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Great start to the game with a high completion (16/20 - 80%) from us going into the break. Penrith had many uncharacteristic drop balls (11/17 - 64%), which gave us a false sense of security as it was likely that would change in the second half.
The second half saw the reversal in completions with us completing (11/17 - 64%) and the Penrith (15/21 - 71%). Even though we had one more set then Penrith we ran 106 'less' metres in attack.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard was running off the back fence in the second half and was completely dominating our bench forwards in that first 10-15 minute period and our bench forwards were struggling in a big way. Campbell-Gillard needs to play State of Origin this year.
Moeroa was running hard and was making more metres per run then any of our forwards with 120 metres from 10 runs, with Brown, Alvaro and Mannah all running over 100 metres for the game. Where as Ma'u and our bench all struggled in attack. An interesting stat was that Brown ran the ball (18 runs) more then all of our bench forwards combined (17 runs. Scott 2 runs, Matagi 4 runs, Takairangi 4 runs and Evans 7 runs - that's poor).
What was noticeable to me was that our bench forwards looked considerable less fitter then our starting forwards and all 4 bench forwards struggled to keep up with the pace of the game. Takairangi went missing in attack and his 4 runs mainly came late in the game. Scott's strength last year was his weakness today and he just could not keep pace with the game in both defence. His attack looked even worse (he has played 1 season too long in my opinion). Matagi was man handled in attack, but did have good line speed in defence and tried very hard in defence.
When you consider we did have more total ball over Penrith we struggled in attack and our line speed in defence in the second half was very, very poor.
- It was 3 tries a piece and we essentially lost due to penalty and conversation goals.
- Moses and Norman had some nice plays.
- Brown had his usual big impact.
- Moeroa had a strong game.
- Hoffman had a good return to the top grade.
- We missed Semi's powerful runs out of the red zone (his loss will hurt us).
- Our ball handling and kicking in the second half was poor.
- Our bench were poor in defence and attack, particularly in attack.
- We should have had two or three trials for the top team as they looked unfit in the second half and we looked gassed for the second 40 minutes. In hindsight our only one trial looks like a very bad mistake from BA and the club. Lets have three trials next year.
- Not selecting Edwards was a terrible mistake and he needs to be in the team next week.
TEAM CHANGES NEEDED:
- Auva'a dropped to Wenty.
- French to replace Auva'a on the wing.
- Hayne to fullback. This will give us more options in attack and he will link up well with French.
- Takairangi to left centre to replace Hayne.
- Jennings from left centre to right centre to help out Moses (Moses looked vulnerable in defence without Jennings.)
- Edwards replaces Takairangi on the bench. This will give our bench good impact and line speed.
- Scott dropped and replaced by Peni (if fit), Vave or Niukore. It is sad to see an elite champion player like Scott play one too many seasons. Scott's two runs put a lot of pressure on the other forwards and in defence he could not keep up with the pace of the game (very sad to watch). Maybe against a weaker team Scott may be suitable, but not against a top team 8 team like Penrith.
NEXT WEEKS TEAM LIST:
15. Terepo (if fit)
Matagi should be the first person dropped.
Matagi, Scott and Takairangi all struggled. Last year our bench was our strength but today it was poor. We need Edwards, Terepo and possibly Williams on the bench with Evans.
I would have to say he is the most inconsistent player in our squad, he was damn good in the trial and absolute poo today, he was on and off all season last year. The difference between his best and his worst is too great, he has to go, I think even Vave is a better option.
We could see Vave or Terepo next week if they are fit.
Apparently Terepo has another hamstring injury
Not good. Hopefully Vave is available.
No. Matagi, although not strong was streets ahead of Evans. He was simply lazy. For example he could have dived in to stop that try when Hayne was working his ass off trying to hold him up. Evans just jogged over with no urgency. That sums up his defensive game today.
I'm prepared to give evans more time as he is new, Matagi has been up and down since he got here and the only consistent thing about him is his inconsistency.
Gutherson was missed today.
great post. Agree 100% wouldnt mind seeing a complete overhaul of the bench. they were very ineffective
Edwards was missed. King needed a rest as he was targeted in a big way and Edwards would have tightened up our middle in the second half.
Terepo's powerful runs are needed.
A fit Williams would be great.
The size of Vave would give us more punch in attack.
Scott needs to retire.