At this stage, Fullback, left Wing and right Centre are sown up; with Gutherson, Sivo and Penisini locked in place for those spots. However right wing and left centre are still up in the air, with recent re-signings and rumours of players we are chasing it makes it even more open.
Firstly, Waqa Blake and Bailey Simonsson are the two favourites for either spot. Blake on a wing however is questionable more so due him under the high ball, they hid him in the GF. At centre he is questionable due to his defence. Simonsson we saw performed a bit better at centre, holding his own. Though we need some strike at that centre spot. Herbie Farnworth was one we looked at mid way through this year, before he re-signed with Brisbane for an extra year. Aaron Schoupp was touted before he signed with the Gold Coast. Now Corey Allen's name is popping up. It seems pretty obvious BA and O'Neill have seen centre as a priority signing for 2023. Though who is the one to miss out, out of Simonsson and Blake? What does it say for Dunster and Russell? Is Allen the answer if we get him?
It will be fascinating to see how it unfolds. Blake is off-contract in 2023, considering they could not even trust him under the high ball in what was the biggest game of his career tells you something, why should we persevere with him on the wing for 2023. Honestly i would give him another crack at Centre, I like Waqa, i think he is very talented, though he reminds me a lot of Ferguson in that rocks and diamonds type of player. Is Corey Allen at centre better than Blake? Honestly i would say no at this stage. Is Simonsson at Centre better than Blake? This one depends on what you want, strike? Then that is Waqa. Defence? That is Simonsson. But overall i would lean on Blake.
It would not happen but if i was Parramatta i would be talking to Farnworth right now to get him for 2024 at least, he is not going get much of a future look in with Cobbo, Walsh and Mariner all there, why not sign him with 2026 being where he becomes 1. Doubt that would be enough to get him but can always try. Tesi Niu even i feel is a better option. We do have to trust O'Neill and BA, bringing in average players who triple their value after 2-3 years, but i feel we can strive higher than Schoupp or Allen, with the former being quite a good talent.
If Simonsson misses out on the Centre spot, expect him to be favourite for the Wing spot. Getting dropped in Round 21, then coming back in a prelim to hold his own is a tremendous feat. Simonsson is a goer and a no fuss player, so let's give him the chance to be able to make a career at Parramatta. He has a player option in his favour, so if he doesn't get much of a run in 2023 he could take his business elsewhere anyway, so 2023 is a big year for Simonsson. If he doesn't win that spot, i think the club are in good hands with Dunster or Russell. These two could be our starting wingers in 2024 with Sivo off-contract also.
Overall the Wing spot and depth is more clear cut than Centre is at the moment. Do we all like the idea of Allen? Do you think we strive higher? Any other players you prefer? This is purely my opinion and doesn't mean it is gospel, just on my mind and wanted to see who you think will be in our backline verses Melbourne.