The reality is that at full strength, the Cats have 8 very good players. When you look at most clubs, you see a similar story of upto 8 players dominating the court time.
Redhage is nolonger the player he once was. No problem with that, except that if you're looking for 3~4 players to carry the offence, he's not the massive scoring accumulator he once was.
Hire suffered what transpired to be a devastating injury, missed most of the season, and has not fully recovered. He can run fine, but can barely jump at all, which is not what you want to see in a basketballer.
Jervis (who had an off game last night) is an 80~90% replacement for Knight in the starting 5. Problem is that he doesn't do everything Knight does, and NOBODY is replacing him off the bench.
Damo is still doing what he does best, but yes, in the seasons that the Cats dominate he is offensively dangerous (which he MOSTLY isn't now.)
Early in the season, U'U and Ross were providing offensive support off the bench. Now they're not.
Maybe U'U is just symptomatic of the tougher time that the Cats are having.
I know people like to remark on the "loop-holes" that allowed Ross and U'U to play as "locals," but the fact is that even before Ross' injury they were only bit players. Perth's strength was always always in those eight players, and they really only have 6.5 of them now.
Not 100% sure what was behind the move of starting Hire. Without Ross (or even Muo) and with U'U running cold, Perth are a bit top-heavy. (At times last night they played with 4 forwards.) So I can perhaps understand trying to use DD in more of a 2-3 role. But if you wanted to start another forward, Wagstaff would have been better, and I still think that DD could have started.