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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)
Interesting comments Deadset, you have opened another dimension and one I appreciate more after reading your observations.
How did you feel about the heat out there and how would you justify the same for both sides. effect.
My belief was we were gassed and couldn't back against the momentum that came with their possession in the second half.
I concur with Pops.
Thanks BD, it has taken me 24 hours to get my head around it and it was only when I saw the temp got to 35 that I realised this is bullshite.
Nobody can play football in that heat, Penrith just did it better, maybe game management maybe luck.
They didn't deliberately make those mistakes early and our mistakes were the type that comes with heat exhaustion. If for any reason we got the momentum through what ever circumstances, we could have finished over them. They didn't have much defensive work to do in the second half.
Great insight of the game and greatly appreciated Big Dave.
It looked like King was playing injured near the end and was right in the mix till then.
Only 3 rounds until we get another crack at the Panthers & 24 more rounds until we play the chooks !
Poppa, it was hideously humid at the Stadium and tough to regain momentum once lost in those conditions. Being daylight was worse than the Maitland trial, as the sun added to the conditions and they took a toll.
it was 3 tries each and that's a good note, but tomorrow's team selections will be vital. On form Scott, Matagi and Auv'a are in deep trouble, BA may stay loyal but Edwards and Smith really need to be in the side to change momentum and add some pace up front and a steely edge.
Strangely , no tries scored against us when Mannah and Alvaro were in the field, that needs to be addressed , can see the tactics used again to attack our middle when they aren't there, up to BA to adopt a strategy to counter that. The balls back in the court of the coach , it's his team and he needs to ensure that we are able to withstand the second wave of the game, good luck.