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DT NRL Pre-Season Report Card

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Eagles2nv, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Eagles2nv

    Eagles2nv Sea you in the finals 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +2,103 /49
    Guess who scored an A+

    NRL pre-season report cards: How each club is travelling ahead of the 2016 season
    January 30, 2016 12:00am
    PAUL CRAWLEYThe Daily Telegraph

    SEVEN days, and counting.

    That’s how long until the footy is back.

    The Auckland Nines kick off next Saturday and for many clubs it can’t come soon enough.

    From drug overdoses to the dumping of Dave Smith, Russell Crowe’s run-in with Luke Keary and Mitchell Pearce’s Australia Day embarrassment, the game has rolled from one drama to the next.

    Today, The Saturday Telegraph looks back over the ups and downs for your club over the summer.

    *This is not necessarily about ranking the teams for 2016, but delivering our pre-season report card.


    Wayne Bennett works in mysterious ways. You’ll never know if his post-grand final blow-up over the golden point was designed to take the heat off Ben Hunt but whatever the case, it worked. Rightfully rated favourites and the recruitment of James Roberts only strengthened the NRL’s best roster.


    They say no news is good news and the fact we haven’t heard Ricky Stuart scream once over the summer suggests Canberra are on track for a big year. Recruited well with the addition of Aidan Sezer, Elliott Whitehead and Adam Clydesdale. Even Des Hasler rates them the “danger side”.

    The Bulldogs let halfback Trent Hodkinson go. Picture: Gregg Porteous

    Have stayed under the radar which is the way coach Des Hasler likes it. There has to be a question mark over the decision to let an Origin half with Trent Hodkinson’s experience go to gamble on young Moses Mbye. Also picked up Will Hopoate at the expense of Tim Lafai.


    A scandal-free summer in the Shire is a minor miracle in itself. Some good judges reckon this will be their best chance to win that elusive premiership and keeping hold of Dally M rookie of the year Jack Bird won’t hurt.


    The contract forgery stuff-up that gave James Roberts his get-out card is unforgivable. To top it off, young half Kane Elgey suffered a season-ending knee injury on the first day back at training in the new year.


    Provided us with the funniest story of the off-season when a Canadian theatre critic broke news of Martin Taupau’s move to Manly when an email was sent to the wrong J Kelly. Even allowing for that, the Sea Eagles still win the award for most improved with Bob Fulton’s influence a masterstroke.

    Martin Taupau’s move to Manly had a funny side.
    STORM: B+

    The big pre-season story in Melbourne is still to come. Craig Bellamy told me again the other day he won’t make a decision on his future until “at least” after the trials. The word down south is it is looking likely Bellamy will take up the option of coaching through to the end of 2018.

    Cooper Cronk’s future also hangs in the balance.


    Nathan Brown has drawn a line in the sand with his “my way or the highway’’ policy. It probably cost Jarrod Mullen the captaincy after he was caught breaking the injured players’ alcohol policy, while Brown also told young Joseph Tapine he will sit on the bench for NSW Cup if he doesn’t re-sign with the club.


    Haven’t heard a lot of negative talk from across the ditch which is good news for Andrew McFadden, who needs a big start to the season to save his job. The recruitment of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke has handed McFadden a top-four roster. Now the trick is making it work.


    They went on a tour with the premiership trophy but other than that the Cowboys have dodged the summer spotlight. Call it the bonus of living in Townsville. Imagine the pressure on the premiers if their headquarters were at Redfern.

    Michael Jennings’ arrival at the Eels came out of nowhere.
    EELS: B

    Could be an “A” but have a few issues to resolve. The late pick-up of Michael Jennings came from nowhere but the Eels are still awaiting the NRL’s verdict to see if they start the season on minus four competition points.

    Of course, there is that pending Supreme Court showdown with Will Hopoate that comes to a head late next month.

    If Parramatta are forced to hand Hopoate a payout, that money will go on to their salary cap, which is why other clubs are watching with interest.


    It seems so long ago Phil Gould dropped the axe on Ivan Cleary. As hard as it was to understand, Gould has charged Anthony Griffin to shake the joint up, dumping Peter Wallace for Matt Moylan as captain. It’s no secret Griffin and Wallace have history from their days at the Broncos, but no question Moylan is Penrith’s future.


    Surprise semi-finalists last year and haven’t put a foot wrong over summer. Made some significant changes in the backline following the arrival of Kurt Mann and Tim Lafai.


    A disastrous pre-season.

    It started with a drug scandal that cost the Rabbitohs Dylan Walker, and finished with Russell Crowe kicking Luke Keary off his property after a bonding session nearly ended in blows. In between that, there was talk Adam Reynolds wasn’t happy and that the Broncos have pinned a target on Greg Inglis. But all the dramas won’t make a lick of difference if Sam Burgess fires up and Inglis stays fit.

    The Roosters will start the year without Mitchell Pearce.

    It’s line ball between the Roosters and Rabbitohs as to who had the worst off-season. The Roosters just scrape home. On the back of losing James Maloney, Michael Jennings and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, they now start the year without Mitchell Pearce. That’s not forgetting the unrest that followed the club’s secret negotiations with Robbie Farah that left Jake Friend far from happy.


    New chief executive Justin Pascoe has done a pretty good job trying to settle the feud between Jason Taylor and Robbie Farah. Still, you get the feeling Taylor would be looking over his shoulder given Pascoe’s mate Ivan Cleary is still looking for work.


    If they were an NRL club you’d almost have them wooden-spoon favourites. Don’t have a captain and have lost their two highest paid players over the summer in Dave Smith and Shane Richardson. I asked one club boss recently what the NRL should do with Richardson’s long-awaited blueprint. The answer: “Burn it.”
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • brad

      brad Well-Known Member

      +4,350 /159
      Pretty spot on id think. I also have to agree with hasler that the raiders could be dangerous. We are very very dangerous. Still dont know what all the fuss is about Brisbane besides the favourable draw. We will see .
      • Agree Agree x 3
      • Shoe1

        Shoe1 Well-Known Member

        +7,210 /106
        About the only thing I disagree with us the statement about Roberts strengthening the Broncs. He is many notches below hodges, and on a par with Copley.
        • Agree Agree x 1
        • andyvb

          andyvb Well-Known Member

          +523 /43
          I agree, Roberts is rocks and diamonds. Canberra young forwards Shannon Boyd and Paul Vaughan are going to be top players
          • Agree Agree x 1
          • HoldenV8

            HoldenV8 Well-Known Member

            +10,520 /173
            If Roberts wasn't as quick as he is he'd be a fringe first grader at best. I'm sure it'll improve under Bennett who is no dummy, but his defense needs a LOT of work.

            Not to sure about the Raiders. IMO they relied way too much on Austin last year. To go further others are going to need to step up.

            I feel sorry for Matty Ballin. He's either going to spend the year in NSW Cup with Taylor to scared to actually drop Farah for fear of a lynching, or he's going to play in a team where making it out of the bottom 4 will be an achievement. He deserves better than that.

            As I've said about the Speels, all backs and no forwards does not make for a premiership contender. They should improve, but not as much as their fans think. They've lost Lussick in what was basically a swap for Hasson. They've had to cut Pauli Pauli (who according to Peter Sterling the Speels had big wraps on) to fit Michael "I hate Parramatta" Jennings under the cap. And they've got a 5/8 to play halfback and his only reason for being there is his undying love for the Dalai and the overs they are paying him.

            The only thing that worries me about Manly is that it might take a while for new combinations to work. Snake won't have his combo with Foreign, though he does score a few tries thanks to Cherry. Plus we have a lot of new faces. We're all hoping that the combinations will be sorted in the trials in we'll fire from round 1, but it might take longer than that. Walker will be interesting. He might be a former international and a premiership winning centre, but he's a virtual unknown as a first grade pivot. Its a good thing his coach was one of the best in his day. Doesn't hurt to have some old 5/8 named Fulton hanging around giving tips either. I'm also interested to see how young Tommy goes in his first full season of NRL. I hear he's bulked up to around 100 kg's. I hope it hasn't come at the expense of speed.
            • Agree Agree x 1
              Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
            • Rusty Cage

              Rusty Cage Active Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

              +393 /11
              Did this really come from the telegraph? One of the less sensationalist articles of this kind I've read for a while. Rothfield must still be on holidays!
              • Funny Funny x 1
              • pjayz

                pjayz Well-Known Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

                +4,272 /81
                They were seconds away from winning the comp last year - I'd say that's why.
                • Agree Agree x 1
                • Mark from Brisbane

                  Mark from Brisbane Living the dream Premium Member

                  +19,665 /383
                  Those summations are pretty fair I'd say, the A+ for us is simply because of recruitment , it's yet to be seen if these will turn into Diamonds for us.

                  Let's not forget, up to 2015 we have had a very settled, established line up for years , our biggest challenge in 2016 will be settling in the new combinations.

                  We as fans will have to have patience , I expect more losses than wins in the first 4-6 weeks, but if that reverses I'll be over the moon.
                • jbb/james

                  jbb/james Well-Known Member Premium Member

                  +1,493 /35
                  Im not so concerned about the combination thing at manly. Apart from a new hooker the playmaking is still the same. Getting hodges out of that rotation is an awesome bonus. Man he was schizo

                  Giving cherry more scope is better. At times we looked too organised with foran doing what he does, relentlessly

                  As for the rest, its just tough nuts whose sole job is to go out a rip heads off and tear a few new ones

                  As long as manlys backline gets room to move and fast play the balls, with cherry, stewy and lioney lioney out wide they will conjure up points, with speedters like walker and turbo to assist
                  • Funny Funny x 1
                  • Mark from Brisbane

                    Mark from Brisbane Living the dream Premium Member

                    +19,665 /383
                    Hope you are right buddy!!
                  • brad

                    brad Well-Known Member

                    +4,350 /159
                    That was last year . Its a much stronger looking comp this season . We will see.

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