S&W and future of JA-BA

I have been wanting to do a Strength and Weakness blog on JA and see what everyone thought about whether he would be a fisrt grade quality half one day or even a top first grade half. However, unfortunately for JA its not just about JA, JA cannot be separated from BA. So this is an assessment of JA-BA.

1. Defence: He is a 19 year old half-back so defence is not critical. His defence is not terrible but for the team JA's defence has been a weak link. I have no doubt that given a few years he will be a solid defender and his defence is only an issue for playing him now and will not affect his career prospects as a half. 

2. Kicking and passing: For the last 12 games his kicking and passing was promising but accuracy not consistent enough for first grade standards and usually did not provide a result. Given his age this is not a negative and he has plenty of time to reach first grade standard. I would rate his current kicking and passing skill around the level of DB and CG but well below MM. However, BD and CG have other strengths and roles, JA is trying to be a playmaking half and he is not at first grade kevel yet but has promise. Last game against Manly he nailed two try assists (one pass and one kick). This shows a lot of promise but lets not get carried away until he can do it consistently. 

3. Acceleration and power: This is way below average for a half. I have not seen a first grade half this bad at acceleration and power since Peter Sterling. So maybe it is possible for JA to succeed; however, in todays game there less room for players who cannot threaten the line. The problem is that the other team 100% know JA will pass the ball (unless inside the 20 or last tackle) and they can smash the recipient. Even if JA did decide to run, the opposition would have plenty of time to close the hole they left. For this reason I cannot see him being first grade quality until he gets stronger and can push through the line a bit for an offload. I expect our right side to be easily contained by quality teams. Although JA nailed two high quality try assists, outside the 20, we really did not threaten and I do not remember Papa being able to break the line like he usually does.

4. Game management: I hear he is a good leader but the Reserve grade games I have seen I see no evidence of it. I think it was the one against the dogs when we were losing by a small margin but not on the right path to winning. It needed a good leader to turn things around but this did not happen. However, he made some good decisions on which play to make in the second half against Manly. Also there is no way in my mind a 19 year old is going to lead a team of first graders. So we will see in several years time.

5. BA: BA to me seems to be all about JA. This can be seen by BA's post match comment "I am very gratefull to the team for giving Jake the opportunity to play well" (my memory of what BA said). TCT claim this as BA being humble. But to me it reflects that it is all about JA. I coach my kids teams (not RL) and I would never say that. It just seems to me BA is all about JA's development and screw the rest of the team. JA never ever should have pushed DB out of 5:8. It is more important to develop DB for the team than JA. DB has proven higher potential in my book and is a priority and DB still has below average parts of his game at half that needs practice at first grade. JA is not a utility and not a bench hooker. That is disrespecting a bunch of other Parra players who are better suited to those roles. JA absolutely should be MM replacement - like for like. However, the primary play maker role sould be DB as he really needs to work on this and should improve him for when MM gets back. So bringing JA on as the secondary playmaking half - like what hapened against Manly was appropriate. However, it is not all about JA. Sixties is already claiming JA should be our full-time utility and this seems to reflect BAs thoughts. This is deluded. Not good for JA and more importantly not good for the team and our prospects of winning.

Conclusion: JA as a first grade half shows good promise; however, the limiting factor is his lack of acceleration and power. This makes it unlikely he should be a consistent first grade half for a few years (at least). The big problem for JA is BA putting him where he does not belong. It is not good for JA and more importantly it is not good for the team. BA does not seem able to stop being a 1eyed father and that is not tenable as a professinal coach.


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  • Unfortunately he's that good another club will sign him for sho. Oh poor old BA having to let his son go for a better opportunity. Congrats JA I wish you well. 

  • Point 5 is a bit unfair. It's not like BA brought JA up in the press conference. He was asked a direct question about JA. If he wasn't asked I doubt he would've mentioned him. His answer was more about what the team did, not what his son did. What's he going to do? Ignore the question?

  • Sterling wasn't a slow half back. In fact he was very nifty. Jake is extremely slow in most aspects

    • Sterling was a slow half-back,  not as slow as JA but one of the slowest I can remember seeing. 

    • Lol Stero himself would admit he  was slow but quick between the ears 

    • Actually I do remember Sterling having good acceleration but only a max speed of 10km/hr- 

      he used to make quite a few line breaks but he never got very far

    • Sterlo was on the average side of players for speed, although he could step, jink and confuse the opposition like a champion, which more then made up for not being the fastest. Should be the next immortal.

  • He is very slow laterally in defense

  • BA probably started as a club man but since the early days that's changed IMO. He's evolved. He is the issue not JA.

    It's clear as day that BA is all about the futures of both his sons now. His clearing of the JA path proves it. Got rid of anyone that could get in the way of his path to first grade. And he then finds any opportunity to put JA on the bench consistently when there are better options are available. That's clearly an issue that deserves calling out.

    You can also tell that for BA it's all about JA now, just look through the hours of footage of BA in the coaches box and you will never see him jumping up and down or fisting the air like he did when Jake scores. I know that's his son, any father would be proud but a coach who loves his players and the club celebrates all of his teams big moments not just his son's. 

    Not only does BA improve his son JAs pathway but he has a history of doing the exact same thing to protect his own career. Name me one good assistant in his 9 years as coach at the Eels? You only surround yourself with nuffies when you want to ensure there are no threats from within. Any issues are always blamed on lack of support and no light is ever shone on BAs choice of assistants.

    So now I look forward to how BA will weasel his other son into the 30 - willing to bet it won't be long in 2023 or 24. The others in the way will just get mysteriously moved on.

    • Frank, Like you, I too have my suspicions there has been a change in him, too. We all change in many ways, anyway, even if we don't see it all the specifics ("change blindness").

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