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Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:05 am
Posted by sally cinnamon on Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:05 am
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So the end of the decade is approaching. It's been a decade in which we've won 3 Challenge Cups, 2 League Leaders Shields and made 3 Grand Finals (and 5 Challenge Cup finals in total). It's been our most successful decade since the 1950s.

Who would be your Wire team of the decade?

Here's mine...

Fullback: Brett Hodgson
I don't think I've ever had as much confidence in a Wire player as Hodgson. Whatever the situation you knew he was going to make the right decision, he was our best goalkicker too. Also he must have been pound for pound one of our toughest players physically. Second place would be Stefan Ratchford who has had some spells of very good form although it still seems something is missing from him being really elite.

Wingers: Joel Monaghan and Josh Charnley
These two aren't express pace but they must be two of the best finishers in SL over this past decade. Joel was great at bringing down high kicks to the corner too. Charnley has bucked the trend of players returning from RU as a lesser player and has been a great pro for us. You could make a case that Chris Hicks was actually better than both these guys but he was only here one season in the 2010s so he misses out here. The other guys worth a mention are Tom Lineham and Chris Riley, both sometimes underappreciated but compiled excellent scoring records.

Centres: Matt King and Ryan Atkins
Both of these were real powerhouse players who could break score from deep as well as close range. I associate these guys with our best days of the decade, they were guys who would end up finishing off some of our best moves and the sight of Atkins charging home like a tank from 30 yards was a real statement of Wire dominance. The only quibble I would put against both these players was they were superb players when the team was doing well but neither seemed like the type to turn things around when we were in a rut. The guy who just misses out here was Chris Bridge, who had really superb footwork and was a wonderful ball player from centre. I think a lot of people had doubts when he left Bradford but that turned out to be possibly Cullen's best signing over time. Honorary mention to Peta Hiku for his brief cameo in 2016.

Halfbacks: Lee Briers and Richie Myler
The first 4 seasons of this decade saw Briers become a Wire legend. For me he's second in our history with only Bevan ahead. What a complete player he was at the back end of his career, he was the best player I've seen at taking a team round the park and being able to dictate the agenda with his boot since Ricky Stuart. Myler had his critics and maybe turned out to me more one-dimensional than we hoped when we signed him, but he was a very effective runner and he killed a lot of teams running on to an inside ball with his pace to run the ball home. It's been a mixed bag with our other halfbacks, but both Chris Sandow and Blake Austin gave us half a season of Man of Steel level performances.

Props: Chris Hill and Adrian Morley
For the first part of this decade Wire had the best front row in SL and Morley kept being in the running for MoS. He had teams rolling on the back foot from the start of the tackle count with those early tackle carries. He was a superb leader too. Then we achieved the most unlikely signing payoff ever, in dipping down to the lower leagues and picking out a player who even overtook Morley in his first season after turning full pro! Hill in his early years was immense and you wonder if he'd been picked up by the NRL if he would have gone on to be a Burgess or Bateman type figure over there. In recent years he's become less effective and more prone to becoming bad tempered and mouthy to refs, he's like Lee Briers in reverse. But still overall he's our no1 prop of the decade for me. 3rd and 4th would be Garreth Carvell and Paul Wood, who were not too far behind the standard of Hill and Morley.

Hooker: Michael Monaghan
This was the hardest choice for me and one I went back and forth on. I think Daryl Clark is overall a better hooker than Monas and in a less dominant team I'd probably want Clark. I went with Monas though because he was more likely to damage the opposition in attacking areas.
You watch us play now, and even in a great team performance like Wembley against Saints this year, it just feels like hard work scoring. When we were in the last 20 yards of the field, and Monas took the ball you just had the feeling 'something's on here', you just sensed that a scoring play was imminent. It was a quality which Briers and Sandow had too. I really wish we had a player like that now. I have lots of respect for Clark but he's just edged out here. Special mention too for Mick Higham who played some great rugby for us.

Second row: Ben Westwood and Trent Waterhouse
For toughness, consistency, longevity and the ability to put in fine performances regardless of whether those around him were playing well or not, Westwood is number one. There hasn't been a Wire forward in my whole time as a supporter who has done as much for as long as him, and this decade started at the halfway point of his career! The other spot was a bit less clear cut. Trent Waterhouse probably had the most quality so he gets in there, but I might have put pre-injury Ben Currie ahead of him. I would definitely put David Solomona on the bench, he was an example of a signing that adds a new dimension to a team and really elevated not only our attacking potential but also our style. I think peak Wire in terms of being entertaining, coincided with having Solomona in the team.

Loose forward: Simon Grix
You could make a strong case for Ben Harrison here who was a bigger and probably better 'forward' but I think Grix was the best all round player we had over the whole decade and I had to fit him in somewhere. What great character he had too to keep persevering after the injuries he had and credit to the club for sticking by him. Grix was a completely unique talent in my time as a Wire fan. You have lots of players who get moved around out of position to 'do a job' but he excelled wherever he was put, loose forward, centre or stand-off too. He never seemed like a player 'out of position' and being a utility player never seemed to be a drag on him in the way it often is for other players like that. On Ben Harrison - probably underrated as his peak days coincided with there being a lot of stars around him, but he was another superb pick up at a young age from Cullen.

So there's my starting 13. I think my bench would be Carvell, P Wood, Solomona and one of Bridge or Ratchford.

Hopefully that will stir some memories and would be good to hear your comments, memories or changes you'd make...
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Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:16 am
Posted by morleys_deckchair on Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:16 am
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Hick's omission left me cold..... i dont want to see any stats either.

Really good read that though... hard to argue with most of that,
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Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:31 am
Posted by fez1 on Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:31 am
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That's a really good analysis SC.

I can't argue with much of that.

I too think Hicks would be in but as you say in the time period we're discussing it's a season verses several for Monas.
(His hat trick at the CC final v Leeds was arguably the best I've ever seen. Pace,power,agility - Hicks had it all. A natural athlete and rugby player.)

We're a long way off that now unfortunately but let's not go down that route in this thread.
Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:24 am
Posted by karetaker on Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:24 am
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M.Monaghan had a good kicking game as well and I get your point about Hicks really hard to leave him out though, I would have him ahead of Charnley.
Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:41 am
Posted by Builth Wells Wire on Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:41 am
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By the way its 4 Grand Finals & not 3. Chris Sandow over Myler
Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:16 am
Posted by rubber duckie on Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:16 am
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Hicks over your wingers.
once a wire always a wire
Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:22 am
Posted by lefty goldblatt on Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:22 am
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Hard to pick holes with Sally's selection. My only alterations would be

Either Solomona or Louis Anderson ahead of Waterhouse. Personal preference, I know, but I never "got" Waterhouse's crash, bang, wallop style of second row rugby

and Daryl Clark over Monaghan, for his dynamism

Two glaring points stand out for me

Hardly any signings from recent seasons. Yes, they'd be big names to replace, but we never have

The selection of Grix. Don't get me wrong. I liked the lad. A good player, but to have him as our top loose in the last decade, highlights our poor recruitment, and my bug bear of having an "auxiliary prop" in a specialist position, which has become rife, in the last decade.

But, as I say, hard to argue with most selections

A fine side
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Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:42 am
Posted by rubber duckie on Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:42 am
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Would you swap Hill Cooper and BMM
For Morley Carell and Solamona?
once a wire always a wire
Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:09 am
Posted by Or thane on Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:09 am
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Hicks in place of Charnley for me.
Louie Anderson in place of Waterhouse.
And yeah i'd pick Ben Harrison over Grix.
All in all though that's an awesome looking team :-)
Re: Wire team of the 2010s
Post Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:44 pm
Posted by sally cinnamon on Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:44 pm
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Yes I thought I would have forgotten someone and Louis Anderson seems like the obvious omission. I thought he only did one year in the 2010s like Hicks but he was there in our great 2011 season too. I think it's touch and go between him and Waterhouse.

Lefty makes a good point though. Most of those players are from the first part of the decade. If it was a team from 2015 onwards, it would look very different, probably something like:

Ratchford; Charnley, Lineham; Atkins, Goodwin; Austin, Sandow; Hill, Clark, Cooper; Currie, Hughes; Westwood.
Bench: Sims, BMM, Philbin, Gidley

Nowhere near as strong.
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