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Coaching The Coaches - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Fri, 21 Mar 2008 08:56:00 GMT
The GRL Phantom has given himself until round 7 to consider whether he will send sympathy cards to NRL coaches under pressure. In the mean time he’ll continue to lend a hand by way of this column

roosters v Brisbane Broncos
Sydney Football Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Jared Maxwell
Head To Head: Played 29, Broncos 18, Roosters 11
Last Clash: Broncos 32 d Roosters 10 at SFS.

What a way to start Easter with the Good Friday clash between first round winners, Brisbane and the roosters at Aussie Stadium.

The Phantom is finding this game hard to pick.

Veteran coach Wayne Bennett goes up against promising rookie Brad Fittler.

Fittler, the former champion player is fast becoming the emerging, fresh coach, with a laidback and refreshing attitude.

The Roosters played with hustle and muscle against the Rabbitoh's.

Their set plays were first class, well rehearsed and they quickly found holes in the Rabbitoh's defence.

Fittler was a master of the add lib style and also at working the set plays.

Set plays work well against the Broncos as their forwards are a similar physique.

Their forwards are powerful and athletic in attack, but can be exploited around the rucks with the use of decoy runners and quick play the balls.

The Roosters will work their play two-thirds of the way across the field and aim down the right side at Darren Lockyer and Justin Hodges, as they defend together.

Veteran Tonie Carroll also defends outside of Lockyer to protect him from exhausting defensive work.

Don't be surprised if coach Bennett leaves Lockyer on the interchange again at the start to force the Roosters to try another attacking option.

Defensively, the Roosters were solid against the Rabbitoh's but their big men like Willie Mason, Nate Myles and Mark O'Meley are suspect against dummy half running and switches of attack late in a half.


I like the Broncos in a tight one, with Lockyer, Hodges, Karmichael Hunt and Ashton Simms to have dominant games.

Melbourne Storm v CRONULLA SHARKS
Olympic Park, 3pm
Referee: Tony Archer
Head To Head: Played 17, Storm 10, Sharks 7
Last Clash: Storm 17 d Sharks 16 at Shark Park.

The GRL Phantom stated many times last year he felt the Sharks were the unluckiest team in the NRL.

They lost nine games by less than four points, had a positive for and against, yet just missed the finals. I believe the Sharks are the reaL deal in 2008.

Last week they defeated Grand Final runners-up Manly at Brookvale oval. This week they journey to Olympic Park to tackle the premiers.

Melbourne have all bases covered, loads of depth and won over the Warriors on Monday without Michael Crocker and Greg Inglis, both injured stars, who will only bolster the team when they return.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has his team well drilled.

They know their set plays exactly and where to stand, when to run and time their set plays and passes to precision. The entire squad plays the regimented footy in attack so well.

Defensively, they have perfected the wrestle technique to hold, twist, grapple and slow the tackled player down so efficiently in the play the ball it frustrates the attacking team who then get worried about the next play even before they have the ball in their hands.

Coach Ricky Stuart is developing a squad of 100 per centers. By that I mean the team's skill level and defensive system and requirements are fine tuned to the minute.

The Sharks play their first five games away while a new grandstand is built at Shark Park.

The road trips will only bring the team closer together, create self belief and build a strong team culture.

The Storm will prevail in this battle on home soil because they have superior class in the try-scoring department, but the match will be tight.

Ricky Stuart's team is improving all the time, Greg Bird, Paul Gallen and Brett Kimmorley are the senior men to lead by example for their younger Sharks players.

Ben Pomeroy is a centre on the improve who will score plenty of tries this year.

Verdict: Storm by 6 points but this game will only be decided in the final 10 minutes.

If you'd like the GRL Phantom to cover your team's clash in round 3, send your emails to globrug@globalrugbyleague.com and our mystery coach will pick next week's double header from the most popular games requested. - Read More, Here