Blues 2019

  • Scotty Stevenson reckons that Doug Howlett will have a role with the Blues organisation.

  • @Tim said in Blues 2019:

    Scotty Stevenson reckons that Doug Howlett will have a role with the Blues organisation.

    Did he give any hints about what role? A job in the backroom? Or maybe replacing Halangahu?

  • @Duluth Sounded like backroom.

  • It's that time again, the season review.

    The forwards can be done quickly enough, they were pretty good this year, but lacked a bit of polish and effective leadership.

    Loosehead props are quality, so long as Karl T keeps his fitness up. Lindenmuth was impressive on his debut. Hooker is the obvious gap here. Lets hope that Taukei'aho and Abel are on their way. Mike Sosene-Feagai was solid for Auckland, but that's not enough. At tighthead more depth is needed. Mafileo is a bit limited and inconsistent, and Renata is inexperienced - really hoping he steps up a notch in the NPC. Marco Fepulea'i showed a lot of promise in last year's NPC. Really looking forward to watching him in this year's.

    Locks are pretty solid, but we lack impact without Tuipulotu starting. Scrafton, coming back from a very serious injury, didn't have quite his usual impact, but was still good. Will be missed. Goodhue lacks "mongrel" but plays quite well in patches. GCT is a decent squad member but nothing special. Pierce didn't make it on to the field. So, we want a high workrate, mobile, technically skilled player to complement Tuipulotu (i.e. a Whitelock type), and a power lock to back him up. Whetton and Pari Pari Parkinson are both unsigned for next season, IIRC. Is Olmstead available? We really should've booted the perma-injured and mediocre Tupou for him. Some more leadership in this position would be great.

    Loose forwards were good too, though we do lack a bit of pressure over the ball. Gibson in his come-back season didn't produce enough turnovers, though was solid. Sotutu looks like a good back-up 8. Papalii is shaping up to be a gun at six, and Robinson is handy. Havili and Choat will be interesting to watch in the NPC. Hunt may want to move too, but do we want him? Has looked a bit small in the most recent NPC and Super Rugby seasons. Good for turnovers off the bench? Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa seems like the real deal.

    The backs require a lot more changes, and they were generally pretty poor this year, whether it was failing to exit their 22, putting pressure on the 1st 5 and midfield with slow ball, defensive lapses, or failing to be either accurate on attack or able to recognise the opportunities that were in front of them.

    It all starts at 9. Poor box-kicking, poor options, slow passes (often for intercepts from the ruck!). Consistently making it hard on the team, failing to exert pressure, and tiring the forwards out with big defensive shifts. Pulu is gone, and Ruru, despite having his moments, is not at Super Rugby quality in his core skills. Sam Nock stopped being afraid of the ball (he has been really dreadful for several years), and showed his skills for a short period of time before getting injured. Bryn Hall, Jonathan Taumateine, and Jamie Booth might be available. Personally, I think that Leon Fukofuka has much better skills than Ruru. Lewis Gjaltema was the top-dog in the B's. Taufa Funaki is the U20's player coming through.

    The 10s are OK, but are playing outside of poor halfbacks. Black has a journeyman ceiling IMO, and the other two are both inexperienced. Plummer does a lot of things well, but has developed a serious goal-kicking problem, and lacks a bit of polish. Outside a good halfback, and with a year of development, he could be a really good player at this level. Perofeta might be better spending a season learning the game at 15.

    Midfield - well, they did OK without a centre. Faiane should be playing 12, with a genuine 13 in place. Nonu and SBW will be gone, so who will be the recruits? Tele'a looks promising, and is a worthy squad member, but I'd want a more polished player there next year. Definitely want Manu back - he will be a lot better for one season's experience.

    Back Three. Well, Duffy looks past it. Clarke improved his skills and awareness, now he needs to back himself more. Tele'a was handy but raw. We missed a trick on Rayasi. Scott Gregory to cover wing and midfield? If Trainor doesn't step up, I really don't know who we will recruit for fullback. Etene Nanai-Seturo is unsigned, but I'm not sure about his quality. Maybe Jordie Barrett? 😉

    Overall, if we don't fill the holes, especially at halfback, it will be difficult to be anything more than quarter-finalists. The coach must back his squad and adequately rotate players and use replacements too. Fresher players will be less likely to go through flat patches where the team loses its pattern, and less likely to make ball-handling errors. I hope some patron is breaking out the cheque book ...

  • @Tim so in short, same old -same old. You don't have the cattle and will struggle to get them.
    You are missing decent leaders across the park. Guys that the squad look up to and follow instead of ignoring. Look at the value Cane brought back to the field in the Chiefs. When he spoke or did, they followed and did so with confidence that if he believed the gameplan it was worth sticking to.

    The Blues are worse than coach killers, they are a team dedicated in the pursuit of wrecking coaching careers and have been for a long time. That's the bit of the culture that needs rooting out.

  • @Crucial It's probably the best forward pack we've had in years, but without a competent halfback or real backline structure ...

  • BTW, forward of the season was Tuipulotu, back of the season was Nanai. Best player first half of the season was Akira Ioane. Manage his workload!

  • Probably the most disappointing thing this year was that the Blues didn't learn from Auckland's success and use several solid options for exits. Too much pressure on a mediocre halfbacks.

    Auckland used Rayasi, Trainor, Nanai, Faiane, and even Manu, to supplement the halback and first five.

  • Also got to throw a compliment out to Matt Matich. Thought he was effective off the bench this year. He was coming on at 7? Thought defence and ball carrying were both good.

  • @Tim said in Blues 2019:

    Also got to throw a compliment out to Matt Matich. Thought he was effective off the bench this year. He was coming on at 7? Thought defence and ball carrying were both good.

    Good player, better than Jed.

    7 is his position at this level. I don't know if there's room for him next year though. I would pick Choat.

  • Blues awards were tonight.

    Community Award - SBW
    Development player of the Year - Lemeki Namoa
    Rookie of the Year - Tom Robinson
    Players’ Player of the Year - Melani Nanai
    Fans’ Player of the Year - Tom Robinson
    Most Valuable Player - TJ Faiane

  • @KiwiMurph said in Blues 2019:

    Development player of the Year - Lemeki Namoa

    I haven't seen him play.. Does anyone have an opinion on him? Does he look ready to step up to the full squad?

  • @Duluth said in Blues 2019:

    Lemeki Namoa

    I have only seen him play once when his team Pakuranga beat my beloved Ponsonby earlier this season. He was a constant threat from fullback that day with his speed and step. He could also be dangerous on the wing. However I did not really study the details of his game so I hope he gets some game time for Auckland so we can assess him at that level. He hasn't played for Pak for a few weeks so I hope he is not injured or moved to another union?

  • @Daffy-Jaffy

    The Blues put this video up from the awards.. There's a small amount of footage of him playing at the end. Looks like he was used in the midfield

  • @Duluth Primarily played wing, fullback and occasionally in the midfield whilst at school. Busy player who does the fundamentals very well, balanced runner with above average pace (was a regular at regional and national athletics meets in the 100, 200 & 400mts). His height or lack of has probably counted against him when the rep sides have been picked (NZ Schools/NZ20s) but cant fault his effort and energy on the field.

  • Ok let me get my head around this the Blues have Plummer, Perofeta, and Black locked in for 2020.
    They are trying to sign Barrett and now Parker if they sign one or two of those what happens to the other 3 or they carry 4 or 5 First Fives.
    And before anyone suggests. Perofeata is a FB and Plummer can play 12. No they can't not to a decent enough standard in SR.

  • @Chris said in Blues 2019:

    And before anyone suggests. Perofeata is a FB and Plummer can play 12. No they can't not to a decent enough standard in SR.

    They are struggling to play 10 at a decent enough standard sometimes 😐

  • @Chris I think it's measured gambles. No decent 10 is coming to the blues, we just wreck'em over and over again. So the strategy seems to be to sign a bunch of possible young players, and hope like hell that one turns out to be a Cruden, Sopoaga or similar.

    I can understand it, but it rarely works. Still better than (trigger warning) Benji Marshall.

  • also, FML.

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