Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Stags are out to pasture for summer. Here’s my end-of-year report card (plus I’ve gone back 12 months to compare the corresponding ratings following the euphoria of the Ranfurly Shield victory).

Glen Horton – this year 7.5 (last year 8): Like many of the Stags he finished on a slightly flat note compared to 2009. Gutsy and a great counter-attacker.

Mark Wells – 8 (not rated 2009): The surprise package of 2010. They call him “crazy legs” for his ungainly running style but he ran, caught and kicked with aplomb.

James Paterson – 6 (not rated): Henderson and Culhane rated him but we couldn’t because this obvious athlete was hamstrung by injury.

Tony Koonwaiyou – 6.5 (7.5): Show glimpses of good form but if the Stags are serious about winning the ITM Cup they need to find some fast wings – fast!

Kendrick Lynn - 9 (8): The outstanding attacking back of 2010. When the Highlanders pulled rank and insisted on his groin operation, the Stags were sunk.

Matt Saunders – 9 (8): Was a revelation in the number 12 jersey. Only Lynn was better.

James Wilson – 7.5 (6.5): This bloke is gifted. Showed genuine tenacity to fight his way back into the Stags and deserves a Super contract.

Robbie Robinson – 7.5 (9): The Boy Wonder is still a wonderful player but suffered from being the player other teams targeted.

Scott Cowan – 7 (8): Another who did not perform quite as well as 2009 but unless big bro Jimmy is available he’s still head and shoulders the best we’ve got.

Elliot Dixon: 8 (not rated): This kid’s got the goods!

Kane Thompson: 7 (not rated): Took his opportunity well with the injury to Dixon but the old bull will probably make way for the young buck.

Tim Boys – 8 (9.5): I’m still chairman of the Tim Boys fan club but I think, as does Jamie Joseph, this wonderful flanker has been overtaken by John Hardie.

John Hardie - 9 (9): In the best traditions of Bill McCaw, Ack Soper, Ken Stewart, Leicester Rutledge and Paul Henderson before him, another champion rolls off the Southland loose forward production line.

Josh Bekhuis – 9 (9): It’s when, not if, Graham Henry comes calling.

Joe Tuineau - 8 (8.5): Good but maybe not as good as 2009? Needs to step up and cement his extraordinary athletic ability at Super 15 level

Alex Ryan – 7 (not rated): With the likes of Dixon, Hardie, Brayden Mitchell and Nic Barrett also coming through , Southland has the makings of fine forward pack for several seasons to come.

Chris King – 8.5 (9): Head down. Bum up. It was business as usual. You beauty!

Jason Rutledge – 9.5 (10): Deserved a 10 for effort. The affable plumber became a cult hero at the ripe old age of 32. Should be in Hong Kong blocking a lineout – not in Invercargill unblocking a toilet.

Jamie Mackintosh – 9.5 (8.5): Boys was my player of the year in 2008. Last year it was Rutledge. This year I flipped a coin and Captain Fantastic gets the heads-up.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home