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Geoff from Bruce Stadium

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Joined June 2018

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NRL, AFL and cricket tragic who supports the Raiders, Crows and the Australian cricket team. I've been following sport for over 50 years.

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Agree about the Titans. But they are such a frustrating team. They’ve been very competitive in the games you’ve mentioned. They have to be ranked higher than the Tigers but I think that might be it.

NRL Power Rankings: Round 15 - Two teams on title trajectory, another 13 who can’t get their act together ... and two duds

I remember back when the Raiders and the Sharks had a fantastic rivalry when either side would beat the other on their home patch by 2 to 4 points. Tough gritty encounters where none in either side gave an inch. You knew you were in for a tough physical game whenever these two sides matched up against each other.

The Sharks are a very different team now. The tough defensive grind has gone and been replaced by a more attacking flamboyant side that’s not scared to throw the ball around to score. But the defence can be a bit of a worry if the opposition gets in their faces.

This is where Penrith and the Storm have it over other teams as you know they will work so hard in defence to protect their try line and have enough talent in their respective spines to make something happen in attack.

Interesting comments about Nicho. It looks like he needs to harden up and go back to what he does best. Its no slight to not quite cut it at the top level. He wouldn’t be alone there. The NRL is littered with players that didn’t quite measure up to Origin. He is a fantastic club level footballer. And winning a comp has to up there with winning an Origin series.

NRL Power Rankings: Round 15 - Two teams on title trajectory, another 13 who can’t get their act together ... and two duds

The Sharks are hard to get a read on. They are fantastic when they are all on the same page. Their attack is one of the best in the comp. Coach Fitzgibbon has obviously spent a long time working out his combinations and attacking structures. They are a bit like the Cowboys with so much strike across the park – but can just as easily just go missing for long periods defensively. Particularly when the opposition gets in their faces.

They are definitely top 4 material but their fade outs from time to time put huge question marks on their premiership aspirations.

NRL Power Rankings: Round 15 - Two teams on title trajectory, another 13 who can’t get their act together ... and two duds

Excellent analysis Paul. Hard to quibble with your ratings this week. Just can’t believe how inconsistent a lot of these NRL sides are from week to week. As you have pointed out you can only rely on the Panthers and the Storm to perform at a consistent level. The rest are all over the place. And you wonder why. Does it simply come down to coaching to get consistent effort? You look at the Panthers team and the are nothing like the squad of 2 or 3 years ago as players are head hunted by other desperate NRL clubs while the Storm have been without much of their spine this year but they continue to roll on. And its no coincidence that the coaches of these two teams are Cleary and Bellamy. Of the rest the Roosters look the most likely, along with the Sharks. But both of these teams are susceptible to some shocking performances hat seem to come out of nowhere.

And why are the teams from say 5th down to 12th so inconsistent?

As a Raiders supporter I have been bitterly disappointed with the efforts put in at home in the past 3 matches against the Sharks, Roosters and Cowboys. You can live with losses if the team puts in against quality teams but isn’t quite good enough – but the flat, insipid embarrassing performances they’ve put in can’t be explained away by inexperience. Home crowds have had to sit there like stunned mullets while the train wreck slowly unfolds. Its like a rerun of Groundhog Day as you can see the same thing happening again and again with a slightly different script. As you have rightly pointed out its not the rookies who have let the team down. And the contrast with gutsy wins recorded away is difficult to understand and reconcile. Why are they so flat and lack intensity at home? The opposition teams seem much more focussed and better prepared so maybe it comes down to coaching.

NRL Power Rankings: Round 15 - Two teams on title trajectory, another 13 who can’t get their act together ... and two duds

Can be the only explanation. Can’t imagine he needs anything to work on.

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

Billy’s been fantastic for Queensland. His record speaks for itself. Just querying some of those selections – and the reasons for them. The Blues selections get thoroughly scrutinised. Why not the Maroons?

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

😂

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

And the remaining limb was broken in 3 places and held together with gaffer tape

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

Maybe its a bit like Billy Field’s bad habits – Fifita and Cobbo probably aren’t serious enough for Billy Slater’s liking
“When I get the urge
I just got to splurge
I’m a slave to all my desires
Well I’m in a mess
Because I can’t repress all of these
Bad habits”

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

You don’t get a game with Queensland unless you’ve lived in shoebox in middle of road – or lived in a paper bag in a septic tank

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

Don’t think we can be that sure.

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

Sure – but it doesn’t mean Billy’s selections are above being questioned. There is no way that David Fifita shouldn’t have played in game 1. But if Cobbo is carrying an injury that would stop him performing for game 2 – fair enough. I just find some of Billy’s references to some players having “bad habits” as a bit of a cop out. If he thinks they have some short comings spell them out. What bad habits?

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

You mean full strength for 7 minutes? Sure DCE set up a great try for Ben Hunt in that time but we’ll never know what the result would have been if it was 13 against 13 for the full 80.

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

Lets face it – the major reason the Blues lost game 1 was the sending off of Suaalii at the 7 minute mark. They hung in there pretty well for the next 60 minutes and only got blown away when they were running on fumes in the final 15. After Lomax scored in the second half they were actually playing better than the Maroons.

Edwards and Moses can only make the Blues better. But I’d like to see Barnett on the bench instead of Yeo.

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

The Maroons didn’t pick and stick with David Fifita. Billy Slater suggested he “hadn’t reached the high standards he’d achieved last year”. Really? His stats have been off the charts in most of the games he’s played this year. He also seemed to suggest Fifita had a few “bad habits”. Really? Something smelled about his omission. And for game 2 he explains Cobbo’s omission with “has a few things to work on”. Really. The bloke is a gun – a potential match winner. I could understand if he is injured which is affecting his performance but there seems to be a few mixed messages there. A couple of interesting selection decisions by the Maroons. You can’t tell me that Capewell and Kafusi offer more than Fifita and Cobbo. As a Blues supporter I’m not disappointed. Might come back to backfire on Billy and the Maroons.

Maguire defends under-fire skipper, reveals reason for Latrell recall - and calls out Maroons in 'glass houses'

Don’t mind this team. Only real surprise is Burton getting punted – I was expecting Hynes, Young and Tedesco to get dropped. Burton could have played instead of Watson as the utility on the bench. I would have had Mitch Barnett instead of Yeo for a bit more mongrel and punch off the bench. Olakau’atu was virtually playing as a prop for Manly after Paseka and Sipley went off against the Dragons so he could fill a similar role for the Blues if needed.

NSW Origin II team: Maguire wields axe to shake up Blues squad with five changes

The Raiders are an enigma – you just don’t know what you are going to get on game day – 3 gutsy gritty away wins against top 8 contenders Manly, Bulldogs and Dolphins in amongst 3 horribly inept flat performances at home which is driving the faithful supporters that have to sit through them absolutely insane.

Ricky Stuart has to take ownership for this – and he couldn’t in his presser after the game. All he could revert to was ref blaming. Sure there were a couple of decisions that looked a bit suss but the team had plenty of time to recover and put some points on. You can’t accept all the back slapping from those gritty away wins and not accept that supporters want some explanation for why they are so flat at home. And give some credit to the opposition who were very good.

It was difficult coming up with good performers for the Raiders – Strange, Tapine, Papalii, Savage and Rapana all tried hard and produced some good moments – but the rest of them were just ordinary. The attack has come in for some well earned criticism from observers over the past few years and nothing had changed last night. We badly need a hooker who can provide direction and can kick – Levi and Starling don’t have these attributes. Surely Woolford should be given an opportunity. They need to go out into the market – maybe in the UK – to find a decent hooker.

The halves have been great in recent weeks but they didn’t put too many plays on to challenge the Cowboys defence last night. Most teams have some structured plays that they have endlessly practised in the attacking zone but you see little of this from the Raiders. It all seems to be made up on the spot. You wonder what the attack coaching staff are doing in practice sessions.

'Do you think we're trying to lose at home?' Stuart fumes as Cowboys' spine wreaks havoc on embarrassing Raiders

He’s like a racing car that has about 6 gears and perfect balance. I love the way he puts on the after burners and then goes back to cruising speed to save petrol. Would have been a brilliant 200m or 400m runner.

Hynes' Origin hopes cop a hit as Dolphins upset Sharks on the back of Hammer's try of the year contender

One of Nick’s redeeming features is he is honest and doesn’t sugar coat after the game about how bad the team is playing and how low their confidence is as a playing group. But it doesn’t help explain how the club was allowed to slide into the position they are in.

There are times when you watch them when they look like a genuine contender – like the past 3 games against Collingwood. But they just don’t quite have the ingredients to win these close contests. Collingwood is a very good team so there is no shame in these losses. But why can’t they get themselves over the line? There is something missing when the pressure is on and the coaching staff don’t appear to know what it is. There was the 4 point loss to Collingwood, the draw against Brisbane, and 3 point loss to Essendon that come to mind that were winnable. Win all three of these and they would have been right in the discussion for finals footy.

AFL News: Demons blow as Petracca confirms the worst, Nicks confident Crows can knock Swans off perch

That would be terrible news – his career was just beginning.

The NRL team of the season so far: Some new faces taking over as the best players in each position

Josh Papalii – 32 years of age and 293 NRL games for the Raiders, plus numerous Origins and Tests. Best years may be behind but still punching out metres – tough as teak – part of a formidable forward pairing with Joe Tapine.

Ageing like fine wine: Picking a best 17 of NRL players on the wrong side of 30

Credit to the coaching and team philosophy. Young Isaako has been very impressive.

The NRL team of the season so far: Some new faces taking over as the best players in each position

I’m sure you could fit 8 more Dogs in there somewhere Baz.

Stephen Crichton has been such a great pick up by the Dogs – not just his physical performances but the way he is leading the Dogs is so impressive. You can see him laying down the law to the rest of the team and keeping them focused in the huddles after each try is scored. Arguably one of the best captains in the comp. Gutho could learn a thing or two from Crichton about how to go about it. The Dogs are finally reaping the rewards of the Ciraldo/Gus Gould partnership.

The NRL team of the season so far: Some new faces taking over as the best players in each position

Patrick Carrigan has to be at lock – he is absolutely dominating forward stats for number of runs, post contact metres, and run metres. I’d have him before Yeo. And Joe Tapine has to go close to being one of the starting forwards – along with AFB and Mitch Barnett.

I can’t believe how much Barnett has improved as a player this season. His performances in the past were often stained by head high shots and other suspendable actions but his discipline has been excellent so far this season – and we are finally seeing how good a player he is. Can’t see why can’t get a game with the Blues for SOO game 2 along with Latrell.

The NRL team of the season so far: Some new faces taking over as the best players in each position

I’m sure you could manage both.

Susanna is now 65 can you believe. And looking pretty healthy. Think she might be spoken for.

Is there any talk in Adelaide about Nicks getting the flick. And who might be offered the job. If Port wants to keep Hinkley why not make a play for Carr?

Footy Fix: The Crows are an utter shambles - and one horror stat shows just how far they've fallen

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