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Opinion

Hook, losing 48-14 is what happens when you pick the team with your eyes shut

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Roar Guru
4th April, 2022
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1379 Reads

Parramatta put in one of the best performances of the season in annihilating the Dragons on Sunday night, and proved that their victory over the Storm in the previous round was no flash in the pan.

It was great rugby league and a pleasure to watch, unless of course you were a St George Illawarra supporter. The Dragons just couldn’t match Parramatta in any facet of the game, whether it be time in possession, completion rates, run meters, you name it, and the reasons appear obvious.

For reasons known only to himself, or perhaps in an act of homage to his predecessor Paul McGregor, coach Anthony Griffin pulled an eleventh hour swiftie and dramatically changed the make up of the team, and in particular, the spine.

Well Hook, I’m here to tell you that the experiment failed miserably, and Round 4 will hopefully be the last time you pick the team with your eyes closed. Let’s have a look at how some of those inspired team changes panned out.

Andrew McCullough 

From the extended bench and into the dummy half role, and for the full 80 minutes no less. Andrew McCullough was once a very good hooker, but that was some years ago when he played for the Broncos.

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These days, and with apologies to Jeremy Marshall-King, he is probably the worst number 9 in the NRL, and doesn’t pose any threat to the opposition around the ruck.

He is so slow now that at one stage against the Eels he was giving chase and looked like a drunk trying to run against the wind in quicksand. That should have been his last game in the top grade.

Moses Mbye

From dummy half to fullback. Hook, Mbye at fullback has been done before without success. Even with poor performing clubs in Canterbury and Wests, Mbye failed to make an impact in the number 1 jersey, and he confirmed that previous fullback form against the Eels.

Mbye is a very good bench player, a natural halfback and a fairly good dummy half, but that’s it, and his defence and catching in the number 1 jersey against Parramatta brought back memories of Matt Dufty. Yoiks!

Jack Bird 

From second row to 5/8. I can’t remember the last player to go from the second row to 5/8. No doubt someone will tell me. Let’s be clear, Jack Bird is a very good footballer, and really has a go for the whole 80 minutes, but expecting him to be the playmaker is like expecting Corey Norman to have a go for 80 minutes.

The harder he tried the worse he got against the Eels, and the less said about his kicking game the better. Bird is an edge player, not a spine player, and should either go back to the second row or into the centres.

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Junior Amone 

From 5/8 to the bench. Hard to fathom this one unless it was Bird’s job to take the early heat at 5/8 and Amone to come on after 20 minutes and, in the coaching move made famous by Mary, everyone shift around a couple of positions.

Maybe not though, as Amone only made it on to the park with around 11 minutes to go in the game. The Dragons need to back their investment in youth, and Amone should be in the team.

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Tyrell Sloan 

Out of the team? Hook, if you can’t see that Sloan offers so much more at fullback than any other player in the club, then it’s time to cash in your chips. Youth has to be the future of the Dragons, and the more game time that players like Sloan, Amone and O’Sullivan get the better.

I wonder what surprises are in store for Saints fans next week. Whatever it is, it couldn’t be worse than Round 4. Could it?

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