bench- cordner, j.reynolds, watmough, and woods
looks a lot like last year's team, just changed the halves. thats all you lacked last year. it was close but we have the classy halves that win games if the forward pack can break even.
How do you use Gallen & Merrin in the same backrow? who gets pushed out and becomes the liability on the right edge?
we'd all like Gallen, bird, merrin and even watmough to start in the same team, but then balance is sacrificed and weakness emerge. bird is the only one at this stage who regularly plays on the edge. you need two players in your in the starting 3-man backrow who defend against more faster and agile players as well as hole-run themselves on the edge. neither of the other 4 listed above regularly do that. remember who they come up against here.........cronk, thurston, inglis, hodges, slater popping up, tate & boyd coming inside etc.
If fit, Lewis would take up that right edge position, but given his lack of football, someone else will have to be found to start in this position. Enter Beau Scott for mine and punt J reynolds from the squad completely. Watmough & Merrin can come on off the bench and rotate in the middle third where they belong and will have the most impact. Cordner can play middle and edge so can come on for spells for all of Gallen, Bird, & Scott...whatever is required.
i'd swap Fifita and Woods. let Woods & Tamou take the initial 20-25', then unleash Fifita & watmough/merrin in the back end of the first and the opening 20' of the 2nd half. Gallen will also need a spell which watmough/merrin are more than capable of covering in the middle third. Gallen should not play 80' in these games. we need impact. sure, he has the stamina, but a middle forward playing the full 80' in origin loses impact. the middle third has to be rotated efficiently and effectively.