Keys to Friday Night Footy
Storm v Rabbits
The team sheet. Is Inglis on it?
Whether he plays or not my eyes will be all for the #9’s. Its number one v number 2 in the dummy half stakes. Talk of Jake Friend being in one of those positions is just a little premature at this point even allowing for his continued progress.
Isaac Luke can terrorise the experienced but slowing Storm pack if his own big men can get him some quick play the balls. His real challenge will be to instigate big questions on smart plays rather than wait for it to be presented if the battle is tight as I expect it to be. Luke certainly has the physical tools. I feel his consistency and creativity for team mates has improved remarkably since Michael Maguire has become his coach.
In the round 6 clash Cameron Smith created some crucial plays paving the way to his team’s 17-10 win. There is footage from that game that every player, not just budding dummy half should use as the base for quality attack. Patience, awareness, combination and execution to open up Souths centre of the ruck defence.
Like both teams’ markers and middle defenders I won’t be taking my eyes off every play the ball in this match.
There are so many other great match ups but how good is the prospect of watching the hot kids, Reynolds and Keary versus the experienced campaigners Cronk and Finch.
And the forward battle too. I think the Storm might get the shock all teams tend to get after a cakewalk the previous week. This Rabbits pack will be both frightened and hurting – great mix, when supported by talent and organisation.
Why frightened? Storm’s victory by THAT MARGIN will scare all opponents over the next few weeks. No-one will want to be beaten like that. After their failure to deal with Cowboys last week they will be hurting, with embarrassment and trying to hurt Storm players in every carry and tackle I suspect!
There is so much to look for in this match.
I think Souths can cause an upset even without Inglis and Sutton, maybe.
Eels v Tigers
Don’t take your eyes off either team’s defensive line in this match because you never know where or when it might leak points!
The keys to this match are direct opposites.
Will the Tigers halves, Anasta and Marshall, and other creative players (Fulton, Blair and Thompson) find more opportunities in possession despite the loss of Robbie Farah?
Sometimes when the control centre is not operating the rest of the crew take on more responsibility. This can lead to an improvement of the whole of team performance. Joel Luani, debuting at #9, is a complete unknown, ex-rugby player converted to a footy dummy half so he is likely to give it to whoever wants it most. It’s got obvious concerns in reading the play and decision making but it might just work.
For the Eels, all eyes including mine will be on Jarryd Hayne. Returning after eight weeks from a “one or two week” hammy in a post-Origin match, Hayne didn’t give me a great deal of confidence in his pre-match comments. I think I would have been checking with the player and medical staff after he raised concerns of a wet track and extra pressure on his leg!
Presuming he is a starter, it will be interesting to see if he can create that “individual” spark to generate points and confidence in his team mates. I think we all forget just how important other players were in assisting the Hayne Plane to take off, back in the day. Will he find players to offload, flop the ball out the back for the full back to use that speed power and evasion against a standing or broken defence?
Or halves to turn him back inside on some of those sensational curved paths against a middle defence sure to be scrambling out to shut him down?
In short will anyone at Parramatta know how to provide the matches so that the dynamite can go off?
Refuse to tip on this one – oh alright Tigers!