Season Review - 2022 & Porter-Gallen Medal Night

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The end finally came for us on Saturday night, and it’s taken me a few days to let it sink in and get over the disappointment. It really was one of the worst final series for us since the days of ’99 and ’88 when we had horrible results. Many of us I think held fears privately that this would happen, and some of us were very public about it when we lost to the Cowboys. Out in straight sets after finishing 2nd was not a good feeling and has left us all very deflated and asking questions as to why it all happened.

So how did we reach this point? The so-called soft draw with the last six games against low teams perhaps gave us a soft underbelly and did not prepare us for the tougher games ahead. It is always hard to say as we are not at the coalface and don’t engage with the playing group each day, so we do not know the extent of niggles or injuries they have. Our pack while mobile and strong, lacked an enforcer, someone other teams would be not keen to engage.

For the first 7 weeks of this competition, we showed we had some great attacking flair, our sweep plays were effective, Nicho and Moylan worked well together with Kennedy providing the spark out wide and creating space for our wingers who scored plenty of tries early on. Even the games we lost against Canberra and the Storm, we still attacked well and often. But after the Broncos and Canberra games in Brisbane, we could not get the consistency going and stringing two wins together in a row proved difficult.

We lost Katoa against the Cowboys for the season and then Will two games later and our makeshift side started to show some flaws. We were lucky (or unlucky depending on how you see it) that we played some easy teams and were able to still pick up points. But it is now clear that it was a false dawn. Playing tough semi final football was beyond us and we could not sustain the energy or the drive that was required.

Throughout the year, there were many questions about the Hynes/Moylan combo, at times it worked brilliantly but better teams sussed it out easily and snuffed out any danger and we had no Plan B. The biggest criticism I think has been the form of Wade Graham and how his return after being out for the early rounds, saw our good form bottled and didn’t give the likes of Sifa or Ronnie room to move. It was felt that Tieg Wilton was good in his role and should not have been dropped for Wade. Certainly a valid point.

We did have some depth but as we have found out, it got us only through the easy games. Recruitment for 2023 seems done so we will have to get on with a similar roster without the likes of Tolman and Fifita. Our defence has also been a big talking point. I think most would agree that for the majority of the season it has been much better than the previous two years but when it mattered most, we did not hold it together and it turned to mush. Experienced guys like Finucane who pride themselves on defence, put together some ordinary displays in the finals series.

In regards to our coach, for his rookie year I think the majority on here think he has done a fine job. He has brought some steel and determination to our side and a sense of success. He has put some good systems in place and recognised some good young talent coming through. He will probably be pipped by Todd Payten as Coach of the Year but in our eyes and most of the media, he has done an outstanding job. I know most of this forum also believe he has made some selection mistakes, but I think it is a long bow to draw to criticise this, especially when all of us don’t have his experience or the know-how to coach an NRL team. I always find it extremely amusing when someone in the general public thinks they know better than the coach!

Nicho Hynes showed what a class player he is both on and off the field. He still has some things to work out to become a better player but with his work ethic and drive, I am sure he will get there. It does look like Matty Moylan will partner him again in 2023 with Kade Dykes the obvious one to take over. But this will be all up to Fitz to decide. Oregon Kafusi is coming here in 2023 which will certainly strengthen us and it is hoped that Hazleton and Colquhoun can also improve their impressive debut performances in 2023.

So, I think all in all it has been a great year for Fitz’s first year in charge, let’s hope we can do it all again next year for much better results.
 

stormshark

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Great synopsis imho. To me at the end of it, cmg into the Semis, felt more like that 2008 season was it when we finished equal 1st (3rd on points), but lost critical players late ( The 5/8 Seymour and Bird) and just finished those finals with a whimper, after a great season. As a Supporter, i think this 2022 yr was one of the most enjoyable seasons to watch, free of Expectations and nice attacking free flowing football displayed, but cruelled by dumb, basic handling errors at times. Devastating was the Cowboys home final. Finals game 2 we just weren't up to it had a bad night etc. Overall 8/10 season for mine and those 2 losses hopefully will kick start a 2/3 yr golden run.
 

SF

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It felt to me like we went a bit too hard too early, like some of the Roosters teams the past few years, contributing to injuries and not peaking at the right time (e.g. Finnucane). But I think we still needed that as a club this year, just to start fresh at home, and get the Shire back on board.

We can look back at the past and say we got flogged in the 2015 Semi Final, and turned things around the next year... though Dykes and Iro are nowhere near where Val and Bird were, and we don't have Maloney coming. But from what I hear, the club isn't being complacent at all with the team, and looking for some big recruits over the next year or two.

And yes we had a soft draw, though in some cases we sunk some teams who might have had different seasons otherwise (Dragons x 2, Knights Round 4, Manly Round 7). The highlights for me were the wins over the Eels and Bunnies at home, and first half against the Storm in Melbourne. They showed to me we could actually match it.

Had a lot of great fun at our home games, and plenty of other teams supporters didn't. Just a really average finals series in the end.
 

andrew's_sharks

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For mine, this year we learnt to win the games we should win. In general won all the ones we were expected to. Now we need to learn how to win more of the close 50/50 games and top teams more consistently.
 

bort

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I still had some confidence we could make a dent in the finals series until we lost Sifa and Royce out of team to face the Rabbitohs.

Interestingly starting 13 players missing from remaining finals teams is
eels 1
rabbitohs 0 (1 suspended against us)
cowboys 0
panthers 0

other finals teams knocked out
raiders 2
roosters 2
us 3
storm 4

Easy to say should just be able to overcome it but it's certainly an interesting comparison and supports the trend that the teams that do the best often have the best run of luck with health.

Not the only factor of course
 
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Pishposh46

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For mine, this year we learnt to win the games we should win. In general won all the ones we were expected to. Now we need to learn how to win more of the close 50/50 games and top teams more consistently.
Yeah, now if we can just start beating the Raiders again.
 
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I made my thoughts clear in another thread, not going to repeat.

We need a couple of decent recruits and guys like Dykes to come along before we take the next step. Hard to see big names being signed for next year.

We will get a tougher draw next year which is a good thing, you don't improve by playing junk teams.

As things currently stand with the roster I see us falling down the ladder next year a little, probably 5th or 6th. I expect 2024 to be when we really start flying assuming we nab who we need and some of the youngsters have improved.
 
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Shortfin Mako

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If we were like the Panthers and expected to win the GF then I would have been pretty harsh in my criticism. But we are not there (yet).

Losing is always disappointing - even if it is a test game. It always hurts. I agree with everyone about where our weaknesses are however I think we did pretty well for th efirst year. I think we are also fighting to change some cultural BS coming from the past years and some games we seemed to get back into bad habits.

@bort also has interesting information about the healthy rosters. I think even if we went through this week we would have been exposed playing against the Panthers. Maybe it was better to exit now as it is possible if we somehow made it to the preliminaries or even GF, that could have masked some of the inefficiencies we have. I think this result is better in the long run. Still hurts though.

Our GF was against the Cowboys and we gave that game away in the last 20 seconds. Very hard to swallow, very bitter. Sometimes you can come back from those but I think you need experience to do that.

I expect the team to master playing fast a bit better next year. I expect the defense to be more solid and hopefully minimize the brain farts we seem to keep having (one fo the cultural bad habits I mentioned above). Our goal is to be a consistent top 4 team but that does not come easy.

On another note, we need to be way smarter. Katoa's injury was very unneccessary - I wish he’d just put the ball down. We also seemed to be "managing" some games and we lost those games. Hoprefully we learnt from those games and will do better next year.

Overall, I am happy with this year and I give 7/10. We need to get to a point where we can watch the games with confidence. I do not think anyone here has that yet. We were even scared of the Bulldogs or Titans games in the last weeks for God's sake. We cannot put big scores to teams and that makes us worry about even the easiest games. The second Bulldogs game is a good example of that.

I am sure Fitzy et al see what everybody on this forum sees and more. I am sure they know what needs to be done.
 
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Tatus

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Did really well during the season, structures and mind set seem to be a strong point so far, but we got to the finals and we **** the bed.

Opponents in the finals both had elite players in their team. JT3 for the cowboys and Mitchell for south’s.

Who do we have? A rookie nrl half in Hynes and Talakai who went down hill after Origin and missed the last game. Got a whole bunch of talent just below hyne though. Rudolf, Hunt, Uele, Katoa, Ronnie, etc.

Our troops will be better off for the experience and will be wanting more, along with the experienced players keeping tempo while the fairly young core push for more success, should make for a similar pre-finals season.

It sure would be nice to snag Tedesco or some other player that’s elite in their position. From prop to FB, it doesn’t matter.
 

Sparkles

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Boys, you don't all have to publish novels just because Chad did 😉

I think it's all been summed up nicely. Rookie half and coach. A bit of a mixed bag for our pack that does need an elite level leader and missing a centre and a few too many injuries at the wrong time.

Pretty solid hit out all things considered.
 

Six Again

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No novel just my summary assessment

Year overall a Par result based on preseason hype & my expectations .

Overall season player/coach rating based on my preseason expectations -

Above par - Nikora , Fifita , Tolman , Moylan , Mulitalo , Katoa , Dykes , Fitzy

Below par - BHU , Hunt , Finucane , Wilton

Par - McInnes , Brailey , Hynes , Tracey , Graham , Miller , Talaki , Rudolf , Kennedy

Deserved more opportunities - Hazelton , Colquhoun

Injured - Williams
 
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No novel just my summary assessment

Year overall a Par result based on preseason hype & my expectations .

Overall season player/coach rating based on my preseason expectations -

Above par - Nikora , Fifita , Tolman , Moylan , Mulitalo , Katoa , Dykes , Fitzy

Below par - BHU , Hunt , Finucane , Wilton

Par - McInnes , Brailey , Hynes , Tracey , Graham , Miller , Talaki , Rudolf , Kennedy

Deserved more opportunities - Hazelton , Colquhoun

Injured - Williams
You were expecting us to finish second?
 

bort

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So many controversial takes haha

Hynes might win a Dally M in his first season as a halfback is only par?
Tolman as a fill in defensively sound prop was more impressive and above par?
Hunt who barely played last year and finished holding a starting role was bellow par?

Of course, me not agreeing doesn't make you wrong!
 

Six Again

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You were expecting us to finish second?
No , I indicated preseason I thought 6th would be a par & there are still 4 other teams still in the running for the premiership so maybe we finished 5th .

Did we improve on last season , yes - but my assessment is based on my expectation , not the media's or that of others.
 

Patrick

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Felt a lot like 2015 for me in the end. Coming into the season with no finals previous year, exceeding expectations only to fluff the ending. In '15 we fell out of the top 4 in the last round to Manly, then got pasted by NQ. A sour end to a good season, '22 feels the same. I think we'll win the comp next year or at least be very competitive in the next few seasons. Our young team will only get better, and some oldies are moving on. Need one or two good recruits in the forwards. The bad ending to this year will have us burning for redemption.
 
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Felt a lot like 2015 for me in the end. Coming into the season with no finals previous year, exceeding expectations only to fluff the ending. In '15 we fell out of the top 4 in the last round to Manly, then got pasted by NQ. A sour end to a good season, '22 feels the same. I think we'll win the comp next year or at least be very competitive in the next few seasons. Our young team will only get better, and some oldies are moving on. Need one or two good recruits in the forwards. The bad ending to this year will have us burning for redemption.
I like and agree with this. Gold post mate
 
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