Player Watch #48 Michael "Grassy" Knoll - ruckman

Bloodied52

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Cameron's one game was spent as a fwd. Was barely given a run in the ruck. That said he really seems to have fallen off the cliff. He has not looked great in the NEAFL this year either. He is rucking without a leap and have wondered whether he is carrying an injury.

I have no basis for it but fear big Sam will not play this year.
 

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Mick Oxlong

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I think you’re greatly underestimating what is required for an AFL footballer. No where near as simple as that.

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to speak to a few AFL draftees and most of them say going from local/junior footy to AFL footy is “like playing a different sport”.

If you want him to run and jump at the ball and then be a passenger for the rest of the game, then sure select him. Because I reckon that is what you would largely get.

The NEAFL is a mere practise zone for him to practice what he is being taught at training. It is merely to prepare him to play AFL football and that includes all the things I mentioned before. (The NEAFL in this instance prepares him better for AFL football because he is IS being prepared for AFL football with AFL coaches with AFL club based gameplan instructions)

We have to remember this guy has played maybe at best 40 or 50 games of Australian Football in his whole life. I don’t think throwing him straight to the wolves before he has even spent a week at the club is a great idea. Sinclair will give us more on the weekend than Knoll will at this stage, and probably significantly more. I mean Cameron came from the WAFL, has been dominant at NEAFL level but looked completely lost at AFL level during his only opportunity but we think Knoll who hasn’t even spent a week on the list and has barely played the game at any level will be an immediate upgrade? Doubt it...

Once Knoll is up to speed and he can demonstrate he will make a better contribution than Sinclair, then sure let’s give him a go. However a few seem to see a shiny new toy and think just because Sinclair is average that somehow this guy will be better. It doesn’t work like that.
Funny you say that re AFL being a different ballgame. I’m not disagreeing with what you’ve said here Masey but I’ve known a few AFL blokes too and they transitioned seamlessly.

It’s a bit like sending your kids to private school as opposed to a government school. Just because it’s a ‘better’ school, it doesn’t mean they get the results. It’s up to the individual to learn (perform)!
 

Mick Oxlong

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Cameron's one game was spent as a fwd. Was barely given a run in the ruck. That said he really seems to have fallen off the cliff. He has not looked great in the NEAFL this year either. He is rucking without a leap and have wondered whether he is carrying an injury.

I have no basis for it but fear big Sam will not play this year.
Yeah 8 week injury that kept him out for 1, just ask Swans Blog bloke.
 

caesar88

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You might believe that it “seems” like he doesn’t understand ‘any of that stuff’ but that is clearly a pretty ludicrous assertion.

Plenty of harm can be done by dropping a guy into the team less than a week from moving from state league straight into the AFL without spending time with his team mates, understanding expectations or the gameplan. It’s pretty silly and actually would be completely unfair on him.

Pyke played fairly early on, but he also got to spend a preseason with the club and his team mates.

Let him play a few games of NEAFL and give a little bit of time to settle in....
I don't think he does understand it. You've either got the nous or you don't. Even when Sinclair gets a free go at a ruck contest he taps it to no advantage whatsoever. So I don't think it's a ludicrous assertion to suggest that that chemistry and that nous isn't there. In MY opinion, he has no idea how to ruck.
 

TheMase

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Funny you say that re AFL being a different ballgame. I’m not disagreeing with what you’ve said here Masey but I’ve known a few AFL blokes too and they transitioned seamlessly.

It’s a bit like sending your kids to private school as opposed to a government school. Just because it’s a ‘better’ school, it doesn’t mean they get the results. It’s up to the individual to learn (perform)!
Fair calls and absolutely agree it’s up to the individual. I guess I just want to temper expectations for a player that would still be working out how to play the game let alone at AFL level. Some players are freaks and the ones you speak of probably played 8-10 years of footy during their formative years and for me that is a big difference.

He seems to have the right attitude and he absolutely has heaps of upside. Am pretty happy we took him just think it’d be crazy to select him this week haha
 

Mick Oxlong

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Fair calls and absolutely agree it’s up to the individual. I guess I just want to temper expectations for a player that would still be working out how to play the game let alone at AFL level. Some players are freaks and the ones you speak of probably played 8-10 years of footy during their formative years and for me that is a big difference.

He seems to have the right attitude and he absolutely has heaps of upside. Am pretty happy we took him just think it’d be crazy to select him this week haha
It is the Sydney Swans...we gave Hiscox a game 🤭
 

TheMase

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I don't think he does understand it. You've either got the nous or you don't. Even when Sinclair gets a free go at a ruck contest he taps it to no advantage whatsoever. So I don't think it's a ludicrous assertion to suggest that that chemistry and that nous isn't there. In MY opinion, he has no idea how to ruck.
I think he understands it. He doesn’t have the talent to execute it however.
 

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TheMase

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Basketball is ine sport that translates well to AFL. Spatial awareness is one thing Grassy will have over Sinkers. And you cant teach 205 cms.
100%. In my experience with juniors it is Basketball and Soccer that translate best. League and Union were shockers in comparison as a general rule.

(Coached in Western Sydney - league heartland)
 

caesar88

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I think he understands it. He doesn’t have the talent to execute it however.
I don't think he understands it. He doesn't play like he's grasped the fundamentals of a ruck contest, like set-up and awareness.

In any case, on Knoll, you may notice I did say in his case, given it's now Wednesday and I would think he hasn't even completed a training session at his new club, that he shouldn't play this weekend. I don't even think he should play NEAFL this week given I imagine he's probably had a somewhat unconventional build-up to a weekend of footy. I was more arguing that if it were a different set of circumstances (ie maybe he had the weekend to settle in in Sydney and then the full week from Monday onwards to train and showcase himself), then I'd support the risk of playing him this week. That's how dire I think our ruck situation is.

Hell, if Horse said 'in Cameron, out Sinclair' this week, I would not be unhappy at all. And I don't rate Cameron that highly!
 

The Gong

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I don't think he understands it. He doesn't play like he's grasped the fundamentals of a ruck contest, like set-up and awareness.

In any case, on Knoll, you may notice I did say in his case, given it's now Wednesday and I would think he hasn't even completed a training session at his new club, that he shouldn't play this weekend. I don't even think he should play NEAFL this week given I imagine he's probably had a somewhat unconventional build-up to a weekend of footy. I was more arguing that if it were a different set of circumstances (ie maybe he had the weekend to settle in in Sydney and then the full week from Monday onwards to train and showcase himself), then I'd support the risk of playing him this week. That's how dire I think our ruck situation is.

Hell, if Horse said 'in Cameron, out Sinclair' this week, I would not be unhappy at all. And I don't rate Cameron that highly!
Of course he understands it. When he's beaten it's because he can't physically match the more powerful opposition rucks.

Also Knoll is not going to stroll into seniors this week in any scenario.

Finally Cameron is not an upgrade on Sinclair and Geelong don't have a dominant tap rickman so this is a week that plays more to Sinclair's strengths.
 

caesar88

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Of course he understands it. When he's beaten it's because he can't physically match the more powerful opposition rucks.

Also Knoll is not going to stroll into seniors this week in any scenario.

Finally Cameron is not an upgrade on Sinclair and Geelong don't have a dominant tap rickman so this is a week that plays more to Sinclair's strengths.
I was talking specifically about when Sinclair is not beaten. When he gets a free run at it, he very rarely manages to do anything with it. He's just not a good tap ruckman at all IMO. I don't think this is news to anyone though so not sure why we're bothering going back and forth over it.
 

Bloodied52

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I think he is at his best when he simply negates better opposition ruckman.

As he is shorter than many and lacks much leap he is behind the eight ball.

I suspect he and Cox would recognise his limitations and concentrate on more of a negating role.
 

Bloodied52

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I don't credit soccer as creating translatable skills or awareness. Footy requires in close awareness and hand,eye,foot co-ordination as well as spatial awareness.

Goodesy along with some other AFL players could have played soccer at a good level. Very few soccer players could play Aussie Rules at a decent level.

Basketball is great training for hand eye, taking physical contact and spacial awareness.
 
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