PLAYER Fletcher Baker

You aren't wrong, the whole bench has been problematic to start the year. At least Kobe finally stepped up last night. Well actually Smoothy has been solid too but obviously it is both Baker and Taupau now.

Willison playing so well helps with one of them and honestly, TPJ actually plugs in for the other eventually. Regardless, Taupau should be out next week anyway and Baker gets a shot at redemption.

Even without TPJ, this really needs to be out bench moving forward:

15. Hetherington
16. Willison
17. Oates

Hetherington is more than capable of playing the role Palasia did last year. Willison got some big minutes last night too and handled it.
I cant reward Oates for the way he has carried on this year since being dropped in round 1. I mean refusing to play Q cup is just disrespectful to the club. How are they going to put you back into first grade if you haven't got any match fitness.
 
To be fair, we did have some really good sets from the forwards against the Panthers (mainly Jenson, Hethington, Willison and Carrigan). We weren't trapped in our 30 as much as teams usually are by them.
By fringe forwards, I am more referring to Baker, Taupau and Hunt. These three should only be depth forwards being asked to fill in one at a time off the bench in the event that a better player gets injured/suspended. Having more than one in the team at the same time is a concern.

At the moment, 2 of them are guaranteed spots in the 17 each week, and they are currently not at that level. They are a huge downgrade on Flegler, Palasia and Capewell.

I would categorise the forwards into to following 4 tiers:

1. The Starting Forwards: Haas, Carrigan, Jensen, Riki, Piakura - I think all these players are good enough to be in the starting team.

2. The Bench Forwards: Hetherington - The only decent bench forward we have.

3. The Forward Prospects: Willison, Te Kura - Willison should be elevated to the 'Bench Forwards' tier in my opinion, but I have put him in this tier because the club seems to be taking a long-term approach in how they develop him.

4. The Depth Forwards: Baker, Taupau, Hunt - At current form, they should only be getting game time in emergency situations, and should not be elevated to to 'Starting Forwards' tier. With improvement, they can move up to the 'Bench Forward' tier, but only if their performances warrant it.

At the moment, our depth in the 'Bench Forward' tier is extremely thin, and it is something that needs to be addressed. The difference in ability is too large between the 'Depth Forwards' tier and what the level of a player in the 'Bench Forward' tier should be.
 
They need Willison in the side, definitely. Last night showed he is a mainstay. Baker was pretty shit in the middle but i feel he is still the best option and better than Tapau. I wish we kept Palasia last year, he would have made this so much easier to handle.
 
Thats a low bar......Tapau shouldn;t be anywhere near the starting 17.
I really want them to give Tekura a stint on the bench but he is just green as F and its not the Kevy way. I think they need to demand more from Baker and Tapau while Haas is out or show them the door. Blessing from last night was we got Kobe back, thought he was awesome!
 
You aren't wrong, the whole bench has been problematic to start the year. At least Kobe finally stepped up last night. Well actually Smoothy has been solid too but obviously it is both Baker and Taupau now.

Willison playing so well helps with one of them and honestly, TPJ actually plugs in for the other eventually. Regardless, Taupau should be out next week anyway and Baker gets a shot at redemption.

Even without TPJ, this really needs to be out bench moving forward:

15. Hetherington
16. Willison
17. Oates

Hetherington is more than capable of playing the role Palasia did last year. Willison got some big minutes last night too and handled it.
We desperately need Kobe to be able to play second row.

It felt like he was on the field longer last night than he has been all year, but NRL.com has him at 44mins.

In 2022 he played a couple 80mins games at lock... If he can learn to play second row then we are absolutely sorted on the bench.

It would add so much flexibility to the bench and that 17 jersey... you could put Oates on the bench and be fine if a second rower, half or outside back goes down.

The middles would need to up their time if Kobe was the dedicated backrow replacement and there's no way you could carry Taupau in that case, but Willison pumped out 40mins last night. It would just come down to Baker and if he can pump out big minutes... or maybe Hunt if he's better suited to the middle.

Piakura looked like he was getting carved up last night, but I wonder if Baker having to play second row was causing issues as well. He definitely looks more a prop than a second rower, but there was no pressure on Cleary (from the inside or outside) allowing him to do what he wants, so was the damage already done by the time it got out to Piakura in the centres.

Also interesting that we looked more comfortable when we shifted Staggs to the left and Riki into right centre... changing up the left side to accommodate Cobbo moving to fullback meant penrith were attacking down Cleary's side of the field... compared to Luai's side when it was against Riki.

Every chance they still get the overlaps happening, but it was basically waving a red flag to Cleary and Kevvie probably should've changed it up much sooner than the second half, because Cleary was having a field day down that left edge.
 
We desperately need Kobe to be able to play second row.

It felt like he was on the field longer last night than he has been all year, but NRL.com has him at 44mins.

In 2022 he played a couple 80mins games at lock... If he can learn to play second row then we are absolutely sorted on the bench.

It would add so much flexibility to the bench and that 17 jersey... you could put Oates on the bench and be fine if a second rower, half or outside back goes down.

The middles would need to up their time if Kobe was the dedicated backrow replacement and there's no way you could carry Taupau in that case, but Willison pumped out 40mins last night. It would just come down to Baker and if he can pump out big minutes... or maybe Hunt if he's better suited to the middle.

Piakura looked like he was getting carved up last night, but I wonder if Baker having to play second row was causing issues as well. He definitely looks more a prop than a second rower, but there was no pressure on Cleary (from the inside or outside) allowing him to do what he wants, so was the damage already done by the time it got out to Piakura in the centres.

Also interesting that we looked more comfortable when we shifted Staggs to the left and Riki into right centre... changing up the left side to accommodate Cobbo moving to fullback meant penrith were attacking down Cleary's side of the field... compared to Luai's side when it was against Riki.

Every chance they still get the overlaps happening, but it was basically waving a red flag to Cleary and Kevvie probably should've changed it up much sooner than the second half, because Cleary was having a field day down that left edge.
It’s not even that complicated just go round out the squad with a middle and a second rower/centre. Don’t give a flying **** who the middle is just someone half decent and the second rower/centre there are a fair few not playing regular footy.

A bench of Smoothy, Hetho, Willison/Baker and Oates is dogshit. But without going to market to get a second rower with centre abilities we have to do that.

1. Reece Walsh
2. Jesse Arthars
3. Kotoni Staggs
4. Selwyn Cobbo
5. Deine Mariner
6. Ezra Mam
7. Adam reynolds
8. Corey Jensen
9. Billy Walters
10. Payne Haas
11. Jordan Riki
12. Brendan Piakura
13. Pat Carrigan
14. Tyson Smoothy
15. Kobe Hetherington
16. Xavier Willison
17. Dylan Lucas (Klese, Burns, Patston, Jones)

Is a much better side than the dogshit (but what other choice do we have currently) you just chucked up. Go get a fucken second rower who can play centre!!!

That way both second row depth and middle depth improve whilst our side then is covered to a high standard in every position. Fucken go make it happen Kev. Start with Lucas and work your way down the list.

I’d do unspeakable things to get that bloke here.
 
He hasn't refused at all, you made that up.
What was the courier mail headlines last week all about then. He was refusing to travel to play for Burleigh
 
I cant reward Oates for the way he has carried on this year since being dropped in round 1. I mean refusing to play Q cup is just disrespectful to the club. How are they going to put you back into first grade if you haven't got any match fitness.

I think you have got your facts wrong there, thats bullshit news. He hasnt refused to play for them at all. He's pissed off at being allocated to them seeing as they are over 100k away from where he lives, but he's not refused to play for them at all.

Kevvie also confirmed in that same article they didnt play him in the first two weeks to keep him fresh, but whether that keeps happening will be another story.
 
TBF, I read that in a CM article (by Badel I think)

If its the Badel and Meyn from last week it doesnt say he refused to play. It does mention he isnt happy being placed with Burleigh and rightly so. I think a player of his standing with the club should have earned the right to have been allocated a club closer to home.
 
If its the Badel and Meyn from last week it doesnt say he refused to play. It does mention he isnt happy being placed with Burleigh and rightly so. I think a player of his standing with the club should have earned the right to have been allocated a club closer to home.

It was more of an implication that a flat out accusation.

They said something like the club are denying that Oates is refusing to play for Burleigh ... If they didn't want people to think Oates was boycotting Burleigh, they wouldn't have added that comment.

I do agree, that Oates probably should have been allocated to a Brisbane feeder, although I have no idea how players are allocated to which clubs and what criteria is used.
 
It was more of an implication that a flat out accusation.

They said something like the club are denying that Oates is refusing to play for Burleigh ... If they didn't want people to think Oates was boycotting Burleigh, they wouldn't have added that comment.

I do agree, that Oates probably should have been allocated to a Brisbane feeder, although I have no idea how players are allocated to which clubs and what criteria is used.

He's not boycotting them. Its just Badel making shit up again. While i'm 99% confident the Broncos are trying to force him out, It was Kevvies call to hold him back for the first 2 rounds. I dont know what they will do with him going forward.
 
I cant reward Oates for the way he has carried on this year since being dropped in round 1. I mean refusing to play Q cup is just disrespectful to the club. How are they going to put you back into first grade if you haven't got any match fitness.
has he actually not played a single game in Cup this year? Seriously?
 

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