2018 Pre-Season and Trials

Discussion in 'Newcastle Knights Discussion' started by Billy, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. Ethan

    Ethan Sean Rudder

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    • Kalyn Ponga’s short but exciting tenure as North Queensland Cowboys full-back statistically out-shines the trio who deputised our #1 last season (Nathan Ross – 9 games, Brendan Elliot – 7, Dane Gagai – 6) and gives us reason for optimism as to what he can achieve this coming season with bulk minutes;
      • His 0.5 tries PG, 1.33 line breaks PG, 6.33 tackle busts PG, and 0.83 missed tackles PG (a 26.6% missed tackle rate) combine to overshadow the aforementioned trio. By comparison, Brendan Elliot notched only 0.57 line breaks and 2.42 tackle busts PG, Dane Gagai 0.5 line breaks and a whopping 51% missed tackle rate, while Nathan Ross missed 37% and only had 0.67 line
        breaks PG.
      • Ponga’s 142.17 metres PG and 9.8 metres per carry is better than both Gagai and Elliot, however not as good as Nathan Ross’ 171.67 metres PG and 10.80 metres per carry from fullback.
      • He did not register a try assist last year in his small sample size of six games. He will need to contribute in this category – Dane Gagai lead our fullbacks last year with 0.83 try assists PG. However, this statistical shortcoming is negated by the arrival of Mitchell Pearce, discussed later.
    • The stats behind Tatau Moga’s arrival at the club to replace Gagai at centre illustrates what a shrewd purchase this was. Besides having the largest quads in Newcastle since the Mad Dog, when directly comparing him to Gagai, the majority of his stats are positive;
      • He registered 0.38 tries a game to Gagai’s 0.12.
      • His 1.83 missed tackles PG (14.4% missed tackle rate) outshines Gagai’s 3.35 missed tackles PG and a 21.50% missed tackle rate.
      • Moga out offloaded Gagai 0.75 a game to 0.53, while committed only 0.88 errors a game, far less than Gagai’s 2.14 PG.
      • He also out ran him 144.75 metres PG to 130.29, on a highly impressive 11.24 metres per carry, compared to Gagai’s 9.71.
      • Two areas of improvement that Moga must make include discipline – Moga committed 0.79 penalties PG compared to Gagai’s 0.35. As well as this, his 3.33 tackle busts PG was significantly lower than Gagai’s 6.83. However, this is a case of where stats do not tell the whole story (as much as I do not like to admit), as we know Moga runs the ball hard and straight, while a lot of Gagai’s tackle busts resulted from running sideways (potentially explaining less metres per carry).
    • Connor Watson’s trial performance against Melbourne Storm seems to indicate he will be given the first crack at the five-eighth role, partnering Mitchell Pearce in the halves. Watson only played two games at the Roosters last year where he started at 5/8 and Pearce was absent from these matches. As such, we will observe his 2016 stats where he played alongside Pearce in the halves as a starter, for seven matches and compare them to Brock Lamb’s 2017 statistics.
      • Watson’s seven game spell with Mitchell Pearce will provide every fan of the red and blue with a fulfillment of joy and positivism. Despite playing in a sub-par Roosters side (who finished 15th that year), he managed to score 0.43 tries PG, 0.29 try assists, 1.0 line break, 0.29 line break assists and 3.0 tackle busts, all during an incredible 104.29 metres PG and 8.9 metres per carry.
      • Lamb on the other hand, only recorded 0.24 tries PG, 0.14 line breaks, 1.14 tackle busts, 51.5 metres PG for a 5.66 metres per carry average.
      • However, Lamb surpasses Watson with 0.43 try assists and line break assists PG, as well as 230.33 kick metres PG. Watson kicked for less than 10 metres PG.
      • In conclusion, we can observe Watson is by far the more dangerous ball carrier, while Lamb holds a play-making and kicking advantage – something that Mitchell Pearce’s arrival will more than compensate for…
    • Mitchell Pearce was arguably the biggest signing coup by the Knights since the arrival of Ben Kennedy in 2000 and while we were also excited by signing another origin half in the form of Trent Hodkinson in 2016, statistical comparisons from 2017 reveal that Pearce dominates the Cronulla bound half.
      • Pearce’s 0.33 tries PG, 0.67 try assists PG, 0.33 line breaks PG, 1.16 LB assists PG, 1.86 tackle busts PG all surpass Hodkinson’s attacking contribution from 2017, where he registered only 0.06 tries PG, 0.35 try assists PG, 0.12 line breaks PG, 0.29 LB assists PG and 0.35 tackle busts PG. This presence of creation compensates for the aforementioned Lamb, who could see his role reduced to bench-player with the arrival of Connor Watson.
      • Pearce is also a much more frequent and formidable runner of the ball, keeping defenses honest and providing fans with a mouth watering potential when paired with Watson. Pearce’s 1.1 offloads PG, 66.5 metres PG and 6 metres per carry surpass Hodkinson’s 0.24 offloads PG, 29.5 metres PG and 4.7 metres per carry.
      • Pearce also recorded a missed tackle percentage of 11%, far lower than Trent’s 17.50%. His willingness to make tackles (23.3 PG and 6 more than Hodkinson) evidences his defensive abilities and potential on both sides of the ball.
      • He kicked for 351 metres PG last season, shouldering the kicking duties for a team, something that is set to be replicated if Watson starts at 5/8.
      • He also registered an important 66 forced scrums and drop-outs (3.14PG), with Lamb only having 48 (2.29PG) and Hodkinson a sub-par 24 (1.4PG).

    • Hooker
    • In this section we will analyse Danny Levi and Slade Griffin as both starts and bench contributors, as well briefly touching on Connor Watson.
      • Based off 2017 statistics of Danny Levi and Slade Griffin, it is reasonable to suggest that we would be better served having Slade start the match for around 30-35 minutes and Danny Levi coming off the bench for around 50 minutes a match;
      • Firstly, in regard to Slade Griffin, when he was given the start for Melbourne, he averaged 36.5 minutes, compared to 33 minutes when entering from the bench. In his starting tenure, he averaged an impressive 36 tackles PG (1 PM), compared to only 13.43 tackles PG (0.48PM) from the bench. He also registered an average of 0.25 missed tackles PG when starting, compared to 0.57 MT PG when off the bench, equating to a 0.70% & 4.20% missed tackle rate. His work with ball in hand was also superior when starting, averaging 7.83 metres per carry compared to 5.99 off the bench. If there is one area Griffin needs to improve on however it is creation and second phase play, as he failed to register a single line break or offload when starting. His only try assist came from off the bench, however with negligible numbers in this category, it is more relevant to say a general increase is needed across the board, rather than comparing starting/bench numbers.
      • Danny Levi’s 2017 season saw him start at hooker 15 times for an average of 67.4 minutes, while he came off the bench 9 times for an average of 55 minutes per match. He provided 0.22 line break assists PG off the bench, compared to 0.13 when starting. Defensively, he missed only 5.68% of his tackles when off the bench, compared to 7.60% when starting, suggesting that having Slade absorb the early blows from an opposition forward pack can be fruitful for our defence, when comparing both player’s starting/bench missed tackle % splits. His offload count increased from 0.13 to 0.22 PG and his errors decreased from 0.53 to 0.33 when coming off the bench. His discipline also improved markedly off the bench, committing only 0.22 penalties PG, compared to 0.73 PG when starting, suggesting that the early game grind associated with dealing with an opposition forward pack takes its toll on him.
      • Connor Watson came on at hooker for the Roosters in two matches in 2017 with significant time samples (77 minutes in round 14 and 49 minutes in round 4). From this small sample size, we can observe his ability to score and create, notching a double in one match (1 try PG av), while recording 0.5 try assists PG, 38.00 tackles PG with a highly impressive missed tackle rate of only 1.30%. He also ran the ball for 9.07 metres per carry. Albeit a small sample, these figures are exciting to keep in mind for hooking options down the track.

    • F/Row
    • Here we will compare Josh Starling to both Jacob Lillyman (as a starter) and Herman Ese’ese (as a starter, and from the bench).
      • This is somewhat of a disappointing conclusion when comparing Josh Starling and Jacob Lillyman, with the recruit from the Warriors not providing a statistical upgrade on Starling across all categories with the exception of hit-ups;
      • Lillyman averaged fewer tackle busts PG (0.33 to Starling’s 0.62), similar tackles PG (25.76 to 24.23) and a similar missed tackles percentage (7.57% to 7.30%). His offload count per game is also dismally low from 2017, with only 0.14, compared to Starling’s 0.69. Despite this inability to create second phase play, a positive sign is the work that he will bring to the club as a metre eater, helping us get on the front foot and easing the backs workload with ball in hand. He managed to churn out an impressive 126.57 metres PG last season, compared to Starling’s 75.46. This equates to a 9.42 metres per carry average for the new recruit, compared to Starling’s 8.18. He also ran the ball around four more times a match than the departing prop. This increase will be vital to improve our last-placed 2017 efforts of 32,002 total run metres (1333.42 PG).
      • When analysing Herman Ese’ese, we can observe the type of player he was off the bench – a prototypical impact player who looked to create second phase play and provide impetus for his team. This is evidenced through his increased offload count off the bench, with 0.36 PG, compared to only 0.125 PG when starting. However, this risk taking resulted in 0.45 errors PG when coming off the bench, compared to safer play of 0.125 errors PG when starting. His metres per carry were similar, 8.72 when starting and 9.06 when off the bench – both figures already superior to Starling’s last year (8.18). His missed tackle rate was around 6.50% for both positions, again a decrease on Starlings 7.30%. A very positive stat is his tackle busting ability, something sorely needed – he managed 1.625 a game when starting and 1.36 when off the bench, when starting that is more than double Starling’s and Lillyman’s rates. Daniel Saifiti clocked 1.52 last season – evidencing the calibre of ball runner we have got in Herman.

    • 2nd Row
    • Here we will directly compare Aiden Guerra to Sione Mata’utia, who will likely shift to centre to start the 2018 season. Guerra played 17 games as the Roosters starting 2RF/lock last season while Sione started 20 games for us at 2RF. They both averaged in the low 70 minute range.
      • Excitingly, Aiden Guerra offers a significant statistical upgrade on Sione in the second row, in almost every category;
      • His 0.24 tries PG > Sione’s 0.15, his 0.29 line breaks PG > Sione’s 0.20, his 2.18 tackle busts PG > 1.9 for Sione, 34.49 tackles PG and a missed rate of 6.50% trumped Sione’s of 26.95 PG and a sub-par 11.90% missed tackle rate. He also ran the ball with more effective results, gaining 94.65 metres PG for 9.50 metres per carry, compared to Sione’s 83.70 metres PG and 8.25 metres per carry.
      • However, Guerra must improve his offload rate – last season he registered a low 0.18 offloads PG. Sione managed only 0.25, but we cannot afford a step back in this category especially when observing other new forward recruit’s low rates (Lillyman and Griffin). As a fan, our constant lack of offloading ability over last season really irked me – we only made 173, second worst in the league.

    • Interchange
    • A quick comparison of the veteran Chris Heighington to youngster Jacob Saifiti.
      • Heighington played 21 games for Cronulla last year, Saifiti 21 for the Knights Their average minutes were 29.85 and 36.09.
      • If deciding between the two, the veteran projects is the better choice based on 2017 stats. His 0.86 tackle busts PG surpass Jacob’s 0.66, he misses only 6.89% of tackles compared to Jacob’s 9.35%, he contributes 0.38 offloads a match compared to Jacob’s 0.095 (he only had two all last year!), while Jacob commits 0.43 errors a game and the veteran Heighington only registered 0.19. Heighington also manages to carry the ball 10.19 times in his shorter stint on the field, compared to Jacob’s 8.67, however, Jacob is slightly more effective with 9.41 metres per carry compared to Chris’ 8.97.
      • This, combined with veteran leadership, should result in Chris taking the bench spot in early rounds – however, both may see the bench at the expense of a Fitzgibbon, Yates or Stone…
    • A quick take on Luke Yates vs Sam Stone. Luke played 19 games (38.9 minutes PG) and Sam played 16 games (for 39.5 min PG).
      • Stats point to Luke Yates deserving of this bench spot;
      • Yates averaged 0.95 tackle busts PG compared to Stone’s 0.56. He managed 7.2 metres per carry compared to 6.87 by Stone, taking nearly two more hit ups a match and averaging 51 metres a game to stone’s 37 – despite averaging less minutes. In defence and discipline Yates truly shines through – he only committed 0.11 penalties a game, Stone had 0.44. His error count of 0.26 is lower than Stone’s 0.31. Most critically, his missed tackle percent was 4.30%, while Stone missed 7.50% of his attempts. Yates also made 2 more tackles per game than Stone.
      • Stone managed to offload the ball 0.19 PG compared to Yates 0.052, however both numbers are very low. Stone did manage to score two tries to Yates’ zero, however one of these came when he was a starting 2RF and played 69 minutes in round 9. He reminds me more like Guerra, a rangy wide running second rower, while Yates is more damaging up the middle and is a workhorse, so maybe they will be selected based on team needs and match-ups on a week to week basis.
    All in all, these couple of hours research has really made me more excited for season 2018. I still predict we finish 10th-13th. I think our engine room is still a step below NRL average (with plenty of room to grow in the likes of the twin towers – Saifiti’s and Herman Ese’ese). That has been a sore point for the Knights for many years now and hopefully it will turn around soon. I am also interested to see how this effects the play of Pearce. He has been lucky enough to enjoy playing behind a majority-representative level forward pack his whole career (Yes Roosters fans, i’m jealous of your brown paper bags). Will he cope playing off the back foot?

    In any case – I certainly don’t think we will get the Spoon this season…

    ….Interesting hey .....
     
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  2. Joshhh

    Joshhh OnARampageFuelledByGod

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    I reckon yes people do like to target you a bit more & get under your skin, or argue with you. When multiple people are doing that, you have to look at yourself if you want to find the reason why, because it means there is likely something about your personality that rubs people the wrong way. You come across as very assured of yourself, even arrogant, but that just seems to be how you roll, it mirrors your love of making bold predictions. Not arrogant in a Left Foot kind of way, he's more of a troll about it, but more in a genuine way. Always be yourself, but if you find yourself questioning why people like to rile you up or chase you down, that is why I think. It's good for the forum dynamics to have varying personalities.
     
  3. Lord of the Skraelings

    Lord of the Skraelings Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

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    Lets just hope if things look grim in a game they dont just throw their hands up in the air and wait for pearce to pull us out of the ****.
     
  4. LEVR

    LEVR Banned

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    100% mate I'm fully aware that I'm a common denominator haha. And more often then not im openly inviting people into the ring. I enjoy it. And im conscious of what i do

    Lets be real for a sec. Everything was sweet untill 88 rolled back in town. If you can recognise that at least ill be satisfied

    Im not cut about it. Im just trying to explain to 88 that im not interested in having him chase me around the forum trying to bite my fingers off everytime i reach for the keyboard
     
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  5. Beaumont

    Beaumont Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

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    My memory isn't what it used to be that being said I clearly recall Phil Gardner in an interview saying anything less than 8th will be an F.
     
  6. Joshhh

    Joshhh OnARampageFuelledByGod

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    That's what 88 does, he's loves the arguments, I think he's pretty open about that himself, self proclaimed **** stirrer. As long as it doesn't get personal or over the top then it's all in good fun in my opinion.
     
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  7. Joshhh

    Joshhh OnARampageFuelledByGod

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    I don't think he mentioned the 8 specifically, but definitely said they had expectations & wouldn't tolerate poor performance. Also within reason though, for example if Pearce went down in round 1, their expectations for the season would go down.
     
  8. LEVR

    LEVR Banned

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    Haha silly Beaumont. You're wrong. That never happened. Please stop being so arrogant and accept that the club is happy for us to finish 10th

    Because if a band of 3 or more people on a forum agree on an idea and drive it home with enough rigour, it becomes true
     
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  9. Joshhh

    Joshhh OnARampageFuelledByGod

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    Some good quotes from Gardner:

    Could be wrong, but my impression is they have very high expectations for what the club will be very soon, but not necessarily a top 8 finish needed in 2018.
     
  10. 88Knight4life

    88Knight4life Andrew 'Joey' Johns

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    This is true, i do enjoy challenging those whom like to bite back.
    Ive hit ignore for Miss Kenny, seems he liked to put himself out for tender but when offers come he gets upset.
     
  11. Wobbles

    Wobbles John Crooks

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    Is there value in starting a thread purely for the purpose of this type of banter and hurling of insults? I'd love to see that **** :thumbsup:
     
  12. Chief Longhorn

    Chief Longhorn Dairi Kovae

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    I don't believe in any form of discrimination!
    I hate you all equally!:fist::angry::lol:
     
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  13. Simon Templar

    Simon Templar Rodney Howe

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    Some great stuff here Ethan you must be commended for your effort, in saying that it is well known that statistics only tell half the story and are often used to justify a specific aspect but not necessarily the whole story, for instance “ the off load” some teams are so structured they play for field position to set up the next play while the off load does scramble the defenders it also leads to Adlib attack- which some coaches frown upon.
    Another is perhaps “post contact metres” looks good in stats but the effect is that the D has time to set for the PTB, sometimes a quick play the ball has more effect on defence than metres gained.
    Another is why isn’t a decoy run at the line credited as a try assist, if the decoy doesn’t run the correct line they don’t draw defenders and the outside men don’t have the gap created to score.

    It is the little things executed to the game plan well that draws results for the strategists more than statistics.
     
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  14. Kurriboy

    Kurriboy Todd Bates

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    Nobody has said missing the 8 would be a fail of a season. Nobody connected to the club would say that, connected being employed. I couldn't care less what Matty Johns wants to get his headlines saying.

    Nobody said it, Kenny is paraphrasing to suit his argument, he does that a lot. Then when called on it squirms his way around debates on forums as he is very careful about what he says and how, leaving himself room to wriggle out of his opinion. And anybody posts an argument he don't like it's strawman time, though he is happy to use strawman arguments himself.

    He can't link any articles because there are no articles from anybody actually employed by the club saying it. Employed by the club is an important distinction as this debate was all about whether Brown would get sacked and the definition of a fail of a season.
     
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  15. Ethan

    Ethan Sean Rudder

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    UM sorry to say Simon but there is no way in hell i would have the patience to do that , some knights supporter on a F/book site did it ...Interesting stuff though ....Yes i agree Stats are not the be all end all ...I always remember back to a game we played where Uate was credited with not missing a tackle in that game but 4 try's were scored down his side because he was so far out of position he couldn't even attempt a tackle on the opposition winger ....So much for stats lol.....
     
  16. Ethan

    Ethan Sean Rudder

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    Everyone knows my view i think it will take this year to get to where we need to be to play well enough as a team to push for a premiership BUT i would happily be wrong and for us to be in the playoffs this season and i would give my left one for it to happen this season ( at 58 don't need both any more )...
    No matter what happens at the end of the day we all want the same thing Success for the club we LOVE , We have stuck together through the bad times more than most supporters would and now were coming out of the tunnel and back into the light .
    Personally i want to go back to the days when clubs hated coming here when they were scared of the team and the supporters when we ALL put the fear of god into them together ...
     
  17. LEVR

    LEVR Banned

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    Absolute garbage.

    Im not paraphrasing. Neither is Beaumont. Ive read it and heard it a few times.

    Im not going to waste my time sesrching the internet just to prove you wrong, when you've taken the luxury of accusing me and Beaumont of lying on the basis of a hunch. Pretty poor form mate
     
  18. Kurriboy

    Kurriboy Todd Bates

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    So, you don't need to post anything up to back up your claim that it was stated somewhere by someone affiliated with the club, that not making top 8 is a fail. But yet, I need to post something up to back up my claim that you are mistaken?

    Sorry, I'm not going to waste my time searching the internet just to prove you wrong, when you've taken the luxury of making these claims without any shred of proof, and stating I am basing my opinion on a hunch. Poor form mate!

    I would assume if you are certain it was said by someone affiliated with the club, you would be able to locate the article again, most likely it was posted in here as most news articles are posted in here somewhere. But you can continue to stand on your dig that your memory that it happened is correct, I just believe your recalling it incorrectly and am now arguing a point on false memory.

    If you can't link to some article to show it was said, I will continue to treat what you wrote as dribble. I'm quite happy to admit I am wrong if proven so.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
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  19. LEVR

    LEVR Banned

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    Fair enough. Burden of proof lies with me. I know and cbf producing it. If i come across it ill post it, otherwise im happy to leave the conversation here

    Just to clarify, however, i didnt request that you support your claim -- its not possible for you to find evidnce of something that, according to you, does not exist. Why would I do that? I was merely asking that you not crucify myself and Beaumont for relying on our memory, while you rely on your memory to make your case.

    Ps. Its honestly the biggest hassle going through google listing, re-reading entire articles in sesrch of one quote. Its probably one of 20 or more articles at this point. No thanks. Id prefer to live with the accusation of being wrong, frankly
     
  20. Kurriboy

    Kurriboy Todd Bates

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    Just reading on the trial in Melbourne, there were 14 penalties in the game just relating to incorrect play the ball alone!

    That's staggering.

    https://pickle.nine.com.au/2018/02/13/10/49/how-the-play-the-ball-could-define-the-2018-nrl-season

    Makes it pretty hard to read anything in to the result of the trial honestly.

    Brown said:

    “Every time we started to get going in attack, we’d get penalised and hand it over, and the same with Melbourne,” Brown said.

    “So there wasn’t a lot of flow to the game.”
     
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