The Starting 17 – KearneyGate 2012

uncategorizedFinally, some semi normality in Round 4.  Some interesting scores around the place, but the best thing in my opinion is that we didn’t have a repeat of Round 3 – which, should it occur, would probably break the spirits of most Dream Teamers. So, onwards and upwards!


The Scrum

So I got an email from Brad asking me to have a look at Nathan Hindmarsh this week, specifically following from the rumours and news that Hindy may well be pushed to Prop and perhaps even start the match on the bench in an effort to…do something. What, I am not sure exactly. Absolutely ridiculous in my mind, but let’s have a look at whether or not this turns Hindmarsh from a keeper to a ‘Insta-Trade’.

Hindmarsh has been nothing but solid as a DT player this year. Whilst never spectacular, his average tends to be in the mid 50’s, and gives 100% to the Eels. Hindy being a DT stalwart is not exactly new either – he’s been a solid choice in years gone by. And consistent 50’s are very worthwhile to a team.

2012 sees a different scoring system that we are more or less acclimatised to now. The impact for Hindy  can be summarised as this: He is very unlikely to rack up a top score of 100 like some other players, however I know that every time he is out on the park he is good for points. While some players will fluctuate massively this year (wait until Slater stops scoring 2 tries a game), players like Hindy and Gallen are the main stay in your team and should be treated as such. These are the players that you may take price hits on, but will also gain and fluctuate. To look at it financially – you don’t realise a loss until you sell.

Even when Hindy was used sparingly against the Cowboys, he still notched up a solid 37 from what I remember to be around one half of footy. So if he does suffer from decreased minutes, it’s possible that he may not average high 50’s, but he will still be consistent. Not only that, it is unlikely he will play Origin. To be totally blunt – I would rather make up money lost on Hindmarsh by using cash cows than sell him for a 2RF that may fluctuate – you only need to look at Aubo last weekend to see consistency is gold.

Essentially, I can’t find a reason to offload him.. yet. I wouldn’t say offloading him is a ‘Terrible’ idea, I just think you would be better off trading elsewhere right now.


The Bench

Not as many injuries in Round 4 to report, but still a few.


N Smith (Panthers) – Up to 12 weeks.

S Geddes (Rabbits) – Season (possibly).

J Yow Yeh (Broncos) – Season.

K Locke (Warriors) – Uncertain.

C King ( Dragons) – Up to 6 weeks.

T Hodkinson (Bulldogs) – 4-6 Weeks.


The Ladder

Head to Head Kicked off in Round 4. The Winners are as follows:


Barnes: TooMuchWeight, Metallitgger, Laroche Lions, westsmagpies, raptor, 89 Heros, Sportsmad , Howling T’Wolves

Summons: Sladie’s Tigers, Tiger_1983, KtsRaptors, Yo Mamas, BucketsOfBlood, OneEyedTigers, Horsehead Bookends, Tiger Terror.


A shout out to TooMuchWeight – a massive 898 points clocked and has a very solid team. Could be a real threat in Barnes Conference. Also, no one beat the admins. So my request to you for this week: come on everyone, step up!

Until next week!



2012 – Round 5 – Tigers vs Rabbitohs


wests tigers game previewThe anniversary of the 1952 Souths vs Wests Grand Final provides the backdrop for the Heritage Round clash. Hopefully the big occassion on Sunday and the fairly relentless bagging sent their way this week can awake the Tigers from their off-season slumber.

Last Monday’s second half performance may go down as one of the most disappointing in the joint-venture’s history. I honestly don’t recognise the team at the moment. The players look familiar but, like a lot of fans, I don’t understand what is happening on the field. Missed tackles, bench selection, Adam Blair – all these topics and more have been the subject of heated debate since the full-time siren sounded at Campbelltown on Monday.

You haven’t got to look hard to see where this Sunday’s game will be won and lost. Unless our team can turn their tissue-paper defence into something resembling an iron curtain, the big Souths forward pack will have a field day. As was the case last week, we’ll need to do so with a two-forward-two-back bench, but Bell’s promotion to the run-on side should add some much needed starch up-front. I’d love to see Blair channel a fraction of Farah’s anger this week and provide some genuine impact.  I feel sorry for Moors missing out on a bench spot again after a strong performance against Manly, but I just hope Sheens gives Meaney a more meaningful role this Sunday.

In some ways, this game is more about the performance than the result. On the back of two heavy losses, and being without Galloway and Farah, the bounce back may not be immediate.  But I’m not writing off the 2012 season.  It’s Round 5 and there is still plenty time to put together a winning streak.  Injuries and form will swing around in our favour soon.  I still have confidence in this year’s squad, but maybe the impact of the off-season recruitment drive will just take a bit more time to settle and click.  These are tough times for the players and fans – but with Marshall on the field, Tuqiri and Lawrence re-united out wide and Ellis playing out of his skin, hopefully the historic theme on Sunday will allow Wests Tigers wind the clock back a fraction and rediscover their attacking potency of 2010-11.  Failing that, a competitive performance would be nice.


FTS: Sam Burgess.
Margin: For the first time in BWTF history, I’m unfortunately tipping against the Tigers. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be supporting our team with as much voice as I can muster (and the missus and cat will tolerate), but I think David will struggle to overcome Goliath this week. Souths 1-12. I really hope I’ve put the mocker on the Tigers and they find a way to get back on track. Prove me wrong, boys. Please, prove me wrong.

BWTF Players of the Week:

Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 4 were:

Best Back/Utility: Ryan (47% of votes) [11/23]
Best Forward: Woods (52% of votes) [12/23]

Beau Ryan earned the respect of BWTF voters again this week. He’s won the Best Back award every week in 2012 so far. That says a lot for his courage and effort in a team that is struggling. Thanks to all those who voted. Links for the Round 5 polls will be posted on Facebook after the game.


Six To Go: Round 5

uncategorizedReady to roar: It’s getting harder and harder to remain enthusiastic about this lot. The missed tackles, backs on the bench, lack of line breaks and players out of position slowly but surely suck the life out of supporters. And then the weekend rolls around, and we’re ready to roar! The Tigers have been battered from pillar to post this week, and deservedly so. I don’t expect them to beat the Bunnies, but I do expect them to give it a bloody good shake.


Farah on Fox: NRL on Fox host Matthew Johns didn’t miss Robbie Farah on Wednesday night when he questioned the Tigers skipper about playing soft and rumours of a rift with fellow playmaker Benji Marshall. Like him or loathe him, Johns was on the money and repeated what many of us have been saying for weeks. Again, it’s not the losses that bother me, it’s the nature of the losses. I’ve seen Kardashians show more commitment than some the Wests Tigers players.


Half a Humble: I like what I’ve seen from Tom Humble playing in the front line. He showed plenty of spark against the Eagles and Dragons and wanted the ball in his hands again on Monday night. The Tigers long-term success is tied to a halfback who demands the ball and organises the team so Benji Marshall can pick his spots out wide. My message to the new number seven is simple – remain Humble and leave the magic to Marshall.


Size matters: Running on emotion will only get you so far. The Tigers relied on emotion to match it with the Raiders for 40 minutes on Monday night before size, speed and skill reigned supreme. The Tigers simply didn’t have the size to compete with Canberra in the second half. Our forwards were badly outmatched and looked out on their feet. Having Tom Humble and Sean Meaney on the bench certainly didn’t help, though both players tried hard in limited game time.


Coaching critique: It’s a coach’s responsibility to put his players in the best possible position to succeed. Forwards play up front and backs, well I’m sure you get the idea. So why in the blue hell does Tim Sheens make more positional changes than an unbalanced Brian Smith on the crest of an acid wave? Don’t pick two backs on the bench, leave Liam Fulton in the backrow, name a specialist hooker and do something – anything – with Adam Blair.


While I’m at it: Paul Gallen ran for 248 metres and made 35 tackles on the weekend…Adam Blair ran for 30 metres and made 25 tackles…Cooper Cronk showed his class by sticking with the Storm for another four years and knocking back a huge offer from the Gold Coast…Somewhere, an injured Scott Prince is promoting the Gold Coast Blaze NBL franchise…Braith Anasta would be a great signing for the Tigers…Thanks to our 580 Facebook friends, it’s a fun ride!



2012 – Round 4 – Tigers vs Raiders



wests tigers game previewYes, it’s early in the season, but seeing the Wests Tigers second last on the ladder after three games is quite a strange and worrying sight (especially being adjacent to Parramatta who absolutely stink!). More worrying though is the way in which we lost last Friday. And despite the Raiders being down on troops as well, the challenge for Wests to get back on track tonight is made even more difficult without Farah.

Replacing our captain for the next two weeks was always going to be a contentious decision for Sheens. In the absence of a second hooker in our top squad, Fulton was named to fill in. He’s a good fit defensively for Farah, but he won’t ask too many questions of Canberra’s markers. However Shifty Sheens is expected to make a few late changes that should see a shuffle in the backline and bench involving Moltzen, Humble and Miller.  Watch our Facebook page for confirmation of the final line-up closer to kick-off.

How we could only register a single line break with the likes of Marshall, Farah, Lawrence and Ayshford against a Dragons team that had 30 points put on them the previous week was perplexing. Keyboards across the nation got a workout over the week as we all vented and offered solutions to each other. But for all the pre-season hype, Wests Tigers fans knew that the real key to success this season will come down to an improved attitude and improved discipline. Teams like Melbourne, Manly, St George and Brisbane have set the bench mark in recent years. Wests have been successful over the last two years, but rarely consistent. After three games of the season, we have only seen fleeting glimpses of their best and unfortunately a lot of ill-discipline and poor mistakes. But there’s no reason to believe that those aspects of our game can’t improve in a short time. The talent is still there, even though we’re missing a lot of experience through injury and suspension at the moment.

In 2010, we got spanked by the Bunnies in Round 10, re-grouped and went on lose only 4 more games in the regular season to finish 3rd. In 2011, we had back-to-back poor games either side of a bye week against the Dogs and Eels before going on an unbeaten streak to finish the regular season in 4th. There’s still plenty of time left to get things right this year. The coach and players know that last week was not good enough, so we are bound to see a much improved effort.

Canberra also have one win against their name, a 12 point victory over the Titans.  But they were unlucky in Round 1 against the Storm and could have beat a limp Roosters team last week if it weren’t for injuries.  Bronson Harrison loves facing his old team and has been playing well in 2012, with 6 offloads in the last two games.  Utility Joel Thompson gets promoted into the backrow and will line up opposite Blair.  From the bench the impact of the big hyphenated subs from each team, BMM and TLL, will be important to maintaining momentum around the ruck.

We have a very dominant record over the Raiders, winning the past seven matches straight including a number of blow-out scores. The Tigers have had 10 days to build up to this game, they’ll have a vocal Campbelltown Stadium behind them, Ellis back on the park and Heighington becoming the most capped Wests Tiger. I might be biased, but damn it if I can find any way that Canberra can beat us tonight – provided we hold the ball of course!


FTS: With the expected backline shuffle, I’m tipping Moltzen to relish his return to fullback, score the first try and underline the fact that he should have been there all along (#toldyouso).
Margin: I’m tipping a close and low-scoring game. Wests by 4 (16-12).

BWTF Players of the Week:

Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 3 were:

Best Back/Utility: Ryan (74% of votes) [20/27]
Best Forward: Fulton (20% of votes) [5/25]

Despite featuring a backline with an Australian centre and New Zealand five-eighth, our gutsy winger claims the Best Back award for the third week running. Our forwards as a group were less than impressive, but Fulton grabbed the gong ahead of Farah, Blair and Heighno by a single vote.

Thanks to all those who voted.  Links for the Round 4 polls will be posted on Facebook after the game.


The Starting 17 – The Walking Wounded‏

uncategorizedDream Team has a funny was of messing with you. Just as I thought I was comfortable, we have one of the most incredible injury/suspension hit rounds I’ve experienced in my Dream Team tenure. So, how do you move forward from here? Let’s dive in and find out!



The Scrum

So literally the week after I talk about my reasons to trade, my own team gets stuck with two massive set backs. For those keen to know, I am keeping Tony Williams and Trading out Fensom. I have my own reasons as to why, but primarily: I want to conserve trades, and I want T Rex in my team long term. The end.


So, where else can you get some bargains? Let’s have a look. I will throw a disclaimer out: I am avoiding Hodges and Aubo as they are both injury prone. Having said this, there are still plenty of bargains out.


J Wright (Bulldogs): A Centre for the Bulldogs who is showing a lot of promise. At a mere $154,700 he still represents good value, and offers a player who will not be affected by SOO. Even better, the Dogs have some easier games coming up.


D Nielsen (Storm):  You all know him. A SOO level representative that plays very well for the Storm. At $173,700, he isn’t as cheap as J Wright, but worth a look. You would think with Hodges and Inglis fit he will miss out on SOO this year. Quite possibly a keeper.


Sione Lousi (Warriors) : A cheap 2RF who is going rather well for the Warriors at the moment. After a massive week last week, he has a low B/E (Break even) this week of -15. However, with the Rapira’s possibly returning from injury in the coming weeks, could be short term.


Boyd Cordner (Roosters) :  Boyd Cordner came onto the scene late last year for the Roosters. With A Guerra’s injury, Boyd looks to be a starting 2RF for the Roosters for the next 4 weeks at least. Most likely will get shifted onto the bench after that, but at $126,400, you can’t argue the value.
My favourites of those? J Wright and D Nielsen for sure. Also, you need both A Reynolds (Rabbits) and J Reynolds (Doggies). They’re both must haves.


The Bench

A massive, massive week in terms of injury in Round 3. I’ll try my best to remember everyone but don’t shoot me if I have forgotten.


S Fensom (Raiders) – 6 to 8 Weeks (I think more personally).

T  Williams (Manly) –7 Weeks. Suspended for sending De Gois around the world. Dirty Grub.

C Armit (Panthers) – 3 to 4 Weeks.

N Fein (Dragons) – 4 Weeks..

J Dugan (Raiders) – 6 Weeks.

T Thurling (Raiders) – 2 Weeks.

A Guerra (Roosters) – 4 Weeks.

W Naiqama ( Knights) 3-5 Weeks.


The Ladder

Head to Head officially kicks off this round. Make sure that even if you aren’t making trades, you are fielding a full side in order to get as many points as possible. Don’t forget that if you manage to beat Brad’s Howling T’Wolves or Steve’s OneEyedTigers, the BWTF Admin team will donate $10 to Dreamworld’s Wildlife Foundation.  A great initiative if you ask me. Good luck to all participants, I can’t wait to see some results coming through next week.


Until next week!




Six To Go: Round 4

I know there’s only five topics, but I’m sticking with Six To Go – just wrote more than usual

uncategorized Teflon Tim: Tim Sheens is a the three-time Dally M Coach of the Year who has won four premierships, a State of Origin series and guided the Kangaroos to the 2011 Four Nations title. A lot of good judges believe he has helped reinvent the game over nearly three decades in the coach’s box. It is somewhat ironic then that the very game he revolutionised has clearly passed him by. This blog isn’t a rapid reaction to another slow start, it’s a realisation that Tim Sheens has not and will not change and therefore, neither will the Wests Tigers.


Positional play: While the Sharks and Rabbitohs made mass changes after pathetic performances to start 2012, Tim Sheens reacted to a heavy loss by naming Liam Fulton at hooker in an otherwise unchanged team to take on the Raiders. Let’s look at some of the Round 4 selections. Joel Reddy is a centre playing on the wing. Tim Moltzen is a bench utility who inexplicably finds himself playing halfback – how is that ‘winning streak’ looking now by the way – and Liam Fulton is a backrower playing hooker. So in typical Sheens’ fashion, we have at least three blokes playing out of position.


Coaching complacency: It’s far too early to write off 2012, but unless something dramatic happens I can’t see the Tigers making the top four, let alone the Grand Final. It’s not the losses that bother me, it’s the nature of the losses. The Tigers have become predictable, making six line breaks in three games while offering very little in attack. Complacency is also a huge issue, and that starts with the coach. Take this weekend for example. Going into an NRL game without a specialist hooker, or even a half masquerading as a hooker, is nothing short of arrogant.


Perennial underachievers: Sheens is revered for bringing Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah into grade, but how has he actually improved them as players. Marshall relies on his raw ability more often than not and Farah’s running game has been non-existent in recent years. Both are brilliant players, but they’re constantly underachieving like the rest of the Tigers team. Teams know how to beat the Tigers – stop the Marshall and Farah show and you win the game. Rob Lui changed all that. He may have struggled in defence, but he forced teams to focus on another target when Wests had the ball.


Hope and hype: For all the hype surrounding the Tigers young guns, Sheens is reluctant to pull the trigger. Parramatta have unearthed Ken Sio and Cheyse Blair, the Warriors have man mountain Konrad Hurrell and forward Sione Lousi, St George backrower Jack De Belin looks like the second coming of Nathan Hindmarsh and Cowboy Jason Taumalolo is set to be this year’s answer to Tariq Sims. Then there’s Andrew Everingham, who debuted for Souths less than a year after leaving the Tigers. These guys are young, raw and enthusiastic. The Tigers could do with a dose of that right about now.