Not sure if everyone knows this already or has posted it somewhere else, but you can watch full replays of every NRL match from 2005 onwards on nrl.com in the videos tab.
I just discovered this recently and of course, I’ve been watching full replays of all the 2005 games. Its pretty awesome and has been pumping me up for this season. Anyway a few things I’ve noticed when watching the games that i just thought i’d share:
1. The speed of the ruck was like lightning. The wrestle hadnt been fully developed yet and it shows. Much faster than it is now, but I guess im stating the obvious here.
2. The quick hands of our boys passing through the backline was crisper and better than anything ive seen before or since.
3. the boys were tearing teams to shreds. in one half against souths i counted more than 10 line breaks, ridiculous.
4. Benjis running game was unbelievable. Look, he is now a much more complete player, gets the ball a couple of times each set, and steers the entire ship. Whereas then he took a back seat to Prince. but gee his running game and step in those days was explosive. It looks like hes going to make a bust every time he touches the ball. I didnt realise until i watched the vids how much that part of his game has changed. His running game is still very good (that amazing move he put on Boyd in last years’ finals comes to mind) but not even close to what it once was. In fact he was just generally on fire and so high on confidence. It’s great to watch. I’d love to see him run more this season, but I guess slowing down a fraction and losing a bit of that explosiveness is just a part of getting older.
5. Ben Galea was a wonderful player and a huge part of both our attack and defence, had a great step too. I had totally forgotten how good he was. Hindsight is 20/20 but we really shouldn’t have let him go. Looking back now we’d have been better off keeping him over fulton or haletau but i guess they were boom rookies at the time and had massive futures.
6. Speaking of which, Haletau had an amazing season. He made so many metres with the quick play the balls and was just so strong. I hope for his sake he can get back to that sort of form with the doggies this year.