Whilst I acknowledge IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve said some negative things about certain players, that opinion has been built from PAST form, so now IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢d like to look forward as I think it important that we share some positives about our 2006 campaign:- Brett Stewart ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ With another season under his belt, the experience will benefit Brett in a huge way. Remember guys ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Brett is over and passed what footballer call the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“second year syndromeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢m sure he will be looking at perfecting his ability under the high ball throughout the off season. Remember people, Anthony Minichello was being HEAVILY scrutinised under the high ball early on in his career. I also think that he will strike up a Billy Slater / Matt Orford kind of combination with his new half back. Add to that running off Steven Bell, and the continuation of his combination with Kennedy, and we will have an almighty 2006. Paul Stephenson ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Well, what a find on the wing. For a big lump of a lad, he can really jump for the ball, and his size will aid him greatly against the smaller wingers. He seemed to step up a gear in defence in this position as well, and this was his Achilles Heel throughout the season. Whilst natural speed cannot be taught, I expect sprint training & building a slightly different frame in the off season will enable Paul to be much more mobile. Steven Bells influence will be outstanding on this bloke. Steven Bell ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ FINALLY a centre who has finesse, and is very mobile in defence. All we have to do is look at his statistics in 2005 to see that he will be all class for us. Remember, he ALREADY has combinations down pat with his half back. He is a leading try scorer in the NRL, leading line break artist, and has a VERY LOW missed tackle count. Personally, I am almost as excited to see this bloke in the maroon & white, as I am to see Matt Orford back home. Ashley Alberts ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Whilst AshleyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s obvious defensive flaws have been highlighted this year, we need to remember that players around him were very slow laterally, and he was often on the scene very late. His tackling technique will be looked at throughout the off season IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢m sure. That said, heÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s not called ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Flash AshÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? for no reason. His attacking & passing prowess is fantastic. If you look at the stats early on for manly, when Alberts wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t in the team, our wingers were scoring very infrequently. When Ashley stepped in, Chris Hicks seemed to find the line a hell of a lot more. Remember, this guy hasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t played 1st grade for YEARS, and I would expect him to excel next year by getting quality ball from Monaghan & Orford. Chris Hicks ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ He has been slowly getting better each week after coming back from his injury. Next to a centre that gets quality ball to him, and him being involved a lot more next year, I think weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ll see his form resemble something of what we had witnessed in 2004. In the latter part of the year, Chris stood back a fair bit deeper in attack, which lead to him scoring a lot more tries. One of ChrisÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s biggest attacking weapons is when running deep at holes in the defensive line, something this year he seemed to forget a little. With a consistent centre next to him, youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ll find this will look MUCH better in 2006. This year he had Stephenson, Hill, Alberts. With that inconsistency, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s hard to build combinations. Michael Monaghan ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ The great Cliffy Lyons said that Michael should only look to structure one side of the ruck in attack. Michael did this in the game against Canberra, and it worked. It has been the pressure situations that has seen Monaghan try to play his hand a bit too much. With Matt Orfords inclusion into the team, it will lift a lot of pressure of Michael, and I think we will see a Cooper Cronk style of player from him in 2006. I know I have been hard on Michael, but if he focuses on the plays he does well, and to one side of the park, we wonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t see the indecision in attack we have seen this year. As much as I harp on, I actually think with Orford as the main man, Monaghan will look much, much better. Matt Orford ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ What this guy lacks in size, he makes up for in class, experience, skill & influence. His try assist statistics show that we will be MUCH better in attack with this guy, and frankly, his defence is also second to none. He will lead this team around the park like he has the ball on a piece of string. If you look at our second rowers compared to that of The Melbourne Storm, you could only imagine how good he will be in this team. His goal kicking will be fantastic, as I canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t see Michael Witt spending much time in 1st grade injuries aside. We all have to remember how the combination between Monaghan & Walker looked in 2004. Orford is better than Walker. Also consider when there WAS a combo between Walker & Monaghan at the back end of 2004, we won MANY concurrent games, and that was without Kennedy, Kite & co. so expect much better things. Orford will be our lynch pin to having any chance of a premiership. Brent Kite ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Brent Kite has the ability in my opinion to become an Australian Test prop in years to come. He has the ability to offload, and make a large number of metres. I also think he is a player that plays off the back of good dummy ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â½ work, and has unfortunately received some pretty poor ball throughout 2005. I donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t want to become repetative, but with a ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â½ with the ability to throw a great pass both left and right of the ruck, Brent will have a lot more dimension to his game. What I think DOES go unnoticed though, is BrentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s defence around the middle of the ruck. By FAR he is the best player in this area, and we saw how much we needed him on the occasions he was missing this year. Luke Williamson ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ A lot of people class Willow as the worker of the team. In 2005, he played lock, centre, 5/8, Hooker & 2nd Rower. I think 2006 will lend Luke a lot more consistency, and again this will benefit Luke with being able to set up plays & strike up combinations as he hasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t been able to do in a long time. HeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ll have options EITHER side of the ruck, so wonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t have to JUST pass left, which opposition teams clicked onto in the middle part of the year, and shut down. Because he will KNOW that he has limited time on the park, with Dunley coming in at say the 35 minute mark, he can really put in. I personally think Luke hasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t been able to get any consistency through no fault of his own, and with even a small resemblence of that in 2006, and think we all may be pleasantly surprised. Jason King ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ I think Des Hasler will stick with Jason in at least the early part of the seson to show us what he can do. With a full off season & rehabilitation, re-aligning of body mass, I think Jason can be a force. My mind wonders back to when he came back the 1st time after his long injury. I was shocked at how good he was. Then he suffered a foot injury, and hasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t been the same since. I think all concerned realise that Jason needs to lift, and for that reason alone, I think he will do it. I guarantee losing a lot of that upper body mass will lead to a much better ability to be mobile, and weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ll see this in 2006. Also consider that he will have George Rose, Mark Bryant, Kane Cleal, Jim Curtis, Phil Moorwood all beating the door down to get a shot at 1st grade. Here is my true opinion of 2006 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ he will shock all of us. Anthony Watmough ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ My goodness. Did anyone see his game against Parramatta? Jee Wizz ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ if he can recreate that, we are in very, very good hands in this position. He looks to be a player that feeds off pressure, and I guarantee he will be hungry to get a shot at representative football again. He started the year on fire, had a lean period after injury, then started peaking again. Just imagine second phase play off Orford & Bell. We all have to remember here this guys is 21 for goodness sakes !!! Watmough I think we can all agree will be a superstar in 2006, and IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢m thinking pushing for KennedyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s spot in the Aussie team, and Andrew RyanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s in State of Origin. By far one of my favourite players. Steve Menzies ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Steve Menzies biggest weapon is to find the line in the opposing teams defensive line. He has done that NUMEROUS times this year with Michael Monaghan playing half back, and no-one playing 5/8 (usually himself). Anyone that thinks he wonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t step of 5 cogs with Matty Orford, the king of a skilful small passing game, and make NUMEROUS line breaks & tries is kidding themselves. We saw this year when the team was travelling well, Beaver stepped up and excelled (forced hius way back into State of Origin) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ with positive skilful players around him, he stands to only get better. Beaver may be thinking that this year MAY be his swan song, so that effect alone may inspire him to greatness. Ben Kennedy ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ An inspirational leader both on & off the field. His ability to offload the ball will be more prominent, with the likes of Stewart & co. spending more time with him. He will also have other players that like to play off the hip in Orford & Bell. Consider that Robbie Kearns is playing at 35 VERY strongly. Kennedy is MUCH younger than this, and is still be demanded for in The Australian team. His defence is amazing, his attack & metre gaining ability are even better. ThereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s not really that much you can right about the perfect footballer, so I wonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t go on any further, than to say with Bell, Orford, Stewart, Watmough etc, who are all aging like fine wines, he will be better than this year if that is at all possible. Shayne Dunley ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ I thought Dunley this year had a VERY, VERY good year. His defence was good, and his attack at times was lethal. All we can ask for is consistency here. Again, Dunley will have another dimension to his game in 2006, as he will be able to pass either side of the ruck as upposed to now. With Willow being such a workhorse, who doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t get injured, youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢d expect Dunley to realise he only has limited time, so will be able to put in a lot more. This year Dunley spent maybe a little bit too much time on the park, due to Randall being interchanged through various reasons. He now has a player in Bell who loves to search for the ball in the middle of the ruck, and should be able to utilise his to great effect, and this was something that was missing in 2005. Kylie Leuleuai ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Much like Brent Kite, I feel Kylie lacked confidence in receiving quality ball from dummy ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â½ early on from Randall, so probably didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t get the leg drive he should have. I believe Des Hasler will address the flat attacking style, as he has a skilled master at the helm, thus Kylie will have confidence in the Willows / Dunleys from dummy ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â½. KylieÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s form has improved year on year. He seems to hit harder in defence each year, and his leg speed in attack seems to improve each year. Another year with Kite, King, Heckenberg, Bryant, Rose, Cleal, Curtis, Moorwood will detail the depth we have in this position, and along with King, I feel Kylie will strive to retain his spot. Another player I think will shock. Daniel Heckenberg ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Well ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ What a player. My opinion of this player has changed significantly. His defense is very solid, and he makes metres better than all but probably one other prop forward in Kite. I hope along with King he adds a bit more mobility to his frame. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢d also like to see an aggression in his play. If he bought out the angry young Daniel, like we have on this site, he will look a lot more dominant. That aside, our team looked MUCH better in defence when he was on the field, and it was evident, even in that drubbing by Parramatta, he is one of our most consistent metre making front row forwards. I actually donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t know who the 17th player will be. My choice would be Styles or more so Cuthbertson. Both players are untried in 1st grade, so I canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t really say how theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢d go except for the fact that they consistently stand out in reggies.