The core of a team nowadays is not restricted to one position per se – it is an amalgamation of a few positions. The fullback, the five-eighth, the halfback, the hooker. This is what we call the spine.
The Bulldogs have lost a vital spine player in Trent Hodkinson and indications have pointed to a halves combination of Josh Reynolds, the erratic and borderline crazy five eighth and former Origin winner as well as Moses Mbye, touted often as one of the next big things of league. With hindsight you would have probably given another chance to Hodkinson considering he was finding form at the back of the season – a shame for both parties considering Hodkinson did want to stay.
They say that you want your halfback to organize and your five eighth to surprise – Josh Reynolds is more than a capable surpriser. Go and have a conversation with that chair if you want validation.
The question is if they can make an organiser from Mbye? If anyone could do it it’s Des – he took a defensive liability in Barba and returned with an attacking weapon not seen since ’09 Hayne. He took a sort-of good impact forward in Sam Kasiano and returned with a Dally M Prop of the Year – and nearly did it again two years later with big Dave Klemmer. This however is a new challenge for the mad doctor.
This season is not going to be won or lost during the season, but before it for Canterbury.
Providing Des is able to magic up a halfback then the ‘Dogs are there with a red hot chance with their forward pack – but if they revert to the forward dominated play and don’t focus on having a recognised playmaker it may be choppy waters for the Belmore boys.
I look at it optimistically and say Des can do it and can do it well. If he does get it done then getting that elusive top four finish is well within their reach with a fit and firing forward pack, if not then it’s probably a middling season with a mid-eight (5-12) finish.
Here’s hoping for the former option, eh?