NRLs Playmaking 7 problem it's going to face

Mustafur

Mustafur

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Jun 13, 2019
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The game has been lacking quality 7s for awhile and there has been a genuine lack of quality coming through the lower grades that can be ready to take control of a first grade team, something that should be highlighted is how many of the quality 7s in the game atm are getting close to retirement age.

You got just to show:
DCE(34)
Hunt(32 Turning 33)
Reynolds(32 turning 33)
Townsend(32)

That is a massive chunk of quality gone from the position coming soon, It will be interesting to see in the future if we are able to get a few high quality play makers come into the game or the game will have to change to accommodate the lack of them.

What are your thoughts on this?
 
theshed

theshed

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Aug 28, 2010
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Yep it’s a concern but Katoa, Cleary especially and Hynes all look like genuine 7s. More will come through eventually or like you say teams will adjust.
Ilias is fine too and Walker is only 21. Mam could be a halfback if he really worked on it.

Halfbacks don’t really hit their straps until the mid 20s. It’s a complex position to master
 
Sproj

Sproj

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Sep 6, 2013
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Ilias is fine too and Walker is only 21. Mam could be a halfback if he really worked on it.

The only question I have on Mam is his long kicking, that's it and only because he hasn't really been asked to do it yet. If he has a decent boot, then I see him as the next JT, he has so many of the same unteachable facets JT had.
 
theshed

theshed

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The only question I have on Mam is his long kicking, that's it and only because he hasn't really been asked to do it yet. If he has a decent boot, then I see him as the next JT, he has so many of the same unteachable facets JT had.
He has a good boot. He’s shown it a couple of times. Not sure about accuracy or strategy but the distance is there.
 
Big Pete

Big Pete

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Mar 12, 2008
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I wanted to take a look at the competition, and the age they were when they were allowed to be in the starting halves on a consistent basis:

Brisbane Broncos: Adam Reynolds (33) - 22
Canberra Raiders: Jamal Fogarty (30) - 27
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Kyle Flanagan (25) - 22
Cronulla Sharks: Nicho Hynes (27) - 26
The Dolphins: Sean O'Sullivan (25) - 23
Gold Coast Titans: Tanah Boyd (23) - 23
Manly Sea Eagles: Daly Cherry-Evans (34) - 22
Melbourne Storm: Jahrome Hughes (29) - 25
Newcastle Knights: Jackson Hastings (27) - 20
North Queensland Cowboys: Chad Townsend (32) - 23
Parramatta Eels: Mitchell Moses (29) - 21
Penrith Panthers: Nathan Cleary (26) - 19
St George Illawarra Dragons: Ben Hunt (33) - 23
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Lachlan Ilias (23) - 22
Sydney Roosters: Sam Walker (21) - 19
Warriors: Shaun Johnson (33) - 21
Wests Tigers: Luke Brooks (29) - 20

So the average age is 28, with players making that transition into the starting halves at around 22 years of age.

Let's take it back 20 years to 2003.

Brisbane Broncos: Shaun Berrigan (25) - 23
Canberra Raiders: Brad Drew (28) - 28
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Brent Sherwin (25) - 22
Cronulla Sharks: Brett Kimmorley (27) - 22
Manly Sea Eagles: Jackson Ferris (27) - 20
Melbourne Storm: Matt Orford (25) - 22
Newcastle Knights: Andrew Johns (29) - 20
North Queensland Cowboys: Nathan Fien (24) - 21
Parramatta Eels: Paul Green (31) - 22
Penrith Panthers: Craig Gower (25) - 24
St George Illawarra Dragons: Brett Firman (21) - 21
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Willie Peters (24) - 19
Sydney Roosters: Brett Finch (22) - 20
Warriors: Stacey Jones (27) - 19
Wests Tigers: Lincoln Withers (22) - 21

So the average age was 25 with players making that transition earlier at 21. That figure could be lower depending on your definition of making that transition - Gower spent a fair time in the halves when he was 21 but switched back to dummy half until he was 24.

Similarly Brad Drew had a stint in the halves when he was 23, but was a dummy half until 2003 where he slotted in that position for Canberra.

There's a few factors in play here like advances in sports medicine, more clubs, smarter managers etc. However I'm more interested in what happened to the mid-20s halfbacks. Cleary is arguably the best player in the game and is on track to become one of the best halves in the history of the sport, but where is his competition?

Brodie Croft, Jake Clifford, Jack Cogger, Troy Dargan, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Brendan O'Hagan all had raps on them but they were all chewed up and spat out. Maybe they'll step up in the coming years, but their absence has definitely seen some players have prolonged careers in the NRL.

Looking at that 2003 list, you'd have to say less than half those clubs were satisfied with their #7. Bulldogs, Sharks, Storm, Knights, Panthers, Roosters & Warriors all stuck with their halves and even so there were some bumps in the road. It's a really difficult position to get right, but when clubs do they invariably achieve a lot of success.
 
Mustafur

Mustafur

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Contributor
Jun 13, 2019
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I wanted to take a look at the competition, and the age they were when they were allowed to be in the starting halves on a consistent basis:

Brisbane Broncos: Adam Reynolds (33) - 22
Canberra Raiders: Jamal Fogarty (30) - 27
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Kyle Flanagan (25) - 22
Cronulla Sharks: Nicho Hynes (27) - 26
The Dolphins: Sean O'Sullivan (25) - 23
Gold Coast Titans: Tanah Boyd (23) - 23
Manly Sea Eagles: Daly Cherry-Evans (34) - 22
Melbourne Storm: Jahrome Hughes (29) - 25
Newcastle Knights: Jackson Hastings (27) - 20
North Queensland Cowboys: Chad Townsend (32) - 24
Parramatta Eels: Mitchell Moses (29) - 21
Penrith Panthers: Nathan Cleary (26) - 19
St George Illawarra Dragons: Ben Hunt (33) - 23
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Lachlan Ilias (23) - 22
Sydney Roosters: Sam Walker (21) - 19
Warriors: Shaun Johnson (33) - 21
Wests Tigers: Luke Brooks (29) - 20

So the average age is 28, with players making that transition into halfback at around 22 years of age.

Let's take it back 20 years to 2003.

Brisbane Broncos: Shaun Berrigan (25) - 23
Canberra Raiders: Brad Drew (28) - 28
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Brent Sherwin (25) - 22
Cronulla Sharks: Brett Kimmorley (27) - 22
Manly Sea Eagles: Jackson Ferris (27) - 20
Melbourne Storm: Matt Orford (25) - 22
Newcastle Knights: Andrew Johns (29) - 20
North Queensland Cowboys: Nathan Fien (24) - 21
Parramatta Eels: Paul Green (31) - 22
Penrith Panthers: Craig Gower (25) - 24
St George Illawarra Dragons: Brett Firman (21) - 21
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Willie Peters (24) - 19
Sydney Roosters: Brett Finch (22) - 20
Warriors: Stacey Jones (27) - 19
Wests Tigers: Lincoln Withers (22) - 21

So the average age was 25 with players making that transition earlier at 21. That figure could be lower depending on your definition of making that transition - Gower spent a fair time in the halves when he was 21 but switched back to dummy half until he was 24.

Similarly Brad Drew had a stint in the halves when he was 23, but was a dummy half until 2003 where he slotted in that position for Canberra.

There's a few factors in play here like advances in sports medicine, more clubs, smarter managers etc. However I'm more interested in what happened to the mid-20s halfbacks. Cleary is arguably the best player in the game and is on track to become one of the best halves in the history of the sport, but where is his competition?

Brodie Croft, Jake Clifford, Jack Cogger, Troy Dargan, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Brendan O'Hagan all had raps on them but they were all chewed up and spat out. Maybe they'll step up in the coming years, but their absence has definitely seen some players have prolonged careers in the NRL.

Looking at that 2003 list, you'd have to say less than half those clubs were satisfied with their #7. Bulldogs, Sharks, Storm, Knights, Panthers, Roosters & Warriors all stuck with their halves and even so there were some bumps in the road. It's a really difficult position to get right, but when clubs do they invariably achieve a lot of success.
It's definitely a Noticeable difference, at the end of the day the only way they get better is with more experience, I guess the average talent halves that get spat at Early then go to England like Croft will be the ones to actually realise their full ability, that would of happened in NRL back then.

It seems only the cream of the crop are being allowed to develop in 1st grade, the only exception I see to that is Kyle Flanagan as illas, Walker and obviously Cleary have shown to be of a high standard from the start(you could add Dearden to that list but I feel he probably would be in the same boat if he didn't move to 6).

Then you got players like Hynes who have taken the Eastern Australian road trip through lower grades in both states and become a utility bench player to get where he is.
 
TimWhatley

TimWhatley

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Dec 1, 2019
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The biggest problem is that there's so few good kickers around. I think more should be done to get young halves kick-ready for the nrl. The reason Cleary is so good is because he's literally obsessed with kicking and does heaps of extras after training.
 
LittleDavey

LittleDavey

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Mar 25, 2013
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The biggest problem is that there's so few good kickers around. I think more should be done to get young halves kick-ready for the nrl. The reason Cleary is so good is because he's literally obsessed with kicking and does heaps of extras after training.
Isn't this the young halves' thing to work at? Who should be responsible for their learning to kick? Certainly the clubs should do their part, and I'm sure they are, but at the end of the day it's up to the player how much effort they're willing to put in.
 
TimWhatley

TimWhatley

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Dec 1, 2019
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Isn't this the young halves' thing to work at? Who should be responsible for their learning to kick? Certainly the clubs should do their part, and I'm sure they are, but at the end of the day it's up to the player how much effort they're willing to put in.
Yeah it's definitely something they should be doing on their own but it doesn't change the fact that most young halves that come in to the NRL are bad at kicking. It's funny because the most desired traits in young halfbacks seems to be running and passing when it should be defence and kicking. There are quite a few teams running around with two 5/8s and they don't even realise it.
 
Mustafur

Mustafur

State of Origin Captain
Contributor
Jun 13, 2019
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I wanted to take a look at the competition, and the age they were when they were allowed to be in the starting halves on a consistent basis:

Brisbane Broncos: Adam Reynolds (33) - 22
Canberra Raiders: Jamal Fogarty (30) - 27
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Kyle Flanagan (25) - 22
Cronulla Sharks: Nicho Hynes (27) - 26
The Dolphins: Sean O'Sullivan (25) - 23
Gold Coast Titans: Tanah Boyd (23) - 23
Manly Sea Eagles: Daly Cherry-Evans (34) - 22
Melbourne Storm: Jahrome Hughes (29) - 25
Newcastle Knights: Jackson Hastings (27) - 20
North Queensland Cowboys: Chad Townsend (32) - 24
Parramatta Eels: Mitchell Moses (29) - 21
Penrith Panthers: Nathan Cleary (26) - 19
St George Illawarra Dragons: Ben Hunt (33) - 23
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Lachlan Ilias (23) - 22
Sydney Roosters: Sam Walker (21) - 19
Warriors: Shaun Johnson (33) - 21
Wests Tigers: Luke Brooks (29) - 20

So the average age is 28, with players making that transition into halfback at around 22 years of age.

Let's take it back 20 years to 2003.

Brisbane Broncos: Shaun Berrigan (25) - 23
Canberra Raiders: Brad Drew (28) - 28
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Brent Sherwin (25) - 22
Cronulla Sharks: Brett Kimmorley (27) - 22
Manly Sea Eagles: Jackson Ferris (27) - 20
Melbourne Storm: Matt Orford (25) - 22
Newcastle Knights: Andrew Johns (29) - 20
North Queensland Cowboys: Nathan Fien (24) - 21
Parramatta Eels: Paul Green (31) - 22
Penrith Panthers: Craig Gower (25) - 24
St George Illawarra Dragons: Brett Firman (21) - 21
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Willie Peters (24) - 19
Sydney Roosters: Brett Finch (22) - 20
Warriors: Stacey Jones (27) - 19
Wests Tigers: Lincoln Withers (22) - 21

So the average age was 25 with players making that transition earlier at 21. That figure could be lower depending on your definition of making that transition - Gower spent a fair time in the halves when he was 21 but switched back to dummy half until he was 24.

Similarly Brad Drew had a stint in the halves when he was 23, but was a dummy half until 2003 where he slotted in that position for Canberra.

There's a few factors in play here like advances in sports medicine, more clubs, smarter managers etc. However I'm more interested in what happened to the mid-20s halfbacks. Cleary is arguably the best player in the game and is on track to become one of the best halves in the history of the sport, but where is his competition?

Brodie Croft, Jake Clifford, Jack Cogger, Troy Dargan, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Brendan O'Hagan all had raps on them but they were all chewed up and spat out. Maybe they'll step up in the coming years, but their absence has definitely seen some players have prolonged careers in the NRL.

Looking at that 2003 list, you'd have to say less than half those clubs were satisfied with their #7. Bulldogs, Sharks, Storm, Knights, Panthers, Roosters & Warriors all stuck with their halves and even so there were some bumps in the road. It's a really difficult position to get right, but when clubs do they invariably achieve a lot of success.
I think SoS, Moses and Hastings is inaccurate, For O'Sullivan to be real on being the primary playmaker you have to say this year was his first season being the number 1 as a 7, when at Broncos he never nailed the position(and would of been whatever half was out at Penrith while there), Moses was a 6 at Tigers till he went to Parramatta, it was a big issue for them because they were both fighting for the ball at the time which is probably why he left.
Hastings wasn't given proper number 1 Seven status Juty till he went to Tigers, they moved him to 13(after Maguire) but Maguire wanted him as their main 7 so 2022 would be the realistic nailed 7 for that.

of course this would change the 2003 options likely with the same criteria(not sure I'm not well versed).

If you have a counter argument for that I'm all ears, I'm just going by what I remember those actual round 1 ideal squads being.

Also Highly disagree with bulldogs 7 Brent Sherwin, he was a very good half and the most underrated half in the 2000s imo, he was good enough to play rep footy but was unlucky at the time being behind some truly great 7s.
 
Big Pete

Big Pete

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Mar 12, 2008
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I'd say you have a different criteria to mine. The point I was illustrating is how old they were when they established themselves in the halves. You seem to be talking purely as a halfback. As we've seen in the modern game there are different types of halves so even if one of them is forced to play five eighth, they're actually developing their game as a half. That's why for instance the Roosters are fine shifting Keary to halfback because his game allows it.

We've established that Moses was in the starting halves by 2015. Jackson Hastings was clearly meant to partner Mitchell Pearce at the Roosters in 2016 before dog-gate. Hastings was still their primary playmaker, he struggled and the Roosters decided to chase after Keary as a result.

O'Sullivan could be argued. Nikorima/Harris-Tavita was set to be the starting halves but CHT suffered a foot injury that kept him out long term. My argument is that Nikorima/CHT weren't an established pairing and ultimately SOS ousted Nikorima out of his starting spot. Through his stints at the Warriors and the Panthers, he was able to secure a halfback spot which he got ahead of Nikorima.

The other tentative example is Chad Townsend. I did actually make a mistake and should have him at 23, but it could just as easily be 20. He played 11 games that year. My argument is that he was brought in before his time and was brought into replace Albert Kelly after Tim Smith & Scott Porter blew their chances. As soon as Kelly was available, Townsend was displaced and he wouldn't see regular NRL footy again until 2014.
 
Mustafur

Mustafur

State of Origin Captain
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Jun 13, 2019
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I'd say you have a different criteria to mine. The point I was illustrating is how old they were when they established themselves in the halves. You seem to be talking purely as a halfback. As we've seen in the modern game there are different types of halves so even if one of them is forced to play five eighth, they're actually developing their game as a half. That's why for instance the Roosters are fine shifting Keary to halfback because his game allows it.

We've established that Moses was in the starting halves by 2015. Jackson Hastings was clearly meant to partner Mitchell Pearce at the Roosters in 2016 before dog-gate. Hastings was still their primary playmaker, he struggled and the Roosters decided to chase after Keary as a result.

O'Sullivan could be argued. Nikorima/Harris-Tavita was set to be the starting halves but CHT suffered a foot injury that kept him out long term. My argument is that Nikorima/CHT weren't an established pairing and ultimately SOS ousted Nikorima out of his starting spot. Through his stints at the Warriors and the Panthers, he was able to secure a halfback spot which he got ahead of Nikorima.

The other tentative example is Chad Townsend. I did actually make a mistake and should have him at 23, but it could just as easily be 20. He played 11 games that year. My argument is that he was brought in before his time and was brought into replace Albert Kelly after Tim Smith & Scott Porter blew their chances. As soon as Kelly was available, Townsend was displaced and he wouldn't see regular NRL footy again until 2014.
I did say playmaking half meaning the dominant half but that would be on me as I didn't specifically say dominant half only playmaking half(my bad).

It's a bit weird though when I think about it because for example with the Broncos, Lockyer was clearly our dominant half when he moved to 6.

I'll give it to you on the SoS 7 playing at Warriors, I forgot about his Warriors stint, yeah he was clearly the 7 there.

I simply lack the ability to look through all of their playing time to get the full picture but only with those I fully remember.

The idea of the thread was to base it as the dominant half rather than just playing in the halves though, sorry if it didn't translate well because I didn't say dominant(typically reserved for the 7 though as mentioned some 6s like Lockyer for example were the dominant half as a 6).

Moses I guess is fair game, when he was 6 he was playing dominant half as well as Brooks which is why it didn't work(though somehow it worked for QLD with Lockyer and Thurston and then later with Thurston and Cronk).

For Hastings though it's stop gap, it's hard to say that was proper even if he got alot of game time in that role, he was there because of Pearce being a dickhead rather than by choice as a proper first grader.
 
Big Pete

Big Pete

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I did say playmaking half meaning the dominant half but that would be on me as I didn't specifically say dominant half only playmaking half(my bad).
The point I was making is that halfbacks don't necessarily come into first grade as 7s. So players like Isaiya Katoa, Tom Dearden, Jayden Sullivan, Jonah Pezet etc. could easily find themselves in that 7 role. There are some five-eighths who are purely that, but then there's others who play more like halfbacks but have to accept a different role because of the make-up of the squad. You just have to look at players like Johnathan Thurston & Scott Prince as examples.

Similarly the point I was making about them establishing themselves as a starting half was more about patience and how long it takes before clubs are ready to give these players those type of opportunities. So players of the next generation like Thomas Weaver, Tom Duffy etc. who are coming through may not get their start this year. However everyone is aware of them so if they kill it on debut it's not like they're coming from nowhere.

As far as Hastings goes, he was a halfback coming through the grades who was clearly going to be in the starting halves come 2016. He spent the majority of 2015 as a bench utility and would instantly come into the halves if there was an injury - there was no risk the Roosters wanted to give him that opportunity. They gave it to him, he struggled and Manly signed him because Bozo was pulling a Gus and was signing any young prospect he could get his hands on. It was a horrible fit, he didn't get on at all with anyone at the club, and he found himself over at the ESL where he had to slowly rebuild his career.

Point being, Hastings has been on the radar for years. He was the best halfback of his age group, things went horrifically but he got back on track at 26, even shifting Luke Brooks from halfback to five-eighth for a time (then Doueihi came back and to fit them all in the team, Hastings went to 13).

I actually had a different method of illustrating how clubs have gone about their starting #7 spot, which is probably why my original post was so scatter-brained. I have it saved as a doco, but it'll need some adjustments.
 
Mustafur

Mustafur

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Jun 13, 2019
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The point I was making is that halfbacks don't necessarily come into first grade as 7s. So players like Isaiya Katoa, Tom Dearden, Jayden Sullivan, Jonah Pezet etc. could easily find themselves in that 7 role. There are some five-eighths who are purely that, but then there's others who play more like halfbacks but have to accept a different role because of the make-up of the squad. You just have to look at players like Johnathan Thurston & Scott Prince as examples.

Similarly the point I was making about them establishing themselves as a starting half was more about patience and how long it takes before clubs are ready to give these players those type of opportunities. So players of the next generation like Thomas Weaver, Tom Duffy etc. who are coming through may not get their start this year. However everyone is aware of them so if they kill it on debut it's not like they're coming from nowhere.

As far as Hastings goes, he was a halfback coming through the grades who was clearly going to be in the starting halves come 2016. He spent the majority of 2015 as a bench utility and would instantly come into the halves if there was an injury - there was no risk the Roosters wanted to give him that opportunity. They gave it to him, he struggled and Manly signed him because Bozo was pulling a Gus and was signing any young prospect he could get his hands on. It was a horrible fit, he didn't get on at all with anyone at the club, and he found himself over at the ESL where he had to slowly rebuild his career.

Point being, Hastings has been on the radar for years. He was the best halfback of his age group, things went horrifically but he got back on track at 26, even shifting Luke Brooks from halfback to five-eighth for a time (then Doueihi came back and to fit them all in the team, Hastings went to 13).

I actually had a different method of illustrating how clubs have gone about their starting #7 spot, which is probably why my original post was so scatter-brained. I have it saved as a doco, but it'll need some adjustments.
I do wonder if or when the game can get the 2nd tier to professional status we will get more quality 7s as less players will leave the game in their 20s if they don't get a shot early.

The good 7s coming through probably see countless players like outside backs they play with go to 1st grade only for them to stay in the reserves because it's a much harder position to progress in.
 
Big Pete

Big Pete

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Starting Halfbacks Since 2013.

Brisbane Broncos: Adam Reynolds (2022-Now); Brodie Croft (2020-21); Kodi Nikorima (2018-19); Ben Hunt (2013-17); Peter Wallace (2008-2013)

Canberra Raiders: Jamal Fogarty (2022-Now); Sam Williams (2021); George Williams (2020-21); Aidan Sezer (2016-19); Sam Williams (2015); Mitch Cornish (2015); Josh McCrone (2014); Terry Campese (2014); Josh McCrone (2013); Sam Williams (2012-13)

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Kyle Flanagan (2021-Now); Lachlan Lewis (2019-20); Kieran Foran (2018); Moses Mbye (2016-17); Trent Hodkinson (2011-15)

Cronulla Sharks: Nicho Hynes (2022-Now); Shaun Johnson (2021); Chad Townsend (2016-21); Jeff Robson (2012-15)

The Dolphins: Sean O’Sullivan (2023-Now)

Gold Coast Titans: Tanah Boyd (2023-Now); Toby Sexton (2022); Jamal Fogarty (2020-21); Ash Taylor (2016-20); Kane Elgey (2015); Albert Kelly (2013-14)

Manly Sea Eagles: Daly Cherry-Evans (2011-Now)

Melbourne Storm: Jahrome Hughes (2019-Now); Brodie Croft (2018-19); Cooper Cronk (2006-17)

Newcastle Knights: Jackson Hastings (2023); Adam Clune (2022); Mitchell Pearce (2018-21); Trent Hodkinson (2016-17); Tyrone Roberts (2013-15)

North Queensland Cowboys: Chad Townsend (2022-Now); Tom Dearden (2021); Jake Clifford (2021); Michael Morgan (2019-21); Johnathan Thurston (2005-18)

Parramatta Eels: Mitchell Moses (2017-Now); Corey Norman (2017); Kieran Foran (2016); Chris Sandow (2012-15)

Penrith Panthers: Nathan Cleary (2016-Now); Jamie Soward (2016); Peter Wallace (2014-16); Luke Walsh (2009-13)

St George Illawarra Dragons: Ben Hunt (2018-Now); Josh McCrone (2017); Benji Marshall (2014-16); Sam Williams (2014); Michael Witt (2014); Nathan Fien (2013)

South Sydney Rabbitohs: Lachlan Ilias (2022-Now); Adam Reynolds (2012-21)

Sydney Roosters: Sam Walker (2021-Now); Kyle Flanagan (2020); Cooper Cronk (2018-19); Mitchell Pearce (2007-17)

Warriors: Shaun Johnson (2022-Now); Chad Townsend (2021); Sean O’Sullivan (2021); Chanel Harris Tavita (2020-21); Blake Green (2019-2020); Shaun Johnson (2011-18)

Wests Tigers: Luke Brooks (2014-Now); Curtis Sironen (2013); Braith Anasta (2013); Jacob Miller (2013)
 
Big Pete

Big Pete

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There were a couple of points I wanted to make with that list. Mainly, just to show how we got to this point. How some clubs have really struggled with the position, the challenges they've faced and how ultimately you get clubs like Brisbane or the Cowboys who had to sign a veteran because it didn't work out for them.

Also you can see players who were expected for bigger and better things but didn't kick on like CHT, Ash Taylor, Jake Clifford, Kane Elgey, Brodie Croft etc. A few of them could pull a Hastings and come good but a few of those careers are officially done.

Putting that list together unlocked so many memories. I remember St George's 2014 recruitment drive and being a huge fan of it with Gareth Widdop, Tyson Frizell, Leeson Ah Mau, Josh Dugan etc. all signing up. I really thought Sam Williams could be something there too, only for him to be dropped by Michael Witt who I thought had long since retired since he took an eternity to ground that ball in the 2008 final vs. Melbourne.

Another editor's note I wanted to make is that originally I tried to make it clean as possible. So originally I had it where if it didn't work out for the first choice halfback (eg. Jacob Miller) I didn't bother who ended up filling their spot. However by showing the struggle, it illustrates how clubs have poorly managed the position.
 
Big Pete

Big Pete

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I do wonder if or when the game can get the 2nd tier to professional status we will get more quality 7s as less players will leave the game in their 20s if they don't get a shot early.

The good 7s coming through probably see countless players like outside backs they play with go to 1st grade only for them to stay in the reserves because it's a much harder position to progress in.
I just don't trust clubs to do the right thing. The clubs had an opportunity to grow the game with the NYC and the majority of the clubs were self-serving. In fairness, a lot of them simply couldn't afford to hire the best coaches, the best players etc. so it was jobs for the boys and 'make it work'.

I'd expect the exact same to happen, where some clubs would take it seriously and try to put together quality reserve grade teams. Then I'd expect others to just sign a bunch of park footy players, finish dead last and hardly worry about it knowing they can just sign the gun prospects if they need to.
 

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