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Match thread: Championship Rd6. Batley v Featherstone Rovers. Sunday 20th March 2022.


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4 hours ago, sentoffagain2 said:

   It will be difficult to keep all our halves happy.Smith for me has not done much wrong and his kick through against Fax turned the game for us.Wildie is a hard worker and gets stuck into the tackling but i think he probably comes behind Chizzy and Jacks in attack.I say Jacks as i know he has not shown too much but he took the line on only a couple of times in each game against Batley and scored.I think he needs the game time.Our problem may be in our front row down the middle.Cuthbertson played ok Sunday following two very good displays,but what is he 37/38 Locky always tries but 36 and when he comes back Koppy is in his mid thirties.Field has not really stepped up and is no better than a squad player but we need better.Coops what can you say about him.Like Locky Fev through and through always tries and puts the effort in so he would be in or close to match day 17.Davies,Bussey and Moors well worth their places and Jones has been quiet so i think he needs to come off the bench.We need a couple of big forwards to tire the opposition out.Against Batley i thought their front rower Ward was the best front rower on the field always willing to take the baii up and dangerous close to the line.This season though we need a couple of fringe SL props to take us forward.Comments welcome.

I'm going to put this out now. The age of the team is alarming. It will be breaking up soon whether promoted or not. If it's the latter it will be worrying how the team looks in 2 years. 

Sunday's team and ages. 

1. BP 24

2. LB 28

3. JH 29

4. CH 34

5 GG 26

6. DC 31

7 RJ 29

8. AC 37

9 CJ 26

10 JL 36

11  JB 29

12 JM 35

13 BF 35

 

Others 

JSL 32

JD 31

CK 33

MS 23

CF 24

 JL 30

MW 31

LC 29 

Average age = 31. 

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No biggie. If you're good enough, you're young enough.

This is obviously a squad that's been assembled to do a job in 2022.

Where we'll be a couple of years is a different place given the rapid turnover of players these days.

Very few players indeed outside SL have a contract beyond 2022.

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2 minutes ago, Andrew Vause said:

I'm going to put this out now. The age of the team is alarming. It will be breaking up soon whether promoted or not. If it's the latter it will be worrying how the team looks in 2 years. 

 

This is all true, but it also reflects the problem teams in our position in the Championship face in terms of recruitment, especially with forwards. Not only is it difficult to sign talented players in the pack, but it's hard to keep anyone you do get - it would have been nice to build our pack around Halton and Harrison, but that was never going to happen, we did well to tie Harrison down for as long as we did.

And a lot of our best forwards this season and last have been our veterans. Kopczak, Moors, Lockwood, even the 37yo Cuthbertson this year, all still get into out starting 17 on merit, and are often asked to play big minutes because they are better than some of the bench options. and when you look around teh Championship, it's hard to see too many young forwards (other than at Leigh) who you'd think would definitely improve our starting 17.

The aim is to put the best team out to try and get into SL. You can't steadily build towards SL with a team that's well-balanced in terms of age, because the younger ones are free to speak to SL teams from May onwards whereas we can't guarantee them a SL contract until we have won a Grand Final in October.

Leigh have managed to attract (comparatively) younger players from the NRL, but they had more money than us to throw around and assuming those players' agents weren't asleep at the wheel and kept them to one-year contracts, some of them will be getting contract offers from May onwards too. In any event they won't be able to keep their squad intact because they are way over the SL overseas player ratio (which doesn't apply in the Championship).

It's just really tough to build a SL team in the Championship, I think we have just signed the best available players regardless of age because there's no upside to not doing that. I do think if we did get promoted we'd have a right dig at getting some quality newcomers in, certainly more than Toulouse did, and try and get through that first year, but it would be tough.

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2 hours ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

This is all true, but it also reflects the problem teams in our position in the Championship face in terms of recruitment, especially with forwards. Not only is it difficult to sign talented players in the pack, but it's hard to keep anyone you do get - it would have been nice to build our pack around Halton and Harrison, but that was never going to happen, we did well to tie Harrison down for as long as we did.

And a lot of our best forwards this season and last have been our veterans. Kopczak, Moors, Lockwood, even the 37yo Cuthbertson this year, all still get into out starting 17 on merit, and are often asked to play big minutes because they are better than some of the bench options. and when you look around teh Championship, it's hard to see too many young forwards (other than at Leigh) who you'd think would definitely improve our starting 17.

The aim is to put the best team out to try and get into SL. You can't steadily build towards SL with a team that's well-balanced in terms of age, because the younger ones are free to speak to SL teams from May onwards whereas we can't guarantee them a SL contract until we have won a Grand Final in October.

Leigh have managed to attract (comparatively) younger players from the NRL, but they had more money than us to throw around and assuming those players' agents weren't asleep at the wheel and kept them to one-year contracts, some of them will be getting contract offers from May onwards too. In any event they won't be able to keep their squad intact because they are way over the SL overseas player ratio (which doesn't apply in the Championship).

It's just really tough to build a SL team in the Championship, I think we have just signed the best available players regardless of age because there's no upside to not doing that. I do think if we did get promoted we'd have a right dig at getting some quality newcomers in, certainly more than Toulouse did, and try and get through that first year, but it would be tough.

I take on board your very valid points and agree wholeheartedly however next month marks the 10th anniversary of THE Cas game. 

It's was a stark contrast the team's ages then. 

IH 26

TR 27

SS 23

GW 21

TSax 28

JH 29

LF 28

JL 26

BK 23

SD 31

MD 25

TS 27

KB 24

JG 28

MH 24

AK 26

DM 25

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21 minutes ago, Andrew Vause said:

I take on board your very valid points and agree wholeheartedly however next month marks the 10th anniversary of THE Cas game. 

It's was a stark contrast the team's ages then. 

 

Indeed, but there was no no P and R then, and unlike the last few years there were no teams with a £1m+ budget, or anywhere near.
I totally get what you are saying, but if we sit down and decide which of our veterans we could have let go/not signed and who we would replace them with from the options that might have been available, I think that's a very tough task.

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“it would have been nice to build our pack around Halton and Harrison, but that was never going to happen, we did well to tie Harrison down for as long as we did”

not sure what the position with James Harrison is at Warrington but not seen him feature for them yet. Wonder if there’s any possibility of him coming back on loan?

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5 minutes ago, mightyship said:

“it would have been nice to build our pack around Halton and Harrison, but that was never going to happen, we did well to tie Harrison down for as long as we did”

not sure what the position with James Harrison is at Warrington but not seen him feature for them yet. Wonder if there’s any possibility of him coming back on loan?

I think he's injured. 

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Still recovering from an injury he got playing for us, in the middle of last season

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Interesting point this.

Some of our older players - the likes of Hall, Moors, Jesse etc are outstanding players at this level and could still be playing SL.  Locky seems to get better every year, Koppy was outstanding last year, Cuthbertson has really stepped up recently and the likes of JD would get into any other championship team.

I wouldn't want to compare the 2012 team because that team was probably greater than the sum of its parts whereas this years team imo has individuals that we could only dream of signing back then.

That said there may be something in the cumulative effect of us having a much older squad now. Someone else mentioned on here that we looked to be playing in slow motion at times on Sunday.  We can talk about a bad day at the office but so soon after the Fax game ? - A bit worrying for me.

On Sunday I thought some of the team looked knackered at HT.

Theres also the elephant in the room that raises its head now and then..... are some of the older players (not just a Rovers thing this) happy to stay in the championshio as they might not get the SL gig ? .....

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17 hours ago, Andrew Vause said:

I'm going to put this out now. The age of the team is alarming. It will be breaking up soon whether promoted or not. If it's the latter it will be worrying how the team looks in 2 years. 

Sunday's team and ages. 

1. BP 24

2. LB 28

3. JH 29

4. CH 34

5 GG 26

6. DC 31

7 RJ 29

8. AC 37

9 CJ 26

10 JL 36

11  JB 29

12 JM 35

13 BF 35

 

Others 

JSL 32

JD 31

CK 33

MS 23

CF 24

 JL 30

MW 31

LC 29 

Average age = 31. 

And take cuthbertson out and it  drops to 29. 

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   I don't think the players were tired last Sunday they just never got into gear.Batley played with more intensity ,energy and determination.We were never in control of the game and couldn't close it down when we had the lead in the last few minutes.I expect a much better performance on Saturday and we may shock a few people by holding Dragons to less than 14 points.However if the players turn up with the attitude at Batley it could be 40+.

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On 21/03/2022 at 00:16, RobLambert said:

So Mac says he doesnt want us to go unbeaten and losing a couple will do us good .... 

Based on that - was he gutted when Batley took the 2pts at the end ? and as supporters should we therefore not bother turning up until the play-offs ?

No disrespect to Batley but given their injuries and how strong our side looked on paper imo that was the worst result since Barrow at home nearly 3 years ago.

Defense, offense, desire, intensity, game management, fitness, tactical kicking, decision making, you name it we we looked second best.  In some areas by a mile.

Said after the Fax game that a defeat was on the cards.  Lets be honest we lost today in all but the score.

Vast improvement needed.

Agree with pretty much all of this. Sunday felt like a defeat as much due to the performance as the result.

I kind of get what Big Mac is saying re defeats, as they should in theory discourage complacency and keep everyone focused on the fact that you have to work hard to maintain your level and earn every point and win. Plus I still think it's more or less unrealistic to expect any side at any level to go through the season undefeated, as everyone can have off days and dips in form, and as we saw on Sunday, you only need to do that against a capable side to come unstuck.

I also agree with those saying we need to have a settled first choice half-back pairing, as all the chopping and changing will not be not helping our fluency/consistency. Based on the season so far (and Sunday in particular) Smith is currently one of those, so the question is who partners him, as none of the other three have shown any notable form yet (though appreciate Jacks perhaps needs a bit of time to settle into the Championship groove).

Wildie isn't a realistic option as he's a hooker who can provide emergency cover for the halves, and on that note I think I'd go back to having Jones do the longer stints, with Wildie on the bench to spell him after an hour while also providing said cover etc.

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