Just finished watching the replay so here's my full report,
Firstly, I'll talk about our actual attacking shape. When we actually were genuinely attacking, it looked really good. Far better than last week, far more crisp and far more slick. Seemed very dangerous and ominous almost every time we got down there. The Roosters really struggled to handle it and I think we actually had the perfect game plan to beat them. All this was evident in the first 25 minutes as we were WAY on top. Completely outplaying them, 10 points up and they just didn't know how to handle it. We looked pretty unstoppable.
However, that's when what let us down last night started to happen. The errors. This game was lost on simple individual errors, it really is as simple as that for me. We were on top, but the ill-discipline set in, and the focus disappeared. 16 errors all up last night. That is just simply not acceptable. It mostly wasn't even execution errors attacking and chancing our arm (which I can cop a lot easier), it was simply handline errors from individuals taking hit ups or playing the ball. Really poor. The exception to that was a couple of dropped balls in a try scoring chance. I know there was some fatigue out there but that is no excuse. It's really frustrating and has really pissed me off because as I mentioned earlier, the Chooks were really struggling to contain us when we got it right. But the errors we were making meant we barely put ourselves in a position to score because we were just constantly coming out of our end.
We did fail to take the few chances we did have though and I really feel like we left three tries out there at least. That cost us big time too.
In terms of rucking it out of our end and making yardage, I thought we did pretty well in that area, just did too much of it.
Our defence as a whole I thought was actually okay. Much better general play defence than last week, better line speed, better control of the ruck and they didn't look like making many line breaks. The boys covered most things well.
Our goal line defence over all was still pretty solid, the Roosters spent a lot of time down there, and I mean a lot of time, but we seemed to hold our own quite a lot, force them into errors, and turned them away. So I continue to be impressed with that.
However, it's just really disappointing that despite the fact that I thought the defence over all was solid, we still conceded 20 points. Honestly, all their tries were simply from poor slip ups from us. Slight lapses in concentration, a couple of poor defensive decisions (which I'll go into later) and that's all it took. Really disappointing because I think we defended better than the scoreline suggests.
Player by Player
L.Mitchell: Better. Probably his best game of the Season so far but still not up to the standard we need. Was more involved in our attacking shapes, kick returns, and hit ups, but it's still not enough I feel. He started the game really well, looked dangerous. An amazing pass for AJ's try that only Trell can do where he held it up just long enough to get Paulo interested before firing the bullet and executing it perfectly. But after that, aside from a couple of decent kick returns, he kind of went missing a bit. Did have a hand in our last ditch try which was really good but it was too little, too late. Defensively, he came up with a couple of good stops, looked strong there but I was disappointed he was nowhere to be seen on the Smith try. His goal kicking wasn't perfect, we could have won if it was, but that's not the reason for our loss. Still, it hasn't been the start to the Season we were all hoping for from Trell. Need more. He's been talking the talk, but I think it's time to shut up and deliver on field.
Johnston: Mixed game for AJ. With the ball, I thought he was really, really good. Fantastic positioning for his try, loved the way be positioned himself to take the pass and just stroll right on by Paulo. His hit ups and kick returns were pretty strong, and he got through plenty of work. Made a nice break off Trell again in the second half and did everything he could to send Tass in, but Manu had other ideas. He was also pretty safe under the high ball. It was defensively where I think his game was let down a bit. Handled most stuff that came his way but I just can't excuse the missed tackle for Paulo's first try. That was such a poor effort from AJ. He made Paulo look like a superstar.
Tass: Pretty good. Really held his own in all areas of his game. Strong carries and did a lot of them to get 121 meters. Did ask plenty of questions of the Roosters defence but couldn't quite break through. Had a chance to win the game in the second half if it weren't for that Manu tackle. Not gonna put too much shit on Tassy for that though, it was just a really smart play from Manu. Defensively I thought he was pretty strong, really strong actually. coming up against Manu isn't easy but he contained him pretty well. A try saver on Manu, held Jaxson up over the line once, and shut down most things that came his way. Paulo's first try wasn't his fault, however, I think he did mess up on Paulo's second as he slipped over so couldn't make a tackle. Overall, a pretty solid game for Tassy.
Graham: Probably our best yet again. In fact, it was a pretty amazing performance from Stretch. Firstly, I'll talk about his defence. He just continues to amaze me in that area. Literally, and I mean almost literally, nothing got past him. He shut down everything. Even when the Roosters looked like making a break, Stretch was there to cover. I lost count of the amount of times I said, "great tackle Stretch!" Not only that, be he made a couple of big tackles which forced errors too. 20 tackles, which is a lot for a center, with just 1 missed and 2 ineffective. Great stuff. What's more, he was equally good with the ball. He's hands down our best outside back at carting the ball out of our own end and he showed that again. A massive 194 meters, the most of any of our players, and a couple of really nice line breaks too. The only negative point of his game, and it was a big one to be fair, was not passing to Thompson right after half time when we made that break. There's no guarantee that Izaac would have scored as Tupou was looming, but Stretch should have at least tried. Still, he was our best player last night.
Thompson: Not bad. Really strong with his carries as he made 15 of them for 137 meters. No errors last night either. Great try that he scored to give us a shot at winning, that was an awesome finish. His defence was okay however, a couple of things he did really cost us. Firstly, the six-again Izaac gave away which lead to Brandon Smith's try later, it was just silly and no need for it. It was the fourth tackle too. Secondly, and probably one of the biggest moments of the game, was Tupou's try on half time. What the hell was Izaac doing? Seriously? He was right up and in next to Campbell marking no one! There was no need for him to be in like that and it just made it so easy for the Roosters. I was pissed off at him for that.
Walker: Not bad, not great. Started the game really well and looked in control to be honest. Had me thinking this was the night he was going to click for 2023. Some really nice kicks to force a couple of drop outs, had a hand in AJ's try and just looked really dangerous. He looked switched on. However, kind of like Latrell, kind of like last week, he went missing for a large part of the game. I guess there's not a lot he can do when guys around him are constantly making errors so we're always rucking it out of our own end. But I still feel like he could have demanded the ball more to try and create something. Was disappointed to see him get a bit flustered towards the end there again too, needs to show some leadership. However, a pretty good defensive performance from Cody.
Ilias: Not a great game for Lachy, he's come back down to earth a bit after Round 1. Great start with that beautiful pass to Keaon for our first try that was almost a carbon copy from Round 1. That was really great ball playing. He also had a hand in a couple of big breaks we made down our right-hand side. However, aside from that stuff, he wasn't great to be fair. A few big errors and his kicking game wasn't great at all, I think even he'd be the first to admit that. Solid defence but he did let himself down a bit on the Smith try. It was a poor read as he came up past the ball and left the huge hole.