2019 in review - Sia Soliola

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greeneyed
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2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by greeneyed » November 15, 2019, 8:16 am

2019 in review - Sia Soliola

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This is the tenth instalment of 2019 in review. As usual, now the Raiders' season is over - the best for 25 years - we are reviewing all 26 players who pulled on a green jersey in first grade this year. So far, we've looked at Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Nick Cotric, Jarrod Croker, Joey Leilua, Jordan Rapana, Jack Wighton, Aidan Sezer, Josh Papalii and Josh Hodgson.

Sia Soliola is often referred to as the spiritual leader of the Canberra Raiders, such is his influence at Raiders HQ. He is now 33 years of age... and father time must catch up with him at some stage. But there was not much sign of that in 2019.

He appeared in 26 matches in 2019, playing off the bench 15 times, mostly in the first half of the season. It appeared that coach Ricky Stuart's initial strategy was to have one of his two best props on the field at all times, but he was able to switch that around in the run to the finals... as the younger forwards developed and stepped up. Soliola started at prop in 11 matches, including the Grand Final. He missed just one game, rested in the Round 25 clash with the Warriors once it was clear the Raiders had secured a top four finish.

In 2019, Soliola ranked third amongst the Raiders forwards for metres gained, behind Josh Papalii and John Bateman. He also ranked fourth for average metres gained per match (88), with Papalii, Bateman and Corey Horsburgh ahead of him. He spent less time on the field in 2019 than 2018 - 20 minutes less on average - but his average metres gained and metres per carry rose. He was well down the list for tackle breaks and offloads.

In defence, he finished sixth for most tackles made at the club - and 10th amongst the forwards for average tackles per match. Those numbers were down on 2018, consistent with less game time on average. But it meant his effectiveness in defence improved. His tackle efficiency rate rose to 92 per cent (88 per cent in 2018) - and only Josh Papalii and Siliva Havili had a better rate than Soliola. He was in the top 20 props in the NRL for tackle efficiency. His missed tackle count fell from just over two per game, to less than one. That was bettered only by Siliva Havili amongst the Raiders' forwards. His try causes fell further, from 10 in 2017 and four in 2018, to just one in 2019. He reduced his error count and the number of penalties he conceded.

I rated Soliola 6.5/10 on average through the season, with his rating below reflecting his strong contribution to the season. I rated him an "8" in the Round 1 victory over the Gold Coast Titans in a monsoon. He produced a try, 121 metres from 13 runs, two tackle breaks and 27 tackles. It was his best match of the year, but he was very consistent right through the season. He also put in a very strong performance in the Preliminary Final against the Rabbitohs, when he made 103 metres from 10 runs, 40 post contact metres, three tackles breaks, 39 tackles and posted a 93 per cent tackle efficiency rate.



Overall, it was another very solid season from Sia Soliola. Like fine wine, he seems to get better with age. He celebrated his 100th game in green in the Raiders win over the Panthers at Penrith. He played his 300th first class game - in the NRL and Super League competitions - in the win over the Warriors in Auckland. He was given the final shot at goal in the match, no time left on the clock. Of course, he kicked it. It wasn't exactly an easy kick either. He went on to play his 200th NRL match in the Grand Final. Sadly, he couldn't get the win in his first NRL decider, 15 years after he made his NRL debut.

He is not only is a great leader at the club on the field, he is a great leader off the field as well. He was awarded the Ken Stephen Medal on Grand Final night, for his contibutions to charity and the community. He has helped feed the homeless at the Early Morning Centre soup kitchen every Monday for the past three years. He's also involved himself in Vinnie's CEO Sleepout, Kulture Break, Menslink and Silence is Deadly - and is an ambassador for children with Angelman Syndrome. It is no wonder he's a much loved and respected figure at the club and in the community.

How did you rate Sia Soliola's 2019? Tell us below.

Sia Soliola's 2019: 7.5/10

2019 Statistics: (Stats from Fox Sports Lab)
Games: 26
Average minutes: 38.3
Points: 10
Tries: 2
Goals: 1
Try assists: 0
Try contributions: 0
Total try involvements: 2
Total kicks: 0
Kick metres: 0
Total runs: 262
All run metres: 2310
Average metres per carry: 8.8
Average metres per game: 88
Tackle breaks: 11
Offloads: 5
Line breaks: 1
Line break assists: 0
Tackles: 523
Average tackles per game: 20.1
1 on 1 tackles: 20
Missed tackles: 20
Average missed tackles per game: 0.8
Tackle efficiency: 92 per cent
Try causes: 1
Line break causes: 2
Errors: 7
Penalties conceded: 9
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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by Northern Raider » November 15, 2019, 8:47 am

Before season started I felt age may have been creeping up on him and he was starting to struggle with the pace of the game. That turned out not to be an issue. May have been a reduction of minutes, adjustment to conditioning or a combination of the two. Whatever it was it worked and resulted in Sia being a very solid contributor this year.
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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by -PJ- » November 15, 2019, 8:55 am

Yeah..great spiel NR..we need a score !!!
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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by edwahu » November 15, 2019, 9:33 am

Another solid 7/10. These scores are a lot easier than in the crap years.

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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by The Nickman » November 15, 2019, 9:53 am

7.5/10... spot on.
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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by Northern Raider » November 15, 2019, 10:08 am

-PJ- wrote:
November 15, 2019, 8:55 am
Yeah..great spiel NR..we need a score !!!
7/10. Did his job well albeit not with the same impact we've witnessed in the past.
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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by Matt » November 15, 2019, 12:07 pm

Northern Raider wrote:
November 15, 2019, 8:47 am
Before season started I felt age may have been creeping up on him and he was starting to struggle with the pace of the game. That turned out not to be an issue. May have been a reduction of minutes, adjustment to conditioning or a combination of the two. Whatever it was it worked and resulted in Sia being a very solid contributor this year.
My thoughts too.
Im happy with 7.5

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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by -PJ- » November 15, 2019, 1:35 pm

Northern Raider wrote:
November 15, 2019, 10:08 am
-PJ- wrote:
November 15, 2019, 8:55 am
Yeah..great spiel NR..we need a score !!!
7/10. Did his job well albeit not with the same impact we've witnessed in the past.
I like it..
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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by raiderskater » November 15, 2019, 8:29 pm

He was an absolute beast all year. I was a bit worried early he might have gone a season too long but no way. He led our forwards with maturity and pride and goddamn, even if he is closer to the end of his career than the start, we have to keep him. He's good for the team, club and community. He's ours now. He's not allowed to leave.
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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by BadnMean » November 15, 2019, 8:49 pm

raiderskater wrote:
November 15, 2019, 8:29 pm
He was an absolute beast all year. I was a bit worried early he might have gone a season too long but no way. He led our forwards with maturity and pride and goddamn, even if he is closer to the end of his career than the start, we have to keep him. He's good for the team, club and community. He's ours now. He's not allowed to leave.
Same. I was sure he would hit the wall this year. Turns out the chance to focus purely on middle and forget the edge has given him a clarity and conditioning edge to keep him going (he looks bigger, forget about moving sideways Sia!). He seemed to play very simple and direct this year. No frills, no trying huge plays or linking- just hard yards and hitting people.

I'll worry again that he's lost a step next year but I don't think it will matter. He's done everyone proud and if he is slowly overtaken by Guler, Hors etc then Sia isn't the type to kick stones. And if Sutton and Lui can't force him out then I'd love to watch him go around again. It will be amazing if he can still be a top NRL middle at 35.

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Re: 2019 in review - Sia Soliola

Post by Seiffert82 » November 16, 2019, 9:40 am

7.0/10 for me.

Good analysis. I thought the coaching staff managed him and his minutes extremely well. It was quality over quantity and he played every moment with impact and purpose.

I hope we can get something similar next season. I was with those who though Sia might have been on the decline last season. Credit to him and the club for redefining his role... yet again.

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