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Thread: Stronger next year

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    Default Stronger next year

    Still recovering from the weekend but by my understanding is from the six players sadly leaving us next year only two Kev and Coote played in the semi and Grand final, and i don't underestimate there value to the team. But we have three NRL players joining along with Bell the young lad from Widnes and probably Hurrell. Joe Batchelor is improving every game and Welsby and Dodd are just going to get better, Wingfield has quality and I'm sure the coach will give him a run but its hard to see where with the quality of that pack. We will raise the bar again next season. Mr Mac and Rushy take a bow the club is a credit to the town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Controversial View Post
    Still recovering from the weekend but by my understanding is from the six players sadly leaving us next year only two Kev and Coote played in the semi and Grand final, and i don't underestimate there value to the team. But we have three NRL players joining along with Bell the young lad from Widnes and probably Hurrell. Joe Batchelor is improving every game and Welsby and Dodd are just going to get better, Wingfield has quality and I'm sure the coach will give him a run but its hard to see where with the quality of that pack. We will raise the bar again next season. Mr Mac and Rushy take a bow the club is a credit to the town.
    Tells you everything about the quality we have, the young talent we have coming through and the recruitment we’ve done so far that we are still looking so strong for next year. Most clubs would be worried losing their 1, 3, 7, 11 & 12, we might actually get even better!
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    In The North Stand With All The Old Folk DD's Avatar
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    Back in July, I genuinely had concerns that we were going to hit a transitional period and we may go a few years without success, but things can change swiftly in sport and I no longer feel that way.

    I think the key is certainly getting ourselves half back combinations that ask more questions of the opposition. I still feel that Lewis Dodd has been feeling his way in and taken a reasonably back seat half back role, but I would imagine there will be more responsibility on his shoulders next year and I feel he's got the personality to carry it off. I still feel that we'd get more out of Lomax at full back and Welsby at stand off, but the fact remains that where ever we play them, we have three players in the pivotal positions who can do damage. What is more, if things aren't working, Lomax and Welsby can swap roles. I didn't see anything but trouble ahead with Fages playing at scrum half, but now he's been replaced, we are creating more, we are moving the ball more and we ask more questions. Welsby and Dood are two of the brightest prospects in the game and their emergence has really shifted my mindset for next year.

    The real concern I had was too many aging players leaving or passing their peak together. Lachlan Coote will be a huge loss, but many were saying that Naiqama would be no loss before Saturday, so nothing has changed there because of one game. Hopoate is not going to be a downward step and we know we are promoting from within for full back.

    LMS and Kyle Amor are clearly past their best, James Bentley is leaving and Roby is in his last year. I do think we might need another prop soon, but Sironen is coming in to replace Bentley and James Bell seems to get good reviews. A few of us said a couple of years ago that Lussick would be a perfect replacement for Roby, so that's a real good move too. I think Joe Batchelor has done far better than most of us would have anticipated too, Sione seems to have finally settled in to prove his worth and Jake Wingfield looks to have a big future. Throw in the performances of some of the young lads at Salford and you can see why other clubs fear a dynasty.

    All this has been done despite not being able to make the big hit signings that some of our neighbours can. Throw in the fact that even our ladies team are dominating and you have to say that the club has a lot to congratulate itself for. There are times when I've criticised McManus and Rush over the years for various things. There is no doubt that we had a decade of tough times from 2008 to 2018 and I think that need to push for the new ground knocked the club back more than anyone realised. Resources had to be channelled away from the field for a while, we made a couple of poor coaching choices and we hit the buffers. However, we've come through that now and the foundations have never looked stronger. There is no doubt that the way the club is run is the envy of everybody else in the game.
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    That's a great post DD. You, quite justifiably, had some major concerns but are big enough to admit that the club have started to address them

    I'm sure Woolf hasn't been thrilled with the attack at times this year but to see that side guts it out on Saturday and really playing for each other was incredible

    I think we'll miss Coote a lot, it's fair to say he's trending towards the end of his career but his leadership and smarts is pivotal to our success

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    My worry, much like it has been this year, is in the bench. There’s normally a drop-off in terms of punch when we spell Walmsley and Knowles and to a lesser extent, Lees. Paasi has had his moments and put in some real good performances but can be quite up and down, LMS the same and Amor is Amor, you know what you’re going to get from him and I agreed with the decision not to bring him one when the game was in the balance at the weekend. Maybe after a year at the club, on loan at Salford and with the advent of reserve rugby next year, Dan Norman might be in line to step up. With LMS and Amor another year older, I do have my worries about how they’ll cope.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wee Waa Womble View Post
    Tells you everything about the quality we have, the young talent we have coming through and the recruitment weÂ’ve done so far that we are still looking so strong for next year. Most clubs would be worried losing their 1, 3, 7, 11 & 12, we might actually get even better!
    Think Coote will be a massive loss, and as good has Welsby has been I find it difficult to believe there won't be a (small) short term drop in standards from fullback.

    Naiqama aswell, he's had some criticism but his defensive reads/shoots are part of the teams aggressive tactics. Been mega impressed with him and he's at his very best in the big games too. Plenty of options in the centre for next year but I'm not sure any are as good as he is.

    The rest have proven to be replaceable already but in the halves we may be a light in depth with Fages leaving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos Cervezas View Post
    My worry, much like it has been this year, is in the bench. There’s normally a drop-off in terms of punch when we spell Walmsley and Knowles and to a lesser extent, Lees. Paasi has had his moments and put in some real good performances but can be quite up and down, LMS the same and Amor is Amor, you know what you’re going to get from him and I agreed with the decision not to bring him one when the game was in the balance at the weekend. Maybe after a year at the club, on loan at Salford and with the advent of reserve rugby next year, Dan Norman might be in line to step up. With LMS and Amor another year older, I do have my worries about how they’ll cope.
    Yes there is a drop off,I think Knowles is the biggest miss when he goes off as his defence is outstanding. Either Bell or Sironen will hopefully fill that gap.

    I imagine next years bench will be Paasi,Lms,Lussick then one of Bell/Bachelor/Hurrell. Harsh on Bachelor but I can't see anything but Mata'utia and Sironen starting at 2nd row.

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    The decrease in intensity and go forward when Warmsley, Knowles & Lees go off, is evident to everyone.

    I do think though, with Bell coming on for Knowles, we negate that drop off some what.

    Paasi has shown glimpses, and did again in the GF at the weekend, but I think there is more in the locker with him, and he should really look to step up a bit more.

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    From what i have seen of him and i know that Bell is thrilled to be joining Saints i think that he will force his way into being a regular first teamer .

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    Quote Originally Posted by OoOGazOoO View Post
    The decrease in intensity and go forward when Warmsley, Knowles & Lees go off, is evident to everyone.

    I do think though, with Bell coming on for Knowles, we negate that drop off some what.

    Paasi has shown glimpses, and did again in the GF at the weekend, but I think there is more in the locker with him, and he should really look to step up a bit more.
    I think we will see more from Paasi next year. In both the CC final and the grand final he really stood up and played a large part in keeping intensity throughout the game and the big moments he’s shown his quality. I suspect it’s been a really tough year to get settled in with the Covid circumstances and I believe he was one who was really badly affected by Covid, so am willing to give him next year to show it more consistently.

    I didn’t think resigning LMS and Amor was the right decision and would have rather used Bells NFT spot to combine all three into a big signing to compliment Paasi and Roby coming on at the 30 minute mark. Alas it wasn’t to be. I don’t think it’s a given Bell is on the bench though as he will be fighting it out with Batchelor (who doesn’t deserve to be out of the 13 let alone 17 based on his end of year farm, and I was one of his biggest critics) and Hurrell (presumably) who will all bring something different

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    One thing I've I've considering since Saturday has been how we will use Hurrell. People have (quite rightly) pointed out that he may not be fit enough to play centre/second row and we have reasonable depth in those positions.

    Centre - Hopoate, Percival, Simm (options with Welsby)

    Second Row/Loose - Knowles, Mata'utia, Batchelor, Sironen, Bell, Wingfield

    Another issue that's been aired quite frequently is the drop of impact with our prop rotation and the performances of aging LMS and Amor. Could Hurrell be coming in as an impact prop to play 20/25 minutes either side of half time? He's certainly powerful enough.

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    There will be a transition stage given we have a number of new players coming in.

    You feel like we have taken a few years off our average age for the squad.

    Bell looks like a Bentley style player.
    Sironen seems to be a physical presence like Thompson only with better ball skills.
    Hopoate seems slower but maybe a better ball player and defender than Naiqama.
    Hurrell and Lussick just feel like bonus players that will just add more to us.

    I guess the only concern is that our Young players need to keep progressing and our old players need to not fall apart.

    I think young Davies could make an impact next year. He seemed to have a good game vs Salford. Looks like he could play second row as well as centre
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noel Cleal View Post
    There will be a transition stage given we have a number of new players coming in.

    You feel like we have taken a few years off our average age for the squad.

    Bell looks like a Bentley style player.
    Sironen seems to be a physical presence like Thompson only with better ball skills.
    Hopoate seems slower but maybe a better ball player and defender than Naiqama.
    Hurrell and Lussick just feel like bonus players that will just add more to us.

    I guess the only concern is that our Young players need to keep progressing and our old players need to not fall apart.

    I think young Davies could make an impact next year. He seemed to have a good game vs Salford. Looks like he could play second row as well as centre
    Winfield, Foster, Royle and Davies look our next home grown prospects. Biggest worry will be props for 2023 season, might need 4 props and nothing coming out of the academy at the moment and Dan Norman not getting game time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    Winfield, Foster, Royle and Davies look our next home grown prospects. Biggest worry will be props for 2023 season, might need 4 props and nothing coming out of the academy at the moment and Dan Norman not getting game time.
    I think the club can be trusted with Norman. They have Bentley game time at the right time, and did the same with Batchelor. He will get the time if and when he’s ready I’m sure he will get in over Amor/LMS. There’s also Baxter whose just signed a professional contract whose a prop I think.

    I think Paasi will stay in 2023 anyway so will need 1-2 props based on Norman stepping up and Amor/LMS going but can’t see why we would need more than that?

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    My main concern for next year is a goal kicker. Who will be taking them now Coote has moved on? Percival and Makinson aren’t reliable, particularly in big games. Remember the Grand Final was effectively won by goal kicks, without Coote, we may not be celebrating now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelCloset View Post
    My main concern for next year is a goal kicker. Who will be taking them now Coote has moved on? Percival and Makinson aren’t reliable, particularly in big games. Remember the Grand Final was effectively won by goal kicks, without Coote, we may not be celebrating now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DD View Post
    Back in July, I genuinely had concerns that we were going to hit a transitional period and we may go a few years without success, but things can change swiftly in sport and I no longer feel that way.

    I think the key is certainly getting ourselves half back combinations that ask more questions of the opposition. I still feel that Lewis Dodd has been feeling his way in and taken a reasonably back seat half back role, but I would imagine there will be more responsibility on his shoulders next year and I feel he's got the personality to carry it off. I still feel that we'd get more out of Lomax at full back and Welsby at stand off, but the fact remains that where ever we play them, we have three players in the pivotal positions who can do damage. What is more, if things aren't working, Lomax and Welsby can swap roles. I didn't see anything but trouble ahead with Fages playing at scrum half, but now he's been replaced, we are creating more, we are moving the ball more and we ask more questions. Welsby and Dood are two of the brightest prospects in the game and their emergence has really shifted my mindset for next year.

    The real concern I had was too many aging players leaving or passing their peak together. Lachlan Coote will be a huge loss, but many were saying that Naiqama would be no loss before Saturday, so nothing has changed there because of one game. Hopoate is not going to be a downward step and we know we are promoting from within for full back.

    LMS and Kyle Amor are clearly past their best, James Bentley is leaving and Roby is in his last year. I do think we might need another prop soon, but Sironen is coming in to replace Bentley and James Bell seems to get good reviews. A few of us said a couple of years ago that Lussick would be a perfect replacement for Roby, so that's a real good move too. I think Joe Batchelor has done far better than most of us would have anticipated too, Sione seems to have finally settled in to prove his worth and Jake Wingfield looks to have a big future. Throw in the performances of some of the young lads at Salford and you can see why other clubs fear a dynasty.

    All this has been done despite not being able to make the big hit signings that some of our neighbours can. Throw in the fact that even our ladies team are dominating and you have to say that the club has a lot to congratulate itself for. There are times when I've criticised McManus and Rush over the years for various things. There is no doubt that we had a decade of tough times from 2008 to 2018 and I think that need to push for the new ground knocked the club back more than anyone realised. Resources had to be channelled away from the field for a while, we made a couple of poor coaching choices and we hit the buffers. However, we've come through that now and the foundations have never looked stronger. There is no doubt that the way the club is run is the envy of everybody else in the game.
    Tend to agree mostly with what your saying but saying Hopoate is going to be a downward step is a bit cruel. He's going to have to prove himself but i certainly think he's going to be good. Superleague is easier than the NRL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rommel View Post
    Tend to agree mostly with what your saying but saying Hopoate is going to be a downward step is a bit cruel. He's going to have to prove himself but i certainly think he's going to be good. Superleague is easier than the NRL.
    I actually think Hopoate has the *potential* to be an upgrade on Naiqama. Obviously with overseas signings a lot depends on how they apply themselves but his top end game is better than Naiqamas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    Winfield, Foster, Royle and Davies look our next home grown prospects. Biggest worry will be props for 2023 season, might need 4 props and nothing coming out of the academy at the moment and Dan Norman not getting game time.
    That is why we are after Ebon Scurr. I have been told by a Bulls fan he was their best player this year. Apparently it is either us or Hull FC.
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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    In The North Stand With All The Old Folk DD's Avatar
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    I said that Hopoate was not going to be a backward step. ;-)
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    Starting A Programme Collection Mike Stephenson's Avatar
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    The most important question is whether Saints are strong enough to win again next year. The bookmakers have Saints as favourites for 2022 and so do I. The motivation has to be there to make it 4 in a row and create history in the SL era. I'm surprised by the amount of signings and retentions especially in the forwards, though the reserves comp is back next year. There's lots of depth and so if Sironen doesn't work out for example, there's plenty of other options. There's an argument to say Batchelor deserves a starting spot next year too, definitely in the 17. Lussick is proven in SL and should sharpen up dummy half. Hopoate will be solid if not spectacular. Hurrell will add power and a bit of excitement because of his unpredictability. If Welsby struggles at full back, Lomax or Hopoate could easily slot in there. In my opinion Dodd has already shown he offers more than Fages where it counts, and that is in attack. Has anyone seen anything of the young player signed from Widnes? I do think Saints needed another back... does he have speed?

    Catalans are losing Maloney and I haven't seen anything confirmed about a replacement (or any signings for that matter). He is a big loss to them. I think they need to sign another half, though Mourgue looks a very good young player.

    Leeds have recruited well with Sezer and potentially pairing him with Austen. They've two of the better hookers in SL, Bentley will improve them in the forwards and having Jack Walker back will give them another option at full back.

    I'm not sure Hull KR can do better than they did this year. Will be interesting to see how Coote goes for them and the young player Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e if he plays.

    Warrington will be better under Powell I think, but big ask for him to make it work in year one. They have a really good set of pivots to choose from in Ratchford, Ashton, Williams, Widdop, Clark, Walker.

    Wigan will be relying on French & Field to recover from their serious injuries to provide the spark for their attack. Both are X-factor players and if they fire they're a real threat. Not sure Wigan have enough elsewhere though. Surprised by their limited recruitment thus far- I think their problems extend beyond a change in coaching staff.

    Castleford have signed some players I like in Mamo and Mahe Fonua, plus Trueman back in the halves. Don't think they've enough overall though either.
    *Not to be confused with Mike Stephenson, MBE

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    The age profile may be here to stay for a while as any NRL signings tend to be late 20s or early thirties. When Robes retires that will knock off a chunk.

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    I know we are favourites but as mentioned its going to be very tough mentally on our players, we are probably fortunate in that we still have Woolf who understands the pressures our player have been under and will only increase intensity further down the track. A new coach for instance would very likely want to put his mark down on the team and want pressure and intensity too early.

    We also have new players coming in which might make us play slightly differently, hopefully that will have a "fresh air" effect, if hopefully we don't suffer any great amount of injuries and we have this squad depth perhaps Woolf will consider rotation a bit more for the likes of Walmsley, Lomax, Roby, Percival, Makinson established players who may be needed to be wrapped in "cotton wool" for a short period in the season.,

    As for threats from other clubs, I don't think the margin of divide will close all that much. Leeds had a lot of injuries this season if they still are more or less injury free next season I think they could be our nearest challenger but the rumours are that they will have a new coach.

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    Just changing the subject slightly, are we back to scrums next year, cannot recall seeing any news over that or I must have missed it, the delay in the messing around forming the scrum not being there certainly quickened the game up this year

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    I know we are favourites but as mentioned its going to be very tough mentally on our players, we are probably fortunate in that we still have Woolf who understands the pressures our player have been under and will only increase intensity further down the track. A new coach for instance would very likely want to put his mark down on the team and want pressure and intensity too early.

    We also have new players coming in which might make us play slightly differently, hopefully that will have a "fresh air" effect, if hopefully we don't suffer any great amount of injuries and we have this squad depth perhaps Woolf will consider rotation a bit more for the likes of Walmsley, Lomax, Roby, Percival, Makinson established players who may be needed to be wrapped in "cotton wool" for a short period in the season.,

    As for threats from other clubs, I don't think the margin of divide will close all that much. Leeds had a lot of injuries this season if they still are more or less injury free next season I think they could be our nearest challenger but the rumours are that they will have a new coach.
    I posted on the Leeds board as they said we had been lucky on injuries for 3 years. When comparing 1-13 (extending that to 17 is hard because you get into a discussion about players missing games due to not being selected rather than injured) Saints 1-13 played 67% of the game time, Leeds 1-13* played 61% - there really wasn't a huge difference, about 20 games, or one more serious injury. Leeds fans have really been blowing their own trumpet (a better pack than ours continues to be brought up on their forum) but I just am not convinced. They are still looking for a prop and a winger apparently, which might change things, but its also entirely possible that Hetherington is making stuff up to keep the fans off his back.

    *the 1-13 for Leeds was adapted slightly to sub in Myler for Walker as Walker didnt play a single game this year (thus wont have been on the cap) so its impossible for me to tell if he would have played.

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