Very regional area Facebook drama
Did you get away for Chrissie?
The Blackhawks of Townsville have become a client state of the Rabbitohs of South Sydney. A couple of brain geniuses in the Facebook comments, who were definitely diehard Blackhawks supporters before this and have absolutely not decided to waste their preicious remaining years on this earth mindlessly doing Cowboys PR for free, are turning their backs in droves. “Traitors!” they cry, or would if they weren’t at each other’s throats already.
It’s going to be a rough year for the socials person at Blackhawks HQ.
If you've been following this story on this newsletter, you'd already understand that the Blackhawks were let down by the Cowboys and not the other way around (c/o Nic Darveniza at the Townsville Bulletin):
In a bid to unlock greater cohesion among its NRL fringe players, North Queensland had stacked the Blackhawks with Cowboys players from outside the matchday 17 in 2023.
Initial hopes that the influx of NRL talent would trigger a breakthrough premiership season for Townsville soon faded.
With no guarantee of regular playing time the Blackhawks regular starters walked away from the club, leaving the club vulnerable to a sudden reduction in Cowboy availability.
The Cowboys’ early season injury crisis proved a perfect storm, forcing the Blackhawks to scramble for local A Grade and junior talent to fill the ranks of an outfit promised to be manned by hardened professionals.
Coach Aaron Payne was left in the dark, often until the captain’s run the night before a game, about which Cowboys would be available for selection.
The disruption proved terminal for the Blackhawks season and Payne was sacked in controversial circumstances.
A Blackhawks media release blamed the loss of control over the team as a factor behind Payne’s departure.
The Blackhawks later retracted the statement, apologising to the Cowboys, but the affair left the clubs at loggerheads internally.
Uncertainty around the Cowboys future plans for their own feeder team, under their total control threatened to leave the Blackhawks without a dance partner when the music stopped.
Townsville’s search for stability ended nearly a month ago with a phone call from one of rugby league’s most powerful figures: Schaefer, the former Northern Pride chief turned South Sydney powerbroker.
That Townsville would prefer a type D arrangement1 with the Bunnies than a type F arrangement with the Cows, tells you a lot about how badly that relationship has been fractured.
That the instructions were coming from Railway Estate to Kirwan, that the coaching and players couldn't deliver a finals berth for either side, that the Blackhawks’ compatriots in Cairns and Mackay had been cast aside so the Cowboys could push for their own QCup team, even intimating that they may play in NSW if not given their own way by the QRL, all to finish 8th, 13th, 14th, 14th, 15th, 3rd and 11th on the NRL ladder really only leads to one logical conclusion.
It is all Ben Ikin’s fault. Thanks for pointing this out, Reddit.
South Sydney also managed to snag Keebra Park High, right out of the Titans’ backyard. While it’s not really clear what benefits accrue to whom in these kinds of deals, other than a sense that Souths will get some form of dibs2, for the Titans to lose one of the two premier rugby league high schools on the Gold Coast and the far better of their two feeders in the space of a few months is embarrassing. The Titans, of course, acted accordingly. Within a month Gold Coast were touting agreements with Rockhampton Grammar (cool?) and developments in the Northern Rivers region (that will really help your Queensland cred!).
Then for some reason3, the club that pointedly wanted a single feeder in Cup, had that arrangement fall into their lap when Burleigh went to the Broncos and they were left with just Tweed, decided to also affiliate with the Jets, who are coming off the worst season of any team in about two decades. The Titans signed the Jets up to a type F arrangement, when Ipswich already have a type D with the Roosters. The Jets will somehow maintain both agreements, which I think might be a NRL first and that would be because of the obvious conflicts you can immediately see with such an arrangement.
The Cowboys made a show of making nice with the Pride and the Cutters, re-affirming them as their true type F affiliates, as if 2023 didn’t happen. Water under the bridge, bygones, etc, etc. Then, to really drive the point home, announced a partnership with Rugby League Townsville District (was that not already a thing?) and an extension with Kirwan State High, which is located in the same suburb as Townsville Brothers, the home of the Townsville Blackhawks. The Cowboys have basically tied up with everyone in North Queensland except for the Blackhawks. It’s all very regional area Facebook drama.
The collapse of the Cowboys’ and Titans’ push for their own Cup teams into signing partnerships with whoever will allow them to slap their logo on a sign is pretty funny.
And a little sad.
Normally there would be a GIF here
But Cluch, the platform underneath QPlus, went bust. I have no information to give you about what, if anything, will replace it but Qplus.tv is currently a dead link. Kayo has scrubbed everything except the grand final and the state championship.
Naturally, I am concerned that there will not be wall-to-wall coverage this year (I assume we will still get a weekly game, as we did before Qplus) and wonder what happened to the archive of games and whether it will fall to clubs to do a haphazard job of paywalling their own broadcasts and what that might mean for the future of a QRL broadcast product to commercially underpin the competitions. If there was $233k owed, then that suggests QPlus was making a surprising amount of revenue or the deal was slanted so far to the QRL, it sent Cluch bust and presumably future terms would not be so favourable.
It's worth noting that Cluch went into administration in September, the above story was posted in November and then took another month to find its way to r/NRL, so it’s not new. It seems like plenty of time to negotiate an alternative ahead of season 2024, with the junior kickoffs a month away and the senior comps two months away.
We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, here’s another picture of Mr Onion from Moon and Me, a UK children’s show The Sun described as “haunting”.4
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This week's Q4 Notes
Ben Jeffries appointed Knights NRLW coach - for three (!) years which is a lot of years for a guy who’s team finished second last. It could mean Newcastle see a lot of value in Jeffries - the Cowboys were the only team to beat the Knights last year, after all - and North Queensland were lucky not to do even worse, or it could be that the Knights have made a huge error and have cratered their dynasty.
Broncos Team Up With Tom Brady In Brisbane - money quote from Kev, “Tom Brady and the Broncos – it doesn’t get much better that that, and we’re excited to be welcoming him to our city.”
Offseason Notes from Dozerdise
Michael Maguire officially announced as Blues Origin coach - lol (or at least I was until the Kiwis throttled the Kangaroos)
PNG Hunters and AFL PNG Forge Collaborative Kicking Training Partnership - hmmm, not seeing a lot AFL INVASION OF NRL HEARTLAND headlines off this one
Sol Faataape to the (Wests, not Easts) Tigers - finally someone has given him a shot, one can only assume Wests will waste this
Jack Ahearn graduated from QFES training school
The slug on the Capras’ Facebook page is “caprasnation”. Hell yeah.
This is long and may be of little interest. If so, there’s nothing past this except the footnotes, so the disinterested can just stop reading here.
I have compiled all of the player signing announcements I could find5. Naturally, this will not be exhaustive but it was exhausting to compile. Names of interest - not necessarily players that will be good, per se - have been italicised. Names are not given in any particular order and men and women are mixed together because it’s 2024.
Bears: Guy Hamilton, Sam Coster, Pat Politoni, Kea Pere, Creedence Toia, Josh Patston, Zehara Temara, Hayden Schwass, Chante Temara, Lachlan Sheldon, Matt Koellner, Sophie Buller, Terri-Anne Egan, Sienna Laing, Tazmin Gray, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, JJ Collins, Sophie Holyman, Tyler Szepanowski, Mitch Watson, Dannii Perese, Rilee Jorgensen, Bailey Butler, Shannon Gardiner, Troy Leo, Sami Sauiluma, Lauren Brown
Blackhawks: James Tamou, Kyle Laybutt (the sole inference I will do from training photos posted to Facebook)
Capras: Valentine Richard, Emmanita Paki, Mariah Denman, Lucas Bell, Jeremy, McLachlan, Ilami Buli, Aaron Teroi, Tom Farr, Kurtis Farr, Cooper Marshall, Zev John, Brandon Roberts, Aaron Moore, Blake Moore
Cutters: Tiana Raftstrand-Smith, Ebony Raftstrand-Smith, Kim Hunt, Shellie Long, Bree Chester, Ellie Stitt, Vanique Malayta, Lyrech Mara, Emma Manzelmann, Sareka Mooka, Chloe Buttigieg, Essay Banu, Mahe Fonua, Mersades Lawson, Paityne Johns, Lily Peacock, China Polata, Tahlulah Tillett, Jasmine Peters, Riley Dean, Emily Bella, Katie Green, Kayla Shepherd, Tom McNulty, Rydge Smith, Kane Simon, Kyle Barnwell, Kenny Edwards, Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy, Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano, Kauri Aupouri-Puketapu, Augustus Rangihuna, Robson Stevens, Alfie Schultz, Bailey Gill, Mitch Fogarty, Kobe Bone, Blake Coombes, Dario Takitaki, Walter Lauenstein, Jaylan To’o, Josh Honan, Brandon Russell, Ethan Sweet, Hugh Arthur, Josh Smith, Raydan Burns, Sean Mullaney, Ross Bella
Devils: Eddie Blacker, Brittney Brown, Georgia Hannaway, Milena Peau, Becky Davidson, Tayla Sykes, Makenzie Weale, Montaya Hudson, Annetta-Claudia Nu’uausala, Julian Christian, Tukimihia Simpkins, Sita Payne, Hannah Larsson, Jack Wright, Wyatt Reynolds, Georgina Tuitaalili, Justin Fai, Jada Ferguson, Jordan Lipp, Campbell Duffy, Fiona Jahnke, Andre Niko, Grace Griffin, Blake Paskins, Lauren Dam, Manase Kaho, Breanna Eales, Nuggets Johnson, Kieran Mossley, Cuban Piper, Luke Pietzner, Gerome Burns, Cooper Jenkins, Declan Haydon, Jayden Stephens, Justin Makirere, Chris Sio
Dolphins: They’ve been very quiet? It’ll be interesting to see how year 2 of the NRL franchise affects QCup operations.
Falcons: Annette Brander, Hayley Maddick, Flynn Camilleri, Caius Faaili, Cody Hunter, Maddie Studdon, Morgan McWhirter, Nofoasa Malutoa, Mason Peut, Danny Heenan, Jack Campagnolo, Poasi Manu, Keisha-Leigh Coolwell
Hunters: The Hunters usually do a full squad announcement early in the year, which is packed with Digicel Cup guys you’ve never heard of.
Jets: Dominic Macumboy, Clayton Mack, Kyle Coghill, Byron Johnson, Kyle Foxwell, Brad Zampech, Rhys Jacks
Magpies: Rory Ferguson, Radean Robinson, Callum Eggerling, Pride Peterson-Robati, Ethan Quai-Ward, Joseph Tomane, Tyler Coburn, Albert Kelly, Kobe Tararo, Issac Luke, Brandon Finnegan, Denzel Samoa, Kingstimer Paraia, William Samuel, Jack Smith, Braden Whittaker, Kienan Power-Tempest, Te Rangiatea McDonald, Malaela Su’a, Tori Groves-Little, Tyesha Mikaio, Jaydah Tofae, Kiarah Siauane, Skyla Adams, Destiny Brill, Brittany Breayley-Nati, Jasmine Solia, Frieda Seu, Sam Lavea, Garlen Peace, Chris Humphries
Pride: Chris Ostwald, Ash Little, Benn Campagnolo, Daniel Hindmarsh-Takyi, Lachlan West, Terrence Casey-Douglas, Bacho Salam, Taniela Ta'ufo'ou, Nat McGavin, Matt Egan, Feao Tongia, Jaymon Moore, Kenneth Fonoti, Ewan Moore, Kyle Schneider, Rashaun Denny, Seamus King-Smith, Evan Child, Josh Allen, Whyatt Barnes, Dane Aukafolau, Paea Pua, Ryan Flegler, Denzel King, Rhys Young, Will Partridge, Daniel Woodhouse
Seagulls, Tweed: Jessika Elliston, Ashleigh Quinlan, Brayden McGrady, Kaitlyn Phillips, Ally Bullman, Joe Vuna, Allira Watson, Kalani Paulo, Jasmin Morrissey, Georgia Elliston, Lee Turner, Bridget Hoy, Jesse Jennings, Ioane Seiuli, Connor Ziebell, Jacob McCudden, Thomas Steadman, Will Brimson, Lindon McGrady, Luke Burton, Jerome Veve, Lamar Manual-Liolevave
Seagulls, Wynnum: Kylah Edmonds, Mariah Brown, Hayley Bush, Caitlin Tanner, Lili Douglas, Lilly Green, Ellie Draper, Demi Butler, Alyssa McCarthy, Emily Bass, Emma Barnes, Romy Teitzel, Jayde Herdegen, Julia Robinson, Brianna Clark, Sienna Lofipo, Jayda Lofipo, Destiny Mino-Sinapati, Connor Broadhurst, Garrett Smith, Bryce Donovan, Tony Tumusa, Zac Hetherington, Kurt Falls, Cruise Ten, Zac Chonge-Nee, JJ Clarkson, Justin Frain, Jonathan Reuben, Ethan Malt, Nathan Ward, James Robinson Kobe Martin, Justin Smith, Brendan Frei, Standford Talita, Kitron Laka, Kalolo Saitaua, Cooper Page Wilson, Josh Stuckey, Grand Hagai, Nathaniel Tangimataiti, Sefa Roache-Faimalo, Will Parslow, Darius Farmer, Ollie Pascoe, Ryan Papas, Luke Gale, Jack Martin, Matt Milson
Tigers: Shannon Mato, Jontay Betim-Misa, Josh Colls, Nathan Kegg-King, Hsed Faaee, Jared Nauma, Moses Noovao-McGreal, Blake Anders, Ricco Falaniko, Ronald Filitoga, Treigh Stewart, Jay Natapu, Tom McGrath, Sam Wallis, Jack Miers, Tony Thompson, Siamone Ahomana, Zak Taibi, Tahj Wood, Tom Rafter, Tristan Hope
There are three types of affiliation. Type D is a Diode arrangement, where players flow from the minor league club to the major league but not the other way around (per Wikipedia, “a diode is a two-terminal electronic component that conducts current primarily in one direction”). Type F is a Feeder arrangement, where players flow from the minor league club to the major league club and vice versa, but the minor and major league clubs are distinct from each other. The third, less relevant for our purposes, option is a type R arrangement, for Reserve team, where players can flow both ways and the minor and major league club are one.
Development fees may get waived but I haven’t read the rulebook closely enough to see if that’s possible.
I think that reason is that clubs with a single feeder are restricted to only playing six guys in Cup and the Titans probably want the option for more than that. The QRL’s rules preclude them from assigning everyone to Tweed and the Titans will have to assign players on an even basis between the Gulls and the Jets.
“A ‘HAUNTING’ new CBeebies TV show is giving parents nightmares and some are describing it as worse than most horror films.” Those parents are cowards. Moon and Me isn’t horrifying; children’s normal bodily functions are capable of much worse.
I am not picking through training photos to ID players.