Players in best position vs Players in best combination

Bencher
FYI it's not a bad idea to skip the ramble and go straight to the discussion questions at the end.
Also; sidenote: The title is a little more broad than my main subject here. That's just so that this thread isn't limited to the below mini-yart and trbo-talk. After-all, the off season hasn't even begun yet! :lipssealed:

Personally, I think our centre/wing combos are looking pretty lame for next year.

I don't think it's neccessarily as simple as putting the best players in the best positions for us. For mine we can get a lot more out of this team, even without recruitment. Not to be 'trendy' but I would genuinely like to see Trbo shifted to the centres in 23'. Summed up; I think trbo is pretty much as good no matter where you put him in attack, rejuvenating our left-edge and adding urgency to the frontline of our defence (Koula is good on the other side).

At fullback Garrick is steadily improving and overall is perfectly adequate. It would be great to retain his simple Gutho-esque fullback role so that we can shift trbo and restore some much-needed dominance on our edges.

The pattern since 2020 (?) is that when our middle is contained (including trbo), our edges are essentially benign. Mute. Powerless. There has also been a huge lack of defencive urgency/class on our edges. Trbo has that in spades.

Garrick is a finisher for mine; good in open space, or as a link in the chain. However - like saab, like Harper - when Garrick takes runs from the wing he doesn't put so much as a scratch in the defencive line. That's OK because hitups aren't his strength. But it all shifts to the forwards. Further, our backline attacking plays are limited. Garrick is pretty suited to the edge when we are winning the forward battle, but our side clearly needs some major refining.

Principle: Put trbo on an edge to divide the attention of the opposition and improve edge-defence; 'divide and conquer'.
Left: Trbo [speed, presence, power, defence], Vaega/Tuipulotu/recruit​
Central: Garrick, Trbo [origin floating role] and the forwards.​
Right: Olakautau, Koula, Saab [speed-city w/ bonus of Koula's urgency in defence and Ola's power/presence].​

At the moment we are all middle. If our forwards don't win the battle there is a huge roll on effect because our left edge simply don't have the ability to divide any attention away. The middle gets choked, the right becomes easier to handle etc.

Rejigging the pieces seems like a much easier option than recruitment for mine. Also, it would be better on trbo's durability. Maybe im again just pointlessly re-arranging the deck cards??

Balanced Backline [theoretically]​
'By-Position' Backline​
1. Reuben Garrick1. Tom Trbojevic
2. Jason Saab2. Jason Saab
3. Tom Trbojevic [next to Tuilagi/Schuster]3. Brad Parker [next to Tuilagi/Schuster]
4. Tolu Koula [next to Olakautau]4. Tolu Koula [next to Olakautau]
5. Recruit / Raymond Vaega / Tuipulotu5. Reuben Garrick

Discussion Q's
1. On a day with a beaten forward pack, which do you prefer?
2. Is there actually any significant difference in 'rearranging the deck cards' in this scenario?
3. If it's significant, why is it likely this won't happen? Reputations? wages?

For mine it seems like we'd go from 1x ineffective winger (and attacking edge) and 1x overworked fullback ---> 1x competent fullback, 1x dominant floating-centre + significantly stronger defencive balance
 
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Bencher
Possible. And I can see you have put a lot of thought into this, but I can't see it happening.

To be honest, with his injury issues, I have also thought about options for Tom but it comes down to one thing. When playing, he is the best fullback in the game. There is no guarantee that time in the 12 or 13 will lower his chances of injury.

P.S. And for all those complaining about Jake's over inflated salary. We are getting Tom cheap as part of the deal. Injuries are one of those things you can never predict and are part and parcel of professional sport. If the boy comes good you won't be complaining.
 
It's only a game ....
Personally, I think our centre/wing combos are looking pretty lame for next year
Some have suggested that Turbo be moved to the centres to improve his longevity. He is such a good player that he would excel in any backline position. At club level it is unlikely this will happen in the foreseeable future. However, if it did, I think it would be best to play Garrick on the wing - he is our most reliable finisher & it is his best position. IMO, Koula would be much more potent at the back than Garrick. I also think it is likely Weekes would offer more at fullback than Garrick. I would be happy if a new centre with more firepower than Harper or Parker comes to the club next year. Olakau'atu is a great player, but I think his passing game needs to improve. He should be creating more opportunities for those around him. I wonder if it would be more benefit to the team if he plays middle rather than edge - more hit ups & more opportunities to bust teams open. My comments are a bit random - sorry if I haven't directly answered your questions.
 
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Reserve Grader
Some have suggested that Turbo be moved to the centres to improve his longevity. He is such a good player that he would excel in any backline position. At club level it is unlikely this will happen in the foreseeable future. However, if it did, I think it would be best to play Garrick on the wing - he is our most reliable finisher & it is his best position. IMO, Koula would be much more potent at the back than Garrick. I also think it is likely Weekes would offer more at fullback than Garrick. I would be happy if a new centre with more firepower than Harper or Parker comes to the club next year. Olakau'atu is a great player, but I think his passing game needs to improve. He should be creating more opportunities for those around him. I wonder if it would be more benefit to the team if he plays middle rather edge - more hit ups & more opportunities to bust teams open. My comments are a bit random - sorry if I haven't directly answered your questions.
Some good points you make here. Turbo to centre is strategically a very good idea on many levels (reasons you have mentioned but also others I couldn't be bothered getting into now) but unfortunately won't be happening any time soon. Interesting re Gauc, never thought of him in the middle but I don't mind the idea (that is, if he is even with us next year). Tbh, he has no real concept of running lines at the edges (DCE doesn't direct him appropriately, but he doesn't really give DCE the option, never running a decoy etc). I think at this stage in his career it would do him good getting a little more involved in the thick of things. He would probably be just as damaging. The sad thing is Manly was always renowned for producing some legendary kick arse 2nd rowers... it's been years and years, where did they all go??
 
Sea Eagle Lach
Premium Member
On a day with a beaten forward pack, which do you prefer?
Interesting options for sure but I think the forwards are the main problem, not the backs.

For several years we've had forwards that match it for periods, or even for some games, but not consistently. We've been patiently developing Keppie Sipley Paseka (extremely patiently developing Boyle) but something extra is needed to get the forwards up a level. Might be a dummy half, or an all-action prop or backrower.

Meanwhile Turbo to stay at the back. Centre is a far more limited position these days, even though Turbo managed to bob up around the park in Origin. (I wonder if Tuipulotu would like to be a second rower or bench utility?)
 
Bencher
Mate, YARTS have their own rules and laws haha.
Is it true YART stands for yet another Ryan teamlist ? You should be thrilled with the honour!!

Here's mine:

1 Tt
2 Saab
3 Koula
4 Scorpio
5 Garrick
6 ??? Not Schuster
7 DCE
8 Paseka
9 ??? Not Croker
10 Aloiai
11 Ola
12 ??? Not Schuster either
13 Jake

14 Croker
15 ???
16 ???
17 ???

If we can land 2 good props and a 9 (and remain relatively injury free) we are going deep.
 
Bencher
Some have suggested that Turbo be moved to the centres to improve his longevity. He is such a good player that he would excel in any backline position. At club level it is unlikely this will happen in the foreseeable future. However, if it did, I think it would be best to play Garrick on the wing - he is our most reliable finisher & it is his best position. IMO, Koula would be much more potent at the back than Garrick. I also think it is likely Weekes would offer more at fullback than Garrick. I would be happy if a new centre with more firepower than Harper or Parker comes to the club next year. Olakau'atu is a great player, but I think his passing game needs to improve. He should be creating more opportunities for those around him. I wonder if it would be more benefit to the team if he plays middle rather than edge - more hit ups & more opportunities to bust teams open. My comments are a bit random - sorry if I haven't directly answered your questions.
Koula came to mind too! I just haven’t personally seen too much of him at fullback so didn’t want to throw his name up
 
Bencher
Interesting options for sure but I think the forwards are the main problem, not the backs.

For several years we've had forwards that match it for periods, or even for some games, but not consistently. We've been patiently developing Keppie Sipley Paseka (extremely patiently developing Boyle) but something extra is needed to get the forwards up a level. Might be a dummy half, or an all-action prop or backrower.

Meanwhile Turbo to stay at the back. Centre is a far more limited position these days, even though Turbo managed to bob up around the park in Origin. (I wonder if Tuipulotu would like to be a second rower or bench utility?)
Definitely agree re: forwards. Infact, while this won’t single-handedly solve it, the idea is to take a bit of attention away from the middle so that it frees them up a bit more (in theory)

A few smart signings needed. At the end of the day id be happy to see Trbo on the field at all; be it at fullback or centre
 
First Grader
Premium Member
Fullback these days is arguably the most influential position on the field and Tom when fit is arguably the most influential player in the game.

In my mind it is utter madness to look to move Tom anywhere but fullback.

His ability to ball play, and inject himself through the middle is severely hampered by moving him to the centres not to mention what we lose defensively not only in his marshalling of the troops but also the last line of defense.

Your balanced back looks severely unbalanced to myself so it is a win to "by position" by the length of the straight and three laps on top
 
Bencher
Fullback these days is arguably the most influential position on the field and Tom when fit is arguably the most influential player in the game.

In my mind it is utter madness to look to move Tom anywhere but fullback.

His ability to ball play, and inject himself through the middle is severely hampered by moving him to the centres not to mention what we lose defensively not only in his marshalling of the troops but also the last line of defense.

Your balanced back looks severely unbalanced to myself so it is a win to "by position" by the length of the straight and three laps on top
Totally understand your point, and can definitely see you being right here.

In my opinion though, trbo wouldn’t be your traditional centre. He would still be very involved in the middle similar to his origin role. We would just have to tweak the convention of a centre to get him there. Overall I think it would take some pressure off of him, and having him alternate between a fixed position on the edge and a floating middle role (when the game calls for it) could make it even harder to prepare for him. Particularly when his opposing centre/winger aren’t very talented and the middles get worn out.

The essense of this is that i’d rather see Garrick deliver the pass to trbo on an overlap and have trbo one on one on an edge than see trbo (fullback) pass to garrick with some space. If Dylan Edwards is working for penrith, and Gutho for parra, Garrick should be more than enough for manly. The problem for us defencively is that players break through the frontline too often, so the idea here is also that he wouldn’t just be “mr. Fix it” anymore, but rather an active defender plugging that edge.

Also we would pick up a new, pretty serious weapon - trbo drawing in the opposition winger and centre.

1st, 2nd, 3rd - i can envision him hovering around the middle, then shift to the edge for 4th and 5th. Like the great @BOZO would say, I would like to see us take risks feathered friend
 
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Reserve Grader
If a fit and firing Turbo ever played roaming style centre, it would make our side s structures less reliant on his brilliance, and instead he would become a genuinely unpredictable weapon. It would also strengthen our edge defensively, and also allow young guns like Koula, Weekes to flourish. As counter-intuitive as it is, we would actually be a far more complete, and balanced team if he were at centre. If he went down injured, we could still play the same style (as opposed to now, where we literally have to reinvent ourselves everytime he misses games)
 
Bencher
If a fit and firing Turbo ever played roaming style centre, it would make our side s structures less reliant on his brilliance, and instead he would become a genuinely unpredictable weapon. It would also strengthen our edge defensively, and also allow young guns like Koula, Weekes to flourish. As counter-intuitive as it is, we would actually be a far more complete, and balanced team if he were at centre. If he went down injured, we could still play the same style (as opposed to now, where we literally have to reinvent ourselves everytime he misses games)
You summed it up better than I in far fewer words

Particularly when you mentioned it’s a counter-intuitive, ‘backwards’ step that may help us (as a complete team unit) go forward

I can’t sit here and say it’s a sure thing to work, but I hope it becomes a more legitimate consideration
 
Reserve Grader
FYI it's not a bad idea to skip the ramble and go straight to the discussion questions at the end.
Also; sidenote: The title is a little more broad than my main subject here. That's just so that this thread isn't limited to the below mini-yart and trbo-talk. After-all, the off season hasn't even begun yet! :lipssealed:

Personally, I think our centre/wing combos are looking pretty lame for next year.

I don't think it's neccessarily as simple as putting the best players in the best positions for us. For mine we can get a lot more out of this team, even without recruitment. Not to be 'trendy' but I would genuinely like to see Trbo shifted to the centres in 23'. Summed up; I think trbo is pretty much as good no matter where you put him in attack, rejuvenating our left-edge and adding urgency to the frontline of our defence (Koula is good on the other side).

At fullback Garrick is steadily improving and overall is perfectly adequate. It would be great to retain his simple Gutho-esque fullback role so that we can shift trbo and restore some much-needed dominance on our edges.

The pattern since 2020 (?) is that when our middle is contained (including trbo), our edges are essentially benign. Mute. Powerless. There has also been a huge lack of defencive urgency/class on our edges. Trbo has that in spades.

Garrick is a finisher for mine; good in open space, or as a link in the chain. However - like saab, like Harper - when Garrick takes runs from the wing he doesn't put so much as a scratch in the defencive line. That's OK because hitups aren't his strength. But it all shifts to the forwards. Further, our backline attacking plays are limited. Garrick is pretty suited to the edge when we are winning the forward battle, but our side clearly needs some major refining.

Principle: Put trbo on an edge to divide the attention of the opposition and improve edge-defence; 'divide and conquer'.
Left: Trbo [speed, presence, power, defence], Vaega/Tuipulotu/recruit​
Central: Garrick, Trbo [origin floating role] and the forwards.​
Right: Olakautau, Koula, Saab [speed-city w/ bonus of Koula's urgency in defence and Ola's power/presence].​

At the moment we are all middle. If our forwards don't win the battle there is a huge roll on effect because our left edge simply don't have the ability to divide any attention away. The middle gets choked, the right becomes easier to handle etc.

Rejigging the pieces seems like a much easier option than recruitment for mine. Also, it would be better on trbo's durability. Maybe im again just pointlessly re-arranging the deck cards??

Balanced Backline [theoretically]​
'By-Position' Backline​
1. Reuben Garrick1. Tom Trbojevic
2. Jason Saab2. Jason Saab
3. Tom Trbojevic [next to Tuilagi/Schuster]3. Brad Parker [next to Tuilagi/Schuster]
4. Tolu Koula [next to Olakautau]4. Tolu Koula [next to Olakautau]
5. Recruit / Raymond Vaega / Tuipulotu5. Reuben Garrick

Discussion Q's
1. On a day with a beaten forward pack, which do you prefer?
2. Is there actually any significant difference in 'rearranging the deck cards' in this scenario?
3. If it's significant, why is it likely this won't happen? Reputations? wages?

For mine it seems like we'd go from 1x ineffective winger (and attacking edge) and 1x overworked fullback ---> 1x competent fullback, 1x dominant floating-centre + significantly stronger defencive balance
Great constructive post with interesting suggestions.

That's refreshing after the personal attacks and drivel we have seen a lot of lately from others.
 
First Grader
Premium Member
Totally understand your point, and can definitely see you being right here.

In my opinion though, trbo wouldn’t be your traditional centre. He would still be very involved in the middle similar to his origin role. We would just have to tweak the convention of a centre to get him there. Overall I think it would take some pressure off of him, and having him alternate between a fixed position on the edge and a floating middle role (when the game calls for it) could make it even harder to prepare for him. Particularly when his opposing centre/winger aren’t very talented and the middles get worn out.

The essense of this is that i’d rather see Garrick deliver the pass to trbo on an overlap and have trbo one on one on an edge than see trbo (fullback) pass to garrick with some space. If Dylan Edwards is working for penrith, and Gutho for parra, Garrick should be more than enough for manly. The problem for us defencively is that players break through the frontline too often, so the idea here is also that he wouldn’t just be “mr. Fix it” anymore, but rather an active defender plugging that edge.

Also we would pick up a new, pretty serious weapon - trbo drawing in the opposition winger and centre.

1st, 2nd, 3rd - i can envision him hovering around the middle, then shift to the edge for 4th and 5th. Like the great @BOZO would say, I would like to see us take risks feathered friend
Parker and Garrick scored 31 tries between them with Turbo setting them up on the left last year. That is to go with the 28 he scored himself. Attack was no issue.

Generally club moves their talented players out of the centres to areas they can influence the game more. For example notice how much more influential Manu is when he plays 5/8 or fullback.

Sorry for mine it only weakens us
 
Bencher
Parker and Garrick scored 31 tries between them with Turbo setting them up on the left last year. That is to go with the 28 he scored himself. Attack was no issue.

Generally club moves their talented players out of the centres to areas they can influence the game more. For example notice how much more influential Manu is when he plays 5/8 or fullback.

Sorry for mine it only weakens us
Definitely bring up some valid points, forcing me to double-check my view. You're right, our attack generally wasn't an issue in 2021. Also, at times in 2022 we've still had glimpses of attacking strike that could tear any team apart.

But why doesn't it do so frequently against top teams? We are great with space and time when the forwards make some inroads, or when shifting early in sets. However, we get choked more than most when the forwards struggle and when attacking inside the 20. It was exposed in the 21' finals series, and is probably the reason we constantly get worn down and beaten in our matchups against the top 4 in recent seasons.

Aren't the forwards just the problem then? In my opinion, no. For Penrith, the Roosters, the Cowboys, Souths and the Storm (only w/ coates, olam and nofo in the side) the backs are worrying even when their forwards fail. If you shut down their forwards AND their backs, your team has done a fantastic job. For us, and interstingly parramatta, the backs are put out of the contest when the forwards are handled; driving both team's issues with inconsistency.

When thinking about it, it's become a tried and tested theory that our edge-players lack the authority to assert themselves and disrupt the pattern when we are slowed down in the middle.

If time and space is the issue, then that suggests we need backs that can make space on the edges - even if it's not presented to them.

So why not just recruit an imposing centre and keep trbo at the back? Well imo;
a) We have most of the tools here already (Garrick a safe fullback with speed and good link-play, trbo a world-class floating centre sure to plug the frontline defence of that edge)​
b) It's not likely we will jag anyone on the market for a good price​
c) trbo's prevalence for injury suggests reducing his workload for longevity. and;​
d) trbo's influence becomes less dependant on how the opposition forwards fare against him, as now he opposes weaker, more stretched edge defenders who have to tackle him at speed on an overlap; as well as tired forwards when he floats around the middle​

But that's just how I have ironed this out; there's no saying for sure it is a good idea unless it's tested. It is more reliable to say it's a bad idea because we can reference convention, and this goes directly against that.

Probably not much further this discussion can go. I think in terms of the real-world, you are probably on the money. But I see some sound (theoretical) logic here that could fix some long-term issues for our side in a simple, low-cost solution. In these pretty disappointing times optimism and hopes for change (through risk) are the only ways I can stay excited about 23'! [As well as writing, LOTS of writing :drunk:]
 
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