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Gazwire Member for 13 years
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Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 9:32 am  
With an abundance of props, where do they all fit in? How do we play them? Who do we look to retain/release medium to long term?

I'll start the ball rolling with my initial thoughts (subject to change as I've not fully thought this through):

Vaughan/Bullock starting. Currie and Holmes SF. Mcguire LF.

Michaele first interchange, Kasiano second.

I would consider Philbin on the bench as general prop/second row/loose forward cover. He seems the most versatile out of the main group though Harrison, in time, looks to have some potential in filling this all rounder role.

Harrison and Nicholson to develop and put pressure on starters.

Dudson cover for prop injuries.



First question: it looks ike Bullock and Dudson are playing for the same shirt. If you had to select one, who would be your choice?
Smiffy27 Member for 12 years
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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 10:23 am  
We do seem to have cornered the market in props. I suppose, one thing is for sure, it will be dead easy to lend out surplus props to other clubs as there usually is a general shortage. I would disagree with any thoughts of Philbin playing second row & he is likely to be missing for a fair chunk of the season.
Wires71 Member for 16 years
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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 11:12 am  
Bullock is really trying hard. It's good to see.

Philbin, and I wish him well with his recovery, will find himself well down the pecking order when he returns.
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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 12:02 pm  
I think if you split props into two styles, you can find a balance. Stable props, consistent and dependable. And those who a more of a battering ram. I think balancing the two is important.

For me, it makes sense to split Makaele and Kasiano up, neither have a good engine but but can have an impact. I’d add Philbin to this too.

The ‘stable’ props are Vaughan, Dudson and Harrison.

Bullock is somewhere in the middle.

A concern is Holmes. Nicholson has been preferred, even without a pre-season, so I think the plan would be Nicholson and Currie in the back row.

For that reason, I think it would be:
Vaughan, Clark, Mikaele
Currie Nicholson
McGuire

Subs: Walker, Kasiano, Dudson and the best of the rest. Likely to be Holmes, but I think Harrison is the best, until Philbin returns.

That leaves Bullock, Holmes, Longstaff and Harrison out for my preferred team.
Gazwire Member for 13 years
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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 12:43 pm  
Good point that about mixing the props. It would be great to have Michaele and Kasiano playing at the same time against a tiring pack, but as you say, it would imbalance things. If both were to play at the same time, we'd need other players to step up in the defensive role as their lack of mobility would be an issue.

Interesting view on the role of Nicholson ie that he'd be in front of Holmes. In some ways, this could be expected due to the reasons for him leaving Wigan and being unlikely to displace the current second rowers.

I wonder if the board over recruited props, believing that they wouldn't be able to snare their primary targets. I wonder whether Dudson was a fail safe for Vaughan. I'm wondering too whether they expected Bullock to improve so much.

Philbin with a descent pack around him is worth keeping imo. Let's hope he makes a full recovery.
ratticusfinch Member for 17 years
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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 1:07 pm  
I will give Powell some credit where Bullock is concerned. I always thought there was a ruddy good prop in there with Bullock, even when he was at Wigan, and it seems Powell is managing to find him. I know he's had a rollocking at one point (off-field matter) but seems to have responded well. He's still got a long way to go but he's been a bright spot in dark season.
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morrisseyisawire Member for 10 years
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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 2:14 pm  
The two "at risk" for me are Mulhearn and Philbin

When you look at the best foreards, as well as grunt they have football brains. They know when to riak an offload, they know the lines to hit and they can spot a weak, switched off defender. I don't see that in Mulhearn and Philbin personally.

Dudson I don't get - never rated him but as a squad.prop he'd better than we have, which is basically little.

Bullock is good for a starting 17 place for me, he's cutting out the errors and running with vigour - a rare success story.

For.me the 2023 pack loos like

Vaughan, Walker, Bullock,
Currie, Nicholson
McGuire

Clark, Harrison, Mikaele, Kasiano

The caveat to that ia Mikaele, who needs to have a big off season, improve his stamina and tighten up his defence - if not Dudson takes his jersey.

Still, competition for jerseys and strength in depth looks much better, for sure.

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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 3:21 pm  
To add a bit of complication to this discussion. Do we go with the 80min hooker. For years Saints were able to do this because Roby could easily do 80 mins. Similar with Powell at Wigan. That provides the extra forward on the bench for rotation.
We dont have a Simon Grix type player next year that could drop in at hooker, SR, LF or even centre or stand off if needed.

I recall talk about Philbin being a starting prop in the build up to 2021 season but was never convinced. I would prefer if he played 13 rotating with McGuire.

Holmes will be back at second row and Nicholson will still get plenty of opportunity for game time and development.

So
Start with Vaughan and Bullock if he keeps improving.
Rotate with kassiano and Dudson keeping the french connection together.
SR of Currie and Holmes .
LF of McGuire and Philbin.

Mikeale and Harrison covering injuries and suspensions or the extra forward if we go with an 80min hooker.
With the size of the pack we might have to go with 4 forwards on the bench. IIRC Holmes ended up at centre last night when Wrench went off so he (or Currie) could allow cover if the backs need to shuffle round.
Smiffy27 Member for 12 years
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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 5:06 pm  
I know this is unfashionable on this forum but I do think Holmes needs to get some credit. In the last few weeks he has been a bit of a tackling machine. His versatility is useful too. I think he will still be a regular next season.
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Re: Props/forwards formation 2023 : Fri Aug 12, 2022 5:19 pm  
Smiffy27 wrote:
I know this is unfashionable on this forum but I do think Holmes needs to get some credit. In the last few weeks he has been a bit of a tackling machine. His versatility is useful too. I think he will still be a regular next season.


He had a very good game last night, and he was very industrious the week before - 63 tackles I think, problem was he missed two key ones in the build up to a Wigan try.

I'd rather have 35 tackles and zero missed, but fair play he was good V Toulouse. As was another perennial mystery, Jason Clark - in fact he was superb.
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