Analysis Can't beat 'em, join 'em? Or can Geelong beat Tigerball in the future?

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muzhogg

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I am sure Hardwick has said that they identified their strength early in 2017 after a few finals failures was their speed. I guess they've then built a side of a bunch of quick smaller players, and even some taller ones who also have pace (and of course Dusty), and worked on that in 2017 and by season's end it was obviously proven to be successful. Their players have come through a fair few years of development as a group under Hardwick, and they believe 110% in their style, with good reason.
Sorry for intruding, but saw the threat title and thought I'd have a nosey little peek. :)

All I'll say is that you got this bit 100% correct.

I don't recall when it was (after the 2017 GF perhaps?) Hardwick spoke about a meeting that was held at the end of 2016 between the coaching and recruiting staff. One thing that came out of that meeting was that the two groups weren't on exactly the same page. The recruiters had been targeting good runners and for whatever reason the coaching staff didn't know about this or didn't exploit it.

Anyway, it lead to a major change in game-plan with a focus on speed being a big part of the new model.

Even Dusty, incidentally, was quicker across the first 20m than any other player in his draft.

Of course, none of this is news. Chris Scott has identified it as something that other clubs need to counter. He's also commented that it's not just something other clubs can replicate. First it takes time to recruit all those running types, then it takes time to coach them in a game style to suit.

Don't ask me how to counter this. I'm a long way from anything like a tactical genius so I really have no idea.

The only point is to confirm that you got the bit about "speed" correct.
 

someday-somehow

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I actually think Geelong have the game that can beat Richmonds style of play. The PF last year and the first half of GF this year showed it. It was wet and slippery last night early and Geelong were up under those conditions. Better decision making, better kicking to players on a lead, more space, more pressure, they didn't hang onto the ball they played on and still made it look good. They were winning everything that mattered. Richmond couldn't take an intercept mark and had no rebound it looked like it was going to blow out tbh. What it looks like to me is Geelong play a classical skilled style of football, it really is nice to watch. It does really well in the season proper and they win a lot of games. They played that skilled style with a faster tempo in the finals this year and it looked the goods. The Brisbane PF was a really good example of the same tweaked game style they used against Richmond. But they only played that tweaked style for a half or so. They just don't seem to do it the whole game , they either can't because they aren't conditioned to do it because the play on much faster piece is not something they train to do consistently or they get challenged and go back to what they know works for them all year. It's probably a combination of both tbh.
They can't maintain that level of pressure for more than 1/2. I don't know how many times we have to see it. We also cannot rely on having the perfect playing conditions continually. I mean the Tigers lost a key defender early - didn't matter - they belted us anyway, and yes a 53 point turnaround is a belting.
 

CatToTheFuture

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As Biggy pointed out the tigers are a 'system' team so theoretically they can keep winning until someone comes up with a 'counter system'
Scott tried to come up with something but it clearly doesn't work against them
Back to the drawing board..
I agree but I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. But for Dustin Martin on the weekend we'd have run very close to winning that game so I think system against system they're fairly well matched.

It's kind of redundant. With Cameron we become a far more attacking side, if we can't move the ball fast inside 50 it'll come to ground and with Richmond's rebound we will be burned but if we do we will score heavily.

Next year's cats system will not look remotely similar rightly or wrongly
 

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CatToTheFuture

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Sorry for intruding, but saw the threat title and thought I'd have a nosey little peek. :)

All I'll say is that you got this bit 100% correct.

I don't recall when it was (after the 2017 GF perhaps?) Hardwick spoke about a meeting that was held at the end of 2016 between the coaching and recruiting staff. One thing that came out of that meeting was that the two groups weren't on exactly the same page. The recruiters had been targeting good runners and for whatever reason the coaching staff didn't know about this or didn't exploit it.

Anyway, it lead to a major change in game-plan with a focus on speed being a big part of the new model.

Even Dusty, incidentally, was quicker across the first 20m than any other player in his draft.

Of course, none of this is news. Chris Scott has identified it as something that other clubs need to counter. He's also commented that it's not just something other clubs can replicate. First it takes time to recruit all those running types, then it takes time to coach them in a game style to suit.

Don't ask me how to counter this. I'm a long way from anything like a tactical genius so I really have no idea.

The only point is to confirm that you got the bit about "speed" correct.
Completely agree. I think the cats have been working on a defensive style that they think can match Richmond though which is based on forward 50 pressure, a tall backline, and elite endurance runners.

The same way Richmond used to pressure a losing clearance to create a turnover and rebound the cats have been sending Atkins, Rohan, Dahlhaus to pressure the forward exit to slow down rebound. Then that affected disposal into the midfield looks up to see a tall backline and ideally forces them to a short option again buying time. Then with a window where runners like miers, Menegola, Blitz can run back to support we end up getting ground level players in there.

Doesn't work if oppo can move it quick enough and if we have to play a second ruckman + Cameron + Hawkins that whole system is going to be in the bin
 

Greg Tivendale

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I think if Geelong are to win the 2021 premiership they will need to change their game style as it simply doesn't hold up on the biggest stage in a high pressure environment.

Auskick (as some of you have called it) on the other hand gets the job done.

Is it pretty...no
Does it win flags.....yes

All the best for 2021
 
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We need to prioritize clean handlers and quick thinkers. With Joel, Danger, Menegola, Duncan, Parfitt as key mids we are sloooww across the ground but strong in a contest. We need more like Clark, Close and Simpson who are good scrappers with excellent footy IQ young and quicker reflexes. Where this leaves the likes of Dahlhaus, Atkins, Tuohy, and C Guthrie I’m not sure. Miers has X factor and high footy IQ but is not quick. Rohan is super quick and competes in the air but with Cameron coming do we still need him?

we can’t stay with this current structure of medium talls who can’t get to contests in a hurry
 

GoGeta

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Even Scott said you just can’t copy a game plan and expect it to work. You need the personnel to implement it. Cats were on the forward half pressure bandwagon pre 19 I think when Scarlo gave an interview, but not really been like that last half of this year. But tigers don’t mess around so I want forward metres gain to be top of the list on the whiteboard. Cats just over handball in a stoppage situation which invites pressure.
Spot on. I was yelling at the t.v, YOU'RE GOING TO COME UNSTUCK!

1 handball to feed it out of the pack, 2 at most if more clearing room is needed but then KICK IT! Gotta back our guys in the next contest if a target isn't open, in a high pressure game like that against the Tiges we don't have to copy them but we do need to move the ball forward more as they do.
 

PhatBoy

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Probably the same as every year.
1.Congrats to themselves for being competitive in an even competition.
2. Charge more for seats
3. Get any mature players possible

yeah very likely. I can imagine a multi million dollar professional sporting organisation losing a grand final and not sitting down and making assessments about what the best options are to make up that gap.

I'm sure they're much more pre-occupied with not making up that gap. It's a very likely assessment.
 

PhatBoy

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To borrow from the Matthews Lions, if it bleeds you can kill it.

If we can dominate them for a half, in consecutive 'biggest two matches on the calendar' ranked by importance, there is no reason to say it can't be done for a full game.

If you were a batsman facing Shane Warne in the 90s and you had a gameplan to him that repeatedly saw you get to 60-70 before he got you out, without converting it into a big hundred, would you really walk away and think 'well there's no way that idea is going to work.' Of course you wouldn't. You'd fine tune it, you would adapt it, you would build on it and waterproof it, you would get better at it.
 

catscollector

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To borrow from the Matthews Lions, if it bleeds you can kill it.

If we can dominate them for a half, in consecutive 'biggest two matches on the calendar' ranked by importance, there is no reason to say it can't be done for a full game.

If you were a batsman facing Shane Warne in the 90s and you had a gameplan to him that repeatedly saw you get to 60-70 before he got you out, without converting it into a big hundred, would you really walk away and think 'well there's no way that idea is going to work.' Of course you wouldn't. You'd fine tune it, you would adapt it, you would build on it and waterproof it, you would get better at it.
Big difference in age demographics when Leigh Matthews coached Brisbane against the all and conquering Essendon of 2001.
Their list was youthful. They had players who could gut run until they threw up on the boundary line.
They were a much more physical and tougher team than Geelong of 2020.

Geelong just faced a Richmond side who were younger and fitter than themselves. If any team is going to be conquering them, it won't be us. Much more likely it is a team on the brink who have a balanced age profile and have now experienced finals for a couple of years in a row.
 

PhatBoy

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Big difference in age demographics when Leigh Matthews coached Brisbane against the all and conquering Essendon of 2001.
Their list was youthful. They had players who could gut run until they threw up on the boundary line.
They were a much more physical and tougher team than Geelong of 2020.

Geelong just faced a Richmond side who were younger and fitter than themselves. If any team is going to be conquering them, it won't be us. Much more likely it is a team on the brink who have a balanced age profile and have now experienced finals for a couple of years in a row.

I'm not comparing the situation I'm just borrowing the saying.

I don't think it is youth that is beating us. How many times when the game was on the line the other night, did a ball just 'happen' to spill out of a 50-50 contest into the lap of a Richmond player? How many times when we could have easily corralled or belted Martin, was he able to slip the tackle or, inexplicably given that EVERYON knows he will do it, fend a player off up top?

I'm not saying it was luck - far from it - Richmond though when the crunch came, were able to win all those contests and mostly it was by better positioning and better reading of the play. Those things can't be taught per se but they can be studied and worked on. And yeah you could say that at the age most of our players are, the important ones, those things aren't going to improve. But look at Hawkins' ruck work. It's almost like in 18 months he's developed a sixth sense to go with his enormous strength and it has made him a huge threat. No you can't get quicker once you hit 30 but you can get smarter, and you can legitimately be fitter too.
 

catscollector

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I'm not comparing the situation I'm just borrowing the saying.

I don't think it is youth that is beating us. How many times when the game was on the line the other night, did a ball just 'happen' to spill out of a 50-50 contest into the lap of a Richmond player? How many times when we could have easily corralled or belted Martin, was he able to slip the tackle or, inexplicably given that EVERYON knows he will do it, fend a player off up top?

I'm not saying it was luck - far from it - Richmond though when the crunch came, were able to win all those contests and mostly it was by better positioning and better reading of the play. Those things can't be taught per se but they can be studied and worked on. And yeah you could say that at the age most of our players are, the important ones, those things aren't going to improve. But look at Hawkins' ruck work. It's almost like in 18 months he's developed a sixth sense to go with his enormous strength and it has made him a huge threat. No you can't get quicker once you hit 30 but you can get smarter, and you can legitimately be fitter too.
But with youth comes the ability to outrun your opponent.
It's like anything in life, no matter how fit and how well you look after yourself, you aren't going to be running as many miles as what you did in your mid 20's without feeling it as much, or as often.
It is why world records in olympics are all broken by young men and women in their early 20's.

Geelong had 11 players aged 29+ on Saturday night. Half the starting 22 was on the wrong side of their athletic prime.
 

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PhatBoy

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But with youth comes the ability to outrun your opponent.
It's like anything in life, no matter how fit and how well you look after yourself, you aren't going to be running as many miles as what you did in your mid 20's without feeling it as much, or as often.
It is why world records in olympics are all broken by young men and women in their early 20's.

Geelong had 11 players aged 29+ on Saturday night. Half the starting 22 was on the wrong side of their athletic prime.

Again like I said speed wise I can accept that we are past that. (for what it's worth 3 of the last 4 athletes to win a gold medal and not have it stripped were 29, 30 and 32 but yes in football terms I agree).

Fitness wise and ability to get through a game, that comes with conditioning and I believe it can be worked on. The next best thing to being able to keep up with a young, fit, fast opponent is to at least be running YOUR fastest at the end of the game even if it isn't as quick as his.
 

dazbroncos

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But with youth comes the ability to outrun your opponent.
It's like anything in life, no matter how fit and how well you look after yourself, you aren't going to be running as many miles as what you did in your mid 20's without feeling it as much, or as often.
It is why world records in olympics are all broken by young men and women in their early 20's.

Geelong had 11 players aged 29+ on Saturday night. Half the starting 22 was on the wrong side of their athletic prime.

Brisbane had youth and we beat them by 40 points.

Not sure the point stands as simply as you suggest.

GO Catters
 

Landgraft

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Trying to copy Richmond is an exercise in pointlessness, you won't be a better Richmond than they are.

The key to beating them is to understand the way they're playing and why - it has less to do with winning the game themselves and more to do with making the opposition lose. If you let them get you off-balance then the game is basically over.

This year they often seemed to deliberately vary the tempo in games, sitting back and defending for longer stretches to then press the attack harder at different stages. The team that beats them will need to develop a method that adjusts to the tempo more fluidly than Richmond does, and not get sucked into the narrative that their system is designed to build.

The other key thing is you can't invest too much in trying to prepare for any one single team. There will always come a point where every team in the league has changed, small shifts have occurred, and this is no longer the critical element to prepare for. I doubt a team designed to beat 2017 Richmond would have been able to stop the 2020 Richmond, for example. And their success is still dependant on a few key linchpins that will fail at some point or another.

Until then the best model (imo) is still undeniably to build your best team, identify their best game, and play the sh*t out of it. Reactive tactics are no way to live life.
 

Overhang

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Might have been mentioned in the review thread but it was interesting hearing Craig Jennings (former assistant and well regarded strategist) offer his insight into the game. I think Craig was the one to label the Richmond method as chaos footy a few years ago.
He is a firm believer that in finals football chaos beats control due to the added pressure in finals, the perceived pressure and the difficulty in having clean disposals vs a weight in numbers knock the ball forward at all costs type plan that is simply easier to execute in pressure games. In the first half Richmond elected to have an extra around the ball in an attempt to gain possession and be able to run the ball out with weight of numbers. We elected to have Stewart act as a loose man down back, due to the pressure of finals the extra number around the ball for Richmond wasn't providing them the run and carry they were aiming for as it was forcing them to kick under pressure where our extra number down back was able to intercept or kill the contest (Stewart was a damaging player to have as the loose). But after half time Richmond opted for even numbers around the ball and played 6-6-6, the affect of losing the number around the contest didn't change but it meant we couldn't pick off easy intercept marks.

He mentioned that he thinks any side that elects to kick backwards as part of their game plan next year will go backwards, more clubs will elect to a Chaos style gameplan. Scott was right though, it's not that easy to replicate otherwise everyone would be doing it, we are too far down the rabbit whole to switch to Chaos as we don't at all have the personal to replicate it. How do we beat Richmond, well you bring in Cameron in the forward line which means our best clearance player (Danger) doesn't need to sit in the forward line for 70% of the game. I don't know how Richmond did it but for a side that has always been poor at winning clearances they went on to beat the Saints, Port and us in clearances.
 

pollywaffle

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Reactive tactics are no way to live life
I think reactive tactics are part of our problem.
The ‘defensive‘ control the game plan we have been cultivating is not standing up to the chaos of finals. We almost cracked it this year, but again fell at the final hurdle.
Rinse and repeat or try something different?
 

catscollector

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Brisbane had youth and we beat them by 40 points.

Not sure the point stands as simply as you suggest.

GO Catters
Fair point.
I still feel like they are still too raw and inexperinced. They've now been up and about for two season in a row. There is no doubt Brisbane will be playing finals for a few years in a row now. Their list is primed and ready to go one step further.
 

goyoucatters

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I don't know how Richmond did it but for a side that has always been poor at winning clearances they went on to beat the Saints, Port and us in clearances.
Tigers were 17th for the season on average clearances. Saints were 11th, Port were first, and we were second.

Amazing effort from them then to ace all three teams in this area in their last three finals. And, whatever else you want to factor in, a massive contributor in their eventual triumph.

Having had a clear ascendancy in clearances in many games this year (making it a key component of our game plan), to see us lose this advantage in the GF to a team that averaged 7 clearances less per game across the season ended up being a gigantic factor in how the game was played.

Their GF clearance number was just under 50% greater than their average number across the season...
 
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Goggin Our Best

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Trying to copy Richmond is an exercise in pointlessness, you won't be a better Richmond than they are.

The key to beating them is to understand the way they're playing and why
- it has less to do with winning the game themselves and more to do with making the opposition lose. If you let them get you off-balance then the game is basically over.

This year they often seemed to deliberately vary the tempo in games, sitting back and defending for longer stretches to then press the attack harder at different stages. The team that beats them will need to develop a method that adjusts to the tempo more fluidly than Richmond does, and not get sucked into the narrative that their system is designed to build.

The other key thing is you can't invest too much in trying to prepare for any one single team. There will always come a point where every team in the league has changed, small shifts have occurred, and this is no longer the critical element to prepare for. I doubt a team designed to beat 2017 Richmond would have been able to stop the 2020 Richmond, for example. And their success is still dependant on a few key linchpins that will fail at some point or another.

Until then the best model (imo) is still undeniably to build your best team, identify their best game, and play the sh*t out of it. Reactive tactics are no way to live life.
I posted a few quotes that Luke Ryan ( Freo best and fairest - gun FB - love him at Geel - a bit of dash from the last line of defence ) gave about the upcoming GF

And i mentioned that Ryan said - Rich are very hard to play against because as a defender it feels like they have 25 players running forward

One bit i forgot to post - was the example he gave - he said Rich are like a rock at the top of a mountain - and he said if that rock starts to roll - you have to try and stop it right their and then - he said if you dont and it gets momentum you are history
 

Defibrillate

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I hope it’s ok to put my 2c worth in but I’ve posted a similar question on our thread. (And live around Geelong so but can’t help but follow your lads too given work conversations alone).

Some very astute and accurate observations above. The Cats will definitely be stronger next year with Cameron - especially if he’s coached to be a bit more defensive which I see as the only real weakness in his game - he is a real weapon for you though and will be a great get.

From my observations one of the biggest problems the Cats have in failing to put the Tigers away is quicker transition off halfback into our forward line catching our defense off guard. Our defense under the pump is well organised (if allowed to be) and can absorb huge amounts of pressure during bad patches and minimise damage. Once the Tigers coaching panel sorted out the spare you had in defense (Tom Stewart to his credit was outstanding) and reorganised the loss of Vlaustin by using McIntosh back and rejigging Balta and Astbury’s role, we were able to maintain pressure across the whole ground and put the game back on our terms structurally. But getting the ball in quickly like Collingwood Prelim 2018 exposes us badly.

We are lucky to have Baker, Houli and Short - even Markov - to allow quick transitions at speed off half back to get the chaos ball in early. I think your slower buildup from defense allows us to organise and put huge numbers behind the ball to slingshot back. They are vastly contrasting styles but one just seems more effective. So you can either pass your way through our defense - which is extremely difficult to maintain for a whole game, or match fire with fire. I think I’d be looking at springing more quickly off halfback - you certainly have the midfield users and forwards to create damage. And names like Clarke comes up and I’m not sure what else you have in the locker.
 

And_ROOS

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I agree but I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. But for Dustin Martin on the weekend we'd have run very close to winning that game so I think system against system they're fairly well matched.

It's kind of redundant. With Cameron we become a far more attacking side, if we can't move the ball fast inside 50 it'll come to ground and with Richmond's rebound we will be burned but if we do we will score heavily.

Next year's cats system will not look remotely similar rightly or wrongly
Seems to be the same thing every finals. But for Tom Lynch we would have won last year. But for Grundy we would have won the QF. But for Gawn and Oliver we would have beaten Melbourne.

Its funny how in finals in the last 5 years every other team has someone who steps up, and yet we don't? We just lack a big game performer.

At the end of the day, our gameplan is super effective during the season but it just doesn't get it done in finals and I don't understand why there hasn't been a major change in 4 years.

I also wonder if we have someone who scouts the opposition. Seems the last few finals its been predictable who will have a big match, we stick one player on them and leave them be.
I really think if we want to keep playing this game style, we need a better ruck and we need a proper tagger because over the last 6 years what tears us to bits in finals is a competent ruck for the opposition, and an attacking midfielder.
 

And_ROOS

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We failed too many times when Dangerfield was at the top of his game.
2016 was a golden opportunity lost.
Dangerfield is so bad at kicking for goal that I honestly wonder why we bother with him forward. And he is 30, so he won't be fixing that. Every time they zoom in on his sh*t goal kicking routine I get triggered.
 
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