Does it take too long for clubs to rebuild their lists?

Should the AFL system be tweaked to facilitate faster rebuilding of lists?

  • Yes

    Votes: 77 35.0%
  • No

    Votes: 143 65.0%

  • Total voters
    220

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Sweet Jesus

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I was listening to SEN this morning and I heard one of the more intriguing discussions between David King and Rohan Connolly about the time it takes for teams to rebuild their lists. They had quite a fiery disagreement and I think both made some reasonable points. I'll paraphrase.

David King was I think responding to a call from a Carlton fan who was ready to throw in the towel, and it prompted him to argue that it simply takes too long for teams to rebuild. According to King, you can't have sides down the bottom for five or even seven years. The effect, according to King, is that you'll have younger fans simply tuning out because they're not as invested as the older fans who are willing to endure such a lengthy lean period. He argued that we need even more fluid player movement to avoid the likes of Carlton, St Kilda and Melbourne (for example) being down as long as they have been.

Rohan Connolly acknowledged the point about young fans but disagreed that there should be any specific mechanism to expedite these rebuilds. He argued that if clubs make bad decisions off-field, there should be a price to pay. He also pointed out that in the AFL era, there have been 11 teams win premierships, which he said was actually pretty good. He also made the point that for the first time in 20 years, there is no undefeated team after four rounds, suggesting that some of the quality at the top has eroded and that further equalisation would actually be undesirable.

I can see both arguments. I think King is right about younger fans tuning out, although I don't accept we should tailor the competition according to the attention spans of eight-year-olds. I think Connolly is right in saying there must be a price paid for getting it wrong off-field, but I'm not sure the competition is actually as even as everyone says. It might be even on a micro level, in that any team can beat another on their day. But on a more macro level, look at the disparity in finals appearances over the past 10 years. It's not that even. Since 2007, Geelong have played finals 11 out of 12 seasons. Melbourne haven't played finals since 2006. Is that "even"?

But even if the competition isn't truly even, should it be? Surely there should be a difference in outcomes and attempts to over-engineer evenness are not necessarily desirable. If Hawthorn are good enough to win three flags in a row, why should we invent a mechanism to prevent that?

So with all that in mind, does it take too long for teams to rebuild their lists? Should there be further mechanisms in place to help it happen quicker? Or is the five- or six-year rebuild a reasonable price to pay for getting it wrong off-field?
 

Sweet Jesus

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This pretty much sums it up, I would have thought.
Sure - I guess the question is whether that price is disproportionately high.

The idea of priority picks in the past was that if you had teams who were down the bottom for long enough, they'd get more bites of the cherry at the draft. The implementation of this was flawed, as it appeared to incentivise tanking, but the objective wasn't bad.
 

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MaddAdam

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Rohan Connolly ... argued that if clubs make bad decisions off-field, there should be a price to pay.
How times change.

But sledging Fatso McRedAndBlackFacePaint aside, it doesn't take too long to rebuild their lists.

Dogs did OK in 2016 with a relatively new list. North's rebuild looks like taking three years (we're in year two) before we'd be looking at finals again.

Carlton and St Kilda and Melbourne have had all the possible help you can imagine - gifted multiple top end "priority picks". GIven massive AFL assistance right down to financing coaches.

No, stop tweaking the system.

Even when you try and equalizing everything possible, you can't actually MAKE teams good again.
 

Cincinnatus

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There are plenty of examples of teams who, in the AFL era which has now been going 30 odd years, never seem to have hit rock bottom. They may have lapsed and missed finals but never seen the perpetual shithole that is/was Brisbane and Melbourne in the last decade.

Why? Rebuilds on the run. Prime example is the Hawks. Their golden era was over for all to see after the straight sets exit in 2016 and in 2017 missed finals (just). The trajectory was downwards and yet in 2018 they have shown signs they are bouncing back up.

Geelong and Sydney have been up thereabouts for years and years and yet have blooded youth at the same time.


There are some clubs who may not have been great consistently but at least have never bottomed out.

Clubs do it to themselves. Melbourne had a sh*t list and got in a good coach who put them on the path to success and they go and appoint a sh*t coach.

Carlton has a list manager who does deals according to his ego and not the needs of the clubs.

Brisbane made some really, really sh*t picks on the mental side of things. Theyve been a tad unlucky but still heaps of dumb decisions.

Clubs dont need to bottom out. It does seem difficult for those who have lately to climb out of it easily.

I think it a club is bottom 6 for more than 5 years and not on an upward trajectory they need to clean out the whole place.
 

Sweet Jesus

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How times change.

But sledging Fatso McRedAndBlackFacePaint aside, it doesn't take too long to rebuild their lists.

Dogs did OK in 2016 with a relatively new list. North's rebuild looks like taking three years (we're in year two) before we'd be looking at finals again.

Carlton and St Kilda and Melbourne have had all the possible help you can imagine - gifted multiple top end "priority picks". GIven massive AFL assistance right down to financing coaches.

No, stop tweaking the system.

Even when you try and equalizing everything possible, you can't actually MAKE teams good again.
Sure, I guess this is the crux. Even if there were further equalisation mechanisms that worked, is further equalisation even desirable?

David King offered the specific example of a mid-season draft and suggested that a club in contention needing to shore up their defence might offer North Melbourne something attractive for the likes of Robbie Tarrant. That would, in theory, expedite North Melbourne's rebuild with additional draft picks. But at the same time, you'd have experienced top-liners jumping ship from a mid-table club to join a contender mid-season. That might be one way to funnel draft picks from the top to the bottom but if there's experienced talent going the other way, I'm not sure that works either. That's not equalisation. That's top teams stockpiling proven talent.
 

TedDougChris

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Sometimes it's a combination of a whole lot of little things.

Do you have the right coach for the rebuild, will he play the kids and let them develop ? Do you have a good recruiting structure, are you an attractive FA target for players ? What are the weaknesses in your list, how do you intend to plug the holes ? Are you playing a modern game style, or something that is already outdated ?

Sometimes it's a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Need a KPP ? None in this draft, when you have decent picks. Next year, there are plenty - but then you have to wait for them to develop. So that is two years of pain, then 3 years of development - before you get anything out of your much hoped for KPP saviour.... Sometimes you reach, knowing that they are difficult to get and overlook someone you really shouldn't have.

It's never the same for two different clubs....
 

rogiebear93

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This pretty much sums it up, I would have thought.
I agree, you can't legislate an even competition. There's no way for the AFL to force teams to compete better, because with all the young talent that clubs like Carlton and Melbourne have, they should be doing a lot better than they are.

Hawthorn have 2 or 3 top 10 picks on their list at the moment. One of them is 31, the other is 35. Carlton have something in the late teens, 17 perhaps.

This is already beyond even.
 

Sweet Jesus

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There are plenty of examples of teams who, in the AFL era which has now been going 30 odd years, never seem to have hit rock bottom. They may have lapsed and missed finals but never seen the perpetual shithole that is/was Brisbane and Melbourne in the last decade.

Why? Rebuilds on the run. Prime example is the Hawks. Their golden era was over for all to see after the straight sets exit in 2016 and in 2017 missed finals (just). The trajectory was downwards and yet in 2018 they have shown signs they are bouncing back up.

Geelong and Sydney have been up thereabouts for years and years and yet have blooded youth at the same time.

There are some clubs who may not have been great consistently but at least have never bottomed out.
I still suspect the greatest predictor of this kind of sustained success is the ability to do well in a couple of consecutive drafts.

If you can go to three drafts in a row and add two players each year, all of whom play 200 games over the next 10-12 years, that is the base for sustained success. Because within that period, assuming you retain that core, you can basically take two runs at contending, maybe with a brief top-up period in the middle rather than a root-and-branch rebuild, because you've still got that core of players. You just need to refurbish everything around them with astute trading/free agency moves.

Clubs who don't get that run of draft success – let's say two effective picks in three drafts in a row – have a much harder time making that consistent, sustained improvement because their list profile is out of whack.

Look at Carlton – just as they were improving last season, they lose Gibbs. And it made sense to ship him out because he was 29 and there was a sweet deal on offer. But they then take a hit without him this year. Should they trade out Kreuzer and Murphy this season on the same logic?
 
Last edited:

Power Raid

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I was listening to SEN this morning and I heard one of the more intriguing discussions between David King and Rohan Connolly about the time it takes for teams to rebuild their lists. They had quite a fiery disagreement and I think both made some reasonable points. I'll paraphrase.

David King was I think responding to a call from a Carlton fan who was ready to throw in the towel, and it prompted him to argue that it simply takes too long for teams to rebuild. According to King, you can't have sides down the bottom for five or even seven years. The effect, according to King, is that you'll have younger fans simply tuning out because they're not as invested as the older fans who are willing to endure such a lengthy lean period. He argued that we need even more fluid player movement to avoid the likes of Carlton, St Kilda and Melbourne (for example) being down as long as they have been.

Rohan Connolly acknowledged the point about young fans but disagreed that there should be any specific mechanism to expedite these rebuilds. He argued that if clubs make bad decisions off-field, there should be a price to pay. He also pointed out that in the AFL era, there have been 11 teams win premierships, which he said was actually pretty good. He also made the point that for the first time in 20 years, there is no undefeated team after four rounds, suggesting that some of the quality at the top has eroded and that further equalisation would actually be undesirable.

I can see both arguments. I think King is right about younger fans tuning out, although I don't accept we should tailor the competition according to the attention spans of eight-year-olds. I think Connolly is right in saying there must be a price paid for getting it wrong off-field, but I'm not sure the competition is actually as even as everyone says. It might be even on a micro level, in that any team can beat another on their day. But on a more macro level, look at the disparity in finals appearances over the past 10 years. It's not that even. Since 2007, Geelong have played finals 11 out of 12 seasons. Melbourne haven't played finals since 2006. Is that "even"?

But even if the competition isn't truly even, should it be? Surely there should be a difference in outcomes and attempts to over-engineer evenness are not necessarily desirable. If Hawthorn are good enough to win three flags in a row, why should we invent a mechanism to prevent that?

So with all that in mind, does it take too long for teams to rebuild their lists? Should there be further mechanisms in place to help it happen quicker? Or is the five- or six-year rebuild a reasonable price to pay for getting it wrong off-field?
no doubt both are right.

Port was sh*t for too long as we had sh*t management and bureaucracy (thanks to our SANFL owners) who starved the club of funds and appointed dick heads. So no doubt what happens off field, effects the on field.

That said we have a system that does take too long to rebuild and free player movement is required. The AFL shouldn't manage teams via restraint of trade, rather through budgets. Lower teams and special needs teams (expansion clubs) end up with bigger budgets and thus attract players or retain players.

I know it's too business like for most but the AFL is a business.
 

Sweet Jesus

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no doubt both are right.

Port was sh*t for too long as we had sh*t management and bureaucracy (thanks to our SANFL owners) who starved the club of funds and appointed dick heads. So no doubt what happens off field, effects the on field.

That said we have a system that does take too long to rebuild and free player movement is required. The AFL shouldn't manage teams via restraint of trade, rather through budgets. Lower teams and special needs teams (expansion clubs) end up with bigger budgets and thus attract players or retain players.

I know it's too business like for most but the AFL is a business.
But if you're down the bottom, is throwing big money at a 26-year-old or 27-year-old free agent really the right move?

Surely the smarter long-term move is loading up on draft picks and hopefully getting them right, so you have a core of players who come through together.

If clubs get that wrong, they almost panic and start sniffing around for a quick fix via free agency. But if you don't have that core in place, that quick fix likely won't work.
 

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gillo94

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I was listening to SEN this morning and I heard one of the more intriguing discussions between David King and Rohan Connolly about the time it takes for teams to rebuild their lists. They had quite a fiery disagreement and I think both made some reasonable points. I'll paraphrase.

David King was I think responding to a call from a Carlton fan who was ready to throw in the towel, and it prompted him to argue that it simply takes too long for teams to rebuild. According to King, you can't have sides down the bottom for five or even seven years. The effect, according to King, is that you'll have younger fans simply tuning out because they're not as invested as the older fans who are willing to endure such a lengthy lean period. He argued that we need even more fluid player movement to avoid the likes of Carlton, St Kilda and Melbourne (for example) being down as long as they have been.

Rohan Connolly acknowledged the point about young fans but disagreed that there should be any specific mechanism to expedite these rebuilds. He argued that if clubs make bad decisions off-field, there should be a price to pay. He also pointed out that in the AFL era, there have been 11 teams win premierships, which he said was actually pretty good. He also made the point that for the first time in 20 years, there is no undefeated team after four rounds, suggesting that some of the quality at the top has eroded and that further equalisation would actually be undesirable.

I can see both arguments. I think King is right about younger fans tuning out, although I don't accept we should tailor the competition according to the attention spans of eight-year-olds. I think Connolly is right in saying there must be a price paid for getting it wrong off-field, but I'm not sure the competition is actually as even as everyone says. It might be even on a micro level, in that any team can beat another on their day. But on a more macro level, look at the disparity in finals appearances over the past 10 years. It's not that even. Since 2007, Geelong have played finals 11 out of 12 seasons. Melbourne haven't played finals since 2006. Is that "even"?

But even if the competition isn't truly even, should it be? Surely there should be a difference in outcomes and attempts to over-engineer evenness are not necessarily desirable. If Hawthorn are good enough to win three flags in a row, why should we invent a mechanism to prevent that?

So with all that in mind, does it take too long for teams to rebuild their lists? Should there be further mechanisms in place to help it happen quicker? Or is the five- or six-year rebuild a reasonable price to pay for getting it wrong off-field?
Clubs on the bottom for lengthy time should get increased salary caps and priority picks.

If Blues Lions finish bottom 4 again, the league needs start giving 2 picks to each in the top 10. Brisbane go home factor league needs to increase length of rookie contracts to 3 years. There is a start.
 

Bunk Moreland

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I was listening to SEN this morning and I heard one of the more intriguing discussions between David King and Rohan Connolly about the time it takes for teams to rebuild their lists. They had quite a fiery disagreement and I think both made some reasonable points. I'll paraphrase.

David King was I think responding to a call from a Carlton fan who was ready to throw in the towel, and it prompted him to argue that it simply takes too long for teams to rebuild. According to King, you can't have sides down the bottom for five or even seven years. The effect, according to King, is that you'll have younger fans simply tuning out because they're not as invested as the older fans who are willing to endure such a lengthy lean period. He argued that we need even more fluid player movement to avoid the likes of Carlton, St Kilda and Melbourne (for example) being down as long as they have been.

Rohan Connolly acknowledged the point about young fans but disagreed that there should be any specific mechanism to expedite these rebuilds. He argued that if clubs make bad decisions off-field, there should be a price to pay. He also pointed out that in the AFL era, there have been 11 teams win premierships, which he said was actually pretty good. He also made the point that for the first time in 20 years, there is no undefeated team after four rounds, suggesting that some of the quality at the top has eroded and that further equalisation would actually be undesirable.

I can see both arguments. I think King is right about younger fans tuning out, although I don't accept we should tailor the competition according to the attention spans of eight-year-olds. I think Connolly is right in saying there must be a price paid for getting it wrong off-field, but I'm not sure the competition is actually as even as everyone says. It might be even on a micro level, in that any team can beat another on their day. But on a more macro level, look at the disparity in finals appearances over the past 10 years. It's not that even. Since 2007, Geelong have played finals 11 out of 12 seasons. Melbourne haven't played finals since 2006. Is that "even"?

But even if the competition isn't truly even, should it be? Surely there should be a difference in outcomes and attempts to over-engineer evenness are not necessarily desirable. If Hawthorn are good enough to win three flags in a row, why should we invent a mechanism to prevent that?

So with all that in mind, does it take too long for teams to rebuild their lists? Should there be further mechanisms in place to help it happen quicker? Or is the five- or six-year rebuild a reasonable price to pay for getting it wrong off-field?
Carlton’s rebuild was going pretty well until they sacked Ratten. They had one poor year and lost their nerve. They’re paying the price for it.
 

MaddAdam

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Sure, I guess this is the crux. Even if there were further equalisation mechanisms that worked, is further equalisation even desirable?

David King offered the specific example of a mid-season draft and suggested that a club in contention needing to shore up their defence might offer North Melbourne something attractive for the likes of Robbie Tarrant. That would, in theory, expedite North Melbourne's rebuild with additional draft picks. But at the same time, you'd have experienced top-liners jumping ship from a mid-table club to join a contender mid-season. That might be one way to funnel draft picks from the top to the bottom but if there's experienced talent going the other way, I'm not sure that works either. That's not equalisation. That's top teams stockpiling proven talent.
It depends. In that scenario, we'd be very unlikely to trade out Taz, because we need him during the rebuild. His experience, his ability to coach young defenders like Ed Vickers Willis onfield, his playing ability to help us win games, or avoid blowouts. This is the thing about rebuilding, there is a belief that rebuilding is:

Trade out experienced players for draft picks.

Draft kids.

????? whatever Hawthorn did in 2004-06

Premierships!

Reality is it is different for every club, every list, at every time. There is no magic solution. Melbourne's attempt to game the system and tank backfired on them miserably.

Poor old BRissy have recruited some great players who bailed on them so now have to rebuild through the prism of a go home factor.

GC and GWD came in and distorted recruiting for the best part of a decade. Some clubs thought "Aha! We'll just steal GWS players or take the inevitable talented blokes that can't get game" - hasn't worked out as planned for the two major clubs doing that, Carlton and Collingwood.

There is no template for rebuilding.

Jeez, what changed at Richmond between late August 2016 and late March 2017? Something that won them a flag.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Clubs on the bottom for lengthy time should get increased salary caps and priority picks.
Salary cap, no. Extra picks, maybe. But I would say those picks should be in second and third rounds, not first.

If Blues Lions finish bottom 4 again, the league needs start giving 2 picks to each in the top 10.
Disagree.

Brisbane go home factor league needs to increase length of rookie contracts to 3 years. There is a start.
I think that's up to the club. There's nothing to stop them asking a rookie to extend early on a chunk of extra cash.
 

Kram

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Clubs on the bottom for lengthy time should get increased salary caps and priority picks.

If Blues Lions finish bottom 4 again, the league needs start giving 2 picks to each in the top 10. Brisbane go home factor league needs to increase length of rookie contracts to 3 years. There is a start.
lol, give us a spell.
 
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Rack Watts

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Clubs on the bottom for lengthy time should get increased salary caps and priority picks.

If Blues Lions finish bottom 4 again, the league needs start giving 2 picks to each in the top 10. Brisbane go home factor league needs to increase length of rookie contracts to 3 years. There is a start.
Or you can fire people until you get it right?
 

TedDougChris

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Salary cap, no. Extra picks, maybe. But I would say those picks should be in second and third rounds, not first.
I said this years ago with Melbourne's problems. There is no point giving them extra top end picks - as if they keep stuffing up their drafting, they will never get any better (except by random chance - if they just happen to pick someone good by accident).

You needed to teach them to recruit players with the right attributes. It's like the old saying 'Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime'. Sorry for the brief diversion into philosophy, but it's related. Look at the Dogs 2016 GF side: Morris, Boyd, Picken, Roberts, Dahl - all off the rookie list or PSD (might even be more than that).

Give a poorly performing club another pick or two (or three or four) - in the rookie draft, with an expanded list (but no, or minimal salary cap extension) - then cut that expanded list by one every year - until they are back in line with everyone else. Teach them to look for the hard working guys that will do anything (except The Recruit !!) to get onto an AFL list. There are still good players out there in the lower leagues.

Then use those guys and a few carefully selected others (like Crossy helped at Melbourne) drive the standards on and off the field - and things will slowly turn around.
 

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