2019 in review - Joey Leilua

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greeneyed
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2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by greeneyed » November 7, 2019, 12:11 pm

2019 in review - Joey Leilua

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This is the fourth instalment of 2019 in review. As usual, now the Raiders' season is done - the best for 25 years - we are reviewing all 26 players who pulled on a green jersey in first grade in 2019. So far, we've looked at Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Nick Cotric and Jarrod Croker.

Joey Leilua suffered a serious neck injury in 2019, one that could have ended his career, or worse. He woke up in pain on the morning of the Canberra Raiders' Round 8 clash with the Penrith Panthers in Wagga. He was a late withdrawal from the game and scans later revealed he has a bulging disc, requiring surgery.

"I just woke up with a sore neck. I couldn't sleep all night, I stayed awake until 9am when I saw the doctor," Leilua said later.

"He didn't believe me at first. He thought it was a back spasm. But I said I couldn't feel my neck. Four days later we got the scan and realised something pretty bad was wrong with it."

He was in great form over the opening seven rounds of the season and his loss was a serious blow for the Raiders. But Leilua went on to make a remarkable recovery from surgery, returning in the Round 22 clash with the Storm in Melbourne. In the next match, against the Sea Eagles, he dropped his knees into the back of Reuben Garrick, who had just grounded the ball for the match winning try. Ironically, the NRL admitted later that the try was incorrectly awarded... and that play should have been pulled up at the other end of the field, with the Sea Eagles Jack Gosiewski off side when he intercepted a Raiders pass on his own goal line. But that didn't really excuse the knees. He was suspended for two weeks.

He made a comeback in the finals, and performed well... despite some fireworks debris lodging in his eye as he ran out for the qualifying final in Melbourne. Some fans were left wondering "what if" he'd passed to the other half of "Leipana" at a crucial stage in the second half of the Grand Final. But we know with Joey, there's always going be a stone or two amongst the diamonds. Sometimes things don't come off, but they do for Leilua more times than not.

Leilua made 12 appearances for the Green Machine so all his total numbers were down. But if you look at his contributions per match, he was an improved player in 2019 in a number of ways, when on the field. There is no doubt that Leilua is a very damaging attacking player, but his try scoring strike rate was understandably down this season. His total try involvements, running metres and tackle breaks per match were down slightly as well. He made as many metres per carry in 2019 as he did in 2018.

He continued to play a more controlled style this season, and his error count per match fell further. He'd already cut his error count from 31 in 2016 to 21 in 2018. He maintained the improvement in discipline that he achieved in 2018 - conceding about 0.7 penalties per game.

His defence improved. He registered an 88 per cent tackle efficiency rate, compared with 78 per cent in 2018 and 80 per cent in 2017. Last season he finished second behind Blake Austin for total try causes (17) at the Raiders, and was amongst the top 15 players in the NRL for tries conceded. He registered just one try cause in 2019. His missed tackle count fell from 1.6 per game in 2018 to just over one this year.

I rated Leilua an average of 6.3/10 in his 12 games, and an "8" in the Raiders' Round 6 win over the Broncos at Canberra Stadium. That was very clearly his best game of the season. In that match, he produced two tries, 14 runs for 125 metres, 27 post contact metres, two line breaks, six tackle breaks and two offloads. In scoring those two tries, Joey was at his rampaging best. My overall rating is impacted by the large number of games he missed through injury and suspension.



With Jordan Rapana recently joining a Japanese rugby union team, the days of "Leipana" are over. It looked for a time that Leilua might also depart the Green Machine. He's contracted for 2020, but was given permission by the club to negotiate with others, when his manager opened discussions on a possible extension. However, it looks likely he will now stay on in 2020. The Raiders are facing some salary cap constraints, and it is probable they were seeking to redirect some of their cap to other positions on the field. But having lost Rapana, keeping Leilua's strike out wide is a good outcome for mine. Hopefully, he spends a lot more time on the field next year - and comes back in 2020 in the sort of form he showed in the early rounds of 2019.

How did you rate Joey Leilua's 2019? Tell us below.

Joey Leilua's 2019: 5/10

2019 Statistics: (Stats from Fox Sports Lab)
Games: 12
Average minutes: 77.2
Points: 16
Tries: 4
Try assists: 2
Try contributions: 0
Total try involvements: 6
Total kicks: 3
Kick metres: 54
40/20’s: 0
Total runs: 124
All run metres: 1098
Average metres per carry: 8.9m
Average metres per game: 91m
Tackle breaks: 40
Offloads: 15
Line breaks: 7
Line break assists: 2
Tackles: 112
Average tackles per game: 9.3
1 on 1 tackles: 2
Missed tackles: 13
Average missed tackles per game: 1.1
Tackle efficiency: 88 per cent
Try causes: 1
Errors: 7
Penalties conceded: 8
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by The Nickman » November 7, 2019, 12:19 pm

First time we disagree, Ferg!

I give Joey a 6... I thought he was instrumental on the field and honestly don't think we make the grand final without him. For on-field performance I'd give him an 8, maybe an 8.5 even. I feel like he was in the best form of his career before the injury and really got his head right. A bit rusty when he came back but he stood up when it mattered.

Obviously dropped down to a 6 for the time he missed. 5 seems too harsh.
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by woppadingo » November 7, 2019, 12:34 pm

If he had not suffered that injury I thought he could be picked for SOO.
If Mitchell is the best centre in the game, Joey is the best right centre.
Im so happy he will be with us for 2020. I hope he continues his early 2019 season form into 2020 and shows Ricky he is indispensable.
He is a genuine X factor in our team.

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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by The Nickman » November 7, 2019, 12:35 pm

woppadingo wrote:
November 7, 2019, 12:34 pm
If he had not suffered that injury I thought he could be picked for SOO.
If Mitchell is the best centre in the game, Joey is the best right centre.
Im so happy he will be with us for 2020. I hope he continues his early 2019 season form into 2020 and shows Ricky he is indispensable.
He is a genuine X factor in our team.
He absolutely would've played Origin if not for that injury.
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by Matt » November 7, 2019, 2:30 pm

If Cotric gets a 0.5 boost for his performances this yr, which I cant agree with, then I certainly I cant agree with what is nearly a 1.5pts negative for Joey. Sure, missing a big chunk has to have some affect, but not 1.5pts according to your avgs.

I said Cotric should have been 5.5-6, your avg was 5.9, I think the same applies for BJ, so 5.5-6, so 0.5-1pts lost for missing time.

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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by Matt » November 7, 2019, 2:31 pm

The Rickman wrote:
November 7, 2019, 12:35 pm
woppadingo wrote:
November 7, 2019, 12:34 pm
If he had not suffered that injury I thought he could be picked for SOO.
If Mitchell is the best centre in the game, Joey is the best right centre.
Im so happy he will be with us for 2020. I hope he continues his early 2019 season form into 2020 and shows Ricky he is indispensable.
He is a genuine X factor in our team.
He absolutely would've played Origin if not for that injury.
agree chaps

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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by greeneyed » November 7, 2019, 3:16 pm

Matt wrote:
November 7, 2019, 2:30 pm
If Cotric gets a 0.5 boost for his performances this yr, which I cant agree with, then I certainly I cant agree with what is nearly a 1.5pts negative for Joey. Sure, missing a big chunk has to have some affect, but not 1.5pts according to your avgs.

I said Cotric should have been 5.5-6, your avg was 5.9, I think the same applies for BJ, so 5.5-6, so 0.5-1pts lost for missing time.
Leilua played 12 of a possible 27 games, less than half. So a 5/10 rating is a pretty good score, considering that he played less than half the season.
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by The Nickman » November 7, 2019, 3:25 pm

Matt wrote:
November 7, 2019, 2:31 pm
The Rickman wrote:
November 7, 2019, 12:35 pm
woppadingo wrote:
November 7, 2019, 12:34 pm
If he had not suffered that injury I thought he could be picked for SOO.
If Mitchell is the best centre in the game, Joey is the best right centre.
Im so happy he will be with us for 2020. I hope he continues his early 2019 season form into 2020 and shows Ricky he is indispensable.
He is a genuine X factor in our team.
He absolutely would've played Origin if not for that injury.
agree chaps
I told you to stop calling me chaps in public!
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by edwahu » November 7, 2019, 3:38 pm

It's hard to mark him. He did miss a lot of footy but he was probably still as influential as a lot of players that didn't. I will give him a 6 on that basis.

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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by -PJ- » November 7, 2019, 3:48 pm

Very very good rugby league player is Joey Leilua.

I'm so glad he's hanging around.

He gets a 6.
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by Northern Raider » November 7, 2019, 9:00 pm

edwahu wrote:
November 7, 2019, 3:38 pm
It's hard to mark him. He did miss a lot of footy but he was probably still as influential as a lot of players that didn't. I will give him a 6 on that basis.
Start of the season he was playing the most rounded he's been in his career. Less flashes of brilliance. More consistently playing quality football. Neck injury came at the worse possible time. When he returned it was more like the old BJ. Big plays combined with poor discipline. May have had too much emotional energy being unleashed.

Pre-injury I'd give him 7-8. Post injury more like a 5-6. Average him out to a 6.5 :)
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by Seiffert82 » November 7, 2019, 10:17 pm

I gave Toots a 7.0, so by that measure Leilua would be around a 6.5.

The tale of two seasons for BJ. As NR said, he was killing it early - then he got all injured and suspended and ****, but then managed to ramp it up a bit for the Grand Final run.

Far from his best season. If we had vintage Leilua this year we would have been a golden shot to win that damn GF.

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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by BadnMean » November 7, 2019, 10:24 pm

Northern Raider wrote:
November 7, 2019, 9:00 pm
edwahu wrote:
November 7, 2019, 3:38 pm
It's hard to mark him. He did miss a lot of footy but he was probably still as influential as a lot of players that didn't. I will give him a 6 on that basis.
Start of the season he was playing the most rounded he's been in his career. Less flashes of brilliance. More consistently playing quality football. Neck injury came at the worse possible time. When he returned it was more like the old BJ. Big plays combined with poor discipline. May have had too much emotional energy being unleashed.

Pre-injury I'd give him 7-8. Post injury more like a 5-6. Average him out to a 6.5 :)
My theory is that when BJ is fit, he finds the discipline easier. When a player us buggered and making decisions/executing under fatigue then their natural weaknesses become more pronounced- e.g. BJ goes back to a bit of thuggery or miracle playism. Yeah, trying too hard as well.

Start of the season looked like he had continued to mature- he actually has made progress every year he's been here under Stick, without ever losing his blockbuster nature.

If he keeps his head right without Rapa around - and I think he is at the point he has his own ambitious and professionalism now- then I think we'll get another top shelf Leilua year next year. 2016 may never strike again but his modern incarnation which is brilliance + more discipline is a better package.

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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by greeneyed » November 7, 2019, 10:35 pm

Seiffert82 wrote:
November 7, 2019, 10:17 pm
I gave Toots a 7.0, so by that measure Leilua would be around a 6.5.

The tale of two seasons for BJ. As NR said, he was killing it early - then he got all injured and suspended and ****, but then managed to ramp it up a bit for the Grand Final run.

Far from his best season. If we had vintage Leilua this year we would have been a golden shot to win that damn GF.
Croker played 27 games... Leilua 12. That’s a pretty minimal difference in a rating, unless they’re average scores per game. But that might be what you have in mind.
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by Billy Walker » November 8, 2019, 7:14 am

greeneyed wrote:
November 7, 2019, 10:35 pm
Seiffert82 wrote:
November 7, 2019, 10:17 pm
I gave Toots a 7.0, so by that measure Leilua would be around a 6.5.

The tale of two seasons for BJ. As NR said, he was killing it early - then he got all injured and suspended and ****, but then managed to ramp it up a bit for the Grand Final run.

Far from his best season. If we had vintage Leilua this year we would have been a golden shot to win that damn GF.
Croker played 27 games... Leilua 12. That’s a pretty minimal difference in a rating, unless they’re average scores per game. But that might be what you have in mind.
I thought your score for BJ was low until I saw your explanation that you based it on contribution to the season and not an average of the games he played. By your scoring logic I can’t see how he could score more than 2 or 3 given he missed more than half the season and wasn’t a 10/10 player in the 12 games he did play. On an average per game played basis I’d have him a 7 on a contribution to season I’d have him a 3.

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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by greeneyed » November 8, 2019, 7:54 am

The ratings are based on my own average game ratings and which give some weight to number of games played/contribution to the season.
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Re: 2019 in review - Joey Leilua

Post by Seiffert82 » November 9, 2019, 4:34 am

greeneyed wrote:
November 7, 2019, 10:35 pm
Seiffert82 wrote:
November 7, 2019, 10:17 pm
I gave Toots a 7.0, so by that measure Leilua would be around a 6.5.

The tale of two seasons for BJ. As NR said, he was killing it early - then he got all injured and suspended and ****, but then managed to ramp it up a bit for the Grand Final run.

Far from his best season. If we had vintage Leilua this year we would have been a golden shot to win that damn GF.
Croker played 27 games... Leilua 12. That’s a pretty minimal difference in a rating, unless they’re average scores per game. But that might be what you have in mind.
Yeah, it's really hard to adjust for injuries and suspensions. If Leilua played a full season I'd probably give him a 7.5/10. I knocked off 1 point for some of the dumb stuff he did to be suspended and some sketchy form when he returned from injury, but found it hard to rate him lower based on injury.

It's never a fully objective measure.

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