Analysis Caleb Daniel - elite half-back or defensive liability?

dogwatch

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Is Caleb Daniel an elite user of the ball who sets up our attacks and generates more scoring opportunities than most other half backs?
Or do the Western Bulldogs perform better without him? And more to the point, is it because he's not playing that they perform better?
If he does play as a defender is it beneficial to have him take a large proportion of the kick-ins?

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This topic has generated plenty of discussion in the Rd 22 post-game thread and it shows no sign of diminishing. Also there has been some angst about the whether that thread was the right place for an extended discussion of Daniel (who didn't play in that game).

So it's better if it has its own thread. I couldn't find any recent threads that were topical so I've started a new one.

[Mods, I don't know if it's an easy job or not but it would help if all those Caleb posts from that thread could be transferred or perhaps just copied here. They started from about this one as far as I can see:​
It was in response to a post that listed a bunch of best 22 players who were out injured.]​
 

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BallaratBulldog

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I think it's just his mistakes stick out like a sore thumb and get rather annoying as they cost a goal from that positon. He also seems to struggle to clear the 50 as the game goes on.
 

dogspur

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He's a gun, but both Crozier and Duryea are clearly ahead of him in defence, as they're both faster, more well-rounded, complete defenders. Whether or not the addition of Daniel makes out defence too short is up for debate.

I'd still like to hope Daniel could be more of a utility. shifting between half-back, wing and maybe even half-forward.
 

Yojimbo

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I was doing a statistical analysis of every game in terms of which players had winning percentages and
which players were below team averages, there were not many below in fact seven in total. This was
after 20 rounds when we had a ten win and ten loss record or 50% exactly.
Tom Liberatore 40.00%
Mitch Wallis 40.00%
Caleb Daniel 41.17%
Billy Gowers 40.00%
Jason Johannisen 47.05%
Lachie Young 33.33%
Bailey Dale 42.85%
All the other players were at 50% the team average and 11 players were above 50% team average.
All the 34 players used had played in a win which was a huge positive given the random nature of
winning in terms of occurrence.

My studies of Caleb Daniel in terms of points conceded by the team when he plays paint a clear picture
against the games he has not played in, but whether that is a direct cause or just random timing well
that is difficult to prove.

To answer dog-watches hypothetical, both at the same time and easily covered when absent.
 

lachy

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Is Caleb Daniel an elite user of the ball who sets up our attacks and generates more scoring opportunities than most other half backs?
Or do the Western Bulldogs perform better without him? And more to the point, is it because he's not playing that they perform better?
If he does play as a defender is it beneficial to have him take a large proportion of the kick-ins?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This topic has generated plenty of discussion in the Rd 22 post-game thread and it shows no sign of diminishing. Also there has been some angst about the whether that thread was the right place for an extended discussion of Daniel (who didn't play in that game).

So it's better if it has its own thread. I couldn't find any recent threads that were topical so I've started a new one.

[Mods, I don't know if it's an easy job or not but it would help if all those Caleb posts from that thread could be transferred or perhaps just copied here. They started from about this one as far as I can see:​
It was in response to a post that listed a bunch of best 22 players who were out injured.]​
Statistically he is an elite user of the ball. He is not statically miles ahead of all other well known half backs, but it can not be argued he is not a very good user of the football, he is.

However, this has not translated into overall team results.

We perform no better or worse without him from a results perspective. However, if his statistically elite kicking is used in more dangerous parts of the ground I would guess that would actually impact from a results perspective as he is a very good player in general and utilising skills in the best areas of the game would likely impact team results.

No it is not because he is not playing we perform better, as generally one player often does not make a significant difference to results, however there are exceptions where if certain players are not in results themselves are impacted. As a team we are playing better, it is not down to him not being there.

Probably not, however it is more to do with rotating through other players with differing executions to not allow the opposition to set up defensive zones as easily. This is not just an issue for us it is a League wide issues brought about by the changes to the kick in rules. I am not sure statistically by would be surprised if coast to coast goals have increased significantly after the rule change as intended.
 

WallyStringhaus

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I think he is definitely an elite attacking defender a la Rory Laird. He can create scoring chances out of almost nothing. His ability to hold on to the ball until the right option presents is uncanny.

However, there is no doubt whatsoever that he gets caught out in 1v1 situations. His defensive 1v1 loss % is at 40.9%...far too high. Crozier sits at about 20% and Duryea is an astonishing 9%.

Personally I don't think he is part of our current best back six, things can change quickly in this game though.

B: Crozier, Trengove, Wood
HB: JJ, Cordy/Young, Duryea

This looks the right balance to me.

Elite or Liability? Somewhere in between me thinks...
 

stefoid

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Duryea loses 10% of his 1:1 defensive contests. which is amazing (off a small sample size). Morris career average was 24% (playing on some elite opponents tho)
Caleb loses 40% of his 1:1 defensive contests, which is about the same as Cordy and Wood, but double Crozier.

That seems like whoah, all three are huge defensive liabilities.

But to put that into perspective, he is involved in an average of 1.3 such contests per game. To quote Pulp Fiction, do you see a sign on his front lawn that says "defensive 1:1 contests" ?

And Cordy is involved on average 3, and wood 1.7

I think it would be fair to say that Bev would love it if all of his defenders were never involved in any 1:1 defensive contests, because defence is more about positioning and teamwork and taking up space and pressure all over the field. Ill bet according to him, if we are defending a 1:1 contest inside the D50, something has already gone wrong. But things do go wrong - not saying defensive skill is unimportant. But it is a defensive team thing. You might defend 12 such contests a game, and you want hardly any of them to involve your offensive half backs.

Caleb performs performs twice as many tackles as duryea and significantly more pressure acts as well. He is just a very busy player both offensively and defensively. And he has more score involvement as well, although I think it would be fair to say that is more due to weight of possession than decisive disposals. 'scoring involvement per possession' rate seems about the same.

I dont really have a point other to say I think individual defensive skills are great, and failure of individual defensive skills can be very glaring, but team defence is far more significant. No use winning a spoil and then having the opposition swoop on the ground ball and kick a goal anyway, or getting your hands on it and panic-kicking it directly to an opposition player. Calebs ability to be everywhere getting the ball and delivering it safely out of the D50 is also a defensive aspect, and I reckon he is only going to get better at his individual defensive skills with experience. he hasnt been back there that long.
 
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fpcookie

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I think he is definitely an elite attacking defender a la Rory Laird. He can create scoring chances out of almost nothing. His ability to hold on to the ball until the right option presents is uncanny.

However, there is no doubt whatsoever that he gets caught out in 1v1 situations. His defensive 1v1 loss % is at 40.9%...far too high. Crozier sits at about 20% and Duryea is an astonishing 9%.

Personally I don't think he is part of our current best back six, things can change quickly in this game though.

B: Crozier, Trengove, Wood
HB: JJ, Cordy/Young, Duryea

This looks the right balance to me.

Elite or Liability? Somewhere in between me thinks...
Bev almost always picks an additional rebounder anyway and all 3 play similar TOG. Whether Daniel's starting on the bench or Duryea (who has usually been the one to start off this year) it doesn't really matter but IMO he's a lock for the best-22 defensive group (or whatever you want to call it).
 

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fpcookie

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Duryea loses 10% of his 1:1 defensive contests. which is amazing (off a small sample size). Morris career average was 24% (playing on some elite opponents tho)
Caleb loses 40% of his 1:1 defensive contests, which is about the same as Cordy and Wood, but double Crozier.

That seems like whoah, all three are huge defensive liabilities.

But to put that into perspective, he is involved in an average of 1.3 such contests per game. To quote Pulp Fiction, do you see a sign on his front lawn that says "defensive 1:1 contests" ?

And Cordy is involved on average 3, and wood 1.7

I think it would be fair to say that Bev would love it if all of his defenders were never involved in any 1:1 defensive contests, because defence is more about positioning and teamwork and taking up space and pressure all over the field. Ill bet according to him, if we are defending a 1:1 contest inside the D50, something has already gone wrong. But things do go wrong - not saying defensive skill is unimportant. But it is a defensive team thing. You might defend 12 such contests a game, and you want hardly any of them to involve your offensive half backs.

Caleb performs performs twice as many tackles as duryea and significantly more pressure acts as well. He is just a very busy player both offensively and defensively. And he has more score involvement as well, although I think it would be fair to say that is more due to weight of possession than decisive disposals. 'scoring involvement per possession' rate seems about the same.

I dont really have a point other to say I think individual defensive skills are great, and failure of individual defensive skills can be very glaring, but team defence is far more significant. No use winning a spoil and then having the opposition swoop on the ground ball and kick a goal anyway, or getting your hands on it and kicking it directly to an opposition player. Calebs ability to be everywhere getting the ball and delivering it safely out of the D50 is also a defensive aspect, and I reckon he is only going to get better at his individual defensive skills with experience. he hasnt been back there that long.
Agreed. If he's contesting 1on1, something has gone wrong somewhere else down the line. I would imagine that would piss Bev off more than him losing half a contest a game.

Good point on the tackles/pressure acts.

Another point is that I think he's been somewhat found out in other positions. Yes he can move forward/wing and be ok, but you need to actually be able to mark the ball in a contest playing up the ground. If he's up there you're essentially removing one player you can move the ball through. He just cannot compete aerially like McLean or Dale or even Dickson who has a strong base/low centre of gravity which lets him compete pretty well with a long ball. At least in the backline Daniel's deficiency in the air can be mitigated by the defensive system in place.
 

fpcookie

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Building on the idea of him getting found out up the ground, I was trying to figure out when Bev moved him to the backline last year.... This led me to look at his heatmaps as well as search some threads. Based on that I'm pretty sure it was Round 20 against St Kilda (but someone with a better memory may be able to correct). Anyway it was interesting reading some comments in that post-game thread (names removed to protect the innocent):
Caleb Daniel justifying his selection for the first time in months.
Daniel in the backline was much influential if he has any time he rarely misses a target by foot.
Daniel - Another one who’s been badly out of form, much much better tonight.
Daniel played his best game of the season by a long way.
Speaking of Daniel, really played well. I’ve missed that
Half back role for Caleb worked well!
Daniel played his best game for the year. A bit of the quarterback style distribution. That's got to be his future in footy. He too might have been responding to internal reviews and a bit of public pressure.
He followed this 29 possession game up with a 40 bomb against north, 23 against carlton and 29 against the tigers. He was previously averaging 18.6 disposals per game up to that point in the season. Obviously he's brought that kind of form into this year averaging 26.5 a game.

TLDR: On exposed form, backline is his best position.
 

Yojimbo

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Points conceded is the basis of my theory, not judgement or critique:

Facts:
21 Games, 1,723 Points Conceded or 82.05 Points Per Game
17 Games, 1,504 Points Conceded or 88.47 Points Per Game (With CD for 7 x W, 10 x L)
4 Games, 219 Points Conceded or 54.75 Points Per Game (Sans CD for 4 x W)

Best in the AFL 2019:
21 Games, 1,401 Points Conceded or 66.71 Points Per Game (Geelong)

Now as I said earlier did the Demons (66), Cats (55), Bombers (33) or Giants (65) contribute to the
points conceded, maybe it's hard to prove and you would need behind the goals footage to see a
variance in structure. Does the whole get it his hands theory slow us down and make us easier to
defend, too hard to prove. This is not a witch hunt just something I cannot easily explain, simple.
 

Snarls Barkley

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I like the mix we’ve got in the backline at the moment. Had an excellent season at half back prior to his injuries, would’ve been in the top few of the B&F, but wouldn’t mind him moving further up the ground to wing/half forward and moving him to half back if he needs to get into the game a bit more and get his hands on the ball.
 

immortalmike

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Pretty obvious the answer is both.
He is pure offense plain and simple. The problem is when asked to defend or make a goal saving tackle or spoil he rarely does.
The best half backs can do both. Caleb will never be able to. The question is can we cover his defensive weaknesses. Or do we move him because we can get 70% of his offense elsewhere with 100% more defense. This very well might be Duryea.
 

zucvv

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Round 20 in Brisbane, Round 18 v Saints were typical showing of CD, once the opposition got ahead of us, we scrapped for 4 quarters and never a chance wrestle back our way like the games v Melbourne, Geelong, Essendon & GWS (thank God all without CD).

Do you know why? How could we play to our strength to get momentum back, when we were literally one man down all game because there always have to be another teammate out of position covering his ass, for all his glorified 30+ possies/dinky kicks.

Ineffective offensively, liability defensively, massive hole to our structure. For a generally slow-start team like us, CD is the flaw we can not afford.

Bye Bye Caleb.
 
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mattwa

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Jeeez theres a huge overreaction here. Remember how pitiful our inside 50 ball use and conversion was at the start of the season? If we had tidied that up like we have now we would have conceded far less points. The amount of ball on turnover CD was exposed too was why he got caught out and that was only because he was the hardest worker in the team so he got back. I didnt think he was a liability defensively all year if you watch the games he was very solid. CD signed long term so the club clearly rate him
 

Spectre

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Round 20 in Brisbane, Round 18 v Saints were typical showing of CD, once the opposition got ahead of us, we scrapped for 4 quarters and never a chance wrestle back our way like the games v Melbourne, Geelong, Essendon & GWS (thank God all without CD).

Do you know why? How could we play to our strength to get momentum back, when we were literally one man down all game because there always have to be another teammate out of position covering his ass, for all his glorified 30+ possies/dinky kicks.

Ineffective offensively, liability defensively, massive hole to our structure. For a generally slow-start team like us, CD is the flaw we can not afford.

Bye Bye Caleb.
Wow, really? "Bye bye Caleb"? I'm totally on board with exploring the idea that our defensive setup slows down/is less effective in some aspects with him in the side, and that maybe a better spot for him is wing/hff. But the kid is an endurance athlete with elite ball use (that last trait being rare as hen's teeth on our list). Not sure that sticking him in a bag filled with bricks and pushing him off the side of a bridge is really the best use of his talent for our team!
 

TiAn_

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Pretty obvious the answer is both.
He is pure offense plain and simple. The problem is when asked to defend or make a goal saving tackle or spoil he rarely does.
The best half backs can do both. Caleb will never be able to. The question is can we cover his defensive weaknesses. Or do we move him because we can get 70% of his offense elsewhere with 100% more defense. This very well might be Duryea.
Caleb has made quite a few really good spoils this year, mostly on the wing when the opposition is coming out of our 50. He’s no worse than Hunter with his defensive aerial work imo. He’s got a good leap on him and times it well.
 

Charlie Bucket

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Sorry Dogwatch, but you’ve created another opportunity for WB BF posters to shit stain their credibility. This thread should be shelved with the 10 Bevo out threads that have been created this year.
 
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Clay

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Caleb is definitely in our best 22.

He looks bad when things fall apart around him for two reasons. First, if the defensive structure breaks down he can get caught out in a defensive aerial contest. He's arguably good in the air for his height but that's not worth much if his opponent has 20 cm on him. Second, he holds on to the ball for a long time to select a creative option in preference to the first available. That relies on teammates presenting.

Both of these things can look bad on the TV especially, which tends to zoom too tightly to the player in possession.

He's a good player.
 

Braybrook Son

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What he does do is use the ball well and make good decisions. I don’t like him kicking out from full back, as he hasn’t got the distance of Crozier, JJ or Suckling. I would like him setting up our forwards, as only Bont really feeds our forwards with silk. The likes of Smith, Hunter, Dunks, Macrae aren’t as efficient. I think Daniel forward of the wing would be great for our forward line.
 

fpcookie

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Points conceded is the basis of my theory, not judgement or critique:

Facts:
21 Games, 1,723 Points Conceded or 82.05 Points Per Game
17 Games, 1,504 Points Conceded or 88.47 Points Per Game (With CD for 7 x W, 10 x L)
4 Games, 219 Points Conceded or 54.75 Points Per Game (Sans CD for 4 x W)

Best in the AFL 2019:
21 Games, 1,401 Points Conceded or 66.71 Points Per Game (Geelong)

Now as I said earlier did the Demons (66), Cats (55), Bombers (33) or Giants (65) contribute to the
points conceded, maybe it's hard to prove and you would need behind the goals footage to see a
variance in structure. Does the whole get it his hands theory slow us down and make us easier to
defend, too hard to prove. This is not a witch hunt just something I cannot easily explain, simple.
Can explain it quite easily....lack of sample size.
 

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