Guys I have had a bit of a think about it and I don’t think things are as bad as they are made out. We seem to be coping a pasting in here and in the media the past month. That the players are not interested and were a disgrace. A pasting like a side that is on the bottom of the ladder without a win to their name. Sure, our last 2 performances have been terrible on the whole and deserve lots of raised eyebrows. It’s only a small positive however we only missed 13 tackles last week, I think we did want to bounce back, it just didn’t happen. We withstood a few of these total debacles last season with the same group. The same group that is being picked apart were still good enough to take us to within 1 point of a probable premiership.
For mine we have badly missed our 2 MOST CONSISTENT footballers in Chris Lawrence and Gareth Ellis. They are International quality players in my opinion. These are perhaps the only 2 that produce 8/10 efforts every week in the grind of the NRL. Robbie, and Benji are our 2 best footballers, but such is their style of footy they can produce a few 5/10 games each year. Throw in Lote Tuqiri and your missing again arguable 3 of your top 5 footballers. Were missing our lethal left edge which produced probably 75% of our points last season. You couple that with not being able to put Gibbs, Payten and Ellis together as our defensive core around the ruck and you can see why were rocking in the forwards.
You take these crucial elements out of our football team, genuine point scoring out wide and defensive stabilty and reliable and tough footballers around the ruck and your left with a bit of a riff raff mix of youngsters, honest toilers and slow backs led by 2 or 3 brilliant but at times flawed geniuses. 4 out of our current back 5 would not run out of sight on a dark night. Mckinnon, Brown, Ashford and Utai are all fair footballers in their won right. We can’t capitalise on half opportunities created by the halves with these players. They are similar types of players, steady without offering threat at the attacking end. They lack pace and its a poor and unthreatening combination when put together. Then in the forwards you have young players such as Dwyer and Fifita who are very good prospects. However last season when we were firing they were bench players providing impact. Now they are being called upon to start games in the week in week out grind. There not going to be consistent. Then you have the likes of Fulton and Heightington, loved by Tigers fans, however they are battlers or honest footballlers at best.
I Don’t want to sound like i’m being rude to these players. It’s still a decent team capable of winning football games. However it’s a team when looked at closely, lack pace and strike out wide and lacks stability in the forwards. A very strong squad that has had plenty of holes poked in it since the back 2 months of last season. The current side we are fielding week in week out is over rated a little by the media and fans and should not be starting $1.30 favourites.
After the woeful injury toll at the start of the season we talked about chipping away at 50%, trying to scramble wins in the mean time and gathering ourselves for a tilt in the final 2 months. At 5-5 and in 8th place I think we are still on track to do that. Ok, it’s been pretty ugly and there are times where you could question our attitude but there is still time to turn it around. Might sound a little negative but I think we get another 5 wins from 10 starts and get to 10/10 im mighty confident we can win our last 4 and set up our push. Parra, Penrith, Titans and Sharks is a dream last 4 rounds if we have all our troops back.
I just think we are not unlike 13 or 14 other clubs in the NRL. That when we get injuries, we can only bat at 50% or slightly better. In my opinion the current 17 in the NRL is an only slightly above average side talent wise. Injuries to key aspects of our side have blunted our attack and loosened our ruck. People talk about playing a depleated Souths and Penrith, however for mine we are depleated. I think sometimes we just think because Marshall and Farah are there we should be winning all the time. I can see peoples concerns with our attitude. However I think it as much team balance and lack of confidence.
I don’t think we will beat the Dragons, however the season is still very much alive and I think we will get better in the second half. We showed last season we had found some spirit and togetherness by winning several close battles.I thibnk the togetherness is still there. We have had some distraction and probably took our eye off the ball. Its not happening at the moment but we will get some key troops back soon and im still confident enough we can do it.
This time last season we were 5-5. I think ultimately whilst 2006-09 were failures last season the side grew up a bit. We won’t fall into that 9th to 11th rut again. I still think we are on the rise, we have learned to win close games an win ugly. We have had a rocky 10 weeks but it’s not a disgrace in my opinion.
Yeh it totally bugs me that media will say a team is depleted & that’s why they lost or great that they could still win BUT for us it’s hardly mentioned. IT IS A BIG DEAL, since round 4 we’ve had alot of changes & losing Chris, Lote, Toddy, Ellis & Gibbs(also McKinnon & Lui for a bit) MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE. The young ones can only learn from each game. Benji & Robbie can only do so much out there, there’s only two of them. I know Sheens says he doesn’t like to use the injuries as an excuse BUT it’s the reality & i’m tired of it not being mentioned. We’ve won 3 games since Rd.4(Bye-Rd.9), with our younger team, so it’s not too bad. I’m not worried, we aren’t in too diff. of a position than last yr, & have to hand it to the whole team for all the changes they’ve had in such a short time.
Good Post Eddie, but the fact remains we are playing busted. Theirs plenty of effort but the once famous team work has gone out the window and everyone is pulling in the opposite direction.Most sides by this time in the season are carrying a couple of major injuries,thats life,that when the coach and the whole group put the effort into to make up for these set backs.
Anyway this week we will learn more, we finally get to play a class outfit, we have had the softest draw in the NRL up to date and have botched it up. I dont expect a win, but Iam hoping for a contest
Excellent post Eddie. Well thought out, constructive and paints the real picture of what has been happening in 2011. If only there were more of them on this forum.
Only time will tell if we can replicate last seasons run home. I really hope we get our best 17 back in the latter half of the season and really give it a shake. In the meantime, I hope your quality post lessens some of the negativity and blaming individual players for team losses on this forum!
Great post Eddie.
I do agree wholeheartedly with one point - that some of our players are overrated, particularly the ones you mention in Fulton and Heighington. Both are solid players at best, but that’s about it. I would add Moltzen to that list, but I don’t want to turn this into ANOTHER Moltzen debate - plenty of that elsewhere.
At full strength I have no doubts we have one of the best sides in the comp, but take away key players as you said and we will struggle.
I still think there is a concern with the attitude though - the last two weeks has been VERY poor in this regard.
Well constructed Eddie,
My pain >> Our best of the rest are so much better than those of the Rabbits, Panthers and Titans. This is my reason for the depths of disappointment that I have felt of late when we have dropped these games. 5/5 should be 8/2.
I can live with the fact that we will have an isolated bad game or even get beat by a better side, it is when we loose the games ourselves as our beloved Tigers tend to do more often than not that drives me insane.
No other club is so well know for being so Hot and Cold! This is what we are known for.
Yes we will be better off for the young guns (ie Fifita, Dwyer, Woods, BMM, Molz, Brown) getting more game time and yes I know we will be stronger when our senior players return, However The team are full time professional footballers and should play accordingly.
I dont know what the problem is, but their is a problem. Maybe theirs a lot of factors that combined are having a detrimental effect on the team. Last Saturday at Cambo was not a one off, it was a typical display in 2012. Iam sure injuries play a big part,but so much dropped ball,little or no structure,no apparent game plan, no obvious drive or passion,lack of leadership from the senior players. These are just my observations and I might be off the mark and being hard but good team at least tough it out when times get hard. IMO we here in tiger town have inflated views of many our players and with that comes inflated expectations . We dont have a player like Hornby that give you the same performance every single week, our star playmakers are up and down like yo yos, take our no7, okay he is young and inexperienced but when did he put two good games back to back. So how can you expect your team to play consistently when the no7’s form is all over the shop and than you could say how can Lui put back to back good games when the forwards are not laying the platform!!!
I really cant see that magic winning streak happening in the near future but I have been wrong many times before
I think thats what i’m getting at supercoach. Inflated views on certain players and therefore slightly inflated expectations. In my opinion the likes of Chris Heightington and Liam Fulton are only honest toilers. Whilst Utai, Ashford, Brown, Mckinnon are again only moderate player at NRL level. All of these guys are regular starters the last month or so and they don’t provide alot of punch. For mine we have 5 or 6 true A graders. When 3 of those spent prolonged periods on the sideline it’s no wonder your structure and attitude and consistency is up and down.
Our Top 17 is capable of winning this competition. Our Top 17 would have the likes of Fifita and Dwyer on the bench. Our Top 17 would have Lawrence and Tuqiri and Ellis running a muck off Marshall on the left edge. And our Top 17 would have Payten, Gibbs and Ellis providing the starch in defense.
I can see the winning streak happening. As long we get the troops back and they want it bad enough. They grew up last year with a lot of tough wins. I still do fear that the next 2 months will still be batting at 50%, however the last 6 weeks we will power home in my opinion.
I have Benji and Robbie say it many times when asked about the injuries , they both say the same thing and I agree with then .words to the effect of " every week we have named a 17 capable of winning the game , injuries are no excuse " . Over coming injuries and other adversities are part of winning premierships . ATM we are not overcoming them.
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And so It proved, the boys were playing for each other, they were just down on troops and down on confidence. As soon as Gareth and Lawrence returned our winning run started, confidence in the group rose and we looked a classy football side again. This group of players and club is now one to be proud of. As a whole is as tight knit and as tough and determined a group as the club has had.
All those close victories this season, even ugly victories would have been losses between 2006-2009. The boys have scratched out a number of those gritty wins that make or break your season. I don’t think many clubs could have dealt with the injuries and issues we had this season and finish in the Top 4. It will be a great acheievment if we pull it off this Saturday night and Sheens can take credit for the steady hand he played and the loyalty he showed.
I just hope the pain of that 1 point loss last year to the Dragons is the motivating force this year to go that step further and compete in a 2nd grand final.