Blues 2019



  • Might as well start thinking about next year given 2018 is a right off.
    So leaving aside the coach and oranisational issues what changes are possible at a player level?
    There are a few guys who are confirmed as leaving and others that should probably not be given the option to stay.

    Where are the problem areas? Who isn't locked in by other teams that could be poached? Are there guys coming up or not yet selected that could provide solutions?

    Kaino and Moala are leaving. Is Pat T confirmed too?

    Problem areas for 2019 that i can think of off the top of my head.

    Leadership:
    This seems to be seriously lacking this year. Guys like Parsons, Kaino, Pulu, SBW, Tupou and Pat T haven't been able to lift the team or build a winning culture. Are there any guys within NZ that could be poached to help in this area? Would someone like Ash Dixon be a good target? Is he signed long term to the Highlanders? He could help with the next issue too. Who else is there?

    Hooker: Since Mealamu started winding down his career Hooker has been an issue. Parsons is probably only a squadie at best. Apisai seems to have been a flop. Is Moulds a realistic option long term? Should the Blues look to poach someone here? Dixon/Coltman? Ricitelli? Funnel? There seems to be a bit of depth in NZ rugby here, just not at the Blues and possibly all locked into contracts.

    Other than those specific areas the building blocks of a decent team should still be there with maybe a few holes to fill.

    Props and Locks seem to be decent quality at least for the top 23. Some extra depth might be good though. Can they grab one of the chiefs guys who have done well this year but might find themselves 5th or 6th choice next year when the top guys come back?

    Back row they are going to be without Kaino but have some high quality young guys in Akira, Papalii and Gibson. Again depth might be an issue.

    The halves on paper should be decent quality.
    Pulu and Ruru should be back but Nock might not be worth it.
    Black should be back and Perofeta and Gatland should be better for the experience.

    Midfield still needs sorting. Is Rieko a wing or midfielder should be the first question moving him around is going to fuck his form. SBW should be at 12 if he can stay fit. Is TJF up to it? Is Little from the Sunwolves worth chasing or is he gone for good?
    Would Collins be better off in the midfield?

    The back 3 is in a similar state. Is Collins really a 15?
    Is Rieko going to be at 11? Duffie will hopefully find some form and Nanai will hopefully be fit. Clarke is also waiting to come in.

    So lots of questions. A lot will depend on the new or newly extended coach.



  • @pukunui I hear you regarding the player issue but a great coaching team ban make good with average plays and turn them into good players.

    Blues coaching staff seem to be the only staff that can't do this OR they have been so unlucky that everyone is so poke that they would never end up any good.



  • One thing I have heard about the Redman part of the Administration is that for home games they budgeted for "20,000" spectators. Dumb administration to budget for numbers like that. He has been told to drop the budgeted numbers but won't listen.

    If you ever hear expected crowd numbers or crowd attendance, always take a few thousand off that to get the real number. The guy at the Warriors/Mt Smart always jacks up the numbers.



  • The other interesting factor it seeing the young crop of Auckland talent that is coming through - a lot of who were part of the dominant Auckland U19s who won the national title last year, were involved in the Blues preseason this year, are in the NZU20 setup/frame and should get serious Mitre 10 Cup gametime later in 2018.

    I'm talking about the following players (and there's probably a couple more I have missed)

    Ezekiel Lindenmuth (prop), Riedlinger-Kapa (lock), Sotutu (6/8), Havili (loosie) Plummer (10/12) Tele'a (midfielder)



  • @hooroo said in Blues 2019:

    @pukunui I hear you regarding the player issue but a great coaching team ban make good with average plays and turn them into good players.

    Blues coaching staff seem to be the only staff that can't do this OR they have been so unlucky that everyone is so poke that they would never end up any good.

    Yeah i totally agree that there are massive issues apart from the players in the squad. However one of the biggest criticisms of Tana in particular is that his recruitment and selections have been poor.
    That can only be fixed by doing some good recruitment and selection.

    Another commonly made point is that a new coach would have a cleanout of deadwood or trouble makers. These players might be harder to spot from outside the organisation but their potential replacements should be a bit easier to identify.

    At the very least it might put to bed the notion that there is an untapped source of player out there the Blues are missing out on.



  • A few answers:

    @pukunui said in Blues 2019:

    Kaino and Moala are leaving. Is Pat T confirmed too?

    I'm quite sure, it's just a rumour at this stage.

    Leadership:
    This seems to be seriously lacking this year. Guys like Parsons, Kaino, Pulu, SBW, Tupou and Pat T haven't been able to lift the team or build a winning culture. Are there any guys within NZ that could be poached to help in this area? Would someone like Ash Dixon be a good target? Is he signed long term to the Highlanders? He could help with the next issue too. Who else is there?

    Ash Dixon is signed to the Highlanders until the end of the 2019 SR season.

    Hooker: Since Mealamu started winding down his career Hooker has been an issue. Parsons is probably only a squadie at best. Apisai seems to have been a flop. Is Moulds a realistic option long term? Should the Blues look to poach someone here? Dixon/Coltman? Ricitelli? Funnel? There seems to be a bit of depth in NZ rugby here, just not at the Blues and possibly all locked into contracts.

    Dixon signed until 2019
    Coltman signed until 2019
    Riccitelli signed until 2021
    Funnell signed until 2019
    Andrew Makalio's contract might expire this year (not sure)



  • So where's this Pat Tuipulotu rumours coming from? I though he was signed through to the end of next year? Would be strange if he did leave but unsuprising at the same time.



  • @pukunui MOulds hasnt reached the standard I expect he should with his size and skills, but by the same token, Parsons seems undroppable and often Moulds (and whoever else sat on the bench) did just that, sit on the bench.



  • @taniwharugby said in Blues 2019:

    @pukunui MOulds hasnt reached the standard I expect he should with his size and skills, but by the same token, Parsons seems undroppable and often Moulds (and whoever else sat on the bench) did just that, sit on the bench.

    I don't think the development of Moulds has been that great. He is/was a converted flanker and probably needed more live game time for experience. A diet of 10 minute cameos is not going to do much.



  • @crucial yeah I think in his 2nd season, I think he sat on the bench 3 games in a row and got a total of about 10 minutes.
    Granted his lineout throwing has had its issues, but he isnt gonna do much form the bench.



  • If Tuipulotu is heading offshore,one player I would be chasing is Mitchell Dunshea ,former NZ under 20 lock in 2015,he is currently in the Crusaders squad,but gets very little game time because Whitelock ,Romano,Barrett and Quinn’s Strange are all ahead in the pecking order.

    Dunshea is a machine,has a huge workrate and a massive engine,was outstanding for Canterbury in the 2015 ITM Cup ,in fact probably their best player during that season,sat out all 2016 & 2017 with a serious foot injury,stands at 6,5 and has good bulk,plays for Lincoln University

    Not overly experienced,but one that could develop into a permanent fixture.
    I do believe the Blues are well versed with some good young locks in Scott Scrafton,Gerad Tuioti Mariner and Josh Goodhue,and if Tuipulotu is part of the plan,it would still be great to have another quality lock in the stable..Not entirely convinced about Ben NeeNee..

    ,



  • @stargazer said in Blues 2019:

    A few answers:

    @pukunui said in Blues 2019:

    Kaino and Moala are leaving. Is Pat T confirmed too?

    I'm quite sure, it's just a rumour at this stage.

    Leadership:
    This seems to be seriously lacking this year. Guys like Parsons, Kaino, Pulu, SBW, Tupou and Pat T haven't been able to lift the team or build a winning culture. Are there any guys within NZ that could be poached to help in this area? Would someone like Ash Dixon be a good target? Is he signed long term to the Highlanders? He could help with the next issue too. Who else is there?

    Ash Dixon is signed to the Highlanders until the end of the 2019 SR season.

    Hooker: Since Mealamu started winding down his career Hooker has been an issue. Parsons is probably only a squadie at best. Apisai seems to have been a flop. Is Moulds a realistic option long term? Should the Blues look to poach someone here? Dixon/Coltman? Ricitelli? Funnel? There seems to be a bit of depth in NZ rugby here, just not at the Blues and possibly all locked into contracts.

    Dixon signed until 2019
    Coltman signed until 2019
    Riccitelli signed until 2021
    Funnell signed until 2019
    Andrew Makalio's contract might expire this year (not sure)

    Good to know the Pat T thing could just be a rumour. I don't think he has reached his potential after some bad injuries and the drug test mess.

    Looks like the decent non ABs hookers are all locked in. They need to do something here. Parsons peaked last year and that peak was only just good enough to be Super rugby standard.



  • At hooker they could do worse than give Kurt Eklund a go - he was probably Auckland's most improved player last year. Definitely has shown more than Leni Apisigh.



  • @steven-harris To be fair to Nee Nee he's only there due to injuries. He's barely mitre 10 cup standard and only ever got a run there due to injuries as well.



  • My feeling is they need to try the house down to get some rugged, experienced guys who could create a backbone and gel nicely with their stars.

    A loose trio of Whitelock, Ioane and Papalii springs to mind as a good start. Maybe a Proctor type for the midfield. That kind of thing...



  • @african-monkey fair call,it was probably more around the point,if we have injuries,it’s best to have quality cover,glad to be proved wrong on NeeNee.



  • A guy like Wes Goosen might be worth targetting too. He has shown he is uo to it but is stuck in a long line of players at the Canes.



  • @steven-harris Pretty sure Dunshea played No. 8 for the Barbarians vs the Lions and made a good fist of it. I'd have liked to have seen him get time either there or at blindside flanker for the Crusaders. He would be an excellent pick-up, but I hope we can keep him - despite being an injury magnet. He's still only 22.

    One of Jack Stratton or Ere Enari is likely to be available. Similarly Billy Harmon or Jed Brown. Bidwell-Curtis or Ethan Blackadder. All useful if they're required.



  • Posted on fb by an ex ferner.
    https://thaicastle.co/2018/04/30/justin-marshall-named-as-blues-head-coach/

    “I’m going to put the BOOMFA back in Blues! Oh me oh my you are gonna enjoy this yes boy!”



  • It depresses me that every season I have to start looking at optimistic options for next season, before the cricket finishes.

    Also, we're stuffed unless we get

    • a good coach
    • a good board
    • a good 8/9/10 axis

    😞