Analysis 2022 List, Game Plan and Best 22?

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RUNVS

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Now that trade period is over it is basically Hewett and Dawson out and Ladhams in so I figure now is the time to begin discussing what our best 22 for next season will be.

B: Lloyd, Rampe, Cunningham
HB: Blakey, McCartin, McInerney
C: Stephens, Heeney, Florent
HF: Gulden, Franklin, Hayward
F: Wicks, McDonald, Papley
Foll: Hickey, Mills, Parker
I/C: Warner, Rowbottom, Kennedy, Ladhams
Emg: Campbell, Bell, Melican, Reid, Amartey, McLean

I really like our halfback line of Blakey and McInerney as both players are skillful and very attacking as well.

We have one big flaw though, and it is a pretty obvious flaw too and that is we are missing a key defender. If we pick up Paddy McCartin this could change, or another key defender at some point in one of the drafts.

We are also rather low on depth, especially in regards to the midfield now that Dawson and Hewett are gone. One injury to our midifeld and Bell is suddenly in the team which is not ideal.

I feel like McDonald needs to play, he needs to be in the team with Buddy, playing as a second key forward and just getting games into him. I think if we move the ball fast enough like we did this year then that will help McDonald in his development a lot.

Also will be very interesting to see how we go with Hickey and Ladhams in the team. Do we play both, can we play both, and can Hickey maintain his 2021 form with another ruckman in the team?

I strongly believe if we do not get many injuries in 2022 we can go far, possibly even push for top 4, but if we get even a few long term injuries we could be in trouble as we really do not have much depth. It is one of the reasons I hope we do not delist guys like Clarke and Taylor as they may not be great but they are okay depth players.

What does everyone else think?
 

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sr20

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I agree, just think one of Melican or Fox plays.

B Rampe - Melican - Cunningham
HB Blakey - McCartin - McInerney
C Heeney - Mills - Florent
HF Hayward - McDonald - Wicks
F Ladhams - Franklin - Papley
R Hickey - Parker - Rowbottom
INT Lloyd - Warner - Gulden - Kennedy

Depth
KPD
GD Fox - ORiordan - Gould
KPF Amartey - McLean
GF Sheather
R Sinclair - McAndrew - Naismith
Mids Campbell - Taylor - Stephens

Finals Side

Out
Dawson
McLean
Hewett
Bell
ORiordan

In
Ladhams
Kennedy
Mills
Blakey
McDonald
 

Kiama Chris

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Early days but assuming we don't draft a miracle I prefer to stick with players we have seen at senior level.
7 Backs
Cunningham Rampe O'Riordan
Blakey McCartin McInerney Lloyd
One off the I/C
7 Forwards
McDonald Ladhams Wicks
Papley Franklin Hayward Gulden
One off the I/C
1 Ruck
Hickey
4 Inside Mids
Kennedy Mills Parker Rowbottom
One off the I/C
3 Outside Mids
Florent Warner/Campbell Heeney
One off the I/C
Which to leave out, assuming all are fit?
Too big a call just yet.
Depth
Defenders
Fox, Melican (could swap in for O'Riordan)
Gould and O'Connor remain unproven and need preseason games. Could use Campbell at a pinch.
Mids
Campbell/Warner (whoever not picked) Stephens, Taylor Clarke
Ruck
Ladhams rucks, Amartey or McLean
Forwards
Amartey, McLean Bell Ronke
Sheather unproven needs preseason games.
Midfield is short on depth. Very likely where we will recruit other than KPD. Would be crazy to delist Clarke or Ronke unless we have to for list spots.
Sinkers is 3rd choice if both Hickey and Ladhams are injured.
Hope I haven't missed anyone!
 

caesar88

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How long has it been since our biggest weakness was the backline? We've got some elite talent brewing in the midfield and the forward line, but we desperately need Gould, O'Connor or P. McCartin to make some sort of impact next year.

Can't recall a flag being won without an elite defence, so it really is our last real roadblock between a genuine flag tilt.

That being said, and I think I said this last year, an elite midfield and forward line can make you a quality side and a more attractive prospect for a recruit. If we can be thereabouts again next year, or maybe even better, then who knows. Maybe a Darcy Moore or Tom Barrass think it's worth leaving their home state to have a legitimate push for a flag that they won't otherwise get at their current clubs.
 

Kapers

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Can't recall a flag being won without an elite defence, so it really is our last real roadblock between a genuine flag tilt.

That being said, and I think I said this last year, an elite midfield and forward line can make you a quality side and a more attractive prospect for a recruit. If we can be thereabouts again next year, or maybe even better, then who knows. Maybe a Darcy Moore or Tom Barrass think it's worth leaving their home state to have a legitimate push for a flag that they won't otherwise get at their current clubs.
Yeah, I think May and Lever show just how much impact an elite defence can have.

I will say, the one positive about our situation is that we are still a defensive team, and Longmire has always taught pressure ahead of everything. Our team defense is top tier, and our two way running is a thing of envy. So we might be able to pull a bulldogs and negate that weakness, but we all saw how that grandfinal went m.
 

RedBloodBlackSwan

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Out there idea, can we train Blakey to be an accountable key defender? He has the height and speed. Imagine if he could lock down the second key forward and then run off them every chance he gets?

I was surprised by his composure when we switched him to a half back flanker last year. The discipline required appeared to give him the clarity to leverage his strengths without trying to overdo things.

I reckon he could rise to the challenge. I think we all thought he was special when we recruited him. People we were saying he could be Goodes-like with his height and versatility. Maybe he redefines what a key defender is in the modern game? With 6-6-6, maybe he shows that key defenders with elite pace and kicking can open up teams with poor forward entries?

I probably wouldn’t recommend it (or even think of it) if our key defender stocks were solid, but I would be open to doing an experiment in 2022 to see how he goes.

There would no doubt be some painful moments, but I think we will have painful moments no matter who is there - why not try someone with potentially enormous upside?
 

Bloods86

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Out there idea, can we train Blakey to be an accountable key defender? He has the height and speed. Imagine if he could lock down the second key forward and then run off them every chance he gets?

I was surprised by his composure when we switched him to a half back flanker last year. The discipline required appeared to give him the clarity to leverage his strengths without trying to overdo things.

I reckon he could rise to the challenge. I think we all thought he was special when we recruited him. People we were saying he could be Goodes-like with his height and versatility. Maybe he redefines what a key defender is in the modern game? With 6-6-6, maybe he shows that key defenders with elite pace and kicking can open up teams with poor forward entries?

I probably wouldn’t recommend it (or even think of it) if our key defender stocks were solid, but I would be open to doing an experiment in 2022 to see how he goes.

There would no doubt be some painful moments, but I think we will have painful moments no matter who is there - why not try someone with potentially enormous upside?
Blakey's strengths are his aggression and willingness to take the game on. If he can improve his decisions/kicking a bit, use his height to advantage when needed, then he'll shine in the intercept/drive from D50 role. I think you always want to improve someone's defensive capabilities (I assume that's bog standard training if you're a Swan), but I'd be hesitant to put too much pressure on him to be accountable, then he's not in positions to use his strengths. Others have to play the lockdown roles.
 

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caesar88

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Out there idea, can we train Blakey to be an accountable key defender? He has the height and speed. Imagine if he could lock down the second key forward and then run off them every chance he gets?

I was surprised by his composure when we switched him to a half back flanker last year. The discipline required appeared to give him the clarity to leverage his strengths without trying to overdo things.

I reckon he could rise to the challenge. I think we all thought he was special when we recruited him. People we were saying he could be Goodes-like with his height and versatility. Maybe he redefines what a key defender is in the modern game? With 6-6-6, maybe he shows that key defenders with elite pace and kicking can open up teams with poor forward entries?

I probably wouldn’t recommend it (or even think of it) if our key defender stocks were solid, but I would be open to doing an experiment in 2022 to see how he goes.

There would no doubt be some painful moments, but I think we will have painful moments no matter who is there - why not try someone with potentially enormous upside?

I think Blakey could definitely alleviate some of the pressure on our defence by playing as the loose, intercepting man. Kinda like the Aliir role. He showed some promising signs doing that this year. Having someone cutting off the ball in the air can be just as handy as having a brute defender who can spoil in a one on one contest.

It's still only a half-solution though and not what we can bank a premiership defence on.
 

Bloods86

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Here's my starting 22 next year with some explanations. This is assuming we continue with the same gameplan.

FB: Cunningham Rampe Fox
HB: Lloyd McCartin Blakey
C: Florent Mills JMac
HF: Hayward Franklin Heeney
FF: Papley McDonald Ladhams
R: Hickey Parker Warner

Int: Rowbottom JPK Gulden Campbell

Next In: COR Wicks McLean/Amartey Melican Stephens

Gaps to fill:
(1) KPD. I don't care if they take a few years to develop. If the club knows of some mature rookie out there we'll definitely get and will be a gun, sure, but you can definitely draft and develop good KPDs so we should give it another go.
(2) Mid. I think this is still an area we have decent depth (though Hewett is a big loss). Partly just because I think we will, regardless of needs, bring in at least 1 or 2 mids in the national draft (with hopefully at least one KPD), then either an inside or outside mid/winger depending on where we see Gulden/Stephens/Florent (or even Heeney) filling or not filling.
(3) Small Def. Someone who can potentially do a small defender role in future even if they come in as a mid/winger.
(4) KPF. With Ladhams and King next year, rucks are sorted. If there's a decent tall forward around best available at a pick, sure why not - I'm not convinced we'll be able to rely on Amartey or McLean conquering the AFL (consistently), so we may only have McDonald with resting rucks within a few years. But I'd be ok with waiting another year before bringing someone in.

Notes:

- Fox over Melican for most games, but if we need the extra height we probably don't have a choice. COR can pressure him for the medium defender role, just Fox seems to be favoured on talls, even though COR is 1cm taller. O'Connor or Gould might debut, or we might bring someone in (P McCartin or a mature ager) who can step straight in, but I'm not convinced he (P McCartin) can or that we will. Definitely need to draft a KPD somehow (national or rookie).

- Blakey steps back into his HB role, JMac goes back to the wing (there'll always be some movement in game). Feel like this is our best option to fill a wing spot.

- Florent gets first crack at the other wing, but may also come off the bench as a general mid/wing if Campbell, Gulden or even Stephens step up to take this spot.

- I've gone with the 3 talls up forward. Ladhams could start on the bench though. I've gone McDonald if all 3 of him, McLean and Amartey are around the same form during preseason. He has the most potential, and with Ladhams in the side to be backup ruck and provide a forward contest, then I think we want games into McDonald. Expect to see the others come in at various points due to fatigue or injury, but if McDonald can play 10-15 games that'd be great. Would go a long way to keeping him.

- Heeney I've kept at HF even with the rumblings about more midfield time. Expect him to roll through, but it's taken me a long time to accept him as mostly a fwd (always wanted him in the mids), that I cbf changing my tune now that he's so good at that. Not expecting a Mills level switch.

- Warner in the starting mid rotation. I think Rowy or JPK would be fitter, more 'ready' for this - but we need some difference. He can offer the burst/attitude to Mills and Parker's slower, more high possession games.

- The most unpopular decision will be to drop Wicks, so I've left that til last to let the anger build... he probably should have been out of the side towards the end of 2021 as he was out of form, his pressure had dropped and he wasn't getting much of it. I think everyone else in my 22 offers more in terms of impact based on his 2nd half of the year. There's others who can rotate through the pressure fwd role like Gulden, Campbell, Warner when they need a rest. That said, if he rips it up in pre-season you play him based on his earlier form/impact this year.
 
Last edited:

Millky95

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FB: Cunningham - McCartin - Fox
HB: Blakey - Rampe - Lloyd
C: McInerney - Mills - Heeney
HF: Hayward - Franklin - Gulden
FF: Ladhams - McDonald - Papley
FOLL: Hickey - Parker - Warner
INT: Kennedy - Rowbottom - Wicks - Florrent

EMG: McLean - Campbell - Melican - Stephens

Not thinking about P. McCartin until he is actually on a list. Starting Heeney on a wing if he is actually playing more midfield minutes. Let Gulden use his skills going inside 50 or drifting closer to goal. I prefer Fox over Melican but can see Melican being picked for clubs with 2 really big talls.

McLean to take the FF spot if McDonald or Franklin aren't playing. Amartey for Ladhams or Hickey

I have Campbell ahead of Stephens based on the end of last season where he played a bit forward but also did some HB training. Would love to see Stephens really push for a spot though

Have Warner starting in centre bounces with Mills and Parker. Could be Rowbottom instead.

Bell shouldn't be anywhere near the side.
 

Grand Uncle Horace

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FB: Cunningham - McCartin - Fox
HB: Blakey - Rampe - Lloyd
C: McInerney - Mills - Heeney
HF: Hayward - Franklin - Gulden
FF: Ladhams - McDonald - Papley
FOLL: Hickey - Parker - Warner
INT: Kennedy - Rowbottom - Wicks - Florrent

EMG: McLean - Campbell - Melican - Stephens

Not thinking about P. McCartin until he is actually on a list. Starting Heeney on a wing if he is actually playing more midfield minutes. Let Gulden use his skills going inside 50 or drifting closer to goal. I prefer Fox over Melican but can see Melican being picked for clubs with 2 really big talls.

McLean to take the FF spot if McDonald or Franklin aren't playing. Amartey for Ladhams or Hickey

I have Campbell ahead of Stephens based on the end of last season where he played a bit forward but also did some HB training. Would love to see Stephens really push for a spot though

Have Warner starting in centre bounces with Mills and Parker. Could be Rowbottom instead.

Bell shouldn't be anywhere near the side.

I pretty much agree with most of this but being an eternal optimist (lol), I have assumed we have done the right thing and recruited PaddyWhack.

FB: Cunningham - McCartin - Rampe
HB: Blakey - P.McCartin - Lloyd
C: McInerney - Mills - Heeney
HF: Hayward - Franklin - Gulden
FF: Ladhams - McDonald - Papley
FOLL: Hickey - Parker - Warner
INT: Fox - Rowbottom - Wicks - Florent

23rd: Kennedy

EMG: McLean - Campbell - Stephens

Fox replaces Kennedy on the Interchange as we need to run a 7 man defence.

Kennedy becomes the regular 23rd man for 300 reasons. He will be more useful than Carlton's Murphy in that role.
 

Bloods86

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I pretty much agree with most of this but being an eternal optimist (lol), I have assumed we have done the right thing and recruited PaddyWhack.

FB: Cunningham - McCartin - Rampe
HB: Blakey - P.McCartin - Lloyd
C: McInerney - Mills - Heeney
HF: Hayward - Franklin - Gulden
FF: Ladhams - McDonald - Papley
FOLL: Hickey - Parker - Warner
INT: Fox - Rowbottom - Wicks - Florent

23rd: Kennedy

EMG: McLean - Campbell - Stephens

Fox replaces Kennedy on the Interchange as we need to run a 7 man defence.

Kennedy becomes the regular 23rd man for 300 reasons. He will be more useful than Carlton's Murphy in that role.
Based on what I saw in reserves, I'm not convinced that Paddy would be better than any of Fox, Melican or even keeping Brand. Yeah he looked a class above some of the time, but then Brand also looked a class above in most games. Same with Lewy Taylor and Clarke, but I'm certainly not advocating for them to come in. He's probably ahead of O'Connor and Gould, but again, that's not saying a lot at this point.
 

caesar88

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Fox Footy have had their say, and I think positions aside, they've got it pretty right except for one howler, being Campbell over Warner.

I look forward to seeing "Pmeter Ladhams" next year.

SYDNEY SWANS

B:
Dane Rampe, Tom McCartin, Jake Lloyd

HB: Nick Blakey, Lewis Melican, Harry Cunningham

C: Oliver Florent, Josh Kennedy, Errol Gulden

HF: Sam Wicks, Logan McDonald, Will Hayward

F: Isaac Heeney, Lance Franklin, Tom Papley

FOLL: Tom Hickey, Luke Parker, Callum Mills

I/C:Pmeter Ladhams, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney, Braeden Campbell
 

Neverwas

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I have a couple of comments/questions regarding the playing list. I've always been uncomfortable with the concept of the "best 22" concept given the influence injuries and form have so I would rather focus on a few specifics.

One of the big questions for me is "who will be the designated hard tagger now that Hewett is gone? Does Wicks get moved into the midfield or is it Ryan Clarke/Bell or a shared role? If not them, who? Or do we have one at all?

Also, I see CO'R getting a number of games because he can free up McInerney to the wing. I think there is further improvement in him and I think we need him there.

I also see Sheather forcing his way into the side. He has been quite impressive in the 2s. He has very good skills and is built like Parker, tackles like him, only he is really quick. He will be able to play both forward and in the middle. Its no surprise that they have signed for a couple more years.

Regarding Reid, I think he can take Brand's spot pretty comfortably and perform better than him, and, as suggested, if Buddy goes down he is our most experienced CHF. No harm in keeping him on the list for another year.

As a bit of an outlier, if BO'C gets a run of games in the 2s, he might get some senior games. He looks very attacking when he gets the chance. Could even be a tall wingman in time. I may be optimistic but he shows a lot of athleticism for a man of his size.
 

caesar88

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I have a couple of comments/questions regarding the playing list. I've always been uncomfortable with the concept of the "best 22" concept given the influence injuries and form have so I would rather focus on a few specifics.

One of the big questions for me is "who will be the designated hard tagger now that Hewett is gone? Does Wicks get moved into the midfield or is it Ryan Clarke/Bell or a shared role? If not them, who? Or do we have one at all?

Also, I see CO'R getting a number of games because he can free up McInerney to the wing. I think there is further improvement in him and I think we need him there.

I also see Sheather forcing his way into the side. He has been quite impressive in the 2s. He has very good skills and is built like Parker, tackles like him, only he is really quick. He will be able to play both forward and in the middle. Its no surprise that they have signed for a couple more years.

Regarding Reid, I think he can take Brand's spot pretty comfortably and perform better than him, and, as suggested, if Buddy goes down he is our most experienced CHF. No harm in keeping him on the list for another year.

As a bit of an outlier, if BO'C gets a run of games in the 2s, he might get some senior games. He looks very attacking when he gets the chance. Could even be a tall wingman in time. I may be optimistic but he shows a lot of athleticism for a man of his size.

Agree on Sheather and I reckon you might be right about COR too. I suppose it depends on whether they want McInerney out of defence or further up the ground. I personally like him at half back, particularly paired with Blakey, but if they want him on a wing then that definitely opens the door for a COR.

As for our designated tagger, I'd imagine that's why Clarke was re-signed, despite not possessing much discernible ability. I do think our willingness to part with Hewett shows that Horse might be moving away from using a tagger and would rather have a midfield of dynamic ball-winners (who are still hard working and defensively sound.) Which is overall a good call if true. But you might get the occasional game where we have a nightmare midfield match-up where calling on a tagger might be needed, in which case Clarke isn't bad to have up the sleeve.

Really hope O'Connor makes it. He's a big unit and he's what we are crying out for down back.
 

Bloods86

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I'm wondering if Ladhams could play that role. Very mobile for a big man, and capable of racking up good numbers.
Players like Amartey, Ladhams, McLean, Reid, Heeney etc are all options to push up from F50 and give an outlet option on the wing, for kicks from D50. If that's what you mean, sure.

This is very different from playing regularly on a wing where you get touches by being the regular link.

You say he is capable of 'good numbers', but for this distribution role, none are more important than Kicking Efficiency, and Ladhams is poor at best (59% season average). On a wing you might also need to run and bounce, his career average for bounces is 0, so I'm not sure why we'd be playing him there.
 

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