"THE COWBOY CAN DO THUS"
Jets mentor tells us how
IPSWICH Jets co-coach Shane Walker has highlighted how the Cowboys can create chaos in the Melbourne defence in Sunday’s NRL grand final by changing the way they attack.
The Cowboys have been relatively error free and methodical in their approach in the past three finals wins, and then gone in for the kill ruthlessly when their opponents have made errors. But to break down the Storm they must play a more expansive style of football Walker insists.
“The Cowboys have to change a bit with the way they attack,” he said.
“Traditionally Paul Green’s teams aren’t big on offloads but in order to create a bit of chaos in Melbourne’s defensive structure they need to get a bit of second phase play going. If a guy like Taumalolo can do that he will get Jake Granville, Lachlan Coote and Michael Morgan into play.
“The Cowboys need to also attack Melbourne’s defence with some change of direction running in and around the ruck.
“The Storm have got big, loping men like Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jesse Bromwich and Jordan McLean and they like to defend up and down, but if they can get some change of direction going it limits their ability to get that wrestle going as well.”
The Storm haven’t been at their best in this final series, a scary thought in itself. Walker said he expected Craig Bellamy’s men to target their attack against a couple of weak points in the Cowboys’ defence.
“I think they can get a lot of joy with some wide shifts attacking (Cowboys five-eighth) Te Maire Martin because he is not a noted defender,” Walker said.
“Then that starts making Justin O’Neill in the centres a bit nervous and as a result he will be trying to protect him a bit, which leaves the winger Antonio Winterstein vulnerable.
“I think Winterstein is busted at the moment with a bad hamstring and is not stretching out like he should be, so I think some wide shifts by Melbourne could expose the Cowboys’ left-hand defensive edge.
“Winterstein one-on-one with the big Fijian (Suliasi Vunivalu) could be catastrophic, or even some deft kicks in behind Winterstein to make him turn and chase because he is really hindered by that hamstring.”
If the Cowboys win then Walker said Morgan and Taumalolo will need to have blinders.
“The Cowboys are underpinned by a great work ethic, back-rowers who start and end the game and a workaholic bench that is unheralded but which comes on and does a lot of cleaning up.
“But Taumalolo with his big charges and his footwork is devastating and Morgan has been the best player in the play-offs so far. If he can continue his form they can certainly win.”
Walker said that when Storm fullback Billy Slater had blinders the Storm generally won.
“When he is at his best, Melbourne are at their best,” he said.
“If Cameron Smith has a big one then it is ‘goodnight nurse’ and we have seen that Cameron Munster is a man for a big occasion.”
In order to create chaos they need to get some second phase play going
— Shane Walker
WRECKER: Jason Taumalolo can add some elements to his game to disrupt Melbourne in the grand final insists Shane Walker.