Over this season, it has to be Zorro. (why is he called Zorro?)
however, in the Staffordshire Back Garden Premier Division League, you've come on well Saint Elliot. Thankfully the neighbours are kind enough to return your ball when you place kick it over the fence!!
Sorrenson was Newcastle's player of the year - he's playing at that level (ie is class) - he just won't get picked ahead of Courtney despite the latter being away almost the entire season with England / injuries and his ban
Manoa / Pisi can't be "improved" as they've just got here - ditto Craig - best newcomer maybe?
Elliot, Long or Waller would be my shortlist - possibly adding Haywood although we really haven't seen much of him due to injury.
Elliot looked rock solid defensively (more than Artemiev) with a ton of gas
Long has just been superb - hard as nails / carries / tackles everything and lineout 100%
Waller would be starting if we didn't have 3 other international props
Of the rest..
Tiny has maintained his own high standards
Mooj has been injured but looking back to his best
Courtney has hardly played and if anything has declined (harsh to call and inevitable after his meteoric rise)
Daisy should be on the England tour - won't be but we have a 100% lineout and a rolling maul to dominate anyone
Dowson finally got the England recognition he deserves
Wood is class - shame he's been missing
Wilson - best player at the club for consistency - hard, hard man
Dickson rewarded finally by England - superb leader, although Roberts offers something excellent in sniping to mix things up from the bench
Lamb / Myler - both offer loads - if you could somehow combine them then we'd have someone to rival Dan Carter - they seem to be bringing the best out of each other and to have 2 such players is a great place to be
Downey - how do we replace him - our biggest problem next season is covering Mr Reliable
Pisi - offers more in attack than Clark, defence is solid, we don't get the JC turnovers but playing well
Ashton is playing out of his socks - I really hope he gets a try to see us off in style, showing he can be the professional and is possibly ruing his financial decision to move on - good luck to the lad
Foden - pure class at FB - last man defence reminds me of Steve Hampson from Wigan in the early 90s - clean break by the oppo and then 'bang' down they go
Digger / Artemiev / Cato / Elliot - for me the latter could make the shirt his own next season - Digger is probably the most solid all-rounder without being out and out class, Artemiev is work in progress, Cato offers glimpses of pure pace which is a rare commodity and Elliot offers the lot - just needs to add a bit of weight (IMHO) and keep the speed and we will have someone very very special
I'd definitely throw the name of Ben Nutley into the hat as well - all three lads who were signed from the academy this season (Nutley, Haywood and Elliot) have had cracking seasons, shame about the injuries!
My vote for most improved would definitely be Alex Waller though. I used to tremble when there was any kind of disruption to our front row, be it to Dylan, Tiny or Mooj, but we now have at least two absolutely 1st XV class front rows (especially since the arrival of PDJ who has given Mooj some much needed rest this season).
However, PDJ was always class at Gloucester, and has continued to be with us so I'd say that Alex Waller, who has clearly done a hell of a lot of work with Westy, is our most improved. Excellent in the scrum, rampant in the loose, and can even play hooker if push comes to shove - if it weren't for Tiny I'd have no qualms about starting him every week.
I reckon most of our experienced forwards (even Mooj and Tiny) have actually "improved" with James Craig begining to demonstrate what an outstanding player he will become - but perhaps it is their togetherness that is most commendable. Several youngsters have started to come through but my vote is for Lee - I think he is our heartbeat and his influence is vital.
I discounted Alex because he made it last year. Likewise Zorro because he is just playing more games but has not imo improved. I bet Falcons fans saw what we are seeing all the time. Interesting that you discount James, Broonie, because he has improved whether the class was there or not. Mikey has the same class and has also improved.
For me it's Alex Waller. I am no expert on the scrum, far from it, but I now feel like we lose nothing when he is introduced from the bench. Given the fella he replaces every week I think that is big praise!
Laurie - whilt I agree that Alex "arrived" last year, I would say he has continued a significant upward curve of improvement and would, for me, carry the title Most Improved. And what's really exciting is that there's more to come - it's noticeable that he's carrying more now. With PDJ, Mercey, Mikey H and, McMillan, Westie's dream of building a sustained ability to dominate looks like a project with real purpose.
Given last seasons story was about Saints and who else besides Mooj and Tiny as what we had (although still with us) at the time did not for whatever reason meet upto scratch and that came a lot from lack of playing.
This season Waller and Mercey both have excelled far greater than last season, Mercey's case though has been hindered by PDJ taking the step ahead of him but when called upon when one of Mooj or PDJ was not playing he did the same as who he had replaced did. There was no let up.
Zorro really hasn't improved, we just didn't see much of him before. This season he has had lots of opportunities and it has showed when he plays just what we had signed.It's like having a Vintage Morgan in your garage but when the opportunity to give it a run, it will not disappoint you.
If you talk of Zoprro then Dicko gets a bit of a mention but his season has been opportunities and recognition for the last 2 seasons workload.
Nutley is the only other real contender, but is still on an upward curve which he is fast in scaling. A bit more weight to use when carrying the ball up will do him wonders.
Sorry but if asked what team would we start with if everyone was fit, some of the names mentioned above would not start. Alex Waller is a most improved player and should be given first choice soon but he would not replace Mujati or Tong.. at the moment. People like Craig and Nutley have played ok but when one looks at the contributions of Dowson and Day there is still a long way to go. I am not certain Lawes merits being first choice at the moment - what has he done this season for us? For me Waller and Pisi
Most improved player doesn't mean they should be starting, it means they are playing better now than they were in the last 12 months. Therefore Pisi is not really one of them as except one match he has ben consistantly performing. What he has done is improved our attacking abilities as a team. Thats not player improvement but providing more options to all the players.
Lawes I think your being a bit harsh on, I don't know off my head how many games he has played in for saints but I'd be almost surprised if they tallied over 10, effectively its a season for him to forget and move on from with suspensions whilst with England and a couple of injuries that have stopped him from being able to play. The good thing as far as Saints go is 12 months ago we relied on his tackling as a force and this year we are the meanest defence and he hasn't featured much. Take Downey, Pisi, Manoa and a few others out there have been putting in massive tackles that have virtually won turnovers in the process.
different question headman, given an injury free selection you're correct I wouldn't make many of the players above 1st choice either. But it is a credit to the coaching team that all the above have progressed well enough for us not to feel concerned if they have to stand in or are rotated into the 1st team
It's difficult to argue that a man playing internationally with experience in the Top 14 had sufficient room to get the most improved player. He may have improved our back line but not himself to any degree.
Somebody who has never appeared at any representative level yet still makes every match-day squad; who comes on regularly to startle some gnarled old denizens of the front-row union; he's much more the man to come with the most improved tag
Blimey folks we are hard task masters - I went for Samu because he is now a respected player in the squad who has gone from playing amateur rugby on the west coast of the US to winning MoM awards in the Heineken Cup and Aviva Premiership. How soon we forget his brilliant performance against Quins.
Samu has come half way round the world, got his head down, clearly worked hard on his fitness and is doing wonders under the tutelage of Messrs Mallinder and West. He can play lock or back row with ease and is even taking on the most technical of positions in No. 8. He's learned to use the ball well and his physical presence on the field is frightening!
Saints gave him the opportunity and boy has he developed quickly and become I think the signing of the season
Zorro was never given a look in - the coaches decided on Kruger and Lobbe with Courtney as back-up and never deviated
The moment Zorro has been given 'a chance' ie not 10mins at the end of a game - he is outperforming and looking a class act. Ditto Daisy, string of games and straight into the Saxons last season - after 2 years of splinters
I just don't see how 'most improved' can be tagged on a newcomer as its hearsay what they were doing before they got here. Manu was capped by the US - he's a big unit and has had a run in the team and initially done well - I guess if he is straight back in the team -v- Tiggers then our question will be answered in the coaches eyes
You would like to think all players improve year on year, so I would think the criteria is in the title of the thread, ‘Who is the most improved player’. And in that respect Claire is spot on with Samu Manoa. What he has achieved in the short time at the club coming from his previous playing experience is remarkable.
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