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

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harrythetiger

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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.
Anywhere, up on the wing, or at the centre bounce have them on the bench ready to come on soon after. If we have someone become Alex Rance 2.0, drop the defender and go back to 2017-18 style for sure.
In 2018 at our best with Rance so we could go for early turnovers, we averaged 96ppg, at our absolute best early in the season were were around 110. Once rolling in 2019 and 2020 we went at about 95 (adjusted in the case of 2020). With deeper turnovers, its a solid effort to stay that close. The thing it does though, is expose us when we have sh*t days like Saturday, because we're now turning it over closer to their goal.
 

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harrythetiger

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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.
Playing one-one-one for the full ground is suicide. Each player has to react to their direct opponent every time. Just need one player at each possession to be able to get a metre of leg rope and its over. As soon as one of our players overcommits, they have a spare which we have nothing to defend.
Our press probably needs tweaking. The short kicks moving pretty much directly forward can be hit much quicker now because they don't need to get over the mark - so perhaps we go a tighter zone there, or one on one within 30m of the ball carrier - has the same flaw but they will need a lot more possessions to move it up the ground hitting 20m kicks on the 45.
 

Tiger_Of_Old

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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.
Agree with man on man.
 

Tiger_Of_Old

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Playing one-one-one for the full ground is suicide. Each player has to react to their direct opponent every time. Just need one player at each possession to be able to get a metre of leg rope and its over. As soon as one of our players overcommits, they have a spare which we have nothing to defend.
Our press probably needs tweaking. The short kicks moving pretty much directly forward can be hit much quicker now because they don't need to get over the mark - so perhaps we go a tighter zone there, or one on one within 30m of the ball carrier - has the same flaw but they will need a lot more possessions to move it up the ground hitting 20m kicks on the 45.
You make it sound like we'll get beaten one on one everytime.It can work in our favor as well.We of any side in the comp can afford too do it.Hope we try it Friday night just to see where it stacks up against one of our threats.
 

harrythetiger

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You make it sound like we'll get beaten one on one everytime.It can work in our favor as well.We of any side in the comp can afford too do it.Hope we try it Friday night just to see where it stacks up against one of our threats.
In a one on one contest, a good kick to player with separation on their opponent is impossible to defend. You’re relying on a mistake from either the kicker or marker to force a turnover. Players won’t always get that separation, but out of 10 players within range, someone will almost certainly get it. With no pressure on the kicker, and no one to peel off and cut off the kick, the chances of a mistake happening are slim at AFL level.
Any player that peels off MUST impact the contest because if they don’t, they leave their direct opponent in space. Compare that to a zone/press where numerous defenders can close the space which the player is leading, and even in a worst case scenario if they take the mark, and can play on, the rest of the team can move to cover gaps.
 

Tiger_Of_Old

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In a one on one contest, a good kick to player with separation on their opponent is impossible to defend. You’re relying on a mistake from either the kicker or marker to force a turnover. Players won’t always get that separation, but out of 10 players within range, someone will almost certainly get it. With no pressure on the kicker, and no one to peel off and cut off the kick, the chances of a mistake happening are slim at AFL level.
Any player that peels off MUST impact the contest because if they don’t, they leave their direct opponent in space. Compare that to a zone/press where numerous defenders can close the space which the player is leading, and even in a worst case scenario if they take the mark, and can play on, the rest of the team can move to cover gaps.
As opposed to what happened on saturday?
Let the opposition practically waltz into their fwd line unopposed?
Least going one on one your asking the kicker to be precise rather than the easy option that happened on sat.
The stand rule has compromised our Zone defence.
 

harrythetiger

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As opposed to what happened on saturday?
Let the opposition practically waltz into their fwd line unopposed?
Least going one on one your asking the kicker to be precise rather than the easy option that happened on sat.
The stand rule has compromised our Zone defence.
We've always been somewhat susceptible to teams doing that to us, especially when we lose a key structural player - like in 2019 when Collingwood took 159 uncontested marks and smashed us a week after we lost Rance. This week we were missing Vlastuin and Houli - arguably our best two intercepters. The biggest problem we had on the weekend imo was turning it over when we were rebounding. We made so many unforced errors in transition, and we were burnt because there was space for the swans to work in. We had to get back and set up, thats where they picked the holes.
 

Trahanas22

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In a one on one contest, a good kick to player with separation on their opponent is impossible to defend. You’re relying on a mistake from either the kicker or marker to force a turnover. Players won’t always get that separation, but out of 10 players within range, someone will almost certainly get it. With no pressure on the kicker, and no one to peel off and cut off the kick, the chances of a mistake happening are slim at AFL level.
Any player that peels off MUST impact the contest because if they don’t, they leave their direct opponent in space. Compare that to a zone/press where numerous defenders can close the space which the player is leading, and even in a worst case scenario if they take the mark, and can play on, the rest of the team can move to cover gaps.

Yes but -mainly due to the new standing the mark rule- there is indeed no pressure on the kicker no matter what, he can use all sorts of angles to hit a teammate with the ball. With the Tigers zone on, his teammates do not have a direct opponent. In the zone, the Tigers players guard space, not opposition players directly.

So, these players are effectively unguarded and now can be targeted with a kick much easier and with way more precision than before, given that the man on the mark has become an inanimate object. At least with man to man you can stand shoulder to shoulder with your opponent and make him beat you to the ball, not having a complete free reign, as it was happening with Sydney players during the whole game last week.

If the pressure zone does not work, as it was the case against the Swans, what do you do during the game? You persist with your zone and you lose by 40-50 points, or you try one on one and see if you can impede the opposition’s ball movement that way? When you are getting thrashed and completely outplayed you have to try something different.

Unfortunately, from what I saw in the game last week and-to a lesser extend -against Carlton as well, I don’t think the Tigers players are capable off playing man to man footy well at the moment. We have become highly specialised in our defensive/zone structures, we are the best in the league in applying them. Problem is this is the only thing we can do really, we seem to be a one trick pony at the moment and I hope this will be rectified during the season...
 

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We were the best defensive zone team in the comp for the last few years. Now the game has been turned on it's head and is more man on man defense, it will take us as long to get used to it. The positive is that the type of players and characters we have don't have any issues defending a man rather than space, it will just take some time for the wheel to turn. Manning space has been drummed into them so hard for years it was bound to take some time.

I think we'll run around 50/50 until mid year then get moving, as we tend to do.
 

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Bojangles17

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I feel we will need to adapt our game plan to include some lockdown types , mansell is an example of a player we hope to develop into a defender that ties down small forwards . More versatility in midfield at the expense of defensive forwards to strengthen our ball winning ability . If sides are going to play possession footy we gotta win it back
Tweaks will be required coz the game has undoubtedly changed
 

tigerdan

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We got too cute with the team last week, but we've done that a few times over the past 5 years so i'm not bothered about one match. I will, however, but bothered if we repeat the same mistakes this week.

Caddy may well have played his last game unless we get injuries. I love the way he plays, he's hard at it and an angry ant, but the game is passing him by pronto.

Marlion doesn't have the right game to play in the backline. He is a genuine winger (probably his only position on the ground).

Aarts is one dimensional and we probably can't carry him in a final. Rioli is in terrible form so no wonder he got dropped but I think he'll work his way back in.

We really need Bachar to step up this week in the absence of Vlaustin.

I'm expecting a 5 goal loss, anything better than that is a bonus.
 

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We will be fine. The new rules put defences under pressure as it more likely to provide one on one contests. I’d be backing our backline to hold their own ahead of any other defence in the AFL.
Our midfield is sound with depth, pace and rare brilliance (think Martin, Edwards, Bolton).
We have two of the best key forwards in the Comp that have not yet really clicked in 2021 but I’m sure will take advantage of the new rules as the year rolls on.

I wouldn’t swap our position with anyone and I’m backing the coaching staff to have us in the mix when it matters.
No real harm in tinkering around a little with the game plan in these early rounds.
 

sregit

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The Swans game was based on running through the midfieldand driving 30 to 40 meter low passes. Dimma made comment about this in one of his interviews. The most logical way to counteract this, Is to actually push a couple of defenders up to the backside of the Centre Square. This will force the opposition to have to kick sooner and possibly longer than they would like into their forward line, giving our defenders longer to intercept.
 

Tony Stark

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We have been the best side at creating perceived pressure, so the opposition players make errors because they assume someone is on their tail.

Last week the pressure just wasn't there at all so when quality players have that extra bit of time they have the skill to nail their passes. You just can't do much to stop that unless the pressure is ramped up which it wasn't.

This week will be a good test to see if we rebound pressure wise, if we lose the game so be it but I think as supporters we just want reassuring that we haven't lost our mojo altogether.

Another non competitive performance and suddenly questions are being asked, players questioning the gameplan and the wheels can fall off pretty quickly. We know we are a team full of role players, it's now a case for the coaches to tweak the roles and ensure we have the right cattle on the park to execute the plan.
 

juss

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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
Couldn't agree more that our pressure game has dropped off considerably. At times now we look slow.
I still think bringing pressure is the biggest thing you can do to defend well.
 

Do the Dew

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Early on last week and in seasons past (Collingwood Rd 2 2019, first half of 2019 prelim vs Geelong), short kicks into space have really hurt us. We tend to push numbers back expecting the long down the line kick, and that opens up a hole between the kicker and the pack. What the Swans did last week was chip it forward a few times until they reached the wing, then using the new sh*te stand rule, they could take off and get a deep entry into their forward 50. The new rule also makes it easier to hit the short chip kicks.

What we also saw last week was even when we turned the ball over, because Sydney played so slowly from their back half, we had to go through every one of their defenders to get to our goal.

As others in this thread have said, when the weather turns sour the short chip gamestyle doesn't work, or if our players start coming up more at the ball to deny those opportunities.



***also let's be honest, Sydney played out of their arse last week and had a ton of luck with the bouncing of the ball, some dodgy frees inside 50, and some very uncharacteristic turnovers from us. Look at how much worse they were against Essendon.
 

harrythetiger

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Early on last week and in seasons past (Collingwood Rd 2 2019, first half of 2019 prelim vs Geelong), short kicks into space have really hurt us. We tend to push numbers back expecting the long down the line kick, and that opens up a hole between the kicker and the pack. What the Swans did last week was chip it forward a few times until they reached the wing, then using the new sh*te stand rule, they could take off and get a deep entry into their forward 50. The new rule also makes it easier to hit the short chip kicks.

What we also saw last week was even when we turned the ball over, because Sydney played so slowly from their back half, we had to go through every one of their defenders to get to our goal.

As others in this thread have said, when the weather turns sour the short chip gamestyle doesn't work, or if our players start coming up more at the ball to deny those opportunities.



***also let's be honest, Sydney played out of their arse last week and had a ton of luck with the bouncing of the ball, some dodgy frees inside 50, and some very uncharacteristic turnovers from us. Look at how much worse they were against Essendon.
Lost it in the guts, until late last year we placed low importance on clearances backing our defenders to intercept and launch. That stopped working last year so we (rather successfully) focussed on winning it from the middle.
With that already dead, and missing Vlastuin and Houli, we really struggled to move it from defence. It reminded me of the first half last year's GF when, funnily enough, Vlastuin was out and Houli was playing through injury. I'd love to see how clearances looked in the first half vs second half of that game.
 

Do the Dew

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Lost it in the guts, until late last year we placed low importance on clearances backing our defenders to intercept and launch. That stopped working last year so we (rather successfully) focussed on winning it from the middle.
With that already dead, and missing Vlastuin and Houli, we really struggled to move it from defence. It reminded me of the first half last year's GF when, funnily enough, Vlastuin was out and Houli was playing through injury. I'd love to see how clearances looked in the first half vs second half of that game.
I agree we started losing the center clearances and clearances in general pretty handily midway through the second quarter. It was just what was happening previously regarding the short kicks was really working well for them and it's a tactic that has troubled us in the past.

It's tough for our defenders to launch when an oppo team builds up the play slowly.
 

RunningBounce

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Interesting discussion.

We've made some pretty substantial structural changes since 2017. My short summary - we got an advantage in 2017 by playing a weird structure that no opposition expected, or could counter. Slowly, we've morphed to a more traditional clearance-winning midfield (often two rucks), contested marking forward line (always a minimum of 2 targeted, marking KPF and no Jacob Townsend analogue) and swarming backline (remember the last time you were surprised by who Grimes was picking up?), leaving just enough of the mosquito fleet to remind us how fun it can be.

But maybe what is more important than team selection and structure is the way the ball moves. Again, I'd say we're now much more "traditional". In 2017, we just didn't go long down the line (Astbury excluded) because we didn't have the target. We do it more and more now. We used to bomb it 20 metres in front of the point post i50 and fight like dogs. Now, it's Riewoldt, Lynch and Dusty on the lead or in marking contests.

I'm not saying the current, either structure is better or worse. They are both premiership winning - but quite different.

No doubt, we're on our way to yet another structure. Maybe it'll work in 2021 football. Maybe it won't. It's Rnd 3 and we'll know more after we've played all the legitimate contenders.

IMO, the big decisions for our mob are:
  • Ruck set-up - the current one of using Astbury and / or Balta as the chop-out isn't working. Doesn't mean it can't work, but frankly, I don't see it coming good.
  • Marking vs crumbing inside 50 - obviously, all teams do both, but what's the one wood?
  • Where on the ground are we trying to force the turnover? That determines the positioning of the running HBFs. It's currently not Grimes standing in the centre circle, where it was most of 2020. And that's fine. We can build around Balta winning / halving contested in the defensive 50, but we aren't setting up to spring board from the back half. We're taking the "assertive" positioning of defenders standing 20 metres in front of their opponent, and it's not quite gelling.
 

Drunken Wookie

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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
Your 22 is my ideal 22 as well with one slightly controversial exception. I'd drop Rioli and put Baker in his place. Baker is a nutcase terrier who brings a tonne of energy and pressure to his role, has great hands, great disposal and has proven he can kick goals as a small forward.
 

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