games in any of their three seasons, so the task ahead for Georgallis is considerable.
Individually, the talent base is there in the playing group. Collectively, something hasn’t quite clicked, even allowing for key injuries in 2023 to Elsie Albert and Rachael Pearson, and the suspension of Kennedy Cherrington.
Steve Georgallis has been a long term coach of the Greek Rugby League team, qualifying them for their first ever RLWC appearance last year.
In his lengthy coaching career, Georgallis’ achievements include holding the position of interim head coach at the both the Panthers and Bulldogs, and winning the NSW Cup title with Bulldogs. This follows on from a playing career of more than 200 top grade games.
Without question, the new Eels mentor boasts an illustrious career and a deep understanding of the game.
The Blue and Gold faithful will be hoping that he can deliver improved performances from his team in 2024.
Apparently growing tensions between AJ Brimson and Jayden Campbell sparked plenty of speculation about a potential falling out between the two players.
Competition for the coveted fullback position was rumoured to be the source of the feud, but both players shut the talk down with humorous interactions on social media as well as formal comments in press interviews.
Still, the question remains to be answered. Will Head Coach, Des Hasler, select the Origin experienced Brimson, or the rookie speedster in Campbell?
Latest In Signings
Still on the Titans, they have added to their backline stocks by poaching Canberra flyer Harley Smith-Shields. Eels supporters will recall the controversy surrounding his non-arrival as a late season reinforcement in 2023.
The “Utility” Bulldogs snagged Cronulla’s super utility Connor Tracey, with an ex Eel featuring in that deal. In an interesting swap, the Dogs gave them former Parra Pathways centre Michael Gabrael. Matt Moylan departs the Sharks roster as he now heads to the Super League in 2024.
A number of players have inked significant extenstions with their clubs. Sitili Tupouniua will remain a Rooster until 2027, after an exit had been rumoured for a while. He will continue to keep company with Billy Smith and Nat Butcher who extended to 2024 and 2027 respectively. The Raiders have retained experienced halfback Jamal Fogarty for another two seasons, with a club option in 2026 following the exit of halves partner Jack Wighton. Finally, Knights powerhouse prop Jacob Saifiti will remain in the Steel City until the end of the 2027 season.
Michael Maguire’s State of Origin role was confirmed this morning, with the NSW Blues officially welcoming him as the Head Coach for 2024 and beyond.
As discussed in a previous edition of The Corner Post, Michael “Madge” Maguire is notorious for his passion and fire, and I hope this translates to team performances and results during his tenure with the Blues.
On paper, Madge is the perfect fit for the Blues, combining knowledge and coaching expertise with his renowned passion. The next step will be seeing who he assembles for his staff and critically the side he selects to wear the coveted Blue jersey.