Something that is sticking out like a sore thumb in the Eels first grade line up: The role and playing style of the Hooking Position.
As is well known we now have Josh Hodgson in the Blue and Gold first grade number 9 jersey. A crafty dummy half no doubt that can certainly turn a game of football our way. He is able to engage the markers and identify slowing defence lines, however it is also becoming clear that perhaps 80minutes is beyond his physical limits these days. Its becoming too regular watching him make a tackle and be the last man up, unable to get back at marker or make it back to the defensive line, this is leaving us short. It effects our defensive structures the props have to take his position the second rowers have to stand one spot closer to the ruck, the halves , centres and last of all the wingers have to all come in to adjust and blind freddy can tell you how thats turning out for us continually being short outwide. Obviously thats not our only defensive problem but it contributes at times.
Hodgson has alot to offer our team when not exhausted or fatigued., and shouldnt be discarded. A quick look at how other NRL teams are playing their hookers shows something remarkable.
Brandon Smith one of the comps better dummy halves, rarely plays 80 minutes- two the best coachs in the modern era sub him in and out of the game to get the best from him.
Brisbane share the Hooking role with Billy Walters and Corey Paix equally
Warriors share the role
Raiders Share the role
Anyway I can go on but your getting my drift
This brings me to our team. Does BA have the ability to give Hodgson a rest during the game. Can he change his mindset and carry another hooker on the bench. Can he trust the next players in line. These must be going through BA's mind when reviewing our games to date. A quick look at our top 30 - Only 28 spots filled. On that list as hookers we have Mitch Rein another 32 year old, if he hasnt made regular first grade is he going to now. The only other option I see is Jake Arthur - I'll leave that one alone for now or this blog would get bogged down, but hey is he worth a thought.
So what would it take to get Brendan Hands on the bench, he is not in our top 30 - should he be upgraded now or do we keep our remaining spots for later.
Brendon Hands our NSW cup first choice Hooker.
24 years of age:
Debut with Penrith NSW Cup 2019 joined the Eels 2022
Played yesterday against Manly "Blacktown Workers" and quite frankly was very impressive. He looks to have turned a corner.
Check out his stats. Played 80 minutes - 1 try assist - 1 line break Assist - 8 dummy half runs - 112 passes with zero mistakes - 55 tackles with 0 misses and an efficiency of 98%. These are machine stats people.
Hands is considered one of our fittest players that can I suggest has maybe come of age for at least a shot. Remember it would take an upgrade into our top 30 roster to get a game. Is it time , we are looking down the barrell of 0 and 4 to start our season, and quite frankly Hodgson does not appear to be an 80 minute player. One last thought, if we upgrade him we have only 1 spot left in the top 30 and , well do we need spots for say another youngster Cini to perhaps evolve this year and force Waqa out at some point. Something to consider I would suggest.
Yeah bring him in and push Hodgson to the bench.
That spot is for the fuckstick son
I wonder if idea was for hopgood to take that role before Matto got suspended. Similar build to ray stone who was our back up hooker when needed previously. We haven't run with a straight out hooker on the bench for years.
Now we know hopgood made step up and can handle first grade despite throwing intercept under pressure for try this week he has been one of our best and could hold the lock position over Matto. I think Matto was locked into to play 13 before his ridiculous suspension with Hopgood an option for relief hooker and foward on bench.
BA won't do it. He's extremely stubborn.
Ba will play his dopey son b4 hands. Couldn't hurt to have hands on the bench if he offers more than what we have which he should cos our bench is rubbish. We've scored enough points to win all three games. The games were lost by the spastics out wide. Yet again. Hodgo has been impressive for the most part.
BA is a stubborn man to change or take hodgo off will indicate he's made a mistake it won't happen Jake will come into the squad if he was going to make a change
Too logical for a BA change. His 10 year pick and stick isn't going to change now, especially when it's putting someone ahead of his own son.
X a billion
and this is " acceptable " to the board ? Wtf 🤷♀️
Edwin Ipape is the man we need. I can't believe this kid isn't in the NRL
I agree JH needs a rest, you have to remember, he has had nearly 2yrs out of the game, the heat the last few weeks has tested a lot of players, even the younger ones. I think once the weather cools down you will see a better JH. But BA needs to have a bench replacement for him now. My choice would be Asi, can cover hooker, halves, centre and fullback. I hope the club is looking at filling our squad from outside.