Monday, May 24, 2010

This isn't tiddlyewinks

I cant sit back and take it for one more minute.
I need to know what is going on at half back in NZ rugby. We are trying to win a world cup here, this isn’t tiddlywinks. It’s time for the harsh realities. When Will Genia is developing into a top test player you have to ask what happened to the development of our halfbacks. Our guys are just doing the same as they always did. All of you people who think steady is good are not facing the crisis that is impending if we vote for the incumbents. Its like continuing to pick Rokocoko again, we know that just isn’t acceptable.

Is the guy you are picking going to be a match winning halfback for us in the rugby world cup? When I say match winning I mean the game breaker, the guy who makes the difference, the guy with the edge, the guy who is hungry and adds actions to that hunger.
So lets have a look who is around.
A: Quentin James Cowan
B: Andrew Ellis
C: Piri Weepu
D: Khan Fotualii
E: Alby Matthewson
F: Brendan Leonard

1: does my halfback piss around at the ruck waiting endlessly to pass to a runner who is being marked. Cowan: can piss around a bit 5. Ellis: endless pissing around 4. Weepu: shocking at snails pace from rucks (fitness related though) 2. Fotualii: the most decisive, arrives quickly and sends it (easily the fittest halfback) 8. Matthewson: big failing just endless waiting for him (his worst fault) 4. Leonard: should know better 5.

2: does my half back defend like a forward, are they an aggressive or passive tackler. Cowan: great defender more behind the ruck though 8. Ellis: poorest defender (head and concussion issues) 4. Weepu: lazy defender, but smart, can step up but often doesnt 6. Futualii: wins here too, best defender by miles, aggressive tackler can use no arms occasionally but importantly can turn ball over with his hits, appears to love defending 9. Matthewson: gritty and determined but small and very obviously is knackered by the 60 minute mark when his size has taken its toll, often replaced late in games when he is buggered 6. Leonard: makes good tackles but often in the box/cover defence roll not in an attacking tackle 7.

3: is my halfback a player who always needs defending, are they a decisive runner who could be dangerous at any time. Cowan: yip you gotta defend him, he can and will snipe, not sensationally dangerous but must be watched 7. Ellis: dont bother defending him just run to carter and smash him 2. Weepu: only very close to the line is he worth defending, again he is smart/cunning but not a particularly dangerous halfback 6. Fotualii: can run and likes to have a go, has speed and can beat a man, not afraid to run, can improve but is as good as the rest 7. Matthewson: good sniper and can burst is easily put away though due to size, still this is his best asset 7. Leonard offers what Ellis offers steady predictable and at an average pace 3.

4: is my halfback always improving judge them from 06 -07 -08 and in 2009 are they going to be a better player, in 2010 will they be even better. Cowan: hasnt improved his aggression or arrogance cause he has them in spades, technically no improvement in pass or attack 6. Ellis: no improvement in any areas apart from minor experience cause he keeps getting picked 4. Weepu: has gone backwards is unfit and falling of the pace in attitude, aggression and interest 2. Fotualii: was lucky to be a crusader 3 years ago, his rise has been more growth, he is 28, he played 1st5 for Tasman last year, they won everything until he got hurt. Blackadder stuck by Fotualii when under pressure to take local Cantab Tyson Keats, great call Todd. He is the massive improver 10. Matthewson: big improver by being given a chance elsewhere, there is no question he will continue to improve, the question here does he have the attributes to match the improvement of Foutalii 9. Leonard: going backwards 2.

5: does my players hunger reflect in their actions on the field. Cowan always shows the hunger 9. Ellis hungry but the actions don’t talk 6. Weepu: his brain is always sharp and actions fluctuate, but not often enough 6. Foutalii hungrier than an alligator with actions that reflect that, equal to Cowan 9. Matthewson: hungry too up there with the other two 9. Leonard hungry but the actions don’t match the heart 6.

6: speed of pass. Cowan 7. Ellis 6. Weepu 6. Fotualii 7 Matthewson 7. Leonard 6.

Here are my totals out of 60
Cowan 42 Ellis 26 Weepu 28 Fotualii 50 Matthewson 42 Leonard 29
Summary: we might have to bite the bullet and let the halfbacks get experience (Fotualii and maybe Matthewson) and use Cowan when we need to. Otherwise more of the same will result in more of the same.


Principal's Page said...

I enjoyed your comments on half backs. Ellis I agree has been guilty of taking steps or lifting his head before sweeping of the deck. The Crusader scrum has been greats so he has always had little to no pressure on him but still managed to throw so shockers. Cowan definitely stood out behind a dodgy pack at times and you need agression.Kahn Fotuali'i has had a great season.These two get my vote Weepu has a smart head but lazy ticker but will go when we tour.

Podgorani said...

OK mulls one point might be that Fotualii is now enjoying the ride behind the crusaders forwards, but the point i make is that more of the same in unacceptable. I was disappointed in blackadders decision to start Ellis then to leave him on when they had the form 9 waiting eagerly. Ellis then inexcusably left the narrow blind on a turning scrum to mark no-one and let the game go by gifting duPreez a try. Very very poor defending. the score was close and that broke them open. blackadder should have subbed Ellis then, but no he hung on and hung on and got more of the same. McCaw said they lacked variation on attack. when ellis just feeds carter slowly what do you expect.