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Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by getsmarty, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Illawarra League: Wakeman signs on for Berkeley homecoming
    Local Sport
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    EAGLE LANDING: Shannon Wakeman will link with his junior club Berkeley in 2019 after two years with Super League side Huddersfield. Picture: AAP

    A FINALS berth may have eluded Berkeley this season, but the Eagles remain very much a team on the rise with Huddersfield prop Shannon Wakeman to link with his junior club next season.

    The Berkeley product was the linchpin of the Illawarra Cutters pack that claimed the ISP double crown in 2016, a year in which he also earned NSW Residents selection and was named in the ISP team of the year.

    The 28-year-old, who also his six Test caps for Italy to his name, has spent the past two seasons with Huddersfield playing 27 games last year before a knee injury hampered his 2018 season.

    Eagles coach Aaron McDonald said Wakeman’s signature is a big endorsement of the club’s vision for its future after a much improved 2018 campaign.

    “It’s chance for him to give back to the game with his junior club, which is something he’s really excited about as we are,” McDonald said.

    “A player of his ability would certainly have attracted the interest of other clubs in the Illawarra but he wanted get back involved at Berkeley and bring some of that experience to us.

    “He’s definitely been watching us with interest over [in the UK] and has seen how competitive we’ve been. It’s been a bit of breakout year for us in a lot of ways and bringing Shannon on board is a really good indication of where we’re going moving forward.”

    Wakeman would potentially form one of the best front-row combinations in the league with Tim Moore, who’s been a revelation in his first season with the club, also re-signing for next season as has fellow prop Mitch Stokes.

    The Eagles have had the top four sides looking over their shoulder all season and McDonald is confident 2018 has unearthed the core group that can help the club make that leap to the finals next year.

    “Most of the players are very keen to hang around again and are certainly excited about what we did at times this year,” McDonald said.

    “You’re always looking to add that extra bit of class or depth to the club to build on the back of this year.

    “It’s hard to recruit when you’re sitting at the bottom of the table so, what [this season] does, is builds a bit of confidence in the club and outside the club that we’re building something.

    “We had a great start but, early on, played some teams below us on the ladder. We want to, not just be competitive every week, but win games. We’ve gotten close to every team now but they’ve come away with the two points and make sure our win column’s bigger than our loss column next year.”

    A 26-20 loss to Wests that put paid to their finals hopes last week is just the latest in a string of tight losses to heavyweight clubs this season, but the Eagles will have a chance to atone for at least two of them when they play Dapto and Collegians over the final two rounds.

    “We want to go out on a high over the next couple of weeks, build towards next year and hopefully gain some confidence from beating one of those big four [teams],” McDonald said.

    “We’ve had discussions around what we take out of this season and, yes we’ve had good wins against the teams who sit below us on the ladder, but we’re yet to beat someone who sits above us on the ladder.

    “If we can knock off one or both of these two sides we’ll be pretty happy because they were two [previous] games during the season that we probably should’ve won.

    “There isn’t anyone in our team who doesn’t think we can beat Dapto or Collies. We showed that earlier this year and now it’s time to actually get the two points.”


    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5564854/wakeman-signs-on-for-berkeley-homecoming/?cs=302
     
  2. hewi

    hewi Juniors

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  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons confident despite dry July
    Local Sport
    [​IMG]
    Picture: Adam McLean

    THEY’VE been the only permanent fixture in the top four this season, so St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor is understandably baffled by questions about whether his side can finish there.

    The Dragons slipped to fourth, their lowest ladder position this year, with their 36-18 loss to the Roosters last week. It was their third loss in their last four games heading into Saturday’s home clash with the Warriors in Wollongong.

    The Panthers, Sharks and Broncos all sit just one win adrift of the Dragons – who risk dropping out of the top four altogether should they lose on Saturday – but a favourable run home still has McGregor’s men in the box seat for a desired top-four finish.

    The eighth-placed Warriors are the last top-eight side the Dragons meet en route to September, with games against the Eels (16th), Tigers (ninth) Bulldogs (13th) and Knights (11th) to follow.

    It puts them right in the minor premiership hunt, but McGregor said that would merely be the cherry on top of his side’s finals ambition.

    “We’re looking finishing in the top four. That was our vision and purpose at the start of the year and nothing’s changed,” McGregor said.

    “If you win the minor premiership it’s a bonus, but for us it’s about top four. This competition is ruthless and from round one to now, round 21, we are the only side that’s still in the top four so it’s really important we stay there.

    “We’ve been there since round one we take big pride in that and we need to maintain that til round 25 and going into semi-final footy.”

    The loss to the Roosters has prompted plenty to suggest another late-season slide is on the cards but, having fielded those same questions since May, McGregor wasn’t interested in answering them on Friday.

    “The past is history. It’s a different group of men, we’re in a totally different position to what we’ve been in the last three years so I’m not going to talk about last year,” he said.

    ‘‘I think every team at different stages go through a month where they could be better. We’ve been through that. That’s July.

    ‘‘We had a really good debrief after the Roosters on our performance as a team and I feel that there were three key work-ons from the game, one in attack, one in defence and our mindset.

    “We’ve got to get them right, not complicate it too much and make sure we’re at our best in important situations around our team-first [mindset]. All systems are underpinned by an excellence of attitude and we’re working towards that.

    “We certainly dominated in that facet in the first 10 weeks – we had the best attitude of any team and collectively that’s why we won eight out of 10 games.”

    Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has been left fielding similar questions through the middle stretch of the season.

    Having sat comfortably in the top four through the opening 15 rounds, they’ve since slipped to eighth with four losses in their past five outings.

    Kearney labeled his side’s limp effort against the Titans last week as “soft” and McGregor’s expecting a response on Saturday.

    “Their coach called their performance soft and soft is a hard word to a rugby league player,” McGregor said.

    “We played them in round seven and it was a really good game, both teams were one and two then and it was probably the best game of the season I think, despite the result.

    “I’ve got no buy-in to what the Warriors did last week, they were without some key players [Isaac Luke and Tohu Harris], they’ve got them back.

    “They’ve got some talent across the park, that’s why they were a top four side for most of the year early and we expect them to turn up well.”



    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5565179/dragons-confident-despite-dry-july/?cs=302
     
  4. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons flyer still battling injury
    Local Sport
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    Dragons winger Nene Macdonald. Picture: John Veage

    DRAGONS flyer Nene Macdonald is facing another fortnight on the sidelines and he continues to battle a troublesome foot injury.

    Macdonald injured his foot attempting to score in his side’s 20-16 loss to the Tigers in round 18, with the injury slow to respond to treatment.

    “No,” was coach Paul McGregor’s short answer when asked on Friday if Macdonald was any closer to returning.

    “He’s definitely not playing this week and there’s a possibility he won’t play next week. We thought it was only going to be a week or two but it’s turned into a little bit more. With the injury he has, it can take a little bit of time so we’ve got to make sure that everyone who takes the field is healthy.”

    McGregor also allayed fitness fears for Origin stars Jack de Belin and Tyson Frizell.

    “Jack’s fine, he’s doing all contact at training,” he said.

    “Tyson’s missed three of our last four games due to rest or minor injuries so he’ll be better for the run last week.”


    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5565798/dragons-flyer-still-battling-injury/?cs=302
     
  5. hazzbeen

    hazzbeen Bench

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    “The past is history. It’s a different group of men, we’re in a totally different position to what we’ve been in the last three years so I’m not going to talk about last year,”he said. Yep but what he misses here is he is the same coach ......
     
  6. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons face tough questions after Warriors loss
    Local Sport
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    TOUGH DAY: The Dragons slumped to their fourth loss in five games against the Warriors on Saturday. Picture: Adam McLean

    HE’S sick of answering them – most of the media are sick of asking them – but Dragons coach Paul McGregor knows there’s only one way to silence questions about whether his side are again suffering from the late-season yips.

    There was no ignoring them following his side’s 18-12 loss to the Warriors in Wollongong on Saturday, their fourth defeat in their last five games, a second-half fightback not enough to overhaul an 18-0 halftime deficit.

    Both early-season pace-setters came into the match with some questions to answer, with the Warriors having lost four of their last five, with coach Stephen Kearney blasting his side’s performance in their 36-12 pasting at the hands of the Gold Coast last week as "soft.”

    He got the response he was looking for, with the win enough to force the Warriors back into the top four frame, while the Dragons are left teetering on the edge of the top four with four games to play.

    A slide out of the finals is near impossible, but their grip on a prized top-four finish is very much in jeopardy despite a favourable run home, with McGregor aware the only place silence to talk is on the park.

    “It’s not going away until you win is it,” McGregor said.

    “I’ve got a different playing group and we’re in a different position to what we have been before, I don’t want to revisit it. Our vision’s on what we need to do, not a revision.

    “However, everyone’s going to talk about it, it’s going to be raised again, because we lost. There’s nothing anyone can do except, when you go on the footy field and when you go to training, you work to fix your game.

    “We can speak about it and we can practice it, but in the end, we’ve got to execute once we go out on the field. We’re all accountable for our roles so people in the team have got to make sure we stick to what the plan is.”

    The Warriors built the handy buffer with three tries in the final nine minutes of the first half with Dragons fullback Matt Dufty watching on from the sheds after being dispatched to the sin-bin 11 minutes before the break.

    His tug on the jersey of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as the Warriors skipper pursued his own grubber proved the telling moment of the match, with the Dragons conceding three tries and bombing one of their own in the ensuing 10 minutes.

    “It was [costly] in the wash-up,” McGregor said.

    The sin-binning at that stage didn’t help. [We held the Warriors] to a zero scorline in the second half, we scored a couple of tries, we started to build pressure, our kicking game was better, we played through them a lot more.

    “We controlled their offloads a lot better and made it a contest. Our second half was much better than our first and that’s where it’s got to start next week.”

    The loss was compounded by an injury to Origin prop Paul Vaughan, who was left writhing in pain when he twisted awkwardly in a tackle from Adam Blair and Agnatius Paasi just 11 minutes into the match.

    He hobbled from the park nursing knee and ankle soreness and McGregor conceded the outlook wasn’t positive in the immediate aftermath, with his star forward looking at at least some time on the sideline.

    “It’s not great,” McGregor said.

    “He’s got a boot on down there but he’s no sure whether it’s his knee or his ankle. He heard something pop and he’s in a bit of freeze mode at the moment.

    “He’s concerned to be honest. We’ll have to wait until we get a scan and go from there but it doesn’t look promising at all.”

    Both sides had opportunities early on but couldn't find the breakthrough, with Shaun Johnson settling for a 19th minute penalty goal to break the nil-all deadlock. Simon Mannring claimed the first four-pointer 10 minutes before halftime when he planted a grubber from Tuivasa-Sheck in the Dragons in-goal.

    Dufty also got a hand to the ball, which was enough for the bunker to deny the try, but it earned him 10 minutes in the sin-bin for grabbing Tuivasa-Sheck by the jumper in the lead-up.

    The Warriors twisted the knife, with Solomone Kata crossing in the very next set off an offload from Isaiah Papali’i. Johnson's attempted conversion was waved away keeping the score at 8-0 nine minutes before the break.

    Isaac Luke extended the margin two minutes later when he burrowed over between the posts from a clever off-load from Jazz Tevaga, with Johnson adding the extras for a 14-0 lead.

    The Dragons had the chance to hit back when David Fusitu’a spilled a bomb from Ben Hunt, with Lafai barging into the Warriors in-goal only to be denied by a remarkable try-saving effort from Tuivasa Sheck.

    The home side's woes were compunded when Kata scored his second try at the other end in the shadows of halftime, with Johnson's sideline conversion mercifully waved away to keep the gap to three converted tries at halftime.

    The hosts made light work of the deficit after the resumption, with tries to Cam McInnes and Luciano Leilua in the space of four minutes cutting the margin back to six with half an hour to play.

    The home side had all the running from there, but couldn’t find the leveler despite a glut of possession, a jolting shot from Adam Blair on Jason Nightingale stomping out the Dragons last shot at pulling the match out of the fire.


    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au...e-tough-questions-after-warriors-loss/?cs=302
     
  7. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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  8. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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  9. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL.com Players' Poll: Part 4 - Preferred clubs, timeslots, expansion, Nines
    Author
    Michael Chammas Chief Reporter
    Timestamp
    Sun 5 Aug 2018, 10:01 AM

    Brisbane is the most preferred destination of NRL players, with 20 per cent of the participates in the NRL.com Players' Poll declaring the Broncos as the club they would like to join if they had to leave their own.

    The top three teams are hardly a surprise, with most players opting to join three of the most successful clubs of the modern era (Broncos, Storm and Roosters)

    Also in the final part of the poll, which was filled out by 117 players across 16 clubs before this year's representative matches, Leichhardt Oval has been deemed the most loved Sydney Suburban ground ahead of Panthers Stadium.

    The players have also largely voted in favour of staging a competition game in the United States. The majority of players also believe there is a place in the NRL calendar for a Nines tournament.

    Perth and Brisbane are the favoured cities for expansion, while surprisingly the Friday 6pm time slot has been deemed as the players' favourite to play.

    NRL.com Players' Poll - Part 4

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    The verdict: The three teams with arguably the most consistent record of success over the past decade have all featured in the top three. No doubt some players voted for the team they supported growing up, but clearly some based on an appetite for success. The Gold Coast Titans have traditionally struggled to attract big name players but they’ve finished fourth of all clubs. Perhaps the lifestyle and weather is an attraction to players. Some of the Sydney competition giants didn’t even feature in the top 10.

    Others that polled well: Newcastle Knights, North Queensland Cowboys, Wests Tigers

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    The verdict: It turns out Sydney suburban grounds have a place in the game according to the players, with only two of the 117 players polled voting against playing matches at suburban grounds. Leichhardt Oval was deemed the best to play at, with Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Lottoland and Belmore receiving the least amount of votes. Kogarah coming in behind Penrith and Cronulla would have surprised a few.

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    The verdict: The Friday 6pm time slot has divided opinion since its inception last year but it turns out the players love it. Perhaps because they don’t have to wait around so long for a late kick off and still be able to go out or spend time with friends and family after full time. Maybe it’s the fact they get the whole weekend to enjoy themselves. Surprisingly the Sunday, 4pm time slot only received nine per cent of votes. The least liked time slot was the Thursday night match, presumably because of the shorter turnarounds leading in.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: With the NRL still exploring the possibility of bringing back the Nines competition next year, it’s been heavily endorsed by the players. A total of 73.5 per cent of players want it back as part of the calendar. While the first four years were played in Auckland, next year will be played at a different location. The players have traditionally enjoyed the short-form tournament not just because of the open-style football, but because of the opportunity to socialise and mingle with all 16 teams in the one city.


    The verdict: If it was up to the players the next two expansion teams would be based in Perth and Brisbane. Nine per cent of players voted against the idea of expansion. ARLC chairman Peter Beattie has indicated the expansion discussion is back on the table but where and how many teams is up in the air. Fiji, on the back of a successful world cup campaign, surprisingly polled well.

    Others that polled: NSW Central Coast, Central Queensland, Papua New Guinea.

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    The verdict: With the NRL exploring the possibility of starting next season in California, likely between South Sydney and Melbourne, there seems to be no lack of support from the playing group to take a game to the United States. Almost 90 per cent of players have backed the idea of an NRL competition game being staged on US soil in the future.



    The NRL.com Players' Poll is independent of the National Rugby League. The survey was undertaken by 117 NRL players across all 16 clubs. The survey questions and results have not been designed or endorsed by the NRL or the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).


    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/08/05...---preferred-clubs-timeslots-expansion-nines/
     
  10. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL.com Players' Poll: Part 3 - Rule changes, best young player, hardest to tackle, biggest hitter
    Author
    Michael Chammas Chief Reporter
    Timestamp
    Sat 4 Aug 2018, 10:01 AM

    The majority of players that took part in the NRL.com Players' Poll are happy with the automatic seven-tackle set for all 20-metre restarts, however, most believe the game needs to change how drawn matches should be decided.

    Also in part three of the poll, which was filled in by 117 players across all 16 clubs before this year's Origin series, Kalyn Ponga has unsurprisingly been deemed the best young player (22 and under) in the NRL ahead of NSW and Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary.

    Ponga also featured highly in the "hardest player to tackle" category which was dominated by North Queensland wrecking-ball Jason Taumalolo.

    Sydney Roosters front-rower Dylan Napa was the overwhelming winner as the hardest hitter in the NRL, beating South Sydney's Sam Burgess.

    NRL.com Players' Poll – Part 3

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    The verdict: The wrecking ball that is Jason Taumalolo has been voted the most difficult player to bring to a halt. It's not just strength that has been recognised, with the dazzling footwork of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck earning him second spot.

    The surprise: Kalyn Ponga finished in the top five but perhaps next year he will feature a lot higher than No.4. There was no room for Sam Burgess, possibly a player who would have won this category in previous years. Another who will likely feature in future years is Penrith Panthers giant Viliame Kikau.

    Others who polled well: Sam Burgess, Marty Taupau, James Tedesco

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    The verdict: The wonder kid from Newcastle has unsurprisingly taken this category out. Perhaps Nathan Cleary would have been the recipient if you'd asked the same question 12 months earlier but Ponga's rise cannot be denied.

    The surprise: Tom Trbojevic and Valentine Holmes have represented their countries but even they couldn't get near Ponga and Cleary.

    Others who polled well: Euan Aitken, Suliasi Vunivalu

    ** At the time of voting Valentine Holmes and Euan Aitken were still 22 years old.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: The Sydney Roosters' Dylan Napa may not have been in the top 10 middle forwards in the game but he certainly lets his presence be felt with his hitting ability. Two Dragons also feature in the top five with Jack de Belin and Tariq Sims.

    The surprise: Cronulla's Wade Graham is one of the biggest hitters in the game, but perhaps the resurgence of Tariq Sims in 2018 cost him a spot in the top five. Victor Radley may find himself in this category next season.

    Others who polled well: Wade Graham, Russell Packer, Manu Ma'u

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: While there has been plenty of commentary around the frustrations of having every 20-metre restart constitute a seven-tackle set for the attacking team, it appears the majority of players polled don't hold those same frustrations. More than 60 per cent of players have voted to keep the rules as is, despite claims a seven-tackle set is too harsh of a punishment for certain in-goal infringements.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: Of the four options provided to the players polled, most voted to keep the current golden point system in place. You could look at it in a different way, with almost 65 per cent of players voting for a change in some capacity. The most supported form of change is to introduce a 10-minute extra-time period with the score after 90 minutes to decide the result. A quarter of the players polled believe the match should end in a draw after 80 minutes. Only 10 per cent of players support the idea of golden try.



    The final part will be published on Sunday with players responding to questions including expansion of the game and which clubs are viewed as great places to play football.



    The NRL.com Players' Poll is independent of the National Rugby League. The survey was undertaken by 117 NRL players across all 16 clubs. The survey questions and results have not been designed or endorsed by the NRL or the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).


    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/08/04...oung-player-hardest-to-tackle-biggest-hitter/
     
  11. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Top form not far off for Dragons: de Belin
    Local Sport
    [​IMG]
    QUICK FIX: Dragons forward Jack de Belin is confident his side isn't far off re-finding top form. Picture: Adam McLean.

    THEIR grip on a top-four spot looks more tenuous by the minute, but Dragons hardman Jack de Belin believes four weeks is more than enough time to recapture the form that saw his side emerge as title contenders earlier this season.

    In fact he's adamant it could take a single week despite suffering their fourth loss in five starts against the Warriors in Wollongong on Saturday. It puts a win over a top eight side more than 11 weeks into the past and has seen the chorus of naysayers emerge to put a line through their title hopes.

    The Dragons remain in the top four but, on current form, face an uphill battle to stay there despite a favourable run home. De Belin, howeverm remains confident his side's not far off clicking back into top gear.

    “Four weeks is plenty, it should only take one week,” de Belin said.

    “If we'd got the win [on Saturday], it might have just sparked us and got us back on the front foot but, obviously, we lost it. It was disappointing, it was patchy, it's just not clicking at the moment.

    “I think we're a bit down on confidence. You can see the effort's there, the boys are trying, it's not an energy or effort thing. They had a little bit of a run there and we just couldn't recover. It's a tough one but at the end of the day we've got to be better than that.

    “I feel like we can get it back pretty quickly. I don't think it's one of those things where we need a month or six weeks or whatever it is to find our feet again. We've just got to turn it around and that comes from within.

    “I feel like it's a pretty easy fix, we've just got to get a belief around us again because if you look at across the side there's so much talent so it's only a matter of time, hopefully, until we get back on track.”

    De Belin, one of five Dragons players involved in Origin, carried a well-publicised hip injury through the rep period with the help of pain-killing injections but said he's feeling sound in body and mind despite his side's wobbles.

    “I'm feeling pretty good to be honest,” de Belin said.

    “When you're losing it's hard to stand out like I was and it's kind of been the case at the moment. We haven't been blowing sides apart like we were.

    “In regards to the body, it's coming along really well. The mind's pretty good as well, collectively, I think it's just a confidence issue.”

    De Belin has been a mainstay of Dragons sides to earn the 'May Premiers’ tag in recent seasons, but the 27-year-old says the current side has too many wise heads to allow that talk to be a distraction.

    “It's only coming about if you buy into it and listen,” de Belin said.

    “It has been a recurring issue, we do tend to start pretty well at the start of the year and flop out at the end there and put some pretty disappointing performances in.

    “I feel with the side we've got this year, there's too many senior players and boys who've been here and done that before so I feel like we'll definitely bounce back. We've learned from past mistakes.”


    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5567210/top-form-not-far-off-for-dragons-de-belin/?cs=302
     
  12. Bests Golden Boots

    Bests Golden Boots Juniors

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    “A slide out of the finals is near impossible”

    “ Hold my beer......” Paul McGregor
     
  13. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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  14. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL.com Players' Poll: The full results
    Author
    Michael Chammas Chief Reporter
    Timestamp
    Mon 6 Aug 2018, 09:31 AM

    We put the questions to the players, and the results are in.

    NRL.com polled more than 100 players from all 16 clubs before the representative season, with players giving their responses about a range of topics.

    Cameron Smith reigns supreme as the best player in the game according to his colleagues, Smith's club mentor Craig Bellamy was named the best coach in the game, Kalyn Ponga is the game's best young star, and Jason Taumalolo is, unsurprisingly, rated the hardest man to tackle in the NRL.

    Leichhardt Oval is the most popular suburban ground in Sydney, and the players threw their support behind the Nines, seven-tackle sets, NRL games in the USA, and the Friday night 6pm timeslot.

    Here are the results.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: It's hardly a surprise to many that Craig Bellamy was voted the best in the business by the players. Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary finished in second position, perhaps aided by the fact he's coached at three clubs. Wayne Bennett will go down as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game but it appears his aura may have taken a hit among the current crop of players.

    The surprise: Stephen Kearney's selection also comes as a surprise but the Warriors' resurgence in 2018, and the fact he's coached many players at club and international level, may have helped his cause. South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold would have likely polled better if it was conducted after the Origin series. Interestingly there was no room for Roosters coach Trent Robinson in the top five.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: Rated by many as the best fullback of all-time, Slater won this category in a landslide with 60 per cent of votes. It's the second biggest winning margin of all the positions voted by the players.

    The surprise: James Tedesco was voted the RLPA player of the year last year. He polled well but it appears the emergence of Kalyn Ponga and the improvement of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at the Warriors saw votes move elsewhere.

    Others who polled well: Darius Boyd, Clint Gutherson.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: Some get better with age and that's clearly the view of James Maloney from the players. The five-eighth category was probably the most open of all positions but Maloney was well ahead of the pack. At the time of voting Gareth Widdop was on fire with the Dragons which no doubt contributed to his numbers.

    The surprise: Many would have assumed Cameron Munster would have polled better. So too Michael Morgan, who last year was considered as the best player in the competition for his role in leading the Cowboys to the grand final.

    Others who polled well: Corey Norman, Michael Morgan.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: It's not the fairytale finish he would have hoped for but Johnathan Thurston's reputation hasn't taken a huge shot as a result of the Cowboys' nightmare season. Nathan Cleary's stocks continue to rise.

    The surprise: Last year most people would have said Cooper Cronk was the next best halfback in the game but that hasn't been reflected in the votes for the Roosters halfback. Perhaps a slow start to the season from the Roosters contributed.

    Others who polled well: Luke Brooks, Daly Cherry-Evans, Mitchell Pearce.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: This was the most comprehensive-winning category of all positions, with Cameron Smith racking up two-thirds of all votes for hooker of the year. The off-contract Issac Luke is still highly-regarded by his peers as Damien Cook continues to impress. It would be interesting to see how high Damien Cook would have finished if votes were submitted post-State of Origin.

    The surprise: There was no room for Queensland State of Origin hooker Andrew McCullough in the top five. Josh Hodgson may have suffered from being out of sight, out of mind while sidelined for much of this season with a knee injury.

    Others who polled well: Nathan Peats, Andrew McCullough


    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/08/06/nrl.com-players-poll-the-full-results/
     
  15. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Pt . 2



    [​IMG]
    The verdict: If Cameron Smith needed any assurance he should continue to play on beyond the end of this season, this is it. He is considered the best player in the game by his peers by a long shot. It seems players haven't forgotten reputation when casting their votes, with Johnathan Thurston coming in at second position.

    The surprise: Perhaps the fact Greg Inglis missed out on the top five would surprise many. Also the fact Cooper Cronk wasn't in the top 10.

    Others who polled well: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Sam Burgess, Shaun Johnson, Greg Inglis

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: The Foxx's incredible transformation since joining the Melbourne Storm continues to improve, regarded by the players as the best winger in the business.

    The surprise: Warriors winger David Fusitu'a is highly regarded, but not many would have predicted this highly. Last year Suliasi Vunivalu was arguably the form winger in the NRL but there was no room for him in the top five.

    Others who polled well: Suliasi Vunivalu, Blake Ferguson, Josh Mansour

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: Will Chambers has edged out Greg Inglis as the best centre in the game. Chambers has been regarded as the best in his position for a few years but there are a few young stars gunning for his mantle.

    The surprise: The poll was done before the start of the Origin series. Perhaps Latrell Mitchell would poll a lot higher now than he did before the series. Euan Aitken was also in contention for Origin and was in red-hot form to start the year.

    Others who polled well: James Roberts, Dane Gagai, Jarrod Croker.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: This was always going to be a two-way battle between Sam Burgess and Jason Taumalolo, but it probably comes as no surprise to most that Taumalolo is considered the best of all the props and locks in the game. Jake Trbojevic's non-stop efforts in a struggling Manly side haven't gone unnoticed.

    The surprise: Andrew Fifita only collected four per cent of votes. That's a lot less than many would have anticipated. There was also no room for Kangaroos prop incumbents David Klemmer and Aaron Woods in the top six.

    Others who polled well: Russell Packer, Josh McGuire, David Klemmer

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: This was the tightest battle of all positions. Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell edged out Matt Gillett, and perhaps it was a matter of out of sight out of mind for the injured Broncos second rower.

    The surprise: Boyd Cordner only received 15 per cent of votes, while Angus Crichton struggled to poll enough votes to finish in the top 10.

    Others who polled well: Manu Ma'u, Josh Jackson, Tariq Sims


    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/08/06/nrl.com-players-poll-the-full-results/
     
  16. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Pt .3




    [​IMG]
    The verdict: The wrecking ball that is Jason Taumalolo has been voted the most difficult player to bring to a halt. It's not just strength that has been recognised, with the dazzling footwork of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck earning him second spot.

    The surprise: Kalyn Ponga finished in the top five but perhaps next year he will feature a lot higher than No.4. There was no room for Sam Burgess, possibly a player who would have won this category in previous years. Another who will likely feature in future years is Penrith Panthers giant Viliame Kikau.

    Others who polled well: Sam Burgess, Marty Taupau, James Tedesco

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: The wonder kid from Newcastle has unsurprisingly taken this category out. Perhaps Nathan Cleary would have been the recipient if you'd asked the same question 12 months earlier but Ponga's rise cannot be denied.

    The surprise: Tom Trbojevic and Valentine Holmes have represented their countries but even they couldn't get near Ponga and Cleary.

    Others who polled well: Euan Aitken, Suliasi Vunivalu

    ** At the time of voting Valentine Holmes and Euan Aitken were still 22 years old.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: The Sydney Roosters' Dylan Napa may not have been in the top 10 middle forwards in the game but he certainly lets his presence be felt with his hitting ability. Two Dragons also feature in the top five with Jack de Belin and Tariq Sims.

    The surprise: Cronulla's Wade Graham is one of the biggest hitters in the game, but perhaps the resurgence of Tariq Sims in 2018 cost him a spot in the top five. Victor Radley may find himself in this category next season.

    Others who polled well: Wade Graham, Russell Packer, Manu Ma'u

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: While there has been plenty of commentary around the frustrations of having every 20-metre restart constitute a seven-tackle set for the attacking team, it appears the majority of players polled don't hold those same frustrations. More than 60 per cent of players have voted to keep the rules as is, despite claims a seven-tackle set is too harsh of a punishment for certain in-goal infringements.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: Of the four options provided to the players polled, most voted to keep the current golden point system in place. You could look at it in a different way, with almost 65 per cent of players voting for a change in some capacity. The most supported form of change is to introduce a 10-minute extra-time period with the score after 90 minutes to decide the result. A quarter of the players polled believe the match should end in a draw after 80 minutes. Only 10 per cent of players support the idea of golden try.


    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/08/06/nrl.com-players-poll-the-full-results/
     
  17. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Pt.4

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: The three teams with arguably the most consistent record of success over the past decade have all featured in the top three. No doubt some players voted for the team they supported growing up, but clearly some based on an appetite for success. The Gold Coast Titans have traditionally struggled to attract big name players but they've finished fourth of all clubs. Perhaps the lifestyle and weather is an attraction to players. Some of the Sydney competition giants didn't even feature in the top 10.

    Others that polled well: Newcastle Knights, North Queensland Cowboys, Wests Tigers

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: It turns out Sydney suburban grounds have a place in the game according to the players, with only two of the 117 players polled voting against playing matches at suburban grounds. Leichhardt Oval was deemed the best to play at, with Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Lottoland and Belmore receiving the least amount of votes. Kogarah coming in behind Penrith and Cronulla would have surprised a few.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: The Friday 6pm time slot has divided opinion since its inception last year but it turns out the players love it. Perhaps because they don't have to wait around so long for a late kick off and still be able to go out or spend time with friends and family after full time. Maybe it's the fact they get the whole weekend to enjoy themselves. Surprisingly the Sunday, 4pm time slot only received nine per cent of votes. The least liked time slot was the Thursday night match, presumably because of the shorter turnarounds leading in.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: With the NRL still exploring the possibility of bringing back the Nines competition next year, it's been heavily endorsed by the players. A total of 73.5 per cent of players want it back as part of the calendar. While the first four years were played in Auckland, next year will be played at a different location. The players have traditionally enjoyed the short-form tournament not just because of the open-style football, but because of the opportunity to socialise and mingle with all 16 teams in the one city.

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: If it was up to the players the next two expansion teams would be based in Perth and Brisbane. Nine per cent of players voted against the idea of expansion. ARLC chairman Peter Beattie has indicated the expansion discussion is back on the table but where and how many teams is up in the air. Fiji, on the back of a successful world cup campaign, surprisingly polled well.

    Others that polled: NSW Central Coast, Central Queensland, Papua New Guinea.


    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/08/06/nrl.com-players-poll-the-full-results/
     
  18. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Pt 5

    [​IMG]
    The verdict: With the NRL exploring the possibility of starting next season in California, likely between South Sydney and Melbourne, there seems to be no lack of support from the playing group to take a game to the United States. Almost 90 per cent of players have backed the idea of an NRL competition game being staged on US soil in the future.



    The NRL.com Players' Poll is independent of the National Rugby League. The survey was undertaken by 117 NRL players across all 16 clubs. The survey questions and results have not been designed or endorsed by the NRL or the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).


    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/08/06/nrl.com-players-poll-the-full-results/
     
  19. BLM01

    BLM01 Juniors

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    Griffin gone at the end of the year. Panthers likely better form than the Dragons in the back half by Round 25. Geez their a linch mob out Panthers way. Least Dragons give their coach some time to build and turn things round, probably too much time!.
     
  20. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    St George Illawarra under pressure as injured Vaughan struggles
    Local Sport
    Limping. Pained. Busted.

    Paul Vaughan’s leg injury could easily also describe the Dragons' form.

    They have a month to save themselves, but will have to do so without a key forward who earned a State of Origin debut this year.

    [​IMG]
    Hurt: Paul Vaughan. Picture: Adam McLean

    After leaving WIN Stadium in a moon boot on Saturday, Vaughan underwent scans and treatment, with an official diagnosis expected on Tuesday. It’s been complicated by concern over both the knee and ankle, but fears remain it will be deep into the finals before he could return.

    Winger Nene Macdonald is probably another week away.

    The Dragons have lost four of their last five and are now under threat of dropping out of the top four, for the first time all season.

    On Monday, Penrith, only below the Dragons on for-and against, sensationally sacked coach Anthony Griffin after months of murmurs about internal unrest at the Panthers.

    With Parramatta, Wests Tigers, Canterbury and the Knights to come, there will be major questions asked if the Dragons fail to finish in the top four. The players themselves have nominated a top-four finish as the bare minimum in terms of season benchmark, especially after the bitter feeling of missing the finals last year, when beaten by the Dogs in the final round.

    There was a significant shift in fan unrest after the loss to the Warriors at WIN Stadium. Supporters are crying out, asking why the Dragons are on the verge of another late-season flame out.

    Coach Paul McGregor and the football department spent a significant amount of time addressing last year’s meltdown and how to manage the squad.

    And there is no mood for Panthers-style dramatic change at the Dragons, the internal dynamic is completely different and St George Illawarra’s powerbrokers have their eyes fixed on finalising the new ownership structure.

    But they also know crunch time has arrived this season.

    It’s almost impossible to miss finals from here, but they can finish as low as eighth, a prospect unthinkable before Origin stared.

    “It’s not going away until you win,” McGregor said after the Warriors loss.

    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5568966/crunch-time-arrives-for-limping-dragons/?cs=302
     

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