I think your being a bit harsh on Mann go back and watch the games he played at 5/8 he can kick and he can pass but the coach wanted a running 5/8 and thats what he got .
His defence is pretty good too.
Agree, Pearce was successful with Maloney. He need a half that can half the load.I like Mann as a player, Ethan, and he has a better passing and kicking game on him than Watson. I'll even go as far as saying that he has probably been our best and most consistent player this year. But, if Pearce is our half, I don't think we will be challenging for anything with Mann at 5/8. That's not a slight on Mann at all, it's just that I don't think he is the 5/8 that we need.
The 5/8 position really does come down to what the coach wants the team to play like.
We could put Chris Randall in there and ask him to do 60 tackles and nothing else.
We could put Ponga in there and ask him to be in position to do an attacking play at the end of every set.
We could ask Hoy or Watson to run with energy and be unpredictable.
We could put Crossland in there and ask him to play like Pearce, only the other side of the field.
We could even put one of the fitter forwards in there and just ask him to play like a lock.
The coach seems to have all the options from an out and out attacking option to an out and out defensive option and everything inbetween.
He just needs to decide where we are going next year.
Ponga isnt a 5/8 either and doesnt have the room to play his natural game , its been tried and didnt work at all and i would rather not weaken f/b to try something that doesnt work ..We could put Ponga there and tell him he has a free license to attack, you don't have a player like Ponga and put structure on him. Pearce can be told all he has to do is be the calming influence, run the ball if he sees a chance, some improvement with kicking in general play and direct the game. Put the ball where we want it at the end of a set etc.
All we would need from Pearce would be smarter ending of sets and a little creativity occasionally.
Unfortunately we all know, Pearce doesn't seem to get kicking in general play as a strategy and just boots it downfield. He puts our defense under pressure from the beginning of their set practically every time.
We could also play Lino at 7, Ponga at 6 and give Lino Pearce's instructions. He seems capable of getting decent kicks in at least.
Ponga isnt a 5/8 either and doesnt have the room to play his natural game , its been tried and didnt work at all and i would rather not weaken f/b to try something that doesnt work ..
If since rd 7 we had those smarter endings and more creativity we would be in the top 4 now.
Easy to say we need this and that from Pearce but we have been trying to get that from him most of the year first 6 games we did but not since .
Leave Ponga where he is , Hoy is about the only guy to replace Ponga at f/b and imo he hasnt shown enough to take ponga's place and the team benefit from it .
Hoy is no Ponga .