The Roar
The Roar

Tom Rock

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Joined February 2016

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As a full-time pharmacist, part-time Roarer and fair-weather Newcastle Knights fan, Tom doesn’t leave anything on the field. He always gives 110% and never forgets to give full credit to the boys. But in a game of two halves, it’s important not to look too far ahead, so Tom’s just taking it one week at a time. Follow Tom on Twitter @_TomRock_

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Thanks Geoff. Although accurately picking the team I support to play like a stinking pile of refuse is bitter sweet at best!

And you are right about Ricky. After many years of tinkering, he seems to have finally unlocked the formula for success in Canberra. The transformation of the forward pack from beefy sluggers to fleet-footed speedsters has been particularly impressive. And effective.

Has the role of a rugby league coach ever been more important?

I can’t believe it took this long for someone to divert the comment thread into a rant on the refs. Shame on all of you.

Has the role of a rugby league coach ever been more important?

Good point. But innovation is only part of the equation. You can’t just keep innovating constantly and expect ongoing success. You need to isolate a great idea and maximise it, which Des did. Did he stick with it too long? Sure he did. But you can bet he’ll have a few new tricks up his sleeve at Manly

Has the role of a rugby league coach ever been more important?

I think a lot of it comes down to the system or style that a coach employs. Blokes like Bellamy can transform ordinary players into world beaters not by making them better players, but by moulding them to fit a certain structure or style.

Has the role of a rugby league coach ever been more important?

You might be right Paul. Watching how Bennett and Hasler, particularly Des, go this year might go some way towards answering that question. And surely if Wayne wins premierships at three different clubs, we cannot say it was just right place at the right time

Has the role of a rugby league coach ever been more important?

Very good point Paul. However personally, and at the risk of suffering the wrath of Mascord, I don’t like to compare these comps, particularly in terms of coaching. If anything, Brown has proven that being a highly successful coach in England counts for little in Australia.

Has the role of a rugby league coach ever been more important?

Morning Souvalis. I reckon you are being a bit harsh. Des made the finals five years in a row at the Dogs, including qualifying for the GF on two occasions. Sure his style got a bit stale towards the end, but he seems to have hit the ground running at Manly again.

Has the role of a rugby league coach ever been more important?

Totally agree with your comments regarding Robinson. But he was a coach with a track record for success who was at that time underperforming. The Roosters believed in Robinson’s vision and stuck by him. And it turned out to be a smart move.

With McGregor, I just don’t think he has the runs on the board for the Dragons to show the same level of faith in him that the Roosters showed in Robinson. With the talent on that roster and the strong starts to the season across multiple years, McGregor should have more to show for it.

Has the role of a rugby league coach ever been more important?

I have only good things to say about this move. Congratulations to Val for landing on a team, and good on the NFL for creating pathways that give guys like this a chance to live their dreams. Win/win in my book.

Now whether he cracks the final 53 man roster is another story.

The Jets are a bad football team, so let’s start there. They have a young and unproven QB, a crop of mediocre wide receivers and a veteran running back who spend the last 12 months on the sideline protesting his contract.

But even so, Holmes faces an incredibly difficult battle just to make the team. I think his chances of being a running back are nil. New York have one of the top backs in football who plays almost every snap. Plus, teams can find running back late in the draft that would eat Val’s dinner every day of the week. Same goes for wide receiver. Even pedestrian WRs have been honing their craft for years, and normally don’t blossom until 3-4 years into their NFL careers.

In my opinion, special teams will be Val’s best chance of cracking the roster. His ability to return kicks/punts plus contribute in the coverage team make him a valuable commodity in this respect. And in time, if his route running progresses, he may even get on the field for the odd snap at WR.

But let’s not lose sight of what he has achieved already. I’ll certainly be rooting for him going forward!

Valentine Holmes officially has an NFL team

What’s your take on the Knights so far Stu? They have looked quite disappointing from my perspective. Not a top 8 side.

Finally Parra matter, but they haven’t got Ferrari-like Bateman

I noticed that too Stuart. Looked like he was still working off his Christmas pud. It was especially apparent when he was chasing Edrick Lee on that runaway try. Maybe that’s just his playing weight this year?

Bennett plucks the Roosters while the Sharks' touch footballers head sideways

I’m not in any way saying that RTS didn’t deserve the Dally M last season. He had a cracking year and was a worthy recipient. But if you surveyed 100 people and ask them who they believe is the best player in the league, I am guessing less than 10 would say RTS.

Rock solid predictions ahead of the 2019 NRL season: Part 2

Parramatta should chase him for sure. They lack quality and depth at hooker.

Rock solid predictions ahead of the 2019 NRL season: Part 2

I’m not going to lie Nat, tipping the Roosters to win the comp, Queensland to win the Origin, Brisbane to make the 8 and the Knights to miss out on September footy stung. If the Poms win the Ashes, it could be a long year!

Rock solid predictions ahead of the 2019 NRL season: Part 2

I just don’t see where the improvement comes from with the Eels. Lane has been good in patches throughout his career, but remains a fringe first grader at this point. Paulo is a big body but plays small minutes. And Mitchell Moses is Mitchell Moses.

Where is the improvement coming from?

Rock solid predictions ahead of the 2019 NRL season: Part 2

In terms of Pay, I think the difference between his situation and the one which Nathan Brown faced is all around expectations. Brown knew what he was in for and was hired after selling the Knights on his vision for rebuilding the club.

For Pay, he joined the Bulldogs thinking he had a Top 8 contender, and then things quickly went south. And now he’s a rookie coach faced with an epic rebuild. In fact, I think the Dogs are still a season away from hitting rock bottom. And I’m not sure Dean Pay is the man for that job.

Rock solid predictions ahead of the 2019 NRL season: Part 2

No bias at all. Pearce will trample Ponga to win the series for the Blues. Ponga will then use this as motivation and go on a late-season tear, and the Knights will win the comp. Pearce for Dally M, Ponga for Clive Churhill, Nathan Brown for PM.

Rock solid predictions for the 2019 NRL season: Part one

If you are rating a State of Origin halfback’s worth by his defence and a couple of good kicks, then there’s something wrong with your scale. Yes, Cleary didn’t let the Blues down in defence, and yes, he had a couple of good touches. But that’s simply not enough for the supposed best halfback option in the state.

Pearce is a stronger defender than Cleary, and has a bigger kick on him. You could even argue his short kicking game is better. Now I understand that he has flamed out in spectacular fashion on the Origin stage, but if we are going purely on form, that shouldn’t hurt his chances of selection.

As I said, Cleary is the future. But I am not sure he is the best fit right now against a string QLD team.

Rock solid predictions for the 2019 NRL season: Part one

Morning Souvalis. Perhaps I wasn’t clear about Ponga. I am not worried that opposing sides will employ the same tactic used to neutralise Cronk, but rather that after having a full off-season to study his game, they will have devised tactics to minimise his impact. And I fully expect this to be the case. The challenge will be how Ponga responds.

Rock solid predictions for the 2019 NRL season: Part one

Your cold Maroon heart can choke on this – Pearce to trample Ponga Jonah Lomu style in Game 3 of the series to win it for the Blues!

Rock solid predictions for the 2019 NRL season: Part one

I would expect to get some hate from NRL supporters for talking up the Sea Eagles. But getting it from their own fans?

You guys are next level. Des has got his siege mentality on point, and the season hasn’t even started!

Rock solid predictions for the 2019 NRL season: Part one

Good to be back Baz.

On Pearce, are you saying that if he is playing as well as he was early last year, and Cleary is playing as mediocre as he was late last year, that you would still go with Cleary?

Keep in mind that Pearce is still only like 28 years old, and probably only now hitting his peak. Cleary is the future, but I’m not convinced he’s the present.

Rock solid predictions for the 2019 NRL season: Part one

Was a big off-season

Rock solid predictions for the 2019 NRL season: Part one

Morning FT. As I said in the article, the halves that we all expected to really start dominating the NRL just haven’t stepped up. Mitchell Pearce has stagnated as a very good club player, Ben Hunt is much too inconsistent, Corey Norman has completely fallen away, and James Maloney remains a liability in defence. Lucky for us, there is a vastly talented crop of players emerging.

What happened to rugby league in 2018?

Morning Jordan. Thanks for posting mate. All feedback is always welcomed.

The deterioration in NRL 360 has been a bit sad. I really liked the “Journo” segment a couple of years back when they had Andrew Webster (SMH) and Brent Read (Australian) to balance out Paul Kent. Webster in particular was never afraid to argue with PK, which added credibility to the broadcast.

But now, all the journos on the show work at the same paper. All they do is agree with each other on the terrible state of the game. It’s as depressing as it is exhausting. I am happy for them to cover off-field stuff and controversy, but do it in a balanced, factual way, not just wild speculation. Fans deserve better.

What happened to rugby league in 2018?