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Half a halfback for 30 years.

Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by Eatons Hill Dragon, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Eatons Hill Dragon

    Eatons Hill Dragon Juniors

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    Merry Christmas all.

    With all the recent talk again about who will be the Dragons halfback in 2017 I thought it interesting that this position has been our issue for the past 3 decades.

    Below is a list of Dragons halfbacks going back to 1986. Interesting is that it's a list of 25 players (probably missed a few) so we are averaging one new halfback every year or so. Plenty of average at best players in the list too.

    My question is why is this position such a problem for us not just now but for a long time.

    Other question is who do you regard as our best halfback in the past 30 years.

    Ben Hornby has a great case since he did Captain us to the 2010 title. My favourite is actually Noel Goldthorpe, loved the combination he had with Peter Coyne in 1993.

    Perry Haddock, Steve Linnane, Peter Gentle, Steve Robinson, Luke Branighan, Noel Goldthorpe, Wes Patten, Ben Kusto, Jason Alchin, Brett Firman, Rod Maybon, Matthew Rodwell, Willie Peters, Ben Jeffries, Rangi Chase, Matthew Head, Trent Barrett, Ben Hornby, Nathan Fien, Michael Witt, Sam Williams, Benji Marshall, Josh McCrone, Drew Hutchison & Jack DeBelin (couldn't help myself).

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Walpole

    Walpole Juniors

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    As a pure halfback I'd agree on Noel Goldthorpe as the best of that bunch, he'd be just what we need in the current team. And of course Ben Hornby will always have a special place in the heart of Dragons fans, 2010 captain and a great one club player.
     
  3. dragonssamy61

    dragonssamy61 First Grade

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    Merry christmas to you Eaton
    Goldie my favourite as well.
    With coyne great combination.
    Goldie great kick game and driving the team around.
    And peter coynes speed and silky hands.
    What a combination they were.
    We had plenty of good 6 such as choc and even barret on his day but they were the best imo.
    But can't forget sowie without him a his kicking game and premiership.
    We have had some crappie one over that period.
    But of course benny hornby great captain and player.
    Still goldie was better
     
  4. God-King Dean

    God-King Dean Immortal

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    I've never thought of Hornby as a halfback tbh. Just the half who played on the left. But says more about the modern game, than anything else.

    We can only wonder what Firman & Head would have been, if not for injuries.
     
  5. Dragonslayer

    Dragonslayer First Grade

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    I thought half a halfback would be a quarterback (couldn't resist :D


    Goldthorpe for me.
     
    MattoDragon and Country Dragon like this.
  6. Coffs dragon

    Coffs dragon Bench

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    I reckon our best 2 halves in 31 years were premiership winners in Slippery Morris and Jamie Soward. Sowie came to the club as a Halfback and just seemed to wear the 6 on his back for convenience.
     
  7. chewbacca

    chewbacca Juniors

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    Youre missing a few....Mark Ko'cass, Troy Hodges, Kieran Kerr.
    I reckon Mat Head in his prime was the pick of the bunch.
     
    stretch neilsen likes this.
  8. jay mac

    jay mac Juniors

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    I always thought Firman, in particular, had unlimited potential. It was a shame that he didn't kick on, be it injuries or whatever. He had that bit of aggro (or dare I say "mongrel") about him as well. I really saw him as a long-term solution to the 7.

    I'm excited about what Head can bring to the club in his current role. Was obviously a very smart footballer. Hopefully he can add value to the brains trust.
     
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  9. Gareth67

    Gareth67 First Grade

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    Slippery Morris - killed the opposition with pure speed at the scrum base .

    Ben Hornby - workman like performances , dependable and never let the team down .

    Noel Goldthorpe. - always probing the defence and could kick as well .

    Each player was in a Grand Final , proof that a good half-back is worth their weight in
    gold . And should they allow Jai Field his time in the Cutters for 2017 , he may very well join them in years to come .
     
    MattoDragon likes this.
  10. AyiosYiorgos

    AyiosYiorgos Coach

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    Steve Witt, Jeremy Smith..
     
  11. JohnnoMcJohnno

    JohnnoMcJohnno Juniors

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    Perry Haddock or Noel Goldthorpe if I had to pick. Both of them are your more traditional halves. Didn't realise halfback had gone through so many changes.
     
  12. GC Dragon

    GC Dragon Juniors

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    I thought Mathew Head was the pick of that lot and pre his terrible knee injury was shaping up as our best half since the great Billy Smith . I thought Head had it all a real shame that knee .
     
  13. st shaneoh

    st shaneoh Juniors

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    Matt Head could've been anything without injury. Goldie was the best taking us around the park. Both pure half backs would love one of them now
     
  14. Eatons Hill Dragon

    Eatons Hill Dragon Juniors

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    Yep that Peter Coyne / Goldthorpe combo was a ripper and to think Coyne only really came into the Dragons team that year. From memory it was Tony Smith partnering Goldie in 92.

    Coyne had that ability to put runners through small spaces in the defensive line and generally always picked the right runner too.

    Steve Robinson was another interesting one. Seemed more suited to 5/8 but played a lot of half due to not having a decent number 7 and plenty of options for the 6 jumper (Gill, Upfield, Mackay etc).

    In the past 30 years we haven't really had a dominate full time halfback for 8-10 years straight (Cronk, Thurston, Johns etc).
     
  15. Old Timer

    Old Timer Coach

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    Since Billy Smith was the test half how many test half backs have we had?
    Barrett played a few games there I think and he was never really a half but other than that nothing.
    Therein lies the problem for our club and why the cupboard has been so bare during periods when we actually had very good teams for several years at a time.
    Some good club players mentioned in the list but if we had of had a Langer, JT, Cronk or the likes during those times I am quite sure we would have won a few more premierships.
     
  16. Saint 60

    Saint 60 Juniors

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    Stevie Morris was the only halfback since Billy Smith that has represented - Half has been a blight for us for years....we get some decent ones and they get hurt usually...its like a dam curse lol
     
  17. Old Timer

    Old Timer Coach

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    In actual fact Slippery played 1 test for Australia in 78 and he was playing for Dapto at the time and he joined St George the following season.
     
    dragonssamy61 likes this.
  18. since77

    since77 Juniors

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    Barrett was great in 99.
    Hornby was coached perfectly in the Bennett years, and showed with Soward that a half doesn't actually need to be elite if the gameplay is good and the player is capable of carrying it out.
    Morris and his moustache fill my childhood memories.
    Matt Head is the saddest tale - he's the truest halfback talent I've seen in a red V.
     
    currumbinsaint21 likes this.
  19. Reddragon

    Reddragon Juniors

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    Even Billy Smith started in the centers, but he was the last genuine top line half back at our club
     
  20. st shaneoh

    st shaneoh Juniors

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    How about Damian Chapman and Brett Clark
     
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