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Thread: 21 Questions for 2021

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    Default 21 Questions for 2021

    So in the spirit of New Years I decided to put together a list of 21 questions we need answered in 2021. Feel free to add others, and hopefully we can look back following another successful season...

    1. But seriously, what is Jack Welbsy’s position?
    Even though I don’t think anyone doubted Jacks natural ability, there were more than a few “on the fence” about him in 2020, with a fair discussion on whether he should even make the semi final squad. I think it’s fair to say he silenced the critics with two incredible performances, but I don’t think any of us are any the wiser about what his natural position is - is he cursed to float around the backs Ratchford/ Connor style and not fulfilling his potential, or can he kick on again and nail down where he fits long term.

    2. Can Josh Simm displace Kev Naiqama?
    Simm pushed Jacks position in the squad all the way, after some really polished performances filling in for Percival, on his weaker side. Conversely, Naiqama is coming into the final year of his contract and at 32 by the start of the 2021 season, will be potentially be looking at retirement/ moving on. I still think Fiji Kev is really important to our team though, making the half break in the last minute of the grand final, getting us in range for the drop goal attempt and getting the quick play the ball.

    3. Talking of which, can Percival come back?
    It’s fair to say we mismanaged Percival’s injury ultimately with him playing 20 minutes of the cup game before limping off and never being seen again. I think fans forget just how important is to our attack, and him fully firing in 2021 will be like a new signing - if he can put a full season together.

    4. Will we get a resolution of the endless Fages vs Dodd debate?
    I’ll be upfront, I’m team Dodd. It irks me that fans of Fages first line of defending him is his defence and ignore his unimaginative kicking game and stuttering passing game. Dodd was pretty much named as the reason we accepted a transfer fee from Castleford for Richardson and showed some promising signs on the few occasions we saw him in 2020. With Fages OOC this year (and hardly old himself at 26) it’s really important we get this right, getting the best person in the role, whilst keeping everyone happy (lest we end up with another Smith/ Eastmond situation!)

    5. Who starts with Walmsley?
    I dont think there’s any doubt that we have had a good recruitment cycle, but we haven’t (and weren’t going to be able to) replaced Thompson like for like. Paasi should be a good signing (in the same way lots of NRL props should be, though there’s always an element of risk), but has been sold more as an impact prop, which leaves the question, who partners Walmsley as starting prop? So often over the last two years we have dominated the first 20 minutes, leaving opposition on the back foot for the rest of the game. Lees seems to be the obvious choice, but his form last year was ... scratchy at best (though started improving towards the playoffs).

    6. Can Roby do it forever?
    Another ooc this year, and having seen Graham retire this season may call it a day after this one. In a lot of ways, I think 2020 was one of Robys best (which is saying a lot!) and has shown no signs of slowing up or like he couldn’t keep going until he’s 40, but sometimes a season for whatever reason becomes the season too far. Then there’s the question over whose the heir apparent. Smith has been around for a few years but never seemed to force his way as a must have, Eaves really impressed in the few appearances he’s had but for whatever reason has been really limited, and Fages could find himself there if the above Dodd debate is settled, but can any of them carry the Saints 9 legacy we have had for the last 25 years?

    7. Where does Mata’utia fit into the equation?
    I think we were all pleasantly surprised when Mata’utia signing was announced, and has all the pedigree to be a superstar for us. Youngest ever Aussie international, 100+ NRL games and only 24 to boot. However with Joel Thompson and James Bentley already expecting starting positions competition in the back row next year should be fierce. No doubt a big step up on Taia (who will be missed) Peyroux and Paulo but keeping everyone happy will be a challenge.

    8. Talking of competition, who gets the 4th prop spot?
    Whilst Lees and Paasi may be fighting it out for starting with Walmsley, the competition for who joins them on the bench should be another positive for next year. Amor, LMS Norman and Batchelor will all be looking for that regular playing time next year with only 1 or 2 spots a week available - Amor and LMS will start the year no doubt but can they be displaced?

    9. Will we miss Graham’s leadership?
    The Graham fairytale definitely played its part last year, and no doubt Joel Thompson has been brought in to play a part in the leadership squad, but I don’t think we will know the impact until it’s gone (of course Wigan fans are convinced losing Graham is a big leadership blow to us, but losing SoL won’t make a difference to them ...)

    10. Whose next on the production line?
    This might be a bit of a selfish one for me, but we have produced quite a few of the best props around over the recent past, and with the 4th prop spot wide open it creates an opportunity for the production line to jump someone to the front of the queue, though I have no idea if any one is on a position to step up.

    11. Do we need to replace Richard Marshall?
    With Marshall having gone to Salford, we seem to be running with only Wellens as Woolfs assistant, but it presents a chance for us bring in some new ideas and philosophies (always good with such a stable team we have at the moment). Will Woolf bring in someone he knows from Aus? Is there another in the lower leagues willing to serve an assistants internship at Saints? Without knowing the intricacies of the club working, it’s hard to know how much of an impact losing Marshall will have had.

    12. Can we learn how to attack against well organised defences?
    Yes, this is SL, so that happens about once a season, but that once a season is usually a final. It worked out in 2020, with a miracle play which is rightly idealised (there’s no doubt the best team won either which helped), but in 2019 the CC final showed our frailty (avoiding the referee conversation). No doubt a majority of our tries come from being bigger faster stronger better than our opposition but A plan B will be useful.

    13. Who do we retain from the OOC list?
    Coote, Naiqama, Fages, Amor, Roby, LMS, Bentley is quite a list (I think that’s everyone?) that’s a big list with lots of already touched on above. There’s a lot of cap space in that list, and you could make arguments for resigning all, and letting all go. Bentley stands out as the first priority, followed by Coote, whom you would assume the club want to sort out before the season starts, but the longer we go into the season the more changes to the keep list we may see?

    14. Similarly, are there any targets at rival clubs?
    Joe Philbin and Jake Connor are two names I have seen floating about (especially with their respective clubs insistent on throwing money at anyone with a Southern Hemisphere accent). With some clubs really bungling the Covid negotiations, there are clubs who don’t have a lot of good will with their players and could mean we see the merry-go-round spinning even more this year. Are there any pickups we can benefit from?

    15. Do we target a Marquee in 2022?
    Wigan have 2, Leeds have 2, Warrington have 2 and Hull have 1, but I don’t believe we have any - is it time for us to dip into that market? Obviously we were a little burnt with the Barba situation which was the last time we used the rule to my knowledge, but do we risk losing our competitive edge by avoiding it otherwise?

    16. Can we regain the LLS?
    We missed out on 3 years finishing in 1st after a bad miscalculation in the final weeks (easy to say with hindsight I know). Coupled with us completely capitulating early season/ over emphasising the WCC was enough for it to slip through our fingers. I am not sure what the current WCC position is and whether it’s going ahead at the moment, but if it doesn’t run, we don’t really have any excuses not to regain it?

    17. Whisper it, pulling off the threepeat?
    If you listen to the Wigan players, the rest of the league may as well not bother next year but I am quietly confident we are going to match any gains they have next year and then some. We seem to have gone through the painful process of remembering how to win finals, and as this list proves plenty of strength in depth, do we have anything to fear defending our crown?

    18. Will we even get to that point?
    In the week when football games were once again cancelled I can’t help but wonder if we will see a full league competition next year - the later start will help I think but the pandemic isn’t going to be over until it’s over!

    19. Looking forwards, what does Woolf need to do for an extension?
    Woolf initially signed a 2 year contract with an option of a 3rd in the clubs favour I believe. Holbrooks legacy was always going to be near impossible to follow, and I think we have all questioned Woolf at times (I’m certainly no exception), but winning it back to back in his first season is an impressive achievement- what else does Woolf need for the option/ extension?

    20. What will happen to the “Salford Generation” with no duel reg or reserves next year?
    There’s no doubt the talent in the lower depths of the squad next year with kids like Nisbet, Rizzelli and Wingfield stepping up admirably in the debuts vs Salford. However the key term is game time and that’s unlikely to be readily available at Saints. Will we see a higher number of loans next year or will we try and manage game time for everyone?

    21. Leigh are back, but there’s no Tommy Lee. Whose going to get over-awed this time?
    😉

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    Quote Originally Posted by magic superbeetle View Post
    So in the spirit of New Years I decided to put together a list of 21 questions we need answered in 2021. Feel free to add others, and hopefully we can look back following another successful season...

    1. But seriously, what is Jack Welbsy’s position?
    Even though I don’t think anyone doubted Jacks natural ability, there were more than a few “on the fence” about him in 2020, with a fair discussion on whether he should even make the semi final squad. I think it’s fair to say he silenced the critics with two incredible performances, but I don’t think any of us are any the wiser about what his natural position is - is he cursed to float around the backs Ratchford/ Connor style and not fulfilling his potential, or can he kick on again and nail down where he fits long term.

    2. Can Josh Simm displace Kev Naiqama?
    Simm pushed Jacks position in the squad all the way, after some really polished performances filling in for Percival, on his weaker side. Conversely, Naiqama is coming into the final year of his contract and at 32 by the start of the 2021 season, will be potentially be looking at retirement/ moving on. I still think Fiji Kev is really important to our team though, making the half break in the last minute of the grand final, getting us in range for the drop goal attempt and getting the quick play the ball.

    3. Talking of which, can Percival come back?
    It’s fair to say we mismanaged Percival’s injury ultimately with him playing 20 minutes of the cup game before limping off and never being seen again. I think fans forget just how important is to our attack, and him fully firing in 2021 will be like a new signing - if he can put a full season together.

    4. Will we get a resolution of the endless Fages vs Dodd debate?
    I’ll be upfront, I’m team Dodd. It irks me that fans of Fages first line of defending him is his defence and ignore his unimaginative kicking game and stuttering passing game. Dodd was pretty much named as the reason we accepted a transfer fee from Castleford for Richardson and showed some promising signs on the few occasions we saw him in 2020. With Fages OOC this year (and hardly old himself at 26) it’s really important we get this right, getting the best person in the role, whilst keeping everyone happy (lest we end up with another Smith/ Eastmond situation!)

    5. Who starts with Walmsley?
    I dont think there’s any doubt that we have had a good recruitment cycle, but we haven’t (and weren’t going to be able to) replaced Thompson like for like. Paasi should be a good signing (in the same way lots of NRL props should be, though there’s always an element of risk), but has been sold more as an impact prop, which leaves the question, who partners Walmsley as starting prop? So often over the last two years we have dominated the first 20 minutes, leaving opposition on the back foot for the rest of the game. Lees seems to be the obvious choice, but his form last year was ... scratchy at best (though started improving towards the playoffs).

    6. Can Roby do it forever?
    Another ooc this year, and having seen Graham retire this season may call it a day after this one. In a lot of ways, I think 2020 was one of Robys best (which is saying a lot!) and has shown no signs of slowing up or like he couldn’t keep going until he’s 40, but sometimes a season for whatever reason becomes the season too far. Then there’s the question over whose the heir apparent. Smith has been around for a few years but never seemed to force his way as a must have, Eaves really impressed in the few appearances he’s had but for whatever reason has been really limited, and Fages could find himself there if the above Dodd debate is settled, but can any of them carry the Saints 9 legacy we have had for the last 25 years?

    7. Where does Mata’utia fit into the equation?
    I think we were all pleasantly surprised when Mata’utia signing was announced, and has all the pedigree to be a superstar for us. Youngest ever Aussie international, 100+ NRL games and only 24 to boot. However with Joel Thompson and James Bentley already expecting starting positions competition in the back row next year should be fierce. No doubt a big step up on Taia (who will be missed) Peyroux and Paulo but keeping everyone happy will be a challenge.

    8. Talking of competition, who gets the 4th prop spot?
    Whilst Lees and Paasi may be fighting it out for starting with Walmsley, the competition for who joins them on the bench should be another positive for next year. Amor, LMS Norman and Batchelor will all be looking for that regular playing time next year with only 1 or 2 spots a week available - Amor and LMS will start the year no doubt but can they be displaced?

    9. Will we miss Graham’s leadership?
    The Graham fairytale definitely played its part last year, and no doubt Joel Thompson has been brought in to play a part in the leadership squad, but I don’t think we will know the impact until it’s gone (of course Wigan fans are convinced losing Graham is a big leadership blow to us, but losing SoL won’t make a difference to them ...)

    10. Whose next on the production line?
    This might be a bit of a selfish one for me, but we have produced quite a few of the best props around over the recent past, and with the 4th prop spot wide open it creates an opportunity for the production line to jump someone to the front of the queue, though I have no idea if any one is on a position to step up.


    ��
    In my opinion on the first 10 questions (due to the 10000 text characters limit breached.)

    1. Stand Off but gradually working into that tole in 2022. Lomax to Full Back if Coote goes home.

    2. Yes but he is excellent cover if we lose one of our centres.

    3. I'm led to belief it wasn't a straightforward hamstring injury but one of the associated tendons at the top end of the hamstring.

    4. I think that will come more clear in 2022 if the hooker role is not to standard in respect to Smith and Eaves.

    5 Lees, expecting a big year for him next season having more impact into the opposition line.

    6 I had doubts mid season that Roby could keep up that standard all season but he got better in the last third of the season. So maybe it could be next season when he has that drop off in quality, great if he can prove everyone wrong though.

    7. Second Row on the edges with a similar role to Peyroux, can cover at centre and wing in an emergency.

    8. Probably need to rotate Amor and LMS to suit, Norman for 2022 and could be a decisive year for Batchelor but Woolf rates him.

    9. Will miss Grahams leadership until our new forwards settle into the side, Thompson has the potential to be our pack leader and I should imagine Walmsley will go up a notch in leadership quality.

    10. I assume Norman is a project because we don't have a good quality prop coming through the ranks, Foster and Wingfield are rated but they are backrowers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magic superbeetle View Post
    So in the spirit of New Years I decided to put together a list of 21 questions we need answered in 2021. Feel free to add others, and hopefully we can look back following another successful season...


    11. Do we need to replace Richard Marshall?
    With Marshall having gone to Salford, we seem to be running with only Wellens as Woolfs assistant, but it presents a chance for us bring in some new ideas and philosophies (always good with such a stable team we have at the moment). Will Woolf bring in someone he knows from Aus? Is there another in the lower leagues willing to serve an assistants internship at Saints? Without knowing the intricacies of the club working, it’s hard to know how much of an impact losing Marshall will have had.

    12. Can we learn how to attack against well organised defences?
    Yes, this is SL, so that happens about once a season, but that once a season is usually a final. It worked out in 2020, with a miracle play which is rightly idealised (there’s no doubt the best team won either which helped), but in 2019 the CC final showed our frailty (avoiding the referee conversation). No doubt a majority of our tries come from being bigger faster stronger better than our opposition but A plan B will be useful.

    13. Who do we retain from the OOC list?
    Coote, Naiqama, Fages, Amor, Roby, LMS, Bentley is quite a list (I think that’s everyone?) that’s a big list with lots of already touched on above. There’s a lot of cap space in that list, and you could make arguments for resigning all, and letting all go. Bentley stands out as the first priority, followed by Coote, whom you would assume the club want to sort out before the season starts, but the longer we go into the season the more changes to the keep list we may see?

    14. Similarly, are there any targets at rival clubs?
    Joe Philbin and Jake Connor are two names I have seen floating about (especially with their respective clubs insistent on throwing money at anyone with a Southern Hemisphere accent). With some clubs really bungling the Covid negotiations, there are clubs who don’t have a lot of good will with their players and could mean we see the merry-go-round spinning even more this year. Are there any pickups we can benefit from?

    15. Do we target a Marquee in 2022?
    Wigan have 2, Leeds have 2, Warrington have 2 and Hull have 1, but I don’t believe we have any - is it time for us to dip into that market? Obviously we were a little burnt with the Barba situation which was the last time we used the rule to my knowledge, but do we risk losing our competitive edge by avoiding it otherwise?

    16. Can we regain the LLS?
    We missed out on 3 years finishing in 1st after a bad miscalculation in the final weeks (easy to say with hindsight I know). Coupled with us completely capitulating early season/ over emphasising the WCC was enough for it to slip through our fingers. I am not sure what the current WCC position is and whether it’s going ahead at the moment, but if it doesn’t run, we don’t really have any excuses not to regain it?

    17. Whisper it, pulling off the threepeat?
    If you listen to the Wigan players, the rest of the league may as well not bother next year but I am quietly confident we are going to match any gains they have next year and then some. We seem to have gone through the painful process of remembering how to win finals, and as this list proves plenty of strength in depth, do we have anything to fear defending our crown?

    18. Will we even get to that point?
    In the week when football games were once again cancelled I can’t help but wonder if we will see a full league competition next year - the later start will help I think but the pandemic isn’t going to be over until it’s over!

    19. Looking forwards, what does Woolf need to do for an extension?
    Woolf initially signed a 2 year contract with an option of a 3rd in the clubs favour I believe. Holbrooks legacy was always going to be near impossible to follow, and I think we have all questioned Woolf at times (I’m certainly no exception), but winning it back to back in his first season is an impressive achievement- what else does Woolf need for the option/ extension?

    20. What will happen to the “Salford Generation” with no duel reg or reserves next year?
    There’s no doubt the talent in the lower depths of the squad next year with kids like Nisbet, Rizzelli and Wingfield stepping up admirably in the debuts vs Salford. However the key term is game time and that’s unlikely to be readily available at Saints. Will we see a higher number of loans next year or will we try and manage game time for everyone?

    21. Leigh are back, but there’s no Tommy Lee. Whose going to get over-awed this time?
    ��

    11. Woolf is settled into his role now, so I would just go with Wellens at the moment and keep it open for a Sean Long Opportunity to come back.

    12. Think we will be better next season with the return of Percival and our new forward recruits having an offloading game.

    13. Coote and Bentley but the latter won't sign a long contract to tie him down due to his NRL ambitions.

    14. Can't see any players from rival clubs being good enough, maybe a championship player will come to the surface.

    15. No, we have 3 young players in Welsby, Dodd and Simms to give improved contracts with what will be limited funds.

    16. Maybe we will give a big push for the Challenge Cup now that we can play tough in tight games.

    17. I think we will be favourites again, all depends on injuries in those key pivotal roles though.

    18. We've go 3 or 4 months before some fans are allowed into the stadium, I reckon it will be June/July for normality.

    19. If we have another extended Covid Year I think Woolf will go home at the end of next season its really tough to be in the UK with all the constraints.

    20. Woolf did mention players going to other clubs on short term loans bit I don't know how that will be excercised to suit both parties.

    21. Leigh will really struggle to win games, Superleague have better organised defences these days.

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    Would have made a great article for the main site that. Some excellent questions and good analysis.

    I'll cherry pick a few:-

    1. But seriously, what is Jack Welbsy’s position?

    Truth is, I don't know. We have seen many players come through the system over the years, eventually playing in positions they did not play in at youth level. I'm thinking Makinson, Swift, Lomax and even James Roby. My first impressions of him were of a ball handler, a passer of the football, and in the past that would have been automatically a half. Nowadays, full back is often the position for a passer, but I'm not keen on him there. He's too suspect under the high ball. Thinking outside of the box, I just wonder about loose forward. The modern day loose doesn't spray the ball about too much, but Welsby could offer us something more there in that way, with Morgan Knowles able to impact elsewhere in the forwards.

    4. Will we get a resolution of the endless Fages vs Dodd debate?

    It's no secret that I don't rate Fages as a half back, for all the reasons you mention. Lewis Dodd has shown potential, but whether he is ultimately going to convert into a Super League star remains to be seen. Saints achilles heel for the last three years has been the inability to prize the line when camped on it. We have no last set variation and Dodd can offer this. However, Kristian Woolf has set his stall out in his style of play and, for better or worse, Fages gives him what he wants. Reliability and defence float his boat more than attacking flair. I fear we are stuck with Fages. I'm just hoping that the coach tries him more as a deputy hooker and he offers something there, because I feel he is much more suited to that role.

    12. Can we learn how to attack against well organised defences?

    We need a half back. Simple as that. Of course, it's no longer as easy in the modern game to put players through the gap. The game has changed and gaps do not appear so readily, but it all goes back to the last question. The lack of variation. The last sets are easily defended because everybody knows what our halves are going to do next.

    16. Can we regain the LLS?

    We can, for sure. However, the recruitment suggests more of the same and a forward based game plan. In a way, I'm glad we didn't finish top last season, because it gives us something to think about. We came within one kick of having a winter of discontent, but the Grand Final win has now largely made everyone forget that for three weeks before the semi-final, this site was awash with negativity for a reason. I actually feel that, despite ultimate Grand Final success, the team's season was an over par round. We had the best players in the competition by far, but came within an ace of winning nothing. That is a lesson that must be learned from. The coach needs to use the best back line in Super League more often. Wigan and Warrington will be our only threats again, with a likely straight shoot-out between Saints and Wigan for the hubcap. The fly in the ointment is going to be any possible World Club Challenge. I suspect there won't be one, and that will work in our favour.

    17. Whisper it, pulling off the threepeat?

    We've every chance, but it's impossible to predict who will hit form at the right time. I'll be honest, I'm more up for the Challenge Cup this season. 13 years is a ridiculously long time, considering that in the previous 13 seasons, we had won it 7 times. It's now become a hoodoo, and it's clear that the weight of pressure has really hit the players in the last three seasons, losing three games we were hot favourites to win. It's a monkey that needs lifting off our backs.

    18. Will we even get to that point?

    I think the RFL needs to see sense right now and announce a 23 game season rather than a 27 game one. We are already on catch-up by starting in March and finishing in October and this leaves no room for any postponements. We are seeing many cancellations in football now that are going to cause chaos with their seasons, and March is still likely to see us all in a similar position with the virus. What we cannot afford is a repeat of last season with a number of midweek games and teams like Salford forfeiting games just because they couldn't be bothered to play yet another 80 minutes. I can't see spectators being back till something like June (certainly not above the 2,000 level), so we just need to crack on, but make the decision now that we cut the number of games planned. If we lose out on more season ticket money, so be it, but we have to think of the welfare of the players.

    19. Looking forwards, what does Woolf need to do for an extension?

    I suspect the fans would want entertaining rugby, but the last twelve years tells us that McManus and Rush aren't too fussed about that and winning rugby is their sole concern. If Woolf leads us to one of the two major honours, then I feel reasonably sure that he will be offered one, assuming that is that Cup success isn't coupled with a dreadful league season.

    21. Leigh are back, but there’s no Tommy Lee. Whose going to get over-awed this time?

    Those of us who have memory of the early 90s know that being over-awed at Leigh is par for the course. They hadn't won any of their opening 9 games in 1992-93 and beat us, which would prove very costly. The following year they hadn't won any of their first 17 games, and they shat all over us. I think they only won one more game all season. At least in 2017, they were competitive. However, they have taken on a poisoned chalice this time. I feel they were chosen for the franchise simply because they will be the only club out of the candidates who won't be irreparably damaged for the long term by a season of brutal defeats.
    THIS YEAR LENDING SUPPORT TO:- St. Helens RLFC, Manchester City, Celtic, Alemannia Aachen, Borussia Dortmund, Preston North End, St. Helens Town, Steps 3 to 6 Non-League Football

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    Good idea for a thread, this will be a 10 pager.

    1. The jury is out for me, I still see him at 6 and possibly 13 longer term but I think Woolf wants him playing centre.
    2. Can he? Yes IMO but I would think Naiqama will be given at least half a season and will have to have a few stinkers, he's due a better season though.
    3. Yes, I think so although I think he needs easing back.
    4. Dodd is certainly the way forward IMO although I think it would be a mistake letting Fages go, I think he's made for coming off the bench.
    5. Not sure to be honest, my preference would be Lees who's workrate wins it for me and also gives us a big lump coming off the bench.
    6. He's not showing too many signs of slowing down, ok, he's lost a bit of pace but you know what I mean. It takes me back to my point about Fages although I think Eaves is also a good player and raises the question again about an A team competition.
    7. Good question and I was thinking this myself a few days ago. There's 2 options in my eyes, 1.He replaces Naiqama and 2. More likely to me, we will rotate SR.
    8. Amor and LMS from the start would be obvious choices but yes, I think they can both lose their places if someone shows some good form. I think Norman is more likely to get first dibs on that spot given he's actually a prop and a ••••ing monster.
    9. I don't think so, I'm not knocking him but I don't think he did a great deal. We have leaders, Roby, Walmsley, Thompson. Knowles and Bentley are growing in that respect too. Then we have Coote and Makinson in the backs.
    10. Jake Wingfield for me, he looked to have a fair bit about him although may not get the chance.

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    11. Who knows? Although I do know Wello has a brilliant RL brain and is very well thought of, I guess we'll find out.
    12. Yes, I think we'll be better next season, probably not straight away with the bad weather as we know Woolf is conservative. One thing I will say is I think we need to bin the split halves, I don't like it one bit and it does Coote no favours either.
    13. Coote, Naiqama, Fages, Amor, Roby, LMS, Bentley. Probably Coote, Bentley and Roby would be my guess unless Roby retires. I've said my bit on Fages.
    14. Honestly none that I can think of but you never know who might become available. I'm a fan of Matty English but I can't see it happening.
    15. As above. Do we really need to? Maybe someone like Grace will benefit from it or Bentley maybe depending what happens this season.
    16. Of course we can. We'll be favourites with every bookie.
    17. We certainly shouldn't have any fear. Let them lot bang their gums all they like, they still have to catch us and the pressure is on them if they're going to mouth off.
    18. •••• knows. I'm sick of hearing about Covid.
    19. Win something (The cup or SL), nothing else will do, and to be honest he may have to do it with a bit more style than last year.
    20. Loans, what else can we do?
    21. Stupid question. I can't see Leigh winning 5 games all season.

  7. #7
    Learning All The Songs RV12's Avatar
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    1. Welsby has never looked natural in any position, until I saw him at centre. He pulled off a number of great defensive reads in the play offs. Several young players have 'floated' before, so I'm not concerned yet.

    2. I would look to phase in Welsby or Simm at centre from 2022 at present. Naiqama is good, but maybe a quota sport could be used better from 2022.

    3. We saw what we missed with Percival in the cup match vs Wire. His first 20 minutes showed a strike that we lack in his absence. Hopefully a full off season and recovery and he'll be back to his best.

    4. Fages v Dodd, I'm relaxed about. I want to see Dodd get plenty of chances this year. I'm willing to reserve judgement on who should get the jersey in 2022. The best player will prove it over the course of next year.

    5. Matty Lees has got the 10 jersey, so he probably makes the step up. His 2019 injury was horrific, so it was understandable why his 2020 took time to get going. He improved as the year went on and let's hope that continues.

    6. I'd prefer Roby to go out on top of his game, rather than O' Loughlin who was more hinderance than help. For that reason, I suspect this year will be his last. Smith looks solid, Eaves more exciting (I'd like to see him on a season long loan this year to get Super League experience). If neither convince, maybe we can go to the transfer market, possibly with a quota place vacated by Naiqama.

    7. I imagine Mata'utai will fill in on the bench, but that's brilliant depth to have!

    8. I'd like to see Amor and LMS phased out of the 4th prop roll and Batchelor and Norman given a shot looking to the future. There doesn't seem to be many prop prospects coming through the academy, so Amor and LMS to remain good options to have.

    9. Probably. But I hope the younger players have learned from the brief time of having someone so experienced in the squad,

    10. The forward pack looks a bit thin in terms of prospects. Maybe Eaves can come through as a back up hooker. Woolf has suggested Tom Nisbett will get more game time on the wing.

    11. I think funding may mean we roll with just Wellens.

    12. This was our one area of weakness, we do need more incisiveness. With our signings next year, I don't see where that comes from. We have more than got the ability to get into good positions. It's something to work on, but I imagine plan A will be the blueprint.

    13. I'd move heaven and earth to keep Coote and Bentley. Whether Roby stays will be his call. I'd expect Amor and LMS to move on. As for Naiqama and Fages, their new contracts are to be earned.

    14. Honestly, I'm struggling to pick anyone out. When you consider the salaries you would have to pay to tempt any top players away. Half back is the key conundrum to solve for 2022. If we choose to dip into the market, we could go worse than Aidan Sezer, but he would command a marquee salary.

    15. I think that depends on the contract situation. If Roby retires, and the right hooker was available from the NRL, then yes. Also, see above!

    16 and 17. Us and Wigan are streets ahead of other teams. It'll either be us or them!

    18. Who knows! It's a hectic schedule to fit in before the World Cup. I know we have a Sky contract to fulfil, but a points per game situation arising again wouldn't surprise.

    19. With the title in the bag, I don't even think Woolf needs to win a trophy to get a new contract if he wants it. To back up a title win is an impressive achievement. It was never going to be the dominance of last year and backing up Holbrook was an impossible job. As long as we compete near the top and avert disaster, he will get the extension. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, just what I think will happen.

    20. We have the same length of season as normal, but seven weeks less to fit it in. There's going to be a lot of midweek games so I think our younger players will get more opportunities, especially against lower clubs.

    21. That quote was probably the beginning of the end of KC! The likes of Wakefield and Hull KR must have rejoiced when Leigh got promoted. They are likely to get relegated. I think they will win a few and be competitive, but can only see them going straight back down.
    Last edited by RV12; 31st December 2020 at 23:41.

  8. #8
    Learning All The Songs Gerry Mander's Avatar
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    My 10 bobs worth.

    1. But seriously, what is Jack WelbsyÂ’s position?
    Difficult.Very talented but lacks blistering pace and a kicking game which counts against FB/HB.
    Centre for 2021 and take it from there.

    2. Can Josh Simm displace Kev Naiqama?
    Displace maybe not but transition during 2021 Yes. Kev not retained for 2022. Simm long term right centre.

    3. Talking of which, can Percival come back?
    Yes injury wise. However really need to rethink how he plays. Provide him early ball in centre channels.
    In return he needs to offer better service to his winger and lose the battering ram in his own 10 thing.

    4. Will we get a resolution of the endless Fages vs Dodd debate?
    Dodd to get a proper run. This might be Fages last season as Saints or mark his transition to hooker.
    Think there needs to be a proper conversation regarding Lomax. Not sure it is simply a Fages/Dodd debate.

    5. Who starts with Walmsley?
    First go to Lees and take it from there.

    6. Can Roby do it forever?
    Clearly not. Probably his last season.

    7. Where does MataÂ’utia fit into the equation?
    A running line braking SR with good hands. Just what we have been missing.
    The ability for him to fill in at wing gives him a Freddie T feel.

    8. Talking of competition, who gets the 4th prop spot?
    Up for grabs. Norman/Batchelor should get a shot. LMS/Amor should just be cover for the 4 props.

    9. Will we miss GrahamÂ’s leadership?
    Things move on. His leadership was great, plenty of leadership in the current squad.

    10. Whose next on the production line?
    Difficult given no reserves/academy/championship. Wingfield /Foster/Eaves are the picks.

    11. Do we need to replace Richard Marshall?
    No need to rush/panic. No immediate appointment gives options further down the track inc Roby.

    12. Can we learn how to attack against well organised defences?
    The most important question of the 20 odd posed. I hope so but not entirely confident.
    A challenge for Woolf that will define his stay.

    13. Who do we retain from the OOC list?
    Consider retaining - Bentley / Fages
    Retire - Roby?
    Release Coote, Naiqama, Amor, LMS,

    14. Similarly, are there any targets at rival clubs?
    Too early as per Q13.
    However the only domestic target to partially replace Roby would be Danny Walker.
    A pacey FB to replace Coote - ANO.

    15. Do we target a Marquee in 2022?
    Not for the sake of it. Depends who come available, who we keep/lose.

    16. Can we regain the LLS?
    No reason why not. Not the be all and end all.

    17. Whisper it, pulling off the threepeat?
    Don't jinx it. Start confident and give it a go.

    18. Will we even get to that point?
    Fingers crossed for 2021.

    19. Looking forwards, what does Woolf need to do for an extension?
    Solve the answer to Q12, keep the mean defence , win the CC.

    20. What will happen to the “Salford Generation” with no duel reg or reserves next year?

    A couple to punch through , some on loan to championship. I think a lot of in-betweeners will
    be lost to the game from all clubs, due the combination of Covid a
    nd the Reserve/Academy mess of the past few years.

    21. Leigh are back, but thereÂ’s no Tommy Lee. Whose going to get over-awed this time?

  9. #9
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    1. Hes a full back. Think he will replace coote in 2022

    2. No. Hes got all the potential but i feel he will end up being another costello,looks good but never kicks on

    3. Yes after pre season he will be back to his best

    4. Dodd. Fages is in the last year of his contract so i feel dodd will come in more this year looking at him being starting 7 for 2022

    5. Paasi. Lees is not a started was proved in 2020

    6. I thought he would of retired this season so 1 more in a blessing. Really is one of the best to ever pull on the shirt

    7. Strange one as i dont think he will be happy being a bench player but neither will thompson or bentley. He can also play center so their will be use for him

    8. Bench should be smith, lees, lms, matautia

    9. James graham hands down best saints prop i have ever seen and will go down as one of the best props in the world of rugby league. He will be missed end of.

    10. Nisbet. For me he was stand out in the reserves and isnt shy of voicing his opinions across the pitch

    11. I feel we already have this lined up

    12. This is my worry. We always crumble when this happens

    13. Keep bentley and hope coote and naiqama dont want to reiture. Loose fages and keep dodd at 7.

    14. Evalds? Only signed a 1 year deal at cass. Josh jones? Only signed 1 year at hudds

    15. Only if the right person comes along

    16. If we dont id be upset

    17. Go for the triple

    18. God i hope so

    19. Tougher forwards dont allow them to get bullied

    20. League 1 and championship loans i feel

  10. #10
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    Default 21 Questions for 2021

    1. But seriously, what is Jack Welbsy’s position?
    Aside from being dodgy under the high ball he looks to have all the attributes to be a quality full back. If only there was a coach at the club he could work on this with, one who also happened to be the best defensive fullback super league has seen?

    2. Can Josh Simm displace Kev Naiqama?
    No. But there’s certainly no reason he can’t get 10+ games even without injuries as we manage Naiqama/Percival’s game time.

    3. Talking of which, can Percival come back?
    Yes. We just have to do the best we can to keep him 100%. He could have a perfect pre-season but the way hamstrings are we won’t know until after a couple of actual games whether he’s truly 100% fit.

    4. Will we get a resolution of the endless Fages vs Dodd debate?
    Probably not. I would like Dodd to get more game time and would have him as 4th sub a fair bit as well. Think Fages could do well at 9 for us but I’ll talk more about that in the Roby question.

    5. Who starts with Walmsley?
    Lees. We have struggled for go forward when Walmsley has gone off so I’d try to have at least one of AW and Paasi on at all times.

    6. Can Roby do it forever?
    If only! Certainly think he’s got another couple of seasons in him if we manage his workload. I think we’ve seen everything we’re going to see from Smith and we know he’s a reliable option if needed. I’d like to see more of Josh Eaves as he’s looked sharp in his very limited game time. Going forwards how we manage Fages is going to be interesting. Only 26 and Lomax is 30 now, how many years does Lomax have left? Do we try and keep Fages as Lomax’s long term replacement? To me Fages has all the attributes to be a good hooker as well so a situation where we see Dodd as 4th sub coming on for Roby and then Fages moving to 9 could suit us.

    7. Where does Mata’utia fit into the equation?
    On the bench covering the back row.

    8. Talking of competition, who gets the 4th prop spot?
    Rotate Amor and LMS with Norman given a few games as well.

    9. Will we miss Graham’s leadership?
    Yes. Time for some of the younger, more visibly passionate players like Lees, Bentley and Knowles to step up.

    10. Whose next on the production line?
    Not a clue other than those we saw in the Salford game. We have Simm, Welsby and Dodd pushing for backline spots. Not sure how much we’ve got coming through in the forwards.

    11. Do we need to replace Richard Marshall?
    Ian Talbot and Tommy Martyn are listed as reserves head coach and assistant coach on Wikipedia. With no reserves next year do they work more with the first team and Wello stepping into the number 2 role?

    12. Can we learn how to attack against well organised defences?
    2 things needed for this:
    1. a forward pack who can offload
    2. A more creative kicking game
    The key question is whether Woolf will want any of this in his game plan.

    13. Who do we retain from the OOC list?
    All except probably Amor and LMS

    14. Similarly, are there any targets at rival clubs?
    Depends who leaves. I’d be looking for another prop to replace Amor/LMS and compete with Norman for the 4th choice spot. Maybe Evalds if Coote goes.

    15. Do we target a Marquee in 2022?
    Depends massively on who leaves. If we lose Knowles to the NRL for example then I’d be looking for a top quality replacement.

    16. Can we regain the LLS?
    Yes.

    17. Whisper it, pulling off the threepeat?
    We’ve had a little bit of a turnover of players, especially in the pack, so hopefully that will inject fresh enthusiasm to go back to back to back. On paper we look very strong, but that’s just paper. If our new signings settle in well, our youngsters continue to improve and our current top players maintain their levels then I’d say we are favourites.

    18. Will we even get to that point?
    Yes. I think they’ve shown how elite sport will continue with or without fans and with a vaccine being rolled out in optimistic for a pretty normal 2nd half of the season.

    19. Looking forwards, what does Woolf need to do for an extension?
    I think he’d have to do something extraordinary not to have the 12 month extension in his contract triggered. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him get an NRL offer and leave at the end of 2021 but getting an NRL gig will be more likely the more successful he is with us.

    20. What will happen to the “Salford Generation” with no duel reg or reserves next year?
    Think they’re going to have to carefully consider who to keep in the 1st team squad. Could be an option to loan some players out. Might have to be some frank conversations where some players are told they won’t really get any game time this year if they stay and may be better looking elsewhere for regular rugby. Do it in a way where the door is always open for a return but it’s a difficult situation for all parties.

    21. Leigh are back, but there’s no Tommy Lee. Whose going to get over-awed this time?
    They look rubbish on paper. Lambs to the slaughter? Though would rather see them stay up than Wakefield.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

  11. #11
    In The North Stand With All The Old Folk Blobbynator's Avatar
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    1). I'm still not sure but Welsby seems to improve with every game he plays. Look how poor he was against Cas at Centre compared to his last 2-3 games at Centre. Another season gaining experience and he could develop into a fine player wherever he finally plays.

    2). Unlikely but he'll get more chances again with injuries and rotation. He may even benefit from a short loan somewhere with no reserves.

    3). Absolutely, he'll be like a new signing for us next year. Percy is a top player when he's fully fit.

    4). I'd like to see Dodd play more. Hopefully with a longer season we'll see more of the younger players, whereas 2020 was a bit of a strange season and cut short for obvious reasons, which meant less opportunities.

    5). Probably Lees to start with.

    6). Roby is a machine but we have to make sure he's right for the big games and transition Smith / Eaves more next season

    7). Bench to start with, cover for backs and forwards.

    8). LMS, Amor and Norman will probably all get their share of games depending on what team Woolf picks. Sometimes Smith may get a shot sometimes it'll be a bigger bench

    9). Yes we will. Graham faded last year physically but he was still a big asset to us

    10). I'm not sure tbh, the squad numbers suggest the likes of Wingfeld and Dodd

    11). Probably not with Wellens and the reserves coaching staff etc

    12). We can, but it's clear were a team built for forward dominance. I'd like to see us offload a bit more and hopefully with a fit Percival this will allow us to make more line breaks out wide.

    13). Difficult to predict at this stage. Depends what's available on the market, who is playing well, who is retiring etc

    14). Again depends who is leaving us. If we lost Coote and Roby for example we will need to look at what's available I think.

    15). Potentially yes with key players possibly leaving

    16). Yes

    17). It will be very difficult this time. Wigan have improved and we're close last time, Wire, Hull, Hudds all looking stronger. We can do it but not many teams win 3 on the bounce but that will motivate Saints too

    18). The early months may be tough but hopefully by May / June it'll be alot easier with the vaccine programme rolled out

    19). Compete for trophies. Hopefully a long overdue CC win

    20). I can see us loaning a few out at different points next season. Maybe Eaves or Smith and Wingfield to give them game time.

    21). They need to recruit another 5-6 players to have a chance really. It'll be tough for them to stay up and anything above 12this a success for them
    Quote Originally Posted by Despondent Dave
    Blobby is a man of style, panache and impeccable taste

  12. #12
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    1) Welsby will be fullback when Coote returns to Aus in 2022, 2021 he will be used as utility back covering for injuries.

    2) Simm, same as Welsby replacing Naiqama. However it may depend on how/if Percival comes back from his hamstring injury.

    4) Dodd is a very good prospect (almost as good as Harry Smith ) He may go out on load due to lack of reserves/dual reg.

    Happy New Year to all my fans on here.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogues Gallery View Post
    1) Welsby will be fullback when Coote returns to Aus in 2022, 2021 he will be used as utility back covering for injuries.

    2) Simm, same as Welsby replacing Naiqama. However it may depend on how/if Percival comes back from his hamstring injury.

    4) Dodd is a very good prospect (almost as good as Harry Smith ) He may go out on load due to lack of reserves/dual reg.

    Happy New Year to all my fans on here.
    McManus for well over a decade wanted "home grown" halves and is still very proud of our Academy. We couldn't get the Eastmond/Wheeler and the Lomax/Gaskell parings for various reasons. A Dodd/Welsby partnership could be 3rd time lucky beyond 2022 and could last for many years, it only needs an injury to Lomax and Fages for that to come to the surface.
    Last edited by STIDDY; 2nd January 2021 at 20:43.

  14. #14
    In The West Stand The Wee Waa Womble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    McManus for well over a decade wanted "home grown" halves and is still very proud of our Academy. We couldn't get the Eastmond/Wheeler and the Lomax/Gaskell parings developed beyond 2022 for various reasons. A Dodd/Welsby partnership could be 3rd time lucky beyond 2022 and could last for many years, it only needs an injury to Lomax and Fages for that to come to the surface.
    Could be. Though worth pointing out Dodd/Lomax is a homegrown halfback partnership.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    Regards to Q16, id kick the WCC in to touch as it causes club’s problems whoever plays in it. Form seems to dip before the game is played and after as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogues Gallery View Post
    1) Welsby will be fullback when Coote returns to Aus in 2022, 2021 he will be used as utility back covering for injuries.

    2) Simm, same as Welsby replacing Naiqama. However it may depend on how/if Percival comes back from his hamstring injury.

    4) Dodd is a very good prospect (almost as good as Harry Smith ) He may go out on load due to lack of reserves/dual reg.

    Happy New Year to all my fans on here.
    Just remember Rogues. Hands, keep them clean. Space, give those accademy players two metres not two inches. Face. Turn that Lam frown, upside down.

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