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1 hour ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Definitely Alex Walmsley, Mikolaj Oledzki and Tom Burgess.

Potentially Mike Cooper and George Burgess.

There is no way that Oledzki, playing mostly off the bench in SL, has gone past the man who was 2019 Grand Final man of the match and who has subsequently played in the intensity of NRL football. Not yet, he hasn't.

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10 minutes ago, Szymala said:

There is no way that Oledzki, playing mostly off the bench in SL, has gone past the man who was 2019 Grand Final man of the match and who has subsequently played in the intensity of NRL football. Not yet, he hasn't.

I think this decision is very much based on what are their respective strengths and what do you want to get out them.

Is Oledzki a better player than Thompson right now?  No, I agree that he is not.  Thompson is better with the ball in his hands and he has good footwork for a reasonably big man.  But Oledzki carries the ball well enough and offers a much stiffer and more dependable defense while also being a physically bigger player.  Oledzki's mobility and work rate in defense is very impressive for a big man.

If I were looking to build a squad to win a Super League title over a season I would go with Thompson.

But if I were selecting a test team to take on the likes of Tonga or Samoa then I would be very tempted to go with Oledzki.

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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Thompson is a great player - an NRL club wouldn't be paying him over 700k a season if he wasn't. For me though, he is weak in defence and I do mean weak physically - which is surprising for a man of his physique. In one of his early games after joining I distinctly remember him going toe to toe the entire game with now team mate, Tevita Pangai Jr. Even though Bulldogs lost that game I (and seemingly many Aus pundits) was so excited about how Thompson could be the next Pommy forward to be a dangerous 'enforcer' style player - just what the Dogs needed following Klemmer's departure and Napa a shadow of a player. What's actually come to pass is lots of ill discipline and and 'weak' defensive efforts - far from setting the tone. Did he look so good in SL because of the dominant Saints side he played in? Probably. Can he do much better in a stronger Dogs side? Almost certainly. I just hope he doesn't have a poor season because it does seem our most high profile English players (Thompson, Tomkins, Hall, Williams, Bateman to an extent) have all played and come away from the NRL without making the dent their obvious talent suggested it would. 

Edited by hunsletgreenandgold
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I just ran through Raiders - Roosters and Ryan Sutton had a strong contribution . I think he’s become one of the most consistent , reliable and highest quality forwards in the NRL . Young Rushton came on and got talked up by Mick Ennis

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20 minutes ago, DavidM said:

I just ran through Raiders - Roosters and Ryan Sutton had a strong contribution . I think he’s become one of the most consistent , reliable and highest quality forwards in the NRL . Young Rushton came on and got talked up by Mick Ennis

I agree with the description of Sutton.  I said on another thread, if I were picking an England team I would start with the likes of Sutton and Oldedzki because they are very mobile and very good defenders which is important in the fast starting modern game. Then the likes of Walmsley and Burgess from the bench adds size and momentum in the second quarter. 

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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5 hours ago, Dunbar said:

I think this decision is very much based on what are their respective strengths and what do you want to get out them.

Is Oledzki a better player than Thompson right now?  No, I agree that he is not.  Thompson is better with the ball in his hands and he has good footwork for a reasonably big man.  But Oledzki carries the ball well enough and offers a much stiffer and more dependable defense while also being a physically bigger player.  Oledzki's mobility and work rate in defense is very impressive for a big man.

If I were looking to build a squad to win a Super League title over a season I would go with Thompson.

But if I were selecting a test team to take on the likes of Tonga or Samoa then I would be very tempted to go with Oledzki.

I think you have forgotten how effective Walmsley and Thompson were as a pair. I watched as Oledzki left a massive gap in the middle of the pitch for Fields second try (I think) this weekend, by not pushing in and assuming the ball was dead, something I never saw Thompson do even under Holbrook (I would have really liked to have seen Thompson in top form under Woolf…) I think Oledzki is far more comparable to Lees’ level at the moment rather than Walmsley/Thompson/Cooper.

I agree Thompson doesn’t seem interested. It’s a difficult one though as he is behind on pre season due to his Covid vaccine stance. I am (in a totally football manager way) secretly hopeful with LMS and Amor retiring this year to see Thomson return the prodigal son, reuniting with Knowles and Walmsley to cause chaos.

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11 hours ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Definitely Alex Walmsley, Mikolaj Oledzki and Tom Burgess.

Potentially Mike Cooper and George Burgess.

Disagree but fair enough. 

George Burgess? Really!!!! I feel he needs to prove that he is even NRL standard these days before being considered for England. 

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15 hours ago, hunsletgreenandgold said:

Thompson is a great player - an NRL club wouldn't be paying him over 700k a season if he wasn't. For me though, he is weak in defence and I do mean weak physically - which is surprising for a man of his physique. In one of his early games after joining I distinctly remember him going toe to toe the entire game with now team mate, Tevita Pangai Jr. Even though Bulldogs lost that game I (and seemingly many Aus pundits) was so excited about how Thompson could be the next Pommy forward to be a dangerous 'enforcer' style player - just what the Dogs needed following Klemmer's departure and Napa a shadow of a player. What's actually come to pass is lots of ill discipline and and 'weak' defensive efforts - far from setting the tone. Did he look so good in SL because of the dominant Saints side he played in? Probably. Can he do much better in a stronger Dogs side? Almost certainly. I just hope he doesn't have a poor season because it does seem our most high profile English players (Thompson, Tomkins, Hall, Williams, Bateman to an extent) have all played and come away from the NRL without making the dent their obvious talent suggested it would. 

He looked good in SL because Saints are so good, but mainly because he played alongside Alex Wamsley. At the time he went to the NRL a lot over in the UK thought they had bought the wrong player. Wamsley is a monster, who has got better and better over the past 5 years and should have been MOS in 2020

Edited by Mr Frisky
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5 hours ago, AB90 said:

Disagree but fair enough. 

George Burgess? Really!!!! I feel he needs to prove that he is even NRL standard these days before being considered for England. 

I agree but if he can get back to the player that he was, he’s better than Thompson, that’s what I meant by potentially George Burgess

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49 minutes ago, Mr Frisky said:

He looked good in SL because Saints are so good, but mainly because he played alongside Alex Wamsley. At the time he went to the NRL a lot over in the UK thought they had bought the wrong player. Wamsley is a monster, who has got better and better over the past 5 years and should have been MOS in 2020

Were people really thinking that?!?!?

I recall there were calls saying that Thompson was ‘the best prop in the world’ during 2018, 2019 & 2020. His own coach Justin Holbrook said so himself. I can’t recall any similar chat for Wamsley.

Thompson made the SL dream team in both 2018 & 2019 ahead of Wamsley. 

Quote - Alex Wamsley during the 2019 Lions Tour “He’s the best front rower in the world for me and he’s been a delight to play alongside. I saw him step up last year and do what he did we all knew that was in his locker. To do 70 minutes in a grand final, tell me another front rower in the game that can do that”

 

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6 minutes ago, AB90 said:

Were people really thinking that?!?!?

I recall there were calls saying that Thompson was ‘the best prop in the world’ during 2018, 2019 & 2020. His own coach Justin Holbrook said so himself. I can’t recall any similar chat for Wamsley.

Thompson made the SL dream team in both 2018 & 2019 ahead of Wamsley. 

Quote - Alex Wamsley during the 2019 Lions Tour “He’s the best front rower in the world for me and he’s been a delight to play alongside. I saw him step up last year and do what he did we all knew that was in his locker. To do 70 minutes in a grand final, tell me another front rower in the game that can do that”

 

You are absolutely correct about Thompson's form in Super League.  Clearly something has happened over the last couple of seasons.

Is he less likely to impress in a poor team?

Has his personal form dropped?

Has a different competition exposed some weaknesses in his game that weren't evident in Super League?

Have the bans he has received meant a stuttered start to his NRL career?

It's probably a bit of all of these. But we shouldn't forget that in Super League he was clearly the outstanding prop for several seasons.  But, if we are comparing like for like in the same competition, it is hard to say that Thompson is better than Ryan Sutton at the moment. 

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"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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1 hour ago, Mr Frisky said:

He looked good in SL because Saints are so good, but mainly because he played alongside Alex Wamsley. At the time he went to the NRL a lot over in the UK thought they had bought the wrong player. Wamsley is a monster, who has got better and better over the past 5 years and should have been MOS in 2020

There could well be an element of truth in this. There are a lot of variables in comparing a player and its certainly fair to state some of what you do. If Oledski and Thompson had swapped teams thoughts could well be different when it comes to the two players. We see that all the time between players in good teams and poor ones.

As is what we do know is that Thompson shone in a good team, and it could well be that his deficiencies were masked over, but has been poor in a poor team where these deficiencies have been exposed.

I do agree with what you say about Walmsley too. He is a man mountain and provides some great go forward. He is as good as anyone at doing the role he plays in the team. Walmsley would be a great signing for any NRL club but not everyone wants to go to Australia. 

Edited by Damien
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28 minutes ago, AB90 said:

Thompson made the SL dream team in both 2018 & 2019 ahead of Wamsley. 

Mark Percival, Toby King, Ash Handley, Paul McShane, Liam Watts, Danny Richardson and Matty Ashhurst have all made the Super League dream team since 2018. None of those players should make the England team either.

The year is 2022, just because he had 2 good seasons in 2018 and 2019 should not get him into our World Cup side. 

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11 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

You are absolutely correct about Thompson's form in Super League.  Clearly something has happened over the last couple of seasons.

Is he less likely to impress in a poor team?

Has his personal form dropped?

Has a different competition exposed some weaknesses in his game that weren't evident in Super League?

Have the bans he has received meant a stuttered start to his NRL career?

It's probably a bit of all of these. But we shouldn't forget that in Super League he was clearly the outstanding prop for several seasons.  But, if we are comparing like for like in the same competition, it is hard to say that Thompson is better than Ryan Sutton at the moment. 

I assume the fundamental difference is that he’s gone from playing in the best team in SL to the worst team in the NRL. Plus, as we all know there is a significant standard difference between the two competitions as it’s much easier to stand out when your skittling through Leigh, Salford, Wakefield, Toulouse defenses. 

If Luke Thompson never went to the NRL and instead stayed in SL we wouldn’t be having this conversation and we would still be claiming he’s the best prop in the world.

 

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12 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Mark Percival, Toby King, Ash Handley, Paul McShane, Liam Watts, Danny Richardson and Matty Ashhurst have all made the Super League dream team since 2018. None of those players should make the England team either.

The year is 2022, just because he had 2 good seasons in 2018 and 2019 should not get him into our World Cup side. 

Sure but I was more so using the SL dream to demonstrate that Thompson was considered a better player than Wamsley when they were playing  in the same team and competition (as a poster above suggested he was only good because he was playing alongside Wamsley).

I find it hard to believe he’s regressed in playing ability so drastically over the past 18.

Lets put Wamsley, Oledski, Burgess etc into the Bulldogs team and see how they go.

 

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2 hours ago, AB90 said:

I assume the fundamental difference is that he’s gone from playing in the best team in SL to the worst team in the NRL. Plus, as we all know there is a significant standard difference between the two competitions as it’s much easier to stand out when your skittling through Leigh, Salford, Wakefield, Toulouse defenses. 

If Luke Thompson never went to the NRL and instead stayed in SL we wouldn’t be having this conversation and we would still be claiming he’s the best prop in the world.

 

To be fair to Thompson he was never a flat track bully. If anything his performances were under par against the Salfords and the Wakefields, it was his performances in the big games that really shone, his performance against Wigan in the 2019 Semi Final was the single most dominant prop performance I have ever seen.

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What Thompson did 3-4 years ago in SL is pretty much irrelevant. He's playing in the NRL now and to be fair to him he's was probably the stand-out forward for the Dogs last year and his performances compared favourably against most other props in the NRL.

Is he the best prop in the NRL, no probably not, is he the best English prop currently, again no probably not (IMO Walmsley is head & shoulders above everyone else at the moment). But he's proven he can match it with the guys he's likely to face in the WC and he's already proved he can play at international level, so as long as he doesn't have a really poor season he's pretty much a shoe in for an England squad place.

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When we discuss the comparison of Thompson in the NRL and Thompson in Super League I think it is evidence of just how consistently good Tom Burgess is these days.

Of course Souths are a better team than the Bulldogs and that will help massively but Burgess was outstanding the finals run last year and was the top prop metre maker in the NRL Grand Final.

Alex Walmsley is a fantastic prop but so is Tom Burgess and there is no doubt the latter is doing it week in week out in a tougher competition. 

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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6 hours ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Mark Percival, Toby King, Ash Handley, Paul McShane, Liam Watts, Danny Richardson and Matty Ashhurst have all made the Super League dream team since 2018. None of those players should make the England team either.

The year is 2022, just because he had 2 good seasons in 2018 and 2019 should not get him into our World Cup side. 

Percival remains the best british centre in SL for me.  Of course as a Saints fan I may be biased, but the lad is quality.

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2 hours ago, Dunbar said:

Alex Walmsley is a fantastic prop but so is Tom Burgess and there is no doubt the latter is doing it week in week out in a tougher competition. 

There's plenty of ex-NRL props playing in SL at the moment (Napa, Vete, Cooper, Tetevano) and Walmsley has been pretty much the dominant prop against them in matches over the last few years. Its also only a couple of years back that he was up against Warea-Hargraves, Taukeiaho & Collins in the WCC and was the stand out prop in that game as well. 

Walmsley's had multiple offers to play in the NRL but turned them down purely for family reasons. It doesn't make him any less of a player just because he doesn't play in the NRL.

St.Helens - The Home of Rugby Champions

Saints Men's team - Triple Champions & Double Winners ; Saints Women's team - Treble Winners ; Thatto Heath - National Conference Champions

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2 minutes ago, Saint Toppy said:

There's plenty of ex-NRL props playing in SL at the moment (Napa, Vete, Cooper, Tetevano) and Walmsley has been pretty much the dominant prop against them in matches over the last few years. Its also only a couple of years back that he was up against Warea-Hargraves, Taukeiaho & Collins in the WCC and was the stand out prop in that game as well. 

Walmsley's had multiple offers to play in the NRL but turned them down purely for family reasons. It doesn't make him any less of a player just because he doesn't play in the NRL.

Yeah, that's why I said Alex Walmsley is a fantastic prop.

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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29 minutes ago, Saint Toppy said:

Walmsley's had multiple offers to play in the NRL but turned them down purely for family reasons. It doesn't make him any less of a player just because he doesn't play in the NRL.

This is true, he certainly had the offers. Whilst I agree NRL doesn't automatically mean better, it does mean he's likely to end his career now without playing enough games against the very top players in the world to ascertain just how good he is/was. That for me, as a fan of the NRL and of Brits going out there to test themselves, is a real shame. 

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21 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

The Dogs v Knights friendly is on YouTube.  Thompson has a very quiet game from an involvement point of view. Only played 35 mins ish but, I think , ended up with a fine for a tackle indescretion.

He was very lucky to just end up with that fine - could easily see how that was a banning 'tackle' and with his previous it could've been a few. 

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