Who is he?
In 2020, Russell Bawden spoke to NRL.com about his time at Melbourne winning the premiership saying "I wanted it so bad that I swore off the grog for three months – and anyone who knows me knows what a massive sacrifice that was. And my mates didn't help. At the pub, they would dip their fingers in beer and smear it on my lips. I tried not to lick it... not easy."
Stopped reading after "Ricky Stuart said".Ricky Stuart said something the other week about his teams form reversal that I found interesting.
Basically along the lines of when he was being congratulated by some media he said hey yea wadda know we get some players back from injury and we are a different side, winning games again and performing like we know we can and the media are giving us a wrap.
While this may sound an obvious thing it got me thinking. While we don't want player absences as an excuse for losing or playing poorly are we and other clubs fans expecting too much from our boys when they are down on quality troops and regular starters?
We have been so used to in the past depth players coming in, filling that role and doing a good job and it not effecting the way we play or our chances of success too much but is this no longer realistic ? Has the game become so fast, the competition so tight that having some of your best players on the sidelines just cannot be compensated for or replaced? Is it the lack of quality in our depth itself?
BHU, Kennedy and Ramien have been 3 of our strongest and best players week to week in 2022 and their absence is showing big time - is this unavoidable ? Is being a consistent competitive team without some of your best players just a stretch these days, a pipe dream? Or have those players papered over some cracks?
Even the Storm who were without Paps and are one of the best teams at bringing through depth to do a job looked a different team without their regular fullback and got belted as a result. It seems to have an effect on not just structures and execution but attitude and morale.
Brisbane has won without Reynolds but they played 2 poor teams in Manly & Knights
I think Panthers still bring in their depth players and cover for injuries/suspension better than any other club and keep winning (even if they don't look at their best) but it used to be something pre 2019 under Flanno that we were really good at too utlising guys like Paulo, Capewell, Sorenson ect.
Is it coaching, is it the way the modern NRL is changing or both? other factors? are we judging them too harshly?
interested to hear others thoughts on this