Dragons Season Thread - 2018/19 - aka Year 2 of the 3 Year Plan

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Post by The Oracle on Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:06 am

First topic message reminder :

So we made it to the end of the 2017/18 season.  We've seen/endured the first year of Bernard Jackman's plan.  I think most of us have been through a rollercoaster of emotions, similar to previous seasons but perhaps even more so this season given the new injection of life and investment into the Dragons.  First there was the hope - the new coaches, some new players, the new pitch, new chairman, new cash injection.  Then we started to stumble - it's all down to the new coach and getting used to the new systems, we said.  Then came the face plant and the realisation that this trend was going to carry on for the whole season - a couple of wins in the league, a few in Europe, a lot of spankings, not many losing bonus points.  Very poor return.  The hope turned to despair and BJ's methods were being questioned.  Then the hope comes again with the announcement of new signings ('stellar' signings, compared to previous years!) and the assurance that the 1st year of the plan was always going to be difficult and that year 2 would be the one to judge BJ on.....  

So.......on to year 2 (2018/19).  Where are we?  What are our expectations (realistically)?  What's the best team we can put out on paper and how competitive will it be?  For a number of years we've been stuffed in the league so seem to try to get some solace from a decent showing in the Euro 2nd tier comp.  However, should we forget about Europe and try to put all of our focus on the league?  I think so.

Transfers - we've lost more than we've gained, although the quality of the transfers in could/should be better than those leaving.  But I'm worried we'll be thin on the ground when the inevitable injuries hit.

Players In: = 14
Jordan Williams from England Bristol Bears
Rhodri Williams from England Bristol Bears
Ross Moriarty from England Gloucester
Rhodri Davies from England Rotherham Titans
Richard Hibbard from England Gloucester
Huw Taylor from England Worcester Warriors
Josh Lewis from England Bath
Ryan Bevington from England Bristol Bears
Aaron Jarvis from France Clermont
Dafydd Howells from Wales Ospreys
Tiaan Loots from Wales RGC 1404
Jacob Botica from Wales RGC 1404
Rhys Lawrence from England Ealing Trailfinders
Brandon Nansen from France

Players Out: - =21
Sarel Pretorius to South Africa Southern Kings
Phil Price to Wales Scarlets
Scott Andrews to Wales Neath
Luke Garrett to Wales Neath
Adam Hughes retired
Pat Howard to England Ealing Trailfinders
Rhys Buckley to Wales Bargoed
Barney Nightingale to Wales Bargoed
Keagan Bale to Wales Bargoed
Angus O'Brien to Wales Scarlets
Nicky Thomas to Wales Scarlets (return from short-term loan)
Dorian Jones to France Angoulême
Charlie Davies to England Northampton Saints
Lloyd Lewis to Wales Pontypool
Sam Beard to New Zealand Canterbury
Sam Hobbs released
Thomas Davies released
Liam Belcher released
Ashley Sweet released
Robson Blake released
Carl Meyer released

I'll try to update the Ins and Outs as we go.


Last edited by The Oracle on Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:40 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Here you go, Dowlais:

“I was really pleased for Josh Lewis too. His control of the game was good, his kicking off the tee was assured and he was a real standout for us.”

Mikey:

“I thought Cory Hill was excellent at six. He showed his adaptability and was a real success story for us."

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17301076.clermont-display-gives-dragons-confidence-going-forward-ceri-jones/


From what I’ve seen of Josh Lewis he can’t always control a game very well. A good squad player but yes, we need to invest a significant amount in a new 10 and I’m not referring to the Priestland type.

I always thought Hill would go well at 6. I think that’s where the Wales selectors might see him providing some extra cover now that we have more lock forwards available. For Dragons, that’s both a physical and skilful back-row with Hill and Wainright on each flank, with Moriarty and Griffiths to cover 8.

Positions 1, 5 and 10 is where we’ll require the most investment. The rest of the internationals can slot in and under a good coach I’d expect them to do well.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:43 pm

Another question to ask; with BJ now departed who might we see released for next season? It has to be Huw Taylor for starters. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bevington go either...

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:07 pm

'Wales number eight Ross Moriarty will miss the Dragons’ Guinness PRO14 derby with Cardiff Blues after suffering a concussion.'

Ho hum.

Cardiff Blues: D Fish; B Scully, R Lee-Lo, W Halaholo, G Smith; G Anscombe, T Williams; R Gill, K Dacey (captain), D Lewis, S Davies, J Turnbull, J Navidi, O Robinson, N Williams. Replacements: K Myhill, B Thyer, S Andrews, G Earle, J Down, L Williams, S Shingler, M Morgan

Dragons: Z Kirchner, J Rosser, A Warren, J Sage, H Amos, J Lewis, R Williams, R Bevington, E Dee, L Fairbrother, B Nansen, M Screech, C Hill (captain), A Wainwright, H Keddie. Replacements: R Hibbard, G Ellis, A Jarvis, L Evans, N Cudd, T Knoyle, J Tovey, J Williams.

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17311448.dragons-suffer-moriarty-blow-for-blues-derby/

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Post by munkian on Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:15 pm

#Clashoftheshite'uns
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Post by RiscaGame on Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:26 pm

Frank Murphy for a derby. At least it’s not Jackman’s favourite, I guess haha.

Strange selections by Ceri. I’m not sure why Zane is flavour of the month again now. I understand that with Hill at 6, we can afford to put two backrowers on the bench, but why not Benjamin instead of Evans? I would have Landman in the squad anyway, but I just don’t get what impact you’re hoping for by having replacements like we have in Evans and Cudd. I’d be surprised if we are in a position where we have to close out a game, so it makes no sense to me.

Josh Lewis does fine last week, so help him out and keep things settled by having the same 9 or 12. Instead he changes both.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:51 pm

This match is going to make me angry and sad, I know it.


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Post by VinceWLB on Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:29 pm

That was a great performance from the Dragons, as a neutral i thought the game was ruined after the red, i'm glad i watched till the end.

For me though, The Dragons were robbed, first the last scrum should have been to the Dragons, second the last scrum should have been a Dragons penalty as Andrews clearly dropped his shoulder.. Fairbrother, what an idiot.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:41 pm

What did Fairbrother do?

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Post by VinceWLB on Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:47 pm

Elbow to Dillon Lewis head while clearing out, just clipped but he did raise it to Lewis's head level making it look like intentional.. A couple of years ago this would probably have been play on..

His attitude coming off was rather despicable though, he knew what he was doing.

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Post by The Oracle on Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:52 pm

We played for around 50 mins with 14 men. Lost the game in the last minute to a scrum penalty. We looked pretty up for it all game, which was good to see. Lots of passion and commitment. Sickening way to lose, especially when playing with 14 men for so long.
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Post by RiscaGame on Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:18 pm

Fairbrother was a liability tonight. It wasn’t just the charge, it was a few other things too. Plus, even though I am not convinced he spat into the crowd, spitting like that should be punished too. But as I’ve said elsewhere, three times Frank Murphy said to Lewis “three out” and he didn’t move. If he had have penalised him, all that followed could’ve been avoided. All that said, I think Fairbrother would’ve probably ended up getting a card of some description anyway, as he was acting like he was on something tonight.

I’m not convinced by the last penalty, but then the scrums were a mess anyway. Another thing I’m not sure of, is how did Anscombe not get pulled up for accidental offside a bit before the try? Is that not in the laws now?

All things considered, I’m happy with a LBP, but Cardiff were there for the taking too. It’s just good to see a bit of improvement now Jackman has gone. It’s even obvious we are playing better as Rhodri  is quicker playing the ball, for a start.

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Post by The Oracle on Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:33 pm

I agree Fairbrother seemed like he was on something! I think they were all given the message that this was a derby, that they were playing for their futures with a new head coach probably waiting in the wings somewhere and watching from afar probably (not necessarily at the game), and that if they couldn’t get up for this game then what could they get up for, etc. It’s just that Fairbrother took it a bit too far I think! Turned to hostile aggression and he lost control.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:02 am

Fairbrother has been pretty good for us since joining so this comes as a surprise, hopefully just a one-off but he’s a player we should keep hold of. If he can bring that sort of aggression more often but control it then I welcome that.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:31 pm

Well, it’s possible George North will be missing the game against us. Looked very much like a shoulder to the head of Gareth Davies. I assume the TMO was happy with it, but it seemed like it was to the head to me, which is a red.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:50 pm

I was at the Arms Park last night, great game superb atmosphere

Just rewatching the match now, great performance by the Dragons. Lovely work by the halfbacks. Really shows that they were underperforming under Jackman.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:51 pm

RiscaGame wrote:Well, it’s possible George North will be missing the game against us. Looked very much like a shoulder to the head of Gareth Davies. I assume the TMO was happy with it, but it seemed like it was to the head to me, which is a red.

Yes I thought he was given the benefit of the doubt by the two there. Could have been a straight red

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:49 am

RiscaGame wrote:All things considered, I’m happy with a LBP, but Cardiff were there for the taking too.

This is it for me. We have these two hideous records, of away games and derby games without a win, and we had a real chance of ending both. Kirchner's meant to be a wise old head, and Mulvihill needs to speak to his players about how to use the wind (let alone against 14 men) - although it's not something they should need to be told!

What we can't have now is a meek performance against the Ospreys. There was a lot to be positive about, but it has to be built upon.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:17 am

Speaking of the wind, I thought Rhodri Williams's kicking into the wind in the second half was brilliant.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:54 am

I think we will play pretty well against Ospreys again, probably without winning (similar to Clermont and Cardiff). Since we have stopped winning games at RP against them, they have (from memory) tended to be pretty horrible games with a lot of kick tennis, so it will be interesting to see what happens on Sunday.

I haven’t seen anything of North having to answer anything, so I guess he’s ok. I am rather filled with dread over who backs up Jarvis. If it is Nicky Thomas, I would maybe consider starting him and let him blow himself out after twenty minutes or whatever. But we have had a nice long break now, so there shouldn’t be a need for many changes otherwise (I would also swap Daf Howells for Kirchner).

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Post by Stone Motif on Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:16 pm

A crowd of literally tens at the Bridge Field today, to watch a game bossed by a player not good enough for full pro. No doubt the attendance at Dave Parade will be pitiful Sunday as a result.


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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:08 pm

'Tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother has been banned for three weeks after his red card in the Dragons’ Guinness PRO14 derby defeat at Cardiff Blues.'

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17322201.dragons-prop-fairbrother-banned-for-three-weeks-for-derby-red-card/

'Wales centre Tyler Morgan is in contention for a comeback in the derby against the Ospreys on Sunday but the Dragons are braced to be without Ross Moriarty again.'

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17322189.wales-centre-morgan-back-for-dragons-derby-but-moriarty-remains-a-doubt/

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:54 pm

I wouldn’t drop Warren for Morgan, but I’m sure he will be benched or moved. Maybe he will play wing again, move Amos to 15 and drop Kirchner?

Hopefully Fairbrother will learn from this. I’m a little disappointed that no action was taken against North. Doesn’t really sit well with me that a red card offence (where Dragons suffered for fifty minutes already) was punished further and one which wasn’t punished at all doesn’t even get looked at further, but there we go.

Good to see the game is likely to sell out Sunday.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:30 am

I really hope our defence is up to it on Sunday. The Ospreys won't be hampered by bad conditions. Neither will we though.

You'd hope that Ceri Jones won't even need to mention discipline to the players.

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:15 am

I suspect we will be a bit wiser. I hope so anyway.

It’s good to see Jones’ interview on Dragons’ social media, where he acknowledges that we are in a results business. Quite a refreshing difference from the “this time next year Rodney” talk.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:22 am

Yeah I saw that. He's right as well.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:07 pm

Dragons: Z Kirchner, J Rosser, A Warren, J Sage, H Amos, J Lewis, R Williams, R Bevington, E Dee, A Jarvis, B Nansen, M Screech, C Hill (captain), A Wainwright, H Keddie. Replacements: R Hibbard, G Ellis, D Suter, L Evans, J Benjamin, T Knoyle, J Tovey, J Williams.

Ospreys: D Evans, G North, S Williams, O Watkin, L Morgan, S Davies, A Davies, G Thomas, S Baldwin, T Botha, A Beard, AW Jones, O Cracknell, J Tipuric (captain), J King. Replacements: S Otten, R Jones/R Jenkins, A Jeffries, L Ashley, S Cross, T Habberfield, L Price/J Hook, C Allen.

Ugh. Dan Jones is the referee.

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17324069.team-news-jarvis-the-only-change-for-dragons-clash-with-ospreys/

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:17 pm

I can’t remember him. I’d probably rather anybody than Owens, Whitehouse or Davies though.

Surprised to see no changes, bar the one he had to make. Thought Ospreys may rest one or two as well. Be interesting to see what we come up with Sunday now.

Feel a little sorry for Cross Keys not having Tovey for tomorrow when he is just sitting on our bench, but then I assume they have Botica who kicked well for them last time they had him. Been hearing a few rumours about Cross Keys, including a player failing a drugs test (definitely true).

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:05 pm

Dan Jones is one of those referees that look at which team should be winning any given match (IMHO). He was the referee when we threw away a seemingly unassailable lead away to Edinburgh a few seasons ago - not that it was all his fault!

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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:06 pm

Risca’s favourite full back starting again. Honestly that probably the best team we can field. The only players who could make a key difference are Harris, Fairbrother and Griffiths. It begs the question where does Moriarty fit in? Keddie always plays really well.

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Post by Stone Motif on Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:38 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Dragons: Z Kirchner, J Rosser, A Warren, J Sage, H Amos, J Lewis, R Williams, R Bevington, E Dee, A Jarvis, B Nansen, M Screech, C Hill (captain), A Wainwright, H Keddie. Replacements: R Hibbard, G Ellis, D Suter, L Evans, J Benjamin, T Knoyle, J Tovey, J Williams.

Ospreys: D Evans, G North, S Williams, O Watkin, L Morgan, S Davies, A Davies, G Thomas, S Baldwin, T Botha, A Beard, AW Jones, O Cracknell, J Tipuric (captain), J King. Replacements: S Otten, R Jones/R Jenkins, A Jeffries, L Ashley, S Cross, T Habberfield, L Price/J Hook, C Allen.

Ugh. Dan Jones is the referee.

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17324069.team-news-jarvis-the-only-change-for-dragons-clash-with-ospreys/
Whilst it's good to JW relegated to sh7t or bust detail off the bench, what has he done to earn it all season? Tyler Morgan is equally likely to make a game.changing break and can actually play rugby in more than one position. Must still be injured I guess.
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Post by RiscaGame on Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:28 pm

Kirchner might be a good player, I’m just not seeing it for us. Seeing as Daf Howells is fit and was scoring for us a bit, I just would’ve thought we may fancy having another try scorer on the wing and Amos at 15, where he probably wants to play.

Morgan is fit. I did expect him to come on to the bench too.

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Post by Cardiff Dave on Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:38 pm

Stone Motif wrote:A crowd of literally tens at the Bridge Field today, to watch a game bossed by a player not good enough for full pro. No doubt the attendance at Dave Parade will be pitiful Sunday as a result.

Including the BBC entourage?
Tiz hilarious how the beeb and s4c attempt to big up these games.


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Post by Stone Motif on Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:37 pm

Cardiff Dave wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:A crowd of literally tens at the Bridge Field today, to watch a game bossed by a player not good enough for full pro. No doubt the attendance at Dave Parade will be pitiful Sunday as a result.

Including the BBC entourage?
Tiz hilarious how the beeb and s4c attempt to big up these games.

Totally agree, but shouldn't you be putting on your Willis Halaholo mask and heading off to the circle jerk right about now?
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Post by Cardiff Dave on Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:09 pm

Stone Motif wrote:
Cardiff Dave wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:A crowd of literally tens at the Bridge Field today, to watch a game bossed by a player not good enough for full pro. No doubt the attendance at Dave Parade will be pitiful Sunday as a result.

Including the BBC entourage?
Tiz hilarious how the beeb and s4c attempt to big up these games.

Totally agree, but shouldn't you be putting on your Willis Halaholo mask and heading off to the circle jerk right about now?

Apparently, like a set of British-made fairy lights from the 70s, the Turks didn't function at all tonight.

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Post by Stone Motif on Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:55 pm

Cardiff Dave wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:
Cardiff Dave wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:A crowd of literally tens at the Bridge Field today, to watch a game bossed by a player not good enough for full pro. No doubt the attendance at Dave Parade will be pitiful Sunday as a result.

Including the BBC entourage?
Tiz hilarious how the beeb and s4c attempt to big up these games.

Totally agree, but shouldn't you be putting on your Willis Halaholo mask and heading off to the circle jerk right about now?

Apparently, like a set of British-made fairy lights from the 70s, the Turks didn't function at all tonight.
The current Scarlet-hued LEDs are an extension of the same set of lights
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Post by Brendan on Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:28 pm

Stone Motif wrote:
Cardiff Dave wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:A crowd of literally tens at the Bridge Field today, to watch a game bossed by a player not good enough for full pro. No doubt the attendance at Dave Parade will be pitiful Sunday as a result.

Including the BBC entourage?
Tiz hilarious how the beeb and s4c attempt to big up these games.

Totally agree, but shouldn't you be putting on your Willis Halaholo mask and heading off to the circle jerk right about now?

Just watch out though. The TV audiences will be massive so soon it will be bigger than the Pro 14 Tumbleweed

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:28 am

Brendan wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:
Cardiff Dave wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:A crowd of literally tens at the Bridge Field today, to watch a game bossed by a player not good enough for full pro. No doubt the attendance at Dave Parade will be pitiful Sunday as a result.

Including the BBC entourage?
Tiz hilarious how the beeb and s4c attempt to big up these games.

Totally agree, but shouldn't you be putting on your Willis Halaholo mask and heading off to the circle jerk right about now?

Just watch out though.  The TV audiences will be massive so soon it will be bigger than the Pro 14 Tumbleweed

laughing

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:14 pm

S4c making it difficult to get highlights here. I heard the players I rate played well, and the players I don’t rate (Sam Davies) not so well...

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:35 pm

A good win for Dragons. Wonder if George North might get banned this week for more shethousery. Guy is turning into a dirty get down there.

Wasn’t too convinced by the subs we made, but they turned out to be wise choices. That includes Tovey steadying the ship and kicking the winner and surprisingly Suter being solid in the scrum.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:36 pm

Oh and Kirchner played well enough too. Sorry for doubting you Ceri.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:03 pm

Again the halfbacks played with more freedom too. I really miss Jackman and his tactical wisdom.

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