As always this has been a frustrating season for us faithfuls, however I think I may view it in a slighty different light to many. Just to bring back the ol' phrase: We're almost there. I think it's a lot more valid this season than any under Cleary. Defense especially, for such large portions of games we've had amazing defense, just look to the Sharks game for example - that first 70 minutes was rock solid, especially on our goal line. I think we've been let down by mentally switching off for 20 minutes each game, notably against the Storm and Sharks in the final stanza, but also the first 20 minutes in our opening 5-6 games. I think we are actually almost there - I would not at all be surprised if we won every single game from now on, I seriously think we have it in us. However, I also wouldn't be surprised if we lost every game from now on.
Same with our offense, we look extremely sharp on occasion, but also very poor on occasion. However, I can see structure forming - the way Johnson
barks orders at people (especially noticeable live) indicates that there definitely is a plan... it's just lacking execution. So while the structure is obviously not there as we'd like, I can see it starting to come through - something I never felt with Cleary.
One key change I'd like to make is Mateo back to the left edge. Mateo is our best hole runner and he makes Johnson
a much better player for it - Taylor simply doesn't offer the same options on the edge. Added to that, the Mateo at lock (unfortunately) has been... well not a disaster, but definitely not the result I was hoping for. Conversely, I was very much enjoying the work Taylor was doing in the middle of the field offensively, especially his habit of running back against the run of play - giving an option for Johnson
to pass inside when there's nothing on. I think we've seen more of Johnson
getting a bit lost since Mateo has moved to lock - although that could just be selective memory on my part.
So as for my prediction - I've gone for us scraping into the 8. But I have absolutely no idea what I really think, I don't think I could be surprised by any result.