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Jack Aubrey

Roar Guru

Joined August 2015

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Penrith Panthers. Close sport is good sport

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Yeah that’s an error on my part. Storm will finish fourth.
Thanks mate

Pre-season preview: Who can stop this perfect Storm

Those are all fair questions to ask but most sides have similar ones to be asked about their seasons. We are about to have plenty of them answered.

As Big Daddy has pointed out their reserve grade team has been performing so perhaps their perceived lack of depth isn’t quite the reality they face.

Robinson can coach, but certainly he has taken an easier way in than plenty of others. The team selection in the final against the Cowboys was astonishing. Carrying an Tupou on the bench, and they looked very exposed in the forwards at points during that game

Pre-season preview: Can Cronk make the Chooks champs?

Cowboys yes, I would say are a stronger side. The Storm on paper aren’t really that different and going back to back these days is no mean feat, often we see the premiers fade over the long season.

The Roosters had a great recruitment drive. They bought Cronk and Teddy, right up there with the best in the game and could have kept Pearce if he wanted to stay. They gave up those first graders on their own terms, they had money in the bank for the likes of Cronk and Crighton so they have got what they wanted.

They upgraded Gordon to Teddy, Pearce to Cronk. Was Guerra setting the world alight? Did Newcastle pay overs for Watson, why wouldn’t he want to go there for more game time?

They will struggle if injuries strike, no doubt, but keep close to their top 17 on the park at the pointy end and they will be very hard to beat.

Pre-season preview: Can Cronk make the Chooks champs?

Career defining in the sense that maybe he can do something towards separating his legacy from that of Smith and Slater. You look at someone like Matt Orford and his catastrophic stint at Canberra, Cronk is taking a risk with so much atttention on him. I really feel for Pearce, but as you say the discipline that Cronk has, is something the Roosters really need.

Pre-season preview: Can Cronk make the Chooks champs?

It’s the role of a good modern day winger. Semi Radradra for the Eels. Josh Mansour for the Panthers. Either winger for the Storm. Kyle Feldt for the Cowboys. They do win you games these days whether it be the finishing or the carries out of trouble. Semi certainly was the difference in a few games last year. Moylan and Moses in the halves for NSW? That’ll do me.

Pre-season preview: Can the Eels break their premiership drought?

That was certainly the case last year. We also saw how badly Penrith started without powerhouse Josh Mansour last season. A big strong winger is so important in the game today. In saying that the Eels get a trio of potential backline stars back early in the season. They won’t be able to rely on Semi but they aren’t exactly short on firepower

Pre-season preview: Can the Eels break their premiership drought?

Too early to say exactly how any of those sides will be going in the last few rounds, but it is an undeniably a tough way to finish the season. They didn’t seem to fear the big sides last year so no reason they can’t be claiming big scalps from the get go this year

Pre-season preview: Can the Eels break their premiership drought?

The luxury that the Eels and Brad Arthur have, and that the Titans and Neil Henry didn’t, is the depth. If Hayne isn’t having the desired impact that he should be, there are three or so players that proved they deserved a spot in the backline last year. Brad Arthur just isn’t going to tolerate Hayne being sub-par, but he got the best out of him in 2014 and maybe will again this year.

Pre-season preview: Can the Eels break their premiership drought?

As I have alluded too already, DCE just doesn’t fill with a lot of confidence, especially with an unknown next to him. You say that he was on of the best players on the field in the finals loss, on what basis? He is the highest paid player, the halfback, he needs to be having that influence that Smith, Cronk, Thurston does.

Green was above and beyond what was expected of him on probably a quarter of the wage last year, he aimed up as much of the team did.

I really like Api as a player, he was very impressive last year. But that stat reveals their is an opportunity to exploit him and his size. Charging out and trying to put a shot on is great if it sticks, and probably works best for Api, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a defensive weakness that can be exploited.

Pre-season preview: Sea Eagles will fail to take flight

Hmmm, some say I might be regretting a strange hunch to put the Rabbitohs in the eight over some other sides.

Yeah 11th might be a little harsh but they’ll only be a win or two off the pace.

They’ll all be done by 7.50pm March 8th

Pre-season preview: Sea Eagles will fail to take flight

Well unfortunately I couldn’t put every team in the top 8 just to appease everybody. This certainly won’t be the first preview where I’m criticised for leaving a team out.

I probably have about 12 teams that I could see making the finals, but as I say I have to make a decision somewhere.

As was the case in writing plenty of these, I certainly questioned whether I had made the right call, but I’m confident in my reasoning. As Jeff says you obviously have a bllind love for Manly and thats great, I hope you do prove me wrong.

TB sums it up pretty well. I like the look of their full strength team. But isn’t any different to the team that was towelled up on a number of games last year, so why do they magically become more consistent or improve defensively?

Last season at the pointy end of the season I struggle to recall a game where it was DCE who was the man of the moment. Look at Michael Morgan at the Cowboys, front and centre when the whips were cracking, could you say the same as DCE. Both are Origin and grandfinal experienced halves. Now he has no real foil in the halves either.

Pre-season preview: Sea Eagles will fail to take flight

I would certainly agree. Plenty had them as top four too

Pre-season preview: Will the Dragons choke in 2018?

Righto. Learning that Dragons fans have a bit of an aversion to the word choke. Obviously they have lived through some pretty good examples so maybe I’ll be more careful using that tired old cliche in future Saints articles.

Wasn’t really sure what new stuff you were hoping to learn from the article. It generated discussion, got an opinion out of you. You seem to agree that they will finish in the 8, others don’t. I’m interested to hear the thoughts of others and gauge the season ahead.

Pre-season preview: Will the Dragons choke in 2018?

Learning a lot about Dragons fans today. They don’t like the word choke. I don’t think a team can ever say they lose that tag for good. But the Dragons “choke” of last year certainly wasn’t up there with the likes of ’09. No I don’t think you are alone on Widdop, if Wayne Bennett thinks of it than it probably is something worth considering. But people seem to have a big wrap on Dufty so that is probably how the season will start

Pre-season preview: Will the Dragons choke in 2018?

Didn’t really go into any detail on Dugan but couldn’t agree more – disruptive, overrated and egotistical, the team will be better off without him

Pre-season preview: Will the Dragons choke in 2018?

Lucky? Wow, that is a big call to be in that vein of form and put it all down to luck. Sure they surprised teams early but they were in the box seat. You can’t just then revert to old expecations. At that, point in time, mid-season, in the position they were in most people would expected them to make the finals.

Plenty are giving them a chance this year. If I were a Dragons fan or stakeholder I would expect to make the finals

Pre-season preview: Will the Dragons choke in 2018?

After 12 games last year, with only 4 losses, all to sides that would end up in the top 4, it would look almost certain the Dragon would be playing finals. Their would have certainly been some sort of expectation, casting an eye over their “soft” run home that they would play finals. If my side got off to that sort of start, and then crashed out in that manner I would call it a choke, but I guess it’s a little bit down to how you view things. I think the pre-season expectations are a bit null and void once you turn on that run of form to start the season.

I would be excited as a Dragons fan. They have shown what they can do already, they need to be able to sustain it but I think they can. As you say they have some really quality and talent across the park, and if Dufty is as good as you say he is then really they have no excuse.

Between Hunt and Widdop the organisational stuff will come. I think they have enough between them to make it work. I’d be very optimistic about the Dragons chances this year, only some real minor areas to fix from last season and they are finals bound.

Pre-season preview: Will the Dragons choke in 2018?

Tough and gritty in 2015 is probably correct, but they haven’t won a finals game since 2011.

Change will be as good as a holiday for Ben Hunt. To have to try and move on from 2015 must have been extremely hard, he has copped some real criticism in his career to date that comes with wearing the Broncos number 7.

No doubt Graham has been hampered, but I feel change will be as good for him.

I was astounded by Frizell when he came into Origin. I didn’t realise what a good player the Dragons had on their books. But as you say he is being misused at the moment. McGregor should probably have a look at his game at Origin level and what they can do to promote that attacking style he has.

Pre-season preview: Will the Dragons choke in 2018?

Fair call. I probably meant it more in regards to the back five. Tim Lafai and Nene Mcdonald aren’t exactly blue chip NRL players but as you say they held their own last year. They have some young guys to get excited about and Nightingale I have always liked the way Nightingale plays.

Regarding Mary, you are spot on, would be very surprised if he gets to next year without a finals win

Pre-season preview: Will the Dragons choke in 2018?

Wouldn’t have tipped Manly that night. Was more than happy for them to get the win the way the Raiders carried on when Walker missed the conversion and again when he kicked for the win. They wouldn’t have shown that disrespect to JT. Probably an example of the Raiders really not being in the right headspace at key times

Pre-season preview: Can Ricky get the Green Machine going again?

Happens sometimes when a team comes into a preliminary final one year and then has to learn how to start again, get back into the grind. Melbourne are so good at building because they have done it so many times. For many of the Raiders players it was their first finals series, biggest games of their career. They probably went into 2017 thinking about that. Sometimes i think Ricky is a bit too emotional for his own good, yahooing on the sideline when the team gets up, rather than taking the Bellamy approach of quickly moving onto next week and keeping the lid on things.

Pre-season preview: Can Ricky get the Green Machine going again?

I can see it going either way. The loss of Hodgson will cripple them and they’ll struggle to stay in games without him. Or as Geoff says they will keep on keeping on. Hodgson was definitely down on his 2016 form. The key to recovery for 2018 is getting their defence right.

Pre-season preview: Can Ricky get the Green Machine going again?

In his last 24 games for the Raiders Sam Williams has had 20 try assists and 4 tries. In Sezer’s last 24 games for Canberra he has 8 try assists and 4 tries.

Sezer is nearly 50 games into his stint at Canberra and he has mostly been disappointing. Sure, Williams isn’t going to be winning the Dally M halfback. But his numbers more than show that he creates enough to put pressure on Sezer to either do better, or be demoted.

The value that Williams creates is a bit of competition for spots. I wouldn’t be assuring Sezer another season at halfback if they have an option there that can do a better job.

Their is a shortage of quality organising and kicking half’s. NSW can’t find one and they don’t have to worry about recruitment. It’s the reason Cleary and Taylor are attracting such big money at such a young age. Ricky has to make do.

Pre-season preview: Can Ricky get the Green Machine going again?

They haven’t improved much in terms of their squad. But we are talking about some real minor improvement from their existing squad in order to bag some more close wins. They looked tired of losing at the death last year, like their belief had been shaken. I might live to regret putting Souths in the 8…

Pre-season preview: Can Ricky get the Green Machine going again?

The Souths players last season looked like they wanted another plan, any sort of plan because obviously Madge didn’t have the answers. You can spray as much as you like but at the end of the day if you don’t know how to change things up and get the best out of your players it isn’t going to work. They certainly need some depth and competition for spots. And as you say some enthusiasm from someone, they seldom looked like they were enjoying themselves last season

Pre-season preview: Rabbitohs to fly under the radar