Player Watch #21: Dyson Heppell (C)

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Lore

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Dec 14, 2015
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21 - Dyson Heppell.jpg


Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent 2022
Last Game Played: Round 16, 2020 (injured)
Injury Status: Tracking well, in full training - 9/2
Building up his training load, integrating with the main group - 20/1
Surgery, new screws, plaster, 10 weeks. Should start pre-season on time - 15/9
Surgery to remove a screw from his ankle - 11/9
 
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The Donners

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The guy’s 2020 was ruined by injury but prior to that he had been a pretty bloody good midfielder for about five years. He won the B&F in 2014, was third in 2015 and 2017 (missed 2016 obv), second in 2018 and 5th in 2019 when missed 5 games.

He’s easily been in our top few best and most consistent players for many, many years. He’s also 6”2 and 85kgs in a midfield that gets called “too small” approx 750 times per day on here.

I’m happy to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he’s leading the way in the middle come round 1. If he shows he’s lost it then fair enough, but hopefully it was merely the year from hell and he has a few good years left.

Who knows, as he gradually slows he may even put on another 3, 4, 5 kgs and bang a bit. He might not be an inside beast BUT he has always been able to win his own ball and he does lay tackles.
He’s been nowhere near the player he was pre saga. He’s still a solid citizen but he’d be one of our highest paid players based on his 2014 form.
 

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Bunk Moreland

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Has to play half back flank - let the ball come to him and lets see if he can recapture some of his form I feel he's been a bit out of sorts with both injury and form for a couple of years now...
He missed nearly all of 2020 with injury.

In 2019 he finished 5th in the B&F despite missing five games. In the final against West Coast he had 31 touches and 11 marks and was our best.

Pretty tough to question his form.
 

owen87

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He missed nearly all of 2020 with injury.

In 2019 he finished 5th in the B&F despite missing five games. In the final against West Coast he had 31 touches and 11 marks and was our best.

Pretty tough to question his form.
I’d question whether his body can hold up to playing that role given his struggles the last couple of years, more than whether he’s any good at it when he’s fit to play there.
 

TheGrizz

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Never thought that I'd say this but I think Heppell's future role is as the seventh defender.

It gets him out of the midfield and provides some experience, leadership, etc at half back where we might otherwise be a bit light. While he doesn't provide the run of Houli we could then look at someone like Markov or Hunt to provide that run and develop some players for the future (e.g. Mc Quillan).
I have thought for the best part of 18 months that Dyson was struggling with mobility. When he came in he was an elite runner and he seems to have lost all semblance of that.

I actually think he is 3-4kg heavier than his optimal weight , and that has been done to help him transition to an inside midfielder. He looks bulkier but the agility and endurance that made people liken him to a young Pendlebury when he came in has been lost due to getting too big imo.

The extra weight might also explain the two chronic foot injuries he has had in 2 years. I am saying this from my figurative 'armchair', but if i am the fitness/coaching staff i am stripping him down 3kg over the next 12 months and seeing if we can get some running power back with the aim to turn him into a defensive winger like Menegola for Geelong.

He is a good height for it, is good in the air, has courage for days and is disciplined in where he needs to set himself up within coaching structures. If he can get his running power back (not necessarily top end speed but endurance), he is the ideal player to play as that defensive winger that chops out the defence and adds an extra number when needed.
 

The Donners

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He was good in 2017.
He also average just under 27 disposals a game in 2018.
There can be instances where average disposals a game can simply be numbers. In Heppell’s AA year he was genuinely extracting the footy from the bottom of packs and a Watson/Heppell inside midfield combo was about to dominate the AFL. Not suggesting Heppell is soft by any stretch, I’m perhaps suggesting he doesn’t have the same drive and is more in the motions post saga.
 

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Yoda_

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Why Essendon Shouldn't Consider Heppell Positional Change

David King doesn’t want to see Dyson Heppell move back to defence, imploring him to fight for his spot in the midfield in 2021.

The 28-year-old endured an injury-plagued 2020 campaign, playing just three games after a delayed pre-season and a subsequent serious ankle injury sustained at training.
I like Kingy (sometimes) but feel he doesn't quite understand the make up of our list or where it is going here.

I don't want Hep moved to half back for his skills or his run and carry, it is the leadership and marshalling of the (young) troops that is my needs for him. His ability to intercept and set up play is an added bonus for a side that is about to undertake a serious transitional period.
 

Red Black and Blue

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There is absolutely no need for Heppell to play defence.

There is absolutely a need to have him in the midfield where our average height without him there is around the 182 cm mark.
We need the midfield time to give to players who can actually develop more than being serviceable. Secondly he can’t go on the spread, chuck him behind the ball where he can read it early enough to impact defensively, using his best attribute which is his marking.

This isn’t even about next year but beyond, if we want to win anything with him we are better off making this move now than in another two years where he’s banged up and washed up.
 

eth-dog

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We need the midfield time to give to players who can actually develop more than being serviceable. Secondly he can’t go on the spread, chuck him behind the ball where he can read it early enough to impact defensively, using his best attribute which is his marking.

This isn’t even about next year but beyond, if we want to win anything with him we are better off making this move now than in another two years where he’s banged up and washed up.
Okay let's move one of our two legitimate marking options in the midfield when we have Ridley, Francis, Hooker, Zerk-Thatcher, Gleeson as players who can mark the ball in defence pretty well.

Just Essington things
 

Red Black and Blue

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Okay let's move one of our two legitimate marking options in the midfield when we have Ridley, Francis, Hooker, Zerk-Thatcher, Gleeson as players who can mark the ball in defence pretty well.

Just Essington things
Which he can do for two years where our results are unimportant and then retire and our midfield still lacks that plus there’s 50 games we didn’t get into Perkins. The question is young potential star midfield recruit or rookie listed Gleeson.
 

Schnitzengruben

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Okay let's move one of our two legitimate marking options in the midfield when we have Ridley, Francis, Hooker, Zerk-Thatcher, Gleeson as players who can mark the ball in defence pretty well.

Just Essington things
Ridley is the only genuine option on that list tbh. Hep to the backline is a no-brainer for mine (draft selections pending ofc).
 

eth-dog

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Which he can do for two years where our results are unimportant and then retire and our midfield still lacks that plus there’s 50 games we didn’t get into Perkins. The question is young potential star midfield recruit or rookie listed Gleeson.
Time to forget about this guy
Ridley is the only genuine option on that list tbh. Hep to the backline is a no-brainer for mine (draft selections pending ofc).
Some people just want to watch the world burn.

Heppell to defence would be monumentally stupid.
 

Red Black and Blue

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Some people just want to watch the world burn.

Heppell to defence would be monumentally stupid.
Last good game he played was the West Coast final after he was moved out of the midfield. Keeping him in the midfield is the stupid action and continues the same pattern of refusing to blood kids/enforce defensive standards that’s got us in the position we are in.
 

ant555

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There can be instances where average disposals a game can simply be numbers. In Heppell’s AA year he was genuinely extracting the footy from the bottom of packs and a Watson/Heppell inside midfield combo was about to dominate the AFL. Not suggesting Heppell is soft by any stretch, I’m perhaps suggesting he doesn’t have the same drive and is more in the motions post saga.
I would be suggesting that Injuries have caught up with him in the last couple of years. I stand by what I said. He was very good in 2017 and good in 2018 although not his best year compared to a few others.
 

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