Player Watch #24: Jordan Houlahan

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Liberator

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Oct 24, 2014
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Even more impressive was slotting it from 45 near the boundary after taking the mark. I don’t know but he’s looked good this year, as he seems to have filled out a bit, and has realised where he fits in terms of relative size. Of course he probably needs to be whole lot more involved and a whole lot less anonymous more often. But having done some silent writing-off last year, ‘agnostic’ might be how I’d describe my feelings about the prospects of this guy going forward... his problem might be that he isn’t really a ‘small’ forward, as you picture the stuff that small forwards do (tackling, pressure) - with our list and medium forward options you’d think that he would have to improve in those areas...
 

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Kakkle

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Has yet to show he is VFL standard.

Agreed. Barely a goal game player who plays predominately in the forward half. How many AFL listed players who play as a forward in the VFL go with out a goal for 4 consecutive matches? Players in the past have done a lot more in the VFL and still gotten delisted.
 

ghostdog

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To the point that he has? Yes. At this stage I'd give him another year comfortably, he has enough to work with and it seems his workrate has improved enough to give him that deal.
Does he look like he has enough improvement in him to offload Laverde? I'm thinking about how we could trade into the first round of the draft.
 

BrunoV

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To the point that he has? Yes. At this stage I'd give him another year comfortably, he has enough to work with and it seems his workrate has improved enough to give him that deal.

Another year comfortably? No way.

Coming up with three senior list spots at the end of the year is not going to be easy.

Surely we can find 3 players we want to add to the senior list. I can think of 2 x 2nd round picks and Draper at a minimum (remember Begley did his ACL only a few weeks before Draper and he's already played 3 AFL games this year).

Granted I don't think we have used our full senior list allocation but I'd just as soon promote Mynott who, at least prior to his injury, was out performing Clarke.
 

Liberator

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Yep, wouldn’t go another year ‘comfortably’ myself. Not yet. More of a ‘maybe’ - particularly given other medium fwds on the list. Wouldn’t rule it out though, still half a season to play...
 

Yoda_

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May 6, 2007
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The people saying he doesn’t deserve another comfortably either haven’t seen the improvement in his game or don’t understand how far back he was coming from.

The trajectory he has made in 18 months has been brilliant with the inroads he makes in the next 12 weeks will be the deciding factor as to whether he is downgraded to the rookie list (we have a propensity for doing so) or remains on the senior list.

I like what he brings to the side. He is a sort of pseudo/hybrid forward in which he is able to play tall or small. His actually impact on games this year has been much higher this year than last year. He is one big game (4+ goals) of showing people what he is about and (imho) its not too far away.

He has plenty of tools and tricks to transform into an AFL player. The pace, the skills, the marking (and not just the spectacular either). He sticks tackles (just not enough and this the big thing for mine that is holding him back).

It’s easy to see why he was rated so highly pre draft. Even easier to see why he slipped (from top 20 to our pick 49 iirc) so the desperation for our draft picks to come in and make an impact on the AFL side inside 24 months are a bit premature in this instance.

Next year I can see him pushing for a debut, with the rest of this year simply improving his consistency and work rate inside VFL games.
 

BrunoV

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The people saying he doesn’t deserve another comfortably either haven’t seen the improvement in his game or don’t understand how far back he was coming from.

The trajectory he has made in 18 months has been brilliant with the inroads he makes in the next 12 weeks will be the deciding factor as to whether he is downgraded to the rookie list (we have a propensity for doing so) or remains on the senior list.

I like what he brings to the side. He is a sort of pseudo/hybrid forward in which he is able to play tall or small. His actually impact on games this year has been much higher this year than last year. He is one big game (4+ goals) of showing people what he is about and (imho) its not too far away.

He has plenty of tools and tricks to transform into an AFL player. The pace, the skills, the marking (and not just the spectacular either). He sticks tackles (just not enough and this the big thing for mine that is holding him back).

It’s easy to see why he was rated so highly pre draft. Even easier to see why he slipped (from top 20 to our pick 49 iirc) so the desperation for our draft picks to come in and make an impact on the AFL side inside 24 months are a bit premature in this instance.

Next year I can see him pushing for a debut, with the rest of this year simply improving his consistency and work rate inside VFL games.



Improvement doesn't count for much if you start out as not being close to VFL standard and stacks of improvement has you barely VFL standard.

If he made the same level of improvement over the next 12 months, I don't see him as pushing for an AFL spot. It would take a Jobe-like summer of boxing as a minimum for him to be in contention.

The ability he has to take a screamer is his only clear AFL attribute and I suspect it distorts perceptions of his actual ability. Set shot goal kicking is good but that's the only basic he has covered. Even as a hit up forward he's more like Francis in the sense that it's the way he moves to the ball that catches the eye. He's not actually doing anything of note and, in fact, he's generally just struggling to find the ball on the lead.

I was trying to describe this exact phenomenon to some friends last night when I had cause to remember an old school buddy who modeled his running and kicking style on Nathan Buckley. He put it together a few times during games and a scout seeing a quarter here or there may have thought he was Buckley-reincarnate (not that scouts would have been interested in those games).

My theory is that these guys model their movements on some hero of the past, or maybe even just happen to move like those gun players, and when we see someone like Houlahan we see the body movements of that hero. There is definitely some inexplicable aspect of Houlahan that catches the eye but on overall output and even moments of brilliance there is virtually nothing to suggest he's good enough, but it still wouldn't surprise me if he was.

There are other players, who I don't want to name to avoid being cruel, whose overall impact was similar to that of Houlahan who at no point did they even trick you into thinking there was "something there". There's definitely something there with Houlahan. No idea what it is, though.
 
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