Analysis 2022 List, Game Plan and Best 22?

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Kiama Chris

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I think he's certainly in the first handful or so, but given he was rated by the coaches, he's obviously doing his job according to them. I also think he's been unfairly maligned. Yeah, he's not the star we hoped (at least yet), but even in the games where he had some shocking blunders (albeit trying to take the game on, something people have cried out for), there were crickets when he did good things afterwards. It does seem to be a trend on here (not you specifically), that unless you do something spectacular, either good or bad, you don't really get noticed that much.

The way I see it, there's a group of players who will be named even if they have an average pre-season. If they struggle with injury, or just lose all ability to play the game being the exceptions.

Then there's a group that could be overtaken by others, or just not make it in, if they're average (poor). Now the coaching staff might have favourites (it has been known to happen), but if they have quiet pre-seasons, the following should be facing the chop (assuming there's others ready). In my particular order, and with players that were in or around the senior team at the end of season:

Bell
McLean
Melican
Wicks
Chad Warner
Florent
Gulden
COR/Fox (simply have to play one of them IMO)
I would guess that Florent, Warner, Wicks, Gulden and one of Fox/COR would be start-up best 22 in the coaches minds and would need to crash and burn (or be injured of course) to be overtaken. Not just be a little bit off. Plus their potential replacements would need to train the house down a la Papley, Gulden's debuts.
Replacements?:
Florent Campbell or reshuffle JMac to wing
Warner Reshuffle
Wicks Sheather
Gulden Campbell
Fox/COR COR/Fox
Hard to see any of the draftees getting a game Rd1. Strangely, I think the most game ready is probably Roberts who had a fair bit of senior footy and appears very composed.
 

Kiama Chris

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I would guess that Florent, Warner, Wicks, Gulden and one of Fox/COR would be start-up best 22 in the coaches minds and would need to crash and burn (or be injured of course) to be overtaken. Not just be a little bit off. Plus their potential replacements would need to train the house down a la Papley, Gulden's debuts.
Replacements?:
Florent Campbell or reshuffle JMac to wing
Warner Reshuffle
Wicks Sheather
Gulden Campbell
Fox/COR COR/Fox
Hard to see any of the draftees getting a game Rd1. Strangely, I think the most game ready is probably Roberts who had a fair bit of senior footy and appears very composed.
Hmm. Rereading my post. Can Sheather play Seniors as a CatB?
 

caesar88

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I would guess that Florent, Warner, Wicks, Gulden and one of Fox/COR would be start-up best 22 in the coaches minds and would need to crash and burn (or be injured of course) to be overtaken. Not just be a little bit off. Plus their potential replacements would need to train the house down a la Papley, Gulden's debuts.
Replacements?:
Florent Campbell or reshuffle JMac to wing
Warner Reshuffle
Wicks Sheather
Gulden Campbell
Fox/COR COR/Fox
Hard to see any of the draftees getting a game Rd1. Strangely, I think the most game ready is probably Roberts who had a fair bit of senior footy and appears very composed.

Roberts played in the SANFL didn't he? If so I look forward to him finally being ready for AFL matches in 2024
 

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Bloods86

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Isn't this true of pretty much every Swans player? If they have a poor pre-season and it effects their form, they'll be in the firing line. We saw that with Blakey and Hayward this year, and they were past favourites of Horse.

I'd say everyone but those in the leadership group are at risk of the chop if they don't perform.
I don't think it's true of every player. Certainly Horse has had favourites in the past and I'd hoped we'd seen the last of it, but it did seem pretty clear a few times still. I think there's another tier of players beyond the leadership group, who even if they have a pretty quiet pre-season would be given the benefit of the doubt and named. Really depends on how bad they were in pre-season. I'm more talking average/borderline poor than stinking it up with every touch, I think those in our latest team, outside of the list I wrote (and even then it depends on who is banging down the door), would and should probably survive that. I certainly am in favour of dropping out of form players, there's just some you give a bit more time than others given their experience and also consistency from this year.
 

caesar88

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I don't think it's true of every player. Certainly Horse has had favourites in the past and I'd hoped we'd seen the last of it, but it did seem pretty clear a few times still. I think there's another tier of players beyond the leadership group, who even if they have a pretty quiet pre-season would be given the benefit of the doubt and named. Really depends on how bad they were in pre-season. I'm more talking average/borderline poor than stinking it up with every touch, I think those in our latest team, outside of the list I wrote (and even then it depends on who is banging down the door), would and should probably survive that. I certainly am in favour of dropping out of form players, there's just some you give a bit more time than others given their experience and also consistency from this year.

I'm not sure who, outside of JPK, Parker, Rampe, Mills, Lloyd, Heeney, Papley and Buddy, he wouldn't drop if they weren't doing enough and had a form slump.

As for the pre-season, I think Horse would of course give the players he thinks are in his best team a chance to prove themselves - he did this with Hayward & Blakey in the pre-season games this year. But he also showed if they don't reward the faith he shows in them, he will drop them if need be.
 

Bloods86

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I'm not sure who, outside of JPK, Parker, Rampe, Mills, Lloyd, Heeney, Papley and Buddy, he wouldn't drop if they weren't doing enough and had a form slump.

As for the pre-season, I think Horse would of course give the players he thinks are in his best team a chance to prove themselves - he did this with Hayward & Blakey in the pre-season games this year. But he also showed if they don't reward the faith he shows in them, he will drop them if need be.
I reckon McCartin, Cunningham, Hickey are pretty safe given the importance of their positions. I feel like Blakey, Hayward, JMac and Rowbottom (when fit and as it turns out, when not) are now in that category, if not very close. Blakey has found a position (it took a loooong time for him to be dropped), Hayward showed that he can turn poor form around (personally I'd have dropped him and then he started coming good, so maybe don't listen to me). JMac and Rowy certainly have more runs on the board over a couple of years, than those I named.
 

caesar88

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I reckon McCartin, Cunningham, Hickey are pretty safe given the importance of their positions. I feel like Blakey, Hayward, JMac and Rowbottom (when fit and as it turns out, when not) are now in that category, if not very close. Blakey has found a position (it took a loooong time for him to be dropped), Hayward showed that he can turn poor form around (personally I'd have dropped him and then he started coming good, so maybe don't listen to me). JMac and Rowy certainly have more runs on the board over a couple of years, than those I named.

You are saying that Blakey and Hayward are now locks to be named (which I agree with), but to get to this point, they had to be dropped because they weren't performing. So doesn't that prove that Horse is willing to drop his favourites, while also proving that the way to get yourself to lock status is to perform? You don't think Warner, Gulden and Wicks did that this year? Reckon they've earned lock status and will absolutely be named, and then, if their performance drops off, they will likely be dropped.
 

Bloods86

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You are saying that Blakey and Hayward are now locks to be named (which I agree with), but to get to this point, they had to be dropped because they weren't performing. So doesn't that prove that Horse is willing to drop his favourites, while also proving that the way to get yourself to lock status is to perform? You don't think Warner, Gulden and Wicks did that this year? Reckon they've earned lock status and will absolutely be named, and then, if their performance drops off, they will likely be dropped.
I think Blakey and Hayward's form leading up to this year wasn't amazing, so when they didn't perform in pre-season, Hayward wasn't named initially (then put in a bunch of average shifts before finding form) and Blakey was still picked, before picking up an injury/omission between the Suns and Cats games. Given their output for the rest of the year, I've moved them up, IMO, into the next tier, where I wouldn't drop them after a couple of poor games (again depends how poor and what they were doing before that).

And no, I don't think Warner, Gulden or Wicks put themselves into that tier this year. They were all great in some games, quiet in others. We've seen form fluctuate wildly for others in their first couple of years, I wouldn't be surprised to see the same with some of these guys. I think the spots are certainly theirs to lose at the moment, and they'd have to have poor pre-seasons combined with some other great performances from the likes of Campbell, Stephens, draftees etc to lose their spots, but I'd support that moreso than with dropping others for Round 1.
 

caesar88

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I think Blakey and Hayward's form leading up to this year wasn't amazing, so when they didn't perform in pre-season, Hayward wasn't named initially (then put in a bunch of average shifts before finding form) and Blakey was still picked, before picking up an injury/omission between the Suns and Cats games. Given their output for the rest of the year, I've moved them up, IMO, into the next tier, where I wouldn't drop them after a couple of poor games (again depends how poor and what they were doing before that).

And no, I don't think Warner, Gulden or Wicks put themselves into that tier this year. They were all great in some games, quiet in others. We've seen form fluctuate wildly for others in their first couple of years, I wouldn't be surprised to see the same with some of these guys. I think the spots are certainly theirs to lose at the moment, and they'd have to have poor pre-seasons combined with some other great performances from the likes of Campbell, Stephens, draftees etc to lose their spots, but I'd support that moreso than with dropping others for Round 1.

I mean, I'd consider "the spots are theirs to lose" to mean that Warner, Gulden and Wicks will be named and given the opportunity to prove themselves. Which would make them locks IMO. But we're getting into semantics now. It's a fair enough point to make, I just prefer not to go into a new season thinking about who may or may not have a shoddy pre-season, but rather who will have a big one and improve.
 

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Re: the fixture, while it will probably be tougher, there's a small benefit to finishing 7th at least, we fit into the "middle six" of the AFL fixturing scheme.

So given GWS finished in the top 6, that should mean the following. I think the AFL will be focusing on rivalries and big selling games both for crowds, and TV viewing (to keep 7 happy), in order to recoup some lost money. Who I think the AFL would prefer is *, italics is my preference.

1 double-up against:
Melbourne
Dogs* (just shading out the Cats)
Geelong
Port
Brisbane

3 double-ups against:
Bombers*
Saints
Eagles
*
Freo
Richmond*

2 double-ups against:
Blues
Hawks*
Crows
Suns
Pies*
North

PS. Happy to take this elsewhere, General Discussion?
I do agree that finishing in the middle six should, in theory, give us a better draw for 2022. However history has shown that your position on the ladder last year does not necessarily mean a similar position the following year. Look at Brisbane of 2019 and us in 2021.
If the AFL were not so anti Sydney we could have 2 matches against the bottom 6 and only one against the top 6 (GWS). But, that won't happen. Sure to be 2 against the top 6 and 1 against the bottom 6.
In my perfect world, our double ups will be GWS, Freo, Richmond, Collingwood and Crows.
 
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Bloods86

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I mean, I'd consider "the spots are theirs to lose" to mean that Warner, Gulden and Wicks will be named and given the opportunity to prove themselves. Which would make them locks IMO. But we're getting into semantics now. It's a fair enough point to make, I just prefer not to go into a new season thinking about who may or may not have a shoddy pre-season, but rather who will have a big one and improve.
Probably clearer for me to say that their spots could be lost in pre-season, whereas I think there's plenty of others whose spots can't be (barring the catastrophic). Yeah, I don't mean to be pessimistic, it's just the conversation was on Florent in particular being on the cusp, or first out, so I chimed in with the group of players that we might see some movement on before Round 1. There's a couple in that group I'm ready to drop now, and a couple to bring in, but we'll see.
 

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Wolftone

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I think he's certainly in the first handful or so, but given he was rated by the coaches, he's obviously doing his job according to them. I also think he's been unfairly maligned. Yeah, he's not the star we hoped (at least yet), but even in the games where he had some shocking blunders (albeit trying to take the game on, something people have cried out for), there were crickets when he did good things afterwards. It does seem to be a trend on here (not you specifically), that unless you do something spectacular, either good or bad, you don't really get noticed that much.

The way I see it, there's a group of players who will be named even if they have an average pre-season. If they struggle with injury, or just lose all ability to play the game being the exceptions.

Then there's a group that could be overtaken by others, or just not make it in, if they're average (poor). Now the coaching staff might have favourites (it has been known to happen), but if they have quiet pre-seasons, the following should be facing the chop (assuming there's others ready). In my particular order, and with players that were in or around the senior team at the end of season:

Bell
McLean
Melican
Wicks
Chad Warner
Florent
Gulden
COR/Fox (simply have to play one of them IMO)
You have got to be kidding? Gulden & Wicks? Have you lost your mind? Gulden is one of the up & coming stars of the comp

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Kiama Chris

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Not in my book... but time will tell :)
They're not competing for the same spot. Wicks is in a group of small (ish) forwards with Papley, Ronke, Sheather and possible subs Hayward or Gulden. Florent is in a group of outside mids with Campbell, McInerney, Blakey, Gulden, Stephens and maybe even Warner.
On exposed form to date Papley and Wicks are a total lock from their group.
There's a lot more competition in Florent's group.
 

Bloods86

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You have got to be kidding? Gulden & Wicks? Have you lost your mind? Gulden is one of the up & coming stars of the comp

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Nope. Gulden will be a 2nd year player who played some great games this year, but also had a few where he was pretty quiet. Absolutely everything you'd expect for such a young player. Wicks dropped off his pretty good standards in the 2nd half of the year, but kept his place. I don't think they've been consistent for long enough to have earned a default "Round 1 selection if fit" position (like I think others have). All I was doing was listing the players that might not survive a quiet pre-season if others are performing better (and in which order I think they should be in danger). It's in no way an indication of who I think should just be dropped or who is in danger even if they perform, and I was very careful to put a bunch of caveats in my post (and have further explained since).
 
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Bloods86

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Sheldrick will play early IMO
Not sure where he fits early on unless we have additional injuries from our Elim Final team. Mills, JPK, Blakey to come in from the Elim side and I guess Hewett, Dawson, Bell (maybe/hopefully) are the definite/easy outs. Then factoring in maybe Campbell for Florent or some other whipping boy. It sounds like every other young mid/fwd will absolutely perform in pre-season, with no possibility of any other open spots, so I guess he'll just have to wait. Also assuming Stephens doesn't do a Warner over the new year.

It sounds like Roberts is the most AFL ready, but again don't see where he fits early on.
 

Punts

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Not sure where he fits early on unless we have additional injuries from our Elim Final team. Mills, JPK, Blakey to come in from the Elim side and I guess Hewett, Dawson, Bell (maybe/hopefully) are the definite/easy outs. Then factoring in maybe Campbell for Florent or some other whipping boy. It sounds like every other young mid/fwd will absolutely perform in pre-season, with no possibility of any other open spots, so I guess he'll just have to wait. Also assuming Stephens doesn't do a Warner over the new year.

It sounds like Roberts is the most AFL ready, but again don't see where he fits early on.
Reckon he will play a little like serong , Stephen’s won’t make it IMO
 

Bloods86

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Reckon he will play a little like serong , Stephen’s won’t make it IMO
Serong was my first choice at that draft (at our pick), but I'm still optimistic about Stephens (us drafting 6 mid capable players over the last 2 drafts doesn't help though).

I think we're coming off different circumstances into next year, than we did in 2021. Would be surprised if there's any of our draftees that play more than a handful of games, especially early. Also would be concerned as it'd require a fair drop off in form or several relevant injuries. We might see a few debuts due to rotation of the sub though.
 

Bloods86

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I wouldn't know. All I know is that the last five players we've drafted from the SANFL have played an average of 3 games in their first two seasons. So I don't subscribe to the idea that playing SANFL makes you more prepared for AFL.
I think based off recent drafts, we can all confidently say that the Sydney Premier League is the superior league for getting players AFL ready.

Something something sample size.
 

Bloods86

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I wouldn't know. All I know is that the last five players we've drafted from the SANFL have played an average of 3 games in their first two seasons. So I don't subscribe to the idea that playing SANFL makes you more prepared for AFL.
Also curious as to which 5 players you're looking at. For those I know that played senior SANFL before drafting (rather than junior ranks), I've got:

Stephens (seemed comfortable enough in 1st year)
Gould
Knoll (injuries)
Hayward (40 games in first 2 years)
Dawson (did take a while)

Maybe Pink played a couple of senior games?

Anyway it's off topic a bit, but I don't see SANFL as being substantially different from VFL, WAFL etc. Especially not from VFL in recent years.
 

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