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One, six, seven and nine: how does the spine of your NRL side rate for the 2012 seaso

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by swoop, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. swoop

    swoop Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +1,543 /26
    By Trent Hile FOX SPORTS January 17, 2012 11:43AM

    Nine, seven, six and one ... they're the numbers that matter when it comes to your NRL team. Source: Fox Sports
    Fullback, five-eighth, halfback and hooker: they're the four key playing positions that form the backbone of a rugby league team.

    You need only look at the spine of Queensland's all-conquering Origin outfit - Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith - to see what impact four key players can have on the troops around them.

    "It starts at nine, you get a seven, you get a six and a one and you build around that," Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens once said.

    Take a look at the players who will form the spine of your club's side in 2012 and tell us how each team rates.


    Fullback: Josh Hoffman
    Five-eighth: Corey Norman
    Halfback: Peter Wallace
    Hooker: Andrew McCullough

    Having lost the best five-eighth in the game, the Broncos face a difficult task of finding a replacement for Darren Lockyer in 2012. Teenage prodigy Corey Norman is touted as Lockyer's heir apparent, despite being overlooked in favour of Matt Gillett when the veteran No.6 was injured for Brisbane’s preliminary final loss to eventual premiers Manly. Coach Anthony Griffin will be relying on Peter Wallace to step up and adopt Lockyer’s mercurial game management in the halves. Andrew McCullough continued to impress in the hooker role last season, and he is developing into a potential long-term prospect. Josh Hoffman was a certainty to represent New Zealand in the Four Nations if not for ill-timed injury.


    Fullback: Ben Barba
    Five-eighth: Kris Keating
    Halfback: Trent Hodkinson
    Hooker: Michael Ennis

    One of Des Hasler’s first points of call in his new post at Belmore will be getting the four "vertebrae" of the Canterbury spine in sync. The Bulldogs attack was a shambles for much of last season, and much of the onus will lie with new skipper Michael Ennis to direct the ship in 2012. Hasler resumes his mentoring of former Sea Eagles halfback Trent Hodkinson, but the loss of Jamal Idris leaves the outside backs looking thin on try-scoring potential, leaving fullback Ben Barba with plenty to do. Kris Keating will attempt to add some spark at the five-eighth position.


    Fullback: Matt Bowen
    Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston
    Halfback: Robert Lui
    Hooker: Aaron Payne

    Robert Lui may have been a low-key off-season signing, but his move to the Sunshine State could prove significant for North Queensland Cowboys in 2012. At long last, Johnathan Thurston may have found a suitable ally to share the playmaking load. Thurston’s switch to five-eighth will add a new dimension to the already potent Cowboys attack. Add to the mix the electrifying Matt Bowen at fullback and a scheming Aaron Payne at hooker, and it’s easy to see why there’s excitement aplenty in Townsville this year.


    Fullback: Kyle Stanley
    Five-eighth: Jamie Soward
    Halfback: Ben Hornby
    Hooker: Nathan Fien/Cameron King

    The Dragons will begin life after Wayne Bennett with the equally difficult task of replacing Darius Boyd at fullback. Kyle Stanley is regarded as a more-than-worthy replacement for the premiership-winning fullback. It will be interesting to see whether new coach Steve Price adopts a similar pattern of attack as Bennett, with Jamie Soward the cornerstone of almost all of St George’s attacking ploys in the past two seasons. Veteran skipper Ben Hornby again takes the role of servicing the Dragons’ mobile forwards. Price has a few options at hooker; Nathan Fien may fill the starting or bench positions for the No.9 role and act as a back-up for Hornby, while former Junior Kangaroo hooker Cameron King should be given a crack at some stage after missing all of last season with a devastating injury suffered in the World Club Challenge.


    Fullback: Jarryd Hayne
    Five-eighth: Ben Roberts
    Halfback: Chris Sandow
    Hooker: Matt Keating

    After many seasons of trialling, chopping and changing, the Eels have finally thrown the chequebook and have landed a quality halfback in Chris Sandow. The former Rabbitohs pivot should give the wayward Eels some direction around the park, and he could allow Jarryd Hayne to return to his power running game at fullback that proved so successful in previous seasons. Ben Roberts is understood to be coach Stephen Kearney’s first pick at five-eighth, and the former Bulldogs players could be set to finally fulfil his potential. Matt Keating should retain the hooking duties and feed a potentially devastating attack.


    Fullback: Darius Boyd
    Five-eighth: Kurt Gidley
    Halfback: Jarrod Mullen
    Hooker: Danny Buderus

    Knights skipper Kurt Gidley is expected to shift into the halves to accommodate Darius Boyd at fullback in Newcastle’s new-look outfit this season. Gidley will join injury-plagued halfback Jarrod Mullen, who could push for an Origin spot with a strong start to the year. Wayne Bennett has called upon the assistance of returning Knights favourite Danny Buderus to fill the hooking duties. In that quartet - coupled with decent back-up options in emerging stars Ryan Stig and Tyrone Roberts - Newcastle boast one of the strongest spines in the competition.


    Fullback: Lachlan Coote/Michael Gordon
    Five-eighth: Travis Burns/Harry Siejka
    Halfback: Luke Walsh
    Hooker: Kevin Kingston/Nafe Seluini

    Penrith coach Ivan Cleary is understood to be keeping an open mind about the contentious fullback position, and he may rely on trial form to decide whether Michael Gordon or Lachlan Coote secures the spot. Gordon was superb at fullback last season, before a knee injury ended it, while Coote has been considered a long-term prospect in the position for some time. An equally intriguing battle looms between Travis Burns and young-gun Harry Siejka in the five-eighth role. The winner will partner Luke Walsh, who will look to bounce back after a relatively quiet 2011. Kevin Kingston should share the hooking duties with the exciting former Warriors player Nafe Seluini.


    Fullback: Nathan Merritt
    Five-eighth: John Sutton
    Halfback: Adam Reynolds
    Hooker: Issac Luke

    Much has been put on the shoulders of young Adam Reynolds in the face of Chris Sandow’s departure to Parramatta. After spending the majority of 2011 out with injury, the untried playmaker looms as the only option for Michael Maguire in the key No.7 role. John Sutton shapes as his likely partner at five-eighth and Souths fans will be praying for a consistent year from the giant No.6. Nathan Merritt may continue his push for a representative wing berth in the less-familiar but equally fitting fullback position for the Bunnies, while the unflappable Issac Luke will menace oppositions with his aggressive defence and dangerous dummy-half running.


    Fullback: Josh Dugan
    Five-eighth: Terry Campese
    Halfback: Sam Williams/Josh McCrone
    Hooker: Glen Buttriss/Shaun Berrigan/ Travis Waddell

    Canberra’s hopes of a premiership tilt lie with the fitness and form of Terry Campese, who endured a wretched 2011 campaign. Knee and groin injuries combined to restrict the 27-year-old Kangaroos and NSW five-eighth to just eight minutes of game time. His role is even more pivotal as the mentor to rookies Sam Williams and Josh McCrone, with either to fill the No.7 spot. Josh Dugan again takes the duties at the back. The battle for the hooker's jersey is far-less clear-cut, with Glen Buttriss, Travis Waddell and veteran former Test utility Shaun Berrigan all options for David Furner to consider ahead of the season opener.


    Fullback: Anthony Minichiello
    Five-eighth: Braith Anasta/Daniel Mortimer
    Halfback: Mitchell Pearce
    Hooker: Jake Friend

    The Roosters will attempt to wipe a horrendous 2011 season from their memories as they begin life without 2010 Dally M medallist Todd Carney. Braith Anasta is expected to shift back to five-eighth as the Roosters prepare to welcome Warriors recruit James Maloney in 2013. New recruit Daniel Mortimer could slot into the No.6, but he has been training at fullback and hooker as well as in the halves in his bid to break back into the top grade. Veteran custodian Anthony Minichiello continues to wind back the clock with his ever-reliable hands at fullback, while Jake Friend enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2011 for the Tricolours. There will be plenty of pressure on Mitchell Pearce to prove himself if he wishes to retain the Blues halfback jersey after a below-par 2011.

    NRL Grand Final: Manly v Warriors
    Premiers: Manly win NRL grand final + 342 Gallery: All the colour and passion from NRL grand final Marks: GF player ratings: Manly + 29 Review: GF player ratings: Warriors + 19 Your say: Talking Points: NRL grand final + 101 Back to back: Manly celebrate with eye to 2012 + 58 Upside: Warriors future bright despite loss: Luck

    Fullback: Brett Stewart
    Five-eighth: Kieran Foran
    Halfback: Daly Cherry-Evans
    Hooker: Matt Ballin

    Manly will take to Brookvale Oval this season with the same well-oiled spine that took them to a premiership in 2011. Star five-eighth Kieran Foran established himself as one of the leading pivots in the game, and he will again lead from the front with his aggressive and relentless style. His halves partner, Daly Cherry-Evans, is a leading contender to fill the void left by Darren Lockyer in the Queensland halves for Origin. Brett Stewart looks back to near peak form after successfully returning from injury last year. Matt Ballin is one of the most underrated players in the game, and he will continue to bide his time behind Cameron Smith for representative honours.


    Fullback: Nathan Gardner
    Five-eighth: Todd Carney
    Halfback: Chad Townsend/Wade Graham/Jeff Robson
    Hooker: Isaac De Gois/John Morris

    One of the most intriguing sub-plots of the 2011 premiership race will no doubt be the tale of Todd Carney’s season. The Sharks have handed a lifeline to the troubled star, who no doubt has the talent to propel Cronulla to the finals but remains a liability with his history of off-field behaviour. The Sharks have a wealth of options to partner Carney, with youngsters Chad Townsend and Wade Graham impressing last season. Jeff Robson also links with the Shire club from Parramatta. Former Knights hooker Isaac De Gois reunites with the Sharks, and he may get first crack ahead of John Morris, while livewire Nathan Gardner will look to bounce back from a mixed back half to the year.


    Fullback: Billy Slater
    Five-eighth: Gareth Widdop
    Halfback: Cooper Cronk
    Hooker: Cameron Smith

    The Storm will again head into the season boasting a world-class spine - undoubtedly the best combination in the competition. As usual, their fortunes depend largely on the fitness of their big three of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith. But it’s fair to say that five-eighth and England international Gareth Widdop is quickly joining the trio as a class act. The only headache heading into the opening round for Craig Bellamy is the state of Billy Slater’s shoulder after the Kangaroos fullback smashed a collarbone to pieces in the Four Nations series.


    Fullback: Mitch Brown/Tim Moltzen
    Five-eighth: Benji Marshall
    Halfback: Tim Moltzen/Jacob Miller
    Hooker: Robbie Farah

    The Tigers are tipped to be a genuine premiership threat this season after consecutive preliminary final exits. But first, Tim Sheens must determine who will join Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah in the key four positions. Tim Moltzen shapes as the logical replacement for Robert Lui at halfback, although youngster Jacob Miller has been earmarked as a potential suitor to the No.7 jumper. If Miller impresses in the pre-season, Sheens may be inclined to use Moltzen at fullback. Utility Mitch Brown has also proved a reliable option at the back. As always, the Tigers will rely heavily on the synchrony between Marshall and Farah to ignite their scintillating attack.


    Fullback: William Zillman
    Five-eighth: Beau Henry/Greg Bird
    Halfback: Scott Prince
    Hooker: Matt Srama

    While the Titans were one of the biggest players in the free-agent market last year, their spine for 2012 could remain untouched from that which contributed to the club’s first wooden spoon. The bulk of responsibility will again fall on Scott Prince. The veteran playmaker endured a disappointing spate of form on top of the Titans’ woes in 2011, and he will look to stake a claim for Darren Lockyer’s vacant Queensland halves jersey. The Titans may have unearthed a long-term prospect in the form of young hooker Matt Srama, who will take over from the departing Nathan Friend. Dumped Newcastle five-eighth Beau Henry will be given his chance to cement his spot in first grade, while the versatile William Zillman appears a logical choice to fill the fullback position.


    Fullback: Kevin Locke
    Five-eighth: James Maloney
    Halfback: Shaun Johnson
    Hooker: Nathan Friend

    With three of the most exciting young talents in the NRL filling key positions for the Warriors again this season, there is plenty of reason for fans to be optimistic. Shaun Johnson and Kevin Locke have established their spots in the top grade, and they have the potential to develop into superstars of the game. Their explosive speed and fearless approach will cause nightmares for opposition defences. Then there’s Roosters-bound five-eighth James Maloney, who is coming off his best season to date and will be keen to finish his tenure in New Zealand on a high. Former Gold Coast hooker Nathan Friend will provide more than 130 games of NRL experience in the No.9 jersey.


    Our 1,6,7 and 9 are the best in the NRL imo and have a premiership to prove it, but they still rave about the mexican four.

    BTW Dan I tried to submit this through the articles section a number of times but it didn't work. Sorry
  2. Cameron

    Cameron Cambo

    +669 /35
    Love some of the morons who have commented on there.
  3. manlyfan76

    manlyfan76 Parra Trolls are the best. Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +8,059 /174
    I think that Brisbane will hurt the most while readjusting their spine, Andy Griffin is not the worlds best chiropractor.

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