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Club-by-club: Your team's burning questions for season 2014

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +2,115 / 14

    Was 2013 the last hurrah for a golden generation?

    MOST had Manly closer to a retirement home than ANZ Stadium on grand final day last year.

    Having such a terrific halves pairing in Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans always gives them a chance to do well. Geoff Toovey will be relying on Anthony Watmough, Steve Matai, Jamie Lyon and Glenn and Brett Stewart to drag their battered bodies through another campaign.

    The Sea Eagles have lost some grunt with Brent Kite and George Rose moving on.

    Key recruit: Jayden Hodges, cousin of Justin, is a prospect.

    Biggest loss: George Rose, both literally and figuratively.

    Worst headline: Toovey spontaneously combusts.

    the rest


    Will the elephant ever leave the room?

    THE Sharks played last season with a cloud hanging over them - and they start the year with it there again.

    Shane Flanagan and his team did a remarkable job holding it all together to make the finals, but without the coach, the weight might be a little too heavy this time.

    No one knows just what impact the ASADA findings might have on the playing ranks. But with Paul Gallen as their leader, this is one tough football team.

    Key recruit: Blake Ayshford over-promised and under-delivered at the Tigers.

    Biggest loss: Tyrone Peachey to the Panthers.

    Worst headline: Key players suspended over peptide scandal.



    Is this the end of the big three?

    NO players have more miles in their legs than Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater - and it showed as they went out of the 2013 finals in straight sets.

    By carrying their club deep into the finals every year and playing such a dominant hand in Origin, it can't be a surprise that it is taking its toll.

    There is also the massive offer from the Broncos for Smith to contend with as well.

    Losing Gareth Widdop is a major blow because this was his time to step up.

    Key recruit: George Rose - and Melbourne restaurants couldn't be happier.

    Biggest loss: Widdop is reaching his playmaking peak.

    Worst headline: Smith signs with Broncos.



    Where is the Coal Train?

    DOES that old expression, looks like Tarzan plays like Jane, ring a bell?

    The great frustration with Dave Taylor is that everyone can see what he should become. At 25, he's not a big kid anymore. He's a hardened forward, who's played for Queensland and Australia.

    Titans coach John Cartwright will surely be looking for more destruction and less pretty football from one of the most imposing players in the game.

    Running off the example of fellow forwards Greg Bird and Nate Myles should be a start.

    Halves Aidan Sezer and Albert Kelly have points in them and the outside backs are explosive.

    Key recruit: Brad Tighe might offer more than Jamal Idris at centre.

    Biggest loss: Idris, on potential alone.

    Worst headline: Taylor dropped.



    Benji who?

    IT'S a new era for a team that should have won more than the single premiership during the Benji Marshall era.

    Teenager Luke Brooks has already announced himself as a future star, impressing people like Andrew Johns in the process.

    What will Michael Potter do with Curtis Sironen? Is it time to bite the bullet and shift him into the back row?

    Much of the playmaking will fall to Robbie Farah early on as he leads the youngsters through the minefield of NRL football.

    They need early success or the pressure will again be on Potter to keep his job.

    Key recruit: Pat Richards returns home.

    Biggest loss: Benji Marshall, obviously.

    Worst headline: Farah joins the Auckland Blues.



    Will Tomkins live up to his billing?

    SAM Tomkins comes to the NRL with a bigger reputation than Sam Burgess. He has been a superstar in the UK Super League.

    It's easy to see him running brilliant sweep lines, except the Warriors play more off-the-cuff than the structured style of the Bulldogs.

    Kevin Locke also outplayed him in that classic World Cup semi-final.

    Tomkins will show flashes of genius this season, but his best might come next year when his body gets used to the week-to-week battering of NRL football.

    The Warriors' hopes will rest with Shaun Johnson taking advantage of a monster pack. This is a team built for finals football if their heads are in the game.

    Key recruit: Tomkins is an international star.

    Biggest loss: Elijah Taylor was an unsung hero.

    Worst headline: Tomkins is a flop.


    Will T-Rex find his Jurrasic spark

    ARGUABLY, the most maligned player in the game last year was T-Rex Tony Williams, who struggled to find his feet after switching from Manly.

    Even with the Ben Barba drama, many still looked at Williams as the club's biggest disappointment.

    Fans expect more from one of the most destructive forces in the game and, if he fires up, they could improve even without Barba.

    Key recruit: Reni Maitua has a lot to prove for a variety of reasons.

    Key loss: Barba's absence takes away the impact of their sweep plays.

    Worst headline: Sam 'Dogzilla' Kasiano becomes first 150kg footballer.



    Which Ben Barba will show up?

    HE was lord of the tries at the Bulldogs in 2012, but the wheels fell off for Ben Barba, both on and off the field, last season. At his best, he solves the one deficiency at the Broncos - lack of attack. At his worst, he could become a distraction.

    You could mount a reasonable case that the best "Queensland'' team in the NRL is the Melbourne Storm, and that must hurt.

    Coach Anthony Griffin needs a big year, too.

    Key recruit: Barba.

    Biggest loss: Scott Prince had a big end to the year.

    Worst headline: Barba goes off the rails.



    Does anyone have a cattle prod for season kick-off?

    SLOW starts have left the Cowboys fighting tooth-and-nail just to make the finals. It cost coach Neil Henry his job last year.

    Paul Green takes over a squad with the game's best playmaker in Johnathan Thurston, Test props Matt Scott and James Tamou, and talent across the board.

    However, the Cowboys' major problem is dummy-half. Is Cameron King the right man at No. 9?

    Key recruit: The coach. Green brings fresh ideas and a sharp footy mind.

    Biggest loss: Matt Bowen will go down as one of the Cowboys' greats.

    Worst headline: It isn't easy being Green.



    Will Price survive the season?

    WITH Jamie Soward gone, Dragons fans will be looking for someone else to blame if they get off to a slow start - and coach Steve Price will be the man. They have another headgear, but a different halfback under it, with former Raider Sam Williams more inclined to take on the line.

    After a few seasons with Wayne Bennett's hand-me-downs, Price has his own team - Williams, Gareth Widdop, Dylan Farrell and Joel Thompson are good signings.

    There is much more strike power this season.

    Key recruit: We can't split Williams or Widdop

    Biggest loss: Soward was their most influential player in their 2010 premiership year.

    Worst headline: Price first coach sacked in 2014.



    Is that Hayne on centre stage?

    Coming off a sensational World Cup, where he rejuvenated himself as a right centre, Jarryd Hayne has suddenly given new coach Brad Arthur - and NSW coach Laurie Daley - some options.

    Imagine the prospect of Hayne vs Greg Inglis, head-to-head, in Origin I.

    With Will Hopoate and Corey Norman arriving as potent sidekicks, Hayne will have some attacking thrust around him at long last.

    But size up-front and finding a forward enforcer remains a major concern at a club trying to climb off the bottom.

    Key recruit: All eyes will be on Will Hopoate in the trials.

    Biggest loss: Reni Maitua did his best in trying circumstances.

    Worst headline: Whacked by the wooden spoon - again



    Will Wayne Bennett bring back Paul Harragon?

    THIS might be a stretch, but you wouldn't put anything past Wayne Bennett.

    Every club he has coached has made at least one grand final but the window is closing at the Knights.

    He will again be relying on veteran hard heads such as Willie Mason, Jeremy Smith and Beau Scott and will be hoping Kurt Gidley has an injury free year.

    Key recruit: It would have been Russell Packer.

    Biggest loss: Danny Buderus was an inspiration.

    Worst headline: Bennett heads home to Queensland.



    Can Ivan Cleary find the secret to Jamal Idris?

    JAMAL Idris can be a lion or a pussy cat - which one will arrive at Penrith?

    Idris tops off a recruitment drive that landed new halves Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace, a grand final-winning prop in Brent Kite, Elijah Taylor and young guns Tyrone Peachey and Will Smith.

    Making the finals must be a minimum requirement, with all talk of five-year plans put back into the filing cabinet.

    Key recruit: Soward, if he finds his 2010 form.

    Biggest loss: Lachlan Coote. Good fullbacks are like diamonds.

    Worst headline: Gus unveils a new 10-year plan.



    Is that, ahem, a bad choke?

    SUCCESSIVE failures in grand final qualifiers puts enormous pressure on Souths to make their first grand final since 1971.

    As much as they say this squad is all about creating their own history, the premiership drought and expectations on the code's most successful club will be raised again at some stage.

    Sam Burgess must stay out of judiciary trouble.

    They still look a centre light and recent success has eroded some of their depth. The attack starts and ends with Greg Inglis - and that needs to change.

    Key recruit: Joel Reddy, which says it all really.

    Biggest loss: Dylan Farrell was a handy option out wide.

    Worst headline: Inglis out for season.



    Can they have a scandal free season?

    YOU have to feel for Raiders fans, with Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson sacked for off-field issues. Throw in Todd Carney, and it's a fair trifecta.

    One of the big 2014 plot lines will be Ricky Stuart going home to Canberra as he looks to revive a coaching career that took a hit at the Eels.

    Terry Campese discovering his running game after all the injuries and Anthony Milford settling in after a turbulent off-season, will be important.

    Key recruit: Stuart should bring a change of culture.

    Biggest loss: Replacing Blake Ferguson will be tough.

    Worst headline: Homesick Milford leaves mid-season.



    Will SBW become a distraction?

    SONNY Bill Williams is a team within a team and his final year in the NRL will be a major narrative all year.

    There's a reason no club has won back-to-back titles in a united competition since the Broncos in 1992-93 - it's bloody hard to do.

    Winning a premiership should do wonders for halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney at Origin level. They proved they can win big games, now it's time to do it for the Blues.

    Key recruit: Long-range forecast - Jackson Hastings will be a star.

    Biggest loss: Some of the hard edge goes with Luke O'Donnell's retirement.

    Worst headline: Sonny Bill takes up curling.

  2. wedgetail eagle

    wedgetail eagle Well-Known Member

    +1,724 / 10
    Not that I'm concerned, but the sacking of
    Sam Thaiday as captain has upset Bronc fans against Griffin.
    I know he has to do something, they had a lousy '13. I didn't think that was the answer tho".
  3. MissKate

    MissKate Well-Known Member Premium Member

    +1,021 / 7
    They sacked third man in to replace him with a couple of short term captains ready to anoint a new recruit as captain for 2015
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Moondog

    Moondog Grey-beard loon Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    Hervey Bay
    +3,526 / 32
    Looking forward to seeing them implode in 2014.
  5. mozgrame

    mozgrame Well-Known Member

    +4,565 / 45
    I thought he stood down? I do admit to not reading the article, just the headline. Their Brisbane fans are weak if this has upset them. Free him up to play his natural game. If something is broken, fix it. I do know a lot of Broncs fans here in CQ, and not one of them is upset by it. The people of Brisbane suck at seeing what is good for their own team.
  6. Las Vegas Blvd

    Las Vegas Blvd Active Member

    +53 / 0
    The roosters were far and away the best team last year , congrats to them , if they play like that this year they will be hard to beat ; thought Manly had them in the GF - but they just kept coming . Tooves will have to re jig his gameplan this year coz sometimes aggression is not enough .
  7. Killer03

    Killer03 Well-Known Member

    +2,698 / 27
    Whilst the Stewarts, Killer, Choc, Skivvie will be putting their bodies on the line again, none of them (did Skivvie play for a country at the World Cup?), played end of season....and this could be crucial for us in 2014. They should have gotten over the niggles, and then add to that Horo, Lawrence, Symonds, Hiku getting better. New recruits in Blair, Hodges, Lui, Starling. And U20s step up, Jake T. And Kingy back to full fitness........I'm optimistic this golden generation is about to turn platinum.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. mozgrame

    mozgrame Well-Known Member

    +4,565 / 45
    I still think by around round 6 or 7, the Dragons may gel nicely and shock a few teams and fans alike.

    I'll be interested to see if Mike Cooper can inspire or embarrass their forwards into firing a bit this year.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Las Vegas Blvd

    Las Vegas Blvd Active Member

    +53 / 0
    Im interested in how the 'Riff go , some new signings there also the WTigers post Benji
    • Like Like x 1
  10. wedgetail eagle

    wedgetail eagle Well-Known Member

    +1,724 / 10
    Thaiday probably did stand down.
    The articles I read used "dumped & axed",
    but we all know how excited the Papers get over things like this.
  11. double hoops

    double hoops Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +2,625 / 113
    It wasn't Thaidays idea to stand down = he got dumped.
  12. The Who

    The Who Well-Known Member

    Mona Vale
    +4,838 / 103
    No, sometimes you need to bribe the referee.
  13. Daddycool08

    Daddycool08 Well-Known Member

    +371 / 4
    Has that been proven?

    I wonder what reception Shayne Hayne will get when he referees his first game at Brookvale?:huh:
  14. HappilyManly

    HappilyManly MWTS Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +11,498 / 254
    Hayne got his Golden Handshake and has retired :cool:
  15. mickqld

    mickqld Sack Greenslime 2016 Tipping Competitor

    Gold Coast
    +3,744 / 57
    Biggest question for Manly is goal kicking. It was very poor last year and either Killer has to improve or give it to DCE or Matai.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Las Vegas Blvd

    Las Vegas Blvd Active Member

    +53 / 0
    The fact Wolfman had a barry crocker had nothing to do with Shane Hayne
  17. tookey

    tookey Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +4,250 / 131
    I wonder who set this facebook page up?

    • Like Like x 1
  18. wedgetail eagle

    wedgetail eagle Well-Known Member

    +1,724 / 10
    Saw a write up about OAK Penrith getting
    Jamal Idris.
    He was wearing their OAK jersey, can't be sure but I thought I noticed something about OAK on it.
    (Dang, can that sponsor be any bigger?)
  19. Daddycool08

    Daddycool08 Well-Known Member

    +371 / 4
    No, but the forward pass was. The knock-on was, the playing at the ball but a Rooters feed in the scrum was.

    Others may be able to elaborate further.
  20. HappilyManly

    HappilyManly MWTS Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +11,498 / 254
    Wolfie, as all wingers, is way down the defensive line.

    Hayne kept walking them down with biased penalties and thats why they were in kicking distance for their backs :mad:

    Why Choc, Horo missed SBW is hardly attributable to Wolfie not contesting two bombs.
    Why Snake weakened the FB position, by changing places with Wolfie remains mystery :huh:
    Why 2v didn't utilise the bench for longer game time for fresh Players is also strange.

    But, its in the past along with Hayne :p

    B2B starts in 2014 Manly :idea: :)
    • Like Like x 1

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