Forensic Analysis of our 2020 Squad

Jack is Back

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After Trade Season we have 36 players left.

Whether you believe Reidy grabbed his scalpel and worked like a skilled microsurgeon or more like a drunk at the casino at 2 a.m. throwing chips at the roulette board hoping to get lucky, our squad has more holes than a slice of jarlsberg.

What do we have? What do we need? My analysis is based on the 2019 game plan and where players were played, along with their (second option).

TALL DEFENDERS - three required
Talia, Doedee, Hartigan, Butts, (Fogarty)
A bit light on imho. Are we all in Butts or perhaps plan to move The Berg or Billy into defence?

MEDIUM, SMALL DEFENDERS - four required
Brown, Laird, Smith, Kelly, Mackay, McPherson, Sholl, Hamill, (Milera).
We have a Jordan-load of these, Why? Surely Smith and Milera play in the midfield? Unfortunately we have only genuine lockdown small defender = Luke Brown.

OUTSIDE MIDS - two required
Seedsman, Atkins, Davis, (Mackay), (Gallucci), (Sloane), (Jones), (McHenry),(Knight).
We have only used experienced players in this role under The Don. Hopefully a change in game plan will prevent the obvious.

INSIDE MIDS - five required
Sloane, Brouch, Mrouch, Milera, Gibbs, Jones, Poholke, Wilson, (McHenry)
I’m sure the plan was for The Wayne to be a full-time mid this year but injuries to him and others stuffed this up. Unfortunately I think Gibbs is cooked and I would like to see Sloaney spend more time on the outside or forward. Great opportunities for the Kids this year?

RUCK - one required.
ROB...................(Strachan), (Frampton), (The Berg).
If ROB is injured will we simply forfeit?

TALL FORWARDS - two required.
Tex, The FOG, The Berg, Frampton, (Strachan)
Will we play two talls plus a tall/second ruck? A lot of potential but not really likely to put fear into our opposition.

FORWARD/RUCK - one required?
Strachan, (Himmelberg), (Frampton),
Imho a genuine three way shoot-out or will be go all left-field?

MEDIUM/SMALL FORWARDS plus a bit of midfield time - four required
Lynch, Murphy, Gallucci, Stengle, McHenry, McAdam, Knight, (Jones), (Poholke), (Milera).

So what do we need in the draft? Any delisted free agents worth a flutter?
 

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GreyCrow

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How much comes down to the new coach philosophy? Nicks is already talking about a msaller forward line - is that because of the list we currently have or will the list change further ?
 

Grenville

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After Trade Season we have 36 players left.

Whether you believe Reidy grabbed his scalpel and worked like a skilled microsurgeon or more like a drunk at the casino at 2 a.m. throwing chips at the roulette board hoping to get lucky, our squad has more holes than a slice of jarlsberg.

What do we have? What do we need? My analysis is based on the 2019 game plan and where players were played, along with their (second option).

TALL DEFENDERS - three required
Talia, Doedee, Hartigan, Butts, (Fogarty)
A bit light on imho. Are we all in Butts or perhaps plan to move The Berg or Billy into defence?

MEDIUM, SMALL DEFENDERS - four required
Brown, Laird, Smith, Kelly, Mackay, McPherson, Sholl, Hamill, (Milera).
We have a Jordan-load of these, Why? Surely Smith and Milera play in the midfield? Unfortunately we have only genuine lockdown small defender = Luke Brown.

OUTSIDE MIDS - two required
Seedsman, Atkins, Davis, (Mackay), (Gallucci), (Sloane), (Jones), (McHenry),(Knight).
We have only used experienced players in this role under The Don. Hopefully a change in game plan will prevent the obvious.

INSIDE MIDS - five required
Sloane, Brouch, Mrouch, Milera, Gibbs, Jones, Poholke, Wilson, (McHenry)
I’m sure the plan was for The Wayne to be a full-time mid this year but injuries to him and others stuffed this up. Unfortunately I think Gibbs is cooked and I would like to see Sloaney spend more time on the outside or forward. Great opportunities for the Kids this year?

RUCK - one required.
ROB...................(Strachan), (Frampton), (The Berg).
If ROB is injured will we simply forfeit?

TALL FORWARDS - two required.
Tex, The FOG, The Berg, Frampton, (Strachan)
Will we play two talls plus a tall/second ruck? A lot of potential but not really likely to put fear into our opposition.

FORWARD/RUCK - one required?
Strachan, (Himmelberg), (Frampton),
Imho a genuine three way shoot-out or will be go all left-field?

MEDIUM/SMALL FORWARDS plus a bit of midfield time - four required
Lynch, Murphy, Gallucci, Stengle, McHenry, McAdam, Knight, (Jones), (Poholke), (Milera).

So what do we need in the draft? Any delisted free agents worth a flutter?
If we're looking at a multi-year rebuild strategically - and we should be - then ideally you'd bring in the talls first to get them developing if the draft fits. I'll leave that to the draft experts, but would feel good about coming away with 1 of each (TF/TB/Ruck) this year. History suggests decent rucks and defenders can be found late, so if Hamish likes some talls late it'd be a solid play.
A highly rated, genuine tall forward should be hiugh on the list, although sounds like this might not be the draft for it. Can never have enough quality mids, so may need to save that for next year.

On the lock down small defender it is a gap. Knight has been floated as a tagger, but also wonder how he'd go with a Doughty-style career change to the back pocket?
 

Kane McGoodwin

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Last season we have usually selected:

- 3 tall/medium defenders (Doedee I would call a medium not a tall)
- 4 small defenders (though Kelly could play as a medium)
- 1 ruckman
- 4 inside midfielders
- 3 outside midfielders
- 3 tall/medium forwards (Lynch being the medium)
- 4 small forwards (some who may rotate through the midfield)

Will be interesting to see how Nicks structures the side.

- Do we stick to the same backline structure regardless or do we change it depending on the opposition's forward line (eg. whether Doedee plays as a 2nd or 3rd tall defender)?
- Do we rotate more players through the midfield/HBF/HFF?
- Who plays 2nd ruckman if Fog & Tex are the key forwards?
 

Mutineer

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If we're looking at a multi-year rebuild strategically - and we should be - then ideally you'd bring in the talls first to get them developing if the draft fits. I'll leave that to the draft experts, but would feel good about coming away with 1 of each (TF/TB/Ruck) this year. History suggests decent rucks and defenders can be found late, so if Hamish likes some talls late it'd be a solid play.
A highly rated, genuine tall forward should be hiugh on the list, although sounds like this might not be the draft for it. Can never have enough quality mids, so may need to save that for next year.

On the lock down small defender it is a gap. Knight has been floated as a tagger, but also wonder how he'd go with a Doughty-style career change to the back pocket?
Actually there's a few pretty decent talls that could/should be available around our 2nd - 3rd round picks, a couple maybe even a little later.
In order of preference for me.

1. Josh Worrell - KPD/KPF - 195cm 83kg

2. Sam De Koning - KPD/KPF/RR - 201cm 86kg

3. Dyson Hilder - KPD - 196cm 91kg

4. Karl Finlay - KPD - 192cm - 88kg


Personally I'd like to see us draft a athletic developing Ruck/Forward and IMO there is a standout prospect in Charlie Comben in this draft.

Charlie Comben - Ruck/KPF - 199cm 82kg
 

John Who

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Our forward line is the clear weakness right now:
- no Eddie (best small forward)
- no JJ (top 2 big forward)
- no Greenwood (handy pinch-hit forward)
- resting ROB up forward (not good with goal conversion)

We have lost a lot of quality and experience. Need the young players to come on strong over the preseason and we need to target a quality tall forward as well as a natural goal kicking small forward.
 

Mutineer

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Our forward line is the clear weakness right now:
- no Eddie (best small forward)
- no JJ (top 2 big forward)
- no Greenwood (handy pinch-hit forward)
- resting ROB up forward (not good with goal conversion)

We have lost a lot of quality and experience. Need the young players to come on strong over the preseason and we need to target a quality tall forward as well as a natural goal kicking small forward.
Eddie is no longer a "best small forward" any way you want to slice it..
JJ was never a top 2 "big" forward with the emphasis on "big". Top 2 "BIG" forwards crash packs and force crumbs for the small forwards.
 

Johnny Rutten

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In line with what is being mentioned, IMO at least four of the vacant spots on our list (6 senior, 2 rookie) need to be filled by talls. One ruck + three key pozzies. I'd personally go 5 more talls, but at least 4 is a must.

Currently, we have 26 players under 191cm & 10 players 191cm-plus. I'd expect this balance to be 30/14 or 29/15 by the end of the rookie draft.
 

Betts are off

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Our forward line is the clear weakness right now:
- no Eddie (best small forward)
- no JJ (top 2 big forward)
- no Greenwood (handy pinch-hit forward)
- resting ROB up forward (not good with goal conversion)

We have lost a lot of quality and experience. Need the young players to come on strong over the preseason and we need to target a quality tall forward as well as a natural goal kicking small forward.
For me forward lines in general are never stagnate, they are are always either improving or getting worse. And for us the stats show a team that's been getting steadily worse. Regardless of our reputation of years gone by, the forward line has been doing a nose-dive in performance for a while now!

Total Points per season
2017: 2415
2018: 1941 (down 19.63%)
2019: 1776 (down 8.51%)

The removal of guys like JJ and Betts was essential to stop the rot. They were great servants for the club over the years, but had become dead wood to our forward line, and were strangling the forward line's ability to grow and improve.

For me this is the strongest the forward line has been for a while, purely because we are returning to a position of growth and improvement, rather then being content with watching the slow and sad demise of the vaunted 2017 forward line!
 

Dangarman

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I don't get to watch a lot of the games, and I'd be pretending to attempt any positional analysis. So I look at it in a different way. I also note that Murphy is now on the senior list. (Surely this means we will be looking to turn our 6 picks into 5 better ones somehow, but that's another discussion)

I see a group of core experienced players. The exception is adding ROB to this group, as he will be clearly the #1 ruck. I know there's no such thing as automatic selection, but these guys when fit are as close as it gets (games in brackets):

Brouch (83)
Mrouch (109)
Kelly (75)
Sloane (199)
Talia (186)
Walker (189)
Brown (150)
Lynch (139)
Laird (143)
Smith (167)
ROB (20)

Incidentally, all of these but Smith and ROB played in the 2017 GF, Smith of course was injured, and Sauce was #1 ruck at the time.

Next is the depth group - AFL proven players - some are young, some are in their twilight, some are just sold players that just do their job without being out and out stars. All of them will know a slight drop in form will put them at risk of some time in the reserves at the expense of someone from the next tier crying out 'Pick Me!'. They might be in and out of the side a bit during the year, and the old 'team balance' chestnut might give them the occasional week off. General opinion will likely be divided on the ability or lack thereof of individuals in this group. (* - Played 2017 GF)

*Knight (54)
Gibbs (265)
*Seedsman (101)
*Mackay (220)
*Hartigan (101)
*Atkins (97)
Milera (60)
Doedee (21)
Murphy (32)
Gallucci (27)

Finally we have a large group of up and comers. All with less than 20 AFL games each, and less than 50 games combined. They all have a point to prove, and will be looking to stake their claim as a bona-fide AFL player during the course of the season.

Poholke (11), Jones (8), Fogarty (14) and Himmelberg (8) have already had a fair taste of the big stage and have more than 80% of the collective experience of this group between them. On the cusp of joining the 'depth' group, some might consider they are already there.

Stengle (4), Davis (1), and Frampton (3) have been capped, yet to debut are McAdam, McHenry, Hamill, McPherson and Scholl.

With 5 vacant slots (most likely to be filled with draftees) that will give us up to 17 players putting on selection pressure, some might need a full pre-season or two before they are seriously pushing for a seniors spot.

With still 2/3 of the team that took us to a GF left, I'm cautiously optimistic that we can turn this around fairly quickly, and am keen to see what our new coach does with the group.

We have 3 players likely to join Mackay and Gibbs in the 200 club this year. Mackay and Gibbs are the only 80's relics left. So take them out, and by 2021/22 we could be looking a core group distribution of

200+ : Sloane, Talia, Walker, Smith
150+ : Mrouch, Brown, Lynch, Laird
100+ : Brouch and Kelly. Possibly Seedsman, Hartigan, Atkins and Milera will be considered 'core' by then.

If we could just add a marquee signing or two (think Grundy types) we might well be playing finals again soon enough.
 

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John Who

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For me forward lines in general are never stagnate, they are are always either improving or getting worse. And for us the stats show a team that's been getting steadily worse. Regardless of our reputation of years gone by, the forward line has been doing a nose-dive in performance for a while now!

Total Points per season
2017: 2415
2018: 1941 (down 19.63%)
2019: 1776 (down 8.51%)

The removal of guys like JJ and Betts was essential to stop the rot. They were great servants for the club over the years, but had become dead wood to our forward line, and were strangling the forward line's ability to grow and improve.

For me this is the strongest the forward line has been for a while, purely because we are returning to a position of growth and improvement, rather then being content with watching the slow and sad demise of the vaunted 2017 forward line!
From my perspective I’m seeing a weakness right now because the players waiting for opportunities have yet to prove consistently they can perform on par to Betts and JJ (the 2017 versions).

The only likely gain is with the addition of Fog, who hopefully will be a MGovern-type equivalent, who can kick 30-40 goals per season. Can’t really see him do more in his first full season of AFL.

Hopefully there will be someone who can step it up over the preseason, but in the meantime, the forward line seems to be having the most holes.
 

Jack is Back

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What's with the use of 'forensic' these days?
Must be my science background and my love of all versions of CSI.

I agree with previous posters that our projected weaknesses are tall defenders, tall forwards and possibly a ruckman depending on how ROB develops. In a couple of years Hartigan and possibly Talia will be gone. Butts has been very impressive for a first year rookie listed player but has a long way to go. Are we planning to trade for a youngish key defender next year? (cough-BigRed-cough)

Once TEX is gone we have an undersized FOG and two late picks picks in The Berg and Billy as key forwards. Surely we have stitched up Lucosius?

Ruck is very tricky. Have we a nudge and wink with Grundy? Are we all in ROB? Or will will melt the Board and use pick four on Luke Edwards?
 

John Who

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I really would like to see ROB kick better in front of goals. He must surely rank currently as the worst set shot for goal as a ruck/forward? Poor kicking for goals can have a negative effect on team morale during the match.
 

StonesThrow

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I really would like to see ROB kick better in front of goals. He must surely rank currently as the worst set shot for goal as a ruck/forward? Poor kicking for goals can have a negative effect on team morale during the match.
I'd be interested to see his conversion rate. Don't think it's as bad as you think.
 

Betts are off

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From my perspective I’m seeing a weakness right now because the players waiting for opportunities have yet to prove consistently they can perform on par to Betts and JJ (the 2017 versions).

The only likely gain is with the addition of Fog, who hopefully will be a MGovern-type equivalent, who can kick 30-40 goals per season. Can’t really see him do more in his first full season of AFL.

Hopefully there will be someone who can step it up over the preseason, but in the meantime, the forward line seems to be having the most holes.
You see again I disagree, although I know where you are coming from on a statistical and experience standpoint, I just don't see those 2 as being holes in our forward line so much as anchors to the forward line's future production as a unit.

Eddie Betts got dropped this year for his level of play. And in his 21 games this season he had 6 games without a goal (29%). To put that into perspective in the 5 years prior Eddie played 121 games for us, and had 10 total games without scoring a goal (12.1%). His consistency was falling off a cliff in 2019, and even if he had stayed, I doubt his reputation could have held off Stengle's level of play much longer (who led our SANFL team for goals and shots on goal).

JJ, was obviously dropped twice in a season, 1 of which coincided with our best level of forward line play in probably 2 season's. Himmelberg and FOG have both shown enough for much more action in 2020, and are both far more natural footballers IMO. Not to mention Frampton, who is a day 1 better contested mark then any of them going by his highlights.

For me the forward line has a structural question mark right now (as in how we set up with the new coaching staff), but by far has the most upside on this team in 2020!
 
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DJ75

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For me the structural questions on the forward line all come down to the usage and form of Lynch.
At his best, Lynch is a dangerous, goal kicking forward who also provides a great link up field. At his worst, he is a slow plodder who refuses to chase and is focussed on goals only.

So if we assume we are playing Fog and Walker as our two key forwards, we have to have one of Berg or Frampton also to offer Rob some rest. A forward line that includes those 3 plus Lynch is concerning. We should be looking to go more like Richmond have, with multiple smalls who all run through the forward line and through the midfield. So what to do? Can we push Lynch to a wing (and risk his no defensive running game style costing us lots of goals?) or does he get squeezed out?

Personally I'd like to see something like the following as our lineup

Brown Talia Laird
Milera Doedee Kelly
Atkins B Crouch Lynch
Sloane Walker Gallucci
Stengle Fog Berg/Frampton

1R: ROB M Crouch Smith

INT: Jones Murphy McHenry Knight

Lynch, Gallucci, Knight and Atkins all rotate through wing and half forward providing plenty of run.
Sloane, B Crouch and M Crouch rotate with Jones as midfield/forward/bench
Smith, Milera, Kelly and Laird all rotate through midfield and backlines
Stengle, Murphy, McHenry, Gallucci, Knight and Lynch all rotate through small forward roles (Lynch to provide a sudden match up issue).

Berg/Frampton are cover for ruck, KPF and KPD if required.

Basically I feel like the team is balanced and also provides lots and lots of running power. The sort of running power you need for the MCG at the end of the year.

If Stengle doesn't work hard enough he's out. If Lynch doesn't run in defence, he's out (McAdam or Davis can take that spot).
If Kelly is struggling then Sholl comes in. Also have Seedsman and (gulp) Mackay as back up if required.
If Atkins continues to squib contests, then he's out. Plenty of options to replace him.

With this line up I'm playing a super fast, play on and attack game style. I want that ball getting in to one on one contests in the F50 as quickly as possible.
Defensively, I want them to sprint to cover space when not in the contest. In the contest you attack the person with the ball. No Mackay style holding them up. Go get them and make it stick.
 

John Who

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You see again I disagree, although I know where you are coming from on a statistical and experience standpoint, I just don't see those 2 as being holes in our forward line so much as anchors to the forward line's future production as a unit.

Eddie Betts got dropped this year for his level of play. And in his 21 games this season he had 6 games without a goal (29%). To put that into perspective in the 5 years prior Eddie played 121 games for us, and had 10 total games without scoring a goal (12.1%). His consistency was falling off a cliff in 2019, and even if he had stayed, I doubt his reputation could have held off Stengle's level of play much longer (who led our SANFL team for goals and shots on goal).

JJ, was obviously dropped twice in a season, 1 of which coincided with our best level of forward line play in probably 2 season's. Himmelberg and FOG have both shown enough for much more action in 2020, and are both far more natural footballers IMO. Not to mention Frampton, who is a day 1 better contested mark then any of them going by his highlights.

For me the forward line has a structural question mark right now (as in how we set up with the new coaching staff), but by far has the most upside on this team in 2020!
There are 2 separate issues here:
- JJ and Betts have they declined in performance this year? Categorically, yes!
- have we got players to fill in their roles to compete with the top teams? With this question, we need to refer to an output similar to 2017 - Betts and JJ both at their peak. Even if we have Stengle, Frampton, Berg ramping up their output from 2019, will it be enough to be at an elite level in 2020?

Looks likely 2020 is more a trial and error and waiting for the players to improve with experience. My main concern is that the current players up forward haven’t got the elite capabilities as we saw in JJ and Betts. Fog is the only one I can see that can outshine to become a possible elite player, but this may take 2-3 years to reach his full potential.
 

John Who

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& a few out on the full.
I remember at least a couple, and perhaps a few more gettable falling short with the shanks.
ROB's kicking is probably currently on par with Butcher the ex-Port player. Heart-in-your-mouth stuff when they have the ball, kicking for goals!
 

Peter J

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There’s actually a lot of quality and experience left on our list. Most of what’s been peared away wasn’t best 22 last year, or if they were they shouldn’t have been.

The challenge for Nicks is to unlock the consistency you would normally expect from proven AA quality players. I’m uncertain at this stage how much of our cultural malaise has been cut and how much remains.

The substance of the team which drove us in 2017 is still very much present - Walker, Lynch, Smith, Laird, Talia, Sloane, M & B Crouch, Brown, Kelly.

If we can get strong seasons out of these guys then add in improvement from the likes of Doedee, ROB, Fogarty, Jones, McHenry, Gallucci and some others then we will remain quite competitive.

Murphy Fogarty

Lynch Walker Sloane

Smith Crouch McHenry

Laird Hartigan Kelly

Brown Talia Doedee

O’Brien Crouch Jones

Gallucci, Atkins,

I’ve left 3 positions which could be raffled depending on oppo and structure.

But that’s a decent side - won’t go anywhere near bottom 4 unless we get a catastrophic injury count which applies to any team
 

skam85

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There’s actually a lot of quality and experience left on our list. Most of what’s been peared away wasn’t best 22 last year, or if they were they shouldn’t have been.

The challenge for Nicks is to unlock the consistency you would normally expect from proven AA quality players. I’m uncertain at this stage how much of our cultural malaise has been cut and how much remains.

The substance of the team which drove us in 2017 is still very much present - Walker, Lynch, Smith, Laird, Talia, Sloane, M & B Crouch, Brown, Kelly.

If we can get strong seasons out of these guys then add in improvement from the likes of Doedee, ROB, Fogarty, Jones, McHenry, Gallucci and some others then we will remain quite competitive.

Murphy Fogarty

Lynch Walker Sloane

Smith Crouch McHenry

Laird Hartigan Kelly

Brown Talia Doedee

O’Brien Crouch Jones

Gallucci, Atkins,

I’ve left 3 positions which could be raffled depending on oppo and structure.

But that’s a decent side - won’t go anywhere near bottom 4 unless we get a catastrophic injury count which applies to any team
Seedsman ahead of Atkins on that team every day of the week and twice on a Sunday
 

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