Great analysis.Yesterday’s game was played at AFL level of physical (perhaps not aerobic) intensity so gave some inkling as to where players are at (and importantly our depth of talent for 2020 to 2024). Much of it echoed what has been observed throughout 2019. Based on that, my observations -
Constable - contested hard and got his hands on the ball but his effectiveness was very limited by Port’s intensity and bigger bodies smashing in. Despite the possession count I can see why the MC haven’t brought him back in. Possible depth for finals but only for a slowish mid (Joel, if injured?). What is needed for 2018 - really needs more strength, work on getting hands free/exiting the pack. Another string to the bow is needed - I wonder if he could develop some Ling type ability to tag a similar opposition mid.
Menegola - similar to AFL performances seemed a bit invisible to me during the really intense parts of the game and came into it more when it opened up (which was only for patches). I’ve been a fan of Sam but I’m getting pessimistic about this ‘weakness’. Definitely depth for AFL finals but 2020 looms as clear cross roads. Perhaps, like for Constable, a tagging role might get him more focused and involved early.
Scooter - had very similar involvement to Sam yesterday - more effective when it opened up. Again depth for finals, maybe if need a tagger. Obviously in twilight of career.
Parsons - seemed to be more involved throughout compared to the above two and showed some good ability to exit the pack (including a lovely blind turn and pass to set up a goal). Also showed more willingness for contest than I’ve seen before. Also likely depth for finals although frankly don’t know who he replaces. And this is the problem for the future with Parsons - just can’t see any attributes that he can become sufficiently elite to be first 22.
Simpson - was clearly the ‘eye catcher’ for me. All the attributes that folks have lauded (side steps, exiting packs, good foot skills) were on display. I’d prefer him as the finals backup for any outside mid and maybe small forward (after Atkins). Possibly needs one a little bit more strength. Would get him to have a really intense pre season and hopefully will be bashing down the door, possibly as Duncan’s successor.
Fog - moved really well early at half forward, getting over the back a few times then seemed to be hampered by a slight hammy issue. Looks like he needs more strength and miles in the legs. Probably got a future but needs a good 2020, IMO.
Clark - barely in it, possibly distracted by his elbow. Needs to build strength which means addressing any related surgery quickly. This the club really needs to settle on a role for him (suggest outside mid) but get him fit first.
Abbott- been a fan but really disappointed. How he was in the ‘Bests’ alludes me. Started well and was jumping well at centre bounces but frankly was almost rag-dolled by the beefy Port ruck otherwise. I can’t see where he could be better than Stanley and he’s not as strong as Smith. Think some other sides might be into him so possible trade bait. Has been resilient (rare for Cats rucks over the years) so could keep if we don’t land a mature ruck.
Smith- was also pushed around by the Port ruck but had started a couple of nice passages of play, including a great intercept mark and pass that resulted in a goal. Probable back up to Stanley in finals. Like Abbott can’t see where the upside is for future seasons.
Fort - played almost entirely forward. Took a really good contested pack mark but struggled to judge the breeze like the other Cats talls). Showed good agility to kick a goal (and had a similar moment later only to shank the kick). Not a chance for finals but enough signs to persist with - needs big off season in the gym and contested marking practice but might get there.
Buzza - heart goes out to him - really tried, contested well, kicked a couple including one from some good follow up. Unfortunately just 10 - 20% away from being AFL and just can’t see him bridging the gap.
Henderson - was steady without being dominant. Clearly AFL level skills (and will be unlucky if misses for Kolo on Friday). First in for me if any tall is out for finals and if Taylor retires clearly has a role,at least for year or two.
Zuthrie - didn’t notice that much except when got monstered in a tackle that hurt him. Not sure he is good enough in an attribute or two that will make him a candidate for an AFL 22 spot.
Freddie - first look for me, so was keen for a glimpse of talent. Unfortunately, glimpses was pretty much all we got - he got in great position three or four times only to fumble the marks (under heavy Port pressure). Looked like he’d done his shoulder at one stage (in agony, slow to get up, supporting the arm etc) only to magically appear 10 mins later with some strapping. After barely a touch he moved up the ground late 3rd quarter onwards and got some touches that showed athleticism, and skill (including a superb 50 metres, quick low trajectory pass to a lead) which gives me hope. Certainly loves a contest. Needs a good run of VFL games in 2020 to settle into a role, then AFL debut. After seeing his work up field I’d be positioning him for 3rd tall at half forward with helping out around midfield then perhaps a key position longer term.
Jones - has athleticism and likes to tackle but not sure has enough. Might be one to let go.
Brownless - looked good albeit with low touches. Definitely one to persist with. Aim for AFL in 2021.
Kennerly - graceful mover but not sure if has sufficient elite speed and skills to make up for the slight frame. Bulk him up and watch in 2020 VFL.
Jarvis - some nice moves and mark or two under pressure but seems like needs a ton of development. Again see how 2020 goes.
Schlensog - barely noticed but think he contested okay under heaps of Port pressure. Again, 2020 will tell us more. Didn’t notice Tarca, which wasn’t a good sign if he was playing. [edit - brought to my notice that neither played! Note to self - next time I decide to report on a game to check final teams and player numbers!]
Of VFL - noticed McLauchlan the most - great endeavour and reasonable pace but very small and repeatedly got smashed in contests (actually very lucky not to get badly hurt in a pole axing like three way crash in front of me).
Black okay but no way a re-list.
The message for me from VFL season 2019 - our depth is not the level needed to support a strong 5 year run. At best we have a couple new lads on the cusp of selection in 2020 (Simpson and Freddie), 5 or 6 possibles for 2021 and the rest who are only short term depth or just aren’t going to make it. Immediate needs are a big bodied contested mid, ruck and another KPF. A really good National Draft 2019 is essential.
So not true how I see it success breeds success development is part of successThey don't have to be mutually exclusive either. A VFL GF win is a bonus. We were rapt when the baby 2007 team won the VFL flag a few years earlier, and also in 07 because we'd been starved of success. But we have seen the comp change with expansion and drafting, and as you say, VFL is ALL about player development.
Nope, you are correct.Probably correct.
Maybe I'm getting too used to our VFL team being average.
What a delightfully absurd name.Maybe a name for next year...
SPEEDSTER GREENWOOL MAY EYE VFL IN 2020
Do not be surprised to see former Gold Coast Suns Academy member and AFL Cairns product Fitzroy Greenwool down south next season.
Hailing from Kowanyama in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the speedster was in and out of the Suns NEAFL side for much of 2019 and could be looking for extra opportunities, maybe in the VFL, in 2020.
Likened to Brisbane livewire Charlie Cameron, Greenwool is a gifted forward with dash and creative flair whose potential is limitless.