Re the Nicholls try, the blame lies with more than one player. You had six guys, either side of the play the ball, all within 5 meters of each other, who only had eyes for Marshall-King. They aren’t even looking anywhere else but the dummy half. All of them need to be eyes up to see where the potential threat is coming from.
I’m a big fan of De Belin's, but he doesn’t even look up to see Nicholls until he receives the ball, and by then it’s too late. Sloan, Molo and Liddell have the dummy half covered and everybody else needs to be getting the spacing right to get players in front of the threats. The ball was either going to Nicholls, or out the back to Katoa. You can’t expect Bird to come in to pick up Nicholls or be tighter to De Belin because, if the ball does go to Katoa, you’d have only three players on the left to cover half the field. Correct spacing needs four players either side of the goal posts. De Belin didn’t need to be so tight with Liddell. Marshal-King was clearly covered. He needed to be ready to cut Nicholls in half if he got the ball or lead off if it went to Katoa. I’m a big fan of what Jack does on the field, but he got the spacing wrong there. And it’s probably due to fatigue and the poorly taught defensive structures that have been evident for a while now.
I wasn’t really buying it when people were saying that the team isn’t fit enough but I totally agree with that now. We were gassed after 15 mins in the first half and just about spent after 10 in the second. Bird looks overweight, I was thinking last week that Lawrie looks to have gained weight since the start of the season (work that one out) and Bud’s arse would make an Instagram model jealous.
If Ryles does get the gig, with the systems he’s coming out of, I guarantee these guys are in for the shock of their lives. Get these guys running hills and really work on their fitness so they can match it with other teams for longer periods. And for God’s sake get Sloan on a weight gain and muscle building diet. 3 pre-seasons under Hook and he doesn’t look much bigger than when I first saw him playing SG Ball. Steaks and weights for Sloan and double leg days. He needs more muscle on his frame for his confidence if nothing else.
We are truly a mess at the moment. We need a new coach, with new support staff, and fresh ideas that are compatible with the modern-day game. We've been left behind because of three years of neglect...