I am as filthy as the next person about last nights performance. We had excuses, we had rough calls, we were probably fatigued from the heavy game the week before. Saints had things to play for, emotions were driving them. All of those things are factors. Good teams overcome factors and good teams have plans for situations. When you dont have a plan to react to adversity - you rely on muscle memory and unfortunately our muscle memory is our old poor attack, dropped ball, confusion in the direction of our sets and finally disbelief. It is a rot that sets in and if the people steering the ship get it , very hard to rectify it.
The Importance of a Plan B
I recently heard a Podcast between a melbourne Journalist called Mark Howard and Storm Coach Craig Bellamy. Have a listen. One thing that hit home to me was Bellamy said he started preparing for the next game 30 minutes after the last game. He wasnt concerned with how the Storm were going to score tries or how they were going to attack the opposition. He wanted to know how they were going to defend the opposition. Further, he looked at the tries scored. He didnt look at the guy that put the ball down or how flashy it was. That wasnt his concern. He looked at the plays, minutes that led to the try. In other words what led to the try and who was responsible. As you know , for the Sivo try in the corner or BLAKE runaway - something happened to make this. Bellamy looks at the players that created that chain of events. Who did something that created the opportunity or what did they do that made his defenders react differently outside their systems. For example SIVO scoring is the last link. But often it will be a Brown run through the channel followed by a Junior run and ofload and then Gutho out the back. Bellamy will target the Brown running game to disrupt the ability for Junior to run off that momentum and what transpires next. Attack wise Bellamy has the assistants working at the shape to create the tries.
This is what really worries me about next week. SIVO and FERGO start our sets. We all know our wingers and Centres are hit and miss. SIVO is really running blind at the moment. Both are doing the job but not great at the moment. But Nathan Brown is our key in attack. He creates the momentum with his energy. Our Props are doing great and usually getting us to the part of the field for a Kick or one shot at them. Here is where we fall down. We constantly have this 20-30 metre pass that goes back to either MOSES or BROWN. We are then crowding our backs or edge runners. Defenders can then jam in and this creates pressure on MOSES who will either kick it or bring it back inside to usually a running BROWN. If they reduced this IMO to even half that distance and played the halves a bit flatter they will create a slightly staggered defence line. Options for GUTHO through the middle or edge runners. Bellamy is going to really upset Nathan BROWN and have numbers on him. That will reduce our momentum. We need Plan B. I think you have to try and go through the STORM not around them. WE actually have the defence to hold them. We just need to score points and play smarter.
In my opinion, we play direct. We play fast. We go through them and we need to not sway from this. KIck to corners so PAPY isnt getting clean air balls. He is a lean fullback so you can man handle him. But if he gets a flyer with the ball in the air, we are chasing our tails.They then bring Addo-Carr and co in and with that speed usually attract six again re starts. Have a Plan to combat Brandon SMITH. He is massive for them. Changes their tempo every game. STORM will expect us to be mentally weak as that is unfortunately our revert to status. We will only get into the contest by coming at them in the middle and playing high percentages.
TOUGH but winnable.