I haven’t written anything for a while and tonight I realised why, it is because of the RIP in our competition. To put it simply, there is a huge difference between the top 3 (Sharks, Storm and Cowboys) and the rest of the competition.
For the past several weeks I have had nothing to write about. After watching the Storm Vs. Cowboys, I realised it is because I only want to watch the top 3 play each other each and every week.
The Storm faced a Thurstonless Cowboys and it was still the best game I have watched since Origin 3. A game that featured the sharpest attack against the most desperate defence I have seen in a club game for sometime. It was almost movie like, resembling a Rocky movie where seemingly the world’s best 2 boxers, beat each other relentlessly until one crumbles. Against another team the Storm or Cowboys win by 40.
I’m not knocking the other teams, but they are so far from the top it’s not funny. Go back to the up and coming Bulldogs getting schooled by the Cowboys several weeks ago. The best games this year have been, Cowboys Vs. Storm, Sharks Vs. Cowboys, Broncos Vs. Cowboys and Cowboys Vs. Broncos. Unfortunately Brisbane have lost form and can no longer match it with the top 3.
Scrap the top 8 this year, and lets have a Tri Series between the top 3
Last year’s runners up have taken a slide down the ladder in recent weeks. After a strong start to their 2016 campaign, Brisbane’s form has wavered stringing together several less than impressive performances to fall to 6th spot.
Their previously dynamic duo of Milford and Hunt in the halves, now lacks confidence and enthusiasm.
I had been a Ben Hunt advocate, and believed that after his horror grand final blunder, the 26 year old would use it to fuel his competitive edge. Hunt is a quality player but has yet to find maturity and leadership in his game. At times he appears to be back in Under 20’s trying to score on every play. With a game on the line he can be found placing an attacking kick early in the count, rather than completing the set and placing a defensive kick to build pressure. His 5th tackle options have been well scrutinised and his barrage of midfield bombs and incorrect decisions can cost a game.
Milford is a “live wire” and brings great attacking spark to the side. He has shown signs of maturity, kicking a field goal for a golden point win against the Cowboys. He to struggles at times with leadership but at age 21 and with only a season in the halves he is progressing nicely. Brisbane need to get Milford linking up with James Roberts, as last year’s centre of the year, has rarely featured since his arrival to Brisbane. He is a waste sitting out on the edges only receiving two touches a game. I thought Wayne Bennett would have came up with something to get the speedster involved in the game.
Ben Hunts failure to meets demands appears telling, with rumours Brisbane has offered Rabbitoh’s Cody Walker a 3 year deal. If they miss Walker, they should look at picking up Kieran Foran, bringing with him maturity and easing the pressure on Milford, allowing him to become the star he should be.
Could the Eels season get any worse?
The Blue and Gold’s started of the 2016 season in suburb fashion, playing some incredible high quality football. It was short-lived when in early May the club was found to be in breach of the salary cap.
Since then they had they fair share of off field dramas, player losses and volatile performances. To date the Eels have unloaded talents such as Nathan Peats, Junior Paulo and Ryan Morgan all mid season, while dealing with unwanted headlines regarding Bikie dinners, drug possession and domestic assault.
But nothing has surprise me more than the rumours of the Eels pushing Kieran Foran out the door. Rumour has it Parramatta are keen to sign former Eels star Jarryd Hayne, and have pushed Foran out the door to make way for Hayne’s signature.
Fair enough Foran has spent little time on the field in 2016. He has missed much of the season through personal issues and recently underwent a season-ending shoulder surgery. Yet the time Foran spent on the field, in my opinion, was of true class. I felt the number 7 added a new dimension to the squad and steadied the ship nicely.
And this is why I am so puzzled, the Eels look far more likely to win a premiership with Foran in the Halves than with Hayne at Fullback. Hayne spent 8 years with the Eels and failed to lead them to a premiership during that era. Foran has brought more to the club in just the several games he managed to play this season.
While modern day Fullbacks bring alot to a team, I find their contribution to be that of an “upper hand” being more of a cherry on top than the quality core ingredient. A quality Half is a must have and I cannot recall a team winning a premiership without one.
It’s a big call but the Eels and in my opinion the wrong one. I’m sure there will be plenty of clubs fishing for Foran’s signiture.
Adam Reynolds is out and his replacement is in….. Matt Moylan.
New South Wales coach Laurie Daley says Matt Moylan’s inclusion into his Origin III side was a “no-brainer” following Adam Reynolds’ withdrawal on Wednesday afternoon.
And I have to agree, the decision proves Laurie Daley has no brains. How can anyone conclude that picking a fullback at halfback, in the games biggest arena is a good decision. Mitchell Pierce and Trent Hodkinson have previously worn the number 7 for NSW, throw on top Mitchell’s familiarity with ex team mate, James Maloney. Or if looking to the future, toss in Luke Brooks rather than potentially ruining Matt Moylan’s Origin career.
Moylan has got talent, no disputes, but the young fullback’s introduction to Origin hasn’t exactly been outstanding. He has failed to excel at the top level and as a result was overlooked, in place of the favoured James Tedesco. Yet Laurie, somehow concludes that dropped-halfback = Matt Moylan.
NSW, its time to move on, Laurie needs to go. Find a coach who actually knows what the numbers on players’ backs mean. Your trying to beat “The Greatest QLD Team EVER” you may as well just toss up the under 20’s.
If we were talking about Greg Inglis or Jarryd Hayne it may be a worthy experiment, but unfortunately we are talking about a young and recent debut on to the Origin arena.
The Canterbury based team now find themselves in the top 4, but are they really a top 4 team? Just like Cronulla’s credentials were questioned even though they were in top spot, I am still in doubt over the Bulldog’s premiership chances in 2016.
The top 8 is always divided by the top 4 and the bottom 4, and somewhere between 3rd and 5th spot is a defining difference on team’s actual strength. For me, the Sharks, Cowboys and Storm are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the pack, including the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs appear to be in a transition period, still playing the old side to side football which uses Kasiano and Graham as the games biggest halfbacks, while showing glimpses of a more direct, power game which will eventually give Mbye every opportunity to make himself a star in the game.
The problem is at times Mbye looks lost on the field and doesn’t seem to take control of the game. His halves partner, Josh Reynolds while throwing up a few good performances this season, also seems to struggle with the combination, with the pair appearing to play very different styles of football.
While there is no disputing the Doggies position on the ladder, metaphorically speaking, they need to do more if they want to match it in the top 4. Round 20 where Canterbury will take on the Cowboys will be a true reckoning for the Bulldogs.