PEAKEYBLINDER wrote:Why do Cas,Saints,Wigan and others appear to have stronger squads than us? Is it because they are not obsessed by star players but spend money more smartly across their squads and have adventurous coaches who get the best out of them.
See this where I find it hard to come to a conclusion. I think that our biggest problem has been recruitment. The quality of a squad at any one time will depend on the recruitment over about the past 5 or so years. Compared to those other clubs our recruitment has been poor since around 2012/13 so we are paying the price.
The comparison between us and Cas in recruitment over that period is especially revealing. There's no way Cas have a recruitment advantage over us in terms of money, size of club etc, and they were bottom of the league back in 2013 but look how they built themselves up. Also in that period they have on three(!) occasions had to deal with the loss of their best player (Chase, Clark, Solomona) and each time they rebuilt and came back better without them. Contrast that to what happened when we lost Morley, Hodgson, Briers.
I think our recruitment has been poor for a long time and this has left us with a shortage of big game gamebreakers and too many players who are regular starters that are average and would not get in the Saints/Wigan side. Surely I am not alone in that view...?
BUT...if you accept that view then how do you explain that in the past four seasons, we've made five finals (two under TS and three under Price), won a League Leaders Shield under TS and a Challenge Cup under Price. That suggests that we have had coaches who have actually overachieved - even if they have been involved in the poor recruitment decisions - they have managed to get an average squad punching quite high up.
If previous Wire coaches: Cullen, Van de Velde, Johnson, had been in charge of these players over the past few years, would we have had more success? I doubt it. We would have played more adventurous rugby under Cullen, but I don't think we would have been as well structured defensively. I do feel like in terms of being able to organise a team, TS and Price have been a big upgrade on what we had before.
I am still trying to figure out my real view on all this. I think it's that
a) Price is a similar calibre coach to TS, and neither should be underrated. Also remember Price has won a major trophy without the big gun players that TS had,
b) If you thought that TS was the kind of coach with a ceiling that would never get us to the next level, you probably have to put Price in the same category,
c) since the likes of Briers, Morley, Hodgson and the Monaghans retired, both coaches have been handcuffed by having an ordinary squad with a few highlights, rather than a top class squad. This goes much further than the coaches and we have to look at why the operations at the club that are set up to recruit experienced talent and bring through youth talent are not as good as our rivals.
Until we sort the problems in c) out I am not expecting a Grand Final win, not even if we bring in someone like Craig Bellamy or Ricky Stuart as our coach. But if we were say top 2 in the league in both recruitment and bringing through youth talent, then we could keep Price or bring back TS and have a fair chance of winning one.