Sunday 21 January 2018 / 09:49 AM

Six Up The Middle – Players out of their depth

Some players just don’t seem cut out for a first grade career – and after two rounds, a line should be drawn through the following six.

Kurt Mann

Mann was signed on big money from by the Dragons and has continued the long and near-perfect record of Melbourne players becoming much worse once they leave the Storm. He has been brutally bad since moving to St George Illawarra, playing fullback despite the club having the NSW No.1 in their ranks. It would be a surprise if he saw a third week as custodian.


 Blake Ayshford

Only Andrew McFadden truly believes Blake Ayshford has a role as a first grade centre. Slow and unreliable, Ayshford was again shown up on Friday night when his poor defence led to Brisbane’s first two tries. With the likes of Konrad Hurrell floundering in NSW Cup, Ayshford’s first grade career is surely coming to a close.


 Jaelen Feeney

The Newcastle fullback has played just two first grade games and has looked awful in both. In fairness, he is playing out of position but his handling looks substandard and his commitment in defence is less than you’d expect from a kid trying to make an impression.


 Isaah Yeo

It is not clear what the Panthers backrower offers to keep justifying his selection in Penrith’s starting team. He is slow, lumbering and does not have a particularly strong work-rate, yet is regularly picked to run on while the likes of Tyrone Peachey, Elijah Taylor and Bryce Cartwright sit on the bench.


 Dale Copley

He was touted as a big-time signing by the Roosters – coming on board as a replacement for Michael Jennings – but Copley’s first two games at the Chooks have been as bad as most of his time at the Broncos. He is a fringe player at best with poor hands and a lack of either speed or size.


 Brayden Williame

If you’ve played 12 first grade games and still haven’t tasted a win then you are probably not cut out for the top grade. Williame is only used for depth at Manly but regardless he is not good enough to be playing in the NRL. 


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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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