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The Phantom Horseman

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The Phantom Horseman last won the day on April 18

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  1. 1. It's the start of pre-season. Over 2 months to the season opener. 2. If you're saying he didn't look fit last season, I'd say our S & C coach would disagree - I know because I spoke to him and he said Joey trained very well, but also that it was no surprise as he'd spoken to one of his previous S & C coaches in Australia who said he'd had no problems with him. 3. I wouldn't pay too much attention to actual pre-season games, let alone rumours about pre-Christmas training. I mean, our 2022 player of the season is clearly in Sydney at the moment judged on his social media, and I wouldn't worry about that either.
  2. Clearly still Kheirallah, but our cunning plan is now coming to fruition as you now look set to have a free quota spot with Ferguson reportedly about to leave as he can’t face wearing that godawful jersey on compassionate grounds. I'd say a transfer fee of £500k and Aekins can be yours again.
  3. Fair points. I suppose the question is - is signing Aekins going to mean we miss out on someone else at a different position? It's hard to know the answer to that without knowing both our budget and overall player availability. There certainly don't seem to be many quality half backs or middles that are available, even to SL clubs, let alone Championship teams.
  4. In my opinion there's a lot more to playing half back than having good hands, good feet and pace . Much more important I reckon are understanding how to set up opponents, how to create openings, how to draw opponents away from where you want the ball to go, as well as the ability to read the game when selecting the plays and make the right judgement call in terms of which pass to deliver. That said, Kheirallah is a smart player who does read the game well and it wouldn't totally surprise me if he could prove effective at half back, but I think the concept of "partnering Ford in the halves" is a bit redundant, in the modern game the two halves spend most of their time 30+ yards apart from each other and only link up very occasionally, whereas it's much easier for a full back to link up with a half back.
  5. Yeah, I guess I can see a possible experiemnt or two, but there's little doubt all 3 have shown their best form at full back. For me, the most positive way of looking at the Aekins signing is that he's probably a better player overall than Pickersgill, not that Pickersgill is a mug by any means, and at this stage we don't know for sure when or in what shape Kheirallah will return. Not our biggest area of need by any means, but still a move that has probably improved us overall, so if we can afford it then why not. Looking at the squad, whilst we could always do with another impact middle, I don't think there is any area where we don't have reasonable cover barring a rash of injuries given the versailtity of so many players in the squad. Looking at positions where players could cover: Full back: Aekins, Pickersgill, Kheirallah, Hall Wing: Briscoe, Hall, Gale, Hankinson Centre: Leliua, Hankinson, Hall, Hardcastle Halves: Ford, Lacans, Dean Middles: Kopczak, Taylor, Moors, Bussey, Springer, Cozza, Lockwood, Cooper, Davies, Hepi, Fleming Edge back rows: Davies, Day, Hardcastle, Taylor, Bussey, Moors Hookers: Wildie, Jones, Lacans So what I'm suggesting is maybe we can afford to carry 3 specialist full backs because we have so many other players who can play multiple positions.
  6. Callum Walker's sitting in his bedroom looking at the Fev Twitter page... Interesting decision to sign Aekins as we already have Pickersgill and Kheirallah (when he's fit again) at full back but I guess if a quality player becomes available you sign him and there's no doubt he's a very good player. Interesting to see what the pecking order is for the number 1 shirt.
  7. Nope, just literally the first post that came up when I did a search for posts about prize money in the Championship on TotalRL. Just a response to your comment saying that Batley "should have received a handsome payout". But fair enough if your position has always been as you have outlined. There are a lot of fans (including at my club) whose position tends to vary depending on how matters affect their own team.
  8. We had just such a system back in the days of the middle 8s. The aim was to give Championship clubs who were knocking on the door of SL more funding to enable them to realistically challenge. The problem is fans of clubs who finished lower down the league understandably didn't like a system where the successful clubs got richer and the ones that struggled got poorer. Consider this posting from (checks notes), er, yourself, from this forum in 2015 when Batley had finished well down the table... "without the amounts handed out being more evenly split teams like us, Workington and Whitehaven are just treading water until we finally get relegated". In fairness I think they ended up compromising by leaving a difference in prize money for each finishing position, albeit a massively reduced one, a couple of years ago and I'm not sure what the situation is now as they started bringing in things like social media traffic and stuff like that as criteria as far as I know. I do remember Kevin Nicholas commenting on the unfairness of the parachute payment a few years ago when Leigh came down and it's hard to argue with that when Leigh again were given a parachute payment this year despite only keeping a handful of their previous season's squad.
  9. Really looking forward to the 2023 season, partly because it looks like being much more open at the top of the league than previous years. The last 4 seasons have seen the team that finished top of the league lose 1, 0, 1 and 2 games respectively (the team that lost 2 was Toronto when they fielded a below-strength team against us in a dead rubber in the final week of the 2018 regular season). Obviously it would be nice if we could have a season like that but I think it's more likely that whoever finishes top next season might lose 3 or 4 along the way. At this stage I don't see a physically dominant team like Leigh were after the first few weeks of 2022 or Toulouse in 2021 (acknowledging their truncated season) where you pretty much know they're going to win every week.
  10. I think it's a reasonable point to make. It would be interesting to know if we have the same option to cancel the agreement if, for example, a half back we want to sign becomes available at some stage. It may be that we found ourselves in a position where we couldn't get a good-quality third half back as a full signing (eg we may have tried and failed to sign someone like Kyle Laybutt), and didn't want to go through pre-season and into the start of the season with just two recognised halves. If the choices open to us were, say, the likes of Jake Shorrocks, Cory Aston, or giving someone like Luke Gale or Tony Gigot a big contract, I can see why we have gone down this route.
  11. As things stand, one stab at a line-up could be something like: Pickersgill (until Kheirallah returns) Briscoe Leilua Hankinson Hall Ford Lacans/Dean Kopczak Wildie Moors Bussey Day/Hardcastle Taylor subs Jones Springer Cozza Davies But plenty of alternative options. Lockwood, Cooper, Hepi amongst them.
  12. After Fax's season ended with former player Liam Harris running 40m to punt the ball into the south stand and celebrate in front of the home fans, I reckon the thought of a Siddal lad like Dean guiding Fev to beat his team might be too much for Oxy to bear...
  13. I think some of the recent signings at Championship level have highlighted the dearth of half backs. I mean, Newcastle finished one spot above relegation last year and were pretty poor yet four guys who played for them last season have been signed as half backs by clubs expected to be top 4 challengers - Lacans and Dean at Fev, Woods at Batley and Shorrocks at Newcastle. The more I think about it the more this move makes sense for us, we are probably quite near to our maximum budget now having retained so many high-profile players from last year, Dean was only 19 when he went to York, and a half back with a reputation for being an off-the-cuff player was never likely to thrive under Ford, it might be that Long will help him a lot. There wasn't really a lot between the half backs in the top 5 or 6 teams last year - even at Leigh until Lam arrived, I don't think Mellor/Reynolds was much better than Jacks/Smith or Keyes/Jouffret - and I think it might be the same this year. Toulouse's only half backs on their books right now are Shorrocks and Brock Pelligra who has been playing for their reserve team, I don't think there's much quality available to Championship teams.
  14. Yes, the club first stated via social media that a live signing would be unveiled at the fans' forum on the same day Warrington officially announced Josh Drinkwater so it seems plausible that the Dean loan could only be given the green light, or at least announced, once Warrington's incoming half back was official.
  15. That's one side of what was quite a lively debate on the York forum at the time about whether he had disappointed or whether he had been mistreated. No strong views about how he will fare for us but it's possible Long's approach might suit him more than Fordyball.
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