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Starting 9 for 2021

Who will start at #9 in 2021

  • Foran

  • Cust

  • Fainu

  • Croker

  • Docker-Clay


Results are only viewable after voting.

pjayz

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But what you are saying here Freagle is that Foran should get first opportunity at 5/8. Foran didn't start at centre. His first game was at 5/8 and it pushed another outstanding 5/8 Jamie Lyon to the centre. He started at almost exactly the same age in first grade as Schuster

If you followed Schuster's junior career he started as a backrower but obviously his talent for creating the play was recognised and he was by SG Ball the 5/8. Didn't play in the forwards again as far as I know, except in a rep game. He was also captain, noted as the best 5/8 in the junior comps and was declared best player in the SG Ball comp. They played him in the forwards in a rep game but his effectiveness was diminished...and the team lost.

Foran was an outstanding 5/8 years ago. Schuster is the next generation and may well surpass Foran at his best. Playing around with this kid in the forwards, diminishes his effectiveness and risks losing him to other teams that will have him at 5/8 immediately and on a lot more money (such as the Tigers who have apparently put out significant feelers).

Having Foran at dummy half utilises his skills as a distributor. Using Schuster at second row or off the bench, diminishes his effectiveness. Having three players in open field positions getting a lot of the ball increases Manly's effectiveness (DCE, Schuster, Foran). Having Schuster at second row, diminishes that effectiveness.
Foran debuted at 6 but did play centre early on. Having said that he was a much better 5/8.

Schuster will be great wherever he plays, but I’m confident they will hand him the six jersey.

Foran will be great in attack from dummy half - great vision, great footy brain, great pass on him and clever kicking option which will open up opportunities for us that only Melb have at the moment. However, there is no way he can handle a traditional hooker role in defence. Des will have to push him out wider and bring someone in to cover the middle you would think.
 

Bearfax

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Its obvious a number of those on this forum have a Foran love. Certainly he was outstanding for Manly when he played for us. But that is 6 years ago and since then there is little, other than occasional good games to suggest he is anything like what he was back around 2012-15. He's not the player he was. He's still talented but he's injury prone, slower and isn't going to be what we remember him as.

Schuster is the outstanding new 5/8 coming into the comp. He could well be our best player in a year or two and possibly captain. He's played with some of the young bucks coming through and they know his game. Schuster will not be as effective in any other position because he wont get the ball as regularly. He's been prepared for 5/8 for years. That is his position. We risk losing him if he's played around with and losing Schuster will make losing Gutherson, look like a small error of judgement.

Question I would ask. Forget the names but answer the question.

You have a former top player now near the end of his career and for 5 years has not lasted longer than just over half a season, on some occasions much less. He's still talented but achieved little in the last 5 years and was let go by two teams and not pursued by the third when he left.

You also have a rising star performer, top of his junior grade, already given the thumbs up in his first game including by a champion player opposed to him. He has been trained for several years now as 5/8 and has the natural skills for that position. Reports suggest he could be one of the best of his generation. He has stated he wants 5/8 but the position is offered to the older player. The kid probably will be a prominent star in the side for the next decade. But there is a risk he'll leave if he isn't given the position and is receiving big money offers elsewhere where he'll immediately play 5/8.

Logically what would you do? Forget about loyalty. This is about a former great player, no longer at his peak, and a rising potential star. The former star may last out the year. The youngster could have a decade ahead of him minimum. Its not an emotive issue its a logical issue, based on the here and now, not what we remember 6 years ago
 

Harry Smith

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Its obvious a number of those on this forum have a Foran love. Certainly he was outstanding for Manly when he played for us. But that is 6 years ago and since then there is little, other than occasional good games to suggest he is anything like what he was back around 2012-15. He's not the player he was. He's still talented but he's injury prone, slower and isn't going to be what we remember him as.

Schuster is the outstanding new 5/8 coming into the comp. He could well be our best player in a year or two and possibly captain. He's played with some of the young bucks coming through and they know his game. Schuster will not be as effective in any other position because he wont get the ball as regularly. He's been prepared for 5/8 for years. That is his position. We risk losing him if he's played around with and losing Schuster will make losing Gutherson, look like a small error of judgement.

Question I would ask. Forget the names but answer the question.

You have a former top player now near the end of his career and for 5 years has not lasted longer than just over half a season, on some occasions much less. He's still talented but achieved little in the last 5 years and was let go by two teams and not pursued by the third when he left.

You also have a rising star performer, top of his junior grade, already given the thumbs up in his first game including by a champion player opposed to him. He has been trained for several years now as 5/8 and has the natural skills for that position. Reports suggest he could be one of the best of his generation. He has stated he wants 5/8 but the position is offered to the older player. The kid probably will be a prominent star in the side for the next decade. But there is a risk he'll leave if he isn't given the position and is receiving big money offers elsewhere where he'll immediately play 5/8.

Logically what would you do? Forget about loyalty. This is about a former great player, no longer at his peak, and a rising potential star. The former star may last out the year. The youngster could have a decade ahead of him minimum. Its not an emotive issue its a logical issue, based on the here and now, not what we remember 6 years ago
Schuster has played one game and is still very young. Foran has shown he's a classy player when he's on the field and has only signed for one year. Foran and DCE unlikely to play 100% of the games next season so he will have plenty of game time and will likely be eased into first grade somewhere in the 17. You'd have to think he is pretty excited to be playing first grade at his age and has been shown a lot of faith in his ability by the club with his awards and praise. I highly doubt he would want to leave for these weak reasons and think it is entirely a media beat up to add spice to the Foran-manly reunion narrative.

The narrative that hopefully ends with gf victory in the next two years :angel:
 

The better Robbo

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Its obvious a number of those on this forum have a Foran love. Certainly he was outstanding for Manly when he played for us. But that is 6 years ago and since then there is little, other than occasional good games to suggest he is anything like what he was back around 2012-15. He's not the player he was. He's still talented but he's injury prone, slower and isn't going to be what we remember him as.

Schuster is the outstanding new 5/8 coming into the comp. He could well be our best player in a year or two and possibly captain. He's played with some of the young bucks coming through and they know his game. Schuster will not be as effective in any other position because he wont get the ball as regularly. He's been prepared for 5/8 for years. That is his position. We risk losing him if he's played around with and losing Schuster will make losing Gutherson, look like a small error of judgement.

Question I would ask. Forget the names but answer the question.

You have a former top player now near the end of his career and for 5 years has not lasted longer than just over half a season, on some occasions much less. He's still talented but achieved little in the last 5 years and was let go by two teams and not pursued by the third when he left.

You also have a rising star performer, top of his junior grade, already given the thumbs up in his first game including by a champion player opposed to him. He has been trained for several years now as 5/8 and has the natural skills for that position. Reports suggest he could be one of the best of his generation. He has stated he wants 5/8 but the position is offered to the older player. The kid probably will be a prominent star in the side for the next decade. But there is a risk he'll leave if he isn't given the position and is receiving big money offers elsewhere where he'll immediately play 5/8.

Logically what would you do? Forget about loyalty. This is about a former great player, no longer at his peak, and a rising potential star. The former star may last out the year. The youngster could have a decade ahead of him minimum. Its not an emotive issue its a logical issue, based on the here and now, not what we remember 6 years ago
I do have to point out that Schuster has suffered a couple of injuries the last 2 years and didn't even get through his 1st game... If we comparing only recent games then you could well say Schuster is also injury prone... just an observation based on your comparison.
I do agree that Schuster could be as good as any player the NRL has seen in a long time. A long way to go but all the signs are there
 

Bearfax

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Harry, Foran WAS a classy player. There has been little in the past 5 years but for occasional good games to suggest he is still the player he was. He's still talented but why risk Schuster being shunted elsewhere. Why else was Foran let go by Parramatta, Auckland and Canterbury. Because he was, despite his talent, a liability and was not able to produce the goods his reputation suggested. Manly got him for a year on a very cheap contract supplemented by a rich fan as TPA I understand. No one else made much effort to secure him even cheaply. Newcastle is said to have had a tentative interest.

As for Schuster he won the awards by his own play not by any charity on Manly's behalf. The SG Ball award was from the NSW Rugby League admin, not Manly. Manly has shown faith in his talent, because he is just that talented. The praise comes from around the League not just from Manly because they know the kid is a potential star. Do you really want to risk losing him?
 

Bearfax

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I should also point out that Schuster is contracted until 2022, but is probably on a low salary, something I would assume around $150,000 to 200,000 yearly. Lets say he wants out. Another team will probably offer something like $3-500,000 yearly (he'll get that for sure). Manly will get some money back but for the investment they will have seriously lost because he isn't apparently on a big salary. He will probably earn less in 2021 than Foran who I suspect will have his earnings bolstered by a TPA. If he choses to go, Foran is unlikely to last more than the year, maybe more if we are lucky but past history suggests no. And then we have no one to replace him at 5/8
 

Freagle

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But what you are saying here Freagle is that Foran should get first opportunity at 5/8. Foran didn't start at centre. His first game was at 5/8 and it pushed another outstanding 5/8 Jamie Lyon to the centre. He started at almost exactly the same age in first grade as Schuster

If you followed Schuster's junior career he started as a backrower but obviously his talent for creating the play was recognised and he was by SG Ball the 5/8. Didn't play in the forwards again as far as I know, except in a rep game. He was also captain, noted as the best 5/8 in the junior comps and was declared best player in the SG Ball comp. They played him in the forwards in a rep game but his effectiveness was diminished...and the team lost.

Foran was an outstanding 5/8 years ago. Schuster is the next generation and may well surpass Foran at his best. Playing around with this kid in the forwards, diminishes his effectiveness and risks losing him to other teams that will have him at 5/8 immediately and on a lot more money (such as the Tigers who have apparently put out significant feelers).

Having Foran at dummy half utilises his skills as a distributor. Using Schuster at second row or off the bench, diminishes his effectiveness. Having three players in open field positions getting a lot of the ball increases Manly's effectiveness (DCE, Schuster, Foran). Having Schuster at second row, diminishes that effectiveness.
Actually, Foran coming off the bench wouldn’t be the worst option ever... saves his tired body, allows him to play at hooker against tired forwards, can cover halves and centre as well... As you say, he can distribute as well as anyone, so may invigorate our attack over a couple of ten minute spells.
 

Waz13

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I don’t know the ins and outs BUT I do know Brett Stewart was hung , drawn and quartered before his trial AND was acquitted in 13 minutes !!

Innocent until proven guilty.
Not in the eyes of the NRL. Stood down until proven innocent.
 

Mark from Brisbane

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Its obvious a number of those on this forum have a Foran love. Certainly he was outstanding for Manly when he played for us. But that is 6 years ago and since then there is little, other than occasional good games to suggest he is anything like what he was back around 2012-15. He's not the player he was. He's still talented but he's injury prone, slower and isn't going to be what we remember him as.

Schuster is the outstanding new 5/8 coming into the comp. He could well be our best player in a year or two and possibly captain. He's played with some of the young bucks coming through and they know his game. Schuster will not be as effective in any other position because he wont get the ball as regularly. He's been prepared for 5/8 for years. That is his position. We risk losing him if he's played around with and losing Schuster will make losing Gutherson, look like a small error of judgement.

Question I would ask. Forget the names but answer the question.

You have a former top player now near the end of his career and for 5 years has not lasted longer than just over half a season, on some occasions much less. He's still talented but achieved little in the last 5 years and was let go by two teams and not pursued by the third when he left.

You also have a rising star performer, top of his junior grade, already given the thumbs up in his first game including by a champion player opposed to him. He has been trained for several years now as 5/8 and has the natural skills for that position. Reports suggest he could be one of the best of his generation. He has stated he wants 5/8 but the position is offered to the older player. The kid probably will be a prominent star in the side for the next decade. But there is a risk he'll leave if he isn't given the position and is receiving big money offers elsewhere where he'll immediately play 5/8.

Logically what would you do? Forget about loyalty. This is about a former great player, no longer at his peak, and a rising potential star. The former star may last out the year. The youngster could have a decade ahead of him minimum. Its not an emotive issue its a logical issue, based on the here and now, not what we remember 6 years ago
No need to ask me , Foran at 9 or off the bench at cover but definitely NOT at 6
 

double hoops

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Foran debuted at 6 but did play centre early on. Having said that he was a much better 5/8.

Schuster will be great wherever he plays, but I’m confident they will hand him the six jersey.

Foran will be great in attack from dummy half - great vision, great footy brain, great pass on him and clever kicking option which will open up opportunities for us that only Melb have at the moment. However, there is no way he can handle a traditional hooker role in defence. Des will have to push him out wider and bring someone in to cover the middle you would think.
I'd say your spot on and that is how it will play out to a certain degree. Although Foz won't get away from dummy half completely. The question then becomes who does DES have defending at 9?

My guess is Walks. Id love a old style forward hooker the shape of Havili at hooker at MAN. I almost wonder if DES might even throw around the idea of Schoey defending there given his size but agility. Our 6, 9 and 4 could actually become very fluid and interchangeable. It's a tough one.
 

Harry Smith

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Harry, Foran WAS a classy player. There has been little in the past 5 years but for occasional good games to suggest he is still the player he was. He's still talented but why risk Schuster being shunted elsewhere. Why else was Foran let go by Parramatta, Auckland and Canterbury. Because he was, despite his talent, a liability and was not able to produce the goods his reputation suggested. Manly got him for a year on a very cheap contract supplemented by a rich fan as TPA I understand. No one else made much effort to secure him even cheaply. Newcastle is said to have had a tentative interest.

As for Schuster he won the awards by his own play not by any charity on Manly's behalf. The SG Ball award was from the NSW Rugby League admin, not Manly. Manly has shown faith in his talent, because he is just that talented. The praise comes from around the League not just from Manly because they know the kid is a potential star. Do you really want to risk losing him?
I understand your side. In my opinion Foz still provides value though. Runs the ball to the line every set and gets his outside men ready. He talks on the field like a captain and is a stabilising figure. Kicking game is the one area of his game that isn't in the top bracket of halves, although he is good for short kicks, which is dce's current weakness. The one season I really feared the eels was in 2016 when Foran was playing. He straightened them up and for once they showed some resilience. Luckily he ditched them and their season crumbled with drama. I admit at the Warriors he was quiet. But I think he was never really invested during his time there, and was in a team that hated structure, not allowing him to play his natural organising game (he took a backseat).

Looking at the Bulldogs draw this year, most of their games they didn't score many to no surprise. Until rd 18 of 20 (against us), the dogs had only scored 18 points in 6 games, however, Foran played in every one of them. While no half can do it all on their own, Foran is still classy when it comes to general organisation, luring in defence and choosing the right time to pass. Like dce, Foran won't have to do it all on his own in 2021, so he can concentrate on building good combos on his side of the field. Schuster will get plenty of game time regardless as he is now the 1st playmaker backup and likely in the 17. Foz didn't have trbo, dce, suli, taupau and walker to work with at the Dogs and still played well at least in my opinion, I have faith.

I don't think there is risk for us, but if a rival club went after him they'd have to pay him more and it would be a risk so I think that's why there was hesitance. Little risk, w/ potential for reward. Good mentor regardless for his pricetag and another good training influence.
 

Bearfax

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I understand your side. In my opinion Foz still provides value though. Runs the ball to the line every set and gets his outside men ready. He talks on the field like a captain and is a stabilising figure. Kicking game is the one area of his game that isn't in the top bracket of halves, although he is good for short kicks, which is dce's current weakness. The one season I really feared the eels was in 2016 when Foran was playing. He straightened them up and for once they showed some resilience. Luckily he ditched them and their season crumbled with drama. I admit at the Warriors he was quiet. But I think he was never really invested during his time there, and was in a team that hated structure, not allowing him to play his natural organising game (he took a backseat).

Looking at the Bulldogs draw this year, most of their games they didn't score many to no surprise. Until rd 18 of 20 (against us), the dogs had only scored 18 points in 6 games, however, Foran played in every one of them. While no half can do it all on their own, Foran is still classy when it comes to general organisation, luring in defence and choosing the right time to pass. Like dce, Foran won't have to do it all on his own in 2021, so he can concentrate on building good combos on his side of the field. Schuster will get plenty of game time regardless as he is now the 1st playmaker backup and likely in the 17. Foz didn't have trbo, dce, suli, taupau and walker to work with at the Dogs and still played well at least in my opinion, I have faith.

I don't think there is risk for us, but if a rival club went after him they'd have to pay him more and it would be a risk so I think that's why there was hesitance. Little risk, w/ potential for reward. Good mentor regardless for his pricetag and another good training influence.


No question he has the skills Harry. That is not being challenged. But as you said you feared the Eels in 2016 because Foran was there, but injury, bad choices on his part including related to prescription drugs, psychological issues etc led to the expectation not being reached. And it hasn't since then even when he was with Des at the Bulldogs. The skills he has are just as evident in Schuster and Schuster is much younger. Schuster also has leadership qualities as demonstrated in his junior football and has led some of the young bucks coming through.

Foran I suspect was brought over partly for a cover for Fainu and partly sentiment, if we are to believe a wealthy fan offered TPAs. As a dummy half for a part of the game he offers something needed while Fainu is absent. He would even be good as a back up for 5/8 or half. He offers depth. But I feel that as a number one choice for 5/8 would be a mistake, especially when we have available such an outstanding young talent about to make his mark.
 

Harry Smith

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No question he has the skills Harry. That is not being challenged. But as you said you feared the Eels in 2016 because Foran was there, but injury, bad choices on his part including related to prescription drugs, psychological issues etc led to the expectation not being reached. And it hasn't since then even when he was with Des at the Bulldogs. The skills he has are just as evident in Schuster and Schuster is much younger. Schuster also has leadership qualities as demonstrated in his junior football and has led some of the young bucks coming through.

Foran I suspect was brought over partly for a cover for Fainu and partly sentiment, if we are to believe a wealthy fan offered TPAs. As a dummy half for a part of the game he offers something needed while Fainu is absent. He would even be good as a back up for 5/8 or half. He offers depth. But I feel that as a number one choice for 5/8 would be a mistake, especially when we have available such an outstanding young talent about to make his mark.
Yeah I agree that only time will tell whether Foran is the 5/8 we need for 2021. However the reason I prefer he starts in the halves come rd 1 is due to the inevitibility of injuries in the spine. Schuster is no doubt going to benefit from Foran's presence and training mindset. Foran gets his chance at 6 to provide that genuine organising role and to relieve dce so dce can play his natural role again.

Once Foran/DCE are injured, Schuster goes in to the spine and gets his chance to prove his worth. He will get his chance but he has to earn it imo and if he is good enough (which I'm sure his is), Foran is the type of guy to step aside for him. Schuster can provide value in a lot of different positions and could provide plenty of value beginning his nrl career as a back, bench utility, second-rower or lock in the meantime (serving as first-choice halves backup).

I have no problems if we start him at 6 over Foran, but I think it is beneficial that he is allowed time to mature into a first grade player and half.
 

Mark from Brisbane

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No question he has the skills Harry. That is not being challenged. But as you said you feared the Eels in 2016 because Foran was there, but injury, bad choices on his part including related to prescription drugs, psychological issues etc led to the expectation not being reached. And it hasn't since then even when he was with Des at the Bulldogs. The skills he has are just as evident in Schuster and Schuster is much younger. Schuster also has leadership qualities as demonstrated in his junior football and has led some of the young bucks coming through.

Foran I suspect was brought over partly for a cover for Fainu and partly sentiment, if we are to believe a wealthy fan offered TPAs. As a dummy half for a part of the game he offers something needed while Fainu is absent. He would even be good as a back up for 5/8 or half. He offers depth. But I feel that as a number one choice for 5/8 would be a mistake, especially when we have available such an outstanding young talent about to make his mark.
110% this !!
 

Bearfax

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Yeah I agree that only time will tell whether Foran is the 5/8 we need for 2021. However the reason I prefer he starts in the halves come rd 1 is due to the inevitibility of injuries in the spine. Schuster is no doubt going to benefit from Foran's presence and training mindset. Foran gets his chance at 6 to provide that genuine organising role and to relieve dce so dce can play his natural role again.

Once Foran/DCE are injured, Schuster goes in to the spine and gets his chance to prove his worth. He will get his chance but he has to earn it imo and if he is good enough (which I'm sure his is), Foran is the type of guy to step aside for him. Schuster can provide value in a lot of different positions and could provide plenty of value beginning his nrl career as a back, bench utility, second-rower or lock in the meantime (serving as first-choice halves backup).

I have no problems if we start him at 6 over Foran, but I think it is beneficial that he is allowed time to mature into a first grade player and half.


Players learn mostly on the job, not at training. Schuster will learn much more playing at 5/8 in first grade than anything his training or advice from Foran can offer him. And remember Foran started in first grade himself as an unknown, but potentially talented 19 year old player, pushing another top 5/8 in Jamie Lyon, who was still near the peak of his game, to centre. it worked and Manly ended up with a premiership two years later.

You have to take the risk and not delay an up and comer star, just to satisfy a long ago admiration for a player well past his prime. It would be far more effective having Foran at dummy half with Schuster and DCE on either side, all play makers, rather than Schuster tucked away somewhere in the forwards, where his effectiveness is seriously diminished, and there being only two full game play makers. If we didnt have Schuster, then yes maybe use Foran at 5/8, but still he may be better at dummy half despite that.

The advantage we had back in 2011-12 was having three playmakers setting up the backs in DCE, Foran and Lyon at centre. Now some may argue about having Schuster at centre but Manly has now a surplus of centres in Walker, Suli, Harper, Parker, Burbo, Funa. Schuster will be easily as effective at 5/8 as Foran is this late in his career and probably better. Put him in the forwards and no doubt only for part of a game and you lose his effectiveness, because he gets less of the ball and has more defence to handle. Not a good use of resources, I would think.
 

Manly Tragic

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Foran's body cannot cope with 80 minutes of football each week. So him starting at 5/8 is not an option he wont last more than a couple of games. If we want him to last we need to use him off the bench. Doesn't matter how good he was you can't turn back the hands of time. A couple of posters have made reference to the way Cam Smith plays the game and has extended his longevity and there is merit to this analysis in my view.
 

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