Monday, June 16, 2008

Assigning blame properly: Also known as the Orford/Kimmorley Paradigm

Listening to some very interesting debate on ABC before the Tigers v Eels game yesterday, with Phil Gould chatting to Warren Ryan about the inept Blues performance in game 2 of the State of Origin series.

The blame for the performance was attributed by these two as follows:

- The referee
- Wallace
- Bird

- The front row

Phil Gould presented an argument that went along the lines of: Wallace and Bird are not playmakers. Thus, when the pack is not going forward, they are unable to make plays. The referee is somehow to blame for the packs inability to go forward. The solution is to somehow change the referee and to replace Bird and Wallace with Anasta and Finch. That is the best that I can do.

Ryan suggested that Gould misplaced the blame to some extent. He agreed that Bird was potentially an inadequate 5/8, but suggested that no halves combination had the power to change the result from that game - rather, the front row's lack of metres was the factor that should be addressed. The main focus of Ryan's selection discussion was to bring in Ryles and Bailey at the expense of White/Simpson. Bird's position seemed to Ryan to be somewhat shaky as well.

When Gould is presented, and presents himself as the premiere mind in league, it angers me. Particularly when I listen to drivel like what I listened to yesterday. There is no axiom more basic in Rugby League than what I have coined the "Orford/Kimmorley Paradigm." The paradigm argues that halves are completely a function of the forward packs that they toil behind. (**Data forthcoming) The reasoning behind choosing Orford and Kimmorley as the fathers of this paradigm, was there unbelievable success behind the feared Melbourne pack. Both parlayed that success into lucrative contracts at other clubs. Buyer beware. Kimmorley, as useful as he has been since, has never had he same impact. Orford likewise.

Gould seems to overrate the responsibility of halves. And to me this speaks of lazy analysis. Regardless of a teams problems - a loss is placed squarely at the feet of the 6/7. If we want to delve deeper, lets add the 1 & 9 to that mix. For someone who gets paid to analyse Rugby League, it seems fair that we could expect more than knowledge of four players from most teams.

If you want to lay the blame for NSW's thumping in the 2nd game somewhere, try the go-forward. For the sake of mobility, NSW completely abandoned a big front row. This reflected badly on the halves. You may argue that Bird is not a skillful number 6 (and I might agree with you) but you need to start with analysing more than four players. NSW need to go BIGGER for Origin three. Until changes are made there, bringing in Anasta and Finch will be putting lipstick on a pig.


Captain Carnage said...

It's funny how quickly people have forgotten Bird's man of the match winning Origins and Test Matches on one sub par performance. The Captain places the blame in this order on:

1. The NSW pack, mostly Steve Simpson and Willie Mason.
2. The NSW selectors. Where was Luke Bailey?
3. Gasnier and Turner.
4. Tony Archer.
5. Phil Gould
6. The conditions.
7. The price of a round of bourbons at Suncorp Stadium.
8. Bird and Wallace.

What I'm finding very frustrating is that most people seem to have overlooked the most glaringly obvious factor from the game; HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE!!! Believe it or not, it plays a big part in it.

Changes for the Blues? Yes. Wholesale changes? No. Change of ref? Yes please.

Captain Carnage said...

With regard to Orford and Kimmorley, they both also played outside Scott Hill in Melbourne. Hill's influence was much under-rated at five eighth...

Professor Chaos said...

Hell yeah, pity the lad was never healthy.

Think that the Melbourne forward pack for the last 10 years has been the best and most underrated (most of the time) in the comp.

Buyer beware when the Cronk comes off contract.

Captain Carnage said...

Cronk is different in that he doesn't have Scott Hill outside him. He has Inglis/Geyer/Aitken, none of which are helpful at five eighth. On top of that, in spite of the 2008 Storm pack being above average, I don't think it compares favourably to the star-studded packs Orford and Kimmorley had at their disposal.

Captain Carnage said...

**Data forthcoming...?