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Bateman quits Canberra at the end of the season

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33 minutes ago, DavidM said:

I wonder at times if we concentrate to much on what players can’t do , rather than what they can do .Maybe amplified with young players  , especially precocious ones .I want my half to have attacking strengths first and foremost . Defence can be worked on , they can get protection from those around them . Many a half hasn’t been brilliant defensively , JT wasn’t always  the best . But just give me someone who’s creative and threatening and does things others can’t do with the ball

It's a fair point, but I think ultimately the best team in Super League is generally the one with the strongest defence, so teams are wary of having players that can be targeted defensively. Plus, it depends how big the weakness is too.

Smith currently offers something that the team has lacked for a while - which is a good long kicking game. He also makes up for the loss of Williams' short kicking game. That's why he's managed to keep his place in the team even with Leuluai returning and the obvious issue of trying to fit all our talented forwards into the side.

However, he's only played 5 Super League games, and not all of those have been starts. If he's one of our first choice halves by the end of the year then there's no reason for him not to start 2021 in the same role. Right now though, it's perfectly sensible to consider a players potential weaknesses along with their strengths when deciding whether to make them first choice next season and not sign any cover. What if his form isn't impressive when the season returns?

Edited by EagleEyePie
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25 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Kyle Flanagan is 21 years old and is playing this season as scrum half for the Sydney Roosters. Not a squad role but their starting 7 every week.

Nathan Clearly is 22 and has already played 84 times for Penrith. 

These two teams are in the top 4 of the NRL.

Harry Smith is 20 years old and we are looking for reasons why he is not ready to start for Wigan.

The best example really is Dylan Brown, who’s only just turned 20 years old. The guy is only slight and reportedly weighs 85kgs (I’m not convinced he even weighs that). He wasn’t strong defensively when he first came into first grade but the Eels stuck with him. He’s improved immeasurably and was outstanding against North Queensland yesterday. In a side without Moses, and now with 20 odd first team games under his belt, he ran the show. 

Edited by DoubleD
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23 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Kyle Flanagan is 21 years old and is playing this season as scrum half for the Sydney Roosters. Not a squad role but their starting 7 every week.

Nathan Clearly is 22 and has already played 84 times for Penrith. 

These two teams are in the top 4 of the NRL.

Harry Smith is 20 years old and we are looking for reasons why he is not ready to start for Wigan.

This is true but just because players x, y and z are starting at 19, 20, 21 years of age doesn't mean every team that loses a players should be replaced by a home grown academy player.

Maybe Flanagan, Cleary and Brown are all significantly better players than Smith at there respective ages.

How has Harry Smith gone in the academy games, reserves or in championship and league 1? Genuine question as I haven't seen him play. I imagine if he has been dominating these levels he should be ready and be given the halfback role. But if he hasn't you can't blame a club for looking elsewhere.

Kyle Flanagan was half back of the year in the nsw cup in 2018 for the Newton Jets (cronulla's feeder team) as a 19 year old kid playing against grown men. In 2019 he then led the Newtown Jets to the nsw cup premiership. NSW cup would be top half of Championship standard over here.

Young players have to prove themselves at training or in competitions under super league and nrl. Not be given it just because they are young.

Imo.

 

 

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Smith has won three Academy Grand Finals and was Wigan's Under-19s Player of the Year in 2018.

He was also far and away the best halfback on the pitch when England Academy beat the Australian Schoolboys 2-0. I don't know who was named officially man of the series but I would have had Smith in the top 3 along with Harry Newman and Morgan Smithies and I think he was named man of the match in one of the tests.

In short, I really don't know what more he could have done at junior level to be given a chance to secure the number 7 shirt for Wigan.

 

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5 minutes ago, AB90 said:

This is true but just because players x, y and z are starting at 19, 20, 21 years of age doesn't mean every team that loses a players should be replaced by a home grown academy player.

Maybe Flanagan, Cleary and Brown are all significantly better players than Smith at there respective ages.

How has Harry Smith gone in the academy games, reserves or in championship and league 1? Genuine question as I haven't seen him play. I imagine if he has been dominating these levels he should be ready and be given the halfback role. But if he hasn't you can't blame a club for looking elsewhere.

Kyle Flanagan was half back of the year in the nsw cup in 2018 for the Newton Jets (cronulla's feeder team) as a 19 year old kid playing against grown men. In 2019 he then led the Newtown Jets to the nsw cup premiership. NSW cup would be top half of Championship standard over here.

Young players have to prove themselves at training or in competitions under super league and nrl. Not be given it just because they are young.

Imo.

Every case has to be based on the circumstances and the individuals.

In Smith's case though, he's been absolutely outstanding for the academy side, was head and shoulders above his Australian counterparts when playing for England Academy against the Australian schoolboys and was by far the most creative player in that series. He was outstanding for Swinton while on loan, with several man of the match performances and generally looked a stand out player at that level.

The issue though, is that you can't take anything for granted. He probably should have been given his opportunity in the Wigan fist team sooner, but he's getting that opportunity now in the way that you would expect. We had an injury, he was brought into the side, he played well so he's kept his place. He's getting his opportunity and he's on the way to taking it. The issue is though that he's playing alongside a quality halfback in Hastings, and is supported by another experienced halfback in Leuluai. There's a difference between going into 2021 with Smith earmarked as starting 7 but also bringing in cover as a back up, and going into 2021 without Hastings or Leuluai and having Smith bear the brunt of the responsibility as a playmaker.

Williams was given an opportunity to be first choice 6, but some forget that he had a fair number of first team appearances to his name at the time. He didn't go from academy to first team. He went from academy, to back-up to first choice when Green left. After just 5 first team games Smith is inexperienced. Wigan could take the risk, but we still need cover.

Besides being good at academy level and in the Championship doesn't mean you're guaranteed to make it. An example would be Josh Ganson. He was almost unplayable at times in the academy, and in his few dual reg games with Swinton he was impressive too. Should he have been thrown in at 9 instead of the under-performing Powell? Well Ganson got a couple of first team games, was disappointing, didn't really impress when loaned out in the Championship again, struggled to attract clubs in the Championship and last I was aware of he had a 4 week trial with Widnes. It's not as simple as good young player = future Super League player.

Ryan Hampshire is another who was a superstar academy player. He was probably considered by many to be better than Williams - was the England academy captain, top points scorer in pretty much every game, got more man of the match awards than any player I can remember, but in Super League he struggled to make his mark for a long time. He's still only 25, but he's a long way from what people were expecting of him.

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3 hours ago, EagleEyePie said:

It's a fair point, but I think ultimately the best team in Super League is generally the one with the strongest defence, so teams are wary of having players that can be targeted defensively. Plus, it depends how big the weakness is too.

Smith currently offers something that the team has lacked for a while - which is a good long kicking game. He also makes up for the loss of Williams' short kicking game. That's why he's managed to keep his place in the team even with Leuluai returning and the obvious issue of trying to fit all our talented forwards into the side.

However, he's only played 5 Super League games, and not all of those have been starts. If he's one of our first choice halves by the end of the year then there's no reason for him not to start 2021 in the same role. Right now though, it's perfectly sensible to consider a players potential weaknesses along with their strengths when deciding whether to make them first choice next season and not sign any cover. What if his form isn't impressive when the season returns?

His kicking is looking good. 

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3 hours ago, EagleEyePie said:

Every case has to be based on the circumstances and the individuals.

In Smith's case though, he's been absolutely outstanding for the academy side, was head and shoulders above his Australian counterparts when playing for England Academy against the Australian schoolboys and was by far the most creative player in that series. He was outstanding for Swinton while on loan, with several man of the match performances and generally looked a stand out player at that level.

The issue though, is that you can't take anything for granted. He probably should have been given his opportunity in the Wigan fist team sooner, but he's getting that opportunity now in the way that you would expect. We had an injury, he was brought into the side, he played well so he's kept his place. He's getting his opportunity and he's on the way to taking it. The issue is though that he's playing alongside a quality halfback in Hastings, and is supported by another experienced halfback in Leuluai. There's a difference between going into 2021 with Smith earmarked as starting 7 but also bringing in cover as a back up, and going into 2021 without Hastings or Leuluai and having Smith bear the brunt of the responsibility as a playmaker.

Williams was given an opportunity to be first choice 6, but some forget that he had a fair number of first team appearances to his name at the time. He didn't go from academy to first team. He went from academy, to back-up to first choice when Green left. After just 5 first team games Smith is inexperienced. Wigan could take the risk, but we still need cover.

Besides being good at academy level and in the Championship doesn't mean you're guaranteed to make it. An example would be Josh Ganson. He was almost unplayable at times in the academy, and in his few dual reg games with Swinton he was impressive too. Should he have been thrown in at 9 instead of the under-performing Powell? Well Ganson got a couple of first team games, was disappointing, didn't really impress when loaned out in the Championship again, struggled to attract clubs in the Championship and last I was aware of he had a 4 week trial with Widnes. It's not as simple as good young player = future Super League player.

Ryan Hampshire is another who was a superstar academy player. He was probably considered by many to be better than Williams - was the England academy captain, top points scorer in pretty much every game, got more man of the match awards than any player I can remember, but in Super League he struggled to make his mark for a long time. He's still only 25, but he's a long way from what people were expecting of him.

I rate Hampshire as a very good player who was probably edged out, being in the right place but the wrong time.

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5 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

I rate Hampshire as a very good player who was probably edged out, being in the right place but the wrong time.

There certainly could be an element of that. One thing I often wonder is how much a players career can be decided by chance.

Williams had the physical advantage of Hampshire which meant he made his debut off the bench at hooker. He then got 2 games in the halves and he impressed. His ability to play hooker got him a bench spot for several games in the following season. For a stand-in hooker no one was expecting him to be James Roby. Any mistakes he made in that role were probably much easier to miss (passing the wrong side, scooting at the wrong times) and defensively he was sound. Hence he could keep his place in the side.

Hampshire's only other suitable position was fullback, and any mistake in that position tends to be more noticeable (like a goalkeeper in football). In a way that could have been his downfall. Yes he lacked physical presence and struggled a bit making tackles, but he didn't get the chance to develop as a halfback because why would you put a weak defender there when you've got George Williams. 

While both Williams and Hampshire got their chances at a similar time, neither ousted Green or Smith. But Williams played 26 games before being made our starting 6, and 10 of those were at halfback. In that period of time, Hampshire had only played 15 games. The number of times Hampshire played in the halves during that time? Once. Hampshire played 30 games for Wigan in total yet only 2 of those were in his preferred position. Given how halfback is going to be a tricky position to master and probably needs time to develop in, to say he was in the right place at the wrong time is probably very accurate. Wigan gave him plenty of opportunities, and Williams is the example of how things could have gone for him, but ultimately the presence of Williams was the problem. Faced with competing against a similarly talented player who was much better defensively, he didn't stand much of a chance in Wane's team.

In fact Hampshire has only played about 30% of his professional rugby in either of the two half positions. He's certainly never been afforded time in that position. Blake Green was a utility in the NRL at the same stage in his career having never really got a consistent run as a halfback. He went on to be outstanding for Rovers and Wigan when he got the chance in his preferred position, so Hampshire's career still has the potential to take off.

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