I wanted to make an observation about three of the half backs that played in the semi-final series; viz, Mitch Moses, Kyle Flanagan and Nathan Cleary; and, in particular, the critics response to their final’s performances.
Flanagan and Moses were both criticised for their “game management” – they couldn’t get Easts and Parra home in the semis.
Criticisms of Flanagan were perhaps a bit rough. It’s his first season and Keary in that match (affected by a head knock?) was poor. I thought he (ie Keary) disjointed their attack, with many passes going behind the intended recipient while, in their last chance in the match, he threw it too far in front of Teddy, who knocked on. Anyway, Flanagan was made the scape goat and has been punted to the Dogs.
With regard to Moses, it seems that the “experts” are only now realising what many of us have known for some time – that he is a down-hill skier.
I haven’t seen a lot of Cleary – outside of semis and SOO, I usually only watch our team play. But I’m happy to accept other’s view that he is a special talent. It’s just that I have only seen glimpses of it.
Like Flanagan and Moses, Cleary couldn’t get Penrith home in the GF either. In fact, he was rather underwhelming in his last two finals appearances (Souths and Storm). In the GF he threw the intercept and was burnt by Paps when he scored his long range try. Sure he scored the last try, but the match was over and the Storm were down to 11 men. Although the Ch9 commentary team carried on like he had just run 100 metres and beat 13 men.
I don’t recall him making a big contribution in Origin either. He’s probably lucky he has been playing in a winning team. Perhaps he will shoot the lights out in the upcoming Origin series.
In any event, unlike Moses and Flanagan, the critics have been very kind to Cleary: “he will learn from this experience” they say. We’ll see.
It seems to me that, so far on the big stage (Origin; finals) Cleary has not lived up to his rather large reputation.