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Our attacking play.....


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#1 TheTerminator

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 11:01 AM

is some of the worst I've seen from a Batley side in all of my many years supporting our club. Last night's performance was just about the final straw. Do we practice and develop attacking plays during training? There's certainly no evidence of it during matches. Sets on the opposition line are disorganised and quite laughable at times, with players looking so confused at times that it'd be comical to watch if it wasn't so utterly frustrating for the fans. The only plan we seem able to execute (badly) is the tired old 'inside ball' routine. This is so easy for the opposition to read, and often ends in our players being crunched like bugs. Things need to change quick, or the season is well and truly over - as I suspect it may already be.

Knock-ons are another feature of our attacking play that occur virtually every single time we have the ball. These errors are normally the result of an awful lack of organisation and forced 'miracle' passes that only the most inexperienced players should be guilty of making, yet we have the likes of Ben Black bulleting out passes to teammates who have either overrun him or who are blatantly marked by the opposition. The number of times we lose the ball in any single game is absolutely unacceptable. We might stand a better chance of bothering the scoreboard operator if we actually keep hold of possession for more than three tackles per set.

This season began as one of promise, however if anything we've been gradually getting worse since the first game of the campaign - culminating in the dire performances we have witnessed during the last two weeks. With some attacking ideas and ability to retain the ball we could easily have beaten both Sheffield and Leigh. We have players in our squad - such as Campbell, Johnson and Potts (confidence shredded this season), who are genuine match-winners, yet the only time they see the ball is when they are taking the ball from acting half-back to help out the forwards. Why is this the case? If Johnson was used properly, he'd be at the top of the try-scoring charts for this division by some distance - he's literally that good.

In terms of other players - one's who unlike Johnson continue to disappoint, and having given him the benefit of the doubt and time to 'bed in' it's hugely disappointing to note that Faal is still the invisible man. In mitigation, he rarely receives the ball in a threatening possession, such is our obsession with driving over from acting-half from a metre out. On the occasions when the ball does reach his vicinity, it's normally spilled before it gets to him. Our halfbacks - the supposed hub of our attack, are both disastrously out of sorts. The quality of Mr Moore's general play and kicking game has receded slowly since he joined the club, and his continuous dummies to no-one and subsequent darts for the waiting defence are cringeworthy to watch. His partner, Mr Black, seems to have lost all of the guile and trickiness that characterised his performances last season. It's extremely rare he beats a tackle these days, and as aforementioned his passing game is truly something to behold - inept and telegraphed. It's worth pointing out that the three players I've pinpointed as 'disappointing' aren't by any means the only culprits - just the one's who stand-out to myself as being a continual let-down. There are others who push the patience of the fans to breaking point.

Our coach needs to realise that, whilst the 'lesser' sides in this league can be ground down for 60 minutes by our defence before being blown away in the final 20 thanks to superior fitness, this tactic simply doesn't work against sides who have players of either similar quality to our own - or better. Again, with more composure and a willingness to use the ball, we'd have beaten both Halifax and Featherstone earlier in the season. Unless he grasps the concept that attack wins games - and not just a solid defence, then we'll never trouble the teams round us and push ourselves onto the next level. 

Who's most to blame for our lack of attacking prowess - the coach or the players? It's impossible for mere observers to commit to a verdict, but I'd suggest it's a dreadful mixture of both.


Edited by TheTerminator, 28 June 2013 - 11:13 AM.

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#2 greavesy

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:22 PM

is some of the worst I've seen from a Batley side in all of my many years supporting our club. Last night's performance was just about the final straw. Do we practice and develop attacking plays during training? There's certainly no evidence of it during matches. Sets on the opposition line are disorganised and quite laughable at times, with players looking so confused at times that it'd be comical to watch if it wasn't so utterly frustrating for the fans. The only plan we seem able to execute (badly) is the tired old 'inside ball' routine. This is so easy for the opposition to read, and often ends in our players being crunched like bugs. Things need to change quick, or the season is well and truly over - as I suspect it may already be.

Knock-ons are another feature of our attacking play that occur virtually every single time we have the ball. These errors are normally the result of an awful lack of organisation and forced 'miracle' passes that only the most inexperienced players should be guilty of making, yet we have the likes of Ben Black bulleting out passes to teammates who have either overrun him or who are blatantly marked by the opposition. The number of times we lose the ball in any single game is absolutely unacceptable. We might stand a better chance of bothering the scoreboard operator if we actually keep hold of possession for more than three tackles per set.

This season began as one of promise, however if anything we've been gradually getting worse since the first game of the campaign - culminating in the dire performances we have witnessed during the last two weeks. With some attacking ideas and ability to retain the ball we could easily have beaten both Sheffield and Leigh. We have players in our squad - such as Campbell, Johnson and Potts (confidence shredded this season), who are genuine match-winners, yet the only time they see the ball is when they are taking the ball from acting half-back to help out the forwards. Why is this the case? If Johnson was used properly, he'd be at the top of the try-scoring charts for this division by some distance - he's literally that good.

In terms of other players - one's who unlike Johnson continue to disappoint, and having given him the benefit of the doubt and time to 'bed in' it's hugely disappointing to note that Faal is still the invisible man. In mitigation, he rarely receives the ball in a threatening possession, such is our obsession with driving over from acting-half from a metre out. On the occasions when the ball does reach his vicinity, it's normally spilled before it gets to him. Our halfbacks - the supposed hub of our attack, are both disastrously out of sorts. The quality of Mr Moore's general play and kicking game has receded slowly since he joined the club, and his continuous dummies to no-one and subsequent darts for the waiting defence are cringeworthy to watch. His partner, Mr Black, seems to have lost all of the guile and trickiness that characterised his performances last season. It's extremely rare he beats a tackle these days, and as aforementioned his passing game is truly something to behold - inept and telegraphed. It's worth pointing out that the three players I've pinpointed as 'disappointing' aren't by any means the only culprits - just the one's who stand-out to myself as being a continual let-down. There are others who push the patience of the fans to breaking point.

Our coach needs to realise that, whilst the 'lesser' sides in this league can be ground down for 60 minutes by our defence before being blown away in the final 20 thanks to superior fitness, this tactic simply doesn't work against sides who have players of either similar quality to our own - or better. Again, with more composure and a willingness to use the ball, we'd have beaten both Halifax and Featherstone earlier in the season. Unless he grasps the concept that attack wins games - and not just a solid defence, then we'll never trouble the teams round us and push ourselves onto the next level. 

Who's most to blame for our lack of attacking prowess - the coach or the players? It's impossible for mere observers to commit to a verdict, but I'd suggest it's a dreadful mixture of both.

Terrific  post terminater and one that most fans i know are in complete agreement with. As for the rest of the season if we do not bring about a change in the way we play the game the play offs are a waste of time we simply cannot score points against the top sides around us    (  0 wins  1 draw  5 defeats )  back this up. No moans from me about the effort put in in these games but ball movement enough said. We are defensively very good but that is not enough if we want success . We are going backwards with ball in hand our Half back play from Moore and  Black is at best poor. What Hemingway did wrong i cannot fathom 3 man of the matches in 4 games then dropped his replacement is not as good on place kicks IMO, and also not providing the spark in atack neede to break down defences. I stated before the Leigh semi that if we played as we have been we would not win. no joy from me in being proved right . Over to you Mr Kear and the players improve with ball in hand or watch the season fizzle out  :(   



#3 buford t justice

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:50 PM

Completely agree with all the above.

Something needs to change, it hasnt done all year though so im inclined to write this season off already.
What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law

#4 henry oulton

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:30 PM

played seventeen won TWELVE.... lowest piints against in league.... Should have beaten fev and sheff... is this really a write off!?!?!! im just trying to find positives.... not that its hard!!!!!!!!. maybe most batley fans are expecting way way too much..... its not that long ago people were saying how fantastic we were after giants game..????????

#5 RPH

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:31 PM

Completely agree with all the above.

Something needs to change, it hasnt done all year though so im inclined to write this season off already.

I wonder if Wakefield played the same way when Kear was in charge ?.....surely JK cannot be solely resposible for the way we play...?......is there any input from the players ?....


Edited by RPH, 06 September 2013 - 12:47 PM.


#6 vitocorleone

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:30 PM

When it was rumoured we were getting John Kear a couple of years ago, I attended a Wakey game in my Batley shirt. As I was approaching the ground the programme seller asked me what I thought to the rumour, I said I was over the moon etc, the Programme seller then ripped into JK and the "brand" of rugby his beloved Wildcats were producing, and categorically stated he was glad to see the back of Mr Cup. I thought the gentleman was barking mad and trotted away to endure 80 minutes of "Super" League action and thought no more of it.

 

Until this season. Game after game of mind numbing, spirit crushing displays.

 

Maybe, just maybe the crackpot from Belle Vue was correct.???????



#7 Chairman LMAO

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:53 PM

Henry is right. It's only 5 years ago we could only dream of being in the position we are in now. We've all contributed in some way to making this a much better club than we've ever been in my lifetime. Yes, there's still much room for improvement but before there's much more moaning we should walk a mile in the shoes of Oldham or Rochdale or Hunslet and see how bad it REALLY is for us.

#8 Piggy's mate

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:02 PM

I agree with everyone! We are a better team than many others in our div and to be competing with the other 4 is an achievment but we do expect much more these days! I wont give up on us yet as we can finish the season strong and hopefully put in a performance against Fev

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#9 toffee

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:11 PM

We got to semifinal were in the top four we need a center that can put a winger into space. And a half back like tiger was for us because he ran everything leaving moore looking great no tiger u see moores flaws cant tackle orshould i say very weak tackler . Black well father time maybe catching up with him ie longer to shake off minor injurys which un known to us might be aving an effect on his normal game just a thought.

#10 Piggy's mate

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:19 PM

One more thing. I took a German guy from work with me yesterday to see his first ever game of RL. He could not believe the players had to get up and go to work in the morning!

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#11 TheTerminator

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:34 PM

Expectations have been raised - and rightly so as despite our continually poor crowd figures we're now one of the biggest clubs in the division and have one of the best playing squads. However, whether expectations are unrealistic or not, they're totally irrelevant to our teams total lack of organisation in attack and inability to keep possession for more than three or four sets in a game. If the coaching staff and players can't remedy our problems in the coming weeks, then the season will peter out into nothingness.

Using the 'expectations' clause to minimise poor displays is just plain lazy. It was the favourite tactic of one former coach who used it to hoodwink fans into being satisfied with season upon season of struggle - despite having access to the same resources with which subsequent coaches have managed to bring relative success 


Edited by TheTerminator, 28 June 2013 - 09:44 PM.

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#12 grumpyoldram

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 08:36 AM

Expectations have been raised - and rightly so as despite our continually poor crowd figures we're now one of the biggest clubs in the division and have one of the best playing squads. However, whether expectations are unrealistic or not, they're totally irrelevant to our teams total lack of organisation in attack and inability to keep possession for more than three or four sets in a game. If the coaching staff and players can't remedy our problems in the coming weeks, then the season will peter out into nothingness.

Using the 'expectations' clause to minimise poor displays is just plain lazy. It was the favourite tactic of one former coach who used it to hoodwink fans into being satisfied with season upon season of struggle - despite having access to the same resources with which subsequent coaches have managed to bring relative success 

 

At least you are still worrying about  how far from the top of the table you will finish - some of us are still wondering how far from the bottom we will be - count your blessings eh ?



#13 Blind side johnny

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 09:23 AM

Expectations have been raised - and rightly so as despite our continually poor crowd figures we're now one of the biggest clubs in the division and have one of the best playing squads. However, whether expectations are unrealistic or not, they're totally irrelevant to our teams total lack of organisation in attack and inability to keep possession for more than three or four sets in a game. If the coaching staff and players can't remedy our problems in the coming weeks, then the season will peter out into nothingness.

Using the 'expectations' clause to minimise poor displays is just plain lazy. It was the favourite tactic of one former coach who used it to hoodwink fans into being satisfied with season upon season of struggle - despite having access to the same resources with which subsequent coaches have managed to bring relative success 

 

 

GT still getting to you is he Termie?


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#14 buford t justice

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 07:35 PM

Our attack under GT was like the Harlem Globetrotters compared to the attack we dont have at the minute.

Thats how bad we are attacking wise.

Edited by buford t justice, 29 June 2013 - 07:36 PM.

What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law

#15 toffee

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 08:08 PM

Now u are being silly lol gt was as clued up as mr maggoo anyone who comes out with the comment dale cadoza is the best sighning ive ever made should be locked up in field head

#16 DOGFATHER

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:38 AM

Despite going, I also recorded Thursday's game and watched when I got back, and TBH it was just one of the nights where nothing really came off for us and Leigh had one of those where everything did. Certainly after watching it again, it wasn't the abysmal performance some are saying it was. It seemed a better performance watching it again somehow, than when I watched it live.

 

I'm not saying we are playing brilliantly but TBH the conditions were not great on Thursday and Leigh were hardly throwing the ball around like Melbourne Storm either, the conditions were simply not conducive for it.  

 

IMO the areas they were better than us on the night were:

1. The kicking dept. it was exceptional, as was Sheffield's last week.

2. They got the ball away from the ruck much quicker than us, with either Mennel or Flanagan hooking. We seem to take an eternity to get the ball away from the ruck, this isn't helping the half backs as the opposition defence is almost upon them by the time the ball gets to them, we either need to speed this up or stand deeper to allow us more time to think on the ball. 

3. Brierley looked a class apart, the best half back display I've seen this year in our division, he had a storming game. But compared to ours currently it is not surprising it looked good.

 

I'm not saying we deserved a win, and yes some of our handling was poor, however, with the rub of the green and the bounce of the ball, it was a game we could have very easily come away with a win and a very different mood in the camp.

 

I'm not having a go at the ref this week (in case you read this Mod), but I cannot understand why Campbell's disallowed try was not either a penalty try, or given as benefit of the doubt. It wasn't conclusive that he hadn't scored, the ball was down before his leg was over the line but despite the various camera angles and the many times I've watched it, I still couldn't tell whether Campbell dropped it for sure. Ian Smith gave the penalty for taking him out in the air, and if it was a penalty then it was in the act of scoring, so surely a penalty try?!?!?!

 

It looked a better try than the one Rowe was awarded, (I wouldn't have argued if that had been disallowed) I thought he lost it from the video evidence, but again it wasn't conclusive and Smith gave that as benefit of doubt, maybe that played a part in not awarding Campbell's?

 

There first try was a good kick, and Brierley's hack forward could have easily skidded,out dead in the greasy conditions ,but alas from our perspective it ended up absolutely inch perfect, and fair play to the lad, it was great play, but on another night it would have ended as a tap 20 to us.

 

The second came off a blatant forward pass, missed by all of the officials and not given, another night it might have been spotted and disallowed.

 

The Third, great individual play from Brierley again, reminded me of Blacks try in the TV game against Sheffield at Bramall Lane when he darted through the defence and beat 3 men to score.

 

If you also take into account some brilliant defending by Leigh when we were held up over the line or couldn't get the ball down, Johnson's second half effort from the kick particularly, also when Flanagan was only a couple of inches short in the second half too. If these had been tries, then it was a game very much in the balance and one that could well have gone our way. 

 

It is really easy to be critical about players:

 

Sadly Black is having a bad patch and doesn't look the same player as last season, maybe still not over the knock he got against Huddersfield. All players have bad spells though, especially at this level, hence they are not playing for Leeds or Wigan. I feel for Blacky a bit, if he doesn't fire we seem to have no plan "B". Nearly all of our points over the last 2 seasons have come from Blacky, but it is too easy for good sides to nullify the threat with only one attacking option in the team. Having said that if Brierley hadn't fired for Leigh they looked a little devoid too.

 

Moore has been shown up for his lack of pace this season, I reckon on current form I could beat him over 10 yards and I'm old, my knees are shot and I'm knackered, I was never that fast in my prime either. He is at least taking the line on, but he is being caught by prop forwards, enough said there, halfbacks should not be caught by props!!! But if he had pace he would still be at Wakefield and not playing for us.

 

He is a step up from Hemingway however, who when he has done taken the line on, he has got through and looked brilliant, but 3 times this season twice against Dewsbury, is simply not enough for me.

 

People are raving over Flanagan, but he is very predictable IMO and some of his decision making is less than great too. I've lost count of the number of times he's been held up over the line going himself on the 5th tackle, especially when it has been screaming to be either spun out on the line or chipped through for a possible repeat set. His distribution is absolutely woeful too,

 

Mennell isn't quite cutting it at hooker either, his distribution is neither quick enough, nor accurate enough, when we have forwards steaming on to the ball, they need the reactions of a cat to take the ball from behind them or they drop it. It might be time to switch him back to half back. But that leaves either Flanagan playing the full 80 or moving Moore or Hemingway there, and I'm not sure if either have a good enough defence to play at Hooker.

 

Before kicking the lads though, I think it fair to say that all players in this division have obvious flaws as well as strengths, if they didn't, they would be in Leeds' or Wigan's first team and not turning out for us. It speaks volumes that a club like St Helens have been without decent half backs for the majority of this season. If clubs like them cannot attract top class HB's, then what chance have we with our finances?

 

Building a successful team at this level is about having a balance squad, with players with strengths that overcome other players shortfalls, that is the difference between winning and losing trophies at this level. 


Edited by DOGFATHER, 30 June 2013 - 02:31 AM.


#17 redditchbulldog

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 10:53 AM

Despite going, I also recorded Thursday's game and watched when I got back, and TBH it was just one of the nights where nothing really came off for us and Leigh had one of those where everything did. Certainly after watching it again, it wasn't the abysmal performance some are saying it was. It seemed a better performance watching it again somehow, than when I watched it live.
 
I'm not saying we are playing brilliantly but TBH the conditions were not great on Thursday and Leigh were hardly throwing the ball around like Melbourne Storm either, the conditions were simply not conducive for it.  
 
IMO the areas they were better than us on the night were:
1. The kicking dept. it was exceptional, as was Sheffield's last week.
2. They got the ball away from the ruck much quicker than us, with either Mennel or Flanagan hooking. We seem to take an eternity to get the ball away from the ruck, this isn't helping the half backs as the opposition defence is almost upon them by the time the ball gets to them, we either need to speed this up or stand deeper to allow us more time to think on the ball. 
3. Brierley looked a class apart, the best half back display I've seen this year in our division, he had a storming game. But compared to ours currently it is not surprising it looked good.
 
I'm not saying we deserved a win, and yes some of our handling was poor, however, with the rub of the green and the bounce of the ball, it was a game we could have very easily come away with a win and a very different mood in the camp.
 
I'm not having a go at the ref this week (in case you read this Mod), but I cannot understand why Campbell's disallowed try was not either a penalty try, or given as benefit of the doubt. It wasn't conclusive that he hadn't scored, the ball was down before his leg was over the line but despite the various camera angles and the many times I've watched it, I still couldn't tell whether Campbell dropped it for sure. Ian Smith gave the penalty for taking him out in the air, and if it was a penalty then it was in the act of scoring, so surely a penalty try?!?!?!
 
It looked a better try than the one Rowe was awarded, (I wouldn't have argued if that had been disallowed) I thought he lost it from the video evidence, but again it wasn't conclusive and Smith gave that as benefit of doubt, maybe that played a part in not awarding Campbell's?
 
There first try was a good kick, and Brierley's hack forward could have easily skidded,out dead in the greasy conditions ,but alas from our perspective it ended up absolutely inch perfect, and fair play to the lad, it was great play, but on another night it would have ended as a tap 20 to us.
 
The second came off a blatant forward pass, missed by all of the officials and not given, another night it might have been spotted and disallowed.
 
The Third, great individual play from Brierley again, reminded me of Blacks try in the TV game against Sheffield at Bramall Lane when he darted through the defence and beat 3 men to score.
 
If you also take into account some brilliant defending by Leigh when we were held up over the line or couldn't get the ball down, Johnson's second half effort from the kick particularly, also when Flanagan was only a couple of inches short in the second half too. If these had been tries, then it was a game very much in the balance and one that could well have gone our way. 
 
It is really easy to be critical about players:
 
Sadly Black is having a bad patch and doesn't look the same player as last season, maybe still not over the knock he got against Huddersfield. All players have bad spells though, especially at this level, hence they are not playing for Leeds or Wigan. I feel for Blacky a bit, if he doesn't fire we seem to have no plan "B". Nearly all of our points over the last 2 seasons have come from Blacky, but it is too easy for good sides to nullify the threat with only one attacking option in the team. Having said that if Brierley hadn't fired for Leigh they looked a little devoid too.
 
Moore has been shown up for his lack of pace this season, I reckon on current form I could beat him over 10 yards and I'm old, my knees are shot and I'm knackered, I was never that fast in my prime either. He is at least taking the line on, but he is being caught by prop forwards, enough said there, halfbacks should not be caught by props!!! But if he had pace he would still be at Wakefield and not playing for us.
 
He is a step up from Hemingway however, who when he has done taken the line on, he has got through and looked brilliant, but 3 times this season twice against Dewsbury, is simply not enough for me.
 
People are raving over Flanagan, but he is very predictable IMO and some of his decision making is less than great too. I've lost count of the number of times he's been held up over the line going himself on the 5th tackle, especially when it has been screaming to be either spun out on the line or chipped through for a possible repeat set. His distribution is absolutely woeful too,
 
Mennell isn't quite cutting it at hooker either, his distribution is neither quick enough, nor accurate enough, when we have forwards steaming on to the ball, they need the reactions of a cat to take the ball from behind them or they drop it. It might be time to switch him back to half back. But that leaves either Flanagan playing the full 80 or moving Moore or Hemingway there, and I'm not sure if either have a good enough defence to play at Hooker.
 
Before kicking the lads though, I think it fair to say that all players in this division have obvious flaws as well as strengths, if they didn't, they would be in Leeds' or Wigan's first team and not turning out for us. It speaks volumes that a club like St Helens have been without decent half backs for the majority of this season. If clubs like them cannot attract top class HB's, then what chance have we with our finances?
 
Building a successful team at this level is about having a balance squad, with players with strengths that overcome other players shortfalls, that is the difference between winning and losing trophies at this level.


well said a thought out response rather than kneejerk reaction
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#18 Lone Drinker

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 06:41 PM

Despite going, I also recorded Thursday's game and watched when I got back.............

 

+1



#19 TheTerminator

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 09:08 PM

well said a thought out response rather than kneejerk reaction

 

I really don't think criticism of our attack is a 'kneejerk' reaction. It's been patently obvious for much of this season that our offense has been a blunt weapon, and a lack of any real fluency has been evident even in games we've won comfortably. If things don't change, then we're going to carry on losing matches that we're perfectly capable of winning.


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#20 Blind side johnny

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:50 AM

I really don't think criticism of our attack is a 'kneejerk' reaction. It's been patently obvious for much of this season that our offense has been a blunt weapon, and a lack of any real fluency has been evident even in games we've won comfortably. If things don't change, then we're going to carry on losing matches that we're perfectly capable of winning.

 

 

But isn't that the essence of all sports and one of the reasons we find it so attractive?

 

If matches were won on paper then I for one would soon give up watching.

 

.


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