Smith or Field, an interesting decision

Will Smith started his first game in the halves for Parramatta for over a year when he took to the field on Saturday night against the Wests Tigers.

He played perhaps his best game for the Eels since his stint at fullback in 2017 and looked dangerous whenever he touched the ball, not to mention he marked up well opposite Luke Garner.

Dylan Brown may very well be fit this week given he was running last week and he will slot into the side if available.

However, there is still the chance of Brad Arthur having to choose between Jai Field and Will Smith.

Field has been up and down this season as he slowly comes to grips with playing in the NRL.

Smith meanwhile has seen very limited game time but has more NRL and finals experience than Field.

For mine, Saturday night seemed a trial run for week one of the finals if Brown isn't fit. It looked odd given Field has played little football himself to be given a rest and Smith to be moved into the halves. Was it indeed a case of rotation, or was BA trying to decide who gets a run in the number six this weekend?

To add to this is the expected return of both Marata Niukore and Ray Stone.

The Eels will have almost their entire squad available and players are going to have to miss out.

Alvaro will almost certainly drop off the bench while there are some questions over Stone, Takairangi and Lane.

Andrew Davey, in my opinion, has earnt himself a starting position with his performances this season. He's aggressive in defence, runs fantastic lines, provides high quality offloads and has a great engine. Lane has been filling in through the middle but has been a little impotent in that position, offering little in the way of ball playing or "x-factor".

Takairangi has been in and out of the side this season, he did a job against the Tigers to give Michael Jennings a rest but could very well serve as a super-sub of sorts for BA to call upon against the Storm. He has great utility value, offers some variety with his ball playing and is different to virtually every other bench player in the squad.

The other consideration is Ray Stone. He is in a similar mould to Brandon Smith regarding his defence and workrate through the middle and serves as a backup hooker.

So what does BA's bench look like?

For mine, it has to have a little unpredictability about it. Stacking it with four middles will not provide a great deal of change that we'll need against Melbourne.

So I'm going

14. Taka

15. Niukore

16. Evans

17. Stone

18. Kaufusi

19. Lane

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Replies

    • Agreed about Lane. Brett would you have Field ahead of Smith? or you think Smith will be 6 for D Brown.

      • Smith in if Dylan unfit, Field a better bench option 

  • I think Lane and Kafuasi drop off the bench Marata and Stone back if Brown plays Smith as cover in case Brown can'tfinish the game. If no Brown and Smith plays Kafuasi stays on the bench

  • Super what is your reasoning on Taka on bench? Where would he play? If seocnd row, Lane / Oregon IMO are both miles in front.

    • I'd play him on an edge if needed, but we could easily only use 3 bench players as we did last week and have done on multiple occasions throughout the year.

  • DBrown named at six, Smith on the bench with Dave, Evans & Nuikore 

  • Smith on bench over Stone and Field. Has some finals experience, can play his part in set moves (if we have any??). Can cover Brown and Reed if he needs a rest. Stone’s passing out of DH is just not good enough at this point. Every set on the back foot due to slow and inaccurate passing.

    If Davey doesn’t start over Lane, IMO he is easily a better bench option than Stone. He can play on both edges and would go ok in the middle if needed also. I think Davey has also shown he is quite level headed and has a football brain, something far too rare in our other squad members.

  • I usually agree with your comments super, but wow what has lane done wrong to lose his left edge spot that he was amazing in for the first 15 rounds. 
    For me, BA should've given lane a rest completely for a round or 2 before bringing him back for the last round instead of putting him in as a middle forward. His ball skills on the edge are amazing and his combination with brown was great for a very long time. 

    I really like Davey, I do. But Davey is the single edge rower bench spot with the other 3 taken by Nuikore evans and stone. Davey imo should come on to give either matto or lane a spell, otherwise 80 on the bench. 

    • Lane also has a mistake in him and he, at times, seems to just rely on his size to win the contact rather than actually run hard at the gap. Whereas Davey just seems intent on forcing defenders to try and stop him. It just looks like Lane has been overworked during the season and is flat while Davey has gone great every time he's been on the field for us, whether starting or coming off the bench.

  • I don't think Field would have had the confidence to go for that last try against the Tiggers. Smith for me.

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