2017 Bay of Plenty Steamers Squad: Hookers: Nathan Harris – Te Puke Sports (26), Liam Polwart (6) – Greerton Marist, James O'Reilly – Te Puke Sports (9), Sabastian Siataga – Mount Maunganui (9)
Props: Siegfried Fisi'ihoi – Rotoiti (28), James Lay* – Whakarewarewa, Jordan Lay* – Whakarewarewa, Aidan Ross – Te Puke Sports (14), Solomona Sakalia – Mount Maunganui (28), Jeff Thwaites – Te Puna (11)
Locks: Troy Callander – Greerton Marist (12), Tom Franklin* – Opotiki, Keepa Mewett – Tauranga Sports (24), Culum Retallick – Tauranga Sports (103)
Loose Forwards: Tyler Ardron* - Papamoa, Hugh Blake* – Te Puke Sports (8), Sam Cane – Tauranga Sports (19), Mitchell Karpik* – Rangataua, Ajay Lafaele-Mua* - Tauranga Sports, Jesse Parete – Rangataua (10), Henry Stowers – Arataki (10)
Half backs: Luke Campbell – Te Puke Sports (4), Richard Judd* – Mount Maunganui Sports
First five-eights: Mike Delany – Mount Maunganui Sports (61), Kelly Haimona – Whakarewarewa (25)
Midfield backs: Lalakai Foketi – Rangataua (18), Terrence Hepetema – Te Puna (7), Liam Steel* – Mount Maunganui Sports
Outside backs: Monty Ioane – Greerton Marist (11), Elijah Nicholas – Te Puna (7), Bailey Simonsson* – Greerton Marist, Chase Tiatia – Rangataua (14), Isaac Te Aute – Mount Maunganui (11) Lars Morrice – Te Puke Sports not considered due to injury.
Beat me to it Snolly! Great Bob Dylan puns to be had listing the Bay front row if the Lays ever prop together.
Seems to be a lack of numbers in the backs where nearly all of them will be on the field or the bench, given our recent injury record I expect to see a lot of other names appear.
Looks a decent pack with Franklin/Retallick/Mewett in the 2nd row, plenty of front row options and Karpik/Blake to rotate the 7 jersey. At least the old rules will suit Blake a bit more than last year, he never seemed to lack energy. Not sure who will take over 8 from Tupe though.
2 international first fives, not many provinces can say that.
Wow, I expected to see a flurry of comments about selections but alas...no. Once again I almost feel guilty for hogging this forum space but in the absence of anybody else, here is my two cents worth.
I’m pretty happy with the forwards actually with a very settled look about them. They performed well last year and I see no reason why that shouldn’t continue this year. Tupe will be missed of course but Ardron looked quite capable playing at No. 8 against Taranaki last weekend and I assume Mua will be his apprentice. Mua is quite young and may lack a little in height but should make up for it in aggression and work rate. I’m pleased he was selected. Blake, a fit Karpik and the other regulars mean our loosies look exciting. The tight forwards are almost the same as last year. The fact that Wardlaw and Le'aupepe never made it means theres plenty of depth at lock and plenty of resources available should the “old fellas” break down.
The backs worry me however. Theres no one there to strike fear into the hearts of many oppositions....no x factor...no game breaker. We were lacking horribly on attack last year and don’t really see that they will have remedied that this year. Haimona must count himself very lucky in my opinion given Hollinshead was booted out. Kelly is a “steady” player but has deficiencies in certain areas. As a simple example he had a 0% success record on missing two kickable conversions against Taranaki last Saturday which would have won us that game. That happened far to often last year costing us games. Tactical kicking and decision making are other areas which hopefully Delany will remedy. Interestingly, Trask isn’t even first cab off the rank to cover for injuries. I have seen Steal (who played against us for Auckland last year) play a couple of times and he seems fast albeit a bit smallish but certainly no game breaker. The big surprise is Bailey Simonsson who I had never heard of but I recall seeing him play against Taranaki on the weekend. A quick Google search showed he was playing league in Australia as late as this year but was released to come here. His father was an All Black apparently. Here are a couple of links from his schoolboy days which may be of interest:-
Obviously they see something in him so that will be interesting. I’m surprised Robertson-Wepu wasn’t included somewhere. What is good about this years squad is the apparent lack of injuries at this stage which is in stark contrast to last year.
Anyway, as usual I am excited about this year. I see the TAB rates us third to last behind Wellington, Otago, Shield Snorters and Manawatu so Once again, I would love for them to be proved wrong.
As a side note I see a couple of familiar names in other teams... Joe Royal for Counties and Leroy van Dam for Otago.
@Snollygoster Apologies if it's already been mentioned on here, but from last years team I don't see Shahn Eru or Té Aihe Toma there, have they headed offshore again ?
Am assuming that Regan Ware and Teddy Stanway are concentrating on 7s...
I believe both Te Aihe Toma and Shahn Eru are offshore - not sure where however. Also, Bond (Lock) is named for Northland.
Not sure how to judge this squad to be honest. Workmanlike tight five again, but it gets interesting after that. We are certainly going to miss Tupe, I don't see any ready made replacement there. Busy loosies, but not a lot of punch.
Five eighth is a worry again. Great to see Delaney back and he looks as fit as a fiddle. But if falls down, let's hope Haimona is ready to fill in. I'd like to see more of Hepetama in the mid field but he seems to be injured a lot. Maybe Tiatia will have a season like 2015?
I guess the uncertainty is exciting however and I'll be behind the boys this season. McMillan is a good coach and going places. Not sure how many more seasons we will get with him before he gets a gig somewhere else.
Any word on the line up for tomorrow's game in Hamilton? No damn information in the news, BOP website has just released the names of the whole squad... Makes it difficult to follow.
Anyone watching the game, a summary would be much appreciated. Of particular interest to me - loose forwards, Delany's control over proceedings and any x-factor players. Still only pre-season of course, but I would expect the first XV would be similar to our initial line up against Northland.
Bay of Plenty Steamers:
Isaac Te Aute
Not considered due to injury:
Unavailable for selection:
Yes, 31 - 21 to Waikato. Some thoughts:-
Closely contested but The winning team deserved it in the end.
A step up from last week as it should be with the three quarters of the starting team replaced. Many of the extended training squad were used towards the end. I'm guessing they will be used throughout the season after injuries
Two of their trys came from long passes to unmarked players on the sideline and two from poor tackling of large players in the backline.
Delany will make a diference but he won't be our saviour . Straight away you can tell how he manages things better and his kicking (both in play and at goal) is streets better than our other tens. He kicked both his conversions (one from the sideline).Haimona never played and young Reece MacDonald and even Tiatia took sometime at first five
The backline never really delivered again however with few linebreaks. The coaches will have to sort this out as lack of attacking firepower was our archilles heal last year
Tiatia looked to be in some form however with a couple of typical sything runs which is encouraging.
The forwards generally got a pass mark getting parity in the set piece and muscling up well.
Ardron is no Tupe (no one is) but, combined with Stowers makes a fairly stable partnership
Blake and Karpik were the open and blindside flankers. I wonder if this is the way they will play come competition time?
Elijah Nicholas had a forgettable game gifting them a try from a dropped ball and missing a try from a dropped ball...not to mention being yellow carded towards the end of the game.
So, two losses from two preseason games which must rank as our worst preseason in a while but the real results count in the competition so I'm not to worried. Its clear there is a lot to work on but plenty of positives also and as Gagaboy said, "I guess the uncertainty is exciting"
Thanks for the reply Snollygoster. I am not too cut up about the 2 preseason losses. Next weekend we'll know how we stack up. Shame the backline hasn't fired but happy that Delaney is providing game management. Roll on to Northland... they have a great squad this year and someone needs to pop the bubble. May as well be us.