Did anyone else notice that the Sharks, suddenly two scores behind against the Bulls and needing to throw caution to the wind, opted to bring on a clutch of forward replacements?
Surely in such a situation, when an all-out attack strategy becomes necessary on a do-or-die effort to seize an unlikely win, one should balance the need to protect possesion up front with the introduction of some unpredictable players in the midfield and back three? For the Shatks under John Plumtree, this simply isn’t an option, since his gamebreakers are all forwards – every last one of them.
Now don’t get me wrong here. I can fully appreciate the impact that a looser, more skillful player can have when introduced into the pack late in the game and the Sharks squad is very fortunate, almost uniquely so, to be blessed with many players who fit this particular bill. The unfortunate reality, though, is that you really can’t just throw your Burdens, Daniels and Kankowskis on en masse in the last 20 and expect them to win the game for you. A more expansive approach to the game can only be built on a continued supply of good possession, coupled with the right sort of player in the backline. When you replace half your pack with ‘sevens players’, yet leave the same bunch of crashballers at the back, the only result will be less possession and ultimately a bigger hiding.
The Sharks need to have a proper look at this one. Priority number one is obviously to find some inside backs who can do anything other than run headlong onto contact, not to mention outside backs who know how to finish. Looking at the bench options is also vitally important and just maybe, a little bit of out-of-box thinking might pay dividends here. If you have forwards who are skillful enough to play amongst the backs… why not consider using them there?Tweet