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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You’re probably right – both the Knights and Sharks will sneak into the bottom half of the Top 8 and get bungled out in Week 1 of the semis. But is that what you’re looking for? Is that a good season?

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

Just blame Benny Elias. Everyone else does.

Seriously though, I think they have just made a lot of poor personnel decisions which have set the club back for years at a time. The decision to not re-sign Tedesco will be viewed as one of the worst retention efforts in the history of the NRL by the time he finishes his career, up there with the Panthers letting go of Freddy Fittler. Hanging on to Luke Brooks at the expense of Mitch Moses was another poor one, although I personally don’t rate Moses that highly.

Sadly, I can’t see an easy way out for them at this point. I think they need a Newcastle like complete tear down if they want to get off this hamster wheel of mediocrity.

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

His addition does give Newcastle one of the sneakily better forward packs in the comp. With Klemmer and Saifiti up front, Fiztgibbon and Frizell on the edges, and Mitch Barnett wreaking havoc in the middle, they won’t get pushed around by many sides. Hopefully Brailey makes a full recovery from injury, I thought he did some really good things before he went down.

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

Sorry Barry. Probably best to go get tested just in case. I actually thought of your hatred for Frizell when I included that comment on his addition to the Knights. And you didn’t disappoint me with your response!

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

Nice article Christo.
I know you are taking some heat for putting Brisbane so high, but I’m with you mate.
The Broncos have a talented squad that was ruined in 2020 by injury, poor discipline and Anthony Seibold. Based on the strength of their roster, they should finish above the likes of North Queensland, Canterbury, St George Illawarra and New Zealand.
Keep them coming mate.

My NRL ladder prediction: Part 2 (13-11)

Addition by subtraction my friend.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

Dan, as a Newcastle fan, I know that it can sometimes be hard to accept when a player who have delivered so much for your club is no longer up to the task. Morgan has been one of North Queensland’s best ever players, and helped lead them to glory, but he’s just about done. His body it letting him down. I would move him on.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

I reckon he could be a solid interchange forward. Probably doesn’t have the engine to play more than 30 minutes, but could provide solid depth.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

I totally agree. That’s what makes his recent performances so disappointing. He burst onto the scene and into the QLD team, and then seemed to just disappear. I hope for North Queensland’s sake that Payten can bring the best out of him. I’m also happy that Paul Green is the new QLD coach. So even if Hess once again becomes a dominant player, he will regress back into his former self against the Blues.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

Thanks Paul. I think the biggest factor in the future success of these clubs will be the alignment between the coach and the board. There will be no quick fix for any of the four teams I’ve listed, and none will be serious premiership contender for at least 2-3 seasons.

I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing at Canterbury. They are taking positive steps in building their roster, and the hiring of the new CEO seems like a shrewd choice. Knowing the Bulldogs, the boardroom is also likely to implode at the drop of a hat, so it will be interesting to see how long they can keep their house in order.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

Good point. I take it all back. Broncos for the spoon.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

Coen Hess reminds me too much of Dane Carlaw. Built like Tarzan, hits like Jane

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

I might be in the vast minority, but I don’t actually mind Trent Barrett as a coach. I thought he made a poor decision or got bad advice during his tenure at Manly, and should have stuck it out. But he does deserve some credit for the success of Penrith last season and the elevation of their halves. I think this one might work out.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

I really think the Broncos will benefit through Kevy’s ability to bring the old boys back into the fold. Blokes like Gordon Tallis, who have stayed well clear of the club in recent seasons, will now be a resource to the young players. It will have an impact.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

Thanks Barry, much appreciated mate.
I agree with your assessment of the Cowboys, Warriors and Bulldogs, but I think you are selling the Broncos a bit short. With the level of talent at their disposal, and with a more focused and engaged playing group, I can’t see them replicating what happened last season. Yes, the spine is still a massive concern and I believe it will keep them out of the Top 8, but there is enough talent across the park to push the Broncos up a few places from their dismal finish in 2020. In saying all of that, I hate the Broncos and hope they come last.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

Is Todd Payten the man to fix their defence?? He did a good job with the Warriors last season, but they still conceded some monster scores. In saying that, he probably has more to work with at the Cowboys than he did in New Zealand.

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

Morning Max.
I agree that the Dogs will struggle this season. Their roster is still lacking depth and quality in quite a few positions.
However moving forward, and focusing specifically on their spine, I think they’re in better shape than a fair few other clubs. Over the next 2-3 years, I would take Canterbury’s spine over the likes of St George Illawarra, North Queensland, Brisbane, Wests and New Zealand. And if they sign a quality hooker after the 2021 season, they’ll be in even better shape.
Stay positive my friend!

New beginnings: The NRL clubs looking for a fresh start in 2021

Thanks RS, you are too kind. And my apologies that my article did not put you to sleep, as is the case with much of my work.

I do remember the signing of Asotasi from the Dogs, and you are right that he marked the first major signing for the club after readmission to the competition. I think Souths were hoping that he would have the kind of impact that Burgess and Inglis achieved, but unfortunately their squad was just too weak at the time. Roy gave it a red and green hot crack, but the task was too much for one man.

Makings of a champion: How the NRL top eight was built – Part 2

Was just checking that you were reading Tim. You passed. Canberra is very beautiful. You have the…ah well the…lake. It’s kinda wet I guess.

Makings of a champion: How the NRL top eight was built – Part 2

Thanks Paul. I would put the Dragons in the Representative Model. They just load up with rep players and hope for the best. No real plan, just sign and hope

Makings of a champion: How the NRL top eight was built – Part 2

I think it’s called the Tigers model.

Makings of a champion: How the NRL top eight was built – Part 2

I must admit that Cronulla were the hardest of the top 8 sides to classify. Maybe I just like that song.

Makings of a champion: How the NRL top eight was built – Part 2

It’s a fair question. I’d say the club exists to win football games. That should always be the focus and top priority. Winning then has the flow on effect of engaging fans, boosting membership and increasing the health of your club. From this point, I think a club can then consider the community based activities you mention.

But without winning, nothing matters. Just look at the Broncos.

Makings of a champion: How the NRL top eight was built – Part 2

That’s a fair point. I would say that they are trying to transition away from the Superstar model. After being burnt by the likes of Ash Taylor and Bryce Cartwright, and putting the David Fifita contract to one side, I think the Titans will look to invest more shrewdly.

They signed Tino for average money, and got Herman for the Knights on the cheap. And in addition to Fifita, the players they are building the team around (Brimson, Fogarty) are either local juniors or cheap signings.

Makings of a champion: How the NRL top eight was built – Part 2

I think you are about to witness a transformation in two of them.

The Titans are using the Coaching and Culture model and it’s paying early dividends. I’m very interested to watch their development next season.

And with Gus on board, I’m certain the Warriors will play the long game and institute the Junior Development model. If he can set up the right pathways, they could be a force in years to come.

Makings of a champion: How the NRL top eight was built – Part 2