How the halves merry-go-round affects your club

How the halves merry-go-round affects your club

They say that stability in the halves is the key to success, but while it helps, the following data suggests the two aren't always linked. 

Fans want to see halves pairings last for a decade, but in today's crazy player-market-driven era those wants are simply unrealistic. 

Cooper Cronk's move to the Roosters was expected to set off an unrivalled chain reaction, and lo and behold on Monday afternoon the dominoes all tumbled as the playmaker market went into overdrive. 

In the space of a few minutes, Mitchell Pearce (Roosters) and Blake Green (Sea Eagles) were released by their respective clubs. We know the latter is headed to the Warriors, but where Pearce lands remains unclear, although it's likely that he'll end up at either the Sharks, Sea Eagles or Knights.

With the playmaking shake-up set to affect most clubs, there is a real chance that only three teams – the Raiders, Titans and Cowboys – will name the same halves in Round 1 next year that started for them in the opening week of the 2017 season.

It's a staggering statistic, but in truth it matters little. Of the eight finalists this season, only three clubs – the Broncos, Sharks and Cowboys – maintained the same halves pairing from the year before.

Combinations might take a while to form but today's players are so well-drilled that it's only a matter of time until they get used to one another. There were plenty of question marks about how Cameron Munster and Cooper Cronk would gel in 2017, but the Storm stars not only combined to lead Melbourne to premiership success, they also steered the Maroons to Origin glory in Game Three.

It'll be interesting to see how some of the new pairings function next season, and while there are still a few tiles that need to fall into place, here are the likely halves combinations heading into Round 1, 2018. 

Broncos

Round 1, 2016 - Five-eighth: Anthony Milford. Halfback: Ben Hunt.

Round 1, 2017 - Five-eighth: Anthony Milford. Halfback: Ben Hunt.

Round 1, 2018 (likely) - Five-eighth: Anthony Milford. Halfback: Kodi Nikorima.

Raiders

2016 - Five-eighth: Blake Austin. Halfback: Aidan Sezer.

2017 - Five-eighth: Blake Austin. Halfback: Aidan Sezer.

2018 - Five-eighth: Blake Austin. Halfback: Aidan Sezer.

Bulldogs

2016 - Five-eighth: Josh Reynolds. Halfback: Moses Mbye.

2017 - Five-eighth: Josh Reynolds. Halfback: Moses Mbye.

2018 - Five-eighth: Kieran Foran. Halfback: Moses Mbye/Matt Frawley.

Sharks 

2016 - Five-eighth: James Maloney. Halfback: Chad Townsend.

2017 - Five-eighth: James Maloney. Halfback: Chad Townsend.

2018 - Five-eighth: Chad Townsend/Matt Moylan. Halfback: Chad Townsend/Mitchell Pearce.

Titans

2016 - Five-eighth: Tyrone Roberts. Halfback: Ash Taylor.

2017 - Five-eighth: Kane Elgey. Halfback: Ash Taylor.

2018 - Five-eighth: Kane Elgey. Halfback: Ash Taylor.

Sea Eagles

2016 - Five-eighth: Dylan Walker. Halfback: Daly Cherry-Evans.

2017 - Five-eighth: Blake Green. Halfback: Daly Cherry-Evans.

2018 - Five-eighth: Mitchell Pearce/Cam Cullen. Halfback: Daly Cherry-Evans.

Storm

2016 - Five-eighth: Blake Green. Halfback: Cooper Cronk.

2017 - Five-eighth: Ryley Jacks. Halfback: Cooper Cronk.

2018 - Five-eighth: Cameron Munster. Halfback: Brodie Croft.

Knights

2016 - Five-eighth: Jarrod Mullen. Halfback: Trent Hodkinson.

2017 - Five-eighth: Brock Lamb. Halfback: Trent Hodkinson.

2018 - Five-eighth: Connor Watson/Brock Lamb. Halfback: Mitchell Pearce/Brock Lamb.

Cowboys

2016 - Five-eighth: Michael Morgan. Halfback: Johnathan Thurston.

2017 - Five-eighth: Michael Morgan. Halfback: Johnathan Thurston.

2018 - Five-eighth: Michael Morgan. Halfback: Johnathan Thurston.

Eels

2016 - Five-eighth: Corey Norman. Halfback: Luke Kelly.

2017 - Five-eighth: Clint Gutherson. Halfback: Corey Norman.

2018 - Five-eighth: Corey Norman. Halfback: Mitch Moses.

Panthers

2016 - Five-eighth: Jamie Soward. Halfback: Peter Wallace.

2017 - Five-eighth: Te Maire Martin. Halfback: Nathan Cleary.

2018 - Five-eighth: James Maloney. Halfback: Nathan Cleary.

Rabbitohs

2016 - Five-eighth: Cody Walker. Halfback: Adam Reynolds.

2017 - Five-eighth: Cody Walker. Halfback: Luke Kelly.

2018 - Five-eighth: Cody Walker. Halfback: Adam Reynolds.

Dragons

2016 - Five-eighth: Gareth Widdop. Halfback: Benji Marshall.

2017 - Five-eighth: Gareth Widdop. Halfback: Josh McCrone.

2018 - Five-eighth: Gareth Widdop. Halfback: Ben Hunt.

Roosters

2016 - Five-eighth: Jayden Nikorima. Halfback: Jackson Hastings.

2017 - Five-eighth: Luke Keary. Halfback: Mitchell Pearce.

2018 - Five-eighth: Luke Keary. Halfback: Cooper Cronk.

Warriors

2016 - Five-eighth: Shaun Johnson. Halfback: Jeff Robson.

2017 - Five-eighth: Ata Hingano. Halfback: Shaun Johnson.

2018 - Five-eighth: Blake Green. Halfback: Shaun Johnson.

Wests Tigers

2016 - Five-eighth: Mitch Moses. Halfback: Jack Littlejohn.

2017 - Five-eighth: Mitch Moses. Halfback: Luke Brooks.

2018 - Five-eighth: Josh Reynolds. Halfback: Luke Brooks.