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Coaching The Coaches - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Fri, 27 Apr 2007 11:18:00 GMT
The GRL Phantom is most enthused about next Monday's clash between Newcastle and Cronulla at Energy Australia Stadium.

The Sharks are a genuine top eight team this year and I don't expect them to falter and I shall declare them ``top eight certainties''.

CRONULLA

Strengths:

New coach Ricky Stuart has found a new and comfortable home in the shire.

He has not only moved back to the shire to reside but he has found ``calm waters'' with his coaching at the Sharks.

The players believe and in Stuart and he believes in his troops _ this half the battle to a successful season.

Cronulla's strength this year has been consistency, defence and varying their gameplan to suit the opposition.

Two narrow losses to the Wests Tigers (golden point time) and a narrow loss to the Gold Coast Titans, displayed to me, the Sharks are a good footy team.

The swarming, straight line of defence, multiple tacklers is working for the Sharks.

There is limited space for teams to pierce the line forcing teams to cross-kick on the last tackle.

In attack, Brett Kimmorley and Adam Dykes and Brett Kearney, now understand their roles and don't get in the way of each other _ this trio now complement each other.

The Sharks forwards make ground than better than any team in the NRL.

Ben Ross, Lance Thompson, Luke Douglas, Reece Williams, Greg Bird and co, are doing their job well. Bird is the game's most improved player.

The silly penalties and ill-discipline in his game is a thing of the past and Bird roams down the left-hand side of the field, and the blind side making yards and he can pop good passes.

Towering, strong running centres Ben Pomeroy and Fraser Anderson give the Sharks size, good speed and most of all genuine hitting power defensively in the centres.

Weaknesses:

The Sharks biggest weakness at times is they can play below par against teams they are expected to win against.


Also, Kimmorley and Dykes can ``try too much'' by attempting to dominate each set of six and overplay situations which causes panic among the rest of the team.

NEWCASTLE

Strengths:

This is a quality team on paper with plenty of good young players and senior men such as Danny Buderus and Steve Simpson, Josh Perry and the ever-improving Kurt Gidley.

They love to move the ball from sideline to sideline and promote second phase play. The Knights have tremendous speed with coach Brian Smith preparing his team well skill wise.

Watch how the Knights forwards off-load in the collision areas of the field (around the rucks), few teams boast forwards who can throw passes of varying distances.

Weaknesses:

Newcastle can try and do much in attack and make errors or the final pass through not being selective costs them tries.

The Knights had their chances against Brisbane, but silly errors let the Broncos off the hook. Kurt Gidley and Danny Buedrus are the key men in this match.

Their footwork around the play the ball area could bother the Sharks.

VERDICT:

I like the Sharks in this match, who will slow the tempo of the Knights' quick-play-the-balls. Their rushing style of defence will reduce the thinking time of Jarrod Mullen around the rucks.

Cronulla by 8 points. - Read More, Here