I thought it might be interesting to have a look at how our squad is shaping up for future years. If anything it will be interesting to see what stupid ideas you idiots can come up with, plus I'm sure the abuse I cop will be pretty interesting too. Be warned: there will be assumptions and assessments made here. I don't know the club's plans or contract situation any more than you merkins do. This thread is speculative, like most other shit we post on here. So, IMO the top 25 should consist of a clear top 17 with the other eight being definite backups. Obviously with young backups they are still improving and a backup might find himself in the top 17 earlier than expected, displacing the former starter. Sometimes two fringe players have equal claim for a top 17 spot with the loser having to play in Wenty - an example is Sio/Toutai this year. Ideally they're both being paid as backups, but one or both might be on top 17 money, as in the case of a young backup forcing his way into the top 17 and pushing the two incumbents to fight for the remaining spot. Then there are the five or more players fighting to play out of the second tier cap. Ideally these are last resort backups (like Daniel Alvaro and Liam Foran) but guys like Ma'u, Edwards and Radradra started the year outside the top 25. It happens. As for the eight backups within the top 25, it looks like the ideal is to have one each of fullback, wing, centre, half, edge forward and hooker, plus two tight forwards (props/locks). This means a breakdown something like this: 2 fullbacks 6 outside backs 3 halves 2 hookers 4 edge forwards 8 tight forwards The idea of a 'utility' just means a player that can play multiple positions (just being able to play two similar positions like wing/centre or halfback/five-eighth doesn't count as a genuine utility) and so there is no need for a dedicated 'utility' position on the bench. As long as you have a couple of utilities somewhere in your 17 you can cover for injuries during a game. But at NRL level all utilities will still have a preferred position, hence I haven't included 'utility' as a category. If you disagree I'm sure you will tell me, whiny merkins that you all are. Anyway, the years of THE FUTURE!!!!!... 2015 Fullback: Hayne, Hunt W/C: Hopoate, Radradra, Morgan, Toutai, Goodall, Faraimo Half: Norman, Sandow, Matterson Hooker: Peats, De Gois Edge forward: Ma'u, Edwards, Pauli, Moeroa Tight forward: Mannah, Lussick, Paulo, Mossop, Gower, Allgood, Terepo, Tanginoa A couple of these (Faraimo, Matterson?) could be outside the top 25 next year, in which case we might buy more merkins (if we have room in the cap) and obviously there will be another five or more (ideally NYC graduates) also outside the top 25. This year our second tier players included NYC graduates Alvaro, Ualesi, Gorman, Evans and Cummins, but also more senior players like Lasalo, Foran, Ma'afu and Pewhairangi. I'm pretty sure Faraimo is outside our top 25 this year (which is why he hasn't played) but his contract might be back-ended :shock: placing him in next year's top 25. I dunno. Next year our second tier might include a couple of the above (e.g. Alvaro and Pewhairangi) but also NYC graduates such as Lavaka, Pritchard and Newbigging. In fact I'm certain Pritchard is contracted next year; he might even be in next year's top 25, giving us more hookers than we need. Don't forget Arhtur's rated him enough to name him at hooker against the Roosters in round two. 2016 Fullback: Hayne (when he re-signs), Hunt W/C: Radradra, Toutai, 4 others Half: Norman, Matterson, 1 other Hooker: Peats, De Gois Edge forward: Ma'u, Edwards, 2 others Tight forward: Mannah, Paulo, Mossop, 5 others As you can see we have a lot more room for signings in 2016 at every position except hooker. There is a slight chance De Gois gets most of his money next year with 2016 being a notional second tier value for the retirement fund. By 2016 some current NYC players (such as Aloiai and Davis) or second tier players (such as Alvaro) could have worked their way into the top 25. You never know your luck in a big city. 2017 Fullback: Hayne (probably), 1 other W/C: Radradra, Toutai, 4 others Half: Matterson, 2 others Hooker: 2 guys Edge forward: Ma'u, Edwards, 2 others Tight forward: Mannah, 7 others Bear in mind you don't need to break the positions down like this. It's possible to pay your third best winger and eighth best tight forward (for example) outside the top 25, leaving more top 25 slots for more expensive backups like an extra hooker, half or edge forward. As for the 'xx others' here and there, I'm sure the coaching staff have some ideas about who is to fill those spots - there could be kids currently playing SG Ball who are earmarked for a top 25 spot in 2017. Anyway that's a long post so I expect some abuse and ridicule. BRING IT ON MERKINS f**kEN BRING IT!!!!!! Thanks for your time.