1. SAM TOMKINS
2. KEVIN LOCKE
3. BEN HENRY
4. GLEN FISIIAHI
5. SHAUN JOHNSON
6. SAM RAPIRA
7. THOMAS LEULUAI
8. FELETI MATEO
9. SIMON MANNERING (C)
10. MANU VATUVEI/KONRAD HURRELL
11. CHARLIE GUBB
12. TANGI ROPATI
14. PITA GODINET
and now to explain myself...
1. SAM TOMKINS - Fullback - this is the easiest selection to make and is first in the te
am. This game was made for Sam and I will go so far as to say he will win Player of the Tournament.
2. KEVIN LOCKE -
fast and has experience on the wing. His FB background should bring some steel to our edge defence. Also can play a halves type role when needed and has excellent link play. Needs to lose a little weight to regain some speed.
3. BEN HENRY - Centre - has pace, good defender and a sound footy brain.
His defence should help out wide. Also has a bit of size.
Like his dual position ability as I feel the Centre/2nd Row positions will be one and the same in Nines.
4. GLEN FISIIAHI - Wing -
same as Locke but with less of the halves role and more pace
5. SHAUN JOHNSON - Half -
obvious inclusion. Chief playmaker.
6. SAM RAPIRA - Prop - do the basic hitting up that his role requires but with the added bonus o
f being quick for a prop and a great defender, especially from the ruck.
7. THOMAS LEULUAI - Hooker -
good distributor of the ball and can be handy on defence. Able to step in and be our second chief playmaker.
8. FELETI MATEO - 2nd Row -
have him playing in the first spell to mess up teams defences with his offloading. His game will depend largely on the outside backs running off his offloads. Get that right and the opposition will be tired and depressed from all the tackling before they even get into the game. Can get lazy on defence so still not sure about him.
9. SIMON MANNERING (C) - Lock - tacklebot but with some ball playing ability and has the stamina to
play long minutes. I get that some are wanting to rest him but I dont see him wanting a bar of it. His work rate, work ethic and experience will be essential to the predominately youngish team.
10. MANU VATUVEI/KONRAD HURRELL - Prop -
impact off the bench. Would bring him on when both Benry and Mannering are on as I dont like
Defence aside, either one of these guys will have opposition teams shitting themselves.
11. CHARLIE GUBB - Prop -
in the mold of Rapira but more line hitting. Can run hard and tackle well but also has a great work rate. Something I believe will be very important in this tourney.
12. TANGI ROPATI - Utility -
mainly a sub for either Laumape or Mannering but has the ability to play anywhere on the backline and can tackle.
Been a standout for me in the Vulcans. IMO he has the edge of the other youngsters in that he has a litlle big game experiance.
14. PITA GODINET - Utility -
mainly to give TL a rest but can also slot in for Shaun Johnson
and Id even throw him out on the wing. Has a different style to Shaun Johnson
so will keep the other teams guessing and has a handy grubber kick. Think his defence has come along in leaps and bounds since 2011.
IMO the first criteria for selection will be DEFENCE. There are always going to be exceptions, especially in League and especially the Warriors, but Ive based my team mainly on defence, stamina and work rate. Always going to need ball playing, offloading and attack but thats all pointless if your running around tackling, or trying to, all game and having nothing in the tank for any offensive work.
Because of the criteria Ive set I just couldnt bring myself to add some of the bigger boys as I feel they will be overworked in this format and be left standing still by the faster backs. Ive gone for the more agile players in our pack so no Matulino, Lillyman, Lousi bro's, Matagi or Rusty. Tempted to have Ikahihifo in there but his defence when isolated is poor such as the time he played Centre in Round 1 against the Eels.
Also because of the defence aspect I couldnt play Friend. Far too many ineffective tackles for my liking. Thats also why I have no NYC newbies. They cant tackle! Have a sneaky suspicion that Lowrie will make the team. Think Dane will get a crack too because of his defence but he wont offer anything on attack. Pity Taylor is off to the Panthers. He would have been handy in this comp.
Can only name one of Hurrell or Manu but cant bring myself to to choose. Both offer the same destructiveness and frailties. Im leaning towards Manu because he is fitter but I think Hurrell would go nuts with so much space. Both have their pro's and con's.
I dont know, this is harder to choose then it sounds...