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The “Unpopular Opinion” Thread

aqua_duck

Coach
Messages
17,121
1. 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.
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 thing
 

Yosh

First Grade
Messages
9,081
It's a real pity Ponga just isn't interested in footy. Slater, Cronk, Smith, Nathan Clearly and plus many other greats, would study the game non stop. It was their one passion, their one drive. I don't see that with anyone in our team at the moment. The game/training finishes and Pearce is off to the pub and Ponga is off doing a podcast somewhere.

I know close to nothing about most of our players off the field but I wish we had more footy geeks in the side, especially the halves.
 

Apey

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
24,566
Gagai is a good signing and has improved out of sight since he was here last.
I've warmed to it more after watching both him and Kurt Mann play, even if I have a beef with him being back here.
 

perverse

Referee
Messages
23,478
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 thing
For sure, I'm just saying he deserves some stick in that regard as well. He's not blameless. It's not just competitiveness, it's love for the game. It'll always hold him back, and I don't know how much that's worth to us in the long run tbh.

To have the deep understanding that a champion player has, at least in my experience, you need to have a level of love bordering on obsession for the game. Ponga doesn't have it, and I don't think you can manufacture it.
 
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aqua_duck

Coach
Messages
17,121
For sure, I'm just saying he deserves some stick in that regard as well. He's not blameless. It's not just competitiveness, it's love for the game. It'll always hold him back, and I don't know how much that's worth to us in the long run tbh.

To have the deep understanding that a champion player has, at least in my experience, you need to have a level of love bordering on obsession for the game. Ponga doesn't have it, and I don't think you can manufacture it.
Definitely. You compare Ponga to someone like Slater in terms of love for the game and it's not even comparable. Slater is working with Papenhuyzen, putting his hand up to coach QLD and part of the channel 9 team, when Ponga retires he'll be focusing on his beer company, clothing line and podcast
 

Knight76

Juniors
Messages
1,853
Knights will never be a sustained premiership force. We can't attract sufficient playing talen to sustain it, and our golden era only came about due to A Johns, Harragon, Buderus all being up with the best to ever play the game in their positions and all loyal locals.
 

aqua_duck

Coach
Messages
17,121
Knights will never be a sustained premiership force. We can't attract sufficient playing talen to sustain it, and our golden era only came about due to A Johns, Harragon, Buderus all being up with the best to ever play the game in their positions and all loyal locals.
We can be though that's the frustrating thing, massive supporter base, massive junior catchment area, one of the most financially secure teams in the NRL (wests is the biggest leagues club group in the country) and with a state of the art centre of excellence on the way. The only thing stopping us is ourselves, we need to blow up and rebuild our junior development program, and once covid is over put Zammit to work scouting young talent from NZ and the Pacific islands.
 

Burwood

Bench
Messages
4,177
Weren't all of the previous coaches (bar Bennett) harping on about getting our junior system right when they took on the job? I don't understand how our junior development is still in the state that it is.

It seems like it has been common knowledge for well over a decade now that we have the juniors to be a powerhouse, but the pathways system just isn't up to scratch and talented young players aren't kicking on. Isn't it Buderus' job as GM to get it right?

We need to be down the path of what successful NFL clubs seem to do these days- an experienced GM manages the roster, picks squads who are capable of playing a particular brand of football, and the coach's job is to then implement that vision. If the coach doesn't work out, get in a new guy who can do the job and avoid the need to rebuild a whole team to suit the coach.
 
Messages
484
Gould started all that over 8 years ago. Its what we need but it takes a long time to bear fruit

We need coaches at all levels to coach the same way, same systems etc. Bring kids through playing the same style and plays so its ingrained in them when they hit grade

It takes patience and foresight. Sadly something our clubs been lacking for a very long time
 

Yosh

First Grade
Messages
9,081
Gould started all that over 8 years ago. Its what we need but it takes a long time to bear fruit

We need coaches at all levels to coach the same way, same systems etc. Bring kids through playing the same style and plays so its ingrained in them when they hit grade

It takes patience and foresight. Sadly something our clubs been lacking for a very long time

8 years sounds a lot better than never...
 

aqua_duck

Coach
Messages
17,121
Weren't all of the previous coaches (bar Bennett) harping on about getting our junior system right when they took on the job? I don't understand how our junior development is still in the state that it is.

It seems like it has been common knowledge for well over a decade now that we have the juniors to be a powerhouse, but the pathways system just isn't up to scratch and talented young players aren't kicking on. Isn't it Buderus' job as GM to get it right?

We need to be down the path of what successful NFL clubs seem to do these days- an experienced GM manages the roster, picks squads who are capable of playing a particular brand of football, and the coach's job is to then implement that vision. If the coach doesn't work out, get in a new guy who can do the job and avoid the need to rebuild a whole team to suit the coach.
I think to be fair we never really had the financial resources to do it before. I think it's not just the pathways that need to be improved but the entire approach of scouting. I think for too long we've judged the success of our junior system on the results of the Mats and Ball teams rather than how many of those players ultimately graduate to 1st grade and higher honours. I honestly can't remember the last player to come from our Mats and Ball system and crack origin, and that includes guys we've let go.
 

Burwood

Bench
Messages
4,177
I think to be fair we never really had the financial resources to do it before. I think it's not just the pathways that need to be improved but the entire approach of scouting. I think for too long we've judged the success of our junior system on the results of the Mats and Ball teams rather than how many of those players ultimately graduate to 1st grade and higher honours. I honestly can't remember the last player to come from our Mats and Ball system and crack origin, and that includes guys we've let go.
Matty Johns makes a very good point though- every one of our junior teams seem to do their own thing. There’s no one overriding vision or style that we want to see across every single grade. When players do make the step up to NRL, the structures in defence and offense they’ve learned the last few years may need to be completely forgotten and learned differently.
 

aqua_duck

Coach
Messages
17,121
Matty Johns makes a very good point though- every one of our junior teams seem to do their own thing. There’s no one overriding vision or style that we want to see across every single grade. When players do make the step up to NRL, the structures in defence and offense they’ve learned the last few years may need to be completely forgotten and learned differently.
Absolutely, the coaches are obviously doing whatever they can to win, it's entirely results driven, which is the issue, further to that coaches are looking for kids who can execute their own game plan rather than kids who are perhaps abit raw but might have more upside. It's an issue that has really plagued Australian soccer over the years, a lack of a central philosophy.
 

Still Nutty

Juniors
Messages
797
Absolutely, the coaches are obviously doing whatever they can to win, it's entirely results driven, which is the issue, further to that coaches are looking for kids who can execute their own game plan rather than kids who are perhaps abit raw but might have more upside. It's an issue that has really plagued Australian soccer over the years, a lack of a central philosophy.
This is a key piece of the puzzle for us...

Financials are part of the answer, infrastructure is part of the answer (where is the Centre of Excellence BTW?), talent identification and fostering...and the other aspects are the culture and the vision/style of the systems you put in place, which is what makes the Storm and Roosters stand out from the rest.

It is no fluke that EVERY player who gets brought into the Storm NRL team, be it as a fill in reserve or to transition as a long term NRL player already knows the team structure, the playing style, shapes and structures, their role in that structure and how to execute it and be their part of the machine, regardless of how their lower grades perform in their respective comps.

We have a long way to go to emulate that model but we are looking to build that by getting the likes of O'Brien in, Zammit, the backing of Wests, etc.

The hard yards are establishing the foundations in the junior systems that embed and sustain the club you aspire to be...and that is the work that has been severely hampered by the pandemic and won't really bear fruit for at least another 3-5 years and that's if we can make it happen.

Gould has established that for Penrith and why I'd also look to make somebody like Ciraldo a key target for us as the next part of the foundation we need
 

aqua_duck

Coach
Messages
17,121
This is a key piece of the puzzle for us...

Financials are part of the answer, infrastructure is part of the answer (where is the Centre of Excellence BTW?), talent identification and fostering...and the other aspects are the culture and the vision/style of the systems you put in place, which is what makes the Storm and Roosters stand out from the rest.

It is no fluke that EVERY player who gets brought into the Storm NRL team, be it as a fill in reserve or to transition as a long term NRL player already knows the team structure, the playing style, shapes and structures, their role in that structure and how to execute it and be their part of the machine, regardless of how their lower grades perform in their respective comps.

We have a long way to go to emulate that model but we are looking to build that by getting the likes of O'Brien in, Zammit, the backing of Wests, etc.

The hard yards are establishing the foundations in the junior systems that embed and sustain the club you aspire to be...and that is the work that has been severely hampered by the pandemic and won't really bear fruit for at least another 3-5 years and that's if we can make it happen.

Gould has established that for Penrith and why I'd also look to make somebody like Ciraldo a key target for us as the next part of the foundation we need
Centre of excellence will be located right next to the stadium so an absolutely ideal spot and was scheduled for completion by the start of the 2022 season, I'd imagine that might be delayed due to lockdowns and covid. I mean the club has come a long way from the mid to late 2000s when the 1st grade squad was training out of a couple of shipping containers on fields that weren't even level.
I think getting Hayden Knowles on board is abit of a coup, he's been with penrith the last few years so would be familiar with the set up there, he's also spent time at the roosters and NSW origin team so brings a wealth of knowledge in terms of facilities and set ups.
I think in time Zammit will prove to be a vital addition. He's a renowned junior scout, he's credited with discovering guys like Taumalolo, Kikau, Brandon Smith, and Braden Hamlin Uele, all of whom were recruited from outside the cowboys catchment area. Gus spoke about how at penrith he wanted to give local juniors every opportunity to make 1st grade but at the same time brought in talent from outside as well like Isaah Yeo, James Fisher Harris, Liam Martin and Corey Harawira Naira
 

Knight76

Juniors
Messages
1,853
Matty Johns makes a very good point though- every one of our junior teams seem to do their own thing. There’s no one overriding vision or style that we want to see across every single grade. When players do make the step up to NRL, the structures in defence and offense they’ve learned the last few years may need to be completely forgotten and learned differently.

Andrew Johns I believe talks about this as well. That lower grades need to focus on producing quality first graders, not winning lower grade comps.

Nodoby gives a crap who wins reserve grade.

I do see some positive steps being made forward, and it is going to take time, quite a long time of incrimental improvements. The Centre of excellence is going to be a big help but how many teams have them, or will?

One of our issues has always been attracting established talent and much of that is due to the attraction of the big smoke, or cities with a much better night life where players can enjoy their footy but also their social life. I don't believe Newcastle is an attractive destination for players.
 

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