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Coaching the coaches - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Fri, 30 May 2008 09:53:00 GMT
The true test for an NRL coach is the art of saving a season and turning it around at the most vital axis point, writes the GRL Phantom.

Suncorp Stadium, 7:30pm
Friday May 30, 2008
Referee: Jason Robinson
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall & Bernie Sutton
Video Referee: Steve Clark

One last waltz or a chance to grab one more item off the shelf before closing time. There are many metaphors that can be used to describe the off the rails season of Parramatta.
Coming off the bye and before that a disappointing loss to an under-strength Roosters outfit, the Eels need to start firing or they won’t even make the top eight. It’s as simple as that.
The Broncos after a helter skelter start to the season also need to reignite their zing and ping in their play.
Both teams had byes after last round losses yet perhaps this will refresh them and produce a better contest then what all the experts are imagining.
They have been scratchy, lethargic, lazy and several players have underperformed this year.
Their forward pack has lacked starch in both attack and defence and the 10 man interchange rule has hurt them big time.
Several forwards who remain nameless, have looked underdone and out of condition and unable to cope with the speed of the 80 minute game.
A few look past their best.
The inability to break tackles has been a problem, the team hasn't gone forward and as a result the Eels have played too much laterally in attack when shifting the ball through the halves.
The win against Penrith had the right balance. This involved simple formula of belting the ball forward via a quick-play-the-ball.
Then Brett Finch and Feleti Mateo in the halves were able to play straight, playing direct then aiming runners into passes after the initial arrow-straight attacking approach.
Finch has been the Eels' best player this year.
This game marks his 200th in the NRL after stints with Canberra, roosters and now the Eels.
The Newcastle junior is a credit to himself and a true professional, who mightn't always play his best but he no doubt always gives it.
Unless the Eels fire this week, coach Michael Hagan will need to wield the axe and turn several players into Magpies. Or maybe even the Jim Beam Cup where they can go up against Wendell Sailor.
I rate the Queenslanders highly. They have enough talent to make the top four and win the premiership.
But to win the competition they need these five players fit and firing at their best. Karmichael Hunt, Peter Wallace, Darren Lockyer, Justin Hodges and Tonie Carroll.
Lockyer out of the team has created more pressure on Wallace but he has handled it well.
Ashton Sims has been the buy of the year but the Broncos need a big second half of the season from Joel Clinton and PJ Marsh.
Brisbane, are at their very best when playing an up-tempo style of game, and when they gets repeat sets of six off back-to-back penalties.
The match will be decided by the amount of possession and the halves making the right decision.
Brisbane at home by six.
Aussie Stadium, 7:00pm
Monday June 2nd, 2008
Referee: Tony Archer
Touch Judges: Gavin Reynolds & Steve Chiddy
Video Referee: Chris Ward

Mark down the Roosters and Tigers clash as potentially the best game of the round.
Here we’ve got two teams that love to move the ball, get off on the collisions of the game and play with skill using very dangerous tactical kickers.
Wests Tigers bring a free-flowing, highly skilled, versatile, clever, smart and highly athletic team to Moore Park on Monday night.
They love the quick play-the-ball. The big four are Robbie Farah, Brett Hodgson, Benji Marshall and Mathew Head.
Chris Heightington's work rate and improved ball play have been a feature of his game this year.
Coach Tim Sheens believes in the ''total football'' concept where all his players in the squad are multi-faceted.
That means they can run, they are fit, quick, agile, skilful, can passes well, kick well in general play and defend like Lions.
The Tigers' defence is an achilles heel. The Gold Coast and Newcastle exposed their edge of the ruck defence.
It must be tightened or teams like Melbourne, Manly and Brisbane and Penrith -all teams extremely physical and relentless with their approach around the rucks - will always beat them.
They are an old fashioned team if I can use that term.
A team of real footballers who are tough, durable, suited to 80 minutes of hard yakka and by the 10 man interchange rule.
Freddy Fittler likes his forwards to play direct and get a quick play the ball.
The halves Mitchell Pearce and Braith Anasta are a rarity as they often pass to one another, especially on their lateral shift.
They also have lethal kicking games which might explain why the Roosters have scored more tries than other teams through kicks this year. Bombs, cross kicks and grubber kicks.
Mitchell Aubusson has been a real find at left centre while Nate Myles should be in the Queensland State of Origin starting team in game two. He was their best player in the opening game for the Maroons off the bench.
The Roosters should grind out a tough win through Mason, O'Meley, Myles and Fitzgibbon. - Read More, Here