Poll: Will St Helens win a trophy in 2014?
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2014
11-03-2013, 08:56 PM (This post was last modified: 11-21-2013 07:37 PM by Genghis Von Battenberg.)
Post: #1
2014
Are you ready?

No, no, no...ARE YOU READAAYYY?!

Lllllllladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. Genghis Von Battenberg proudly brings to you the two-time World Club Challenge champions of the wooorrrllld. The Road Dawg Nathan Brown, The Badass Eamonn McManus: St Helens 2014!

And if you're not down with that, I got two words for ya'...

...Silly Leeds.

While it's nearly preseason time, and while I'm very bored and depressingly lonely at home, I might as well take the time to preview and big up the forthcoming campaign for the five-time champions of the league (maybe should've gone with that in the DX intro, instead of WCC...) All the players, the ins and outs, who'll do what, where and why this season. All here. Please discuss.

Squad
1. Jonny Lomax (FB/SH)
2. Tommy Makinson (W)
3. Jordan Turner (CE)
4. Josh Jones (CE/SR)
5. Adam Swift (SO/W)
6. Lance Hohaia (SO/H)
7. Luke Walsh (SH)
8. Mose Masoe (P)
9. James Roby (H) (vc)
10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (P/LF)
11. Iosia Soliola (SR)
12. Jon Wilkin (SR/SO) ©
13. Willie Manu (LF/SR)
14. Anthony Laffranchi (P)
15. Mark Flanagan (SR/LF)
16. Kyle Amor (P)
17. Paul Wellens (U)
18. Alex Walmsley (P)
19. Paul Clough (P/SR)
20. Richard Beaumont (P)
21. Ade Gardner (W)
22. Mark Percival (CE)
23. Joe Greenwood (SR)
24. Gary Wheeler (SO/CE)
25. Anthony Walker (P)
26. Matty Dawson (W/CE)
27. Greg Richards* (P)
28. Luke Thompson* (P)
29. Jordan Hand (P)
30. Carl Forster (P)
31. James Tilley (SR)
32. Lewis Charnock* (SO)
33. Andre Savelio* (SR)
34. Connor Dwyer (SR/LF)
35. Alex Clare (LF)

*Eligible for under 19s

Transfers
In
Mose Masoe - Penrith
Luke Walsh - Penrith
Richard Beaumont - Hull KR
Kyle Amor - Wakefield
Matty Dawson - Huddersfield

Out
Lee Gaskell - Bradford
Tony Puletua - Salford
Francis Meli - Salford
Josh Perry - retired
Gareth O'Brien - Warrington (loan return)
Stewart Howarth - Salford (loan return)
Dom Speakman - Barrow
Danny Yates
Nathan Ashe

Tactics
I think Saints' transfer policy has been very much a case of 'one door closes, another opens'. The bolstering of the pack with monsters of men in Masoe and Beaumont as well as the graft of Amor will do well to offset the loss of Puletua and Perry, as well as assist an already formidable frontline consisting of Laffranchi, LMS, Clough and Walmsley, with Manu and Soliola as the key edge men. There are plenty options there, and plenty for Brown to utilise in his 'Rafa rotation' policy that he's sure to employ with a squad that could well be as large as 37 men.

On top of this, the halves have a welcome addition in Luke Walsh, who went out with something of a bang with the Panthers in the NRL. Saints were not so much crying out for a consistent 7 last season as uncontrollably screaming like a banshee who found out he had a terminal illness on the same day his wife left him for a richer, more attractive banshee. So on that score, our creative options have been given a vital shot in the arm. However, for me, questions remain at 6, and to a lesser extent at centre in terms of creativity.

Hohaia simply hasn't cut the mustard, for what he's purportedly being paid, and despite the odd flash, his lack of pace and haphazard decision making has crippled us at times; so much so we went and got O'Brien in from Warrington for a few months. So who do you turn to? Wilkin, a slower playmaker with a bipolar kicking game? Gary 'Breadstick Legs' Wheeler, who's figure must be indented on the treatment table by now? The young Charnock? The iffy Turner? The position, and by extension our midfield altogether is still dubious in its reliability and creativity.

And of course, with no settled half-back pairing, it leaves the work of the likes of Lomax, who looks nailed on for the #1 jersey, and the centres very difficult to create scoring opportunities. But again, our current edge men hardly harken back to Gidley, Talau, Lyon and their ilk. Despite getting player of the year last season, I couldn't watch Turner without feeling an error was coming. I think there's a lot to go at with him as a right centre, but his decision making and defence leaves a lot to be desired. And who plays on the other side is a conundrum in and of itself. I have speculated that it'll be Jones as, despite apparently being moved into the second-row, he showed most consistency last season, and his edge defence is very good, even at 20. As mentioned, Wheeler needs to stay fit, and the signs were there with Percival before he flew off the radar. It's a peculiar situation, inasmuch as we have four really good potential centres - none of whom I would categorise as match-winners.

All in all, though, that looks a very good squad. I think but a fee sides will be able to compete with the size - both in terms of mass and number - of that pack, and if Lomax, Walsh and whoever the hell is at 6 can hit it off, Saints will surely improve on their 5th place finish last time out.

"It's the worst signature I've seen. Its mix of homoerotic eulogising and pseudo-philosophical shite makes me sick. Since Hank has had this sig, SLF has gone down the toilet. I hate him. I can't stress that enough. I hope he gets banned." - Kevin Sinfield
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11-04-2013, 12:56 AM
Post: #2
RE: 2014
I think we will go well next season. I think most will agree when I say that we were lacking in two main areas throughout 2013; up front, and in the halves. Forget about everything else, if you don't have those basic requirements sorted you will get nowhere. We suffered badly with injuries I know, but we were up against it right from the start. Thankfully, on paper at least, we will have no such problems next season.

Amor is a brilliant signing for us. Statistically he is right up there with your Hill's and Crabtree's as the best in the league. With him starting in the front-row, possibly with Laffranchi and maybe with LMS at 13, we will take some stopping up front next year. Or we can go with Wilkin at 13 and start with two physical front-rower's. Masoe will provide up with some real go forward of the bench and obviously Walmsley will do the same. Both need a big Pre-Season though. If they can hit it off, then the likes of Lomax, Percival, Manu and Soliola are capable of cause teams problems. Roby will be crucial to everything as usual. It's up to those lads up front though to live up to their potential.

Halves. In Walsh, we have a natural 7 who will guide us around the park. Excellent kicking game and distribution good. Doesn't matter who we play at 6 IMO. Hohaia would look decent enough playing in a traditional second reciever role, but I would like to see Wheeler get the nod if he can keep himself fit. Would complement Walsh well, and offers a running threat. Hopefully Lomax wil continue to improve at 1, and we can bring our 3/4 line into the game. I can't wait to see Percival next year.

Exciting times for the club without doubt.
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11-04-2013, 10:25 AM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2013 10:34 AM by Genghis Von Battenberg.)
Post: #3
RE: 2014
I'd have to agree on the pack. The pack looks outstanding. LMS playing with that freedom in the second half of last year seemed to really energise him and us as a team. To compliment that, you've got a nice balance of workers in Laffranchi, Amor and Clough, explosive power in Beaumont, Masoe and Walmsley (although Masoe could benefit from getting himself in shape and losing about half-a-stone or so) and some of the best edge forwards in the league in Manu and Soliola, and that's without mentioning the class of Flanagan in the back-row, and the potential of Wilkin wide-left or at loose where he can help out the aforementioned half-back combination, whatever it may be.

I agree also that I'd like to see Wheeler get a go at 6, for the reasons you've suggested. The only drawback is a) fitness and b) form in terms of how well he and Walsh potentially compliment each other. As I've said, though, the beauty of Wilkin in the pack is that he can take the load off of Wheeler as a ball-playing stand-off. If that be the case, you'd have to also suggest that Hohaia would spell Roby at hooker, which is probably a good policy.

"It's the worst signature I've seen. Its mix of homoerotic eulogising and pseudo-philosophical shite makes me sick. Since Hank has had this sig, SLF has gone down the toilet. I hate him. I can't stress that enough. I hope he gets banned." - Kevin Sinfield
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11-04-2013, 10:27 AM
Post: #4
RE: 2014
I am being optimistic and have voted yes.

I think we look much stronger than we have for the past few seasons and the recruitment we have done does seem much better than previous seasons. Only time will tell how it will pan out though.

I do hope that we are working a lot more on the conditioning side of things to try to avoid injuries as much as possible
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11-04-2013, 10:32 AM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2013 10:33 AM by Genghis Von Battenberg.)
Post: #5
RE: 2014
I agree. Last season everyone seemed to be bigging up the quality of our squad, and I just didn't buy it. This year, I feel we've recruited really well in areas that needed some attention (bar the Matty Dawson signing). There are now a lot of excellent players in that squad. Conditioning and I suppose luck are key too, as you say, inasmuch as giving us the best possible chance of having as many of these players available for finals football, as they say in Wee Waa.

I can't be as optimistic as to say that'll get us some silverware this season, though.

"It's the worst signature I've seen. Its mix of homoerotic eulogising and pseudo-philosophical shite makes me sick. Since Hank has had this sig, SLF has gone down the toilet. I hate him. I can't stress that enough. I hope he gets banned." - Kevin Sinfield
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11-04-2013, 10:38 AM
Post: #6
2014
Given that we managed to turn around last season in a way I don't think many thought we would I don't think it is unrealistic to think we are in with a chance of silverware - although I wouldn't be putting any bets on it!
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11-04-2013, 01:12 PM
Post: #7
RE: 2014
I think you'll be better and Walsh will improve you no end. Manu is a quality player that I wish Leeds had signed. Excellent looking pack plus youngsters that gained experience last year.

But i don't think you'll win anything
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11-04-2013, 01:54 PM
Post: #8
RE: 2014
good squad..good depth to it..but i think youll be fighting in or around 4th or 5th with cas n salford..Tongue
ive never ever seen lomax as a number 1... hes a seven in my eyes,god knows why but i think he should play in the backs..just mho Smile

Sir kev and his golden forehead..have that dorn..Sleepy
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11-04-2013, 03:28 PM
Post: #9
RE: 2014
2014, bit early isn't it?
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11-04-2013, 03:33 PM
Post: #10
RE: 2014
(11-04-2013 03:28 PM)The Man With No Name Wrote:  2014, bit early isn't it?

Yep, we've not even had the end of season awards for 2013 yet
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