The Cumberland Throw

The Spotlight – You Make The Call

The phone rings….

“Hey mate, BA here. We’re a player down after Browny’s brain snap last Thursday. I’m interested in your take on our starting pack and bench.”

http://www.starrpartners.com.au/office/starr-partners-auburnNo, that call won’t be coming. But imagine if it did.

Every supporter is an amateur coach and selector, and that’s what makes rugby league great.

Everyone has an opinion.

Just for a moment, imagine that you are some sort of footy savant, a genius at understanding a team’s needs and what particular players provide. A secret society of NRL coaches know your talents as Jack Gibson reincarnated, but it’s a closely guarded secret and they don’t abuse your wisdom. 

But now, it’s crunch time for the Eels and the call has come.

What do you recommend?

There’s a few factors at play that you’ll probably consider.

 

Blake Ferguson Returns

In this likely scenario, Fergo comes back onto the wing, with Taka shifting to the bench to take a forward role.

You then need to find a middle forward to take Brown’s place.

Is this Peni Terepo? He didn’t play on Thursday night but he produced a solid effort for Wenty in their victory over the third placed Dogs at Ringrose on Saturday.

But does Peni possess Brown’s defensive mobility? Can he play Brown’s minutes?

Perhaps there are other options.

 

Other Forward Options

It’s arguable that the bench has failed to produce the necessary impact over the last two weeks.

Is the time right for change?

Oregon celebrates his first NRL try.

Tepai is moving on to rugby union and has been given minimal game time. Would there be more value in playing either Oregon Kaufusi or debuting Stefano Utoikamanu?

It would be a big call to introduce less experienced players against Brisbane or Manly, with a finals match looming. Both Oregon and Stefano will have NRL careers, and both have been producing the goods for Wenty.

In yesterday’s Canterbury Cup match, Utoikamanu was a standout. He played 60 minutes, topped the tackle count with 44 and made 133 running metres (54 post contact), one line break, five tackle breaks, one offload as well as scoring a try.

Coming off the bench, Kaufusi played 51 minutes, ran for 94 metres (33 post contact), and made 26 tackles.

Would you take a punt with the young guns at this stage of the season?

Kaufusi hasn’t let the team down in his limited NRL appearances, and Utoikamanu looks like an NRL player in every Wenty match. They are the future. Is the future now?

Does a warhorse like Tim Mannah come back into calculations? His career could be coming to a close, but he has the NRL runs on the board. He also produced a stunning 189 running metres (69 post contact), 5 tackle breaks and two offloads yesterday.

Any of these options are probably more appropriate for replacing Tepai, not covering for Brown and his mobility in the middle.

Does the club have a suitable like for like during Brown’s absence?

 

Resting Reedy

Earlier in the season, pundits were calling for Reed Mahoney to be given a break. That was initially provided via the inclusion of Jaeman Salmon on the bench, and more recently, by Clint Gutherson slotting into dummy half in attack. 

Ray Stone in action for Wenty.

Though this time in a match has not proved costly to the team, the down side of using Gutherson is that it removes the fullback from our attacking shapes and makes the Eels attack less effective.

Is the time right to revisit using Salmon off the bench?

Last Saturday, Ray Stone returned from injury off the bench in Wenty’s clash with the Dogs. What was significant is that he played dummy half during his stints on the field yet still produced 81 running metres. If he pulls up fit and well, he could be a viable option for covering Mahoney.

Do you decide to have a bench spot for Stone? His aggression and mobility is similar to Brown, and he can cover for Mahoney. His selection would change the dynamic of the bench and he could remain on the field after deputising for Mahoney on either side of half time.

 

Alternatives

Both Manu Ma’u and Shaun Lane can play a middle role. Ma’u especially could cover for Brown’s mobility, but then the team would miss the impact of either he or Lane on the edge. It would go against the rule of never weakening one position to cover for another.

Were you to consider moving either to the middle, their role on the edge in the starting team could be taken by either Brad Takairangi or Marata Niukore. Both have experience there, though each seems to have found their best form in other roles.

Niukore in particular has brought the impact off the bench to the middle. Is it best to leave him there or could he be considered for a starting role to replace Brown?

 

Your Turn

Arthur is just over 24 hours away from naming his team. Let’s assume that Ferguson is returning.

If that call came for your input, what would be your starting pack and bench?

Do you decide to do more than simply replacing Brown?

Over to you.

 

Eels forever!

Sixties

 

63
Click Here to Reply ...

avatar
16 Comment threads
47 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
28 Comment authors
AnonymousThe rev aka SneddenThe rev aka SneddenpeteColin Hussey Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Sam
Guest
Sam

Alright, interesting enough premise – I’ll go first. 8 – Evans 9 – Mahoney 10 – Paulo 11 – Lane 12 – Niukore 13 – Ma’u 14 – Stone (cover for Mahoney & 13 if Niukore needs a rest). 15 – Gower (reliability) 16 – Mannah/Terepo/Alvaro – (the best form middle to be chosen) 17 – Takairangi (gives injury coverage for many backline positions can play roving lock or back row if needed) 18 – Tepai/Kaufusi/Utoikamanu This is our most versatile bench imho. It’s not incredibly explosive but it’s reliable & our bench offers little as is. Niukore was playing… Read more »

Milo
Guest
Milo

Fair point Sam; i like your bench besides Taka; i would have same bench except Utoik in for Taka. And yes Mannah / Terepo with Gower and Stone.

Longfin Eel
Guest
Longfin Eel

I know that BA won’t want to shift the deck chairs just to find a Brown replacement, so I reckon he will go with Terepo at 13. He has played there earlier in the year and likely has trained in that position. Bench would likely be Niukore, Gower, Alvaro. The last spot is the hardest. BA would look to have Taka play off the bench, but I really feel we need to have a dummy half on the bench. I would go for either Salmon or Stone, who have both played there before. Taka would feel unlucky to miss out,… Read more »

Longfin Eel
Guest
Longfin Eel

To be honest though, I don’t think Terepo is in great form and I would rather see one of the younger players given an opportunity at 13.

Milo
Guest
Milo

For me its simple- we pick the best 17 players available. I would bring in Utoik to play off the bench and have Alvaro fill in for Brown this week to play 60 mins or so. Ferguson on wing and Taka out. I am not confident that he should take a fwds spot on the bench. Utoik and co are the future and imo should have had more game time before now; but i have not watched wenty etc. We need players who can play mins. Stone to play on bench for me in place of Tepai. He can do… Read more »

Gazzamatta
Guest
Gazzamatta

Lets not forget BA likes his edge forwards to play minutes in the middle so I reckon he will select Lane to 13 and Taka to the edge. I cant see BA demoting Taka and also BA has a liking for the Moses/Mau combination in attack so I dont think he will alter that. Personally Id find a spot for Stone so hopefully we can remove the ridiculous Mahoney/Gutho situation. My picks would be. 8. Jnr 9. Reed 10. Kane 11. Lane 12. Mau 13. Marata 14. Stone 15. Gower 16. Mannah 17. Oregan I realise I havent selected Taka… Read more »

Gazzamatta
Guest
Gazzamatta

Hey 60s. Sorry for interrupting the subject matter but I dont do twitter or snapchat or anything like that.
Ive been enjoying your memorabilia items very much. The collection is amazing.
I have the odd item that may also be of interest having been a fan since 1964.
Maybe you could provide an avenue where fellow posters could share some of their cherished items. Not sure how one would do this within this site but hopefully food for thought.
Cheers
Gaz

BDon
Guest
BDon

Likewise sixties. Is it possible to post a readable copy of the Fairfield v Cabramatta page on this site? Back in the 60’s some of the old players used to hold court at my local, real characters. Just wanted to see if I recognised any names. No probs if you can’t. I’ve got some early 70’s programs that my wife and kids will probably bin when the cupboards are cleaned out. Happy to mail them to a willing recipient.

JonBoy
Guest
JonBoy

This week against the Bronco’s I think I am looking for dependable and reliable to get a job done, BUT I also want some aggression. So with 5th or 6th spot feeling pretty comfortable I’m also feeling generous.

Tim Mannah comes in to take the 13 jumper to replace NBrown.

Ray Stone to the bench to cover for Reed AND slot in and around the middle rotation.

Stone, Niukore and Kafusi provide the aggression and impact (hopefully).

Taka on the bench for versatility.

8- Evans
9- Mahoney
10- Paulo
11- Lane
12- Mau
13- Mannah

14- Stone
15- Taka
16- Niukore
17- Kafusi

18- Alvaro

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

Id swap stone and mannah

Rocket
Guest
Rocket

We could name both Uto and Kaufusi.
The Brisbane pack is full of young guns as well. Maybe like for like and they won’t be over awed facing them!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I’d put Nuikore to the starting side.
Drop Moeroa & Alvaro.
Bring in Kaufusi & Mannah.
Stone on the bench.

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

This is a hard one because I don’t see enough of Wenty to make an informed decision but here goes. I would put Gower into thirteen. While we will miss Brown offensively but I think our attack can deal with that if we offload against Brisbane. Gower is a very reliable defender and will hold our middle together. I would replace Gower on the bench with Stefano. He will give us some strike from the bench and will be able to expose a tiring Broncos defensive line ( they are vulnerable last ten minutes each half) From what I have… Read more »

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

The good thing about being an armchair couch is when you get it wrong you can move forward forget your previous mistakes and and stand up with your pious confidence and throw in your criticisms again the next week. BA on the other hand has to front up to a presser, irate fans and a board looking at him over their glasses However with no dents in my confidence and full of opinion would say that normally I would go for Peni but sadly he looks out of form. I would be happy with either of Oregon or Mannah. I… Read more »

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

John, sadly I think he has been turning up, but not on the playing field.,

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

Since the loss on Thursday night, along with the way Tepi has been playing now for some weeks I have had the view he should not be in the 17, or even the extended bench, his form is too far down and his mind is more on next year and simply playing out his contract. May sound hard/harsh but its how I see it, with sorrow being I also supported him and not happy to say that about him, he had so much potential but sadly never attained it enough to really be what he could have been. The question… Read more »

John Eel
Guest
John Eel

Colin I went for Oregon over Stefano simply because he has been there before. I would not argue with Stone as a replacement for Meoroa either.

Do you think that Peni is playing like he has already been told he won’t be re-sighned for next season. I hope not.

That would be a total of two replacements for Brown and Moeroa. That also means I have left Taka out which seems a bit harsh.

If they can return to playing with patience and resilience again I think that they can get the job done against Broncos

Colin Hussey
Guest
Colin Hussey

John, I am sure I saw somewhere where Peni, like Alvaro had an Player option for next year, yet I cannot find that anywhere now. I really am not sure about whether he is worth keeping as a player, unless he can genuinely lift his whole game back to the standard we know he can play at, but turning 28 this year and with him being put back to Wenty this last game in favour of Tepia does not bode well for him, unless he was put back to give an 80minute audition. The problem what I see for players… Read more »

BDon
Guest
BDon

Start with Gower for Brown. Without Brown I think Alvaro and Moeroa should go to Wenty. We could be vulnerable again behind the ruck, so the bench has to look like Niukore x 4…strong, athletic.lateral agility. That suggests giving 3 young blokes a run, Stone, Oregon and Stefano but maybe too light in NRL experience. Even without Pangai Jnr the Broncs will field a pack that might see Reed needing a break, so Stone and bring in Mannah to bolster experience for either Oregon or Stefano. Just on benches, Manly, even without Sironen, fielded a bench that mixed it with… Read more »

pete
Guest
pete

Great proposition Sixties. I guess we can all make a call, but we have zero accountability if we get it wrong. On the other hand BA if he gets it wrong we have lost 2 in a row..and he will be blamed by many (after the event) for making the wrong call. You could call back Mannah for a swan song..but I think something non form related is keeping him back i.e. random call to the Tigers coach… I have been wondering why Kafusi, Salmon and Parry have not received many chances ..Ive wondered why Stefano hasn’t been blooded. I… Read more »

DDay
Guest
DDay

Coming off a loss where our bench lacked impact and with Fergo back there will have to be some significant change. With NBrown out I’d play Gower as #13, minimises change to the run on team and BA doesn’t like to change the team. Stone comes in to cover Reed & Gower’s breaks and will provide some impact. Marata (covers an injury to a back) and Alvaro hold their place, Stefano comes in for Tepai to add punch. If Ferguson is back I would not have room for Taka. He was trialled in the forwards last year and just doesn’t… Read more »

Michael Formosa
Guest
Michael Formosa

I’m good to go if and when BA makes the call but in the unlikely case that doesn’t happen I’ll go with Taka on the bench and also bring in Peni for Tepai. It also seems like Utoikamanu has over taken Kaufusi in the pecking order (hopefully we’ll see them both in first grade next year). I also like the idea of Stone on the bench but I guess we can’t have all of them in yet.

Gregory
Guest
Gregory

Stone to 14, Tepai to 13 and Terepo on the bench.
Takas back to Wenty.
BA will do predictable BA and waste a spot on the bench for Takas who can only really cover the outside backs or 6 at a semi competent level. If we’re gonna spell Reedy it has to stop being at the expense of having a fullback. Our attack suffers having Gutho there both in terms of service and not having a 1. Its stupidity.

The rev aka Snedden
Guest
The rev aka Snedden

The rev aka Snedden
Rd 24 line up should be like this.
1# Gutherson
2# Sivo
3# Blake
4# Jenko
5# Ferguson
6# brown
7# Moses
8# junior
9# Mahoney all 80 minutes of him.
10# Kane
11# Mau
12# Lane
13# stone ) but Brad will go with Moeroa

Bench
14# marata
15# kaufusi
16# Gower
17# Stefano. But Brad Will Go with takarangi.
18th man salmon

It’s the future. It’s time we start giving these young guys a Fair crack at NRL.

Not bad going got it right almost with the starting 17.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

EVANS
MAHONEY
PAULO
MAU
LANE
TEREPO (last chance)

MARATA
MANNAH
STEFAN
TAKARANGI

Time to make a change. Gower, Meroa, Alvaro have had enough chances and have shown they can’t consistently produce what is needed and often cause any and all momentum to be lost and that is something that is hard to get back.
Stone does not get a look in, he tries hard but gives away silly penalties and in all honesty has very little meaningful impact.

Taka gets a bench spot due to his versatility but as a forward he is ordinary.