Often on this forum (and in discussions with other footy fans) people discard the value of a winger and refuse to justify high price-tags placed on the speedsters. I just don’t get it.
Years ago, wingers used to camp out on the sidelines (like they still do in Rugby) but these days League wingers are looked at differently. Wingers these days are expected to do the dirty work and take many of the early hitups. They are meant to help get their team on the front foot at the beginning of a set. They are also expected to do spectacular feats in scoring tries, should be able to finish sweeping moves with speed to burn and in defence they are expected to take all the pressure from bombs and are often a last line in cover.
Often, if a winger fails in any of these elements he is seen as a liability - unless of course he is so fast/evasive/strong in attack that some defensive frailties can be overlooked.
Tough, fast, tenacious wingers who are proficient in all areas are hugely underrated. Without doubt, these “overlooked” players are a main point of difference to any team.
Fans just don’t give enough credit to the winger. But we cannot ignore the importance of a strong winger and must realise that the good one’s are worth good money.
Lote, Tuiaki, Richards - not the greatest wingers ever, but their positives outweighed their faults - what we would give for them now.
A real quality winger would be worth his weight in gold. If he can kick goals then throw the chequebook at him.
So, when I hear about us going for established wingers like Holmes or Mansour I get really excited. Sure they have their weaknesses (and take nothing away from Nofa and to a lesser extent MWZ) but I’d love to see us go for proper quality on the wing.
Everyone is entitled to their option, but I wish the masses wouldn’t play down the significance and importance of quality in that position.