NEWS ARTICLE

Rogers’ comeback biggest head-scratcher of 2011


Thursday June 30, 2011
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KEYTO’S NRL HITS (and misses) – Before I start today I need to lay two things on the table – I don’t like publicly bagging teams (or players) when they’re down and the Gold Coast Titans are not my favourite team. As a Broncos fan they are public enemy number one. But they are in a key rugby league area and we need them doing well.

Now, onto Mat Rogers ‘shock return’.

Rat Returns

If you missed it, Mat Rogers announced on Tuesday night he would be returning to the Titans for the remainder of the 2011 season ONLY. By my count, that’s nine games. Based on what we’ve seen for the opening two-thirds of the competition the Titans are the worst team in the NRL this season. They are all but out of Finals contention – they would need to win a bare minimum of seven games and so far they’ve plodded along to jag four.

Bringing back a 199 game veteran, who was a good player in his day but no world-beater, is bizarre. I heard the players wanted him back and that’s great, but jeez it’s a slap in the face to at least three players I can think of.

Young Guns

If I’m a young guy at the Titans trying to crack it into first grade, doing all the extras to learn how to be a playmaker, plugging away in the lower grades … and see this guy come back, I’m pissed off. The 2011 season is gone and it’s a perfect time to bring in a five-eighth to learn alongside Scott Prince and prepare for next year.

Instead they’re bringing back an old fella who’s had his day and for what? Because the senior players like him?

What about a guy called Luke Capewell who has played 40 NRL games and was signed at the Titans this year to play five-eighth or fullback? He is plugging away in the Queensland Cup and barely been given a chance to string two or three NRL games together.

Then there’s an 18 year old named Jordan Rankin who was good enough to debut at age 16 for the Titans! Again he’s a fullback or half but how does he take his game to a new level in the 20’s?

The biggest one for me is Beau Henry … he signed mid-year at a time when he was playing NRL for the Newcastle Knights EVERY WEEK at five-eighth. The reason he left was because of Wayne Bennett. He couldn’t get a start at the Dragons and realised since Bennett didn’t want him there, he won’t want him next year at Newcastle.

The guy hasn’t been sighted in a month which for me is almost unacceptable. I understand the coach wanted him to learn the Titans ‘style’ but let’s be honest – that style is terrible in 2011! How about throwing him in there and see how he goes? Henry was playing perfectly fine at the Knights and only left because of the new coach.

Only Exception

Scott Prince is a good halfback, not in great form, but he has the experience to guide and teach a young, hungry partner. A Capewell, Henry or Rankin could learn plenty by playing NRL next to Prince for the rest of this season. Even if the results aren’t great, throw in a pre-season and some confidence and you could have the makings of a premiership-winning side next year.

How are these guys going to learn a thing by watching Prince and his old mate Rogers running around together? Even if Rogers doesn’t play in the halves, he is still taking a spot in the side from a young guy.

The only justification I could see would be if Prince had suffered a season-ending injury. Then yes, there is huge value in having Rogers come in and guide one of these young kids.

Sometimes you have to take a chance even if it hurts for the time being. Look at Brisbane last year and now look at them … Hoffman, Yow Yeh, Glenn to name a few. All will be Test players at the end of the season.

Look at Manly with Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans, plus Trent Hodkinson the year before. They took a huge risk and threw those guys into the NRL to sink or swim. It hurt early but now Foran is a New Zealand player, Hodkinson is developing into a real general and Cherry-Evans will probably be rookie of the year.

Parra’s Retirement Village

When the Eels signed Carl Webb, Chris Walker, Paul Whatuira and Chris Hicks for this season everyone was questioning why! These guys all had their moments in impressive careers but were all past their best. Most in the NRL community agree it was the wrong move – of those four guys Webb sort of plays NRL now, but no huge minutes. Walker is way down in the pecking order but further down is Hicks – who hasn’t played NRL at all. Whatuira has since retired.

However this Rogers thing takes the cake.

I really can’t understand how this helps a team rebuilding for next season – especially when they already have a few older guys holding onto spots and the youngsters toiling away in the Queensland Cup or Under 20’s.

TIPPING

Tips – Broncos, Bulldogs, Souths, Dragons, Canberra
Last Week – 4/8
Total –71/116 (61%)

Sorry for the long one this week, the issue just really annoyed me! For the record I think the Taylor suspension was too harsh but he was correctly ruled out of Origin III next week. Want to chat please leave a comment, email (andrew.keyte@gmail.com) or Tweet me (@keyto316).

Enjoy the Decider next week (Go Queensland),
Keyto