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Coaching the Coaches - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Thu, 10 Apr 2008 23:40:00 GMT
The GRL Phantom will not be dropped to reserve grade after backing both losing team’s in last week's column. He retains the confidence of the GRL board which is why he's back this week for another round of coaching the coaches.
Canberra Raiders v Wests Tigers
Canberra Stadium, Sunday April 13, 2pm (AEST)
Referee: Sean Hampstead.
GRL Tip: Canberra
Head To Head: Played 15, Raiders 8, Tigers 7
The Raiders have the wood on the Tigers, especially on home soil.Canberra at home are a 12-15 point different team and the players produce a different mentality on their turf.
Both teams have two wins from four matches and have four premiership points.Tigers coach Tim Sheens has opposed his two former clubs in the space of six days.
On Monday night the Tigers had few answers to Penrith's defence. Sheens played for the Panthers and began his coaching career there in 1984 until 1987.He took Penrith to their first finals series (1985).
Sheens then went to Canberra in 1988 where he had nine seasons, won three titles and made four grand final appearances.
In my view the Tigers are like your favourite book, you keep reading it and as you get through each chapter you still enjoy it, but the story remains the same, only the reader absorbs it differently each time.
The Tigers love to get second phase play happening, get the defence back pedalling then move the ball side-to-side before running angle plays and popping passes away to support players heading directly into space.
The trouble is when sides with size and a physical approach promote second phase play in attack, the Tigers get overpowered in the middle-third of the field and around the rucks.
The Raiders are lethal at home because the ground gets a tad dewey at night and the Canberra players run angles and orchestrate cross plays to bother the opposition .
In the Tigers defence, if Robbie Farah plays he gets the team rolling forward when their skilled and athletic forwards promote second phase play for support players like Brett Hodgson and Dene Halatau.
Farrah is doubtful with a back injury but has been named as half.
If he's out Dean Collis, back from a hamstring injury, will move to the centres and John Morris back to number seven while Tim Moltzen named in the centres will switch to five-eighth.
I like the Raiders at home because they feel more comfortable on home territory.
The Raiders are like the young boy who grows up, wants to be a man, but loves living in his familiar surroundings, and can't bear the thought of being away from home.
The Raiders play with expression and high skill at Canberra but tend to tighten up and try and out-physical their opponents on their home grounds.
When the Raiders learn to play like they should away from home, then they will be a genuine top eight hope.
Verdict:
Raiders by 7.
rabbitohs v Cronulla Sharks
ANZ Stadium, Monday April 14, 7:30pm (AEST)
Referee: Jason Robinson.
GRL Tip: Cronulla Sharks
Head To Head: Played 70, Sharks 37, Rabbitohs
Souths have been awful, there is no other way to put it.
The effort is evident and blokes are giving it their best but coach Jason Taylor, to his credit took the blame for the poor start to the year.
Four things concern me with Souths.
For a start they will finish towards the bottom half of the competition this year and cannot make the eight.
We may only have played four games, but this sticks in my mind. They are well below many other teams in the competition and apart from Wing their off-season recruitment was poor.
Secondly, the 10 man interchange rule is hurting them. Dean Widders is virtually a double replacement each week because he can only go 30-35 minutes, and all coaches hold one interchange until the final eight to 10 minutes of a game for all sorts of reasons, Widders limits the team's scope off the bench.
Thirdly, several Souths players are past their best. Nigel Vagana, taking a break to overcome injury and working out whether he wants to play again and super competitor David Kidwell have seen better days.
It happens to every footballer where you reach the top of the mountain, then slowly, but gradually slide at NRL level. The slide, little by little, is microscopically noticeable.
Fourthly, the talk from the club about reaching the top four put too much pressure on the Rabbits.
Their halves are not connecting and Taylor changed the half-five-eighth combination through necessity but went overboard with it.
Leave John Sutton at number six. He's a tall, quick, strong five-eighth and that's where he should play and be locked into that position barring injury all year. Build the team around him.
No Craig Wing and Isaac Luke out midfield with straight running has limited their options and line-breaking options.
However, the Souths' forwards are playing like skillless rookies, willing, but playing without thought. Running straight, crashing into the defence, and wasting tackles.
The Sharks are a work in progress and while they weren't super against the Dragons, are learning to win close games,.
Ricky Stuart is on the right track and he will get his team into the top six this year and watch them truly challenge for the 2009 title.
The Sharks like all teams at present have some injuries, so Stuart has promoted workhorses and developing youngsters into the squad.
Ben Ross (suspended), Reece Williams (season ending knee injury) and Paul Gallen (suspended) have depleted the forward power.
But Adam Peek, who has had more clubs than the Delltones, has been outstanding. The Shark's defence will nullify the Rabbitoh's.
Cronulla might not win by much but they will get the job done. Brett Kearney is a genuine talent and up against his old club.
The Sharks play well at night because they play direct near the rucks, kick well and their defence forces teams late in the game, in dewey, slippery conditions to play an expansive game with the Sharks ``line-slide'' defence'' literally running them out of room.
Verdict:
Sharks by 13. - Read More, Here