Manawatu v Magpies

  • Now the 2019 Magpies squad has been officially released, I'll have a go at a possible starting line-up against the Poo.

    Obviously, we have no recent update on injuries, so I've named a team assuming all players are available (except Weber, Retallick, Falcon and Tremain). Where there's any doubt about injury, I've included an alternative name between brackets:

    1 Pouri Rakete-Stones (I'd be happy with Farrell to start, too, but Pouri played well for the MABs at LH)
    2 Ash Dixon (c)
    3 Ben May
    4 Michael Allardice (Geoff Cridge)
    5 Isaia Walker-Leawere
    6 Gareth Evans (to accommodate for Flanders being named at 8 and O'Connor at 7; I think they'll name Kaifa at 6)
    7 Brendon O'Connor (eventually, I want him named on the bench and Evans at 7, when Mikaele-Tu'u is fit again
    8 Devan Flanders (I think they'll name Evans at 8, at least until Mikaele-Tu'u is fit again)
    9 Folau Fakatava
    10 Lincoln McClutchie
    11 Sam McNicol (they may name Emerson)
    12 Danny Toala (because I want both him and Makene to start)
    13 Jonah Lowe (Neria Fomai)
    14 Ollie Sapsford
    15 Caleb Makene

    16 Kianu Kereru-Symes
    17 Tim Farrell (Pouri Rakete-Stones)
    18 Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe (because I can't remember seeing Hintz or Waa play, I've gone for our young local talent)
    19 Geoff Cridge (Tom Parsons)
    20 Josh Kaifa (I think Devan Flanders will end up on the bench)
    21 Zach Donaldson
    22 if he doesn't start, Caleb Makene; if he does start, probably Ili
    23 Emerson (McNicol if he doesn't get a start)

    The first week's team is always hard to predict. I'm looking forward to seeing what team the coaches pick.

    Eventually, I'd want all of Flanders, Mikaele-Tu'u and Evans to start in the backrow, with O'Connor on the bench. Flanders and Mikaele-Tu'u are the future, O'Connor is usefull to have in the squad, but I don't want him blocking their development if they are good enough to start. Not sure who is the best 6 out of Flanders and Mikaele-Tu'u.

    Our new props, and how good our young local props are, is still a bit of a mystery to me. Due to Farrell's long-term injuries, I have no idea how good he is at the moment. R-S looked good for the MABs.

    Midfield is hard to pick, too. I'm glad to see they've named Lowe not only as a wing, this year. I'd like to see him more at centre, but will they? Toala can both be used at 12 and fullback. They've named McNicol in the squad as a midfielder, interesting.


  • Good looking lineup, but I was thinking McNicol at fullback and Emerson onto left wing

  • @Stockcar86 I'd be happy with that, too. It's just really hard to judge where McNicol is at, after such a long injury spell; Makene and other newbies (except Walker-Leawere) are difficult to fit in as well, because they've never played for us before.

    It's good to have these question marks; if all injured players are back soon, we have a good squad to chose from, although I suspect that some of the new, young players (like Dodd-Edwards, Martin and Paese) won't see much game time, yet, unless they've really stood out during preseason. I also kind of hope our local props Farrell, Rakete-Stones, Tavita-Metcalfe will do better than the rejects from other provinces (Hintz and Waa). Same thing in the backs (like Sapsford).

  • @Stockcar86 said in Manawatu v Magpies:

    Good looking lineup, but I was thinking McNicol at fullback and Emerson onto left wing

    I’m over Emerson, hasn’t done anything outstanding in the Black and White hoops and was overshadowed by Buckley last year.

  • @Nepia The only games I saw him play this year were the Maddison trophy semi and final, and he was good in both those games. High workrate, not greedy, and always beating the man one-on-one. In the final he beat 2 backs with almost no sideline space and no time once he got the ball. He was defensively strong too, and judging by the Auckland pre-season game, that is something we need.

    Spotted on my way to morning coffee today


  • I like Emerson for his speed and workrate, but what you need these days - it seems - is one big power winger, and we don't have one of those. For that reason, someone like Penikolo Latu could have been handy in the team. I don't know what the flaws in his game are that made them decide not to pick him, but he's the only one I can think of at the moment, that has the right body type for a power winger.

  • @Stargazer I asked about him being missing when I was up home last time and narturally attending the aftermatch function at Whitmore Park (as you do!) and they did say Penikoll Latu had some sort of broken bone or achillies injury, can't remember for sure but it was bad enough to keep him out for the remainder of the season.

  • @Higgins Ah, too bad! Thanks for that info. It's a pity; I think he could have added something!

  • @Stockcar86 He may be tearing it up in club rugby (I saw him tear it up playing schoolboy rugby too) but he's never looked comfortable at NPC level, whereas Buckley came from nowhere (I had no idea who he was) last year and looked pretty good at that level.

    Maybe this is Emerson's year? Hopefully.

  • Manawatu
    1: Fraser Armstrong 2: Sam Stewart 3: Paulo Leleisiuao 4: Fraser Stone 5: Liam Mitchell 6: Nick Crosswell 7: Johnny Galloway 8: Brayden Iose 9: Jamie Booth 10: Otere Black 11: Adam Boult 12: Hamish Northcott 13: Rob Thompson 14: Te Rangatira Waitokia 15: Sam Malcolm

    RESERVES: Nick Grogan, Sione Fa’alalei, Samuela Tawake, Sione Tuipulotu, Sam Wasley, Griffin Culver, James Tofa, Ben Werthmuller

  • Hawke's Bay team:

    15 Caleb Makene*
    14 Ollie Sapsford*
    13 Sam McNicol
    12. Danny Toala
    11. Mason Emerson
    10. Lincoln McClutchie
    9. Folau Fakatava
    8. Gareth Evans
    7. Brendon O'Connor
    6. Devan Flanders
    5. Tom Parsons
    4. Geoff Cridge
    3. Joel Hintz*
    2. Ash Dixon (capt)
    1 Pouri Rakete-Stone

    16 Kianu Kereru-Symes
    17 Tim Farrell
    18 Namatahi Wa'a*
    19 Isaia Walker-Leawere*
    20 Josh Kaifa
    21 Zach Donaldson
    22 Neria Fomai*
    23 Stacey Ili


    Unavailable Injured:
    Michael Allardice
    Marino Mikaele-Tu'u
    Jonah Lowe
    Ben May

  • @Number-10 Good looking squad! I can't wait to see how this young team goes this season!

    A bit surprised that IWL has been named on the bench and not Tom Parsons.
    Also interesting to see that both of this year's import props, Hintz and Waa, are THs (or does one of them, or both, also play LH?). I hope that doesn't reduce Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe's chances of getting more game time this season.

    Really excited about 9 - 10 - 12 - 13 and great that Devan Flanders is getting the start at 6!

  • Gosh, that is a very new look lineup compared to what ran out for The Bay last season. There are a few injury magnets and quite a lot of young guys (both in terms of experience or age). Little worried about the props who, to me, do not seem all that huge. Is it just me or are there others out there starting to get the jitters about the 'Poo game tomorrow?

  • @Higgins Not just you, me too, but just a little bit, though. Pouri R-S looked heavier than last year, when he played for the Māori All Blacks, a few weeks ago. That squad from the Poo is not that intimidating, it's mostly the expierience of guys like Booth, Black and Thompson in the backs, but I reckon our backline has much more talent.

  • @Stargazer said in Manawatu v Magpies:

    @Higgins Not just you, me too, but just a little bit, though. Pouri R-S looked heavier than last year, when he played for the Māori All Blacks, a few weeks ago. That squad from the Poo is not that intimidating, it's mostly the expierience of guys like Booth, Black and Thompson in the backs, but I reckon our backline has much more talent.

    Normally I'd be picking and expecting about a thirty or forty point win (ever the optimist!) but looks like I will have to settle for a narrow twenty pointer instead. If worst comes to worst then a one pointer will do but ideally anything above seven points will be immencely satisfying, particulary if the 'Poo has a 0 against their name on the scoreboard at full time. Peter Russell in charge of the pfffft opposition has me a little nervous.

  • Typical Poo weather forecast for this game: rain, rain and rain. Possible thunderstorms. Glad I decided not to go and watch from the couch. Now hoping atmospheric conditions aren't going to mess up Sky's signal. I'll keep the radio on and Sky Go on stand-by.


  • Right guys it's time to start carrying out our final preperations to ensure we are ready to go come kick off in about an hours time. I'm ready to go with the exception of my beanie which appears to be missing. Importantly the fridge is well stocked and I have conducted a temperature check to ensure everything is suitably chilled and am pleased to report todays choice of Monteiths Black is spot on, taste and temperature wise.

    To top everything off here is Bob Houston's version of our HB National Anthem an integeral and an essential requirement in every Bay supporter's preparation for a Hawkes Bay game, especially those of us so far away from home.

  • @Higgins I'm having the usual pre-game nerves. I really hope we'll have a good start to the season; the confidence that comes with it can set the tone for the rest of the season.

    Drinks and snacks are ready. Bring it on!

  • I've ducked out early from the working bee at the speedway to be home in time. Smash the P

  • Not the best of starts as I was still standing paying respects to Sir BJ when the 'Poo somehow fluked a converted try. I am still in a state of shock. They do have the wind behind them though.

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