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Your NRL team’s biggest weakness for 2016 pt 1

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by mozgrame, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. mozgrame

    mozgrame Well-Known Member

    +5,134 /51
    EVEN the North Queensland Cowboys can’t afford to rest on their laurels after finally breaking the club’s premiership duck with plenty of work to be done this off-season.

    While Johnathan Thurston’s golden point moment of magic was enough to separate his side from the Broncos in the grand final, there wasn’t all that much between those two sides and 2015’s other contenders.
    All 16 clubs went through this year dealing with at least one glaring weakness that needs to be addressed in the off-season.
    Those who fail to fix their biggest problem risk falling behind the rest of the competition.

    Metres conceded: The losing grand finalists often got by on grit and resilience; camped on their own try line and relying on their superior red zone defence to win games.
    Their 1485 metres conceded per game was the third most of any side in the NRL. Wayne Bennett’s side also made the most tackles inside their 20 metre zone, stopping opponents a whopping 876 times over the course of the season. Of course, this stat can be looked at as a source of pride for the Broncos but there’s no doubt Bennett would like his men to have to expend less energy on goal line defence by tightening up further up the field and winning the ruck battle more often.

    Home woes: The nation’s capital used to be the most feared road trip in the competition.
    However, that fear factor has been shredded by recent seasons with Ricky Stuart’s men once again woeful on their home track in 2015.
    The Raiders won just three home games this year, their worst ever return at home, with six of their nine losses coming in heartbreaking fashion, by four points or less.
    Sticky might want to call on the very best sports psychologists and witch doctors in the land this off-season, because turn those losses into wins and all of a sudden the Green Machine are pushing for a top four finish.

    Flat track bullies: For a team that has become renowned for their ability to win when it matters most under Des Hasler, the Bulldogs put together a very ordinary record on the big stage in 2015.
    Invariable Canterbury were too good for the weak sides in the competition but won just four of their 11 matches against 2015’s other finalists, highlighting a difference in class between the top five sides and the Bulldogs in particular.
    As the old cliche goes to be the best you have to beat the best, so the Bulldogs will need to go back to the drawing board in this off-season and figure out a plan to beat the heavyweights.

    Creative spark: This has been part of the game the Sharks have struggled with for several seasons and even with the addition of Ben Barba in 2015, it was an area of weakness once again.
    Thankfully for Cronulla their other big name signing Mick Ennis fired throughout the year, finishing the season with 17 try assists — an outstanding return for a hooker.
    However, the numbers put up by the two halves were far less comforting, with Jeff Robson and Jack Bird managing just 17 assists between them.
    At least Shane Flanagan isn’t faced with using the same personnel to solve the problem, with James Maloney and Chad Townsend charged with creating from the scrum base in 2016.

    Completion rate: When you’re working with a talent pool that lacks in quality and depth, the least you’d like to expect is that the basics are done right.
    The Titans in 2015 had the worst completion rate in the competition — they completed at over 75 per cent in just seven games all season — leaving them with little chance of mounting pressure and grinding to victories in the style you’d expect from a roster as thin as Neil Henry’s.
    If anything, the quality of personnel has taken a step backwards for 2016 so Henry and his staff need to find a way to ensure that’s compensated for by improved efficiency with ball in hand.

    Fortress crumbles: Over the past decade Manly have built their reputation as a team to be feared on the back of an intimidating record at Brookvale Oval, or ‘Fortress Brookvale’.
    That wasn’t the case in 2015, with the Sea Eagles winning just 50 per cent of their 10 games played on the Peninsular, their worst return at the ground since 2003.
    Trent Barrett will be eager to ensure that is rectified in his first season at the helm and with membership numbers tracking nicely his new look side should at least start the season with the kind of one-eyed support they need to get on top of visiting sides.

    Minnow madness: If the Storm were looking for a way to raise the presumably already sky high blood pressure of Craig Bellamy, they found it in 2015 racking up a head scratching record against the bottom two teams in the competition.
    Melbourne lost an incredible six matches to teams ranked either 15th or 16th when they met, essentially giving up the minor premiership for that reason alone.
    With the competition as tight as it is, Bellamy will be keen to shake the sense of complacency that likely accompanies this string of results because no side can afford to give up 12 competition points in this manner two seasons in a row.

    Leaky entertainers: At times in 2015 the Knights were one of the most exciting teams to watch purely because you knew there’d be plenty of tries scored at both ends of the park.
    But when Rick Stone’s men got stuck in a shootout, they invariably fell onto the wrong side of the scoreboard.
    Newcastle lost a staggering nine matches when scoring 20 points or more in the 2015 season, just one loss shy of the all-time record.
    The challenge for Nathan Brown is to find a way to limit opposition scoring without stifling his side’s free flowing attack at the same time.

  2. Terry Zarsoff

    Terry Zarsoff Well-Known Member

    +6,221 /100
    Pity they couldn't spell 'peninsula.'
    • Like Like x 1
    • Freagle

      Freagle Well-Known Member Premium Member

      +868 /21
      Yep, losing a bit of credibility there... The fortress will rise above such rubbish journalism.

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