The ladder updated below - how...
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Braith Anasta?s form in 2002 has been nothing special. There is no doubting that in 2001 Anasta set the NRL world alight and deserved all the accolades and rep call ups he got. This year though is another story, he has done very little for his club and state, and is not the strike weapon of the Bulldogs out fit.
When you look at the Bulldogs form this year, it has been impressive, ten wins on the trot. Several Bulldogs players have been playing out of their skins for the club. Halfback Brent Sherwin has been playing like his career depended on it, and has been the main strike weapon since he was given a chance in top grade earlier in the year. Travis Norton, Darren Smith and Steve Price are the other players who have been leading by example. The form of these players has given Anasta the opportunity to sit back and let others do the work, make the plays, and control the game. Unfortunately Anasta has taken this opportunity to sit back and do very little.
Even Anasta?s attitude also seems to have taken a nosedive, to the point that he considers himself an automatic selection in the Blues origin team. After his poor season he was still given a spot in the Blues side for the opening two games. In these games Anasta did very little, and even though he was handed a starting spot in game two over form player Scott Hill, he failed to seize his chance and get involved in the game. Anasta was rightfully dropped by the Blues selectors for game three, which prompted him to take a shot at Blues selectors and the coach Gould in the media. Not the sign of a champion player.
So what is the reason for this attitude and form slump? Could it be the second year syndrome, perhaps he wasn?t ready mentally for rep duties and such a meteoric rise to the top. I say it is neither, and in fact point to the media, commentators, and his first grade coach as the main problems. Why the media and commentators you ask? It?s simple here is a guy that is playing poorly and well below his abilities, yet he is still praised by the media and still wins man of the match awards from the channel nine team. A perfect example of this is the City v Country rep match earlier in the year, when Brent Sherwin completely out played every player and his mouth guard on the field, yet Anasta was still handed the man of the match award even though he did little or nothing all night.
As for his coaches role in this. Anasta needs to be brought down a peg or two, and Folkes is the only man who can do this. Yet instead of dropping Anasta to the Bulldogs bench and playing form pairing Sherwin and Trindall in the halves, Folkes leaves Anasta where he is and makes Sherwin and Trindall fight for one spot. If the Bulldogs and the other NRL teams had coaches that were more than willing to drop a player who has been out of form for the last 10 weeks, no matter what his name, egos like the one Anasta is carrying would be a thing of the past. Form slumps would be short lived, as players would know name means nothing and you still have to earn your position in the team. One thing is certain, Folkes needs to give Anasta a reality check, or his origin days are over.