Coach or Players

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1. Do we have a coaching problem?
2. Do we have a cattle problem?
3. Do we have both?

Due to significant variables, it is impossible to provide an objective answer to all questions...but they're still interesting questions to say the least.

1. Bennett has the Dolphins humming and their roster is inferior to ours. They play a simple game and rely on effort and commitment to win football matches. It might not get them a premiership, but they'll certainly compete and make their supporters proud. Therefore, you have to wonder why we cannot play with the same level of enthusiasm and dedication to at least compete each week. With a superior roster to the Dolphins, why are we not displaying a similar effort?

Going back to look at Seibold's 2nd year with the Broncos, you'll see that they won their first two matches (something we also achieved this year), before losing 6 in a row by huge score lines. They only won a solitary game from that point on, regularly giving up 40+ points in the process. For a guy who claims his bread and butter is defence, his sides sure leak points. Then you have to look at Hasler's final tenure at Manly; outside of 2019, we continually leaked points, even in 2021 and even in games we won.

Did we just replace a failing coach with another failing coach or is it the cattle?

2. Again, using the Dolphins as a sample, a star studded roster is not necessary to compete and win football games. However, they have a tough and competitive forward pack; something we do not have. A lot has been said about our edges and sure, Parker and Harper have many shortcomings, but they'd be serviceable if we could win the battle in the middle third of the field. Penrith ran through us from the opening whistle on Saturday. We could not slow their ruck down due to poor contact and a lack of line speed. This meant they could shift the ball to the edges off fast play-the-balls against a retreating defensive line. Of course the edges will be exposed accordingly. It also meant they could kick from good field position, earn repeat sets, gain six again advantages and turn the screws. This means fatigue for us. This means forwards struggling to make yards when we finally get the ball (a paltry 267m is all they could muster in the first half).

Jake and Olakau'atu compete and Bully has been using his leg speed to good effect, but there is not much else to like about what we do in the middle. Which brings me to the next glaring problem; Croker! God love him but he is not a first grade 9. He is all heart and a toiler but he cannot create enough variety around the ruck and provide the kind of service required to consistently get our pack up the field. Lose the yardage battle and you go along way to losing the game.

In my opinion, there are obvious problems in the forwards and they have a domino effect on the way our backs perform.

3. I do have concerns about Seibold...something just doesn't sit right. Like a lot of people, I think Flanno would have been a better choice but that was out of our control. A quality 9 and a couple of competitive props with leg speed, would go a long way to improving our standing in the game. A lot has been said about DCE (and fair enough) but he is clearly going nowhere and can be serviceable behind a pack that is moving us up the field. The long and the short of it is Seibold is probably not the master coach we all want him to be, but one has to think we'd be more competitive with a genuine hooker and some quality go forward.

Note: on any given day, Paseka, Aloaia, Keppie, Bullemor, Tuilagi and co. can be effective, but none are consistent. Quality forwards in the NRL turn up and play the same way week in, week out. Jake T is a great example. For this reason, I reserve my judgement when the likes of Paseka or Aloaia rip in for a game, because I am yet to see them do it consistently for any length of time. In my opinion, to assume the pack is good enough because they occasionally play a strong game, is a fallacy.
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Can I also say that I think the reason our supporters are going off after the last couple of weeks, is down to the fact that it looked like we might be turning a corner. Our bubble has been burst after so much promise and that is hard to take.
Team P W L PD Pts
12 9 3 83 22
13 10 3 80 22
13 9 4 110 20
12 7 5 64 18
12 7 5 -37 18
13 7 6 133 16
13 7 6 81 16
13 7 6 47 16
13 7 6 -34 16
13 6 6 27 15
13 6 6 26 15
14 7 7 -26 14
13 6 7 -47 14
13 4 9 -111 10
12 3 9 -123 10
12 3 9 -136 10
12 2 10 -137 8
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