An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs

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.

I agree with pretty much all of that FD.

Moses is a show pony with no heart. I’ve never see him lead a team to victory after being behind on the scoreboard yet he’ll quite easily carry on like a flog when they’re dominating. Just have a look at his behaviour after hitting the post v Souths. Glad he’s not our problem anymore.

Flanagan I think will mature into a solid half. His goal kicking is strong but he was clearly playing second fiddle to Keary so I don’t know why he has copped all the blame. Possibly because he was seen as a stop-gap until Walker comes onto the scene. I’d be placing more of the blame on their big stars for bowing out early in the finals, ie. Tedesco & Keary. They were both off.

With Cleary he definitely saved his worst game of the year for the GF. I thought his try at the end was great but as you say too little too late. You’d think he was only subbed into the game in the last 5 mins if it wasn’t for the intercept he threw & the missed tackle on Paps. Not good enough really considering all the media love he gets & particularly as he’s the NSW halfback. He was very good against the Roosters though so interesting to see if/how he bounces back. Maybe it’s the curse of Ivan that’s holding him back, wouldn’t that be funny.

Looking at the whole competition most halfbacks struggle to perform at a consistent high level these days. Just goes to show the importance of the team performance as a whole. With all this talk of the Tigers chasing JAC I really wish we’d get the forward pack right first.

No doubt Cleary is getting better every year he was great this year but Melbourne shut him down well in the final. He will be more involved in origin this year too, last year he was injured and they didn’t use him much mostly just kicked and defended

Moses has the ego of a guy who wants to lead a team around and he’s been given that role but doesn’t have the heart of a leader. He will need to learn to play second fiddle because he will not lead a team to a premiership and i get the feeling he will keep declining. Last year he was great, started hot this year and slowly faded out.

Flanagan is solid and will improve, how good he gets I’m not sure. Might be a Mitchell Pearce type player good at club level but won’t get much further.

last edited by JC99

Imo Moses has a similar dominant style to Cody Walker, opportunist, rather than creating the opportunity. Flanagan otoh is a playmaker with a solid kicking game. Definitely as good as any current half. Chooks must have a very good one in mind to replace him. Pretty much all the roosters were a little flat toward the end of season, particularly their front row and the game breakers. Cleary has been outpointed all year by Luai but you wouldn’t think that listening to the commentators.

I was having a discussion / argument with a mate on Sunday, about Luke Brooks. It’s my opinion that generally speaking, most halves going around right now regularly fail to step up when their team needs a special result.

Probably Hughes, Cleary and Keary are the best, with George Williams and Adam Reynolds being pretty good. Makes sense as the Top 4-5 teams. Thereafter it’s all pretty average stuff - Moses, Townsend, Johnson, Mitchell Pearce, Ash Taylor, Fogarty, DCE, Flanagan.

My position was that Luke Brooks is not in the top 5 or so halves but thereafter he’s no worse than any of the others, especially when you consider what he’s working with at Tigers.

For all of Luke Keary being an attacking weapon, he has the luxury of passing to players like Tedesco, Crichton, JWH, Morris twins etc. Luke Brooks’ equivalent options are Douiehi, Moses Mbye, Tommy Talau, Luke Garner - a step below the Roosters equivalents in all positions in all respects.

And ultimately my point, coming back around to the Tigers, is a hypothetical of would Luke Brooks play finals and win a premiership if he was at the Storm or the Chooks? When he wouldn’t have to shoulder so much of the load and cop so much criticism when Tigers don’t fire. Ignoring of course that Tigers scored a bucketload of points in 2020 (but apparently that’s all to Benji Marshall) and Brooks was Dally M in 2018.

So my observation of the semi-final halfbacks is that there is generally a lack of killer ability in the halves at most clubs. The game hasn’t really been like that for 5-10 years - it’s either the way the game functions right now, or just a critical lack of ability in emerging halves. All the “exciting” new talent is at fullback and centres.

@twentyforty said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

Imo Moses has a similar dominant style to Cody Walker, opportunist, rather than creating the opportunity. Flanagan otoh is a playmaker with a solid kicking game. Definitely as good as any current half. Chooks must have a very good one in mind to replace him. Pretty much all the roosters were a little flat toward the end of season, particularly their front row and the game breakers. Cleary has been outpointed all year by Luai but you wouldn’t think that listening to the commentators.

It’s interesting with the Roosters, they are cut-throat if you aren’t performing. I agree Flanagan isn’t that bad, and several clubs moved to speak to him as soon as Roosters said they’d release him.

Pearce and Jackson Hastings were consigned to scrap heap not so long ago, now Flanagan. Makes you wonder why players would be clamouring to join a club that will cut you to the curb so quickly, and puts even more pressure on the idea that they must be offering very good salary “packages” to make that risk worthwhile.

I’m sure Flanagan joined the Roosters with very high hopes and personal confidence, being head-hunted and coming off a decent debut year with Cronulla. Fast-forward a year, despite not being that bad, he’s now signed a deal with one of the bottom-placed clubs, who expect him to lift their ordinary fortunes without a particularly good roster around him.

Or in other words, if Flanagan wasn’t firing with the Roosters roster, how is he going to do it with the Bulldogs roster?

I am personally hoping for a new round of Roosters failures, because they will always get the players they want, but that doesn’t mean those players will fire. There have been significant periods where the Roosters investments don’t quite work out - not bad bad results but not like the way Storm refresh their rosters year on year.

@jirskyr said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

I was having a discussion / argument with a mate on Sunday, about Luke Brooks. It’s my opinion that generally speaking, most halves going around right now regularly fail to step up when their team needs a special result.

Probably Hughes, Cleary and Keary are the best, with George Williams and Adam Reynolds being pretty good. Makes sense as the Top 4-5 teams. Thereafter it’s all pretty average stuff - Moses, Townsend, Johnson, Mitchell Pearce, Ash Taylor, Fogarty, DCE, Flanagan.

My position was that Luke Brooks is not in the top 5 or so halves but thereafter he’s no worse than any of the others, especially when you consider what he’s working with at Tigers.

For all of Luke Keary being an attacking weapon, he has the luxury of passing to players like Tedesco, Crichton, JWH, Morris twins etc. Luke Brooks’ equivalent options are Douiehi, Moses Mbye, Tommy Talau, Luke Garner - a step below the Roosters equivalents in all positions in all respects.

And ultimately my point, coming back around to the Tigers, is a hypothetical of would Luke Brooks play finals and win a premiership if he was at the Storm or the Chooks? When he wouldn’t have to shoulder so much of the load and cop so much criticism when Tigers don’t fire. Ignoring of course that Tigers scored a bucketload of points in 2020 (but apparently that’s all to Benji Marshall) and Brooks was Dally M in 2018.

So my observation of the semi-final halfbacks is that there is generally a lack of killer ability in the halves at most clubs. The game hasn’t really been like that for 5-10 years - it’s either the way the game functions right now, or just a critical lack of ability in emerging halves. All the “exciting” new talent is at fullback and centres.

Totally agree, and if Brooks played a game like Cleary did in the GF, alot of people on here would be asking for his sacking. I think Brooks is as good as any of the top halves, just needs a few good players around him.

@jirskyr said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

@twentyforty said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

Imo Moses has a similar dominant style to Cody Walker, opportunist, rather than creating the opportunity. Flanagan otoh is a playmaker with a solid kicking game. Definitely as good as any current half. Chooks must have a very good one in mind to replace him. Pretty much all the roosters were a little flat toward the end of season, particularly their front row and the game breakers. Cleary has been outpointed all year by Luai but you wouldn’t think that listening to the commentators.

It’s interesting with the Roosters, they are cut-throat if you aren’t performing. I agree Flanagan isn’t that bad, and several clubs moved to speak to him as soon as Roosters said they’d release him.

Pearce and Jackson Hastings were consigned to scrap heap not so long ago, now Flanagan. Makes you wonder why players would be clamouring to join a club that will cut you to the curb so quickly, and puts even more pressure on the idea that they must be offering very good salary “packages” to make that risk worthwhile.

I’m sure Flanagan joined the Roosters with very high hopes and personal confidence, being head-hunted and coming off a decent debut year with Cronulla. Fast-forward a year, despite not being that bad, he’s now signed a deal with one of the bottom-placed clubs, who expect him to lift their ordinary fortunes without a particularly good roster around him.

Or in other words, if Flanagan wasn’t firing with the Roosters roster, how is he going to do it with the Bulldogs roster?

I am personally hoping for a new round of Roosters failures, because they will always get the players they want, but that doesn’t mean those players will fire. There have been significant periods where the Roosters investments don’t quite work out - not bad bad results but not like the way Storm refresh their rosters year on year.

Xerri’s forecast arrival did not occur. Flanagan’s fate was pre-determined.

last edited by pawsandclaws1

@pawsandclaws1 said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

@jirskyr said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

@twentyforty said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

Imo Moses has a similar dominant style to Cody Walker, opportunist, rather than creating the opportunity. Flanagan otoh is a playmaker with a solid kicking game. Definitely as good as any current half. Chooks must have a very good one in mind to replace him. Pretty much all the roosters were a little flat toward the end of season, particularly their front row and the game breakers. Cleary has been outpointed all year by Luai but you wouldn’t think that listening to the commentators.

It’s interesting with the Roosters, they are cut-throat if you aren’t performing. I agree Flanagan isn’t that bad, and several clubs moved to speak to him as soon as Roosters said they’d release him.

Pearce and Jackson Hastings were consigned to scrap heap not so long ago, now Flanagan. Makes you wonder why players would be clamouring to join a club that will cut you to the curb so quickly, and puts even more pressure on the idea that they must be offering very good salary “packages” to make that risk worthwhile.

I’m sure Flanagan joined the Roosters with very high hopes and personal confidence, being head-hunted and coming off a decent debut year with Cronulla. Fast-forward a year, despite not being that bad, he’s now signed a deal with one of the bottom-placed clubs, who expect him to lift their ordinary fortunes without a particularly good roster around him.

Or in other words, if Flanagan wasn’t firing with the Roosters roster, how is he going to do it with the Bulldogs roster?

I am personally hoping for a new round of Roosters failures, because they will always get the players they want, but that doesn’t mean those players will fire. There have been significant periods where the Roosters investments don’t quite work out - not bad bad results but not like the way Storm refresh their rosters year on year.

Xerri’s forecast arrival did not occur. Flanagan’s fate was pre-determined.

Spot on Rooster only tool Flannagan to get Xerri and when that did not occur it was all over
Maybe we should look at young Billy Smith as centre from 2022

@jirskyr said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

@twentyforty said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

Imo Moses has a similar dominant style to Cody Walker, opportunist, rather than creating the opportunity. Flanagan otoh is a playmaker with a solid kicking game. Definitely as good as any current half. Chooks must have a very good one in mind to replace him. Pretty much all the roosters were a little flat toward the end of season, particularly their front row and the game breakers. Cleary has been outpointed all year by Luai but you wouldn’t think that listening to the commentators.

It’s interesting with the Roosters, they are cut-throat if you aren’t performing. I agree Flanagan isn’t that bad, and several clubs moved to speak to him as soon as Roosters said they’d release him.

Pearce and Jackson Hastings were consigned to scrap heap not so long ago, now Flanagan. Makes you wonder why players would be clamouring to join a club that will cut you to the curb so quickly, and puts even more pressure on the idea that they must be offering very good salary “packages” to make that risk worthwhile.

I’m sure Flanagan joined the Roosters with very high hopes and personal confidence, being head-hunted and coming off a decent debut year with Cronulla. Fast-forward a year, despite not being that bad, he’s now signed a deal with one of the bottom-placed clubs, who expect him to lift their ordinary fortunes without a particularly good roster around him.

Or in other words, if Flanagan wasn’t firing with the Roosters roster, how is he going to do it with the Bulldogs roster?

I am personally hoping for a new round of Roosters failures, because they will always get the players they want, but that doesn’t mean those players will fire. There have been significant periods where the Roosters investments don’t quite work out - not bad bad results but not like the way Storm refresh their rosters year on year.

We have come through a period when halfbacks were becoming as big as back rowers to combat an energy sapping tactic of traffic coming their way. I feel the new rules may favour the traditional size half with a step and blistering pace off the mark. The likes of Reynolds, Luai, Flanagan, Keary.
There’s something more to Flanagan getting cut. But that’s another story.
The chooks have any number of kick chasers. How many times have their props been first on the scene after a downtown? They also have hole runners, something WT haven’t had for years. It must be hard to coach into players? Cody Walker is very good at it. We have plenty of decoy runners but Brooks would look so much better if only we had hole runners with some pace. It’s possible Flanagan will find that an issue at Bulldogs. However, imo the best hole runners in the comp are at Panthers. Now did they learn that from Barrett? If so we could find Flanagan could have a field day?

Melbourne have had to make big changes to accommodate not having a star halfback. They manufactured Cronk who started with a very simple game plan and developed slowly over a long period. Croft and Jacks were more traditional halfbacks but neither seemed to please Bellamy.

They cut their losses and let Cameron Smith act as a halfback in the middle third with Hughes on one side and Munster on the other. In the last 3rd of the year Papenhuyzen did most of the playmaking in the middle 3rd as Cameron Smith had slowed down and wasn’t doing it very well.

They mostly had a prop at lock instead of using Brandon Smith for some reason. They played Papenhuyzen then Hynes from the bench.

The point is they have done a number of weird things and some have worked. They sign good players and then change their game plan to get the best players on the field. They really don’t care about the number on anyone’s back, they just have a number of jobs that need to be done on the field.

I’m no fan of Flanagan…but I think the roosters screwed him over royally as most people with some footy knowledge would.

I think he would’ve been better staying at the sharks and becoming a local legend there instead of signing somewhere for other people’s big visions and then finding yourself surplus to requirements for whatever reason (Flanagan, give Woods a call). Now people see him as damaged goods which I think is an unfair assumption.

Chooks were cooked by the end of the season…4 guys carrying significant concussions,an aging forward pack,Teddy and the Morris brothers playing injured…I suspect one more game even the Broncos wld have beaten them…and WT wld maybe get a draw!!
Flanagan treated disgracefully…took the fall for some mediocre succession planning…calling up SBW and the Morris’s(as good as they were early)suggests they havent pinched as many young players from other clubs as usual,and got stuck with an old, tired team
Back to the drawing board for Robinson…maybe he needs to do another Harvard course…or simply spend a year observing Bellamy!

last edited by clontarfkid

@fibrodreaming said in An Observation About 3 Semi-final Half-backs:

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.

This is the only reason I wasn’t really a fan of his origin selection. Brooks was the halfback having the breakout year - during the selection time - yet the young lad showing great composure for his age, with a great kicking game and part of a strong team was automatically perceived as the long term solution.
Immediately there was so much talk about him being there for 10 years plus when the determinants applied(by selectors) should not have been the deciding factors IMO.

last edited by Lauren

When you look at the 7s many were out of form back end of the season bar Hughes , Canberra 7 and Cleary

Morgan had a shocker season , Brooks , Moses , Reynolds weren’t great , all the broncos 7 were pus , green ok at best , dragons 7 ok , Fogarty was good , Pearce was good early on went MIA , townsend was townsend , johnson was underrated imo , Foran was good when fit

I’d say the worst list of 7’s in a long time

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