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Tonka

Does anyone else think....

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...that there seem to be fewer big players these days - especially forwards - capable of really destroying a defence? I am thinking of players in the Paul Anderson, Joe Vagana or Barrie McDermott mould who you always felt might bust a hole every time they got the ball.

The last one I can think of was Paleaeasina at his peak, but that was going back a bit now.

Is it because defences have got better, or teams are better matched physically with training? Has the four subs system evened things up? Or am I failing to see the current wrecking balls?

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The Burgess twins still remain.

It's probably a fitness thing.

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...that there seem to be fewer big players these days - especially forwards - capable of really destroying a defence? I am thinking of players in the Paul Anderson, Joe Vagana or Barrie McDermott mould who you always felt might bust a hole every time they got the ball.

The last one I can think of was Paleaeasina at his peak, but that was going back a bit now.

Is it because defences have got better, or teams are better matched physically with training? Has the four subs system evened things up? Or am I failing to see the current wrecking balls?

Not sure, but possibly the sheer size across the field of that Bradford team meant that opponents were being battered in almost every tackle, so they tired earlier and the Bulls forwards would have found it easier to break through them.

Down under, Sam Thaiday fits the 'wrecking ball' description.

Daine Laurie showed promise at Wests Tigers a few years ago, being not just big and powerful but also quick, but he seems to have chucked away chance after chance. He's under Wayne Bennett at Newcastle now - if Wayne can't get his head in the right place, he's probably finished.

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Are you talking about in England or worldwide? I know Sam Kasiano at the Dogs is the biggest forward in the history of first grade rugby league in Australia.

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The most obvious answer is Fuifui Moimoi. In 2009 he was as damaging as I've seen as far as breaking tackles go. Right now? Not so much.

puts players on their ###### just about every time he's got the ball. Even in Origin he was throwing players about like it was nothing.

Sam Rapira, when he's not struggling with injury, is a wrecking ball for the Warriors and hits the line as ferociously as anyone there is. You may remember against England in the 2008 RLWC he knocked James Graham about 10 metres backwards in one hit-up!

Tom Learoyd-Lahrs is a potential candidate. Very explosive, when he's on his game he's unstoppable. Just so happens he isn't usually. I might even have to take back the comment about Rapira hitting the line as ferociously as anyone else, big TLL might just edge him when he can be bothered to run hard.

Guys like Kasiano are big sure enough, but it's their ball playing ability that impresses. Kasiano doesn't necessarily hit the line with brute force and run over people, he tends to find contact and get the ball away.

There's a few pups coming through the NRL who might fit the mould and should at some point have a season or two of real brute, physical superiority over the opposition. One that comes to mind is Jason Taumalolo at the North Queensland Cowboys. Another would be

with the Panthers if he can get ###### s/*t together, right now he's only good for a big run or two because his fitness is atrocious. George Burgess if this mornings game is anything to go by could be a nightmare to contain.

The change on the whole is probably defence getting better and the interchange limiting the fatigue factor. There's still guys running about who have a Paleaeasina-like impact though. Tony Williams is probably the best there is when it comes to running over people.

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Just a quick look at the Burgess boys, they get bigger the younger they are!

Luke Burgess, 26, 6'4, 17st 9lbs

Sam Burgess, 24, 6'5, 18st 4lbs

George Burgess, 20, 6'4, 18st 13lbs

Tom Burgess, 20, 6'5, 18st 13lbs

There is some beef in that Burgess sandwich. Now Luke has signed a 2 year deal I can see all 4 playing the same match in the next 24 months.

Sam Kasiano is only 4 lbs heavier than Tom at 6'5 and 19st 3lbs.

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Also, the one people seem to have forgotten about over here... Eorl Crabtree. 6'6 and 18st 6lbs. He seems to fit the category of a "big guy" to me.

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Ben matulino is a big bopper and is the most destructive forward in the game currently along with Sam burgess, damaging with ball in hand and in defence.

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Just a quick look at the Burgess boys, they get bigger the younger they are!

Luke Burgess, 26, 6'4, 17st 9lbs

Sam Burgess, 24, 6'5, 18st 4lbs

George Burgess, 20, 6'4, 18st 13lbs

Tom Burgess, 20, 6'5, 18st 13lbs

There is some beef in that Burgess sandwich. Now Luke has signed a 2 year deal I can see all 4 playing the same match in the next 24 months.

Sam Kasiano is only 4 lbs heavier than Tom at 6'5 and 19st 3lbs.

You have to feel for their mother.

PS

James Tamou at the Cowboys is brutal.

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Just a quick look at the Burgess boys, they get bigger the younger they are!

Luke Burgess, 26, 6'4, 17st 9lbs

Sam Burgess, 24, 6'5, 18st 4lbs

George Burgess, 20, 6'4, 18st 13lbs

Tom Burgess, 20, 6'5, 18st 13lbs

There is some beef in that Burgess sandwich. Now Luke has signed a 2 year deal I can see all 4 playing the same match in the next 24 months.

Sam Kasiano is only 4 lbs heavier than Tom at 6'5 and 19st 3lbs.

Nah, Kasiano is listed anywhere between 133 and 139kg. Monster of a bloke.

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Nah, Kasiano is listed anywhere between 133 and 139kg. Monster of a bloke.

I got his weight off the official Bulldogs site. He may have been that big a couple of years back but Dessie doesn't like fatties. Apparently Tom was pushing 130 when he went over too. Souths soon sorted that out.

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puts players on their ###### just about every time he's got the ball. Even in Origin he was throwing players about like it was nothing.

He's not done it at the highest level, though, so we ought to reserve judgement.

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Reads like they're all in the NRL.

I have to be honest and say I love the NRL but I don't get the chance to watch many games. I always get steamrollered by the wife and end up watching Downton Abbey or some such mush. She should be a bloody prop forward.

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He's not done it at the highest level, though, so we ought to reserve judgement.

Did you not see England v Australia at Wembley..? If you mean Origin he has only played twice...

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Also, the one people seem to have forgotten about over here... Eorl Crabtree. 6'6 and 18st 6lbs. He seems to fit the category of a "big guy" to me.

But he doesn't go through the line all that often. Someone mentioned Matulino, ditto for him. I'm a Warriors fan so get to see enough of Matulino, he's great because he makes metres for fun, can offload well enough and can tackle like nobody else... but it's not like he's bowling his way through the line every other carry.

Quite a few of the players mentioned here are just really good players, or really big guys. They don't reign down destruction like a Paleaeasina or Vagana. They don't have highlights reel charges every game I wouldn't say.

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He's not done it at the highest level, though, so we ought to reserve judgement.

But he has. The claim that he hasn't done it at the highest level is one somebody made-up. When he played Origin, despite limited time and injury, he was causing chaos every time he had the ball. I cannot think of a person who's knocked people over every time he has the ball, in Origin no less.

He's not the greatest forward in the world by any means but as far as taking the ball to the line, knocking people out of the way and running straight through, I can't think of anyone better. He's a wrecking ball in every sense

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Did you not see England v Australia at Wembley..? If you mean Origin he has only played twice...

I was at Wembley. All I remember Williams doing was taking somebody's head off. Otherwise, he was reasonably powder puff.

But he has. The claim that he hasn't done it at the highest level is one somebody made-up. When he played Origin, despite limited time and injury, he was causing chaos every time he had the ball. I cannot think of a person who's knocked people over every time he has the ball, in Origin no less.

In 'Origin no less' indeed, but it's quite a step up from there to test match rugby. Perhaps he can do, we'll wait and see.

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I thought Williams ran right over Chris Heighington of England in one match.

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Big Dave Taylor is 6ft 2in and 19st 3 lb and on his day can be a wrecking ball as well as fast with a step.

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I thought Williams ran right over Chris Heighington of England in one match.

Fair point, I must've popped out for a wee.

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