Joined March 2019
On form Cronulla could well put on 30 against Manly. Hate to say it but the sharks have too many very talented and quick players for Manly’s depleted side to handle.
Manly have been poor in recent weeks. Whilst virtually the entire back line were poor (including DCE), stand in full back/winger Elliot particularly had a shocker last week, just hope he took some lessons from that bumbling display. Left winger Taufua also continues to make game changing handling and defensive errors. Surely he has to be replaced next season.
All that apart, it will be interesting to observe how the Manly forwards cope. Young Keppie is a tough and effective tackler, whilst Olakau-atu is one in the Fifita ( Broncos) mould. They’re players of the future for Manly. Can’t believe that Toafofua will play after such a long lay off.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Cronulla Sharks: NRL elimination final preview, prediction
T Rex is a good player at his best – but can he be adequately match fit?
NRL Finals Week 1 teams: Hughes wins Storm halfback job, Sea Eagles drop selection bombshell
Manly were poor right across the park, but I would like to make three additional comments;
1. Joel Thompson has also been a very significant loss. His experience and resolute tackling has left the left side toothless.
2. Several weeks ago I made the point that Taufua is a non NRL standard winger and would likely cause Manly some significant heartbreak in the future. That happened last week against Melbourne (in the second half when he dropped several balls), and also last night when he spilled the simplest of passes for a certain try)
3.A couple of Haslers’ coaching ploys came badly unstuck. The switching of Elliott to the wing was an unmitigated disaster ( three tries to his opposite). Also, the selection of Paseka as a run on 2nd rower was also a flop as he proved to be far too ponderous for that position.
One slight positive did emerge from that game – that being the performance of debut second rower Sean Keppie who looked likely with his strong tackling.
Is it Tom Trbojevic or bust for the Sea Eagles? You bet it is
Very enjoyable article. Also appropriate in the lead up to tonite’s crucial games against Parra and then against Melbourne (?). In view of recent performances and injury outs (Thompson and Turbo) one can only be a bit pessimistic about Manly’s prospects. However, I do have some faith that the Manly brains trust (Hasler and Cartwright), may have the coaching nous to get Manly through.
Furthermore, in view of Hasler obvious success history at Manly one can only wonder why he ultimately failed at Canterbury. It has often seemed to me that many ‘Manly People’ i.e. those who left to seek bigger rewards -often fail disastrously. Apart from Hasler players such as Shearer, Ridge, Hodginson, Hopoate, Blake, immediately come to mind.
Des Hasler: Kooky, mad and perfect for Manly
The Warriors have been my ‘second team’ to follow as in seasons gone by they were always an interesting team to watch. However, as this (and also last year) season has evolved I can only opine they have been a travesty of previous outfits.
To me there are two basic shortfalls; 1. Their roster is completely inadequate and uncompetitive as only a handful of players ( four of the backs and perhaps two of the forwards) would even be considered by other NRL clubs. The forwards particularly are either too small (Papalii and Tevanga), or are too slow and cumbersome.
Too many regular selections are well past their use by dates ( Green, Blair, Ayshford, Luke).
2. The team is not well coached. It plays with a completely predictable style of 5 tackles plus the kick, with virtually no offloading or other second phase. Poorly performing players are rarely dropped.
Some players who do put in ( Afoa and Sao) have been dropped for no apparent reason.
There seems to be no consideration to blood any younger more talented players ( and there are a couple) from the reserve grade side.
The numerous ex Warriors younger players who have been released and gone on to be successful with other NRL clubs indicates the Warriors recruitment and retrenchment program has been a dismal failure.
The Warriors lower grades have also been largely unsuccessful in recent years.
One would have thought that Brian Smith as manager of football would have been able to repair this wreckage but he appears to have had little positive impact
I have attended a couple of games at Mt. Smart in recent seasons. I was impressed by that venue which is excellent in most respects – in fact superior to most Sydney grounds. The Warriors also have a large and enthusiastic (but diminishing) group of supporters, as indicated by the attendance of 10,000 which turned up in pouring rain and freezing cold for the recent night game against Manly. but I am aware that many of them have become very disillusioned at what is almost a collapse of their club which should be performing so much better.
Of course one is not aware of what is happening “behind the scenes” at the Warriors with regards to acceptance of responsibilities for failures and planning for the future, but it has seemed to me that if any NRL coach deserves to be currently considering his future then Stephen Kearney should be first in that queue.
What went wrong for the Warriors in 2019?
Manly have a couple of injury concerns going into this match. Joel Thompson who, to a large extent, has been the heart and soul of the team , will be sorely missed. His replacement Jack Gosiweski, is a good player and seems to be improving weekly, but will he fully compensate for Thompson’s relentless toughness and all round skills?
I note centre-three-quarter Moses Suli has been chosen to play, but his ankle injury surely will rule him out of the game. If so, his physicality (and surprisingly good all round skills), will be missed. Also don’t think Parker could be adequately fit in time to replace Suli. So those possible ins and outs make for some significant questions concerning the actual Manly run on side.
Also, how fit will Sironen be after a lay off from ham string problems?
Manly have now evolved into a class and committed football team. Unfortunately they have a marked weakness on the left wing where Taufua is far too slow for this level of football and I worry his shortfalls will cost Manly dearly sooner or later.
Of course Melbourne are also a top class side (who do have two outstanding wingers). Brookvale on Saturday evening will be heaving with just about a sell out crowd expected in the anticipation of being present for another enthrawling spectacle between these two clubs.
Get set for the battle of Brookvale this Saturday night
Pretty good effort by Manly considering their injuries. Manly have been improving just about every week, and are still getting better. The side is full of quality players who are now well coached and motivated. Unfortunately, the prospective loss of Thompson and Suli becomes very worrying. BTW, every Roar “expert” picked the Raiders to down Manly (and similarly the Panthers to down the Berries). Manly definitely have a very good chance against Melbourne next week.
Eight talking points from NRL Round 23
With regards to Tepoe Meroa, I watched him closely at Brookvale two weeks ago. He played as a bench second rower ( edge) forward and was only on for a limited spell. He had little impact and frankly appeared to to be only a shell of the player he was a few years ago. I understand he has been affected by a series of concussions over recent seasons. His value as a centre three quarter at Super Rugby level must be questionable to say the least.
Is another league player really the answer for union?
I’m sorry to say that when you mentioned Jorge Taufua positively you displayed some ignorance relating to Manly’s actual strengths and weaknesses. Jorge’s basic problem is that he is SLOW and is easily out run, out turned and outjumped by opposing wingers. I’m sure that if you studied the stats they would disclose that Jorge has only scored a few tries ( always from close in), but conversely has let in quite a number of tries by his opposites.
The other winger Garrick, is quick enough and can finish from long range and is a pretty good goal kicker.
I have previously posted that at full strength the Manly pack can match it with any in the comp. Now add in the positive presence of Walker at 5/8 plus the ever improving skills and power of Suli in the centres, plus of course the Turbos, DCE and the two props, and Manly do present a pretty good all round side. I just wish they had one more high class and quick winger
Is it time to recognise the Sea Eagles as a genuine contender?
Several weeks ago I posted that the Manly pack, at full strength, has the size and skill to match it any other in the comp. That is now happening. Furthermore, the best manly backline is now emerging. That is, with Walker at 5/8 with Parker and Suli in the centres.
Young Suli is also beginning to really impress by finally showing that he has some passing and footwork skills to go along with his impressive size and speed.
However, I believe that Taufua is a concern on the wing as he lacks pace which directly led to the leaking of two tries yesterday. It is likely this aspect will cause Manly some real heartbreak during the business end of the season.
Finally, coach Hasler deserves tremendous credit for the way he has transformed Manly from the rabble they were over the past couple of seasons. Should they remain reasonably injury free and with a reasonable share of the 50/50s, Manly could definitely pose a real threat to this competition.
Eight talking points from NRL Round 18
Far too many scribes have made ignorant and inaccurate assertions concerning the quality and depth of the Manly squad. Several weeks ago I posted that at full strength the Manly pack particularly, could match it with any side in the competition. The demolition of the St George pack yesterday validated my point. The Manly forwards are big and skillful.
The inclusion of the 120 Kg Taniela Paseka is working well and he is appearing to be a genuine 1st grader.
Furthermore, a number of injured players are on the verge of returning, including Lachlan Croker and Brad Parker which will pose a rather pleasant selection problem for coach Hasler.
The return of Dylan Walker has added a lot of speed and thrust to the manly 3/4’s. This has been valuable as Taufua on the left wing is far too pedestrian and IMO handicaps the side.
Finally it has to be acknowledged that coach Hasler has transformed this team which does not resemble the rabble which it had become in recent years.
Eight talking points from NRL Round 14
Manly at full strength could just about hold its own against any side in the comp. I think they lack a little in depth in the forwards but also badly need a speedy winger on the left flank, where Taufua is far too slow.
Eight talking points from NRL Round 13
Tom Wright -“vast experience” – don’t think so. He failed at Manly League – was only picked once for a run on role and was hooked after about 20 minutes being quite out of his depth. Nevertheless he does have talent and speed and I concede he was not managed well by Manly ( during a very dark period for that club).
Five debutants the Wallabies should pick in 2019
As a keen observer of both the rugby codes I could not care less about what Folau thinks about anything. I’m just interested in his on field play. Pretty sure most followers of sport would think along the same lines.
The three reasons RA must come down hard on Folau
“..the game itself was entertaining” – don’t think so -The NSW Qld game contained so many fundamental handling errors, numerous scrums and other stoppages it was actually a very poor spectacle. I realise that it is a matter of opinion, but the evidence of Saturday night’s game was so clear that is pointless to attempt to ‘talk that ( particular) game up’.
Six talking points from Super Rugby Round 4