Monday 18 December 2017 / 04:37 AM

SIX UP THE MIDDLE: TITLE CONTENDERS’ WEAK LINKS

With just six legitimate premiership contenders remaining, we highlight the biggest weak link of the big dogs.

Melbourne – Cheyse Blair
The Storm have class all across the paddock but the three-quarter line is one area the club lacks depth. That is no more evident than with Cheyse Blair. He has improved under Craig Bellamy but there is no question clubs attempt to take advantage of his poor defensive reads.

Cronulla – Age
The  Sharks have one of the most experienced forward packs, but that also means they have one of the oldest, with the likes of Paul Gallen, Mick Ennis, Luke Lewis and Chris Heighington all nearing the end of their careers. Opposition teams will be looking to wear the Sharks down physically.

Canberra – Halves
Blake Austin is an excellent runner and Aidan Sezer is typically very composed but when they are off they are a total liability. Sezer often lets games slide by him while Austin is a five-eighth who can kill his outside backs with his crabbing.

Canterbury – Kicking Game
No team in the NRL has a worse kicking game than the Bulldogs. Moses Mbye is wildly inconsistent with his kicks, Josh Reynolds has a tendency not to think about his, and the fullback and hooker cannot kick. The Bulldogs struggle to score off kicks or force repeat sets.

North Queensland – Bumbling backs
The Cowboys are a team with few obvious weaknesses but the handling of left centre Kane Linnett and right winger Kyle Feldt is definitely one. Both are highly error prone with numerous tries blown this season through their clumsiness.

Brisbane – Three-quarter Line
There is not a single player in the Broncos three-quarter line firing at present. Big names James Roberts and Corey Oates are down on confidence while the remainder of those playing are fringe first graders at best.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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