Origin’s Most Overlooked Players

As game two will be on our screens tomorrow, I decided to take a look at some of the players eligible for the big state clash but aren’t chosen to represent their respective state.

I’m sure that in a rugby league player’s career, he wants to accomplish a few things:
1) Be in the first 13 of his club on the first-grade team;
2) Win a premiership with his club;
3) Represent his chosen country in national tests, and
4) Represent his state in the Origin series.

As big as the first three are, I’m sure four is a mainstay in their minds; State of Origin has become one of the biggest sporting events in Australia (if not, the biggest!) People who don’t even like rugby league sit down to watch it, for crying out loud. Some players are lucky enough to be Origin mainstays and successfully make the team; others aren’t so lucky, despite having a lot of talent.

Choose your destiny... I mean side. Sorry. Playing Mortal Kombat too much.

Choose your destiny… I mean side. Sorry. Playing Mortal Kombat too much.

Writing from both sides (despite being a Queensland supporter myself… #GoMaroons), I’ve decided to highlight just a few of the names that should’ve been selected this year, but unfortunately haven’t been. The Queensland Maroons will go first, of course.

Queensland Maroons
Ben Hannant from the North Queensland Cowboys
The Polar Bear himself has had previous Origin experience, having played a total of 12 games for Queensland from 2008 to 2012. After that, he just hadn’t been selected despite being one of the most reliable forwards in the game today. If you were to compare his form to the likes of current Queensland props Matt Scott and Nate Myles, he wouldn’t make the first 13, but Hannant is definitely a contender for the bench; he always runs hard with the ball and packs a mighty punch when he makes a straight run with it. It’s disappointing to see Hannant’s name not even thrown around when Mal is deciding his forward pack; he definitely deserves it.

Ben Hunt from the Brisbane Broncos
While Daly Cherry-Evans is undoubtedly a great player, his 2015 season so far is nothing compared to that of the Broncos’ deadly halfback. With Cronk out due to injury, I was sure that Hunt would be a shoe in (I mean, who could forget dat try doe that he helped orchestrate for Lachlan Maranta?!) but alas, I was disappointed when DCE was named ahead of him, and Hunt wasn’t even put on the bench. Hunt is definitely a contender for Dally M finalist this year, and it’s easy to see why; he keeps on getting better and better and it’s about time he is rewarded by being allowed to represent his state.

James Segeyaro from the Penrith Panthers
It pained me to choose another hooker over my Andrew McCullough, but even a Broncos fan like myself cannot deny the incredible skill of the Panther nicknamed Chicko. The Papua New Guinea native migrated to Cairns when he was young and played junior footy with the Cairns rugby league club, therefore qualifying him to represent Queensland proudly. It’s hard to overlook the year that Chicko has had, and let’s not forget to mention that he was 2014’s Dally M Hooker of the Year. Like Hunt, Segeyaro hasn’t had a shot at a Maroon jersey yet, and I think it’s his time.

Brenton Lawrence from the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Despite Manly being very low on my favourite teams, one of the few reasons why I can’t help but respect them is the big, beefy forward named Brenton Lawrence. One thing I look for in a forward – especially a prop – is their “intimidation factor”; if they were to run at me, would I be scared and simply relinquish the ball and surrender, or would I charge at them fearlessly? (#FearlessNikki) If the former feeling is created, then I think that forward will do great things in their career. That is what I think Lawrence is capable of, plus more; he’s a machine when given the ball on the right play, and is criminally underrated in my sweet and humble opinion. With such a wide selection of forwards for the Maroon squad, it’s sad to see Lawrence overlooked time and time again.

New South Wales Blues
Adam Reynolds
from the South Sydney Rabbitohs
I’m just gonna say it; Reynolds is a better halfback than Hodkinson and Pearce. I would go so far to say that Reynolds is a bigger key to the Bunnies success than Inglis is. His fancy footwork and superb kicking skills make him a great player, but his field awareness and improvisational playmaking skills is what makes him a great halfback. He’s had a string of misfortune when it comes to injuries this year (dat tackle, anyone?) so it’s fair enough why he wasn’t selected for the first two games, but come game three, I think Laurie take the plunge and put Reynolds on his first team.

Jarrod Croker from the Canberra Raiders
I’m not even just including him because he’s from Goulburn; this guy has some serious talent! Like I believe Reynolds is for South Sydney, I strongly think that Croker is the reason why the Raiders have been so successful this season. It’s great that the country capital club has locked him in for so long because they’d be foolish to let him saunter off to another club (or backflip on the deal… COUGH COUGH Cherry). Not only is he their goalkicker – and a bloody good one at that – but he is the Raiders captain and has led the green team to several convincing victories after having a shit lacklustre season last year. Croker has had no previous Origin experience but I’m sure, when used correctly, he’ll become a great asset for the Blues. And he’s better than some of the backs on the Blues team at the moment, let’s be honest.

Aidan Sezer from the Gold Coast Titans
I have such high expectations for this man, and he’s fulfilled all of them; he’s an excellent playmaker for his team and can remain calm even in very tense situations, which I think is a must for a half. Plus, you don’t see him doing any crazy shit off field to detract from his skill either. When I heard that the Broncos were in need of a five-eighth, I was spewin’ that we didn’t make a big play for Aidan Sezer; combine his skills with that of Ben Hunt, and our halves would’ve been unstoppable! (No shade to Milford). His kicking game is on point and he could give Adam Reynolds a run for his money on that aspect, but as for now, I think his time to be called up to Origin is coming soon.

Tariq Sims from the Newcastle Knights
As much as it’ll pain me to see one of my favourite players on the Blues side of Origin, I think it’s about damn time that Tariq Sims is called up to play for New South Wales, and that’s not even just because he’s funny either. To me, he is one of the most underrated forwards in the league; a reliable stronghold of a man, he is as good at running the ball as he is defending his try line. Combine that with his impressive ball handling skills and his, well, “intimidation factor” and you have yourself a very good forward. Like, no offence, but I don’t think Beau Scott or Ryan Hoffman are better than him, so he could slot in well on the second-row. Plus, it’s clear that rugby league runs in his blood.

Here’s hoping to a Maroons win tomorrow, because I don’t think I can sit through a series deciding game three. My anxiety game too strong for that.

– by Noah La’ulu

Black Widow Predicts Wrestlemania 31

It’s my favourite time of the year! Even moreso than my birthday, Christmas, and the one night a girl gets to dress like a total slut and no one can say anything about it.

Introducing Wrestlemania 31, the first Wrestlemania pay-per-view I’ll get to watch on my WWE Network account (which you can get for just $9.99) and roughly my 13th Wrestlemania I’ve ordered and watched live. Aptly named the greatest spectacle of sports entertainment in the world, this year will see the WWE debut of legend Sting, the first championship bout for the ever-controversial Roman Reigns, and the Wrestlemania debut for the greatest thing to happen to women’s wrestling in years, Paige.

But seriously, why is Nikki Bella's face not on this poster?

But seriously, why is Nikki Bella’s face not on this poster?

In no particular order, here are my predictions for each of the matches:

Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Title Match
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (C) (w/ Natalya) vs. The Usos (w/ Naomi) vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods) vs. Los Matadores (w/ El Torito)
Winner: Tyson Kidd and Cesaro retain
I think this one’s a given. Kidd and Cesaro are the most technically sound tag team in recent years and all the momentum is going their way. Plus, I don’t see them dropping the titles soon. I’m going for a Natalya interference for the sneaky victory.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
AKA the match used as an excuse to make sure every superstar is on the card
Winner: Damien Mizdow… or Sandow, whatever he’s using
The stunt double gimmick has worked wonders for Sandow’s career and he’s made it into his thing. I see Sandow and The Miz as the last two in the ring and Miz ordering Sandow out, but Sandow swerves and eliminates him to a huge ovation from the crowd.

Main Card
Singles Match
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (w/ J&J Security)
Winner: Randy Orton
As much as I want Seth Rollins to win, I don’t see that happening. Randy Orton has come back with a vengeance and it’d make all the sense in the world for him to get his revenge by beating The Architect on the grandest stage of them all. Expect some backfired J&J Security interference.

7-man Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Bad News Barrett (C) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth vs. Stardust vs. Luke Harper
Winner: Daniel Bryan
So the man who turned last year’s Wrestlemania into HIS show has been “demoted” to an Intercontinental title match, but even still, I see Bryan winning this one. I mean, people can’t get enough of his Cinderella-ness and, well, I love him.

Divalicious Tag Team Match
The Bella Twins vs. Paige and AJ Lee
Winner: Paige and AJ Lee
There’s no secret that the Bellas are the backstage darlings of the WWE, and the face of the Divas division, but the outcasts sometimes known as PaiJ are the babyfaces and will come out victorious in this one. If recent reports of a changing Divas division are to be believed, expect a great match between the Fantastic Four.

Singles Match
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
Winner: The Undertaker
This one’s hard to call. I mean, I’m expecting an Undertaker win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Undertaker lost to put over the “new face of fear” in Bray Wyatt. The streak’s already been broken so there’s no real breathtaking hype to this one. Undertaker to win via all his finishers… performed at least twice each.

Singles Match for the United States Championship
Rusev (C) w/ Lana vs. John Cena
Winner: John Cena
This one is too easy to call. Rusev’s never been pinned or submitted. John Cena is Superman. Superman will overcome the odds and be the first to pin Rusev or make him submit on the grandest stage of them all. I hope Lana’s there.

Singles Match
Sting vs. Triple H
Winner: Sting
Say what you want about Triple H, but he will put over a talent if he needs to (as made apparent against D Bryan), and expect him to do so again with Sting. Sting is an Icon (and I wish Cole would stop calling him the Vigilante), and in his first ever sanctioned WWE match, he’ll win. No question about it.

Singles Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar (C) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Roman Reigns
Winner: Brock Lesnar
If you asked me a week ago who I thought would take the win, I would’ve said Roman. Now that Brock has re-signed, I’m leaning more to the Lesnar side. I don’t think WWE are going to pul the trigger on Roman’s push right now, especially after the “lovely” reception he’s been getting from ignorant fans, so I expect a dominant Lesnar win here. SWERVE!! While Lesnar is down an out, Rollins cashes in and wins the World title. Brock takes a vacation and Rollins vs. Reigns is reborn!

Make sure you get work off, take the day off school or uni, or find a pub playing this event. You won’t wanna miss it!

– by Noah La’ulu

My Wrestlemania 30, according to TEW 2013

I have enough time to pretend to run a wrestling company and run this site. I must be Superman.

TEW 2013, or Total Extreme Wrestling 2013 for those of you who aren’t in the know, is a wrestling simulator where the player can choose to book or totally own his/her own wrestling company. At first, with the default database, players can choose from fictitious wrestling companies with cartoonified wrestling personalities.

If you download the right database, of course, then you can run (or pretend to run) real life companies such as WWE and TNA. Me? I’ve been a WWE guy all my life.

How would Wrestlemania 30 have turned out if main evented by Daniel Bryan and CM Punk? (SOURCE: Miguel Discart's Flickr photostream)

How would Wrestlemania 30 have turned out if main evented by Daniel Bryan and CM Punk? (SOURCE: Miguel Discart’s Flickr photostream)

We all know what happened at the REAL Wrestlemania 30 – Daniel Bryan beating Triple H and then going on to beat Randy Orton and Batista to become the underdog World Heavyweight Champ – but that wasn’t my Wrestlemania 30. In fact, while it had its similarities, it was far from my Wrestlemania 30.

Now, as a way to fill space on my website, I present to you… Noah’s Wrestlemania 30!

Wrestlemania 30 Match card (in order of appearance):
Eddie Edwards wins a 30-man over-the-top-rope battle royal in his debut match
The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki) (c) defeated Aksana and Tamina to retain the WWE Divas Tag Team Championships
Davey Richards (w/ Satisfaction) defeated Alberto Del Rio and Mike Bennett (w/ Eva Marie) in a triple-threat match
Kaitlyn won a Divas Battle Royal

Main card
Match #1
Randy Orton w/ Stacy Keibler vs. Christian
Ever since costing him a World title opportunity, Christian has had it in for Randy Orton. The two men had embroiled in several unsanctioned brawls and beatdowns and they were finally given the chance to settle their differences at Wrestlemania.
Winner: Randy Orton

Match #2
The Kings of Wrestling (Antonio Cesaro and Kassius Ohno) (c) vs. The Shield (Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins) vs. Brute Force (Jon Cutler and Mason Ryan) w/ Satisfaction vs. The Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe) w/ Audrey Marie for the WWE Tag Team Championships
The Kings of Wrestling were praised when they defeated Ryback and manager Satisfaction for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Unhappy with this, Satisfaction set Brute Force after them. Meanwhile, the Briscoes and the Shield had gotten into their own rivalry and it was decided that all four teams would battle it out for the gold.
Winner: The Kings of Wrestling

Match #3
Dolph Ziggler vs. Cody Rhodes w/ Charlotte
Dolph Ziggler showed why he is dubbed “Mr Steal Your Girl” after pursuing Cody Rhodes’ girlfriend, Charlotte Flair. Rhodes didn’t take too kindly to this and began physically tormenting Ziggler. The two men were given the opportunity to duke it out at Wrestlemania with the devious Charlotte at ringside.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler

Match #4
Kelly Kelly (c) vs. AJ Lee vs. Natalya w/ Blade Hart vs. Angelina Love for the WWE Divas Championship
Kelly Kelly had been a fighting champion ever since winning the Divas title back at the Royal Rumble. Kelly made a tag team pact with Angelina to fight off AJ Lee and Natalya at Elimination Chamber, but soon it was every woman for herself. Alliances were broken and every Diva knew that their could only be ONE Divas Champion.
Winner: AJ Lee (NEW Divas Champion)

Match #5
The Undertaker vs. The Big Show vs. The Miz
The Big Show and the Miz had been arguing over who was going to get the shot at Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak, feuding all the way from late December to early April. An executive decision was made that both men would get their shot Undertaker in a triple threat match.
Winner: The Undertaker

Match #6
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Novakaine w/ Satisfaction for the WWE United States Championship
Roman Reigns made a big name for himself after breaking away from the Shield, his biggest victory coming when he defeated the seemingly unstoppable Novakaine for the US title. It wasn’t long before Satisfaction had sicked Novakaine on his rival, telling his client to win the United States gold back at any cost.
Winner: Roman Reigns

Match #7
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Adrian Neville vs. Wade Barrett vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter in a six-pack challenge for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Kofi Kingston, Adrian Neville, Wade Barrett and Ted DiBiase had been quarreling over the Intercontinental Championship for quite some time, while Sheamus and Jack Swagger attempted to settle their own differences as well. It was decided that Sheamus and Swagger would join the fight for the gold in a six-pack challenge where the winner takes all.
Winner: Jack Swagger (NEW Intercontinental Champion)

Match #8
The Rock vs. Ryback w/ Satisfaction in a Last Man Standing Match
Ryback and his handler, Satisfaction, had been a thorn in the Rock’s side in the past few months. After suffering a loss against Ryback at Wrestlemania 29 in a triple threat also featuring John Cena, the Rock was looking for revenge, especially after the hellish torment at the hands of Satisfaction.
Winner: The Rock

Match #9
John Cena (c) vs. Batista vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
John Cena had been a fighting champion ever since beating the conniving Chris Jericho. After a brutal attack at the hands of Brock Lesnar, it seemed as if Cena had met his match… until Batista inserted himself into the picture. It was decided by the power that be that Cena would defend his title against both men in a triple threat.
Winner: John Cena

Match #10
Eva Marie vs. Lacey Von Erich in a Playboy Pillowfight match
It was only a matter of time for “Red Hot” Eva Marie to land the cover of Playboy. It wasn’t until she began rubbing it in everyone’s faces that Lacey Von Erich took exception to it. The two beautiful Divas had been clawing at each other ever since – even involving Eva’s boyfriend Mike Bennett and Lacey’s cousins Ross and Marshall – and were set to fight it out at Wrestlemania.
Winner: Eva Marie

Match #11
CM Punk (c) vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship
It was a true underdog Cinderella story for Daniel Bryan. After winning a 40-man Royal Rumble, Bryan kept his decision to himself as he fended off then-rival Cody Rhodes. After stating that he would chase Punk’s WWE Championship, the two ring technicians would collide at the main event of Wrestlemania.
Winner: Daniel Bryan (NEW WWE Champion)

Mine’s A LOT better than the real one, isn’t it?

– by Noah La’ulu

The Beautiful People: George “Ferocious” Kambosos Jr

Cocky, brash and arrogant are just a few words that could describe young George “Ferocious” Kambosos Jr.

“I want them to remember my name,” he says.

Fit, strong, and determined... and he's only 21. (SOURCE: George Kambosos Jr's Facebook page)

Fit, strong, and determined… and he’s only 21. (SOURCE: George “Ferocious” Kambosos Jr’s Facebook page)

Looking at the ripped young man from Cronulla covered in ink, you wouldn’t suspect that he was once bullied for being fat when he was younger.

The 21-year-old first got into boxing when he was 11 years old as a way to get into shape during the rugby league off season. While George insists that he was not “heavily bullied”, comments from his school peers like “you’re fat” may have ultimately led him to where he is today.

“My dad said ‘…let’s start getting you a little bit fitter in the off season. What do you want to do?’ So I took up boxing for a bit,” says Kambosos Jr.

“I went from running laps coming last to the next season coming first.”

This simple way to get fitter turned out to be a “life changing” thing for Kambosos Jr.

“I fell in love with it,” he says.

His upcoming fight with Robert “Gummy” Toomey (Friday August 29 at Club Punchbowl for the Australian Lightweight Title) has George’s full attention, where he is prepared to walk out to the meeting before the bout wielding a packet of gummy bears to taunt his opponent, a move that he says “no Australian boxer really does”.

“I like to always stick to a fight. August 29 is my main objective. If you look too far in the future, you end up falling too early,” says Kambosos Jr.

His cocky approach to his upcoming fight, along with his almost arrogant attitude, stem from a pure love of the sport that he fell into as a child.

“It’s a sport. As much as it kill or be killed, it’s a sport,” says Kambosos Jr.

“Without boxing, I don’t know where I’d be.”

He sums up his love for boxing by saying, “This is my livelihood. I don’t know anything else. This is what I do.”

The sport of boxing can prove to be difficult to ascend up the ladder especially in Australia. Kambosos Jr was well aware of this and took it upon himself to get his name out there by combining his brash confidence with the benefits of social media.

“It’s a very tough gig… trying to get that fame and get people behind you,” he says.

With Toomey targeted, Kambosos Jr used social media to get into his head and provoke a reaction to score a fight that is the biggest fight of his life.

“I called him [Toomey] out,” he says. “(I said) ‘Toomey, you’re the champ. Let’s get it on, it’s the fight Australia wants to see’.

“That went onto a big boxing site and exploded on comments.

“Two days later, I got a call from the promoter. Fight’s on.”

Underneath the hard exterior and confident swagger lies a lion whose hard work ethic and determination to be the best wiped out any desire to cut corners to come first when he was a kid. Literally.

“All the kids (would be) cutting the corners and I’d be running normal,” he recalls. “My dad was like ‘Why don’t you cut the corners? You might finish second last’.

“(I replied with) ‘I’m going to do it the right way. I don’t care if I come last, it’ll pay off eventually in the long run’,” says Kambosos Jr.

It would seem overcoming adversity runs in the Kambosos family. George Kambosos Sr – Jr’s paternal grandfather – originally came to Australia from Greece with nothing. He worked hard at two jobs to set up his family to make it what it is today.

“No one disagrees with my choice of boxing,” says Kambosos Jr. “My dad’s always there by my side. He looks after a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that I shouldn’t be worrying about. My mum’s there making sure I’m eating healthy.”

George’s father Jim Kambosos believes that while boxing isn’t something that every parent wants their child to do, he and his wife are more than happy to support George in his sporting career.

“He took a passion and love for it and he found exactly what he wanted to do because he had a talent for it. We supported him rather than kind of turning him away from it,” says Jim.

“We just said, ‘Look, if that’s what you want to do, we’ll support you in every way.’ We’ve always supported him and we always will.”

George’s love for his family extends to the skin of his body, most of which is covered by ink from his chest, arms and even to his ankles.

“That’s my hobby outside of boxing,” says George regarding his tattoos. “Everything means something to me.”

Branded across his chest in ink is a phrase that George calls one of his mottos: Dream without fear.

“That works with not just boxing but it works anything. Don’t let nothing (sic) stop you.”