Season player reviews

Billy

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

Season review for Kalyn Ponga.

In his first 2 years at the Knights he played 40 games and had 20 try assists - 1 every 2 games.
This year he played 15 games and had 14 try assists - nearly 1 per game.
Almost all of those came from his passing game.
He is our top playmaker now, despite only kicking on rare occasions.
every year his try assist numbers increase and it would be hard to find any 5/8 or half in our history apart from Joey with those sort of try assist numbers.
 

Billy

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

Enari Tuala

Top try scorer.
On the end of a backline that included Ponga, Clifford and Best.
Any winger on the end of that backline should be a top tryscorer.
If Lee had been on the left wing all this year and the others had stayed fit, I'd have backed him to score 30.
 

Captain Planet

Jarrod O'Doherty
I said this at end of last year rather Than just a fullback role, he is a genuine playmaker now and only getting better, he needs another season with pierce to develop game, his short kicking game is getting better, hopefully he continues to work over the offseason with pierce and Clifford.
 

Captain Planet

Jarrod O'Doherty

Enari Tuala

Top try scorer.
On the end of a backline that included Ponga, Clifford and Best.
Any winger on the end of that backline should be a top tryscorer.
If Lee had been on the left wing all this year and the others had stayed fit, I'd have backed him to score 30.
Yeah Lee’s height would of been crazy advantage..that and he out runs tuala with 1 leg
 

Billy

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

Kurt Mann

This review talks about his utility value, but it's my opinion that this year proved his best position by far is centre and he will be a better player in the future if he just sticks with centre, but unfortunately, we have bought a SOO rep to play that spot next year.
 

Patty

Dank memes n' big screens

Kurt Mann

This review talks about his utility value, but it's my opinion that this year proved his best position by far is centre and he will be a better player in the future if he just sticks with centre, but unfortunately, we have bought a SOO rep to play that spot next year.
At 28 I don't know how much time Kurt realistically has to master his game.

He's about to enter his 7th year as an NRL player and in the centres this season he didn't show anything that i'd consider to be NRL quality in attack or defence.

Not trying to jump on the Mann hate train or anything because I rate his utility value but I wonder if he would be better suited in the Super League.

The type of player Kurt is he would be a star over there based on fitness and effort level alone vs a utility player at best in the NRL, who probably doesn't get a run at any club from top 5 and up.
 

slotmachine

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
Mann is a ordinary centre like he is ordinary everywhere else.
At least the club understands this as they were trying to buy a new centre all year and finally bagged Gagai.
 

nighttiime

Cameron Ciraldo
Mann is too small to play wing, center or 14 and not skill full enough to play 5/8 or fullback. I don't see a place at all in the 17 for him. Sasagi looks a much better prospect at 14. Even if Mann is on minimum wage its still a waste of 180k and a spot in the top 30 for me.
 

Joshhh

OnARampageFuelledByGod
Ironically I think his best position is five-eighth. Put him next to a dominant halfback, in Super League or reserve grade, he probably goes very well. Unfortunately for him, he's not a good enough player that you try to suit his needs. He's just not quite at NRL level.
 

Matty23

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
I really don’t want to have to lose someone like Sasagi who looks a much better talent anywhere on the park if it means we have to keep Mann.
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien

Season review for Kalyn Ponga.

In his first 2 years at the Knights he played 40 games and had 20 try assists - 1 every 2 games.
This year he played 15 games and had 14 try assists - nearly 1 per game.
Almost all of those came from his passing game.
He is our top playmaker now, despite only kicking on rare occasions.
every year his try assist numbers increase and it would be hard to find any 5/8 or half in our history apart from Joey with those sort of try assist numbers.
Ponga for me needs to start owning this team, and I think he can do that much better from 5/8. I thought his best fullback game for us ever was the 38-0 win over the cowboys where he was sniffing around Brailey and backing up down the middle. But his natural tendency isn't to di this, it is to target the 4 in defender getting the ball in shape, hence 5/8. Defensively I think his organising came a long way this year, but I still have issues with his tackling after a break is made. If he is to stay at fullback, i have to accept he is more of a Latrell, Hayne style player rather then the Teddy, Slater all action types.
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien

Enari Tuala

Top try scorer.
On the end of a backline that included Ponga, Clifford and Best.
Any winger on the end of that backline should be a top tryscorer.
If Lee had been on the left wing all this year and the others had stayed fit, I'd have backed him to score 30.
Problematic for mine. I thought we had pulled off a great coup picking him up and he has been a first grade stalwart the last two years. He seems to have found his spot on the left wing. To be fair, some of his finishing was top, top notch towards the end of the season. He still has some issues defensively for mine but the biggest issue I have, like Oweysdaughter says, he's a pillow coming out of our own end. Double problematic when Ponga doesn't run the ball back on play one or two. He isn't a big body and I wouldn't expect him to stampede out from the back, but he can use his speed and agility to get between players and get a quick play the ball a lot better, Rossdog like. Still only young, and will get picked round one next year, but is he going to keep more talented youngsters out of the team?
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien

Bradman Best

He played 17 games this year, despite a fairly major injury.
Still a lot to learn but packs massive punch for one so young. Superstar in the making. I'm hoping he features at right centre next year with Gags on the left, giving us strike on both edges.
 

Owey

Clinton O'Brien

Kurt Mann

This review talks about his utility value, but it's my opinion that this year proved his best position by far is centre and he will be a better player in the future if he just sticks with centre, but unfortunately, we have bought a SOO rep to play that spot next year.
I think Watson's position is where he fits in next year. I think we now have much better options for centre. Most impressive game for mine was his handling of Kikau down at Penrith as a 5/8, so I don't think defending in the middle is an issue. Given simple tasks, I'd expect he'll go well. But wow, can't he find a brain explosion.
 

HarVeeGee13

Shane Vincent
Looking over the players who've been used in first grade, factoring in role, and how good the players actually are & what I think their ceiling is, here's how I'd rate out players this year:

Kalyn Ponga - 8/10. Remains a transformational player for us, the difference between how we attack with and without him is startling - it's such a one-paced team outside of him. So much better with ball in hand than anyone else we have that the attack naturally starts to gravitate around him as the main playmaker, which arguably harms his more traditional fullback play esp. work in support, so I'm sympathetic to the idea he should be moved to 6. Also while I think people are a bit silly with the degree to which fullbacks cop heat for their defence in general (to the point of ignoring poor defensive efforts in the line where it's 100x easier to stop an attacking player) obviously it's not Kalyn's best attribute - we're likely better off with him in the line, with a strong & mobile defender in the back row bodyguarding for him. I don't think he'll reach his potential until he's playing 6 full time.

Enari Tuala - 6/10. Great on the wing, generally not great in the centres. I think the penny has dropped re: where he should play now as a result, but I see him as a replacement-level player.

Kurt Mann - 4/10. Kurt Mann has had games where he's been best on ground. Unfortunately, and something he has in common with another player I'll mention later, they're usually games where we've lost badly. That he never seems to play really well as an integrated part of a winning team kind of tells you there's just something fundamentally wrong with his approach to the game. If he just simplified his game and focused on the 2-3 things he's good at, I actually think he'd be an effective player for us. But it's like he has no understanding of his own game at all.

Bradman Best - 4/10. Dunno if I'm being a bit harsh on Braddy and it's actually other players who should be getting him better ball, but he came back to earth a bit this year. Wholehearted but has come up with some howlers in D, and with ball in hand it looks like he's been worked out and is making poor decisions. Brilliant at his best and I'm only marking him down a bit because I think he's got the second highest ceiling of the whole roster.

Hymel Hunt - 8/10. Has had the odd game where he's looked a bit disinterested or has made a poor error or two, but in general is Mr Reliable, Mr Dirty Work, Mr Try Saving Tackle. The kind of guy others like to play with. I don't know that he has any other levels to go to as a player though really.

Jake Clifford - 7/10. If we're just talking how he as a player fits into the team, he's a 10/10. Huge wraps on him and he's the answer to a lot of problems we had, and he was really good for a guy who had to integrate into the team on the fly. Goalkicking needs work but it should get better, a very natural striker of the ball. Also needs to work on his decision-making a bit, but that will come with time. Has all the tools to potentially be an Origin player down the line, has quickly become possibly my favourite player in the team, and I'm excited to see how he goes after a full pre-season of work with Jayden & Kalyn in particular.

Mitchell Pearce - 5/10. I really don't know what to say at this point. Yes, he lifts the floor of the team, yes he slogs his guts out for us fans and I feel bad slamming him, yes we obviously miss him when he's out. But honestly he killed us in a winnable finals game and I honestly think we score fewer points in games on average specifically because of him. How do you play 300+ games and still do so many things wrong, still play like such a headless chook? Count me among those who think we need to move on now. I don't believe he can lead us to a prelim let alone a premiership as he is now.

Connor Watson - 6/10. Wholehearted, intense, charming, overrated. Like Mann, performed at his best in games we lost (aside from the win over Manly where he was great) and, like Pearce, I honestly think the way he runs around in circles out there kills the cohesiveness in our attack. He also can't defend in the middle as a starting forward. I like him and he was likely a great "locker room guy" whose energy I hope we don't miss too badly, but I don't think it's the worst thing that he moved on.

Mitchell Barnett - 6/10. Another player who gets overrated by our fans IMO, slogs his guts out but in an attention-getting way, like he wants to make sure you know he's trying the hardest. On attention to detail stuff like ruck control, sliding correctly & quickly, communicating with his outside men etc he's a huge downgrade on Aidan Guerra and IMO the cause of a lot of our defensive issues on the edge he marshals. I think he's effective at lock though and I think he should start there full time next year, I just hate his work on an edge which is where he mostly played this year.

Tyson Frizell - 6/10. Tyson is such a weird player. An absolute warrior who never stiffs the fans on effort but - and there's a theme here I think - he'd be an AMAZING player if he did some things a bit better. For such a quick, explosive, tackle-busting athlete, gee he runs lines poorly, like he might be the worst regular starter in the comp in that regard. Consequently we end up using him as another freelancing individual runner flying around in circles a lot... can't say we needed another one of those. At least he'll often win us quick play the balls, but with his natural ability it feels like we should get more out of him, like he should be scoring a try every other game. Going with a 6 in the hopes that with a full pre-season with a fit spine he becomes an absolute weapon next year on that edge.

Daniel Saifiti - 8/10. I think he's been hampered a bit this year by injury, but I keep recalibrating what I expect from him because he keeps improving. In his second stints in particular this year he has come back on and absolutely owned games. Absolute stud. Sometimes he could stand to hustle a bit more in D though.

Jayden Brailey - 9/10. For my money the player of the year. An absolute Energizer Bunny out there, leaves it all on the park, and he's a guy who just does his job and makes things easier for the guys around him - IMO we need more of that, we've got too many individuals out there. Showed a bit of playmaking and attacking threat too which he never had at the Sharks, as well as a useful but inconsistent kicking game. If he brings all that together consistently with his work in defence, a 10/10 season could be on the way next year.

Jacob Saifiti - 8/10. I don't think he's as impactful as his brother, but he has rightly been praised a lot for his work this year. Mr 1%, in the 78th minute of tight games he'll be out there forcing line speed to try and will us to a win, probably runs the most decoys of anyone in the side, and puts out a lot of fires for us in defence. Has the odd error in him still - if he cleans that up he might catch his brother as a player, which would be exciting.

Jesse Sue - 7/10. Brought in to do a job on a cheap deal. He did a job. Apparently a good mentor off the field for our young Pasifika players.

David Klemmer - 7/10. Where did the offloads go? Other than that, few players work harder out there, even if he doesn't have the impact he once did. Looks way better coming off the bench and I'm glad Adzy didn't let price tags dictate who starts and who's an interchange player.

Josh King - 8/10. I actually thought he was really ****ing good in the minutes he got this year, a sneakily impactful bench forward. Never thought I'd see him go close to as well as he did in his games this year. Shrewd signing for Melbourne.

Brodie Jones - 8/10. Again, very very pleased with his play in the chances he got. You know exactly what you're going to get from him, and that's effort. Made a couple of inexperience errors in defence which he should fix in time though.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon - 6/10. Not as bad as some people say IMO. Just unlucky that the few errors he made were weirdly calamitous. I honestly think he didn't do a lot wrong besides not be super fit, needs a proper pre-season I think. Looked dangerous as a running option again, breaking the line a fair bit in his shortened season.

Phoenix Crossland - 6/10. Had one really good game against Manly, and one really poor one against the Warriors. Otherwise just consistently okay, quite reliable, and unlike Junior knows when to get out of the way.

Starford To'a - 5/10. Lethal finisher, strong runner, but the coaches seem unhappy with him for a reason - he's a bit slack out there. That's not the club Adzy is trying to build. With his potential he should have been one of the first backs picked each week. Needs to shape up or it's off to Wests with him IMO.

Gehamat Shibasaki - 1/10. The less said the better. Looked mentally shattered. Wish him all the best.

Tex Hoy - 3/10. Had a couple of good games deputising for KP, but the majority were very bad from memory. Looks to have slid right down the pecking order.

Chris Randall - 5/10. Toiler. Unlucky with injuries.

Dom Young - 6/10. I liked what I saw. Still learning the game (and his own body seemingly), but a great project player who should be better for the run in the top grade next year.

Simi Sasagi - 5/10. Barely got a shot. One absolutely stellar piece of attacking play, looks to be a strong ball runner with all the skills, also looked badly off the place fitness-wise and in his defensive awareness. Again, another project.

Blake Green - 2/10. Retired for a good reason.

Jack Johns - 4/10. I really don't know if he's a first grader but not *horrible* in the chances he got, just kinda bleh.

Mat Croker, Pasami Saulo - 5/10 Few chances this year but both looked decent enough I thought.

Jirah Momoisea - 6/10. I really like what I see there. Looks like Joe Tapine with better defence potentially. I really hope he's in the round 1 team next year because he looks like a beast to me, my tip for club ROTY next year.


Dunno if I missed anyone, but I reckon this averages out to about a 6/10 across the squad, which makes sense - it was a 6/10 year.
 

jamesgould

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
Staff member
Admin
Ironically I think his best position is five-eighth. Put him next to a dominant halfback, in Super League or reserve grade, he probably goes very well. Unfortunately for him, he's not a good enough player that you try to suit his needs. He's just not quite at NRL level.
Have to say I thought centre was his worst spot of the lot, he was awful there.
 

Billy

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

Hymel Hunt

Only 4 tries in 17 games - I thought he did better than that.
Star To'a got 6 tries in 12 games.

He improved our defence a lot though.
 

Billy

Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus

Jake Clifford.
Conclusion seems to be good, but he'll be a lot better next year after he does a pre season with the team.
Sounds like a fair call.
 
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