Does anybody think that at our best we are any chance of getting near the Storm or Panthers at their best? I don't. I think there's 14 teams in the comp that would be lucky to get within 18 points of those 2 teams on a good day
I think we have the measure of the Storm if we were coached better. Not sure about the Panthers. They just seem to be way better then all the rest and coached brilliantly. I wish we were coached in the same manner.
I have always said, I think that Cleary is an elite coach, I know that many don't rate or like him, but for mine his teams always play with purpose(once he adjusts the roster to his liking) and each player knows his role and executes it well both on and off the ball. All he has to do now is win a premiership or two to finally stake his claim as one of the best in the business.
It has only taken him much longer then it should have because all of the coaching gigs he has had were taking over teams that needed to be rebuilt and then he left(sometimes his decision, sometimes not) before he could reap the fruits of his labour. Gould's ego put a pause on proceedings the first time around at the Panthers, but this time he will see the job through.
It will not surprise anyone if he ends up winning 3 or 4 Premierships with this club over the next 10 years or so. Great development systems, top line coach, and a roster that is young and will just add fresh blood here and there when needed as they come through.
We could learn a lesson or two from them development wise that is for sure. But we won't because we think we are doing fine just like you do.
P.S. I love that we have now become a top 8 team, maybe even a top 4 team again this year, but blind Freddy can see that there is a chasm between us and the top 2-3 sides in the comp when they are at full strength. We need to Identify what we are doing or not doing that those teams are to go to the next level and actually have a realistic chance of beating them regularly not on just the odd occasion here and there. It isn't because we don't have a quality roster where it counts, the spine. We just have a speed issue out wide, but that isn't why we miss our assignments in the middle.
The players in the middle are to die for, so why are they losing the ruck and collision in defense? These question needs to be answered and resolved. If the coaching staff can't solve it by seasons end, then changes must happen. Would Bellamy, Bennett or Robinson, season after season, put up with timid defense in the middle? I don't think so. They would move heaven and earth to bring in the right personnel, if they couldn't solve it themselves, to fix it. Of that you can bank on.