Northland v Otago


Not sure what word describes how I felt after that.

Sad is probably it, sad for the likes of Matich, Robinson, Olsen, Pryor, Nock who have given their all week in week out, maintained their standards, but are let down by school boy errors from those around them.

A basic fundamental of holding onto the ball, we have been woeful with this, steadily getting worse the past few weeks, then there are the dumb decisions, also getting worse by the week.

As to the selections…where to start.

I had been liking what Leilua brings, but this week was terrible, 2 massive errors cost us massively.

Hawkins, well, cant say more than I haven’t already, he simply isn’t upt o it at this level driving a team forward, tough buggar on defence, but lacks anything going forward, and this has traditionally been a strength for Northland.

Why bench Nock in arguably the biggest game of the season? You wanna see if the young guy is up to it, ok, so what about Cooper?

Grant wasn’t poor or the reason we lost, but he just wasn’t what we needed from the outset.

Then there is Wiseguy, I mean he did well stepping in v Manawatu, was ok v Tasman, but supposedly gets told to go off and work on his kicking, apparently drops his lip, no where to be seen…while if he has a shit attitude, yep, he doesn’t deserve to be there, but if he sees the way Hawkins kicks, particularly out of hand, then I’d be pissed too.

I said at the start of the season they needed to hand the reins to Wiseguy or Cooper, and back them, even if they struggle at times…instead of investing in the future, we are holding onto an ageing player who has always struggled at this level.

Ranger, jeez, having a shocker season, shows glimpses of his old self, but think he is struggling being that half a yard slower and his decision making is still thinking he isnt, cos he is making some howlers.

Gregory tries hard and his confidence seems to be returning, but he needs to be closer to the action, he is not a natural FB.

Looking at the games we have left, I actually think we will be lucky to get any more points on the ladder…we are struggling to score tries, and against NH, Auckland and Waikato, we will be lucky to score many.

A chance of a home semi is gone, we will be lucky to make the top 4 and head back to HB for a semi final.

We need to start looking at 2021, make as many changes as we can, which TBH is pretty limited.

Our pack remains unchanged, on one hand they did pretty well at set piece, and the only area we have quality to make changes (loosies) is the one area where the guys are maintaining their standards.

Backs:
Goes without saying Nock has to start again
Cooper has to be given a shot to start
Going to start again, probably one of the better players in our 1st half
I’d be inclined to move Gregory here, but it depends on other players fitness, that I will assume
Macilai at 11
Hyland at 14
M Wright at 15

On the MacIntosh incident, any other day, that is a card, accidental or not, still a shoulder to the head, but for me, a minute or so earlier Ross Wright was on the side of a ruck, and an Otago player came in shoulder charged him from the side, looked like connection to the head, and Wright reeled backwards…that one was worse as it was a more deliberate act and right in front of the AR.

I thought we had turned a corner this season, and while I think there seems a good spirit there, there is still something missing.

Fuck, I just shake my head at how poor we were last night.

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