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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    • I don't know about that I just think he can't seperate emotional attachment from his work . 

      He's made a case in his mind that Jake offers some cover as a utility and it's probably an idea his mind wouldn't have even thought about if there wasn't such attachment to Jake. Jake isn't ready to be a back up NRL halfback .. the criticism and nepotism were always going to follow . His play on Friday is being marvelled because he did his job in key stages and threw a looping pass Waqa Blake had to finish from the Brookvale Hill. His kick for the Penisni try shows a guy that works long and hard on his skills and if he keeps doing that he'd give himself a chance to be a back up half at a club.

      The lack of speed , agility and movement is really something though. Ironically it's why Royce Simmons told Brad he didn't have a future at the top level . Jake is so painfully slow and it's going to be exploited over the coming weeks .

      • There's separating yourself from emotional attachment and then there's deliberately eliminating any obstacles for the benefit of JAs career. Sorry mate it's as plain as the nose on your face. Next (if he's still the coach) he will wash rinse repeat the same tactics he used to bring MA in, just watch.

        • Further to this I can guarantee you that Hands will never get a go to show his wares in 1st grade or he just might get in the way of MA.

          Rein well he's been marked just like Rankin was when he looked like a possible half cover.

          Hodgson joins us next year to replace Mahoney, and he coincidentally was only signed for two years - just enough time for BA to bring through MA. It's just so obvious.

  • I agree with most of that . It's probably not the time for fans to point out his weaknesses because it's clear we're going to need him to do a job whilst ever BA is coach. 

    This week worked out perfectly for the Arthur's . A win , Jake contributing a couple of clever plays and the media getting right behind them and super critical of anyone who boo'd him. He's not the first or last player to be boo'd it just made a story for those assholes . 

    Having watched him play Friday again it's clear he is going to have to improve A LOT defensively in a week or we are in a tonne of trouble . It is very easy to get on his outside and put Penisni and Waqa under big pressure and that is the style of attack Souths have killed us with for years. I wouldn't be going the early crow on the JA selection just hopefully he can do another job on Friday . Latrell is going to cause physical probablems for a lot of half backs but even more so for Jake but his lateral movement is going to be a huge concern going into the game . BA can step up and show us something diffenrt this week to counter it . 10 years of coaching first grade time to come up with a few solutions . 

  • Latrell with his speed and power, big right palm, will cause JA nightmares.  But he will be in the 7, so we can just hope.

  • BERT where are you bud?

    Come back.

    • He's not coming back frank 😞😭😭😭😭😭

      One of my most favourite people on here 😭😭🙌🏻

      • Don't worry he will be back.

        Probably just taking a break......if I were him I'd come out post like nothing happened. Stuff em.

  • Our forwards were very good and laid a good platform for our halves, that doesn't happen every week either, so JA will have adjust to this when it happens, he played ok, he missed 4 tackles, but had two try assists, probably he's best game in 1st grade to date, I'm not sold on him yet, he needs to step up a gear against the rabbits. Ethan sanders halfback from flegg should be the one we are looking at for the future, very good in the flegg this year, has been killing it, for year in NSW cup next year i reckon 

  • JA was an outstanding school footballer at St Pats. He has played 10 NRL games or whatever it is.  I dont think he is terrible but he has no subtleness in his game to make up foor the lack of speed and toughness.  He has to be able to put a defensive line into some insecurity.  You do this by either digging into the line , of having a crisp long balll and no double pumping of the football.  I think he is a 13 similar to how Wade Graham transitioned from a running 5/8 at Penrith to elite level back rower with a good footy IQ and offload ability before the line or punching through.  

    With Dylan such a threat with the ball - he needs to give him free easy ball and trail through on the inside becuase Dylan mostly beats the first defender and there is always a little opportunity if you keep coming throough the middle after you let go of the football.  Thiis week is tough. Mitchell is playing a very high level game.  He will tear us a near one if we let him.  

    I reckon we get Mitchell back next round or very least Broncos game in two weeks.  

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