General YOUR Team For 2021

Does anyone think we will get any major suprises? I think Bunty is going to be picked over Kane
I actually have Bunty over Kane as well. Don’t think either will crack the rotation round 1 though, I think they’ll just go Addin Fonua-Blake, Jamayne Tounua-Brown, LAM, Ben Murdoch-Masila/Tohu Harris.

I think Pompey over Hiku is a very real possibility.

Also with no Lawton to cover outside back injuries, I think Hayze or Turner could sneak onto the bench.

Other than that it’s probably the usual guys. Hopefully no Curran.
 
I actually have Bunty over Kane as well. Don’t think either will crack the rotation round 1 though, I think they’ll just go Addin Fonua-Blake, Jamayne Tounua-Brown, LAM, Ben Murdoch-Masila/Tohu Harris.

I think Pompey over Hiku is a very real possibility.

Also with no Lawton to cover outside back injuries, I think Hayze or Turner could sneak onto the bench.

Other than that it’s probably the usual guys. Hopefully no Curran.
Will be a big moment for Pompey to get picked over Hiku. Hopefully he makes it count if he gets the chance
 
I would be surprised if Kane Evans misses out on the 17. He had the highest per minute work rate in the entire comp for players that averaged more than 20 minutes a game last season. Number two was Nelson Asofa-Solomona although he averaged an extra 7 minutes a game so overall output was better.
I totally agree. I believe Evans will be in 17. I don't think he was signed to not be in the 17. I think it is going to be a hard year for Afoa - they asked him to move on, so I suspect he is well down the pecking order. Ben Murdoch-Masila will be on the edge (bench spot), which will enable Evans to be included in front row rotation.
 
Some thoughts on why this may be our year:

Wayne Bennet says that experience wins games. Our backs are in their prime and all have 100+ games experience: Maumalo age 26, Fusitua 26, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 27, Hiku 28, Aitken 25. Our backs will deliver.

Competition for spots. There is competitive pressure to perform with our squad depth. 5 first grade props for 4 places; 6 first grade backrowers/ locks for 3 starting and a bench spot. Pompey and Perham pushing for inclusion. Then there’s the external pressure to perform - contracts. It’s not just getting in the team, it’s earning your future value for guys like Kodi, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Ah Mau, Harris, etc.

Bunty is a dark horse. Yes, he wasn’t wanted but he’s here with a point to prove. Still only 24 and with 60+ games under his belt he’s been playing first grade for 5 years. After a season out injured, we all forget what he’s capable of. He’s a fan favourite for his explosive impact. In any team your as strong as your weakest link. In a stacked pack, the 5th ranked prop is going to drive the performance of the others and will get plenty of opportunities to show what he’s got.

Evans and Murchie out with ‘niggles’... do we have the luxury of a rest and rotation policy? At the very least we don’t have to rush the walking wounded back early. This could be a significant difference to other years where a battered squad limped to the end of the season.

The bubble - no time difference, travel issues, jet lag, Aussie vs NZ weather, etc. Stability for the squad. We saw last year the positive impact of living and training together in a Aussie bubble. Total focus on the game.

Phil Gould - He had the mana and the contacts within the game. The ref issues will get addressed if when they come up this year.

All the makings of a good year, but in the bigger picture we’re building towards a sustained period of success over the longer term.