The difference between 21 - 22 and what now for 23?

Official NRL commentator of the UK Royal Family
Premium Member
So in my eternal (sometimes very annoying I know) optimism I've been pouring over both the 21 and 22 seasons on the NRL app watching as many matches as I can and there are a few glaring differences. Most of which aren't a hard fix for 2023.

we played some brilliant footy in 21 and below are just a few thoughts on why 22 was so bad.

Firstly TOM - yes obviously the elephant in the room. Any team with Turbo in it and fit is a much better side right away. so I will park that for a moment.

Lawton - I think we really missed him this year. in 21 he was dynamic from the bench giving Frog a break or playing in the Back row at times. he really is an effort player who has some spark and does everything pretty fast.

Garrick back to the wing - While he filled in at fullback very well his sweet spot is back on the wing. He has some real toe out there and we really missed him on the edge.

Saab - Say what you will about the Tommy and Saab connection but 23 could really be a great year for him after a very tough 22. His pace is sorely missed and I think his 2022 bashing will make him a much better player next year.

Paseka - His 2021 was pretty strong. in 22 he just didn't seem to get a run going that was injury free so hopefully 23 can be better.

The Shoe was off all year for whatever reason. Injuries and fitness were a concern. In 21 he was a constant threat on that edge. His move to the 6 could be huge in 23.

Koula will really kick on in 23. He's been blooded now and will only be better for it next year. a 100% upgrade on the 21 3/4 line.

That being said Harper could and should be better in 23 if he gets the chance. He was a shot duck in that shark's game due to covid but didn't whinge about it once. He went very well in 21. will never be a superstar but handy nonetheless.

These are just a few ideas and of course, there are just as many reasons we crash and burn again in 23 but fingers crossed we look more like 21 than 22 come 23........
 
“ Triggered Boomer”
Premium Member
I wonder if the Covid “ bubbles “ and being locked up together wasn’t a positive thing for us in 2021.

Obviously impossible to recreate but it might have , in our case , had a positive affect.
 
Journey Man
If we can blood some players, include our best rookies, make some astute signings, we have the makings of a side that can compete. Look at the below backline - speed to burn throughout. I know I've done this a few times, but I'll leave holes where I think we need either upgrades or replacements:

01. Tom Trbojevic
02. Jason Saab
03. Tolu Koula
04. Kaeo Weekes
05. Reuben Garrick
06. Josh Schuster
07. Daly Cherry-Evans
08. Josh Aloiai
09. *
10. Jake Trbojevic
11. Haumole Olakau'atu
12. * Spencer Leniu
13. * Nathan Brown

14. Karl Lawton
15. Taniela Paseka
16. Sean Keppie
17. Kelma Tuilagi

With the holes NEEDING to be BLUE chip players. Suggestion: Nathan Brown, Spencer Leniu & a hooker with a kicking / running game. But these are bear minimum players - if we are swapping them out for Morgan Boyle, Ben Condon, Zac Fulton (who would be adequate Blacktown / fill ins) types - I'm not sure.
 
Bencher
If we can blood some players, include our best rookies, make some astute signings, we have the makings of a side that can compete. Look at the below backline - speed to burn throughout. I know I've done this a few times, but I'll leave holes where I think we need either upgrades or replacements:

01. Tom Trbojevic
02. Jason Saab
03. Tolu Koula
04. Kaeo Weekes
05. Reuben Garrick
06. Josh Schuster
07. Daly Cherry-Evans
08. Josh Aloiai
09. *
10. Jake Trbojevic
11. Haumole Olakau'atu
12. * Spencer Leniu
13. * Nathan Brown

14. Karl Lawton
15. Taniela Paseka
16. Sean Keppie
17. Kelma Tuilagi

With the holes NEEDING to be BLUE chip players. Suggestion: Nathan Brown, Spencer Leniu & a hooker with a kicking / running game. But these are bear minimum players - if we are swapping them out for Morgan Boyle, Ben Condon, Zac Fulton types - I'm not sure.
I like it ,and would love to see Spencer in particular at Manly ,as for the 9 we all love Froggy but we do need more and I'm not sure if Lawton or Roach or Gordon is the answer or where there is a 9 lying around somewhere waiting for his chance that is available and that we can get .But have we the cash for those 3 key additions .We lost Tapau 800k,Walker 425k?, Foz 300k, plus a few others .
You would think with that amount you could get 2 out of the 3 on that wish list
The other thing is Des is in a 1/2 way house ,I'm not sure that we look that attractive to players atm, knowing the coach is on a precipice.
I think they should give him 2024 or start fresh ,you don't want him getting the bullet 8-10 weeks in which is I feel on the cards if we get off to our traditional slow start
 
Feast yer eyes ..
We have a squad that can challenge for top 4 ...

We have a squad that should canter into the top 8 ...

But between injuries, bitch fights, fitness and coaching .... the answer is a kumquat ...

We live in interesting times ...
 
Reserve Grader
I wonder if the Covid “ bubbles “ and being locked up together wasn’t a positive thing for us in 2021.

Obviously impossible to recreate but it might have , in our case , had a positive affect.
The players mentioned at the time they got to know each other better as they all socialised together whereas in the past those from the west didn't necessarily hang out with those from the beaches. I think that helped the connections and comraderie on the field in 21. Winning also helps that though.
 
Bencher
Spencer Leinu is absolutely not an edge IMO

Good player though
100% on both accounts.
His off contract end of 23.
Thing is why on earth would the Riff let him leave? Answer, they won’t.
Why on earth would he want to leave? Couldn’t imagine he would, not even for the cash.
Pretty sure he is there future No one prop, he would know it, they know it, his Leota‘s understudy and a key man in their FR rotation.
Leota’s just recently extended till the end of 24, he’ll be 30 and Spencer will be cheery ripe.
I would love to see Spencer in our colours, made a point it of a long time back, sadly I think that opportunity has passed.
 
Last edited:
The Incomparable Immortal Bob Fulton
We have a squad that can challenge for top 4 ...

We have a squad that should canter into the top 8 ...

But between injuries, bitch fights, fitness and coaching .... the answer is a kumquat ...

We live in interesting times ...
An honest question

How can we challenge for the top 4 when this current squad cannot beat a top 8 ?

My answer is we need an addition of better players to our roster if we are to go one better
 
The Incomparable Immortal Bob Fulton
100% on both accounts.
His off contract end of 23.
Thing is why on earth would the Riff let him leave? Answer, they won’t.
Why on earth would he want to leave? Couldn’t imagine he would, not even for the cash.
Pretty sure he is there future No one prop, he would know it, they know it, his Leota‘s understudy and a key man in their FR rotatio.
Leota’s just recently extended till the end of 24, he’ll be 30 and Spencer will be cheery ripe.
I would love to see Spencer in our colours, made a point of a long time back, sadly I think that opportunity has passed.
There is another spencer out there some where
The Strom find them and so can we
 
Official NRL commentator of the UK Royal Family
Premium Member
My entire point in this thread is we are not far off 21 form if we can just get our mojo back. That mojo is directly related to the absence of some key players.

Even if you forget rainbowgate by the end of the season on that run of losses we were a shadow of a team with all the injuries. I challenge any team to perform with so many key positional guys gone.

Tom, garrick, saab, lawton, paseka, jake, keppie, hank, aelo vera and others.

Just in the back 3 we lost 70+ tries on 2021.

First and foremost players love to win. These guys all look like grown men but under the hood many are still in the under 12's mentally. This isn't just Manly I'm talking about.... its the entire competition.
 
Sea Eagle Lach
Premium Member
So in my eternal (sometimes very annoying I know) optimism I've been pouring over both the 21 and 22 seasons on the NRL app watching as many matches as I can and there are a few glaring differences. Most of which aren't a hard fix for 2023.

we played some brilliant footy in 21 and below are just a few thoughts on why 22 was so bad.

Firstly TOM - yes obviously the elephant in the room. Any team with Turbo in it and fit is a much better side right away. so I will park that for a moment.

Lawton - I think we really missed him this year. in 21 he was dynamic from the bench giving Frog a break or playing in the Back row at times. he really is an effort player who has some spark and does everything pretty fast.

Garrick back to the wing - While he filled in at fullback very well his sweet spot is back on the wing. He has some real toe out there and we really missed him on the edge.

Saab - Say what you will about the Tommy and Saab connection but 23 could really be a great year for him after a very tough 22. His pace is sorely missed and I think his 2022 bashing will make him a much better player next year.

Paseka - His 2021 was pretty strong. in 22 he just didn't seem to get a run going that was injury free so hopefully 23 can be better.

The Shoe was off all year for whatever reason. Injuries and fitness were a concern. In 21 he was a constant threat on that edge. His move to the 6 could be huge in 23.

Koula will really kick on in 23. He's been blooded now and will only be better for it next year. a 100% upgrade on the 21 3/4 line.

That being said Harper could and should be better in 23 if he gets the chance. He was a shot duck in that shark's game due to covid but didn't whinge about it once. He went very well in 21. will never be a superstar but handy nonetheless.

These are just a few ideas and of course, there are just as many reasons we crash and burn again in 23 but fingers crossed we look more like 21 than 22 come 23........

Paseka played 24 games in 2021, only 11 this year.
Schu and Aloiai miss too many games. Keppie didn't play after r19.
We need our main forwards fit and on the field.
If they can get some momentum going they are all capable of going to another level, which is what we need. The backs will fire if there is a platform. Bullemor or one of the new guys has to really seize the moment.
Saab and Lawton won't be ready till mid-year.
 
True Supporter
Staff member
Administrator
Premium Member
Don't discount the fact that 2021 was a completely different ball game (aka PVL Ball) which suited Tommy and DCE style of play. Multiple repeat sets, no wrestle, back pedalling defences.

Even when Tommy was fit this year his impact was diminished as the game slowed again after the pendulum swung too far last season.
 
Official NRL commentator of the UK Royal Family
Premium Member
Don't discount the fact that 2021 was a completely different ball game (aka PVL Ball) which suited Tommy and DCE style of play. Multiple repeat sets, no wrestle, back pedalling defences.

Even when Tommy was fit this year his impact was diminished as the game slowed again after the pendulum swung too far last season.
Agree however dont discount the fact that 2020 was somewhat crapola after PVL introduced the new rules that we as a 'win the wrestle' setup just couldn't adapt to. Members of this team can play the game required that just need to train for it.

2022 was just a culmination of lots of bad luck all hitting at once.
 
Reserve Grader
Nothing will change in 2023, poor roster management and one of our highest paid players only playing handful of games.
Not to mention Hasler persisting with a losing formation week in week out.
 
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