2022-Where’s the improvement coming from?

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witsend

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 22, 2008
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So looking like negotiating Trade relatively uneventfully, where does the necessary improvement come from in 2022?

Consistent availability, especially at
Finals time, from:
Cameron
Duncan
Dangerfield
Stewart
O’Connor (Needs to be given a consistent role. Obviously highly rated as a player and leader. Could be fair to say he’s still learning the game)
Miers
Just those alone would engender a significant uptick!

Continued and expected improvement from:
Parfitt (Needs to get a little bit more of the footy and threaten the scoreboard. Will benefit from a settled, more consistent mf around him)
Henry (Lock for AA in 2022)
Close (Will likely benefit from Betts’ input and development)

Wildcards: (Glass half-full)
Stengel (looks very likely. And a genuine goal kicker, along with Miers, but more “stay at home”)
Cooper Stephens (wraps are huge on this kid and looks proto-typical modern mf physically. Just hope he’s not another Cockatoo injury-wise)
SDK (Could be a very handy KPD. Great physical attributes. Length, height, athleticism. MUST play at least 15 games, including finals, for our structure. WILL make mistakes early which probably make him a whipping boy at times, but I see enormous upside. He’ll also have our future Captain in his ear (Stewart) for good measure)
Narkle (He’s inches away from being a very good AFL outside mid IMO. Give him games. Get him settled. Make him feel wanted)
Clarke ( If he stays, and plays to his talent level, sky’s the limit. I liked his swag when he burst on to the scene but he needs to temper it with the harsh reality of what is required to consistently perform at AFL level. Pump games into him off half-back. Get the ball in his hands and tell him “Run like the wind, Bullseye!” I genuinely hope he stays and if the penny drops, lock him into a 3 year deal in August, 2022)
Ratugolea (Poised to hit his prime. We will look back with gratitude on CS and the MC for pumping games into him. Has ALL the tools available physically to be a nightmare matchup forward and ruck. Guys with his body type take longer. Remember how long it took Hawk to become consistent? They are man-boys. Just needs to find a little bit of mongrel and a 3-4 match purple patch)
Zuthrie (Would not be surprised to see him seriously challenging Kolo for a spot by Finals next year. I have always loved his composure and attitude. The kind of player coaches LOVE. Just now starting to be physically capable as he was pretty much an Auskick body on debut)
Evans (Could be? Maybe? Has some skillz)
Holmes (Expect BIG things from Max. Pace, height, razzamataz. Will benefit greatly from a solid pre-season feeling like he’s best 22)
Simpson (I’m a major fan-boi! Look to his 2020 Finals to see why. Could be seriously handy in a Pops Kelly unflustered/under the radar kinda way. Another one who will be vastly improved by a clear, injury free pre-season and run of games. Top 10 in the B & F if he plays 20 games next year)

Players likely to drop away:
Selwood (time will catch up with him this year. Having said that, he did finish 7 in the Cargii. Expect to see less hard-core MF minutes. Don’t see any other role for him tbh, other than “see ball/get ball”. Don’t be shocked to see him get suspended a couple of times this year. He’s gonna get angry at being out-run and out-bodied by all these oppo massive big mf types. The caveat on my comments re Sel is NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THIS CHAMPION!!)
Higgins (It was a “meh” year in 2021, and he ain’t getting any younger. If he plays 15+, either he has an amazing gravity and time defying season, or we’re in big trouble with injuries and/or form)
Dahlhaus (See above. Looks like his heart’s not in it)
Rohan (Could go either way. I hope that with a generally full and productive season from Hawk, Cameron, Close, Stengel et al, we can afford having Rohan and his cameos. I believe he’s a bit over-criticised. With very few exceptions, players of his ilk are very dependent on delivery. With a better functioning midfield and better entries, he’s another nightmare match-up)

Business as usual:
Hawk (Speaking of defying the laws of gravity and time! Absolutely no sign of a downward spiral from the great man)
Smith (See above)
Tuohy (Also see above)
Menengola (Is what he is, which is a solid B/B+ with occasional flashes of A. Still comfortably Best 22)
Blicavs (Will benefit from being settled as a KPD, a position he was AA quality not that long ago)
Guthrie (Has settled in to his groove as an A class mf in the last 2 years)
Bews (Grunt and run)
Atkins (Under-rated. Players and coaches value his presence. DOES need to increase his actual output though)
Stanley (Will keep on being who and what he is until we draft or develop an actual A grade ruck. Luckily for us he has great athleticism, so no signs of him slowing down atm. And he’s not been overly knocked around in the ruck over the years)

All in all, I see no reason for doom and gloom/the sky is falling narrative. There are those reading this post who might say it’s overly optimistic and dependent on a host of planets aligning. EXACTLY how you win a Premiership!!
Sooo many planets need to align to triumph in such a competitive AFL.
Imagine the Dees without consistent, relatively injury-free seasons from Gawn, Petracca, Oliver, Lever, May, Salem and Frisch? They thoroughly deserved their flag but again, planets aligned dramatically, both within and without.
Hopefully the new coaches make an impact. Certainly can’t hurt by having a dramatic change of messaging. With the injection of youth, I expect a more freed up game-plan. Considering our lack of KPDs atm (potentially our Achilles Heel) we can’t afford to rely on Rebound 50s to generate scores. Players like Narkle/Parfitt/Holmes/Simpson need to play significant mf minutes for us to improve and progress, along with what we know and expect from Danger, Duncan, Guthrie etc.

Go Cats!!!


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Last edited:

witsend

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 22, 2008
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The only way we improve is to change the game plan and become less mentally unstable.

If only it were that simple. Would anyone put their hand on their heart and say they predicted Tigers 2017 in 2016, Geelong 2007 in 2006, Melbourne 2021 in 2020?
I agree with your premise somewhat, but a thousand incremental elements and adjustments go into “game-plan”. Player form and availability. Opposition strengths and weaknesses. COVID. Luck. Timing. Synergy.


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BlakeyNoFlakey

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The major issue to me is still the game plan. We've been calling for them to change it for 4 years now because time and again it fails under finals heat and against the best sides in the H&A series. I suspect the Cats will have another crack at a flag next year given many of our better older players still have a year or so on their contract. But as long we keep playing the same old way, nothing will improve. Sorry to be cynical, but I've lost confidence in this side. I do think it's time we ripped the bandaid off and went for a full rebuild.
 

goyoucatters

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Dahlhaus...see above. Looks like his heart’s not in it.


Go Cats!!!


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I would have thought the exact opposite is true. To me, he is now the very embodiment of the principle that tells you 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.'
 

Farmer2Goggin

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The major issue to me is still the game plan. We've been calling for them to change it for 4 years now because time and again it fails under finals heat and against the best sides in the H&A series. I suspect the Cats will have another crack at a flag next year given many of our better older players still have a year or so on their contract. But as long we keep playing the same old way, nothing will improve. Sorry to be cynical, but I've lost confidence in this side. I do think it's time we ripped the bandaid off and went for a full rebuild.

Game Plan must change - if we have slowed it down to protect a tall defence then the composition in defence needs to change as well.
Less talls , more agility and speed
Slow, precise footy won't win finals - quick , decisive and skilled ball movement is the benchmark set by the Dees.
in defence Cats.
We have an awesome forwardline capable of scoring heavily and quickly - recognise that and structure up the mids and defenders to deliver that and we improve greatly.
 

witsend

Norm Smith Medallist
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I would have thought the exact opposite is true. To me, he is now the very embodiment of the principle that tells you 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.'

Fair point. I suspect though, that he’s confronting the awful truth of his AFL mortality.


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goyoucatters

Norm Smith Medallist
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Fair point. I suspect though, that he’s confronting the awful truth of his AFL mortality.


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I don't disagree about that. But, while he's out on the ground, I don't think you'll ever be able to suggest that his heart (and whatever he can muster with his body) isn't totally committed to the cause.
 

catempire

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Mar 20, 2004
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1. Tom Stewart
2. Jeremy Cameron settled in
3. Continuity for Mitch Duncan
4. Brandon Parfitt
5. Unbroken Dangerfield hand
6. A gameplan more suited to the pressure football era.
7. Fresh ideas in the coaches box
 

BlakeyNoFlakey

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If we have slowed it down to protect a tall defence then the composition in defence needs to change as well.
Less talls , more agility and speed

It makes you cringe knowing Clark was sidelined for the whole season because of Scarlett's attitude. He could've given us some real speed back there.
 

Farmer2Goggin

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It makes you cringe knowing Clark was sidelined for the whole season because of Scarlett's attitude. He could've given us some real speed back there.

Agree , hope he stays and recaptures that attitude and daring he had in his first season.
Medium term I'd like to see Blitz/SDK/Stewart and Henry as the talls with Bews/Atkins/Stevens/Clark and Tuohy as the mediums.
That may not be the most miserly defence but the trade off with quicker ball movement should see us score more and be better prepared for finals footy.
Stay as we as we are likely perform well defensively in the H&A but fall apart in Finals..................
 

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strauchnyy

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Aug 17, 2009
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A well being mental coach to get the players enjoying the game and not crack under finals pressure + a less rigid game plan that plays to Cameron + Hawkins’ strengths.

A bit more youth including a confident Clark on the half back line too
 

witsend

Norm Smith Medallist
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A well being mental coach to get the players enjoying the game and not crack under finals pressure + a less rigid game plan that plays to Cameron + Hawkins’ strengths.

A bit more youth including a confident Clark on the half back line too
This is critical. During our golden era of 2007-2011 we had Balme as Football manager, but it seemed he played good cop/well-being mentor. Recent successes for Richmond and Dees also had that element of camaraderie and bon-homie that looks to have been missing in us of late. I'm hopeful the inclusion of Kelly and Betts will change the emotional dynamics.
 

standupand

Club Legend
Sep 27, 2019
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So looking like negotiating Trade relatively uneventfully, where does the necessary improvement come from in 2022?

Consistent availability, especially at
Finals time, from:
Cameron
Duncan
Dangerfield
Stewart
O’Connor (Needs to be given a consistent role. Obviously highly rated as a player and leader. Could be fair to say he’s still learning the game)
Miers
Just those alone would engender a significant uptick!

Continued and expected improvement from:
Parfitt (Needs to get a little bit more of the footy and threaten the scoreboard. Will benefit from a settled, more consistent mf around him)
Henry (Lock for AA in 2022)
Close (Will likely benefit from Betts’ input and development)

Wildcards: (Glass half-full)
Stengel (looks very likely. And a genuine goal kicker, along with Miers, but more “stay at home”)
Cooper Stephens (wraps are huge on this kid and looks proto-typical modern mf physically. Just hope he’s not another Cockatoo injury-wise)
SDK (Could be a very handy KPD. Great physical attributes. Length, height, athleticism. MUST play at least 15 games, including finals, for our structure. WILL make mistakes early which probably make him a whipping boy at times, but I see enormous upside. He’ll also have our future Captain in his ear (Stewart) for good measure)
Narkle (He’s inches away from being a very good AFL outside mid IMO. Give him games. Get him settled. Make him feel wanted)
Clarke ( If he stays, and plays to his talent level, sky’s the limit. I liked his swag when he burst on to the scene but he needs to temper it with the harsh reality of what is required to consistently perform at AFL level. Pump games into him off half-back. Get the ball in his hands and tell him “Run like the wind, Bullseye!” I genuinely hope he stays and if the penny drops, lock him into a 3 year deal in August, 2022)
Ratugolea (Poised to hit his prime. We will look back with gratitude on CS and the MC for pumping games into him. Has ALL the tools available physically to be a nightmare matchup forward and ruck. Guys with his body type take longer. Remember how long it took Hawk to become consistent? They are man-boys. Just needs to find a little bit of mongrel and a 3-4 match purple patch)
Zuthrie (Would not be surprised to see him seriously challenging Kolo for a spot by Finals next year. I have always loved his composure and attitude. The kind of player coaches LOVE. Just now starting to be physically capable as he was pretty much an Auskick body on debut)
Evans (Could be? Maybe? Has some skillz)
Holmes (Expect BIG things from Max. Pace, height, razzamataz. Will benefit greatly from a solid pre-season feeling like he’s best 22)
Simpson (I’m a major fan-boi! Look to his 2020 Finals to see why. Could be seriously handy in a Pops Kelly unflustered/under the radar kinda way. Another one who will be vastly improved by a clear, injury free pre-season and run of games. Top 10 in the B & F if he plays 20 games next year)

Players likely to drop away:
Selwood (time will catch up with him this year. Having said that, he did finish 7 in the Cargii. Expect to see less hard-core MF minutes. Don’t see any other role for him tbh, other than “see ball/get ball”. Don’t be shocked to see him get suspended a couple of times this year. He’s gonna get angry at being out-run and out-bodied by all these oppo massive big mf types. The caveat on my comments re Sel is NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THIS CHAMPION!!)
Higgins (It was a “meh” year in 2021, and he ain’t getting any younger. If he plays 15+, either he has an amazing gravity and time defying season, or we’re in big trouble with injuries and/or form)
Dahlhaus (See above. Looks like his heart’s not in it)
Rohan (Could go either way. I hope that with a generally full and productive season from Hawk, Cameron, Close, Stengel et al, we can afford having Rohan and his cameos. I believe he’s a bit over-criticised. With very few exceptions, players of his ilk are very dependent on delivery. With a better functioning midfield and better entries, he’s another nightmare match-up)

Business as usual:
Hawk (Speaking of defying the laws of gravity and time! Absolutely no sign of a downward spiral from the great man)
Smith (See above)
Tuohy (Also see above)
Menengola (Is what he is, which is a solid B/B+ with occasional flashes of A. Still comfortably Best 22)
Blicavs (Will benefit from being settled as a KPD, a position he was AA quality not that long ago)
Guthrie (Has settled in to his groove as an A class mf in the last 2 years)
Bews (Grunt and run)
Atkins (Under-rated. Players and coaches value his presence. DOES need to increase his actual output though)
Stanley (Will keep on being who and what he is until we draft or develop an actual A grade ruck. Luckily for us he has great athleticism, so no signs of him slowing down atm. And he’s not been overly knocked around in the ruck over the years)

All in all, I see no reason for doom and gloom/the sky is falling narrative. There are those reading this post who might say it’s overly optimistic and dependent on a host of planets aligning. EXACTLY how you win a Premiership!!
Sooo many planets need to align to triumph in such a competitive AFL.
Imagine the Dees without consistent, relatively injury-free seasons from Gawn, Petracca, Oliver, Lever, May, Salem and Frisch? They thoroughly deserved their flag but again, planets aligned dramatically, both within and without.
Hopefully the new coaches make an impact. Certainly can’t hurt by having a dramatic change of messaging. With the injection of youth, I expect a more freed up game-plan. Considering our lack of KPDs atm (potentially our Achilles Heel) we can’t afford to rely on Rebound 50s to generate scores. Players like Narkle/Parfitt/Holmes/Simpson need to play significant mf minutes for us to improve and progress, along with what we know and expect from Danger, Duncan, Guthrie etc.

Go Cats!!!


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Agree with almost all of this except for the stuff about Clark who will be gone and Blicavs who I think is better in midfield and as an around the ground ruck. SDK is a natural replacement for Hendo. Hope he cements a spot as a key defender so we're not having to throw Blicavs back. No reason why he can't. Stengle looks like just the kind of player we have a need for and with the right support may be ready for an AFL career. Cameron and Danger need to knuckle down, get in a good pre-season, avoid injuries and bring it when it actually matters - i.e. finals. Both I think should have something to prove. Can't expect Stewart to be superman in 2022 though. Just needs to recover ok from his injury. If it means he misses the first half of the season, so be it. I also expect big improvement from guys like Simpson and Narkle who should be forcing their way into our midfield. And I'm with you on Zuthrie too - another year of improvement and maybe, just maybe, we'll see him push Kolo out as someone who can both lock down on a dangerous mid-sized forward as well as use the ball with more composure out of defence. Overall I think the team improvement hinges on culture and mentality. Work hard, enjoy the game, study your opposition and have each other's backs. And I don't care what your name is - be prepared to play vfl if you're out of form or not doing the team thing in the seniors. I want to see a squad mentality where everyone and anyone can be called upon to do a job.
 

catscollector

Premiership Player
Jun 30, 2018
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No improvement will be coming in 2022.
We will fall away.

People mentioning Stewart as improvement, he's coming back from a lisfranc injury. Go and take a look at all the players who ever had this injury and you will notice they had to be managed for the remainder of their careers. It's a significant injury and he didn't exactly give himself time to recover from it. Rushed back so he could partake in any further September action.

We have the oldest list in the competition. Blokes like Higgins and Dahlhaus would struggle to get a game at most teams but Scott loves him some cooked oldies.

Too many supporters on BigFooty have made excuses for why we capitulated in the back half of the year. They almost seem to be ignoring the reality of just where we are at after years of trying to pinch a flag on the back of ready made talent.
 

year of the cat

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No improvement will be coming in 2022.
We will fall away.

People mentioning Stewart as improvement, he's coming back from a lisfranc injury. Go and take a look at all the players who ever had this injury and you will notice they had to be managed for the remainder of their careers. It's a significant injury and he didn't exactly give himself time to recover from it. Rushed back so he could partake in any further September action.

We have the oldest list in the competition. Blokes like Higgins and Dahlhaus would struggle to get a game at most teams but Scott loves him some cooked oldies.

Too many supporters on BigFooty have made excuses for why we capitulated in the back half of the year. They almost seem to be ignoring the reality of just where we are at after years of trying to pinch a flag on the back of ready made talent.

Tend to agree. We have defied the fall that has beset every other successful team over the past 20 years. We won't now. I'd say we will fall to between 6-10 next year and then free fall after that unless we spectacularly attract some gun FA's at the end of next season.
 

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