Well, temporarily at least we are top of the table after 4 rounds, and will finish the round in 2nd or 3rd spot. Our best start to the season since 97.
Our forwards are the best in the comp, most here knew that was possible pre-season, now others are seeing it. The performances of JFH and Tamou were unbelievable, ably backed up by Yeo, Tetevano and not least Leota, whose fitness and form is among the best of his career.
Burton (aka Stephen Larkim) played an almost perfect 6 role, and playing a left side combination with Cleary on the right should be the way forward.
Luai showed form in the first half, reminded me why I compared him to Thurston when he first entered first grade. Unfortunately he undid some of that good work in the second half.
How good is it to have a quality ball playing centre in Crichton? Not since Lewis or Girdler have we had that in the team. Handy kicking game too.
Despite a solid tackle, for mine Whare’s time is up. His stats are poor, he doesn’t pass enough or make the meteres of others (only players with worse run metres where Kenny and Burns who played limited minutes). Worst effective tackle % in the team too, despite that one rib buster. Naden in for Whare.
Next week should see Cleary and Edwards back. I would leave Burton I. The 6, and get Luai practicing dummy half passing as respite for Api (who was visibly fatigued prior to being benched - an otherwise great performance).
We should also consider rotating forward bench spots with a short season and no reserve grade. Hethrington and Martin should be in the mix.
Overall very impressed and confident with the season so far. A few interesting selection choices given our depth.
As the season goes on, and with the renewed pace from the rule and ref changes, I believe the role of Lock may be better suited to an older style mobile ball playing lock, rather than an other prop running up the middle. Imagine May filling this role, possibly coming on at say the 25 minute mark after Yeo has softened them up.
I hold good confidence against the slimeys, as long as we keep our attention up we should do well.
Last week was first game back after 8 weeks off, with no trial games, and limited contact training. This week was a much better indication of were we stand.
Finally, the ghost of Hook may have finally departed the building, the halves seemed to enjoy freedom to play what was in front of them.