The GF Head to Head – the Wingers
The direct match ups:
Williams v Tupou; experience and efficiency versus youth and power. David Williams combinations with Jamie Lyon make for interesting analysis. Sometimes when I watch Lyon attack I think I might be able to score if I was right wing for Manly – he makes it that easy! His incredible service to his winger is a dream.
But don’t underestimate Williams; he is clever and great in anticipating his centre’s incredible range of skills. He is indeed one of the best finishes evidenced by THAT try opposed to Greg Inglis last Friday night and the other NINETEEN he has scored this season.
That right side Manly attack is alive and threatening at any minute of the game from any position so the awareness and concentration of Williams to take max advantage is vital to Manly’s chances.
He will terrorise Anthony Minichiello if he breaks into the back field with his speed and evasive swerve.
Countering this is the gangly jumping machine, Daniel Tupou; just ask Aku Uate about how good he is on attacking kicks. This is not Williams’ strong suit. In fact Manly’s right side will likely be in for a tough game as their tries conceded is not up to the standards of almost all other team stats of this awesome Eagles outfit.
They simply love to wedge in wildly when threatened with numbers. I can see long balls over the top or low accurate kicks into the corner for Tupou as a feature of the Roosters game plan. Get on Tupou for first try scorer and last and maybe at crazy odds for man of the match, with three or four! He will get most of his good end touches from his halves or back rowers because Jennings doesn’t pass a lot.
Tupou issues will be concentrating and decision making in defence too. He sometimes is made to look like the rookie he is giving up breaks and tries. It’s a big ask for him; remember his recent background is not good enough for Eels 20s in 2011, almost full season for Newtown Jets spiced with a handful of NRL matches in 2012 for Roosters.
The other contrast between these players is Williams is tremendous out of dummy half in yardage gaining. Tupou though never goes there (too tall, long legs) so his yardage carries are through running onto passes from dummy half – and aren’t they block busters!
Taufua v Tuivasa Sheck; wow what a contrast – size and power v agility.
These youngsters stepped into NRL footy a season apart but both looked like they belonged from the very beginning. Confidence and competence exuded them for differing reasons.
Roger T-S is of the Benji Marshall school of footy, at least in the confidence and footwork departments. Does he step off the left or right foot? As many a defender early this season found out the answer is very much YES!
He is sound in yardage carries with the threat to make a clean break if just one defender relaxes as he gets set to twinkle those feet of his. Likewise at the good ball end if his teammates can find a pass to him in a 1 on 1 situation it’s a try! Big Jorge will need to do his homework as he is the one most likely to face those feet near the try line.
I got the feeling last time Many met this challenge they had figured out a way to negate this footwork as some other clubs tended to as the season wore on.
RTS has a big job himself in D. The Eagles nearly broke that 4 nil deadlock in that epic match just 3 weeks ago and almost every time it was on that Roosters right side. Roger saved the day on one occasion with an ankle grab on Steve Matai just metres away from a try. I got a feeling that side will be attacked a lot by Manly from short percentages where there will be more chances of 1 on 1’s so Big Jorge v RTS is a scary thought.
In fact Jorge is a threat every time he touches the ball. He is a slightly smaller version of Vatavei in yardage and almost unstoppable close to the line. He is also part of the best edge D, in my opinion, in the NRL but I am unsure of his contribution compared to Matai and Foran!
The big fella has improved his kick catching since entering NRL footy as has RTS.
Some stats to digest:
Tupou has played every match this season while Williams and RTS have missed only one match. Taufua missed 2 only. All durable.
The Manly pair scored a mammoth 39 tries (Williams with 20) between them while the Roosters double managed 22 (Tupou with 13).
This is one area where the Eagles appear to have some advantage but the Roosters rookie kids won’t surprise with their own highlights.
And finally some other stuff:
Trivia perhaps but not trivial to Eels fans – Three of the wingers in this GF are Eels juniors who were in their club but not retained. And I am led to believe the other, Roger Tuivasa–Sheck , was on the Eels short list but were outbid for him.