Trust me, his best is yet to come Phil Gould | August 12, 2007 Braith Anasta is a five-eighth. Not only is he a five-eighth, but by the time this man's career is finished, I believe he will be recognised as one of the best in the business. Plenty of people will try to explain that he is really a lock forward and would be much better if he just concentrated on running the ball. Yeah, there's no doubt he could make it as a forward. In fact, he could play lock forward blindfolded. He's a strong, powerful ball-runner with a sharp left-foot step. You beauty. I can go to any junior league representative game and find you a truckload of blokes who can do exactly the same thing. They are a dime a dozen. But you go and find me a ball-playing five-eighth with creativity and a kicking game, not to mention the ability to single-handedly influence the results of games. Find me a player with the confidence in his own ability to try the extraordinary. Find me another so willing to chance his hand under the pressure of a tight finish and scream to the world: "I am here to win the game and not just to be a spectator". Why would you want to turn a player with all these qualities into just another willing forward and have his energy levels sapped through making eight or 10 hack runs each game as he dutifully contributes to his team's metre-gaining efforts? Anasta is infinitely better than that and can be far more valuable to his team if someone just takes the time to teach him how to be a five-eighth. I know he can do it. It just takes time, practice and patience. I've always told players that when the minutes are ticking down and the result is in the balance, there are two kinds of footballers out there on the field. Those who want the ball and those who don't. Those who want the play to come their way and those who hope it goes the other way. Those who believe they can win it for their team and those who look to others to get it done. Those who dream of being heroes and those who believe such a destiny lies in the hands of better players. Which player are you? Which of these players do you want to be? Which of these players do you want to play with or coach? Why would you want to move a player like Anasta from such an important position like five-eighth, and turn him into just another ball-runner with a fancy step? There's a line of young forwards at the front gate a mile long just dying to play in the NRL. I can see where people are coming from in proposing a move for Anasta into the forwards. But for me, that's the easy way out. The hard way is to help him unlock the latent talent and potential he possesses. I know because I nearly made the same mistake with Brad Fittler years ago. When Brad was young he would get confused or over-excited as a playmaker when opportunities presented themselves. He would come up with a poor pass or a wrong option and people would scream out, "Just run the ball, Freddie!" He seemed confused and, at times, stressed. I fell for the trap myself. For a season or so I tried him as a forward, thinking it would take the pressure off him if he didn't have to keep trying to be creative for outside supports. I was wrong then and I would hate for someone to make the same mistake with Anasta. I had a funny moment on Friday night after the Roosters' golden-point win over the Tigers. Talking to Freddie after the game, he referred to Anasta's long pass to winger Amos Roberts that was ruled forward at a crucial point in the game. I laughed and said: "Well, at least he hit a player with his pass. Your passes used to land in the crowd." The point I was making is that ball-playing and deft creativity never came easy to Brad in the early days, either. We all remember Fittler at the end of his career as a player with seemingly so much time on his hands, taunting opposition defences with his array of short and long passes. But when he was first thrust into this role, he was far from comfortable. He had natural talent, but he had to work very hard for a long period of time before he mastered the art of controlling a game and leading a team around the park. In time, his ability to create opportunities for outside supports with his passing game actually increased the potency of his running game. With ball in hand, he could keep teams guessing and then hurt them with his speed, raw power and devastating left-foot step. Anasta is not a natural ball-player. When he burst onto the NRL scene years ago, he was a player who made things happen through his instincts and reactions rather than anything rehearsed or creative. He would come up with the intercept, the chip and chase, or the grubber kick. He had tremendous anticipation and scored many tries through his uncanny support play. I remember saying at the time that the ball just seemed to bounce for this kid. When he chased the kick, the ball came to him as though he was a magnet for success. Unfortunately, this became his entire game. For many years I bemoaned the slow progress he was making in other parts of his game. I felt these improvements would help him develop into a truly valuable five-eighth. This is not a criticism of Anasta or those who coached him but I've always felt he had far more to offer. I saw him play a game for the Bulldogs against the Tigers a couple of years ago where he engineered a thrilling comeback in the dying stages of the game to give his team a chance at an unlikely victory after being well down on the scoreboard. It was that performance in a losing team that convinced me this bloke was special. I laughed at those cowards who years ago anonymously voted him as overrated. In new Roosters coach Fittler, I think he may have found a kindred spirit, someone who really has been there and done it in the very role Anasta is trying so hard to master. The Anasta you see today is great. He has been the Roosters' best player all season even when they were going through their horror patch at the bottom of the table. He has been a big part of the club's remarkable revival over the past month. But trust me when I say that the best is yet to come from Anasta. Source: The Sun-Herald ------------------------------------- Bit of a long read, but i thought some of this may be relevant in our case with Lyon. He seems to have all the skills to be a 5/8, do we persist with it and let it develop, or look for another option ?