Opinion 2021 Captaincy and Leadership Group

Choose your 2021 Leadership Group (max. 7):

  • Dyson Heppell

    Votes: 33 78.6%
  • Michael Hurley

    Votes: 22 52.4%
  • Cale Hooker

    Votes: 10 23.8%
  • David Zaharakis

    Votes: 2 4.8%
  • Dylan Shiel

    Votes: 27 64.3%
  • Devon Smith

    Votes: 8 19.0%
  • Zach Merrett

    Votes: 35 83.3%
  • Kyle Langford

    Votes: 15 35.7%
  • Sam Draper

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • Andrew McGrath

    Votes: 40 95.2%
  • Jordan Ridley

    Votes: 15 35.7%
  • Darcy Parish

    Votes: 6 14.3%
  • Jake Stringer

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Will Snelling

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    42

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ghostdog

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 18, 2008
8,778
4,528
gondawanaland
AFL Club
Essendon
After some thinking on this, I'm leaning to giving Heppell the benefit of the doubt. I think the coaching styles of Worsfold and Rutten were miles apart and really needed to be focusing on finding some middle-ground acceptable to both, and reflective in unified messaging to the players. If the leaders on-field don't get it because the messaging is mixed, they can't be the sole focus of blame necessarily. Add to that Heppell not being on field for a lot of the season and it renders anything he did understand useless when it mattered most.

I think Worsfold's style was too loose in the freedoms it gave the players, which made for exciting football at times and some pretty brazen stuff. You can understand Goddard's frustration though, when the players perhaps understand the run and gun type messages - that's easy enough to do, right? - but are less receptive to the structure on-field that also needs to be adhered to. He came from a Ross Lyon structural approach on-field, afterall. Heppell will need to be that structure-centred player voice, but much more authoritatively this time around, aligned with Rutten's team demands. If he can't lift his leadership style to be that voice, I'll be out again fairly quickly. Hopefully the players are challenged to find that voice and alignment with coach and message.
 

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