semi final v Waikato

  • @j77 couldn’t agree more about being clinical and ruthless. We let teams in with mistakes (a lot of individual ones yesterday - nerves ?) not kicking for territory (which we did a lot better yesterday), and generally with a bit of inexperience / decision making on defence. A classic couple of examples were Debreczeni coming in on d early in the second half, taking no one and leaving our line splintered; and when we were down to 14 players and on our line, we had to come in, take the man running and leave the space on the outside but we didn’t make that choice. Also, we need to be better at our restarts - the ball should be higher, into the 22, and close to touch line with a great chase. They have just scored and we want to put pressure on them. Overall better game management by players on the field has to be at the top of the list for next year.

    A key area for me with development and recruitment is props and locks. There is no substitute for size and power. The drop between our first choice lineup and others ends up being too large. We end up with good flankers at lock and that means we struggle at scrum time and lineout. It was a clear difference yesterday where our scrum fell apart at the end, and a key factor in the falloff of performance at the end of the season. A solid set piece is the foundation for so much in rugby and has always been at the heart of of Canterbury and Crusaders rugby. Any of those SA giants like fishing?

    On Matty Wright, I love the guy. Yesterday was his best game of the season. Running off guys in to space. This season for him has definitely been up and down with too many rocks along the way but his experience is invaluable and he still has a bit of speed. He worked really hard on defence yesterday. I was impressed and for me he still has it. I didnt feel like that mid season.

    From a couple of years ago the change in this squad has been huge. Lot of that has stemmed from better club rugby with any outside recruits playing their club rugby up north. We were unlucky with season ending injuries to Macalai, Verney before we started and with Jack heading off to the ABs 😀 ( Good to see him and Cam - our next Coach ? - at the game yesterday). With so many young talented Northland players now with another year under their belt we should be better next year. Still waiting for that break through season but think we have a good bunch of guys, so always a passionate Taniwha supporter and proud Northland.

    NB: hope some keys guys for us pick up S15 contracts. Top of the list are Matich and Ross Wright.

  • @j77 can't argue mate... imagine how passionate we'd all be if they lifted a couple more notches and we were ranked around 6th in the country... right now 11th would be about right (ie 4th best in the championship, although we are up there with HB and Otago on our day). Number one for me would be shoring up that defence which, for periods as we've all seen, has been diabolical. Then I'd agree speed on one wing and that fullback spot are high on the list. Having said that, Matty Wright had a top game yesterday, Steve mentioned a couple of weeks back Alaimalo may possibly be looking at returning... geez that would be great... any more word on this I wonder?

  • @kev you're right there of course kev. If you don't have a solid, quality forward pack you are like Fiji (god bless them) all the flair and excitement in the world but you don't win too many games v quality opponents.We certainly have a coach who knows how important this is...
    Also, I think it goes without saying we missed Jack Goodhue's rock solid D in the midfield to tie in with Ranger's superb turnover and maul creating abilities... have been mighty impressed with Debreczeni and Gregory (my Dad made the call yesterday he will be an All Black... he tends to turn out getting these calls right in the end)

  • @fidz71 a contract has been put in front of Alaimalo,its with his agent at this time,he also owns a house in Hamilton and has younger brother who is part of the Waikato system so I would imagine he has other options and he is signed with chiefs for another 2 x years.

    Might be a few weeks before we know the outcome.
    A good piece of news handed to me this morning however is that Tom Robinson has been signed by the Blues which is great reward for a guy who had some really bad luck with injuries.

    I would imagine there will be some announcements over the next few weeks..will keep you all posted if I hear anything.

    Just thought I would throw something out there,I really do feel we need look at signing a 2nd five, the word I heard around Regan Verney was very positive even though he was injured throughout the season his off field contribution was outstanding.

  • @fidz71 yep Gregory impressed me with his general physicality and speed.

  • SO I have only watched the final 10 or so minutes, but was lucky enough to listen to @Steven-Harris unbias (I mean that, some of the other comms I have heard are so one eyed it is a joke) commentary from about 5 mins.

    MY take on the game is it again came down to some little errors; letting the ball bounce, dropping it cold, slipping off tackles to take a bit of pressure off them.

    Then there was the YC, Nock is one of our defensive leaders (well if not, should be) so when he went, the other leaders needed to step up and take the rest of the team in and let them know what was expected.

    I like MOulds style of play, but not convinced he should be captain, similarly with Olsen, like the way he plays, and is probably a bit more vocal with refs, but again, he has been leading us at times this year when we have been bleeding and we simply havent had anyone who has stood up and demanded better.

    Up until the HB game, we had by far the best defence in the Championshiip, 2nd only in the entire comp to Auckland, fast forward a few games, and we had one of the worst, why? what changed?

    I agree with all that has been said about supporting this team, I've been there through the dark days, in sideways rain with about 1500 other people on a Thursday night when your team hasnt won all season, but I love this team and will keep turning up, no matter what.

    But gee it would be nice to have a little success to bask the past 5 or 6 years we have made the semis 3 times, awesome, stoked as hell about that, but where is the next step, make the final, maybe win the Shield!

    SInce 2010 the Shield has been held by Southland, Canterbury,Taranaki, Waikato, Otago, HB, Counties, HB, Waikato, Canterbury, Taranaki, Waikato, Otago

    7 teams, 4 of whom we can genuinely compare ourselves with these days IMO: Southland, Otago, HB & Counties

    MY point is, these teams, HB, Southland, Otago, Counties, BOP and Manawatu, all seem to have had better, longer moments in the sun than us in the past 10-20 years, whereas we seem to have a few games of awesome, then go to shit, then battle on, without ever taking that next step.

    Again, yes we have made the semis back to back, but in both cases we pretty much limped to the semi finals, and in both semi finals we were soundly beaten.

    Without wanting to sound to down about it all, I agree with comments above, we have the core of a very good team, one that on thier day, could mix it with the top teams!

    Build a team around Josh Goodhue, Tom Robinson, Matt Matich, Sam Nock, Scott Gregory and then have some of the older guys like Moulds or Olsen, Wright, Rinakama, Douglas (a guy like him is a MUST Have in any team) Hyland, Ranger (if he is keen, HE MUST PLAY for us, rocks and diamonds, but he is a player people want to watch and you know he LOVES playing for Northland)

    Need a a good 7, maybe Stokes can reinvent himself, has the game to compliment it if he wants to make the adjustments, not to mention has that little bit of mongrel about him.

    While it'd be great to get Alaimalo back, I cant see it, also cant see Macilai making it back to the level we know and expect, he seems to have been broken for a while now.

    So agree with comments above, we need a speedster, we have made a few breaks this year that have made it to the wings hands, but lack of decent pace has seen us not score where an extra yard of pace would have, maybe Roberts-Te Nana is the man there?

    Think a couple of our leaders need a bit more of an edge to thier game, a bit of mongrel, get in the face of the opposition, piss them off, without being too dumb about it as well, cos gee, we have done some dumb stuff this year and boy did it cost us.

    I have always said that NOrthland fans will come out and support thier team if they have a reason to (losing week in week out isnt enough for many fans) our crowds the last 2 years have been good, and culminated in that great turnout v Waikato a few weeks ago which was probably one of the better crowds for all teams this year and proved that people will come out and watch; now imagine if we had managed to beat HB and maybe BOP or not failed so miserably v Waikato and we were hosting a semi final yesterday, I reckon easy >10,000 woulda turned up.

    Anywhoo, rant over, havent said what I intended to say, but am sure I will at some point.

  • @taniwharugby possibly your best piece,gonna try and convince my boss at RS to see if we can use a sideline guy..!,
    Really enjoyed working with Steve Gordon & Paul Martin yesterday,kept them honest I hope..,!

  • @taniwharugby Captaincy is interesting, and some of the best get criticised. It’s a tough gig, especially if your team is not going well for whatever reason. I noticed Moulds talking to ref yesterday and think he has led from the front in many games. The same with Olsen who next to Robinson I think had been the biggest improver this year. He seems like he bleeds Cambridge Blue and a natural leader. So when things don’t happen on the field is it the game plan, the captain, the leadership group (who are ours?) your pivots, or execution by individuals? I bit of everything probably.

  • @kev oh yeah, game plan was another thing.

    Were plenty of situations when playing territory was an option, epsecially with Drebeczenis boot, yet we chose to run it, sure a few times it came off and looked spectacular (although many times were when we were behind the 8 ball chasing the game) but a number of times when we werent chasing the game we ran it and it back fired...yes you can go back to that is the way we roll, but it isnt the way we HAVE to roll all the time.

    Someone above alluded to our game management, bang on.

    We are almost too predictable in that respect, and our inability to bring Hyland (in particular) into the game more, were a number of games when Ranger was on fire going forward, Hyland looked great in his limited touches, so why not for example, when we have a mid field scrum did we not put Ranger and HYland on one side and force the opposition to load one side heavily or leave Hyland and Ranger with one on ones - obviously dont have to use them in that situation all the time either.

    @kev they are both lead from the front players, but my point is, when we were down and bleeding points, and my god we have hemorrhaged a shit load in short spaces in a number of games now, where were the leaders (not just captain) then, pulling everyone together, getting them to refocus and reset everything, trust in themselves and thier structures, which we know are there.

    You need only look at that final 40 v Counties at the end of storm week and the sheer desperation and fight until the final whistle, we know its there, so why was it there then, but where was it v HB, BOP & Waikato?

    It's just frustrating to watch a team with so much potential not get to it time and time again...but hey, this is the cross we bear as a Taniwha supporter!

  • Bring back North Auckland 😎

    Taniwha had an excellent season. Plenty of talent and more upside than the last few seasons. The consistency will come if the core of the team remains and a few more guys can get super rugby exposure. But the foundation is there. From a PR perspective, they play a decent style which will attract the casual viewer to join you diehards on here.

  • @taniwharugby I know what you are saying. We can’t keep the pressure on or at least take it off ourselves. We run the ball out into contact and knock it on, we completely miss a lineout, our scrum is under pressure, our clearing kick is 15 metres into touch not 50 metres down the field, we score points then knock the ball on, we kick for the lineout after a penalty and lose the throw, we throw an intercept pass...just to much of this too often. Yet we are talented enough and physical enough. Just think it is a combination things on and off the field.

  • @taniwharugby yes it is our cross to bear.

  • @steven-harris said in semi final v Waikato:

    Just thought I would throw something out there,I really do feel we need look at signing a 2nd five, the word I heard around Regan Verney was very positive even though he was injured throughout the season his off field contribution was outstanding.

    Auckland have Faiane, Manu, Aso, Clarke and Telea as midfield options next year. Maybe ask for a loan from Auckland? Although as a fan, I'm not keen on that, but that could be an avenue for you guys.

    I don't think Wellington loan guys out much, but the Umaga-Jensen brothers can't even make the Wellington game day team and they're far too talented to be sitting out games at this level.

  • its experience we are lacking, Tua & Gregory are very talented youngsters whose futures lie in the mid-field, but have seen a number of times with both this season where thier inexperience has shown through.

    Having Ranger there will help, but at this point, no garantee he will be back next year, so re-signing Verney would seem quite important, or maybe time to move Hyland back to the mid-field and find a winger?

  • @taniwharugby said in semi final v Waikato:

    or maybe time to move Hyland back to the mid-field and find a winger?

    That makes more sense IMO.

    Promote Roberts-Te Nana or recruit someone like Ravouvou

  • @duluth yeah I think finding a good enough winger would be probably easier than a quality centre.

  • @duluth I think Ravouvou would be a good pick up.
    I believe the Taniwha should move on from Macilai, he’s either come back to Northland out of condition or broken..
    If they picked Ravouvou and Alaimalo and re signed Verney i would be quite comfortable with those backline signings.
    That would still leave you with Hyland and Roberts TeNana.

    In the forwards, Kara Pryor I suspect will not be around next year,so the options are Kane Jacobson and a re invented Aorangi Stokes..
    I have been told about a kid by the name of Matt Jensen who plays for Waipu whom was in the Northland under 19s last year who the whispers I have heard from a few people could be someone who could possibly play in the 7 jersey for Northland moving forward.

    Other possible option,is maybe approaching Adrian Choat who is the number 2 or 3 number 7 for Auckland
    Former NZ Under 20s last year,plays for my club Waitemata
    Was talking to Adrian before the Mitre 10 Cup season,if he did not get a contract,was gonna head off to Manawatu,glad he did’nt..
    On saying that he’s taken his opportunity for Auckland in recent times,so would not surprise me if Auckland has an extended deal
    on the table..

    To be honest other than Murray Douglas and Matt Matich as key re signings as a must..I really don’t know if i would be looking at any other positions apart from maybe some pressure that may go on a
    couple of the props .maybe Alex Gale the English born tight head who plays for Kamo,if he can drop 12-15Kgs i believe he will put some real pressure on the current tightheads.
    Big unit who can scrum the house down and is a very intelligent rugby player..just got to drop those Kgs.

  • @steven-harris yeah Douglas (who I think it was @Northlandallday had said was re-signed for next season) and Matich are important players, guys with high workrates and accuracy.

    The last few games I dont think Matich was 100%, nor Robinson to be honest, but with a limited window, they are gonna be keen as to get back into action (although I guess plenty of players these days are never 100%)

  • @dice I know one thing Derrin Whitcombe is big on,is having guys play in the union from day dot,he also carries a high performance squad and the expectation is that you stay part of that training squad throughout the probably was the only reason Wiseguy Faiane missed the cut.,on saying that there’s some good
    players that you mentioned who are either gonna be playing Dev rugby or looking elsewhere.

  • @steven-harris I think that is exactly the approach. No problems with players who commit but loan players at last minute just annoy the crap out of everyone. Agree with comments about players below. Competition for spots improves performance. If we can retain players, then I think we are one lock and one prop short so along with a winger with wheels, they would be top of my list.

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