Final Keys Round 22


Final Keys Round 22

Eagles v Warriors

I am really looking forward to the tactical battle in this match in two areas – both challenges for Warriors.

First challenge: How to read defence and make attacking adjustments – specifically rushing wingers and centres in D.

I thought the Sharks up and in edge defence caused the Warriors to stutter and stumble in that loss last round. They appeared to be shocked and not know how to deal with it. Manly do “up and in” and “crash bang, how’s your ribs”, intercepts and anything else to shut down shifts.

Sweep runners are number one targets for this aggressive, well practiced defensive unit. The Kiwi crew will have had eight days to find a way to combat this D and won’t they get a test!

Second challenge: How to read attack, work together to avoid isolation to combine in effective tackles -consistently.

Warriors right side is very talented. In attack! Johnson and Hurrell have been exposed too many times even with skipper Mannering defending on that side with them. Here is what we raised in preseason preview.

The addition of rookie winger Laumape has increased the inexperience and vulnerability. Expect heavy traffic guys! And expect some rugged vehicles – Matai, Horo, Taufua for starters and then some smarts and physical required as I can see Foran coming around on a “keep going” play to a wide short side with all of those previously mentioned as well as Stewart, B cruising somewhere inside or out the back sweeping.

Foran should beware his pass is not intercepted – Hurrell and Johnson are both “sniffers”.

Manly by plenty


Broncos v Drags

Love the tough attitudes of the two #9s as they develop confidence and creativity in their key roles.

But it’s the comparison between the halves of struggling teams with unsettled and uncertain combinations that will catch my attention in this important match for both proud clubs.

I remember reading and then writing this pre-season.

Ben Hunt has gained no less than Darren Lockyer’s praise and confidence in doing the job that has not been satisfactorily completed for the Broncs this season – and maybe last as well. Whatever it is seems to have lifted Brisbane in the past couple of matches.

The Drags have another five eighth in Adam Quinlan in recent weeks who also has added a bit of spark to their attack. But it seems to me that like the Broncs the Drags need is clever, under pressure execution of pass or kick or run plays rather than energy.

Let’s see who can create and execute on Sunday arvo match – didn’t realize Brisbane ever had to play a day match any more?

Broncos – no confidence in that tip


Panthers or Cows

I feel Penrith has lost the one thing that had them in the play-off race for a while there. What is it? I wonder if anyone there knows either.

The Cows are more interesting with more scope for improvement and for consistency. Two performances like that in a row might cause those who terminated Neil Henry to pause before their next selection.

Their greatest area for improvement could be for those powerful front rowers to pass the ball occasionally! I can’t tell you how many times Matty Scott could have pre-line passed to a short support runner for a break in recent seasons. He is so scary for defenders when at his rampaging best that he always attracts an outside defender to come help.

That space is there oh so often it’s almost criminal for it not to be used. It would solve so many of the issues that remain unresolved since the simultaneous departure of dummy halves Payne and Segayaro. Here is what we said pre-season.

Cows comfortably (if you had to pick a team from both listed teams this weekend how many Panther players would make your 17?)