When I mentioned in my last article on the site that Braith Anasta was my ‘dud of the week’ it got me thinking, it really did. It got me thinking that Braith Anasta has probably been the most overrated player in the game for a very long time. I have seen worse players than Anasta but those players don’t have as many representative appearances as him. They also didn’t have the kind of media profile that he has had. In all honesty he was one of the few players that I wanted to leave our game when union came calling.
As fans, we all have players that we love and hate. There are certainly a lot of players that split opinion in Rugby League. For example, the residents of the State of New South Wales seem to detest the existence of Mitchell Pearce, in stark contrast he is Queensland’s favourite player.
That is not a shot at Mitchell Pearce, it is more a suggestion to the New South Wales chiefs that it is probably time to give somebody else a go. Maybe somebody who doesn’t play for one of the sexy clubs.
Players who play for a sexy club like the Bulldogs or Roosters (who did Braith play for again?) will always get more attention than a bloke like Shaun Fensom, who is toiling away in Canberra. Sure there will be exceptions, Gallen at Cronulla, Thurston at North Queensland, but it is obvious that playing for the Roosters means it is more likely you will gain some kind of positive recognition whether that is in the media or in representative appearances (ever heard of James Maloney?).
Braith Anasta also got me thinking about the other overrated players in the game at the moment. I don’t think there are many obvious ones, but if you have a think about there a plenty of players who seem to get plenty of credit even when their performance has probably slipped under your own radar.
Here is my 1-13 of overrated players in the NRL. (Please understand that being overrated doesn’t mean that a player isn’t any good)
Fullback: Tim Moltzen
I’m not trying to kick a guy when he’s down, but I have never understood the hype surrounding Moltzen. Its obvious that he is a decent enough player when fit, but is he any better than Lachlan Coote or Michael Gordon or James Tedesco or Josh Hoffman or William Zillman? No. The tug-of-war for him between the Tigers and Dragons was just stupid. If anything I see him as a utility player who can cover the halves and fullback, more of a stopgap than an every week NRL player. Good luck to him on his latest injury set back.
Winger: James McManus
McManus is a good player, he’s okay. He won’t win you a game, but he won’t lose you a game either. He’s in the David Simmons category, he is safe and solid. Should he play Origin again? No.
Winger: Manu Vatuvei
Vatuvei is the complete opposite to McManus. He can score five tries and win you a game, but he can drop five bombs and lose you a game. Inconsistent.
Centre: Willie Tonga
Willie Tonga has never fulfilled his potential. At the Bulldogs he looked like a player that we would all remember for a very long time to come, it just hasn’t really materialised. He’s still had a pretty good career, but better than an injury-ravaged Justin Hodges or Brent Tate? Nope.
Centre: Bryson Goodwin
Goodwin is okay. He’s just limited. He’s a decent goal kicker, well he used to be. Did he deserve to go to the World Cup and start ahead of Krisnan Inu? Not in my opinion, he just doesn’t offer enough.
Five Eighth: Braith Anasta
Nothing personal Braith, you’re just not that good. I heard a commentator (I can’t remember who) that said Braith should be in the back row. Yeah, maybe the back row of the grandstand. Terry Campese would be the honourable mention.
Halfback: Daly Cherry-Evans
You might be shocked by this inclusion, but I think that Cherry-Evans has been a little bit over-hyped so far in his career. He’s good, he’s very good. But I don’t think his kicking game is good enough. His short attacking kicking game is okay, but if Manly need field position I don’t see him or Kieran Foran coming up with a well placed kick like you would see from Cooper Cronk or Johnathan Thurston or even Todd Carney or Adam Reynolds. It is probably the only weakness in his game, so maybe I’m being picky. Mitchell Pearce would have been the automatic pick for this spot, but you can’t be overrated if nobody rates you. You don’t hear many people raving about any halves these days.
Front Rower: Kade Snowden
I think he was over-hyped at the Sharks because they had no choice but to keep hitting it up the middle, they didn’t really have any attacking weapons. The same could probably be said of Luke Douglas’s time at the Sharks. Since earning a big-money move to Newcastle, the most memorable thing he has done is accidentally smash Ray Thompson’s jaw.
Front Rower: David Shillington
He was a great player a couple of years ago but has been living off that reputation for too long. I doubt he will play for Queensland or Australia again.
Hooker: Michael Ennis
Ennis spends too much time bullying referees to be taken seriously anymore. His best attribute is being able to wind up opposition players, but that doesn’t always end well for him (how many times have you seen somebody belt him?) I doubt he will be at the Bulldogs for much longer. Kurt Gidley honourable mention.
Back Rower: Adam Blair
Blair looked good at Melbourne, but Craig Bellamy has proved he can plug anybody in alongside Smith, Cronk and Slater and make it work. This resulted in his big-money move to the Tigers who gave up half of there squad to finance the deal. He has been poor and is now just eating up the salary cap
Back Rower: Ben Creagh
Creagh used to come up with the goods every week but you just don’t see it that often anymore. He’s similar to David Shillington in the way that he seems to stick around based on his reputation.
Lock Forward: Ashley Harrison
Used to be one of the standout performers each round but he is ageing and you see less and less from him every week. He won’t play Origin again after being dropped last year.