Analysis Have we messed with our structure/positioning too much?

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RobsJourney

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Hey all,

I'm not too phased about the loss to Sydney be honest (I didn't get to watch it though), it ended up being a weird weekend for footy with lots of blowouts too. We also always start the season much more "leaky" defensively than later in the year when we are much harder to score against. In other words, we'll be fine, though these early season injuries we've been getting since 2019 are ******* annoying.

But my questions are:

- Have we gone away too much from what made us a really good and exciting side? (eg. the forward and midfield being full-on pressure)
- Are we too structurally different now to when we were electric?
- Are we playing too many defenders?
- Is Dimma messing with positioning too much or is it currently just forced given we haven't had Vlastuin and Houli?

Again, not overreacting from the loss, but even though we won the last two flags we're certainly not as "awesome/exciting" to watch as we were in 2017 and most of 2018. Surely Dimma is not up to his old tricks again by going back to pre-2017 and trying to make us too skill-perfect? I would hate for us to try and become a possession side.

I think we are wrong not playing the three pressure smalls (Rioli out of form but will find it), Aarts is too slow and doesn't make up for it by at least being a good marking target.

I think we are wrong favouring 8 defenders when we should have 6 or at most 7 and play another midfielder.

I think we are erring by Dusty not spending more time through the midfield, and I think that on the flipside we err in having Caddy play wing when he should be in the forward 50 most of the time.

If you look at the grand final side in 2017, we had dropped Short (much improved since) and played 6 defenders, Rance, Astbury, Grimes, Broad, Vlastuin, Houli. Since then we have the same 6 (Balta replacing Rance) but added Short and Baker. Again, it has worked for us yes, but I think it has robbed us of a deeper midfield.

What do people think of this as a best 22, with the view to going back to our 2017-esque style?

Grimes, Astbury, Broad
Houli, Balta, Vlastuin
McIntosh, Cotchin, Lambert
Caddy, Riewoldt, Bolton
Rioli, Lynch, Castagna
Nankervis, Martin, Prestia
Edwards, Graham, Ross, Short

- It obviously pains me to leave Baker out as I love him generally, but I just don't think we can keep playing 8 defenders. Baker will just come straight back in for Houli when he gets injured or retires. Baker could even run a wing in favour of Kmac, but I do love the attributes Kmac brings.

- Caddy back into the forward line as that third mobile medium/tall who can take a strong mark too. This means Dusty will spend more time in the midfield and when he pushes forward, Caddy or Bolton give him the midfield chop out.

- Three speedy smalls with Rioli, Castagna and Bolton, with the upside being that now we know Bolton is also a genuine midfielder and can push through there whenever.


I just look at that side on paper and am honestly glad to not see Aarts and Pickett, as well as Egg-Smith. I personally think it would be our best side and best structure, with the only question mark for me being do we go back to playing two rucks? If so, at whose expense? Again it pains me, but Short's? He is obviously the reigning best and fairest but if I had to choose between he and a fit Houli, I'd still choose Houli. I'd prefer not to rob the forward line or midfield of players, so it would need to be a defender.



Would be interested to hear people's thoughts, cheers
 
Aug 24, 2017
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Hey all,

I'm not too phased about the loss to Sydney be honest (I didn't get to watch it though), it ended up being a weird weekend for footy with lots of blowouts too. We also always start the season much more "leaky" defensively than later in the year when we are much harder to score against. In other words, we'll be fine, though these early season injuries we've been getting since 2019 are ******* annoying.

But my questions are:

- Have we gone away too much from what made us a really good and exciting side? (eg. the forward and midfield being full-on pressure)
- Are we too structurally different now to when we were electric?
- Are we playing too many defenders?
- Is Dimma messing with positioning too much or is it currently just forced given we haven't had Vlastuin and Houli?

Again, not overreacting from the loss, but even though we won the last two flags we're certainly not as "awesome/exciting" to watch as we were in 2017 and most of 2018. Surely Dimma is not up to his old tricks again by going back to pre-2017 and trying to make us too skill-perfect? I would hate for us to try and become a possession side.

I think we are wrong not playing the three pressure smalls (Rioli out of form but will find it), Aarts is too slow and doesn't make up for it by at least being a good marking target.

I think we are wrong favouring 8 defenders when we should have 6 or at most 7 and play another midfielder.

I think we are erring by Dusty not spending more time through the midfield, and I think that on the flipside we err in having Caddy play wing when he should be in the forward 50 most of the time.

If you look at the grand final side in 2017, we had dropped Short (much improved since) and played 6 defenders, Rance, Astbury, Grimes, Broad, Vlastuin, Houli. Since then we have the same 6 (Balta replacing Rance) but added Short and Baker. Again, it has worked for us yes, but I think it has robbed us of a deeper midfield.

What do people think of this as a best 22, with the view to going back to our 2017-esque style?

Grimes, Astbury, Broad
Houli, Balta, Vlastuin
McIntosh, Cotchin, Lambert
Caddy, Riewoldt, Bolton
Rioli, Lynch, Castagna
Nankervis, Martin, Prestia
Edwards, Graham, Ross, Short

- It obviously pains me to leave Baker out as I love him generally, but I just don't think we can keep playing 8 defenders. Baker will just come straight back in for Houli when he gets injured or retires. Baker could even run a wing in favour of Kmac, but I do love the attributes Kmac brings.

- Caddy back into the forward line as that third mobile medium/tall who can take a strong mark too. This means Dusty will spend more time in the midfield and when he pushes forward, Caddy or Bolton give him the midfield chop out.

- Three speedy smalls with Rioli, Castagna and Bolton, with the upside being that now we know Bolton is also a genuine midfielder and can push through there whenever.


I just look at that side on paper and am honestly glad to not see Aarts and Pickett, as well as Egg-Smith. I personally think it would be our best side and best structure, with the only question mark for me being do we go back to playing two rucks? If so, at whose expense? Again it pains me, but Short's? He is obviously the reigning best and fairest but if I had to choose between he and a fit Houli, I'd still choose Houli. I'd prefer not to rob the forward line or midfield of players, so it would need to be a defender.



Would be interested to hear people's thoughts, cheers
New rules have thrown a spanner in the works for how we play
We have always blocked up the corridor and forced teams wide than used those numbers in the corridor for a counter attack with our surge

The new rules enables players to kick over our zone in the corridor and when you practice a certain way to play for an entire pre season/multiple years it’s going to take time for adjustment

It’s far to early in the season to make any conclusions
 

RobsJourney

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New rules have thrown a spanner in the works for how we play
We have always blocked up the corridor and forced teams wide than used those numbers in the corridor for a counter attack with our surge

The new rules enables players to kick over our zone in the corridor and when you practice a certain way to play for an entire pre season/multiple years it’s going to take time for adjustment

It’s far to early in the season to make any conclusions
New rules aside, I'm not just talking about this season, I'm talking about our structure and 22 in general. Forgetting that Vlastuin is out injured, would you prefer the structure and 22 we had at the weekend, or the 22 in my post?

I just think we've gone too far away from what made us good and exciting, and have messed too much with positioning (eg. the 8 defenders we play these days, and the fact that Caddy is wasted not being in the forward line).
 

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RobsJourney

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New rules have thrown a spanner in the works for how we play
We have always blocked up the corridor and forced teams wide than used those numbers in the corridor for a counter attack with our surge

The new rules enables players to kick over our zone in the corridor and when you practice a certain way to play for an entire pre season/multiple years it’s going to take time for adjustment

It’s far to early in the season to make any conclusions
If you're right on the rules messing with how we slowed teams down, I wonder what the solution will be. I'm still confident that it's just the early-season leakiness we always have. We normally get better as the season goes.

The worry for me is that new rules + a bad loss might have the coaches tinker too much and we might end up all over the shop.
 
Aug 24, 2017
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New rules aside, I'm not just talking about this season, I'm talking about our structure and 22 in general. Forgetting that Vlastuin is out injured, would you prefer the structure and 22 we had at the weekend, or the 22 in my post?

I just think we've gone too far away from what made us good and exciting, and have messed too much with positioning (eg. the 8 defenders we play these days, and the fact that Caddy is wasted not being in the forward line).
I don’t think it really matters to be honest
Traditional positions are all but dead these days apart from key backs, forwards and rucks and even than we still see rucks down back or Jack or lynch pushing up to the wings all the time

fwds play wing, wings play back and mids play everywhere

No point getting bogged down on what a website says a players position is because it’s basically irrelevant
 

RobsJourney

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I don’t think it really matters to be honest
Traditional positions are all but dead these days apart from key backs, forwards and rucks and even than we still see rucks down back or Jack or lynch pushing up to the wings all the time

fwds play wing, wings play back and mids play everywhere

No point getting bogged down on what a website says a players position is because it’s basically irrelevant
To a degree maybe, but I still think the positions exist.

Either way, would you prefer Caddy or Aarts in the forward line?

Would you prefer Dusty mid/fwd 70/30 or 50/50?

Would you prefer 8 guys in the side rotating through defence, or 6/7 with an extra pure midfielder?

Do you think we can still do the "3 pressure small forwards" thing or not anymore?


I just think we need to get more speed in the forward line, another good marking target there (not Aarts, yes Caddy), and we need to ramp up our midfield pressure.

Anyway, again, we started this way last season and looked easy to run and gun past, and we know how it turned out. We'll be right.
 
Aug 24, 2017
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To a degree maybe, but I still think the positions exist.

Either way, would you prefer Caddy or Aarts in the forward line?

Would you prefer Dusty mid/fwd 70/30 or 50/50?

Would you prefer 8 guys in the side rotating through defence, or 6/7 with an extra pure midfielder?

Do you think we can still do the "3 pressure small forwards" thing or not anymore?


I just think we need to get more speed in the forward line, another good marking target there (not Aarts, yes Caddy), and we need to ramp up our midfield pressure.

Anyway, again, we started this way last season and looked easy to run and gun past, and we know how it turned out. We'll be right.
I think part of the issue with our forward set up is that we just don’t have the cattle ready to step in

I don’t think Aarts is best 22 but we do need the leg speed inside 50

I think putting caddy forward also just creates more issues we have Jack, Lynch and Dusty as our marking forwards if we chuck Caddy into that mix we have 4 marking forwards who apply minimal defensive pressure and makes us very slow for foot speed and swings the balance to far the other way

We need our smalls to counter that but the problem is Riolis out of form, Aarts not quite up to it but we simply don’t have anyone else to play that role right now

Edwards is needed in the midfield and backline atm and Rioli Jr dosent have the tank to play sr footy yet
 

harrythetiger

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We don't have Rance anymore. Grimes and Balta have been incredible for us in his absence, but they aren't Alex Rance.

2017 was kind of just 'we are going to press up as hard as we can, and if it gets past that, Rance will save us.' Rance had an incredible ability to peel off his man and get to another contest. When he did that, he would often win the contest, and rarely lose it. We could afford the odd mismatch in our defence because of this, all our player needed to do was engage their opponent enough that Rance could get there. Now we don't have him, we need better one-on-one defenders so we don't get burnt by mismatches. Balta, Grimes and Vlastuin are all pretty good at peeling off but none of them are Rance. The other thing we need is to be set behind the ball. We can't let the ball out quickly, which means our forwards often can't overcommit to applying pressure. Instead of forcing the turnover, the job of the pressure is to ensure the clearing kick is high and uncontrolled, this is when our set defenders can force the turnover and launch.
Where we've really improved since 2017 is our ball movement. One of the key points of our 2017 game plan was that it the closer we started our attack, the easier it is to score. Now we launch our attacks from further back, but our scoring power has barely been blunted.

In the absence of Houli and Vlastuin I think we have actually been playing too few defenders. In R1 we had 7 defenders, R2 we had 6, and R3 we had 7 again (plus McIntosh as a wing who can drop back). None of our mids are one-on-one defenders. It seems to me like Pickett has most often been the one dropping back most often but he's not a defender. If we want to use him or anyone else there they need to learn it in the VFL. Maybe in our full best 22, Caddy/Pickett/McIntosh are the best wings, but when you take out two of our starting defenders, we need guys in those positions to be a bit better defensively (McIntosh is good in this regard).

I would like to see us use Dusty in the midfield more though, definitely agree with that.
 

RobsJourney

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I think part of the issue with our forward set up is that we just don’t have the cattle ready to step in

I don’t think Aarts is best 22 but we do need the leg speed inside 50

I think putting caddy forward also just creates more issues we have Jack, Lynch and Dusty as our marking forwards if we chuck Caddy into that mix we have 4 marking forwards who apply minimal defensive pressure and makes us very slow for foot speed and swings the balance to far the other way

We need our smalls to counter that but the problem is Riolis out of form, Aarts not quite up to it but we simply don’t have anyone else to play that role right now

Edwards is needed in the midfield and backline atm and Rioli Jr dosent have the tank to play sr footy yet
The point of Caddy forward is not just because he's better there, but because I want Dusty to play more midfield minutes. Caddy can hop on to a wing or in the centre just when Dusty rests in the forward line.

Three pressure smalls should be Rioli, Castagna, Bolton. Bolts can play some midfield minutes but we moved him back into the forward line predominantly last year after the Brisbane final from memory and it was good.
 
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The point of Caddy forward is not just because he's better there, but because I want Dusty to play more midfield minutes. Caddy can hop on to a wing or in the centre just when Dusty rests in the forward line.

Three pressure smalls should be Rioli, Castagna, Bolton. Bolts can play some midfield minutes but we moved him back into the forward line predominantly last year after the Brisbane final from memory and it was good.
Good points, only other thing that may throw the spanner in the works re caddy is if we elect to play a back up ruck/ 3rd tall
It’s something I think we definitely need, Nank needs support but whenever we swing Balta into the ruck for periods (we do look extremely dynamic) but it leaves us very exposed down back

But the inclusion of an extra tall all but definitely pushes caddy out of the forward line
 

RobsJourney

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We don't have Rance anymore. Grimes and Balta have been incredible for us in his absence, but they aren't Alex Rance.

2017 was kind of just 'we are going to press up as hard as we can, and if it gets past that, Rance will save us.' Rance had an incredible ability to peel off his man and get to another contest. When he did that, he would often win the contest, and rarely lose it. We could afford the odd mismatch in our defence because of this, all our player needed to do was engage their opponent enough that Rance could get there. Now we don't have him, we need better one-on-one defenders so we don't get burnt by mismatches. Balta, Grimes and Vlastuin are all pretty good at peeling off but none of them are Rance. The other thing we need is to be set behind the ball. We can't let the ball out quickly, which means our forwards often can't overcommit to applying pressure. Instead of forcing the turnover, the job of the pressure is to ensure the clearing kick is high and uncontrolled, this is when our set defenders can force the turnover and launch.
Where we've really improved since 2017 is our ball movement. One of the key points of our 2017 game plan was that it the closer we started our attack, the easier it is to score. Now we launch our attacks from further back, but our scoring power has barely been blunted.

In the absence of Houli and Vlastuin I think we have actually been playing too few defenders. In R1 we had 7 defenders, R2 we had 6, and R3 we had 7 again (plus McIntosh as a wing who can drop back). None of our mids are one-on-one defenders. It seems to me like Pickett has most often been the one dropping back most often but he's not a defender. If we want to use him or anyone else there they need to learn it in the VFL. Maybe in our full best 22, Caddy/Pickett/McIntosh are the best wings, but when you take out two of our starting defenders, we need guys in those positions to be a bit better defensively (McIntosh is good in this regard).

I would like to see us use Dusty in the midfield more though, definitely agree with that.
Good post, it makes sense.

But even with more defenders only 6 can be on the field at any given time. We had just 6 in the side in the 2017 GF, including the colossal Rance.

Now we play 8, eg. Broad and Baker start on the bench. Why do we need 8? Despite the 6-6-6 rule, do we play 7 defenders in general play?

I reckon once we have the full side back we should be playing 6 or at most 7, and have that extra spot for another midfield rotation. I get that McIntosh/Pickett can go back to help, but so should parts of the midfield once the ball hits the deck, if they are able to get up and down the ground.

Not necessarily sure I agree that our ball movement is heaps better. These days we bomb it in way too often. In 2018 we had some pretty big scores. We don't seem to score quite as heavily now.
 

RobsJourney

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Good points, only other thing that may throw the spanner in the works re caddy is if we elect to play a back up ruck/ 3rd tall
It’s something I think we definitely need, Nank needs support but whenever we swing Balta into the ruck for periods (we do look extremely dynamic) but it leaves us very exposed down back

But the inclusion of an extra tall all but definitely pushes caddy out of the forward line
If only Chol had more grunt and better body strength in contests, he'd be absolutely perfect as that third tall and backup ruck.
 

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fargothegreat

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Hey all,

I'm not too phased about the loss to Sydney be honest (I didn't get to watch it though), it ended up being a weird weekend for footy with lots of blowouts too. We also always start the season much more "leaky" defensively than later in the year when we are much harder to score against. In other words, we'll be fine, though these early season injuries we've been getting since 2019 are ******* annoying.

But my questions are:

- Have we gone away too much from what made us a really good and exciting side? (eg. the forward and midfield being full-on pressure)
- Are we too structurally different now to when we were electric?
- Are we playing too many defenders?
- Is Dimma messing with positioning too much or is it currently just forced given we haven't had Vlastuin and Houli?

Again, not overreacting from the loss, but even though we won the last two flags we're certainly not as "awesome/exciting" to watch as we were in 2017 and most of 2018. Surely Dimma is not up to his old tricks again by going back to pre-2017 and trying to make us too skill-perfect? I would hate for us to try and become a possession side.

I think we are wrong not playing the three pressure smalls (Rioli out of form but will find it), Aarts is too slow and doesn't make up for it by at least being a good marking target.

I think we are wrong favouring 8 defenders when we should have 6 or at most 7 and play another midfielder.

I think we are erring by Dusty not spending more time through the midfield, and I think that on the flipside we err in having Caddy play wing when he should be in the forward 50 most of the time.

If you look at the grand final side in 2017, we had dropped Short (much improved since) and played 6 defenders, Rance, Astbury, Grimes, Broad, Vlastuin, Houli. Since then we have the same 6 (Balta replacing Rance) but added Short and Baker. Again, it has worked for us yes, but I think it has robbed us of a deeper midfield.

What do people think of this as a best 22, with the view to going back to our 2017-esque style?

Grimes, Astbury, Broad
Houli, Balta, Vlastuin
McIntosh, Cotchin, Lambert
Caddy, Riewoldt, Bolton
Rioli, Lynch, Castagna
Nankervis, Martin, Prestia
Edwards, Graham, Ross, Short

- It obviously pains me to leave Baker out as I love him generally, but I just don't think we can keep playing 8 defenders. Baker will just come straight back in for Houli when he gets injured or retires. Baker could even run a wing in favour of Kmac, but I do love the attributes Kmac brings.

- Caddy back into the forward line as that third mobile medium/tall who can take a strong mark too. This means Dusty will spend more time in the midfield and when he pushes forward, Caddy or Bolton give him the midfield chop out.

- Three speedy smalls with Rioli, Castagna and Bolton, with the upside being that now we know Bolton is also a genuine midfielder and can push through there whenever.


I just look at that side on paper and am honestly glad to not see Aarts and Pickett, as well as Egg-Smith. I personally think it would be our best side and best structure, with the only question mark for me being do we go back to playing two rucks? If so, at whose expense? Again it pains me, but Short's? He is obviously the reigning best and fairest but if I had to choose between he and a fit Houli, I'd still choose Houli. I'd prefer not to rob the forward line or midfield of players, so it would need to be a defender.



Would be interested to hear people's thoughts, cheers
Don't forget Brandon Ellis was played as a defender in 2017. We've always played 7 defenders.

The reason for 8 now is because one of them has to go into the ruck, so we play an extra defender off the bench rather than a ruck off the bench.

I'd rather us go back to playing two rucks, but they may prefer the extra run in defense given the direction the game is going in.

The problem with our forwards isn't the structure of them. It's the output. In 2017 Rioli, Butler and George were electric with their pace and pressure. Its hard to sustain that level of pressure. Need to be injecting new small forwards with youth and energy every year or two to make it work. I think Stack and MJ could help with this if they can both get fit enough to play seniors.
 

RobsJourney

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Don't forget Brandon Ellis was played as a defender in 2017. We've always played 7 defenders.

The reason for 8 now is because one of them has to go into the ruck, so we play an extra defender off the bench rather than a ruck off the bench.

I'd rather us go back to playing two rucks, but they may prefer the extra run in defense given the direction the game is going in.

The problem with our forwards isn't the structure of them. It's the output. In 2017 Rioli, Butler and George were electric with their pace and pressure. Its hard to sustain that level of pressure. Need to be injecting new small forwards with youth and energy every year or two to make it work. I think Stack and MJ could help with this if they can both get fit enough to play seniors.
I have high hopes we can get the best out of Stack.

He's back with the group yeah?
 
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Yeah, hope he is good for us. Chol has the crazy athleticism though, if he had Nank's grunt he'd be amazing.
Yeah he just doesn't have that campaigner in him
It’s not something that can be taught either I don’t think

I think CCJ from his vfl form at least has that happy medium between the two
He has taken some massive hangers in the vfl over the years but also isn’t afraid to get in and dirty around the contest and can hold his own in a contested situation
 

RobsJourney

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Yeah he just doesn't have that campaigner in him
It’s not something that can be taught either I don’t think

I think CCJ from his vfl form at least has that happy medium between the two
He has taken some massive hangers in the vfl over the years but also isn’t afraid to get in and dirty around the contest and can hold his own in a contested situation
vs. Saints round 5 might be the best game to name him.
 

69vintage

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I think this is the way too go .
I think there's only a few clubs using key backs as the backup ruck which i think is fine if your going alright but on Saturday Balta and Astbury where under the pump all the time .
If you can trap the ball in your forward line and give the backs a spell it makes abig difference to the second ruckman.
I love Balta in the ruck but it's asking too much of him on days when the backline is under increased pressure .
If we could find another key back and have Balta as the second ruck playing forward like the Eagles do with Oscar Allen .
On Chol the increase in speed and space should suit him .
Baker could easily play small forward or even on the wing .
If only Chol had more grunt and better body strength in contests, he'd be absolutely perfect as that third tall and backup ruck.
B

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kozi

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Defensively the zone is dead so need to go back to playing man on man pronto.

Offensively we should be thriving though. Leg speed and speed of ball movement is king now which is our 1 wood. If anything we need to just enhance what we’ve been doing for the last 5 years.
 

Jack5

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New rules require adjustment to our game plan and personnel. There is less ability to pressure in the backline as teams can just short kick it through our defence. Doesn't help that a lot of the marks paid are less than 15m. New kick in rule also disadvantages forward half pressure teams.

I still find it bizarre that we live in a society that just accepts that if a team becomes too dominant that the appropriate response is to change the rules to bring them back to the pack. Long live Australian mediocrity.
 

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