Russell Crowe called out amid Souths saga, Des Hasler feud re-ignited: Good, bad, ugly of NRL round 6

The sixth round of the NRL season threw up some huge questions.

😃 The good: Manly and Gold Coast set for spicy grudge match

😔 The bad: Golden point has descended into a farce

😡 The ugly: Russell Crowe and Souths bosses' lack of support for Jason Demetriou

Des Hasler to clash with Manly after ugly falling out

No one does hate better than rugby league. Some feuds – like the Roosters-Rabbitohs hostilities - have been raging for more than a century.

Others are more recent, but the dislike is palpable. The spice, death stares and acrimony are for real – and it makes for great theatre.

Des Hasler enjoyed plenty of good times at Manly as both player and coach, collecting four premierships along the way. But after walking out after his first stint as coach and taking them to court following the ugly end to his second stint, it’s fair to say there is genuine disdain for Hasler at Brookvale.

Des Hasler.
Des Hasler will clash with Manly for the first time since joining the Gold Coast Titans.

And the feeling is mutual. While the playing group don’t have a problem with their old coach, it's a different story at administration level.

Hasler and CEO Tony Mestrov played together in the 90s but that bond quickly evaporated on the back of Hasler's messy exit in the wake of the rainbow jumper debacle. If they ever speak again, it will be through lawyers as court proceedings into Hasler's Manly dismissal continues.

Same deal with Hasler and Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn. And that's what makes Saturday's night's Titans-Manly clash such a tasty prospect. There's Hasler, desperate for his first win as Gold Coast coach after an 0-5 start, and Manly just as desperate to add to his misery. Bring it on.

Can we change the rules around golden point?

Is it time to kill off golden point? The Warriors-Manly clash thankfully ended in a draw after neither side could produce the winning field goal after 10 minutes of extra-time. Neither side deserved to walk away empty handed from a pulsating encounter.

The Titans weren't so lucky, leaving Canberra with nothing to show for it after pushing the game into golden point with a brave fightback. Field goals are about the only scoring option teams strive for when they enter golden point.

There is very little expansive ball movement, few attacking kicks or risky offloads. It's all dummy half and one-off-the-ruck running to set up field position so the designated kicker can try and land the precious one point.

Golden point was brought in to add excitement and give us a winner after 80 minutes of normal time. It was never designed to be this boring and predictable slog up field for the chance to take a field goal.

We’re ok with a draw, for what it's worth, but if we must have golden point then let's look at tweaking it. Making it golden try won’t work because that changes the fabric of the game.

So, what about we play out the full extra 10 minutes so it opens up all scoring options? If the teams are dead-locked after 90 minutes, then it's a draw and one point each. It's worth thinking about.


Where has the support been for Jason Demetriou at Souths?

Rugby league is a hard-nosed, ruthless business. It all comes down to what is written in the wins and losses columns.

An old CEO once told me he'd bounce out of bed on a Monday morning if his team had won on the weekend, knowing it would be a good week no matter the challenges because the two points were in the bag. A loss would seem like a seven-day funeral.

So, you'd have to be devoid of emotion and empathy not to feel for Jason Demetriou right now. His days as an NRL coach – in the short term, at least – appear numbered after the Bunnies slid to another defeat against Cronulla.

Russell Crowe and Jason Demetriou.
Should Russell Crowe come out and support Jason Demetriou? Image: Getty

The battered and bruised Rabbitohs put up a solid fight but it was still another entry in that dreaded loss column. It may buy the coach some time but that's still five defeats in six games. If they'd be thrashed by the Sharks, he wouldn't have seen out the week.

With games against Melbourne and Penrith over the next fortnight, the mail is Demetriou will be gone by the end of the month unless he can perform a miracle. That sort of pressure is part of the deal as a coach, but what has been hard to stomach is the lack of strong support from club powerbrokers.

Chairman Nick Pappas, CEO Blake Solly and high-profile co-owner Russell Crowe haven’t exactly had Demetriou's back throughout this challenging time. In the meantime, a cavalcade of potential replacements were either pitching for his job or denying interest.

Demetriou has been left to fend for himself, publicly defending his team while fighting to keep his job. It's been excruciating to watch. If he is to go, hopefully he goes out swinging.

Check back in every Monday throughout the NRL season for Adam Lucius' 'Good, Bad and Ugly' column.