Looking at discussions about next season spread over different threads, it seems time to start a new thread about next season's Chiefs squad.
- Below, I've started with the 2018 Chiefs squad that was named on 1 Nov 2017.
- In italics, I have added the players that also played for the Chiefs in 2018, despite not being named in the initial squad.
- Between brackets are the number of games played this season (stats: Fox Sports).
- In bold are the players of which I know for sure that they are signed through to next season (obviously, this list may/will not be complete because the duration of contracts isn't always published. Some signings aren't even published).
- Strikethrough: players, who are known to be leaving.
Some of the questions now are:
1 In which positions do the Chiefs need to recruit more players.
2 Who of the players of the initial 2018 squad would you like to see signed for 2019 (or longer)?
3 Who of the players that played in 2018, but weren't in the initial squad, would you like to see signed for 2019 (or longer)?
4 Which other player, who hasn't played for the Chiefs in 2018, would be on your wish list?
5 Which player, who hasn't been signed yet, but played for the Chiefs in 2018, don't you want to be signed?
N Laulala (2)
F Hoeata -
L Jacobson (13)
D McKenzie (14)
M McKenzie (11)
A Lienert-Brown (14)
L Aumua -
(Please, let me know if you're sure I've missed a signing and I'll correct it in the list above.)
I'll give my thoughts without any inside knowledge.
Cooper said the Chiefs will be doing everything they can to keep Tu’inukuafe so I think he will be a straight swap for Graham, who hasn't played for them in 2 seasons due to his unfortunate injury. Then it becomes interesting, and could depend on where they see Moli playing (LH or TH, or both), and Hames' health. Prattley and Twaites are injury replacements only so won't be part of the 2019 squad. What this season has shown is that injuries can strike at any time, often in one position, so you are better to have extra cover in the wider squad.
I'd select 7 props. LHs (Hames, Ross and Tu’inukuafe), THs (Laulala, Kautai, Ta'avao) and LH/TH (Moli).
The same three players.
McWhannell for Bird. Ardron, Seu and Brown can provide cover. Using Jacobson and Parete as locks wasn't ideal. I presume that there will be restrictions on BBBR's gametime in a RWC year so they'll need options.
Maybe no direct replacement for Messam to allow for an extra prop. Seu, Brown and Jacobson have all played or can play at no.8. If Cooper and co were to select another loose forward then Parete would probably be at the front of the queue as a no.8/utility forward.
Halfbacks and 1st 5s:
The same 6 players. If we can find another quality 1st 5 for MMac, all the better, but having a limited more experienced player might be sensible with Falcon still green.
Wainui is probably Ngatai's replacement and Sullivan could be the replacement for TNW. Us Chiefs' fans will want to know that Verney and Aumua are more than just a name, if signed for more than the 2018 season.
Firstly, Alaimalo re-signed for another 3 years. Stevenson also needs to be signed ASAP, and I expect Pulu to re-sign too. As I mentioned in the other thread, McNicol's continual concussion issues might force him to retire.
So the Chiefs could still be looking for at least another midfield back (preferrably a 2nd 5) and a winger, unless they carry one less back in the squad. Luteru Laulala looks more comfortable at fullback but can cover 1st 5 so is an option in the squad. Another player to consider is Nigel Ah Wong. He has previous SR experience, was in the Chiefs Dev team, and can provide wing/centre cover.
These stories don't just appear out of nowhere so maybe there is hope.
so who was the last player who came back from the NH as good as they were or better than before they left.
Surely the last few seasons in NZ highlighted a couple of things about Nonu; in that it is usually the ABs that get the best out of him, and the other is that he is a Hurricane, not a Blue or Highlander (or Chief if that is where he is going now)
I guess the other thing you want from a returnign AB is one to be a mentor for those around him, given what we have heard of Nonu at super rugby level, is he the right person for that, or will he have changed significantly?
I'd much prefer to retain the impression I have of him in his last season for the ABs where he signed off as one of our greats.
Departing: Dominic Bird (Racing 92), Liam Messam (Toulon), Johnny Fa'auli (Toshiba), Charlie Ngatai (Lyon), Tim Nanai-Williams (Clermont).
Staying: Kane Hames, Sefo Kautai, Nathan Harris, Brodie Retallick, Michael Allardice, Taleni Seu, Mitchell Brown, Tyler Ardron, Lachlan Boshier, Mitch Karpik, Jonathan Taumateine, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Tiaan Falcon, Sam McNicol (all 2019), Liam Polwart, Alex Nankivell, Nepo Laulala, Atu Moli, Luke Jacobson, Brad Weber, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sean Wainui (all 2020), Sam Cane, Damian McKenzie, Solomon Alaimalo (all 2021).
Off contract: Mitchell Graham, Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Fin Hoeata, Marty McKenzie, Regan Verney, Levi Aumua, Toni Pulu, Shaun Stevenson.
Weren't in 38-man contracted squad but got game time: Karl Tu'inukuafe, Sam Prattley, Angus Ta'avao, Jeff Thwaites, Matt Matich, Pita Gus Sowakula, Declan O'Donnell, Bailyn Sullivan, Luteru Laulala.
Shit - not much room to make improvements.
Keep Karl T and Stevenson for sure. Or, try to carry 7 and secure them all as mentioned by @Bovidae
We need a lock - time to go hunt in Canterbury again.
Is McNicol going to be able to play? Might be time for him to get cut, in which case I'd chase Little (or Nonu!) and another midfielder/wing.
im happy where we are at. We need to stock up on wingers and midfield backs. So are pleased that some of them arnt signed for next year.Dont know if we can keep all our props.
for me re sign Taukei'aho
Ross unlucky and would be a great pickup for some one else
@stargazer It's more than likely.
It's been noted by some of the media people who used to post here that a lot of media people do read here.
So when you're busy saying how much you hate a particular commentator, be aware that they might read about it!