Broncos News: Blow for the Broncos as Corey Allan to depart

In a blow to the Broncos’ future prospects, Fox Sports are reporting that South Sydney have signed talented outside back Corey Allan, for the 2019 season.

Currently plying his trade at fullback for the Souths-Logan Magpies in the Intrust Super Cup, the talented 19 year has impressed so far this season, averaging 90 run metres per game and only 1 missed tackle.

With his per game production this season, exceeding that of fellow Broncos contracted outside backs, Moses Pangai, Kontoni Staggs, Jamayne Isaako, James Roberts, Tom Opacic, Jack Bird and Jordan Kahu, but no first team opportunities forthcoming at the Broncos, it is understandable Allan has elected to pursue first grade opportunities elsewhere.

It is unclear how long his contract is with South Sydney, but Anthony Seibold and the Rabbitohs have acquired a very talent young player capable of playing fullback, wing, centre or in the halves.

Allan’s departure is another disappointing moment for Bennett and the Broncos’ recruitment and retention team. In recent seasons, Bennett has overseen the departure of highly productive Queensland born players Ben Barba, Tautau Moga, Ashley Taylor, Matt Parcell, Jake Granville, Jarrod Wallace, Jai Arrow and Herman Ese Ese.

Obviously salary cap restraints mean the Broncos can’t retain all players. That said, the unproductive on field performances this season from the likes of Darius Boyd, James Roberts, Tom Opacic, Jack Bird, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Alex Glenn, Jaydn S’uA and Korbin Sims, coupled with the recent pursuit of interstate born players Korbin Sims, Matt Lodge, James Roberts, Pangai Jnr and Troy Dargan, are concerning trends.

As a member of the club since its foundation, I fear these recent trends (i.e. not giving opportunities to promising youngsters, when their on field production is superior to that of the club’s more experienced and tenured players, and not prioritising the recruitment and retention of highly productive Queensland born players) is indicative of a coach and club breaking with the traditions which made the Broncos great.

Freddie08

 

Broncos news : Round 9 Preliminary Team Announcement

The Broncos have announced the following preliminary side to take on the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium:

  1. Darius Boyd
  2. Corey Oates
  3. James Roberts
  4. Tom Opacic
  5. Jamayne Isaako
  6. Anthony Milford
  7. Jack Bird
  8. Matt Lodge
  9. Andrew McCullough
  10. Sam Thaiday
  11. Alex Glenn
  12. Jayd’n Su’A
  13. Tevita Pangai Jnr
  14. Payne Haas
  15. Joe Ofahengaue
  16. Kodi Nikorima
  17. Korbin Sims

Reaction

More of the same from Bennett, who continues to select experienced but persistently underperforming players, rather than give opportunities to players from outside his favoured 17 man match day squad, who are excelling in the Intrust Super Cup.

In terms of the individual positional groups, starting with the halves, hooker and fullback contingent, Boyd and Bird continue to be selected despite:

  • ranking 6th (Boyd) and 9th (Bird), out of the Broncos’ 9 contracted players in the halves, hooker and fullback positional group, in terms of production in the key performance areas of line breaks, line break assists, missed tackles, kicking metres and forced drop outs;
  • both players failing to contribute a line break or line break assist per match so far this season;
  • both players failing to meaningfully contribute to the Broncos’ kicking game (Boyd is averaging 11 kicking metres and 0 forced drop outs per game, while Bird is averaging 39 kicking metres and 0 forced drop outs per match).

As for McCullough’s selection at hooker, while he is solid defensively (missing only 1 tackle per match so far this season), his contribution in terms of per match line breaks (0), line break assists (0), kicking metres (53) and forced drop outs (0) has been very poor.

In terms of Milford’s selection, while he has failed to contribute this season in terms of per match line breaks (0) and line break assists (0), he has improved his defensive effort to an acceptable standard (2 missed tackles per game) and he has been a solid contributor in terms of kicking metres (averaging 273 kicking metres per game) and forced drop outs (1 per game).

While Milford’s contribution to the Broncos’ kicking game is sufficient to justify his selection in the halves, hooker and fullback positional group, when you contrast the per game production of Nikorima (1 line break, 0 line break assists, 2 missed tackles, 95 kicking metres and 0 forced drop outs), Dargan (0 line breaks, 0 line break assists, 2 missed tackles, 168 kicking metres and 2 forced drop outs for the Norths Devils) and Scarlett (1 line break, 1 line break assists, 3 missed tackles, 232 kicking metres and 1 forced drop out for the Souths-Logan Magpies) to that of Boyd, Bird and McCullough, the latter’s selection seems a gross oversight from Bennett.

In terms of Bennett’s selections in the centre and winger positional group, the selection of Oates (who is averaging 133 run metres, 1 line break and 1 missed tackle per match) is a simply one to make. In terms of Bennett’s other selections in the positional group, Isaako (85 run metres, 0 line breaks and 1 missed tackle per game), Roberts (72 run metres, 1 line break and 2 missed tackles per match) and Opacic (59 run metres, 0 line breaks and 1 missed tackle per game) have all demonstrated that they are defensively secure, but have been unable to sufficiently contribute to the Broncos’ run metres. Given that, and the comparative performances this season of Seve (who is averaging 146 run metres, 1 line break and 2 missed tackles per game for the Souths-Logan Magpies), Pearson (who is averaging 118 run metres, 1 line break and 2 missed tackles per match for the Redcliffe Dolphins) and Shibasaki (who is averaging 116 run metres, 1 line break and 2 missed tackles per game for the Norths Devils), Bennett’s repeated selection of Isaako, Opacic and Roberts in the centre and winger positional group, is questionable to say the least.

Regarding the forward positional group, while McGuire is unavailable through injury, Bennett’s selection of Haas (who is averaging 138 run metres, 0 missed tackles and 1 offload per match for the Wynnum Manly Sea Eagles), Lodge (who is averaging 115 run metres, 2 missed tackles and 1 offload per game for the Broncos), Ofahengaue (who is averaging 99 run metres, 1 missed tackle and 0 offloads per game for the Broncos) and Pangai Jnr (who is averaging 88 run metres, 1 missed tackle and 1 offload per game for the Broncos) is justifiable given their relative contribution in the key performance areas of run metres, missed tackles and offloads.  That said, Bennett’s persistent selection of the underperforming Su’A, Sims, Thaiday and Glenn, remains perplexing.

Out of the contracted Broncos’ forwards, Su’A, Sims, Thaiday and Glenn are currently ranked 12th, 14th, 17th and 18th, in terms of on field production.  Looking closer at the respective production level of each player:

  • For Su’A, while he has been solid defensively (averaging only 1 missed tackle per game) and has contributed to generating some second phase football (1 offload per game), which is crucial to the attacking effectiveness of the Broncos’ halves, hooker and fullback, the young New Zealander has failed to generate sufficient run metres (only averaging 70 metres per match) to justify his selection ahead of more productive forwards in the Broncos’ broader squad (e.g. Carrigan, Fai, Tagataese, Staggs and Mago).
  • Concerning Sims, while Sims’ per game run metre production (79 run metres) is marginally superior to Su’A’s, and his defensive effort so far this season has been acceptable (2 missed tackles per game), Sims has failed to demonstrate his ability and/or intent to offload the ball (averaging 0 offloads per match).  Given the superior run metre and/or offload production of Sims’ internal competition (e.g. Carrigan, Fai, Tagataese, Staggs, Mago, Flegler) and their equivalency to Sims’ defensive performances, Sims’ repeated selection doesn’t appear to be justified.
  • As for Thaiday, while he has been solid defensively (averaging only 1 missed tackle per game), the experienced forward has failed to contribute both in terms of generating second phase football (0 offloads per game) and sufficient run metres (only averaging 57 metres per match). Thaiday’s repeated selection despite his ongoing poor offensive performances has been a issue for the Broncos for a couple of seasons, and his contribution thus far this season, relative to that of other forwards in the broader Broncos’ squad (e.g. Carrigan, Fai, Tagataese, Staggs, Mago, Flegler, Su’A Sims, Gillett (when fit) and Funaki), clearly demonstrates that Thaiday should not be being selected in the 17 man match day squad.
  • Regarding Glenn’s selection, while the New Zealander has shown improved production in recent weeks in terms of run metres, which has pushed his per game run metre production to 92 run metres, like Thaiday and Sims, Glenn has failed to contribute in terms of generating second phase football (0 offloads per game). More concerning though is the high number of tackles Glenn is missing per match (5 missed tackles). This has been a consistent issue for Glenn this season and in recent seasons, is rooted in Glenn’s poor tackling technique, and is resulting in the Broncos conceding tries and run metres on their left edge of defence (despite Milford and Opacic’s best defensive efforts).  If the Broncos have any aspirations of winning the NRL Premiership, they cannot afford to continue selecting a forward who is that defensively poor, irrespective of his solid per game run metre contribution.

In terms of potential alternatives Bennett could have, and arguably should have, selected ahead of Su’A, Sims, Thaiday and Glenn, the relative per game production this season of the following players, indicate that they warrant selection ahead of that quartet:

  • in the second row, Carrigan, who is averaging 122 run metres, 2 missed tackles and 1 offload per match for the Wynnum Manly Sea Eagles;
  • at prop or in a bench prop role, Fai, who is averaging 112 run metres, 2 missed tackles and 1 offload per game for the Souths-Logan Magpies;
  • at prop or in a bench prop role, Tagataese, who is averaging 100 run metres, 2 missed tackles and 1 offload per match for the Norths Devils;
  • in a bench second row role, Staggs, who is averaging 86 run metres, 2 missed tackles and 1 offload per match for the Redcliffe Dolphins.

While there are glaring weaknesses in the side Bennett has selected (i.e. a lack of line breaks, line break assists and kicking metres from his chosen fullback (Boyd), halfback (Bird) and hooker (McCullough); a lack of run metres and/or line breaks amongst his chosen centres (Opacic and Roberts) and one of the wingers (Isaako); a lack of run metres or offloads or too many missed tackles in the chosen second row (Su’A and Glenn); and a lack of run metres and offloads from one of the starting props (Thaiday) and a bench forward (Sims)), given the Bulldogs’ woeful start to the season, I’m anticipating that the Broncos will eek out a close victory.

Freddie08

The stats referenced in this post are sourced from the NRL and QRL.

 

 

Broncos Analysis: Round 8 Player Analysis and Round 9 team selection

Following each round of the NRL Premiership and Intrust Super Cup, each contracted Broncos player’s season-to-date performance is analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

This analysis process initially categorises players into one of three positional categories (with the exception of Corey Oates, Darius Boyd, Jack Bird and Kontoni Staggs, who are each considered in two positional categories due to their versatility):

  • forwards
  • centres and wingers
  • halves, hooker and fullback.

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category is then considered, using data sourced from the NRL and QRL.

Different weightings are then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that the cornerstones of the Broncos’ tactical basis is as follows:

  • To minimise missed tackles (=<2 missed tackles per player per game) in all positional categories.
  • To generate 100+ run metres and multiple offloads per game from each player in the forward positional group (to create second phase play for the halves, hooker and/or fullback to individually break the opposition’s defensive line or create line break opportunities for the centre and wing positional group).
  • To generate 100+ run metres and multiple line breaks per game from each player within the centre and wing positional group.
  • To have at least 2 long kicking options and 2 short kicking options amongst the halves, hooker and fullback positional group.

The findings provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 17 players make up the Broncos’ most productive team.

Internal player rankings

Following Round 8 of the NRL and Intrust Super Cup, the player rankings are as follows:

Forwards

Forwards.PNG

Centres and wingers

Centres and Wingers

Halves, hooker and fullback

Halves, Hooker and Fullback.PNG

Round 8 lineup

Based on the above analytical comparison, and with Gillett, Savelio, Taueli, McGuire, Kahu and McCullough unavailable through injury, the 17 players which comprise the Broncos’ most productive team for their Round 9 clash versus the Bulldogs would appear to be:

  1. Anthony Milford
  2. Corey Oates
  3. Marion Seve
  4. Gehamat Shibaski
  5. Jonus Pearson
  6. Sam Scarlett
  7. Troy Dargan
  8. Matt Lodge
  9. Kodi Nikorima
  10. Payne Haas
  11. Patrick Carrigan
  12. Tevita Pangai Jnr
  13. Joe Ofahengaue
  14. Darius Boyd
  15. Sam Tagataese
  16. George Fai
  17. Kontoni Staggs

Freddie08

 

Match Review: Rabbitohs vs Broncos

A much needed victory for the Broncos as they bested South Sydney 24-20 in a close match at ANZ stadium.

In terms of the Broncos’ squad for the match, youngster Haas was given his NRL debut, as he started on the bench in place of the unlucky Tagataese, who was dropped by Bennett from the match day squad.  Elsewhere, Milford (Five-eighth), Bird (Halfback), McGuire (Hooker) and Boyd (Fullback) made up an unlikely halves, hooker and fullback combination. In the outside backs, Isaako (Right Wing) and Oates (Left Wing) occupied the wing positions and Roberts (Right Centre) and Opacic (Left Centre) filled the centre roles. In the forwards, the impressive Lodge (Prop) and underperforming Thaiday (Prop) were given the responsibility of leading the Broncos’ forward pack, with the energetic Pangai Jnr (Lock) assuming McGuire’s regular starting position and the underwhelming Su’A (Right Second Row) and out of form Glenn (Left Second Row) completing the Broncos’ starting line up. On the bench, apart from Haas, Bennett elected to go with the impressive Ofahengaue (Bench Forward), underperforming Sims (Bench Forward), and Nikorima (Utility).

As for the Broncos’ on field performance versus the Rabbitohs, the Broncos’ defence were by in large poor, with 31 missed tackles in total.

Defence

Glenn’s dreadful defensive performances this season continued versus the Rabbitohs with 6 missed tackles (mt), while McGuire (4mts), Sims (3mts), Thaiday (3mts), Roberts (3mts) and Bird (3mts) were also poor defensively. Conversely, Ofahengaue and Boyd’s impressive  defensive form continued with neither player missing a tackle versus South Sydney. Nikorima (0mts), Pangai Jnr (0mts), Su’A (1mts) and Milford (2mts) also delivered much improved defensive efforts.

In attack, Oates (224 run metres (rms)), Boyd (149rms), Glenn (129rms) and Pangai Jnr (123rms) were excellent, contributing well in excess of 100 run metres each. While the run metre contribution of Sims (106rms), Ofahengaue (106rms) and Su’A (97m) was admirable and youngster Haas (68rms) impressed in his 20 minutes cameo, McGuire (71rms), Roberts (69rms), Thaiday (62rms), Opacic (59rms) and Isaako (50rms) were very disappointing in terms of their contribution.

Attack

While Su’A and Sims, in particular, showed improvement in their contribution, the lack of run metres once again from Opacic, Thaiday and Roberts, combined with Bennett’s refusal to give opportunities to the likes of Seve, Pearson and Tagataese, who are all excelling in the Intrust Super Cup, was very disappointing.

In terms of offloads, it was a very disappointing effort from the Broncos, with only 4 offloads for the match.

Passing

The lack of offloads from the Broncos’ forwards starved Milford, Bird and Nikorima of the second phase football those players crave to showcase their excellent footwork and acceleration, and to individually break the opposition’s defensive line or take advantage of simple line break assist opportunities.

Ironically, of the 4 offloads the Broncos did manage to make, 1 resulted in a line break and try to Oates, and another resulted in a disallowed try to Nikorima, following the young New Zealander’s ensuing line break.

While a lack of offloads, particularly amongst the Broncos’ forward pack, has been a significant contributor to the Broncos’ stuttering attack so far this season, the players and coach don’t seem to be learning from their mistakes.

Instead the Broncos’ attack was again indebted to moments of individual brilliance from select Broncos players, with Oates (3 line breaks, a try and a grubber kick for Boyd’s try) and Nikorima (2 line breaks and a try) the key contributors.

That said, relying on individual players to display moments of brilliance match after match in order for their team to score points, is an unsustainable attacking strategy.

Unfortunately it doesn’t appear as though the Broncos’ unimaginative attacking approach is likely to change anytime soon.

In terms of the Broncos’ kicking game versus South Sydney, there was a significant improvement on the Broncos’ recent performances versus the Warriors (447 kicking metres and 2 forced drop outs) and Storm (341 kicking metres and 0 forced drop outs).

In total, the Broncos kicked for 539 metres versus the Rabbitohs, and executed 9 grubber kicks, from which they scored 2 tries and forced 4 drop outs.

Kicking

While Milford’s contribution to the Broncos’ kicking game was excellent (319 kicking metres and 1 forced drop out) and Bird showed improved productivity (110 kicking metres and 1 forced drop out), the contribution of Nikorima (55 kicking metres and 1 forced drop out) and Boyd (33 kicking metres and 1 forced drop out) was underwhelming.

Overall, it was an improved performance from the Broncos in contrast to their prior match versus the Storm. An increased volume of quality run metres from a number of the Broncos’ forwards and improved kicking production, both in terms of grubbers and long distance kicking, enabled the Broncos to win the field and possession battle against South Sydney.

That said, concerns remain regarding:

  • the unacceptably high number of missed tackles from the Broncos
  • the unsustainable manner in which the Broncos scored their tries
  • the minimal number of offloads produced by the chosen forwards, and
  • the poor run metre contribution from certain forwards and outside backs.

Moving forward, these are facets of the Broncos’ play that will need to drastically improve if the Broncos genuinely harbour desires of winning the NRL Premiership this season.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.nrl.com.

Broncos news : Round 8 Preliminary Team Announcement

The Broncos have announced the following preliminary side to take on South Sydney at ANZ Stadium:

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Reaction

A conservative coach who relies on low risk offensive football and hard hitting defence, Bennett seems notoriously reluctant to give opportunities to highly productive players from outside his favoured 17 man match day squad. No better is this evidenced than when regular match day players suffer injuries, ruling them out of selection contention. When this occurs Bennett appears to have a tendency to look for solutions exclusive within his favoured match day playing group, even if that means deploying players out of position and ignoring specialised and highly productive players in the broader Broncos’ squad. Thaiday’s failed stint at hooker (to cover McCullough’s return from injury), Bird’s redeployment into the halves (to cover Nikorima’s injury), and now McGuire’s deployment to the hooking role (to cover McCullough’s latest injury), are all prime examples of Bennett’s arguably narrow minded approach to team selection.

While I don’t agree with that aspect of Bennett’s approach to team selection, knowing this about the coach (having witnessed it regularly during both of Bennett’s stints with the Broncos) makes his obscure team selection decisions less of a surprise.

That said, a number of the players Bennett has selected in the Broncos’ preliminary 17 for the South Sydney match can count themselves very lucky not to be plying their trade in the Intrust Super Cup this weekend.

In terms of the individual positional groups, starting with the halves, hooker and fullback contingent, Boyd and Bird’s continued selection in that positional group appears illogical. Neither player is averaging a line break (lb) or line break assist (lba) per match so far this season and both have failed to meaningfully contribute to the Broncos’ kicking game, whether it be via long range kicks or forced drop outs (Boyd is averaging 7 kicking metres (kms) and 0 forced drop outs (fds) per game, while Bird is averaging 24kms and 0fds per match).

As for McGuire’s selection at hooker, while he is solid defensively (missing only 2 tackles per match so far this season), his historical performances indicate that in his new role he is not likely to contribute in terms of line breaks, line break assists, kicking metres or forced drop outs.

Given:

  • line breaks, line break assists, kicking metres and forced drop outs are key performance deliverables for the halves, hooker and fullback positional group;
  • McGuire, Boyd and Bird have been unproductive this season in those facets of the game;
  • Milford and Nikorima have at least contributed this season to the Broncos’ kicking game (Milford is averaging 273kms and 1fd per match, while Nikorima is averaging 102kms per game); and
  • Dargan and Scarlett have both been in excellent form in the Intrust Super Cup (Dargan is averaging 1lba, 144kms and 2fds per match for the Norths Devils, while Scarlett is average 1lba, 1lb, 240kms and 1fd per game for the Souths-Logan Magpies);

there is a strong case to support the argument that McGuire, Boyd and Bird should not have been selected in the halves, hooker and fullback positional group for the clash versus South Sydney.  Instead a combination of Milford, Nikorima, Dargan and Scarlett appears to be the more logical choice.

While those four players appear to currently be the Broncos most productive option for that positional group, the truth is, the diminutive size of all four individuals, coupled with their historically poor defensive performances (Milford and Nikorima missed an average of 3 tackles per match last season while Scarlett missed an average of 4 tackles), makes all four poorly suited to any position which requires them to operate in the Broncos’ defensive line. Practically, fullback is the only position those four players’ physical attributes and playing tendencies indicate they are capable of playing without their defensive weaknesses being seriously exposed. That said, barring a significant recruitment drive from the Broncos targeting individual players who are productive at:

  • generating line breaks and line break assists;
  • kicking for significant distances;
  • regularly forcing drop outs; and
  • defending with a low missed tackle rate;

Milford, Nikorima, Dargan and Scarlett appear, for the time being, to be the Broncos best combination for the halves, hooker and fullback positional group.

In terms of Bennett’s selections in the centre and winger positional group, Isaako (90 run metres (rms) 0lbs and 1 missed tackles (mts) per game), Roberts (72rms, 1lb and 2mts per match) and Opacic (59rms, 0lbs and 1mt per game) have all demonstrated that they are defensively secure, and the selection of Oates (who is averaging 118rms, 1lb and 0mts per match) is a no brainer. That said, the comparative performances this season of Seve (who is averaging 151rms, 0lb and 1mt per game for the Souths-Logan Magpies) and Pearson (who is averaging 126rms, 1lb and 1mts per game for the Redcliffe Dolphins) seem to have been overlooked yet again by Bennett. As has consideration to deploy the versatile Boyd (who is averaging 94rms, 0lbs and 1mts per game) in that positional group. All three players have, on balance, outperformed Bennett’s preferred trio of Isaako, Opacic and Roberts in the key performance metric of per game run metres, line breaks and missed tackles. Despite this Seve and Pearson remain marginalised and Boyd continues to be overlooked for selection for in the Broncos centre and winger positional group.

In the forward positional group, out of the contracted Broncos’ forwards, Su’A, Sims, Thaiday and Glenn are currently ranked 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th, in terms of on field production, with:

  • Sims only averaging 77rms per game;
  • Glenn and Su’A only averaging 70rms per game;
  • Thaiday only contributing 57rms per game;
  • Glenn missing an average of 6 tackles per match; and
  • only Su’A (of those four players) is averaging an offload per match.

Compare that to the per game production so far this season in the Intrust Super Cup from the likes of Haas (138rms, 0mts and 1 offload), Tagataese (104rms, 1mt, 1 offload), Fai (116rms, 1mt and 1 offload) and Carrigan (116rms per game, 1mt and 1 offload) and Bennett’s repeated selection of Su’A, Sims, Thaiday and Glenn lacks logic.

Overall, given the weaknesses in the side Bennett has selected (i.e. a lack of line breaks, line break assists and kicking metres from his chided fullback (Boyd), halfback (Bird) and hooker (McGuire), a lack of run metres and/or line breaks amongst his chosen centres (Opacic and Roberts) and one of the wingers (Isaako) and a lack of run metres and offloads in the chosen second row (Su’A and Glenn) and one of the bench forwards (Thaiday), I’m anticipating that the Broncos will suffer another loss, this time against the in form Rabbitohs.

Freddie08

The stats referenced in this post are sourced from the NRL and QRL.

 

 

Broncos Analysis: Round 7 Player Analysis and Round 8 team selection

Following each round of the NRL Premiership and Intrust Super Cup, each contracted Broncos player’s season-to-date performance is analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

This analysis process initially categorises players into one of three positional categories (with the exception of Corey Oates, Darius Boyd and Jack Bird who are each considered in two positional categories due to their versatility):

  • forwards
  • centres and wingers
  • halves, hooker and fullback.

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category is then considered, using data sourced from the NRL and QRL.

Different weightings are then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that the cornerstones of the Broncos’ tactical basis is as follows:

  • To minimise missed tackles (=<2 missed tackles per player per game) in all positional categories.
  • To generate 100+ run metres and multiple offloads per game from each player in the forward positional group (to create second phase play for the halves, hooker and/or fullback to individually break the opposition’s defensive line or create line break opportunities for the centre and wing positional group).
  • To generate 100+ run metres and multiple line breaks per game from each player within the centre and wing positional group.
  • To have at least 2 long kicking options and 2 short kicking options amongst the halves, hooker and fullback positional group.

The findings provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 17 players make up the Broncos’ most productive team.

Internal player rankings

Following Round 7 of the NRL and Intrust Super Cup, the player rankings are as follows:

Forwards

Forwards

Centres and wingers

Centres and Wingers.PNG

Halves, hooker and fullback

Halves

Round 8 lineup

Based on the above analytical comparison, and with Gillett, Savelio, Taueli, Allan, Moses Pangai, Kahu and McCullough unavailable through injury, the 17 players which comprise the Broncos’ most productive team for their Round 8 clash versus South Sydney would appear to be:

  1. Troy Dargan
  2. Corey Oates
  3. Marion Seve
  4. Darius Boyd
  5. Jonus Pearson
  6. Anthony Milford
  7. Sam Scarlett
  8. Matt Lodge
  9. Kodi Nikorima
  10. Payne Haas
  11. Patrick Carrigan
  12. Tevita Pangai Jnr
  13. Josh McGuire
  14. Jamayne Isaako
  15. Sam Tagatese
  16. George Fai
  17. Joe Ofahengaue

Freddie08

 

Match Review: Broncos vs Storm

Another disappointing defeat for the Broncos as they were beaten by the Storm 34 – 20 at Suncorp Stadium.

In terms of the Broncos’ squad for the match, with Nikorima relegated to the bench, on his return from injury, in favour of Bird in the halves, the defensively solid Opacic retained his spot in the centres alongside Roberts.  In the second row, Bennett elected to persist with Sims and Glenn despite their poor performance versus the Warriors.  In what is starting to become a regular occurrence, Bennett also made a further late change to his starting line up by dropped Pangai Jnr to the bench, from one of the staring prop positions, in favour of the underperforming but experienced Thaiday.

As for the Broncos’ on field performance versus the Storm, the Broncos’ defence were unable to replicate their improved effort versus the Warriors, with 33 missed tackles versus the Storm.

Defence

Unfortunately Glenn’s woeful defensive effort this season continued versus the Storm with 6 missed tackles.  The much hyped defensive skills of Bird were no where to be seen against the Storm, with the New South Welshman also missing 6 tackles. Lodge, Milford, Isaako and Roberts were also poor defensively with 3 missed tackles each.

Apart from a high number of missed tackles, the Broncos simply couldn’t deal with the Storm’s proficiency at generating offloads, the speed of their centres and wingers and the short kicking game of Munster .

In attack, Ofahengaue (121 metres), McGuire (129 metres and Glenn (128 metres) all contributed quality run metres.  While Lodge (98 metres) and Oates (89 metres) were underwhelming in terms of their run metre contribution, Pengai Jnr (75 metres), Su’A (38 metres), Sims (66 metres), Thaiday (54 metres), Opacic (57 metres), Roberts (37 metres) and Isaako (59 metres) were very disappointing.

Running

The repeated lack of run metres from the likes of Opacic, Su’A, Thaiday and Sims in particular and Bennett’s refusal to give opportunities to the likes of Seve, Haas, Fai and Tagatese, who are all excelling in the Intrust Super Cup, is baffling.

In terms of offloads, it was yet another disappointing effort from the Broncos, with only 6 offloads for the match.

Passing

The likes of Milford, Bird and Nikorima again demonstrated that they do not possess the creative passing game of traditional halves to generate line breaks through their slight of hand with the ball. That said, all three players are blessed with excellent footwork and acceleration. To accentuate the strengths of Bennett’s preferred halves, the Broncos desperately need to start generating a health number of offloads in each match.  By doing so, the Broncos can the create the second phase play and disorganisation in the opposition’s defence which can allow the likes of Milford, Nikorima and Bird (when deployed in the halves) to showcase their strengths and individually break the opposition’s defensive line or take advantage of simpler line break assist opportunities.

The Broncos again failed in that regard versus the Storm. As a consequence, Boyd (0 line breaks and 0 line break assist), Bird (0 line breaks and 0 line break assist), Milford (1 line break and 0 line break assists) and McCullough (0 line breaks and 0 line break assists) struggled to create.

Instead the Broncos’ attack was were very much indebted to moments of individual brilliance from Milford (a grubber kick for himself) and Pengai Jnr (1 line break assist) to keeping the Broncos somewhat competitive against the Storm.  That said, relying on individual players to display moments of brilliance match after match in order for their team to score points is an unsustainable attacking strategy.

In terms of the Broncos’ kicking game versus the Storm, there was a further regression on the Broncos’ poor kicking performance in their Round 6 clash versus the Warriors (447 kicking metres and 2 forced drop outs).  In total the Broncos only kicked for 341 metres and failed to force a drop out versus the storm, in what was a very disappointing effort.

Kicking

While Milford tried his best (278 kicking metres) and some of the Broncos’ lack of kicking production versus the Storm can be attributed to the prolonged benching of Nikorima (who had been averaging 112 kicking metres per game in the first 5 rounds), the poor contribution from Bird (3 kicking metres), Boyd (0 kicking metres) and McCullough (50 kicking metes) was again disappointing,  It is an aspect of the Broncos’ attacking strategy that needs to drastically improve.

Overall, it was a poor performance from the Broncos versus the Storm. For the Broncos to improve they need to:

  • reduce the number of missed tackles
  • increase their kicking production, both in terms of grubbers and long distance kicking
  • increase the volume of offloads amongst their forwards, and
  • increase the run metres from certain forwards and outside backs.

If the players Bennett is selecting are demonstrating through their on field performances that they are not able to consistently deliver in those key facets of the game, Bennett needs to show greater objectivity and ruthlessness and start dropping underperforming players.  Fortunately for the Broncos they have a slew of both young and experienced members of the squad who have been excelling in the Intrust Super Cup this season. So the opportunity to change and improve is there, it is just a question of whether Bennett is willing to do so and potential compromise his relationship with certain players for the benefit of the Broncos.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.nrl.com.

Broncos news : Round 7 Preliminary Team Announcement

The Broncos have announced the following preliminary side to take on the Storm at Suncorp Stadium.

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Reaction

While it is understandable that Bennett would want to reward the same players who got the Broncos the victory in New Zealand, with repeat selection for the clash versus the Storm, a number of the players selected in Bennett’s preliminary 17 can count themselves very lucky not to be plying their trade in the Intrust Super Cup this weekend.

In terms of the individual positional groups, starting with the halves, hooker and fullback contingent, while Boyd (who is averaging 1 line break assist (lba), 2 missed tackles (mt) and 8 kicking metres (km) per match) and Milford (who is averaging 1 line break (lb), 2mts and 265kms per game) warrant selection in two of those four roles, Bird and McCullough are yet to record a line break or line break assist per match so far this season and have failed to meaningfully contribute to the Broncos’ kicking game. Given the comparative performances of Dargan (who is averaging 1lba, 0lb, 1mt and 134kms per match for the Norths Devils) and Scarlett (who is averaging 1lba, 1lb, 2mt and 269kms per match for the Souths-Logan Magpies), Bird and McCullough’s continued selection is baffling.

In the centre and winger positional group, while the selection of Oates (who is averaging 125 run metres (rm), 1lb and 0mts per game) was a no brainer and Isaako (96rms, 0lb and 1mt per game), Roberts (78rms, 1lb and 2mts per game) and Opacic (60rms, 0lb and 1mt per game) have all demonstrated that they are defensively secure, the performances of Seve (who is averaging 157rms, 1lb and 1mt per game for the Souths-Logan Magpies) and Pearson (who is averaging 113rms, 1lb and 2mts per game for the Redcliffe Dolphins) indicates that those two players deserve to be selected ahead of Roberts and Opacic for the Storm clash.

In the forward positional group, out of the contracted Broncos’ forwards, Su’A, Sims, Thaiday and Glenn are currently ranked 14th, 15th, 18th and 20th, in terms of on field production, with:

  • Sims only averaging 77rms per game
  • Glenn and Su’A only averaging 70rms per game
  • Thaiday only contributing 57rms per game
  • Glenn missing an average of 6 tackles per match, and
  • only Su’A, of those four players, averaging an offload per match.

Compare that to the per game production so far this season in the Intrust Super Cup from the likes of Haas (136rms, 0mts and 1 offload), Tagatese (117rms, 1mt, 1 offload), Fai (114rms, 2mts and 1 offload) and Carrigan (111rms per game, 2mt and 1 offload) and Bennett’s selection of Su’A, Sims, Thaiday and Glenn is questionable to say the least.

A special comment also needs to be made regarding Nikorima’s selection in the bench utility role. The brutal reality is Nikorima’s diminutive size, coupled with his poor defensive capabilities (missing an average of 3mts per much so far this season), makes him illsuited to any position which requires him to defend in the Broncos defensive line. That being the case, how Nikorima could possibly be considered an effective utility player (who is able to fill-in in the halves, the hooking role, in the centres or on the wing), when fullback is the only position Nikorima’s physical attributes and playing tendencies indicate he is capable of playing (without his weaknesses being seriously exposed), is beyond me. A more defensive player with some line breaking and ball skills, such as Allan, Isaako or Bird, seems a much more logical choice for the bench utility role.

Given the weaknesses in the side Bennett has selected (i.e. a lack of line breaks and line break assists in their five-eighth and hooker, a lack of run metres and line breaks amongst their centres and wingers and a lack of run metres and offloads in the chosen second row and bench forwards (exluding Ofahengaue)), I’m anticipating that the Broncos will suffer another loss against a resurgent Storm side.

Freddie08

The stats referenced in this post are sourced from the NRL and QRL.

Broncos Analysis: Round 6 Player Analysis and Round 7 team selection

Following each round of the NRL Premiership and Intrust Super Cup, each contracted Broncos player’s season-to-date performance is analysed and ranked against their internal competition.

This analysis process initially categorises players into one of three positional categories (with the exception of Corey Oates, Darius Boyd and Jack Bird who are each considered in two positional categories due to their versatility):

  • forwards
  • centres and wingers
  • halves, hooker and fullback.

Once categorised, each player’s output in defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for their respective positional category is then considered, using data sourced from the NRL and QRL.

Different weightings are then assigned to the KPI data considered for each positional group based on the assumption that the cornerstones of the Broncos’ tactical basis is as follows:

  • To minimise missed tackles (=<2 missed tackles per player per game) in all positional categories.
  • To generate 100+ run metres and multiple offloads per game from each player in the forward positional group (to create second phase play for the halves, hooker and/or fullback to individually break the opposition’s defensive line or create line break opportunities for the centre and wing positional group).
  • To generate 100+ run metres and multiple line breaks per game from each player within the centre and winger positional group.
  • To have at least 2 long kicking options and 2 short kicking options amongst the halves, hooker and fullback positional group.

The findings provide an invaluable insight as to:

  • how each player ranks against their internal competition within their positional category; and
  • which 17 players make up the Broncos’ most productive team.

Internal player rankings

Following Round 6 of the NRL and Intrust Super Cup, the player rankings are as follows:

Forwards

Forwards

Centres and wingers

Centres and Wingers

Halves, hooker and fullback

Halves, Hooker and Fullback

Round 7 lineup

Based on the above analytical comparison, the 17 players which comprise the Broncos’ most productive team for their Round 7 clash versus the Storm would appear to be as follows:

  1. Anthony Milford
  2. Corey Oates
  3. Marion Seve
  4. Jonus Pearson
  5. Gehamat Shibasaki
  6. Darius Boyd
  7. Sam Scarlett
  8. Matt Lodge
  9. Troy Dargan
  10. Payne Haas
  11. Patrick Carrigan
  12. Tevita Pangai Jnr
  13. Josh McGuire
  14. Corey Allan
  15. Sam Tagatese
  16. George Fai
  17. Joe Ofahengaue

Freddie08

Match Review: Warriors vs Broncos

A return to the winners’ circle for the Broncos as they beat the Warriors 27 – 18 in New Zealand.

In terms of the Broncos’ squad for the match, with Gillett and Nikorima ruled out through injury, Bird shifted into the halves with the solid but unspectacular Opacic coming into the centres alongside Roberts.  To cover Gillett’s absence in the second row, Bennett promoted Sims to the starting lineup, with Tagatese being rewarded for his excellent Intrust Super Cup performances for the Norths Devils this season, with a call up to the bench.  In a further late change Bennett dropped Pangai Jnr to the bench from one of the staring prop positions, in favour of the underperforming but experienced Thaiday.

As for the Broncos’ on field performance versus the Warriors, there was a significant improvement in the Broncos’ defence from the abysmal 42 missed tackles against the Knights the week prior.  In total the Broncos missed 27 tackles versus the Warriors.  While there is still room for improvement, the vast majority of the Broncos’ players recorded no more than 2 missed tackles for the match, which is an acceptable benchmark for a strong defensive side.

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The Broncos’ defensive prospects were undoubtedly helped by the absence of Gillett and Nikorima from the side’s defensive line.  Those two players alone have respectively missed an average of 4 and 3 tackles per match so far this season. While Glenn’s woeful defensive effort this season continued versus the Warriors with 6 missed tackles, the improved defensive efficency of Milford and Lodge (both of whom were averaging 3 missed tackles prior to the match) needs to be recognised.  The biggest challenge for those 2 players is consistently delivering similarly solid defensive performances match on match.

In attack, a number of players made excellent run metres with Oates, Ofahengaue, McGuire and Lodge all individually contributing well in excess of 100 run metres for the match. There were also solid efforts from Glenn, Roberts and Opacic who each broke the 100 run metre barrier.

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While Isaako’s effort in that regard was underwhelming, of more concern was the poor contribution of Su’A, Pangai Jnr, Sims and Thaiday, all of whom barely or failed to individually contribute more 50 run metres for the match. In terms of Tagatese’s contribution to run metres, it was difficult to judge given he was only afforded a handful of minutes on the field by Bennett.

The repeated lack of run metres from the likes of Su’A, Thaiday and Sims and Bennett’s refusal to give opportunities to the likes of Haas, Fai and Tagatese, who are all excelling in the Intrust Super Cup, is particularly concerning moving forward.

In terms of offloads, it was another
disappointing effort from the Broncos, with only 5 offloads for the match.

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With the likes of Milford and Bird (and Nikorima when fit) not possessing the creative passing game of traditional halves to generate line breaks through their slight of hand with the ball, but all three players blessed with excellent footwork and acceleration, the Broncos need to generate a health number of offloads in each match to the create the second phase play and disorganisation in the opposition’s defence to allow the likes of Milford, Nikorima and Bird (when deployed in the halves) to showcase their strengths and individually break the opposition’s defensive line or to create simpler line break assist opportunities.

The Broncos failed in that regard versus the Warriors. As a consequence, Boyd (0 line breaks and 1 line break assist), Bird (0 line breaks and 1 line break assist), Milford (0 line breaks and line break assists) and McCullough (0 line breaks and line break assists) struggled to create.

Instead the Broncos’ attack was were very much indebted to moments of individual brilliance from Oates (3 line breaks), Roberts (1 line break) and Su’A (1 line break), who each broke the Warrior’s defensive line through excellent angled runs to either score a try or in the case or Roberts make the final pass to Isaako for the young winger to crash over.

From an attacking sustainability perspective, the Broncos’ reliance  on individual players (e.g. Roberts, Oates, etc) to display moments of brilliance match after match in order for the team to score points, is a problem. It is simply unrealistic to expect those select players to repeatedly produce moments of brilliance match after match (and that’s not even taking into account the impact of injury and form). The Broncos need to develop their attacking strategy by playing to the strengths of their key playmakers (fullback, halves and hooker) and to regularly create line break and line break assist opportunities. Given the strengths of Milford and Nikorima (and Bird when deployed there) are in their footwork and acceleration, that means the Broncos should be looking to regularly offload the ball to create second phase football, disorganisation in the opponent’s defence and ensuing line break and line break assist opportunities for Milford, Nikorima and/or Bird to capitalise on.

When that starts happening in matches (and the Broncos have not demonstrated that thus far this season), they will become a much more dangerous and consistent attacking outlet.

In terms of the Bronco’s kicking game was a significant regression on their 725 kicking metres and 6 forced drop outs that they produced versus the Knights. In total the Broncos only kicked for 447 metres and only forced 2 drop outs for the match.

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While some of that lack of production can be attributed to the absence of Nikorima, who has been averaging 112 kicking metres per game, and his replacement, Bird, lacking kicking skills, McCullough’s consistently poor  kicking contribution this season needs to be addressed. An excellent short and long distance kicker, McCullough skills are not in question. But to only be averaging 57 kicking metres per game for a player with his kicking ability, indicates a significant underperformance from the player.

It is a facet of the Broncos’ attacking strategy that will need to improve moving forward, with most elite sides possessing at least 2 long kicking options and 2 short kicking options amongst their halves, hooker and fullback positional group.

Overall, it was a much improved defensive performance from the Broncos versus Warriors. If the side can reproduce that defensive effort in future matches, increase their kicking production, increase the volume of offloads amongst their forwards and increase the run metres from certain forwards and outside backs (or drop certain players for better performing players from the Intrust Super Cup), the Broncos can still mount a successful title charge despite their inauspicious start to the season.

Freddie08

The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.nrl.com.