So we are about three weeks into the off-season and I am bored already. The internationals have been poor and the cricket just doesn’t have any pull on me whatsoever.
So what to do? Go to farmers markets with my partner, I hope not. Go to the gym? Hmm, its my off-season, too.
So instead of doing something productive or healthy I have thrown myself into Kayo as well as looking at some stats from this year and it got me thinking about some ‘who would you rather’ articles I wrote last year. I thought I would give them another go with the two players under the spotlight being Luke Keary of the Sydney Roosters and Cam Munster of the Melbourne Storm.
If they were on the open market, who would you want your team to chase? Both would attract close to a million dollars on the open market with a bidding war coming about.
Keary and Munster both had great years for their clubs in 2019 and are the two best five-eighths in the game. They are game-winners for their teams but they each have very different styles.
For the season just gone, Munster scored eight tries, had 15 try assists with another 14 line break assists. He averaged close to 100 running meters a game, broke over 60 tackles for the year and helped lead the Storm to another minor premiership. He was able to force 11 drop outs and averaged almost 200 kicking meters a game. He tackled at a respectable 83% success rate. He had a fantastic year for the Storm and is the one player I really fear during the Origin period.
For Keary, this year was the continuation of the 2018 grand final. He went to a level that very few expected and Roosters fans hoped it would go on to become the norm. Keary had a great year, winning his third premiership and cementing himself as one of the game’s best halves.
He is yet to play Origin or many games for Australia, meaning he still has the rep arena to conquer unlike Munster. For the year, Keary scored two tries, set up 22 tries and another 20 line breaks. He averaged 56 running meters a game. Keary was able to force 16 drop outs for the year and kicked on average 238 meters a game. He made effective tackles 84% of the time.
There seems to be clear strengths for both men. Munster is a great ball-runner able to engage defenders with his footwork and strength. During Origin 3, he seemed to break tackles at will and was really the only threat to the Blues. His ability to engage defenders is the best in the game for a half and a key to the Storm attack. Cam Smith and Munster have been able to keep the Storm humming after the likes of Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater have moved on.
While Munster bases his game on footwork and strength, Keary has based his game on his speed off the mark and his ball playing.
His ability to get out side the A defender and create an overlap is second to none. He is the key to the most dangerous left hand side in the game. Latrell Mitchell seems to struggle when Keary doesn’t play. Keary’s ability to unlock Mitchell was the key to the grand final-winning try against the Raiders. Keary attacks short sides with so much speed that it makes it difficult for defences to contain the likes of Mitchell, James Tedesco and Daniel Tupou.
Both of these five-eighths are the premier talent in their position – but they are very different.
I have found it hard to choose between them as I write this article. Munster has proven himself at rep level whereas Keary is yet to be tested at that level.
They have both proven themselves as winners and would improve any team that they were a part of. My bias gives Keary a big head start when I am forced to choose between the two, but I feel Keary is more the playmaker and has slightly more ability to make those around him better.
So for me, I am going for Luke Keary… just.