Autopsy Bad, badder and ugly v Tigs - Rd 9, 2020

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BEaston

Hungry
Oct 9, 2013
6,295
6,583
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Another baffling loss, not just the losing, but the manner of losing. We were never in it after the first 10 minutes.
Our results are all over the place but we're seeing a bit of that right across the competition. It's a weird season.
Here are some of the bigger picture explanations (i.e. not focussing too much on individuals) that have occurred to me, and a few others have posted similar thoughts. Not all of them stack up though.

1. Lack of effective leadership - YES. see my OP in another thread. This problem compounds all the other problems IMO. Not enough suitable leaders onfield, and I suspect off field too.

Youth - NO. It can perhaps be used to explain some variable performance from week to week but we aren't even that young. It certainly can't be used as an excuse this week especially when the teams matched up like this last night:
View attachment 923068

Hubs - NOT MUCH. It's hard to say how much the experience of living and playing in hubs is having on players but every Vic club is facing the same thing (including Richmond) so we're not unique. Certainly it's a test of resilience. My guess is older players are probably better equipped to deal with it mentally but then they are the ones more likely to have family to worry about as well. Bevo says they're taking it as an exciting challenge, which is probably the best approach.

Packed Fixture - NOT MUCH. Same story as hubs, every club has to deal with it. Those who play it "one game at a time" and don't let it get to them mentally are likely to get through it best. Let the club's physios and coaches do the worrying about who to rotate and when. I've no idea if one club is doing it better or worse than the average at this stage. Apart from one or two players I think we're doing OK on this physically and can't use it as an excuse.

Playing in Qld at night - YES. Whether it's the rain or just a damper atmosphere we are constantly playing in greasy conditions. It's true that other clubs are facing the same but it seems to have more impact on our style of play and we don't seem to have adapted. The ball becomes slick and the one-touch plays become turnovers and fumbles. That affects our confidence in ball-handling and so it deteriorates. It wouldn't be such a problem if not for ...

Tactical inertia - YES. AKA "where is plan B?" We don't seem to be making the adjustments necessary, at least not quickly enough. Examples are the Carlton game (I think that was the one) where they took every opportunity to drive the ball forward in the wet but we fluffed around with handballs looking for the perfect player in space so he could kick forward without pressure to a target. We kept handballing until the persistent Carlton pressure resulted in a turnover. When we changed later in the game to more of an old fashioned territory contest we did better. It might work well at Marvel but not at Metricon. It's still deeply ingrained - so much that last night McLean took a free kick in the fourth quarter and handballed to a surprised Daniel who was ambling past to take a more forward position. Result - Daniel was pantsed and the ball was turned over. Other examples of tactical inertia include the failure to provide a counter move once Stuey Dew figured out how to nullify English. And others have discussed our over-reliance on a zone defence which has been unpicked a few times forcing us into unfavourable mismatches deep in defence.

Structure/personnel - MOSTLY YES. ( This one's a bit of a catch-all so it's not going to be a simple yes or no. ) Our defence is capable, well structured and well-drilled so generally I'd say we're OK there. We lack a good intercept marker who can roam, although in theory Wood should still be capable of that. Keath is required to pay close attention to the KPFs so it can't be him, and Naughton's now a forward. English was doing it for a while but oppo coaches are onto him. We also get found out when it does become a one-on-one in our back 50. At the other end of the ground we have only one KPF target (Bruce) and he has struggled with marking because of the conditions (and perhaps his own condition too). Most of the other forwards are slow, out of form and/or injured (and most aren't natural forwards anyway). A couple are just starting their football careers. Only Wallace and Vandermeer can hold their head up. The midfield is doing OK but is pretty slow apart from Bailey Smith. The ruck is a continuing weakness. No matter how good everyone thinks Tim English will become one day, he's not dominating any games yet. Well maybe just once, against Essendon.

Injuries - NOT REALLY. Most clubs have their share and we're probably somewhere in the middle. Sure it'd be nice to get Dunkley, Hunter and Naughton back. They would certainly have made us more competitive but I doubt they'd have got us over the line against Richmond last night.


In summary - Seems to me a lot of our recurring problems are due to structural weaknesses (ruck and forwards) and lack of strong onfield leadership, combined with slowness to adapt tactically. Our game style isn't suited to greasy conditions and we don't seem able to adjust it.
Good post I think you summed it up well. I wouldn't discount youth though based on a comparison of one game. I think overall we are a young team and have had the younger team in the majority of games this year.
Disregarding any game-to-game comparisons though, I think it's undisputable that we have generally been putting out a young team compared to the rest of the comp.
Generally finals teams will have played around an average of 100 games, we have fielded a side of over an average of 85 games played only once this year.
What is the number one thing about young sides...? Consistency. And that has been our core issue with performance. Some weeks we look like we could beat anyone, other weeks we look like we'd lose to the Crows.

Another factor I think is consistency in the team selection. Too much chopping and changing has means the groups haven't been able to gel much. Backline has been the most stable, and it is our best performing group.
 
Last edited:

Zgope1

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 13, 2012
7,800
8,903
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
What a rough night Wednesday was. It was evident from the start they had ambushed us. If you’re not willing to engage Richmond with your own pressure and physicality you can’t beat them.

I hate to say but this was a victory of the RFC over the FFC. Flip the players and I think the result is the same. Lack of organisational polish. Of course I hope I’m wrong.

sucks to be the unreliable team in the AFL. Doesn’t normally change within the season. Get it right dogs.

must say I think English’s physical maturation will hopefully help. His weakness gives us so much less margin for our. There’s periods of each game he makes us so soft. We’ve got a super talented team it sucks to see it suffer for his development. Timing may be everything
 

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Boyd oh Boyd

Premium Platinum
Nov 29, 2018
903
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Is our midfield quality? It’s ok. Great for inside mids. English is a slightly above average ruckman at this point.

We lack speed and class through the middle of the ground.

Port’s 3 draftees are exactly what we need. Butters, duursma and rozee are absolute class. All one touch players with acceleration that are lethal with ball in hand. Kudos to them.

We need more vandermeer types and less Porter types.
I absolutely thought it was one of the best before the season started. 2 AA mids and one in the squad of 40. Bont and Macrae were all class last year. Foot speed not great but we managed to make it work with speed of disposal instead. Wings an issue but I thought it wasn't as important as the inside. It obviously hasn't held up like I thought.

I actually think we need a Porter type. We're getting killed with easy uncontested clearances and need somebody defensive minded in their stoppage game. Porter obviously not the answer but I'd kill for someone like Taylor Adams. Fingers crossed that when Dunkley gets back he's over whatever funk he was in at the start of the year and returns to killing that role.
 

Proffessor

All Australian
Jan 21, 2013
945
970
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Another baffling loss, not just the losing, but the manner of losing. We were never in it after the first 10 minutes.
Our results are all over the place but we're seeing a bit of that right across the competition. It's a weird season.
Here are some of the bigger picture explanations (i.e. not focussing too much on individuals) that have occurred to me, and a few others have posted similar thoughts. Not all of them stack up though.

1. Lack of effective leadership - YES. see my OP in another thread. This problem compounds all the other problems IMO. Not enough suitable leaders onfield, and I suspect off field too.

Youth - NO. It can perhaps be used to explain some variable performance from week to week but we aren't even that young. It certainly can't be used as an excuse this week especially when the teams matched up like this last night:
View attachment 923068

Hubs - NOT MUCH. It's hard to say how much the experience of living and playing in hubs is having on players but every Vic club is facing the same thing (including Richmond) so we're not unique. Certainly it's a test of resilience. My guess is older players are probably better equipped to deal with it mentally but then they are the ones more likely to have family to worry about as well. Bevo says they're taking it as an exciting challenge, which is probably the best approach.

Packed Fixture - NOT MUCH. Same story as hubs, every club has to deal with it. Those who play it "one game at a time" and don't let it get to them mentally are likely to get through it best. Let the club's physios and coaches do the worrying about who to rotate and when. I've no idea if one club is doing it better or worse than the average at this stage. Apart from one or two players I think we're doing OK on this physically and can't use it as an excuse.

Playing in Qld at night - YES. Whether it's the rain or just a damper atmosphere we are constantly playing in greasy conditions. It's true that other clubs are facing the same but it seems to have more impact on our style of play and we don't seem to have adapted. The ball becomes slick and the one-touch plays become turnovers and fumbles. That affects our confidence in ball-handling and so it deteriorates. It wouldn't be such a problem if not for ...

Tactical inertia - YES. AKA "where is plan B?" We don't seem to be making the adjustments necessary, at least not quickly enough. Examples are the Carlton game (I think that was the one) where they took every opportunity to drive the ball forward in the wet but we fluffed around with handballs looking for the perfect player in space so he could kick forward without pressure to a target. We kept handballing until the persistent Carlton pressure resulted in a turnover. When we changed later in the game to more of an old fashioned territory contest we did better. It might work well at Marvel but not at Metricon. It's still deeply ingrained - so much that last night McLean took a free kick in the fourth quarter and handballed to a surprised Daniel who was ambling past to take a more forward position. Result - Daniel was pantsed and the ball was turned over. Other examples of tactical inertia include the failure to provide a counter move once Stuey Dew figured out how to nullify English. And others have discussed our over-reliance on a zone defence which has been unpicked a few times forcing us into unfavourable mismatches deep in defence.

Structure/personnel - MOSTLY YES. ( This one's a bit of a catch-all so it's not going to be a simple yes or no. ) Our defence is capable, well structured and well-drilled so generally I'd say we're OK there. We lack a good intercept marker who can roam, although in theory Wood should still be capable of that. Keath is required to pay close attention to the KPFs so it can't be him, and Naughton's now a forward. English was doing it for a while but oppo coaches are onto him. We also get found out when it does become a one-on-one in our back 50. At the other end of the ground we have only one KPF target (Bruce) and he has struggled with marking because of the conditions (and perhaps his own condition too). Most of the other forwards are slow, out of form and/or injured (and most aren't natural forwards anyway). A couple are just starting their football careers. Only Wallace and Vandermeer can hold their head up. The midfield is doing OK but is pretty slow apart from Bailey Smith. The ruck is a continuing weakness. No matter how good everyone thinks Tim English will become one day, he's not dominating any games yet. Well maybe just once, against Essendon.

Injuries - NOT REALLY. Most clubs have their share and we're probably somewhere in the middle. Sure it'd be nice to get Dunkley, Hunter and Naughton back. They would certainly have made us more competitive but I doubt they'd have got us over the line against Richmond last night.


In summary - Seems to me a lot of our recurring problems are due to structural weaknesses (ruck and forwards) and lack of strong onfield leadership, combined with slowness to adapt tactically. Our game style isn't suited to greasy conditions and we don't seem able to adjust it.

You make some good points Dogwatch.

But I think your list misses a key issue, which skews your summary a little.

That issue is Psychological Safety, which is an important factor in establishing high work place performance. Whilst our current team may not be particularly young, a significant number of them are either new to the club or aren't well established in the senior team. It could even be argued that some well established players don't feel as safe as they should. The end result is anxious and occasionally hesitant players.

This is particularly important considering the tactics that we employ which requires a very strong understanding of individual roles and a commitment to them from everyone to be effective, but can quickly breakdown otherwise.

Hence whilst some teams may have similar injuries, ours are certainly impacting us substantially.

Our selection and even list management decisions in recent years certainly haven't helped develop a psychologically safe environment for those exposed to the fickle whims of our match committee.

I agree that our on field leadership is lacking but think this is more situational rather than a lack of leadership talent. Indeed I think it has partially been created by the decision to prematurely promote Bont to the captaincy, and also ignore some other natural leaders (e.g. Libba and Wallis). Bont is clearly displaying performance anxiety in the role, and the demotion of Woody doesn't seemed to have helped his confidence either.

On the bright side, if we get a few key players back, and win enough games then those feelings of anxiety can quickly disappear, and help the gaps in our game plan close quickly.

For all his faults, Bev seems to have a knack of keeping players feeling motivated if not secure, so things can turn around pretty fast.
 

dogwatch

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Jun 17, 2009
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You make some good points Dogwatch.

But I think your list misses a key issue, which skews your summary a little.

That issue is Psychological Safety, which is an important factor in establishing high work place performance. Whilst our current team may not be particularly young, a significant number of them are either new to the club or aren't well established in the senior team. It could even be argued that some well established players don't feel as safe as they should. The end result is anxious and occasionally hesitant players.

This is particularly important considering the tactics that we employ which requires a very strong understanding of individual roles and a commitment to them from everyone to be effective, but can quickly breakdown otherwise.

Hence whilst some teams may have similar injuries, ours are certainly impacting us substantially.

Our selection and even list management decisions in recent years certainly haven't helped develop a psychologically safe environment for those exposed to the fickle whims of our match committee.

I agree that our on field leadership is lacking but think this is more situational rather than a lack of leadership talent. Indeed I think it has partially been created by the decision to prematurely promote Bont to the captaincy, and also ignore some other natural leaders (e.g. Libba and Wallis). Bont is clearly displaying performance anxiety in the role, and the demotion of Woody doesn't seemed to have helped his confidence either.

On the bright side, if we get a few key players back, and win enough games then those feelings of anxiety can quickly disappear, and help the gaps in our game plan close quickly.

For all his faults, Bev seems to have a knack of keeping players feeling motivated if not secure, so things can turn around pretty fast.
Good points. I was hoping my post might provoke some other perspectives. Such as yours.

I've written a fair bit about leadership in another thread. I agree with what you're saying here. I didn't mean to imply Bont won't get there as a leader but right now we are suffering in that area IMO.

Hope you're right about Bevo. I admire him and what he has achieved. I just have some nagging concerns about possible chinks in his abilities, which are made worse by the apparent lack of any strong voices to help guide him, to question him and hold him to account - and ultimately to make him a more successful head coach. At least that's how it appears from the outside. Let's hope the internal reality is better than that.
 

bullish23

Premiership Player
Oct 2, 2002
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When you are young and talented, and you have Grimes, Cotchin, Martin, Lambert and two gun twin tall forwards in the side, you are going to look very good.

Remember the promise Grant and Jones showed when playing next to BBB? It changes very quickly once you remove those very experienced, very good senior players and you go from part player to key pillar.

Our young guys in comparison when they are having a down day (e.g. Lipinksi, Richards, Schache) only have Wallis, Suckling and Wood at those stages of their career. Suckling has never been reliable, and the other two don’t play KPP or take up key midfield posts. Unfortunately its going to be a battle for another season or two until real consistency develops.

Another observation, I think the hub in the long term will makes us better. It’s obvious to me we are so use to the rock hard fast conditions of Marvel. When it’s a little wet or dewie we have no confidence and always fumbling compared to the opposition.
 

Munnez

Club Legend
Apr 2, 2018
1,294
1,017
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Too many problems to list - main frustrations are the repeated errors at selection. Gowers wasn’t the reason we lost, that’s a whole of team issue, but that’s in the running for the worst two game stretch I’ve seen. If he plays next week MC is broken.

Forward structure and coaching is abysmal. I know we’re missing our main KPF but the pressure is non-existent. Suckling got injured early but going in with him, Wallis and Lloyd as mediums/smalls might be the slowest forward line ever. HBFs are just waltzing out of defence it’s so frustrating to watch.

We can’t claim to be a young, developing team and then play such an old, slow group in that part of the ground. To have those three picked and leave out West, Greene, Cavarra etc is ridiculous. Wallis might have a chance at playing in our next deep finals run, Lloyd and Suckling have no chance so wtf is the point?
Put a fork in Suckers he is cooked and Lloyd isn't performing, and doesn't bring enough forward pressure.
Need to persevere with the younger guys, find out if Cavarra is woth a list spot.
We are going nowhere until we find consistent forward half pressure
 

perro_loco

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Apr 10, 2016
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You make some good points Dogwatch.

But I think your list misses a key issue, which skews your summary a little.

That issue is Psychological Safety, which is an important factor in establishing high work place performance. Whilst our current team may not be particularly young, a significant number of them are either new to the club or aren't well established in the senior team. It could even be argued that some well established players don't feel as safe as they should. The end result is anxious and occasionally hesitant players.

This is particularly important considering the tactics that we employ which requires a very strong understanding of individual roles and a commitment to them from everyone to be effective, but can quickly breakdown otherwise.

Hence whilst some teams may have similar injuries, ours are certainly impacting us substantially.

Our selection and even list management decisions in recent years certainly haven't helped develop a psychologically safe environment for those exposed to the fickle whims of our match committee.

I agree that our on field leadership is lacking but think this is more situational rather than a lack of leadership talent. Indeed I think it has partially been created by the decision to prematurely promote Bont to the captaincy, and also ignore some other natural leaders (e.g. Libba and Wallis). Bont is clearly displaying performance anxiety in the role, and the demotion of Woody doesn't seemed to have helped his confidence either.

On the bright side, if we get a few key players back, and win enough games then those feelings of anxiety can quickly disappear, and help the gaps in our game plan close quickly.

For all his faults, Bev seems to have a knack of keeping players feeling motivated if not secure, so things can turn around pretty fast.
Great post and excellent insights. Thank you!!!
 

Munnez

Club Legend
Apr 2, 2018
1,294
1,017
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Is our midfield quality? It’s ok. Great for inside mids. English is a slightly above average ruckman at this point.

We lack speed and class through the middle of the ground.

Port’s 3 draftees are exactly what we need. Butters, duursma and rozee are absolute class. All one touch players with acceleration that are lethal with ball in hand. Kudos to them.

We need more vandermeer types and less Porter types.
There is an absolute need for a midfielder with electric pace also awesome skills would be nice. At the minute I would settle for the pace so that we can close down opposition simply ambling away because of our lack of leg speed
 

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Yojimbo

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Nov 14, 2012
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There is an absolute need for a midfielder with electric pace also awesome skills would be nice. At the minute I would settle for the pace so that we can close down opposition simply ambling away because of our lack of leg speed
I had three wings all mature aged i was watching as two needed to put on some beef, non AFL sadly this situation has decimated
the lower leagues and made following them really difficult if not impossible.
 

Ron The Bear

Avatar changing soon!
Jul 4, 2006
33,233
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Richmond
I’d much rather play Brisbane at Metricon vs Gabba like we have to next week
Both Richmond "home" games. I'd prefer Brisbane had to play us in Adelaide ahead of our game against Port. Whichever way you look at it, it's an advantage to the Queensland clubs.
If they had to pay up to get Lynch Balta isn't playing for the Tigers.
Balta was drafted in 2017 and spent a year honing his craft in the twos.

Dogs had an off night, no doubt. There's even less time to dwell on results than usual and all you can do is move on to the next challenge and hope the team switches back on and that it's not the start of a developing problem.
 

Mojorisin

Club Legend
Oct 20, 2017
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An interesting fact from the Richmond game all six of their rookies took the field in the win, i wonder how many times a team has
had a big win with the entire rookie list in the starting line up.
Has a team ever fielded it's entire rookie list (excluding doped up bombers)
 

Munnez

Club Legend
Apr 2, 2018
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Both Richmond "home" games. I'd prefer Brisbane had to play us in Adelaide ahead of our game against Port. Whichever way you look at it, it's an advantage to the Queensland clubs.


Balta was drafted in 2017 and spent a year honing his craft in the twos.

Dogs had an off night, no doubt. There's even less time to dwell on results than usual and all you can do is move on to the next challenge and hope the team switches back on and that it's not the start of a developing problem.
Not having a crack at Richmond would absolutely do the same if we could.
And got it wrong with Balta just plucked a name that seemed about right.
Pretty handy from a list build point of view to add the best KPF in the league and still keep your first Rnder.
 

Ron The Bear

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Pretty handy from a list build point of view to add the best KPF in the league and still keep your first Rnder.
Followed many years of being rebuffed by such players. The previous year we were supposedly well down the path of doing a deal for Schache, so could have ended up with neither.
 

RunningBounce

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Jun 12, 2013
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Thought I'd wait until some time had passed before I came in here and post what I shared with my Dogs supporting family after the game.

Collingwood showed the competition that you can contain Richmond with a flood during that god-awful draw. Hawthorn and GWS beat us like a drum doing it. In the past month or so, Melbourne, Sydney and North all pushed Richmond by flooding the backline. Sydney and Melbourne played like bottom 4 teams and still, the Tigers genuinely struggled to post a high enough score to win, despite having complete control of the game.

If Bev played a spare back (or 75,000, as the frustrated Hardwick whinged after the Swans game), that game plays out very, very differently.

Kudos to Bev for focusing on what his 22 do, rather than looking for ways to shutdown the opposition. Maybe having that philosophy is good for building confidence, and who knows? Maybe it pays off in finals. It probably does mean you drop a game or two in the H&A by not using the obvious shutdown strategy when it's available.

Your club is really well run, and has a strong playing list. You have plenty to be optmistic about. I'm looking forward to seeing the strong response tonight. Go Dogs.
 

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