I had some time on my hands and decided to re-watch a lot of games back from 2018, more like a skim through rather than watching the full 80, with the intention of comparing the form of a few players and taking into consideration the factors that could have possibly affected that. The majority of us have been complaining and wondering why the form of specific players has been down, most notably Esan Marsters and Moses Mbye. One that will shock quite a few is Ben Matulino, who we thought was poor last year and has surprisingly lifted his game this year.
Moses Mbye, This 24yrd old came to us mid year last year and gave us another point of attack, added a new dimension to it per say, be it through his passing, kicking or running game. I want to focus on his running game which has taken a backwards step this year for a couple of reasons; Weight loss, injury and captaincy. Mbye has lost weight over the off-season, looks a lot slimmer around the waist and has put on more upper body muscle by the looks of things. Re-watching the games, I was surprised, his confidence seems to be shot, possibly because he doesn’t feel secure about his body, in the sense that he doesn’t feel safe when running the ball back or getting tackled because he feels smaller. He used to run the ball with vigour and intent, most of the time broke tackles when he ran the ball. Furthermore, his injury has depleted his ability to run the ball the way he did last year, in regards to speed, strength on his legs and agility. He had a pretty agile step in him last year, now its more of a dance and the stop. If injury is the case, why wasn’t he rested until he was back to full strength? Which leads me onto my next point, has the captaincy applied pressure on him? was he rushed back because he is captain? Moses Mbye has disappointed many here and I am one of them, although I do think that these things weren’t really his choice e.g. Madge telling him he needs to cut down, injury and captaincy.
Similar to Mbye, is Esan Marsters. Weight loss and injury. Marsters has chopped a lot of weight off since last year. He was a young, big powerful centre that had a step in him aswell as an offload. Last year there seemed to be more of a desire to want the ball and was far more involved. When he would carry the ball, he would carry it with the intention of breaking a tackle or getting passed his opponent with a step or a flick to his winger. The thing with Esan is, he isn’t naturally fast, so losing weight wont really make him faster in fact its taken away his power and strength while not increasing his speed. Shot his confidence. So he isn’t this damaging ball runner that he was last year, Madge has tried to turn him into a genuine centre but has rather affected his game. It was reported before that he had succumb to an ankle injury earlier in the year, I don’t think that its affected his game because his form hasn’t changed from RD1 till now.
On the contrary, Ben Matulino interestingly surprised me. He has put on more weight since last year and looks like a block with no real structure to his muscles. We were saying that this year he seems to make more post contact metres where as last year he would get to the defensive line and just stop. I thought the same till I watched over the games from last year he actually used to run with more vigour, have a bit of a step in him and push through the advantage line. This year however, he actually looks like he has less push in his legs when getting to the advantage line. Now with Matulino, its a tough one because of his cronic knee issue as well as age, but there still seems to be an issue here with body management and how that has affected his overall form.
Then again, this is what I see and think, it could be my emotions that make up my responses because of how disappointed we are with the form of a few players but I was surprised when I starting re-watching last years games. Thoughts?