Marker defence and halfback kick selection

I think we have over achieved. I think we have met sides at good times and I think we could just as easily be running last.

But I think we could become a 6-10th placed side that could put it to the top sides (with or without major injuries and/or rep players out) by fixing two things. Now, before I say what they are I do wonder if our players have the ability to even fix these things. I wonder if perhaps they are simply not good enough. I also don't know how to fix the two problems and from the comfort of my seat I certainly don't have the answers but those two things are:


1 - marker defence.

2 - kick selection.


I really believe that if we can work out a way to fix these parts of our game we become a decent, ok, kind of good, team. If not I really think Phil Gould was spot on and just saying what we are all really thinking.

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  • How have only we met sides at good times? We met the Storm after being beaten and given an all time roast by Bellamy, Newcastle after losing 4 or 5 in a row with careers on the line and Nth Qld after getting taumalolo back.

    we are exactly where we should be except that we should have beaten Penrith and be 7 and 5. Panthers didn’t win that game we lost it. 

  • Met teams at good times you have to be kidding.  If Melbourne played like they did against the Sharks the week before us we are half a chance.  Knights played ponga in halves and were crap with word  Nathan brown was about to be sacked when they moved ponga against us and kick started their season.  Cowboys had Taumalolo back from injury and Wade Graham returns this week.

    Yes we are lucky to have played an under strength Souths but other games came after sides were given a massive blast and extra motivation after poor games.  Even against Penrith we played poorly with a Nathan Cleary effort play, chasing down kick won them the game.  Just happened to be the week before origin when I had seen him half ass efforts in previous games and never would have made the play.

    People say we played sides back into form but truth is we have been unlucky in our draw and timing of games. Our losses have been gainst Storm, roosters and Raiders currently top 4.  Knights and penrith who were talked about as dark horse of comp and possible top 4 teams. Although the size of some of the losses was poor and losing against cowboys and penrithbwere definitely games we should have won if we did we would be over achieving due to the difference in the rosters.  It would mean our team with n representative stars was top 4 with sides stacked with star players.

    Don't get me wrong, we are playing like a reserve grade side and the 2 points you make in marker defence and kick selection are massive issues we need to address.  But considering we are performing better than the predicted bottom 4 finish many had at start of season we need to put things into perspective.  The best predictions which were realistic were we could scrape into the top 8 or finish just outside the 8.  This looks the most likely result and although not where we want to be is realistic result considering our team roster.

    The side is clearly lacking a forward leader which for past few years was beau Scott  and now Nathan brown.  It is no suprise  our form dropped and we got the spoon after being Scott left.  Nathan brown has also played very little over the past year and a half.  Brown won't make us a top 4 side but we are exactly where we deserve to be on edge of the 8.  We have showed form at times but are inconsistent.  Other sides below us have played a lot worse than us so I don't think we are where we are due to luck.


    • Spot on FM.

      Gould talked about injuries to Souths and how lucky we were but not once did he mention we’ve had the Browns out for nie on 7-8 weeks.They are key outs for us and all this started falling apart slowly when these 2 were out.

      Sure we have things we need to work on but I think if we can turn up with that energy we started with consistently I believe we can foot it with the best we proved that pretty much when we played the Roosters also.

      • Agree with ya 2 points, when DB is back it will give us better kick options, right or left side. Reed needs to develop a kicking game, as for marker defence, we take to long to get of the ground. As a team i wonder if were fit enough, sometimes in games we seem to be 5 seconds behind the play.

        Iam hoppin the win against Souths builds confidence within the team and we can go on with it. Right now we are going pretty good, just need to win a few games against the top sides startin with the Sharkies.

  • The draw is what it is. At the end of the day the best teams win regardless, especially over the course of a long season.

    Marker defence is about controlling the ruck. If the opposition is getting their shoulders between defenders constantly it is awfully difficult to control the ruck, which in turn affects marker defence. Melbourne are the absolute masters of this, and it starts with Cam Smith’s ability to keep the ball carrier in front of him, it is his most underrated skill.

    As for kicking, the biggest deficiency in Mitch Moses’ game is how he directs and manages our sets to put himself in the position he wants to be in to get a quality finish to our sets. That’s the next step for Mitch.


    • Agree Brett Allen. Our markers are out of position because the initial contact in the takle is soft. Our players need to get thier bodies in  front of the ball carrier. Instead we are getting them from the side and that allows them to be tackled on thier stomach wich allows a quick play the ball. 

      • Our markers need step back half a metre from the ball player, stops him having any effect on our markers

    • Brett, the worst with me from my side of the screen is his more otten than not he is too one dimensional in his kicking game, against the mixies he finally did some more running than he has been doing, that along with other kicking options he should be bringing to his resume. The little kick for Gutho's try is a classic example of where he should be heading. He was pushed off some tackles but he's picked up in that area though.

      For him to take the next big step he needs to be more unpredictable for the opposition as to when, where and how he places his kicks, and they do not have to be on the last tackle all the time.

  • When Dylan Brown returns we will have kick options either side of the ruck, and with Moses/Brown sharing the kicking load Moses will hopefully reduce his own kick execution problems. Not a big issue going forward.

    Marker defence? Dropping Mannah and Alvaro certainly had an effect, because our line speed, aggression and first contact were all vastly improved against Souths. Maybe that was just a new cattle thing or maybe it was a signal the troops knew positions were on the line. Either way, our vulnerabilities behind the ruck were mostly solved against the Bunnies because we were meeting runners at the advantage line before they could roll in behind the ruck.

    The Bunnies were depleted but they were also competition leaders on the back of a forward pack that was rolling through the middle of teams. The Eels stopped that and, yes, the Bunnies would have responded better with Cook and Walker, but doesn’t that mean that if the Eels can get their defence right they will be in a position to force teams to change tactics and move away from their game plan? And any team able to force a team to alter course is a chance of winning.

  • The primary issue we have is with our forwards going into collisions with undeveloped skillsets that stop them being consistently put on their backs as well as forcing 3rd tacklers to slide off quickly.

    This greatly helps us to control the ruck and is the best type of nursery (CULTURE) where our halves/spine develop great organisational and attacking skillsets. (passing, running, etc).   

    For many years now our halves/spine have mostly played in games being flustered, put under lots of pressure because our forwards usually have lost control of the ruck for much of most games they play. 

    This means our halves/spine don't have the opportunity to really develop the NRL skills in the heat of battle where they become excellent front foot (and back foot) generals with a foray of strong attacking skills (passing, kicking, organising) like Cooper Cronk, Luke Keary, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker, Keiran Foran, Dale Cherry Evans, etc, etc, all of them playing behind dominant forward packs controlling the ruck, providing fast play the balls against retreating defensive lines and where these halves/spines get to practice becoming very good at passing, kicking, organising, etc = DOMINATION.     

    If we don't solve this issue ASAP our halves/spine will never know what DOMINATION really is and fully experience it and therefore a weak culture will continue radiating throughout our top 60 or so players. 

    Ray Price and Co were all about DOMINATION for 80 minutes. 

    For much of the 33 years since Ray & co retired, our club has practiced being DOMINATED instead of being the DOMINATOR. 


    Like the old motto, look after the cents and the cents look after the dollars and in the same way, get a damn good bunch of coaches, trainers and players who are deeply passionate about DOMINATION and this filters through the culture of our club where generational halves/spines carry on the DOMINATION culture season after season. 

    Mitchell Moses and co have never been given the real opportunity to burst forth their real skill sets as dominant halves/spine-players bringing greatness to the fortunes of our club's culture.

    This really is not Mitchel's, Salmons, etc, fault. It's Brad Arthur's and all those currently useless in bringing forth this domination culture come skill sets, this includes getting the right players who know what it is to dominate, battered bodies and all.

    Maybe Brad is fixing this issue and is why we occasionally see this domination attitude appear like it did v Rabbits a few days ago and as it did v Storn 2017 Semi Final. 

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