Matty Johns on Brooks and Moses



  • Wests Tigers playmaker Luke Brooks has all the potential — now he must realise it

    MATTHEW JOHNS, The Daily Telegraph
    an hour ago
    Subscriber exclusive

    IT’S time for Luke Brooks to take his game to the next level.

    I take special note of young playmakers. I watch how their game develops, how their confidence grows, how they handle periods of adversity, how they react when they get hit, get criticised or lavished in praise.

    Luke Brooks has immense talent. I truly believe that when the Tiger’s playmaker realises his full potential, he’ll slot straight into the Blue’s No.7 jersey.


    It’s time for Luke Brooks to deliver on his vast potential.
    But the Tigers need Luke to take the next step in his career now, which is the ability and want to dictate contests.

    Brooks too often allows the style of a contest to dictate his involvement.

    For instance, if it’s a tight midfield battle, Luke will tend to drift out of the game, content to let the game continue in its form. If things aren’t going his way, he’s discouraged too easily.

    Then other weeks the game will open fast and free-flowing, and Brooks is in the thick of the action, running, passing, chipping and never off the ball.

    The great playmakers don’t allow themselves to be dictated to. They dictate the terms of the contest. It’s a learned skill, one playmakers develop as they gather experience.

    The great Allan Langer dictated how the Broncos played right through the 1990s. Jonathon Thurston sets the agenda and the tempo every time he plays.

    Manly’s Cliff Lyons couldn’t be discouraged. Cliffy took risks, one moment he’d throw a pass to nobody, the next he’d lay on the most beautiful piece of ball playing you’d ever hope to see. That was Lyons every week.

    When you played Freddy Fittler you knew his greatest weapon was his huge left foot sidestep, and he knew you knew, but it didn’t stop him from using it.


    Young Luke Brooks looks to be a real thinker — well of course he is, he’s a halfback. But maybe he thinks too much.

    The modern game can be so structured. I can imagine a young playmaker finding it stifling.

    To pull a team together into a structure takes a lot of thought and a lot of energy, and as a result I see so many modern playmakers being reluctant to venture outside the box.

    As you get older, you view structure as a safety net, a guide. You venture away from it, and come back to it if things start to get a little loose.

    In the modern game, with faster rucks and more tired middle defenders, a playmaker is disadvantaging himself and his team if he only plays within the structure, and most do.


    Structure is slow. Few sides are capable of fast, structured football — Melbourne Storm and North Queensland Cowboys are exceptions. For the rest you see the big set piece coming from a mile away.

    There’s a time and place during matches to put on the big structured set sequence, a tap start, maybe receiving a line drop out from a repeat set.

    But in the current game, speed and footwork through the middle is king. The playmakers who terrorise the middle defenders and make them miss are getting the best results.

    Luke Brooks has the perfect physique for this kind of football. Fast, thick through the hips, a great centre of balance.

    I’d love to see Luke build his game through running the football as opposed to finessing it sideways. I guarantee, when your running game is firing, everything else will start to fall into place.


    Brooks needs to become a leader on the field.
    For young playmakers my advice is always this: get into the thick of the contest early, run the football, get hit a few times, hear yourself talking aggressively. Make a few mistakes, be a little guilty of youthful exuberance.

    Enjoy yourself, don’t fret over the scoreboard. If you get beat, then make sure you go down fighting! Just don’t disappear from the contest.

    I was extremely happy to see Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses re-sign with the Tigers. This combination has enormous potential.

    Mitchell has been one of the most improved players of 2016. His first year in first grade was difficult, while he had the skill, he lacked the physicality, but that has certainly changed.


    Brooks and Moses should mean a great future for the Tigers.
    While Luke Brooks looks an introspective, thoughtful character, Moses oozes self confidence. It’s a nice mix.

    Much has been spoken about the Farah-Brooks-Moses on-field relationship. Can they make it work?

    Of course they can, it has the potential to be one of the best attacking combinations in the NRL. They just need to work out how they get the very best out of each other.

    On Friday night the Bunnies will want to play physical, while the Tigers will be desperate to play fast.

    Luke, get out there and dictate terms.



  • There’s been so many games this year that we’ve been in and you expect your 7. to steer you home and he simply hasn’t,tonight’s yet another opportunity



  • It’s interesting though because Brooks is top 5 in the NRL for try assists and line break assists despite missing 1 game and playing in a team in the bottom 3. That is an amazing achievement



  • Although there is a big difference to the forwards pack that JT plays from that brooks does, not saying he is doing enough, but I have never seen the Cowboys pack absolutely beat to submission like our pack does on occasion… Just to be fair…


  • Banned

    @Blaze:

    Although there is a big difference to the forwards pack that JT plays from that brooks does, not saying he is doing enough, but I have never seen the Cowboys pack absolutely beat to submission like our pack does on occasion… Just to be fair…

    Couldnt agree more. One thing ive noticed in the games ive watched live is our line speed in defence. We seem to be atleast 1 metre behind the other teams. If Brooks and Moses can get the ball with quick play the balls they could do anything. But other teams are in their face so quick, while we dont seem to have the same defence speed as the others. We could definitly build a team around moses and brooks , a few decent forwards coming through, and we could be anything ( if farah and taylor arent there lol).



  • Matty’s on the mark

    I can’t remember how many times I’ve said if he gets his running game right he is such a different beast

    That try he scored v Newcastle was exactly what I want to see every week

    Hit the ball at full speed and either hit the hole or use some footwork at the line



  • @tigerman80:

    @Blaze:

    Although there is a big difference to the forwards pack that JT plays from that brooks does, not saying he is doing enough, but I have never seen the Cowboys pack absolutely beat to submission like our pack does on occasion… Just to be fair…

    Couldnt agree more. One thing ive noticed in the games ive watched live is our line speed in defence. We seem to be atleast 1 metre behind the other teams. If Brooks and Moses can get the ball with quick play the balls they could do anything. But other teams are in their face so quick, while we dont seem to have the same defence speed as the others. We could definitly build a team around moses and brooks , a few decent forwards coming through, and we could be anything ( if farah and taylor arent there lol).

    Your last line says it all Tigermac. We can’t move forward until JT and Farah are both no longer at the club. I’m sick of hearing about them both. We need a fresh start in 2017 so we can hopefully start a new Tigers dynasty.



  • I don’t always agree with Matty Johns but he is on the money here with Brooksy. He needs to play more direct and run more! It is his best weapon. Johns is also right in his appraisal of Brooksy’s involvement and his tendency to drift in and out of games. The article unfortunately doesn’t address his defence which is becoming a liability.

    I feel that due to his frame, Moses does not posses the running game of Brooks but seems to have the better passing game. I would like to see them change positions actually with Moses playing the more dominant role and Brooks playing a Mir opportunist role which he seems better suited.



  • I just want to see it constantly.Hearing about wasted potential is frustrating……



  • Matty Johns has hit right on the problem. We need to play through the middle with Farah linking with Brooks/Moses supported by Teddy. Cut teams up through the middle rather than predictable backline block plays sideline to sideline. Don’t get me wrong there is still place for set plays but we are being coached so set to structure its just too predictable. Things won’t change until we have a coach which, Taylor is an imposter.



  • Matty Johns has hit right on the problem. We need to play through the middle with Farah linking with Brooks/Moses supported by Teddy. Cut teams up through the middle rather than predictable backline block plays sideline to sideline. Don’t get me wrong there is still place for set plays but we are being coached so set to structure its just too predictable. Things won’t change until we have a coach which, Taylor is an imposter.



  • @tigerman80:

    @Blaze:

    Although there is a big difference to the forwards pack that JT plays from that brooks does, not saying he is doing enough, but I have never seen the Cowboys pack absolutely beat to submission like our pack does on occasion… Just to be fair…

    Couldnt agree more. One thing ive noticed in the games ive watched live is our line speed in defence. We seem to be atleast 1 metre behind the other teams. If Brooks and Moses can get the ball with quick play the balls they could do anything. But other teams are in their face so quick, while we dont seem to have the same defence speed as the others. We could definitly build a team around moses and brooks , a few decent forwards coming through, and we could be anything ( if farah and taylor arent there lol).

    We don’t have hardly any guys who run hard and get a quick play the ball, even Woods get dominated in the ruck, so the defence is nearly always set and waiting for us.
    Brooks and Moses would love that extra metre of space you are talking about, they would look more like the players we hoped for if they had it.



  • The bottom line is that Brooks and Moses aren’t getting coached properly. Full stop.
    Until we get a new coach who understands their potential and the best way to utilise their talents they are always going to be playing at 50% of their abilities.



  • One of the most intelligent things Marty johns has ever written. Yes he is having trouble adapting to game situations, often times it’s due to our forwards being dominated and instead of maning up and grinding and getting back into the contest we revert to type and look for the easy way out. Which exacerbates the problem. We seriously lack big three quarters to help gain metres early in tackle counts (we need bigger backs).

    In a more experienced team with some hard heads and better leadership they would calm things down and help take control. But our old guys are struggling as it is (see halatau’s poor penalty) we have too many holes to plug in defence and are not making tackles one on one (engendering no confidence) and contributing to our weak edge defence.

    Point is brooks job not being made any easier by our substandard roster. Hopefully robbie goes and we can spend Sind money on some more go forward. For all the bagging woods cops the lack of a strong prop rotation is inhibiting his effectiveness.



  • @Boonboon2:

    It’s interesting though because Brooks is top 5 in the NRL for try assists and line break assists despite missing 1 game and playing in a team in the bottom 3. That is an amazing achievement

    It’s a great stat, which makes it all the more frustrating when he doesn’t get involved.


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