I think you make a good point re Ponga but in saying that it doesn't at all excuse the extremely poor coaching in attack. Ponga isn't the reason we rank dead last in decoy runs, Ponga isn't the reason we rank 1st in one out runs, that's a deliberate approach from the coaching staff. Ponga will never be Turbo nor Teddy because he hasn't got the uber competitiveness I'm his DNA and that's a big issue but at the same time I feel like we're not a team that really has much emphasis on 2nd phase, the mantra seems to be hit up/settler and then set up for the next play and that seems to be a team thing1. Yep, looking highly possible. He's probably still got a year or two before we know for sure, still very young.
2. Yep, agreed 100%. Good service, great tackler, good in effort areas... but very one dimensional otherwise. We offer zero threat out of dummy half. Has completely put his running game cue in the rack, no kicking, playmaking or subterfuge from dummy half whatsoever.
3. Yyyyyes and no. Yes in that, I don't know if he reaches any great heights. No in that I think he can offer good value as a squad player. Depth/bench and oscillating between the two most likely.
4. I wish, but he is what he's pretty much always been. Had one pretty ok year, but still was more of a problem than a solution even at the time. Rest of his career is... well... this.
Here's one of my own. Ponga will never be the player he could be. He won't ever reach the heights of someone equal to (in many cases less than) his talents that actually loves the game. When asked in the pre-match media just this week before the Parra game how he thinks Parra are going - the only response he could offer is that we haven't done our video work yet, and that he doesn't watch footy. Doesn't watch footy?? Mate, we're paying you a million or more to play the f**king game, and you can't be bothered to sit at home with a beer and do a bit of homework?
It shows in the way he plays the game too. Why do you think he's not sniffing around Friz for offloads all the time? Friz has had a million chances to offload to a flying Ponga in the past couple of months, yet we've seen zero. Ponga looks great as someone either creating for himself through sheer athleticism, or someone running a structured play that he's learned during his "day job" - but he will never have the footy instincts of a Tommy Turbo or a Ryan Papenhuyzen. As a result of that, I don't think he'll ever be the player we want (and need) him to be.
We want to blame our halves or our coaching all the time for our lack of ability to play ad lib football, but our highest paid attacking weapon has no instinct for that style of play whatsoever.
He either needs to find that love, that obsession for the game and for winning at it... or alternatively we can't rely on him to be our main man.