Player Watch #14 Callum Mills - playing midfield in match sim, training the house down

caesar88

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Fundamentally, the more dual position players you have the more flexible your structure is on gameday allowing more tactics, providing more ways to win a game

probably good for reducing injuries and increasing longevity over a career to not have to play full time engine room
But I still am not sure whether such flexibility actually helps or harms a player's chance of being the very best player they can be. Would you rather a player be one-dimensional but dominant and dangerous in that one role, or be multi-faceted around the ground without being dominant and dangerous? I know which I'd prefer.
 

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Bloodied52

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Jury's still out for me on this whole 'start a mid out in a different position' business. On the one hand I can see how Heeney's time forward and Mills' time in the back-line may help refine their game and make them more rounded players, but on the other, I look at players like Cripps and Oliver who are of a very similar age to Heeney & Mills (Cripps drafted the year before Heeney, Oliver drafted same year as Mills) and they are two of the best players in the comp at the minute, both coming off All Australian years. Obviously they had a different entry into footy, playing in non-finals sides and being thrown in straight away with greater expectations, but it seems to be paying off for them now.

Not saying there's anything wrong with the trialling of different positions, but is there any evidence that it will pay off more than if they were just backed in as mids from the get-go?
Interesting thoughts about the different paths taken for Cripps and Oliver compared with Heeney and Mills. All were mids when recruited.

Our two are not on their own in having delayed roles as mids. George's entry to the mids has been as a tagger. He has proved good enough to win his own ball. Hopefully he is encouraged to play as a pure mid.

Going back, Titch's entry as a ball magnet was scrambled by views about his supposed lack of defence.

Hopefully, Mills, Heeney and Hewett form the nucleus of our midfield this year, with JPK playing a key support role.
 
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But I still am not sure whether such flexibility actually helps or harms a player's chance of being the very best player they can be. Would you rather a player be one-dimensional but dominant and dangerous in that one role, or be multi-faceted around the ground without being dominant and dangerous? I know which I'd prefer.
Just an example of player who is multi-faceted around the ground would be Buddy who can play deep full forward, as roaming center half forward and as a quasi midfielder at times. But if you want Buddy to be one dimensional and set in the forward 50 all game watch his production dip very quickly.
 

caesar88

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Just an example of player who is multi-faceted around the ground would be Buddy who can play deep full forward, as roaming center half forward and as a quasi midfielder at times. But if you want Buddy to be one dimensional and set in the forward 50 all game watch his production dip very quickly.
Not sure Bud is a great example because no matter where he plays, whether deep full forward or roaming CHF, he is still always a forward. He's always in a position where he can do the thing he does the very best, which is kick goals. He's not played at CHF to create any sort of run or act as a marking target, or add some other kind of x-factor to the team. He's played at CHF, outside 50, because that's his range and where he's comfortable kicking goals from. If Mills' best attributes are in tight as a midfielder, which apparently is the case, then he's not gonna get to do much of that playing as a small defender/intercepting marker in the back six. I think that's more my point, there's a difference between players who should be flexible and those who can be. There are some players, like Goodes for example, whose qualities basically demand that he be flexible and play everywhere. His speed, size, skill and athleticism meant he'd be wasted if just set in one position for an entire match or an entire season, because you know he'll be great everywhere he plays, and he was. But those players that are the full package are incredibly rare.

Mills on the other hand, I can't see him ever being a great defender. A solid and impressive one, but not a great defender, but if his midfield instincts are as quality as people say he is, he has the potential to be a great midfielder.
 

BruceFromBalnarring

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But I still am not sure whether such flexibility actually helps or harms a player's chance of being the very best player they can be. Would you rather a player be one-dimensional but dominant and dangerous in that one role, or be multi-faceted around the ground without being dominant and dangerous? I know which I'd prefer.
I think it might have something to do with the body's capability to sustain playing in the midfield early in a career. Cripps is a different type of cat, but for the player's longevity, it's probably thought best to play them outside of the midfield until they have a couple of pre-seasons under their belt. Hannebery is a good example of why that might be a good idea.
 

Kirkswan

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Not sure Bud is a great example because no matter where he plays, whether deep full forward or roaming CHF, he is still always a forward. He's always in a position where he can do the thing he does the very best, which is kick goals. He's not played at CHF to create any sort of run or act as a marking target, or add some other kind of x-factor to the team. He's played at CHF, outside 50, because that's his range and where he's comfortable kicking goals from. If Mills' best attributes are in tight as a midfielder, which apparently is the case, then he's not gonna get to do much of that playing as a small defender/intercepting marker in the back six. I think that's more my point, there's a difference between players who should be flexible and those who can be. There are some players, like Goodes for example, whose qualities basically demand that he be flexible and play everywhere. His speed, size, skill and athleticism meant he'd be wasted if just set in one position for an entire match or an entire season, because you know he'll be great everywhere he plays, and he was. But those players that are the full package are incredibly rare.

Mills on the other hand, I can't see him ever being a great defender. A solid and impressive one, but not a great defender, but if his midfield instincts are as quality as people say he is, he has the potential to be a great midfielder.
I think that today's game is less about positional play and more about role play...
 

caesar88

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I think it might have something to do with the body's capability to sustain playing in the midfield early in a career. Cripps is a different type of cat, but for the player's longevity, it's probably thought best to play them outside of the midfield until they have a couple of pre-seasons under their belt. Hannebery is a good example of why that might be a good idea.
That's a fair point. I have spent the last three years looking at Mills' slender build thinking, "how the heck do people see this kid as a midfielder?" But the guy can handle it now. He looks like he's been hanging around with Arnie over the last year. I'm fine with a 50/50 split until we see what he can produce as a midfielder, but I'd hope soon the trigger is pulled permanently, for Mills' own sake.
 

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I think it might have something to do with the body's capability to sustain playing in the midfield early in a career. Cripps is a different type of cat, but for the player's longevity, it's probably thought best to play them outside of the midfield until they have a couple of pre-seasons under their belt. Hannebery is a good example of why that might be a good idea.
Agree. Cripps and OIliver both more strongly built that Heeney or Mills. McCartin is a good example of a 22 year old's body in a kid. Will be fascinating to see if we can get our midfield mojo back.
 
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It's worth noting that cripps is already struggling to keep his body in good knick.

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This.

Such a huge burden for such a young player. Carlton obviously have no other choice but to fully invest and commit to it... We do not have to. We have flexibility and choices that Carlton would kill for. Why not develop the kids to be the best players they can be in our side for the next decade, as opposed to merely playing them only to their current strengths? If we thoguht like that then we would have played Teddy & Reg both forward when they came along right?

I'm not saying throw the kids around. I hated it when they did it to Jesse "The Great" White. Also to poor Reidy. But ultimately team comes first. If we have JPK, Hanners, Parker, Hewy as our core midfield then it doesn't leave much room for any other "permanent" players to get a more fulltime type chance in there... Look at Carlton's midfield the last few years. They pretty much had no choice. We do. Let's make the best choices for the club & for the development of our amazing talent.

I think we have been doing a brilliant job with our kids the past few years. Guys like Paps, ROnke, Hewy, Heenz, Millsy etc are all going to benefit from this early exposure and playing team-first footy instead of being relied on so heavily for their strengths only. They are developing otehr aspects of their game and doing something Cripps isn't... Not specifically playign to their strengths but rather, playing to rid weaknesses... Long term, I know which I would rather my developing playing list be exposed to.
 

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caesar88

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This.

Such a huge burden for such a young player. Carlton obviously have no other choice but to fully invest and commit to it... We do not have to. We have flexibility and choices that Carlton would kill for. Why not develop the kids to be the best players they can be in our side for the next decade, as opposed to merely playing them only to their current strengths? If we thoguht like that then we would have played Teddy & Reg both forward when they came along right?

I'm not saying throw the kids around. I hated it when they did it to Jesse "The Great" White. Also to poor Reidy. But ultimately team comes first. If we have JPK, Hanners, Parker, Hewy as our core midfield then it doesn't leave much room for any other "permanent" players to get a more fulltime type chance in there... Look at Carlton's midfield the last few years. They pretty much had no choice. We do. Let's make the best choices for the club & for the development of our amazing talent.

I think we have been doing a brilliant job with our kids the past few years. Guys like Paps, ROnke, Hewy, Heenz, Millsy etc are all going to benefit from this early exposure and playing team-first footy instead of being relied on so heavily for their strengths only. They are developing otehr aspects of their game and doing something Cripps isn't... Not specifically playign to their strengths but rather, playing to rid weaknesses... Long term, I know which I would rather my developing playing list be exposed to.
All good points, though I find the bolded to be speculative, if only because, like I raised in my initial post, do we actually know if one way or the other will pay off? Not really.

Heeney and Mills might round out the weaknesses of their game to be more well-rounded as players than Cripps or Oliver. But in doing so they may impact their chances of ever becoming the dominant mids they could potentially be. Alternatively, Cripps and Oliver may be dominant mids in the present, but their futures may be harmed by the burden you speak of and they may be burnt out by 27. Both could realistically occur which is why I thought it an interesting topic to raise because I think there are valid outcomes to both arguments and I was curious where everyone sat on it.
 

Bloodied52

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All good points, though I find the bolded to be speculative, if only because, like I raised in my initial post, do we actually know if one way or the other will pay off? Not really.

Heeney and Mills might round out the weaknesses of their game to be more well-rounded as players than Cripps or Oliver. But in doing so they may impact their chances of ever becoming the dominant mids they could potentially be. Alternatively, Cripps and Oliver may be dominant mids in the present, but their futures may be harmed by the burden you speak of and they may be burnt out by 27. Both could realistically occur which is why I thought it an interesting topic to raise because I think there are valid outcomes to both arguments and I was curious where everyone sat on it.
I get it is important to not burn out young blokes in the mids. However if we recruit a bloke because he is a mid, then does it not make sense to give him an early run there? I am not saying full time.

Conversely, giving blokes roles to round out their weaknesses is an odd strategy. Isn't that what the NEAFL and training is for?

Arguably our more established players should show greater flexibility in undertaking a variety of roles. Yet it has been the younger or borderline players who have to perform multiple roles. Reg, Smithy, Rampe, Kennedy, Hanners, McVeigh, Jack have not been required to plug holes, play different roles. Using Hanners and George as examples, I would say it was folly to play the former as wing
/mid and the latter as tagger/mid based on their respective form.

If Hanners was to play, why not get him to perform a role that he may have been capable of - tagger. This would have released George to play a more attacking mid role.
 

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I'm interested in not just how Mills goes as a midfielder, but if he can become a threat as a forward. I understand he's being mooted to play 50/50 as a defender and midfielder (how exactly that's meant to work I don't really know because the back 7 is traditionally far more set in stone than the forward line is, having someone moonlighting as a defender seems impractical). But his size, marking and athleticism could hypothetically at least be very useful as a deep forward. I'd love to see him get some time resting deep in the forward line over the season to see what he can do.
 

Bloodied52

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I'm interested in not just how Mills goes as a midfielder, but if he can become a threat as a forward. I understand he's being mooted to play 50/50 as a defender and midfielder (how exactly that's meant to work I don't really know because the back 7 is traditionally far more set in stone than the forward line is, having someone moonlighting as a defender seems impractical). But his size, marking and athleticism could hypothetically at least be very useful as a deep forward. I'd love to see him get some time resting deep in the forward line over the season to see what he can do.
Spot on post. As an under ager in NEAFL, I recall him being a goal kicking threat. I too would like to see him spend some time up forward.

He is arguably the most flexible player on our list. He may not be a Goodesy, but he can pinch hit anywhere like the Weasels Hunter or the other Hunter who played for the CarlCrims.

Fun comparison. Which player did we trade sight unseen for Neville Field's ankle bandage? Yep, one Neal Daniher. From day one that is who Millsy reminded me of.
 

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All good points, though I find the bolded to be speculative, if only because, like I raised in my initial post, do we actually know if one way or the other will pay off? Not really.

Heeney and Mills might round out the weaknesses of their game to be more well-rounded as players than Cripps or Oliver. But in doing so they may impact their chances of ever becoming the dominant mids they could potentially be. Alternatively, Cripps and Oliver may be dominant mids in the present, but their futures may be harmed by the burden you speak of and they may be burnt out by 27. Both could realistically occur which is why I thought it an interesting topic to raise because I think there are valid outcomes to both arguments and I was curious where everyone sat on it.
An interesting comparison is with Hannaberry. He was thrown in the middle as schoolboy by Roos. Mills is more gifted skillfully than Hanners so why is he to be played in defence? Perhaps someone has a defensive mindset?
 

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An interesting comparison is with Hannaberry. He was thrown in the middle as schoolboy by Roos. Mills is more gifted skillfully than Hanners so why is he to be played in defence? Perhaps someone has a defensive mindset?
Hannebery is a pretty poor comparison. As a schoolboy he was already an elite runner. He also was not a strong contested mark of the ball, and his skills limited him largely to the midfield, particularly wing (and he was an absolute gun at his gut running up and down the ground from day one, playing mainly outside).

Mills came in as an inside, not outside midfielder. His body was not ready for this role at senior AFL level at 18 (most are not!) but he had other skills such as strong contested mark and reading of the play thus his start in defence. Others like Hodge have played similar roles during their development...

Perhaps someone saw Mills as best 22 but not ready for his natural position at the time of drafting but found another role for him to make a contribution and strengthen his development in other areas? (Horse was of course proven wrong, he struggled in his out of position so much he won the rising star.....)
 

connolly

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Hannebery is a pretty poor comparison. As a schoolboy he was already an elite runner. He also was not a strong contested mark of the ball, and his skills limited him largely to the midfield, particularly wing (and he was an absolute gun at his gut running up and down the ground from day one, playing mainly outside).

Mills came in as an inside, not outside midfielder. His body was not ready for this role at senior AFL level at 18 (most are not!) but he had other skills such as strong contested mark and reading of the play thus his start in defence. Others like Hodge have played similar roles during their development...

Perhaps someone saw Mills as best 22 but not ready for his natural position at the time of drafting but found another role for him to make a contribution and strengthen his development in other areas? (Horse was of course proven wrong, he struggled in his out of position so much he won the rising star.....)
The comparator was with their respective ages and development. Mills has the skill to be both an inside and outside midfielder. His marking skills would have made him extremely dangerous drifting into the forward line. Yes Hanners and Mills are different types of course. Hanners was never a big body. I can remember wincing as the big bodies crunched the kid. The fact is that Mills has more skill and midfield versatility that Hanners ever did. So why was he played on the backline? The question is rhetorical.
 

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The comparator was with their respective ages and development. Mills has the skill to be both an inside and outside midfielder. His marking skills would have made him extremely dangerous drifting into the forward line. Yes Hanners and Mills are different types of course. Hanners was never a big body. I can remember wincing as the big bodies crunched the kid. The fact is that Mills has more skill and midfield versatility that Hanners ever did. So why was he played on the backline? The question is rhetorical.
I’d suggest he didn’t have the tank. As I said Hannebery was an elite runner so he could slot straight into a midfield role.

At the time he came in we also still had Mitchell and didn’t require him in the midfield (as well as Hewett starting to take midfield minutes).

In 2017 we lost Rampe for the year so he stayed down back.

I think we would have seen more midfield time for him in 2018 given our troubles there but unfortunately he got injured.

I personally don’t think there is a defensive Horse conspiracy here, but each to their own :)
 

caesar88

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I’d suggest he didn’t have the tank. As I said Hannebery was an elite runner so he could slot straight into a midfield role.

At the time he came in we also still had Mitchell and didn’t require him in the midfield (as well as Hewett starting to take midfield minutes).

In 2017 we lost Rampe for the year so he stayed down back.

I think we would have seen more midfield time for him in 2018 given our troubles there but unfortunately he got injured.

I personally don’t think there is a defensive Horse conspiracy here, but each to their own :)
It's worth noting that Horse is not the only culprit. Every coach in the league does it. I have a mate whose a die-hard Hawks supporter and he would have a weekly meltdown every time he saw Ryan Burton in defence, even though the kid was pretty impressive in that role (and that was from the supposed GOAT of coaching). Similarly another mate of mine who is a Saints supporter puts Jack Billings' form drop solely on the fact he isn't given a set role to shine in. Seems like you could find the same criticisms in every club's supporter base. It's more indicative of the evolution of the game really, but I guess we don't all have to like it :p
 

BloodySwan

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An interesting comparison is with Hannaberry. He was thrown in the middle as schoolboy by Roos. Mills is more gifted skillfully than Hanners so why is he to be played in defence? Perhaps someone has a defensive mindset?
Mills came into a Swans side stacked in the midfield. He was good enough to play in the best 22 but we didn't have space for him, we put him in defence because we needed some skill back there and he played the position extremely well.
 

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Mills came into a Swans side stacked in the midfield. He was good enough to play in the best 22 but we didn't have space for him, we put him in defence because we needed some skill back there and he played the position extremely well.
Mills came into a Swans side stacked in the midfield. He was good enough to play in the best 22 but we didn't have space for him, we put him in defence because we needed some skill back there and he played the position extremely well.
Mills came into a Swans side stacked in the midfield. He was good enough to play in the best 22 but we didn't have space for him, we put him in defence because we needed some skill back there and he played the position extremely well.
This was a team with the declining Jack in the midfield. OK if I accept our midfield was too talented at the time (only for the sake of argument) why wasn't he played as an outside mid half forward flank? He reminds of Ian Stewart which is a big call. Like Stewart he is a strong mark, kicks well (by the way he would be the most accurate kick in a midfield which has been, to be kind, lets say challenged in that area) and has good no fumble hands. Many talented kids with not much of a tank (with rotations I don't see the relevance) have been started in the midfield because of their natural skills. Most attacking coaches play their most talented players in their midfield. Not ours.
 

BloodySwan

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This was a team with the declining Jack in the midfield. OK if I accept our midfield was too talented at the time (only for the sake of argument) why wasn't he played as an outside mid half forward flank? He reminds of Ian Stewart which is a big call. Like Stewart he is a strong mark, kicks well (by the way he would be the most accurate kick in a midfield which has been, to be kind, lets say challenged in that area) and has good no fumble hands. Many talented kids with not much of a tank (with rotations I don't see the relevance) have been started in the midfield because of their natural skills. Most attacking coaches play their most talented players in their midfield. Not ours.
Because he has only had 3 seasons and last year when he was getting more midfield time he went down for the rest of the season
 

caesar88

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Because he has only had 3 seasons and last year when he was getting more midfield time he went down for the rest of the season
Connolly was more implying that if Mills wasn't going to be thrown into the midfield, maybe he should've been used in a more attacking way rather than as a defender.
 

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Really hope mills plays mids all year but i get the feeling at some point, longmire will move him back because we are missing his intercept play
 
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