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.