Behind The Sports Desk: Does the player make the team?

BEHIND THE SPORTS DESK: The individual vs the team

RUGBY LEAGUE: NRL pre-season action returned to our television screens with the World Club Challenge between Melbourne Storm and Leeds Rhinos.

It was the first showing Storm fans had of life after Cooper Cronk. But it was a clash that asked more questions than it answered.

And it has pushed us to pose our own league conundrum: is it the man that makes the team or the team that makes the man?

MOOSE: Sides are nothing without their gamebreakers

THERE is a lot to be said about the ability of a team to work together for a common goal but that would count for nothing if it was not for the game breakers, the superstars, the players who can turn a match in an instant.

What would the North Queensland Cowboys be without Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott?

What would the Melbourne Storm be without the big three?

Storm fans got their first look at life post-Cronk in the World Club Challenge at the weekend and while the signs looked promising for young Brodie Croft, it was evident there was something missing from the side's execution.

Rugby league is a game cemented on the moments of extraordinary brilliance from extraordinary people.

The greatest memories of the game revolve around those superstars who showed their talents time and time again when all else appeared lost.

Think the 1998 grand final, when a wounded Newcastle Knights leader Andrew Johns used his last gasp of energy to put Darren Albert over for a match-winning try.

Would it have been a different result if Johnsy hadn't been there? Undoubtedly.

What about the courage shown by Souths legend John Sattler in the 1970 grand final when he played most of the match with a shattered jaw?

There is no doubt you cannot win a match without 13 on the field but it is those individuals who make the game special.

ROB BURLEY: The team maketh the superstar

WHILE there are definitely "shining lights" in the NRL talent pool, they are not everything.

I'll start with Daly Cherry-Evans. Arriving at Manly in 2011, when they won their last premiership, Cherry-Evans should be well into his fine wine period now.

Instead the last time he pulled on the boots for Queensland (2016) he spent more time running sideways and was clearly ineffective. It would seem he is only successful within his own team.

Jarryd Hayne was fortunate when he joined the Eels in 2009, the team stability enabled him to take risks and try his hand himself, leading to some notoriety and early triumphs in his career.

As the focus on him grew, it would seem that he read his own press and took more charge of the ball and direction.

Hayne, as we know, made some huge direction changes in his career but clearly he needs a team around him to be "gifted".

My point is while there has to be a genuine ability in the player, a will to better yourself and be part of a winning team, the team around them must be supportive, equally focused and structured.

If the team has these attributes then the individual is able to try the "out-of-the-box" ideas, make that wonder pass, place the bomb, chip across field.

But it only works if the team is there for him.



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