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The Roar

A.J. Woodgate

Roar Rookie

Joined April 2018

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Lifetime Waratahs supporter, newly converted AFL player and supporter following the Swans.

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It has been really interesting watching these two teams struggle so much after such prolonged success. Even with Injuries and rest the New Zealand franchises have always been able to sustain success due to an incredible player pipeline and development structure.

Chiefs big win over the Rebels knocked out the Highlanders today.

Super Rugby road to the finals: The playoff equations and predicted final ladder

Thanks JRVJ, glad you liked it. Yeah predictions are my own obviously. Which ones did you disagree with?

Super Rugby road to the finals: The playoff equations and predicted final ladder

It will be really interesting to see how selections go for the Rugby Championship. I think the Wallabies need to think long and hard about how they want to play and select players based on team fit. For instance if you pick either Karevi or Hunt at 12, you sort of need to pick a second play maker at 15, especially if TK is at 13. Not many teams have successful attack with one dimensional players, even as big and impactful as Karevi, at 12, 13, 15. Izzy isnt a play maker he is a finisher. And maybe this is solved moving say KB to FB and Izzy to the wing.

Waratahs big win only step one in pursuit of title

I worry about Kerevi defensivley at 13, on attack he is more than capable.

I think Hunt is a better fit at 13 then Kerevi but again he faces the same defensive issues and additionally I think he is so effective at 12 it is a waste to play him out of position.

Waratahs big win only step one in pursuit of title

Chieka has preferenced non Waratahs Locks for most of his tenure. Over the last two years espeically he has turned to Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold and Izack Rodda.

There has always been a sizeable anti-waratahs/NSW sentiment within all other areas of the rugby community and sometimes the evidence does seem overwhelming but often it is an issue of correlation not causation.

When I think of the Waratahs players who are most likely to be viewed as the beneficiaries of a bias the first question to ask is “who else”?

Truly test class players get selected regardless of team. The fringe or “out of form” guys get slammed. Hannigan for instance. As a Waratahs supporter I do not think he is ready for test rugby. But who else can you play at 6. Last year we tried Tui and Samu, neither worked particularly well. Now had they been Waratahs the coaches would be accused of bias. The issue is we do not have a player in the blindside flanker position who has stood up and owned that spot.

Foley at 10 is another and more complex example. Foley was outstanding at the world cup but I can agree his form has dropped since, but who else is there we can play at 10? Beale, Toomua, Lealiifano, none of those guys have proven at test level they can play the position any better than Foley.

At the end of the day I think Chieka’s indecisiveness with selection has a hugely negative impact on the team performance. Changing the team each week to see what sticks rather than building his team around his players is to me one of his biggest errors.

Waratahs big win only step one in pursuit of title

Harry Johnson-Holmes is turning into a very very good rugby player. And Hannigan is all of a sudden looking pretty sharp too, both still have a long way to go before they are test quality but its promising.

Waratahs big win only step one in pursuit of title

Completely agree. I am very interested to see if they both get included in the Wallabies. The issue for me is both of them are best at inside center and I am not convinced you could play either at 13 successfully.

Waratahs big win only step one in pursuit of title

That is a really valid point. Whilst I think it is an overreaction to boil down the teams scoring struggles to just Taqele’s departure he certainly added an x-factor to the team. The bigger issue is that the team has failed to adjust its style of play given they do not have him as a weapon this year.

Waratahs big win only step one in pursuit of title

You are right, he has had some misses this year. He is a far better thrower the Latu that’s for sure. He doesn’t offer a whole lot around the park however.

Waratahs big win only step one in pursuit of title

Hunt was awesome when he got out there and has been the Waratahs best back when he plays I believe. It will be interesting to see if and how he gets involved in the Wallabies.

Waratahs big win only step one in pursuit of title

That is a very good point. For the last 24 minutes the Canes played with a 9 at 10

Was the Waratahs loss an ominous insight into the year ahead?

The Pelicans were also better once Cousins went down last season. I am skeptical that a Davis and Embiid pairing would work. Embiid can play outside but he shouldnt as much as he does and Davis is the same, relegating one of them to a primarily perimeter player is a waste of their talents.

Why a Ben Simmons for Anthony Davis trade should happen

I think Hanigan has plenty of potential but he is not yet fully physically developed and it shows a lot, he is only 23.

Higgenbotham is not the Answer. Id love to see a second coming of Owen Finnegan. Someone with pure aggression on both sides of the ball.

The next four weeks will define the Waratahs' season