What is the true make up of a premiership winning team?

While coaches play a critical part in a team’s success, I don’t believe they win premierships. They certainly have an influence on getting a team there but the true success comes from a good halves pairing.

A good halves pairing consists of a dominant half (usually halfback) and a solid secondary half (usually 5/8). Now before you point out that most halves now play either side of the field, hear me out.

My referral to a dominant half is the half who over rules all other calls. Joey Johns, Jonathon Thurston, Adam Reynolds and many others before them are examples of dominant halves. A dominant half needs to be the organiser and take control of the game. They direct the play and the side’s attack is largely a reflection of their tactics, especially come 5th tackle.

The secondary half provides relief for the dominant half. While the dominant half controls the game, the secondary half still organises backline shifts and are an option on the 5th tackle. They are usually ball runners often taking on the line and compiling more run meters than the dominant half.

Look back through the last 4 premiership winning teams and you see these winning combinations of quality halfbacks with skilled ball runners in 5/8.

Dominant Secondary
2012 Melbourne Storm Cooper Cronk Gareth Widdop
2013 Sydney Roosters Mitch Pierce James Maloney
2014 South Sydney Rabbitohs Adam Reynolds Luke Keary
2015 North Queensland Cowboys Jonathon Thurston Michael Morgan



2016 Top 5 Halves Pairings

  1. Mitchell Mosses & Luke Brooks

Still early in their careers the Tigers possess 2 of the best halves in the game. While I don’t think they can go all the way this year, expect to see the Tigers on the podium in years to come if they keep this duo together


  1. Ben Hunt & Anthony Milford

Last year’s runners up have already proved their ability in their first year together. With Milford taking his game to the next level in the first 3 rounds they remain a side capable of giving the tree a real shake


  1. Adam Reynold & Luke Keary

This pairing has already won a premiership, although they are yet to play 80 minutes together in 2016. Watch out for the Bunnies when Reynolds returns


  1. Jonathon Thurston & Michael Morgan

Last year’s premiers, need I say more…………..


  1. Kieran Foran & Corey Norman

A newly formed combination for 2016, and what a combination it is. Brad Arthur possesses the most potent halves combination in the comp. Both Foran and Norman are playing outstanding football and Foran is still carrying a hamstring injury. When Foran gets to 100% watch out!


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