The Modern Centre

OK, so I think it was BEM that asked me in the recent "New Signing" blog whether I thought Opacic was a starter or a depth player. To answer that firstly, yes, I think he's a definite starter. I'm basing this on seeing him play a fair bit of footy with the Redcliffe Dolphins, he was a class above that comp playing in the centres and got his start with the Broncos on the back of that good form. He's had some bad luck with injuries that have hampered him in his stints at the Broncos and Cowboys, but there's no doubt he can play and I think he's defensively very sound. That brings me to the next question, just what is the role of the current day NRL centre? To my mind, the game has changed and obviously the old attacking centre such as Steve Rogers, Michael O'Connor, Laurie Daley and even Brett Kenny when playing as a centre, are long gone.

Look at who are considered "strike centres" these days, there's really not anyone that springs to mind as an out and out game breaking centre. I think the reason for this is that the position has changed considerably due to the introduction of the left/right centre and in particular the left/right edge backrowers. Some of the ones that may be classed as strike centres are Staggs, but he has defensive issues to fix, likewise, Crichton at the Panthers - in fact, Waqa made him look 2nd rate in the game we beat the Panthers early in 2020, he ran around him, through him, over him - he was completely on top of him. Jimmy the Jet, again can score a try, but defensively very poor at times.

This leads me to my current belief that centre should now be a predominantly more defensive orientated position than attacking. That may sound strange, but I still maintain centre is the hardest position to defend in on the park. There's reasons for that, the attacking use of block plays and decoy runners is designed to have players in motion and put defenders in 2 minds. Not only that, but depending on what just happened in the preceding tackle, your centre can be defending with his edge backrower inside him or the 6 or 7 that defends on that side. Obviously this inside player will affect how you defend - your 6 or 7 is more than likely going to need more assistance bringing down the opposition edge forward which then tends to have the centre staying closer to that 6/7. If it's the edge forward marked up on the opposite edge forward, you would hope that allows your centre to stay a little wider and right on the inside shoulder of his opposing centre. So all of a sudden, people need to realise that the modern day centre is not only supposed to be concentrating on his opposition centre, the block and decoy runners and the attacking structure coming at them in general, they also have to be very mindful of what is happening inside them as well. As soon as you see your centre, quickly followed by his winger, with their outside shoulder facing in, you know you are in trouble and the opposition has created the numbers.

So, all this brings me back to what we need to recruit as far as outside back depth goes - for me, it has to be a very solid defender first and foremost and an attacking option somewhere after that. As for attacking, your modern centre doesn't have to be that bloke that breaks the line, and be a match winner. He has to be someone that can position his winger and take advantage of what happens inside him. Look at some of the current centres that are successful in attack and I'll nearly guarantee you they have an outstanding edge backrower inside them - Crichton and Kikau at the Panthers is the perfect example. Keep your width, get your winger to keep his width (and depth is probably just as important) and you should just have to use hands to execute putting that winger over courtesy of what your edge backrower has created in drawing in your opposing centre. It really isn't that difficult. I reckon I could draw up a simple sweep play that would allow 4 or 5 players to all be scoring options and at the very least it's a simple draw and pass from centre to winger on the opposing winger. To this end, we now have Lane, Matto and Cartwright as potential edge backrowers who are ALL capable of executing a play like this to bring in the opposition centre and create the overlap. Practice, practice and more practice at training executing these sweep plays and quick hands then becomes the key to having it work during games.

I'm not sure who we are looking at, maybe Burns from the Bunnies as suggested, but I would hope that we are looking at a defensive orientated centre with good hands because we certainly have the talent in the edge backrowers to make the attacking component of our centres an easy job.

 

 

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                    • Chief, I am settled but there is only so much targeted crap one can take.

                      As soon as I say something, a certain few people crawl all it.

                      Yes my worst 13 Blog since 2000 may have been a bit tasteless but I got hammered for naming an apparent immortal in my worst 13.

                      After taking constant abuse from certain people I'm surprised I'm still calm.

                      Scott.

                    • Maybe you could secretly show your birth certificate to one of the mods Dreggsie as I am pretty sure your younger than 18 which may or may not be a rule, but it may at least prove you should be ignored.

                    • Scott is very close to being impeached! Lol

                    • Scott, seriously, stop talking crap and playing the victim. Answer me why you would ask for this blog to be taken down? There was no reason, that was ludicrous. Do you realise people took you to task for even suggesting that? And then you carry on like a little sook when I had a go at you, which was FULLY deserved for your stupidity. Go away mate, you're already high on the list for the stupidest person on here in many peoples books and every time you comment you make it worse for yourself. I'm happy for you to add to the sensible conversation that was being had until you showed up asking for this to be closed. But instead of offering anything of substance you just post crap. If you don't agree with me, outline your opinions and reasoning. If you agree, say so and add any further relavent comments you see fit. But DO NOT just lob on here and ask the mods to close it down. That is why people abuse you, because you're a knob in saying it.

                    • Scott you bring it on yourself with the comments you make.

                      I would like to think they aren't intentional and said just to get a bite out of other posters but it is clear to see they are.

                      Let's make one thing clear. Super and only Super controls this site. Monto and myself are only hear to try to settle things down and remove inflammatory posts.

                      If we can't settle a situation then it is up to Super to have the final say.

                      Cheers

                    • Realistically brissy if that site rule existed there wouldn't be to many people left on this site.

                      Everyone has there moments on here.

                    • That's the plan Chiefy. 

                      We will delete posts and pass the details of serial offenders to Super to deal with.

                    • Jesus Scott, stop being such a sook. Your first post on this blog is asking for it to be closed, with no reasoning at all, which is simply trolling, then you whine when you get a bit dished back your way. What exactly did you expect people to respond with?

  •  

     Basically, in today's style of football centres are big bodies with good speed and footwork. Usually, these centres become backrowers when they lose a little speed. It's not unusual that your centres and wingers are the biggest and heaviest players in the team. Rule changes over the years have resulted in coaches using different body shaped players. The 10 metre rule started the changes, then the interchange rule.

    • Agree, that's a good point Slippery.

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