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NRL Form Centre Nominates Tonga


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“With Tonga being a tier two team, I know I can play there as well. I want to try to make Origin first and hopefully I get to represent Tonga [too]. I want to represent my parents, I owe a lot to them."

 

 

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/best-40-minutes-ever-how-siosifa-talakai-turned-manly-into-roadkill-20220422-p5afbu.html

 

Tonga backline maybe looking like this 

1 Hopoate 

2 Kotoa 

3 Talakai

4 Penisini

5 Topou

6 Staggs

7 Lolohea

 

Not the most creative halves (They have never had them anyway and still beat everyone) but that is a very talented powerful backline full of very good players. 

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1 hour ago, B rad said:

Not the most creative halves (They have never had them anyway and still beat everyone) but that is a very talented powerful backline full of very good players

Lolohea was indicative for me that there is no shortage of talented ball-players in Rugby League but we just often don`t get to see their full abilities if they`re playing in poor teams or behind second-rate packs. It`s only the really special halves that can perform under pressure behind a non-dominate forward pack. Give these other blokes a bit of room and a team on the front foot and we get to see what they are capable of.

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The quality of the creative spine is crucial.

I thought Talakai was superb yesterday but it really annoyed me how the commentary team kept saying he was single handedly beating Manly.

Time and again the shapes that Cronulla were creating, the ball playing of Moylan and Kennedy and the edge running of Wilton created time and space for Talakai and put him into some huge gaps.  But that was often ignored with the commentary focusing on how Talakai was personally destroying the Manly right edge.

If teams like Tonga don't have these well coached plays and creative spine and just relying on big units it will be a hell of a lot harder for them.

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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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I'm not overly up to date with how Saints are dealing with the Dodd injury but I've seen it suggested that Hopoate may play 6 for the rest of the season - If he does play out the season in the halves under Woolf I wouldn't be surprised to see Hoppa start at 6 with Niu at fullback and Staggs in the centres.

Junior Amone is another genuine half option to throw in the 6.

Manase Fainu's court case is the big wildcard in the spine, he's had a long time out of the game now but he was already one of the best hookers in the NRL at just 21 years old before he was stood down.

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Just looking at his profile on Wikipedia, Talakai was born in Australia and is of Tongan and Niuean decent and represented the Junior Kiwis so it could be a 3 way struggle for his services come the end of the year if he is in the same form as today.

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

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It’s not a surprise anymore that players are declaring for Pacific Island nations , which is great . On Talakai he’s been very very strong this season , but I wouldn’t go overboard on yesterday in making him look superhuman . Obviously that side of the Manly defence was very passive and struggling , not helped by Harper looking particularly weak after Covid . He really isn’t that bad a defender , and in the second half they closed down Talakai in his more limited chances a good degree faster . He’s very strong on an edge though and has took his chance with cronulla very well . I think a lot is from the introduction of Hynes as well

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5 hours ago, UTK said:

I'm not overly up to date with how Saints are dealing with the Dodd injury but I've seen it suggested that Hopoate may play 6 for the rest of the season - If he does play out the season in the halves under Woolf I wouldn't be surprised to see Hoppa start at 6 with Niu at fullback and Staggs in the centres.

Junior Amone is another genuine half option to throw in the 6.

Manase Fainu's court case is the big wildcard in the spine, he's had a long time out of the game now but he was already one of the best hookers in the NRL at just 21 years old before he was stood down.

The problem with Niu is he doesnt take highballs. He lets them bounce. If you are playing against Australia Cleary is going to send some towering bombs his way and him letting them bounce to see where they go is a recipe for disaster. Otherwise I would have put him in because his attack is very good. Defense is a bit hot/cold though. Hopoate is a safer option.

 

I was hoping Amone would go really well but he ended up getting dropped to the bench from the Dragons who are struggling abit. Talakai is the form centre of the comp, Will Penisie is going very well at Paramatta, so putting Staggs at 5/8 gets him the ball (which he has been criticized for not getting enough of), fills a weak position for Tonga and helps fit in the other good centres into the backline. Moses Suli is playing good as well but you cant fit him in. 

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Talakai, Suuli and Hurrell are great with ball in hand but all 3 of them have serious defensive weakness. Good when they have a front up tackle but as soon as a faster player puts on a bit of footwork none of them have the pace to go with them laterally. These kind of centres need a really strong defensive 2nd row / half back beside them to give them that cover.

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Hurrell never lets Tonga down. He grows an extra leg when he dons that red jersey. I thought he played out of his skin against Australia in 2017, even though he was puffing like a steam train.

Talakai is a gun and would get in on form, but Konny is one of Tonga's talismans. I hope he makes the squad as well!

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