I have to say, I feel pretty sorry for Russell Crowe.
Imagine pouring all that time and money into your club, going out of your way to sign a young English player you feel will help your team, and then sitting down to watch them getting smacked by the Sydney Roosters.
What a shit way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
South Sydney looked on top early, and their big forwards really looked good. However two things started to happen as they game went on that had worried me going into this season.
First of all, the kicking options taken by Chris Sandow were poor. Sandow is a a live wire player, the type of player who will use his running game or short kicking game to break the defensive line and set something up from there.
That type of player is handy to have, but I get the feeling this Souths side needs more of an organizer at halfback right now.
With that big pack for forwards, a good strong running five-eight, and a few attacking weapons out wide and from fullback, I just feel like this need a field general to pick and chose when to use his team mates and bring them into the game.
Sandow will probably have that ability one day, but like ALL young halfbacks, he is still learning how to play the game, how to dictate the pace of the game to the opposition and how to time when to get involved himself.
Another problem I had with Souths, and it was shown to be a big problem already, for all their big blockbusting forwards, they don’t have enough endurance in their forward pack. They don’t have the guys every team needs that will play 80 minutes if needed and make 40 quality tackles.
The Roosters really moved Souths big pack around and started finding a hell of a lot of gaps in their defense as the game went on. I love the idea of going into a match with some many battle ships rolling off the line, but the fact is Souths needs some grafters too.
I was also disappointed with Issac Luke. He has done his apprenticeship, he is the New Zealand Test hooker, he needs to play a hell of a lot better for the Bunnies.
Then we get to the moment all Poms have been waiting for, wanting to know how Sam Burgess went…
He did OK, he showed a few signs that he can be a very handy player at NRL level, but he also showed he has a lot to learn.
I think he needs to get the idea out of his head that he can take on the opposition all by himself. All he can hope to do is his specific job well. The great players, they pick and chose when to make an impact, they don’t go all out every second of the match, and I think that is something Burgess has to learn.
I also got the feeling that by the end of the game, he was a bit surprised by how much the game was taking out of him.
He’ll get himself sorted out though, and as I said, he showed enough to suggest he can make a big impact on the NRL. As was said in the commentary, his footwork before the line is sensational, he has the ability to give quality offloads, if his team mates can step up he will be able to cause all sorts of problems for opposition teams.
As for the Roosters, what a perfect start. They had a great game play, they showed a bit of toughness and they managed to get all their playmakers working together about as well as you could hope.
Brian Smith…..don’t ever let anyone tell you he is a terrible coach!
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