Player Watch #8 James Rowbottom - pick 25, welcome to Sydney

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Mick Oxlong

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 27, 2007
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Just a poster on a forum that is designed for sharing of ideas and opinions. Would you prefer an echo chamber? ;)

Anyway, I was looking for you to backup your opinion with reasons but instead you chose ask whether I am qualified to question if you’re wrong....

In any case, you might not be wrong, but in this case I am going to side with the AFL coaches who are best placed to make these decisions that took actions that coincide with my opinion...
Which would be the decision to play him midfield...the position he was drafted in. Pure coincidence that he played his best game? Was it the 3 games experience in the forward line or natural role? Now how could ‘we’ possibly answer this?
 

TheMase

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 20, 2001
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Which would be the decision to play him midfield...the position he was drafted in. Pure coincidence that he played his best game? Was it the 3 games experience in the forward line or natural role? Now how could ‘we’ possibly answer this?
We can only speculate obviously...

A decision was made to play him in the midfield against a team of young bodies. This was after several games at AFL as a half forward, some time at half forward in the NEAFL and plenty of midfield time in the NEAFL which is clearly a much lower tier of football.

No I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he played his best game, but I do think that is because of the development approach they have taken with some early AFL exposure in a less familiar role. I do believe it is because this time spent in the NEAFL and at AFL level has contributed to him being ready to make an AFL level contribution in the midfield group.

I don’t believe if he had been put into the midfield for his AFL debut that he would have looked as comfortable, or had as much output, as he did last night. Therefore I feel whilst he is a genuine midfielder, that it has been the steps up to this point that has contributed to him having a successful game last night and not simply that ‘he played there in juniors’. That’s kind of suggesting that he would have had this output as a midfielder straight from his AFL debut, and I don’t at all agree with that.
 

Mick Oxlong

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 27, 2007
11,469
13,218
AFL Club
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We can only speculate obviously...

A decision was made to play him in the midfield against a team of young bodies. This was after several games at AFL as a half forward, some time at half forward in the NEAFL and plenty of midfield time in the NEAFL which is clearly a much lower tier of football.

No I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he played his best game, but I do think that is because of the development approach they have taken with some early AFL exposure in a less familiar role. I do believe it is because this time spent in the NEAFL and at AFL level has contributed to him being ready to make an AFL level contribution in the midfield group.

I don’t believe if he had been put into the midfield for his AFL debut that he would have looked as comfortable, or had as much output, as he did last night. Therefore I feel whilst he is a genuine midfielder, that it has been the steps up to this point that has contributed to him having a successful game last night and not simply that ‘he played there in juniors’. That’s kind of suggesting that he would have had this output as a midfielder straight from his AFL debut, and I don’t at all agree with that.
And you don’t have to, as I stated, it’s your opinion. Just like everyone else, you’re entitled to your opinion, it just doesn’t mean it’s true...it is mere speculation. Just like me saying he’s better because it’s his true position. I too just wouldn’t ******* know but the odds are definitely leaning toward familiarity.
 

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caesar88

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 26, 2016
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Just seems like a smart player already. It’s his fourth game and he’s already trying to lower his eyes and kick it longer and harder going forward (I wonder if we’ll manage to turn him to the dark side with lofty air-balls to nobody.) The missed targets to me seemed more about him just not quite knowing where to put it, rather than actual technique or composure. He led the team for inside 50s last night. Once he plays more footy with our forwards and learns their leading patterns etc, he’ll be a huge asset.
 

Billy Bob65

All Australian
May 15, 2005
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Heat map shows he spent most of the game on the wing but watching the game he was exposed to the coalface more than his other games. Very good for an 18 year old and a great signs for the future.
Was really impressed by Rowbottom on the weekend, you've got one there - on the eye test he was playing as the 4th inside mid - a contrast to his other 3 games where he didn't attend any bounces. Just be careful with relying on heat maps to determine where a player played though as they can be very misleading (particularly with wings and high half-forwards), as contrary to what Channel 7 and Cameron Ling spew to the general public, they're a possession map not a game time map - the blue dots represent every possession a player had for the match, with the "heat" being where they've had a cluster in the same area. In circumstances where a player only has 1 or 2 touches it can really paint a different picture to reality, particularly if they've had to work outside the area where they've spent the majority of the quarter to find it.
 

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caesar88

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 26, 2016
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Mick Oxlong you were right and I was wrong about this one. And very happy to be wrong, because he is more than up to the level at this stage. It’s actually awesome to see an 18 year old starting at centre bounces for us. Typically with our young mids we’ve eased them into senior footy by giving them different roles and positions, like Hewett, Dawson, Florent, Heeney, Jones, Mills etc., some I’ve agreed with, others not so much. I actually can’t remember the last time we backed a first year midfielder in to play in the guts so early in his career. Mitchell maybe? I can’t remember. But it says a lot about the faith our coaching staff must have in Rowbottom (he helped his case by bulldozing the door down in the NEAFL week in, week out.)
 

Mick Oxlong

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 27, 2007
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Mick Oxlong you were right and I was wrong about this one. And very happy to be wrong, because he is more than up to the level at this stage. It’s actually awesome to see an 18 year old starting at centre bounces for us. Typically with our young mids we’ve eased them into senior footy by giving them different roles and positions, like Hewett, Dawson, Florent, Heeney, Jones, Mills etc., some I’ve agreed with, others not so much. I actually can’t remember the last time we backed a first year midfielder in to play in the guts so early in his career. Mitchell maybe? I can’t remember. But it says a lot about the faith our coaching staff must have in Rowbottom (he helped his case by bulldozing the door down in the NEAFL week in, week out.)
A long road to travel yet but you don’t put a square peg in a round hole, it just doesn’t fit. Try them in their natural positions first, if then it doesn’t work, tinker away. As we know, some of the most successful players at our club played outside of their natural, recruited positions...but they started there (and they weren’t bad either, just not consistent/needed elsewhere).

Let’s hope the kid prospers, 24 possessions but had still went missing a bit...probably on the bench with leather poisoning!
 

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