As we all know, 2020 will be MacDonald's first season with his own squad, so let's start looking at possible changes, avoiding very young players unless necessary. I'm guessing that more experienced recruits would be preferred where possible. Also, it might be easier to nab a Chief than a Crusader ...
Good strength here, with Hodgman and Tu'inukuafe are returning next year, and Lindenmuth a hot prospect (can also play both sides) who will likely return too. What he and the next line of in-catchment players lack are the several years of Super Rugby to establish themselves as consistant scrummagers and technicians (i.e. mauling and maul defence).Embed from Getty Images
Those contenders include: Lua Li, Jarred Adams, and Isi Tu'ungafasi. IIRC, Rob Cobb is primarily a tighthead. They're unlikely to look too far for a recruit, but a more experienced player like Aki Seiuli or Tim Perry might be tempting in the short term. Rueben O'Neill and Kane Hames are also off contract. Not very excited about any of that lot.
Here we lack depth, with just Ofa Tu'ungafasi an established Super Rugby player. Sione Mafileo has his moments, especially in the scrum, but can be inconsistent there and off the pace around the field. Renata has the ability around the field, but lacks experience at tight head, and needs those few seasons more.Embed from Getty Images
Marco Fepulea'i is the only local player I'm enthusiastic about, with Rob Cobb coming through at junior level. Again, a lot of experience needs to be added to their resumes.
Siate Tokolahi is probably the only experienced player coming off contract.
Now the big one:
Parsons is limited but worth keeping. He seems to be the only Super level hooker we have, and brings some much needed (but not winning) experience. Moulds never seems to put his hand up, and Apisai doesn't look up to it at this stage.Embed from Getty Images
Abel and Sosene-Feagai both played well for Auckland, and Eklund and Olsen also look promising. The last two are inexperienced at this level, and there are questions over athletic ability.
Nathan Harris and Samisoni Taukei'aho are both off contract, and I think that Makalio and Funnell are too. Then there's Coltman. We should try for all of those names and Abel. Who would you prefer?