The Outsider #20 – Round 8 review


Round 8: South Sydney 20 defeated by Brisbane 24

The Outsider

I said in my preview that this would be a scrappy contest with Souths winning by 4 points. Well, it was a scrappy contest and Brisbane won by 4 points. Close enough but not good enough, much like the game we just saw.

Rugby league is a funny game. You can roll Canberra one week and get ambushed by a struggling Brisbane five days later.

Bad habits crept back into our game and after early points we couldn’t find our rhythm, dropped our heads and invited Brisbane back into the game.

If we keep this seesaw approach going then we can kiss the finals goodbye. These are the games that you need to win. We are four from eight at the moment but you can’t keep on playing catch up footy as you only have so many comebacks in you.

The Outsider’s five key areas

Attack – 2.5/5

A try off a kick and a bit of individual brilliance by Alex Johnston and then nothing for 53 minutes. You can’t win games if you’re not scoring points and it looked like we read too much into the win against Canberra.

I’ve written about the dew factor before and Souths didn’t prepare for it. Stadium Australia is in a unique part of the world where autumn and winter nights creates a lot of dew and moisture in the air. This makes the surface slow and greasy with playing footy on the sidelines dangerous. It’s one of the reasons why Queensland struggle to win there during State of Origin and it catches sides off their guard in club footy. We kept going out wide and backing our speed to get over Brisbane but it doesn’t work. We needed to go through the middle and cut back in, much like how Sutton scored.

It was a massive reality check for Damien Cook, you can have all the speed in the world but it leads to nothing if you don’t have a football brain. No, I am not being harsh. It’s called being a realist, sometimes bambi needs to be shot.

The problem with Cook is that he doesn’t know what to do with the ball and more than often takes the wrong option. I mentioned this about Cook during the preseason.

There were three crucial turnovers by Cook that cost us, one just before half time when we should have been working towards a field goal. And two in the second half that next set lead to two costly Brisbane tries.

It will be interesting to see how Seibold approaches Cook as his public comments about him this season haven’t been overly positive, well in comparison to the praise the coach potatoes have been giving him.

Damien Cook is a work in progress. Last night proved that he has a lot to do to be selected for Origin. He can blitz sides that have soft middle defence but struggles and overplays his hand when it’s an arm wrestle. Cook is definitely improving as a player but it is too soon to be throwing him in the Origin arena.

Defence – 2/5

35 missed tackles, very poor and pedestrian at times. Did the five day turnaround take its toll or did we just turn up and expect to win? We kept on being caught out with players charging out of the line and dropping when the ball wasn’t near them. We also don’t play to the whistle and our intensity drops when we spot a knock on or an obstruction.

I am not sure what planet Richie Kennar was on but that first try he let in was criminal. He made up for it later on in the game though. Hopefully his injury isn’t as bad as what has been reported.

I think Cameron Murray was used poorly unless they were managing his return to play by giving him spells but he should have been playing a full game. Why he wasn’t on in the last 10 minutes is beyond me.

Completions – 2.5/5

29/39 = 74% a big difference from last week’s 85%. As you can see if you’re not hitting 80+ then you’re in for a long night. For the record, Brisbane’s completion rate was 80%

Kicking game – 2/5

Very poor and predictable. Besides a few pressure kicks we didn’t really trouble Brisbane.

Discipline – 2.5/5

It all went down hill when George Burgess was penalised for a high shot. We are one of the most penalised sides in the competition and within the red zone it feels like it’s become a tactic. In the coming weeks we will have a player sit down for repeat infringements and social media will go into meltdown.

Where to from here?

Positives

Alex Johnston had a tidy game at fullback and pulled off some try saving defence but he can’t do it on his own.

John Sutton was dangerous with the ball and makes you wonder why he’s only on a year by year deal. Surely he will go around next season.

Negatives

It felt like 2017 again and there was no Robbie Farah, Dave Tyrell or Michael Maguire for the coach potatoes to blame for the performance.

The utility bench spot has to go. Adam Doueihi spends another week not developing in reserve grade and only plays the last 14 minutes of the game because another player comes off injured. Surely a player as experienced as Robbie Farah could have come on and given the side some direction and game management.

Until then….

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