NRL: The season of the break-up

By Dale Budge

Corey Parker of the Broncos farewells fans after his last ever NRL match. Photo / Getty
Corey Parker of the Broncos farewells fans after his last ever NRL match. Photo / Getty

In light of the marriage break-up of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie we look at the biggest NRL break-ups of 2016.

10. Brett Stewart v Manly Sea Eagles

Technically the marriage isn't over but it is certainly on the rocks and you wouldn't bet on it being rekindled any time soon. Stewart looked like he forgot how to play in 2016. Uncharacteristic mistakes and lackluster effort plagued his performances before Manly finally pulled the trigger and moved can't miss prospect Tom Trbojevich to the number one jumper. He was a star from word go and it would take a major injury to him to see Stewart get another crack.

9. Michael Ennis v NRL

The most annoying player in the NRL shocked fans when he announced he was retiring from the game at the end of the season. Ennis has fashioned a reputation of being the player that gets under the opposition's skin the most but he has been extremely effective in doing so. He single-handedly helped the Sharks to within 80 minutes of a grand final with a masterclass against the Raiders in week one of the finals.

If he helps the Sharks break their title- drought fans will be left wondering what they did wrong for him to walk away.

8. Stephen Kearney v Kiwis

Kearney's decision to walk away from the Kiwis just 12 months out from the next World Cup really puts the international game in its place. Sure he got given a fulltime gig with the Warriors but it doesn't help the Kiwis much. Surely this is like leaving a 6 out of 10 for an 8 out of 10 - the Kiwis understand why but it doesn't make it any easier.

7. Benji Marshall v St George Illawarra Dragons

Speaking of upgrading that is exactly what the Dragons have done with Benji Marshall - the old put her out to pasture and go with the newer, younger model approach. Marshall was reportedly offered a $300,000 deal by the Dragons to stay earlier in the season but the former Golden Boot winner turned it down. With limited options open to him, that $300K is starting to look pretty good. Too bad the Dragons took it off the table.

6. Konrad Hurrell v Warriors

The classic case of irreconcilable differences. The Warriors simply had enough of Hurrell and his lack of professionalism. From tardiness to his (lack of) conditioning, to viral social media videos and finally endorsing fan criticism of coach Andrew McFadden the Warriors eventually decided they couldn't stay in the relationship any more. The divorce will cost them (they will still be paying Hurrell in 2017) but it could have been a lot worse. Pre-nup anyone?

5. Kieran Foran v Parramatta Eels

The classic case of how outside stresses can impact a marriage. Foran and the Eels parted ways after his mental health issues, a serious shoulder injury, lack of certainty around third party deals and stories of Foran's association with Eddie Hayson came to the fore. The Eels endured a season from hell as did Foran personally. Some time out and a fresh start somewhere else next season might do the trick.

4. Andrew McFadden v Warriors

The Warriors turned to another man but McFadden isn't giving up on the relationship just yet. The Warriors officially replaced McFadden after two and a half seasons in charge and appointed the Kiwis and Broncos assistant as his replacement. McFadden will continue to work as assistant coach at the request of Kearney. We will find out how successful that will be in 2017.

3. Corey Parker v Brisbane Broncos

If I can't have you I don't want anyone. That was how the story goes with Broncos veteran Corey Parker, who retired after his side's extra time loss to the Cowboys last week. Parker was reportedly told he wasn't going to be required next season in Brisbane and instead of looking elsewhere he decided to hang up his boots instead.

2. Allen McLaughlin and Owen Wright v Radio Sport

Not exactly a divorce. The legendary commentary duo announced their retirement from calling Warriors games having been together since the start back in 1995. While it is all amicable the kids will be the ones that suffer in this break-up - it is hard to see anyone being able to replace these two icons of sports commentary.

1. Robbie Farah v Wests Tigers

The on again, off again volatile relationship between Robbie Farah and the Wests Tigers officially came to an end with the Tigers releasing their most senior player, who promptly signed with the Rabbitohs. This situation wasn't dissimilar to Bobby and Whitney or Taylor Swift with any of her exes - it was messy and public and no-one came out looking good. Like Taylor (Swift that is) we half expect to see some public displays of "getting back" next season when the Rabbitohs run into Taylor (Jason) and the Tigers.

- NZ Herald

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