So, I've been thinking about our season so far, and what success will look like. It's not winning the comp, or even making the playoffs - I think our bar is lower than that. We've lost a game we should have won (Crusaders). Got smoked physically by the Shorks, and then played stupid rugby against the Jaguares.
Since coming home, though, we've shown resilience. I don't think we've played well, and our set piece is a real worry, but we're playing with some heart, commitment and the semblance of a team pattern. I like it a lot.Embed from Getty Images
For me, if we can achieve the following 5 things in the rest of the comp I'd be happy.
- Figure out who our 9-10 is. And stick with them. And if the 9 isn't in the squad, then make damn sure we find a prospect. I've been impressed with Ruru generally, but he's no superstar.
- Keep up the coaching. Self evident, but you're seeing a good coach get the best out of the players. Nanai looks a different player to the one Tana and JK had. Players seem to be growing and know what their roles are - and the longer good coaches have players, the better they seem to get.
- Stop losing players anyone really think Nanai would be going overseas if he'd had these coaches last season? Good coaches will retain talent... it's a 2-4 year timeline for us to plug gaps and develop players. Auckland region has the players in the borders - we just have to be credible as a place to play to attract the good ones.
- Identify gaps in the squad, and fill themI think previous coaches could do the first, but not the second. I mean, who'd go to the Blues? Once we get credibility back, we're a long way down that path.
- Finish the year on the up. We're going to drop some games in a stupid way I think - but all we need going into the offseason is to have some momentum and belief that we're getting better and going to be more competitive next year.
All this, of course, is predicated on the Board continuing to do a good job and sort out the front office. It's great to see, and I think if they keep this up they'll lay foundations for a long term healthy organisation.
To be clear - we're a very very long way from the finished product, but I am pretty happy with the progress I'm seeing. Now I'm just waiting for a catastrophic injury or two, and a classic implosion.Embed from Getty Images