Heading into 2022 - make the big calls

Remove this Banner Ad

X_box_X

King of September
Mar 15, 2001
21,022
27,284
DogLands
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Chelsea
Libba’s form will decline through injury / age
I was thinking about this today and I'm wondering what a reasonable expectation is for Libba for 2022 and beyond?

He will be 30 in May but as we know it's dangerous to discuss the decline of a player based on age. Everyone is different. Boak and Mundy are playing extremely well in their mid 30s and a lot of that has to do with their elite work ethic. Libba has a good work ethic too and this could prolong his career. If genes are anything to go by, he could follow in his father's footsteps and play into his mid 30s.

The two knee reconstructions could catch up to him, or they could actually prolong his career. He has been in the system for 11 seasons but has only played in nine of those seasons. That's less wear and tear on his body.

I'm still hopeful we get another two to three years of very good football from Libba. There's no reason why he can't continue to perform at a high standard if he doesn't get injured. Am I correct in saying that he doesn't have a history of soft tissue injury? That could be a good thing.
 

Log in to remove this ad.

X_box_X

King of September
Mar 15, 2001
21,022
27,284
DogLands
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Chelsea
Fair call but sadly its not really a top 4 or even top 8 backline.
Yep, it's quite annoying that we've lost Hamling and Adams in the past five years. Having just one of them as a second string to Keath would be very handy.
 

ScragCity

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 7, 2015
12,652
28,137
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
I was thinking about this today and I'm wondering what a reasonable expectation is for Libba for 2022 and beyond?

He will be 30 in May but as we know it's dangerous to discuss the decline of a player based on age. Everyone is different. Boak and Mundy are playing extremely well in their mid 30s and a lot of that has to do with their elite work ethic. Libba has a good work ethic too and this could prolong his career. If genes are anything to go by, he could follow in his father's footsteps and play into his mid 30s.

The two knee reconstructions could catch up to him, or they could actually prolong his career. He has been in the system for 11 seasons but has only played in nine of those seasons. That's less wear and tear on his body.

I'm still hopeful we get another two to three years of very good football from Libba. There's no reason why he can't continue to perform at a high standard if he doesn't get injured. Am I correct in saying that he doesn't have a history of soft tissue injury? That could be a good thing.

I have it on good authority that Libba's knees have to be managed throughout the season. He has lighter training loads than the other players etc.
His longevity will inevitably come down to how long the knees can hold up.
Having said that, I think its a mistake to write him off now. He has shown zero signs of slowing down.
 

Guido

Premium Gold
Aug 18, 2004
1,590
1,611
Melbourne
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Leros United
Ryan Gardner to be knocking on the door of the AA squad.
 

GetDimmaBack

BigFooty Librarian
Mar 30, 2008
8,014
8,311
Gippsland via Braybrook
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Sunderland, Phillip Island Dogs
We'll see the emergence of Josh Schache as a best 22 swingman.

He is no longer a timid kid.

The pup has grown into a Big Dog.
 
Last edited:

bullish23

Premiership Player
Oct 2, 2002
3,996
3,427
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Arsenal
If you’re posting JUH will do this or a Sweet, Richards, Parker, Garcia will do that, I’d also be interested to read who from our GF team has made way for them.
 

weltschmerz

Norm Smith Medallist
May 23, 2019
5,718
13,077
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
If you’re posting JUH will do this or a Sweet, Richards, Parker, Garcia will do that, I’d also be interested to read who from our GF team has made way for them.

My 22:

FB: Williams Keath Duryea
HB: Dale Gardner O'Brien
C: Treloar Bont Hunter
HF:Vandermeer Naughton Smith
FF: Weightman English JUH
F: Sweet Macrae Dunkley

IC: Libba Daniel Richards Schache (the last two are the ones who could be swapped out for someone else who's pushing for it)
Medi sub: RSmith

So out from the Grand Final 22: Wood, Cordy, Hannan, JJ, Martin. In: O'Brien, Gardner, JUH, Vandermeer, Sweet. Plus there will be injuries to cover and drops in form. Crozier and Wallis both went into 2021 undisputed best 22.
 

RedWhite&Blue

Premiership Player
Jul 21, 2005
3,532
5,281
Vic
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
O’Brien to be a regular 22 backman by round 12.

Bailey Dale to become the league’s best utility that can play anywhere and plug holes down back, midfield and up forward.

Arthur Jones comes in and forms a lethal combination with Weightman, Naughton and Marra up forward
 

Libbaaaa

All Australian
Jun 1, 2021
762
1,681
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Our 16-22 best players will hold the key to our ultimate success. I dismissed them all year but Melbourne's fringe/whipping boy players simply walked taller when it counted. Rivers, Neal-Bullen, Petty, Sparrow, Sprago, Harmes all out performed their relative expectations and some.

Also an injury free season for Dunkley would be nice. Was our best player pre-shoulder injury last year and gives us legit flexibility to be less reliant on Bont/Macca/Libba in the middle.
 

footscray1973

Premiership Player
May 17, 2004
3,446
6,188
Pepperland
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Footscray
Romance to blossom between an AFL and AFLW stalwart.

JUH and Naughton to develop a chemistry that bamboozles opponents, and allows English to get off the chain up forward.
All 3 to have 40+ goal seasons.

Blackburn to win the AFLW B&F medal.

Garcia to entrench himself in the best 22.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Guido

Premium Gold
Aug 18, 2004
1,590
1,611
Melbourne
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Leros United
I do so hope you are correct. For me , Gardner is the equivalent of Travis Head in the Test team - whatever he does I will always have my doubts. Here’s hoping I will be proven wrong ( again).
This below post could look utterly ridiculous in 12 months time, but Gardner is on one of the steepest improvement trajectories I have ever seen in my 30 odd years of following football.

Post history will show that I was one of his biggest doubters, thinking he should not have been on the list, let alone the first 22, but by last year's finals, he'd convinced me that he well and truly belonged at that finals level - to a point I think it was a significant mistake to drop him for the Grand Final.

To perform as he did in those three finals (and play almost 100% game time) off 8 odd weeks out with no VFL to get match fitness was impressive, but when you factor in that someone like him who needs continuity, development and confidence to perform at his best, to miss 17 matches through the year and perform as he did was incredible.

This thread is more for "out there" calls - I know he'll always have the brainfade or two, and he'll probably lack the hype and intercept/rebound possessions required to make an AA squad, but I think if he keeps improving at a similar rate to what he has the last 2 years, he could find himself among the top 10 key defenders in the comp and top half a dozen stoppers (in the Prestigiacomo mould) for the next 5 years. As unimaginable as that was after his first few games.
 

ScragCity

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 7, 2015
12,652
28,137
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Zero chance the season is not effected by Covid not a big call near 100% certain to happen.

In what way? The season doesn't start for another three months. The pandemic will be over by then. Everyone will had had the virus.
 

Mofra

Moderator
Dec 6, 2005
56,014
160,951
Footscray
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Footscray, Coney Island Warriors
  • Thread starter
  • Moderator
  • #45
O’Brien to be a regular 22 backman by round 12.
By round 1?
We tend to bring in senior guys with a specific role in mind and he's already been earmarked as an intercepting defender.
I think if we give him that single role and stick with it he will be a decent pick up for us. Intercept marking is an area we could do with some support in.
 

Mofra

Moderator
Dec 6, 2005
56,014
160,951
Footscray
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Footscray, Coney Island Warriors
  • Thread starter
  • Moderator
  • #46
Surely Khamis is ahead of the last three.
I have to be honest and say I still think Khamis' issue with his tank will hold him back, at least in 2022.

If we're projecting years from now I'd tip Raak as more likely to make it (as a similar type). Less athletic and less of a leap, but more of that old-school natural footballer about him. Reads the play like a kid who was born with a football in his hands and has that manic 'I want it' approach to his training.
 

Mofra

Moderator
Dec 6, 2005
56,014
160,951
Footscray
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Footscray, Coney Island Warriors
  • Thread starter
  • Moderator
  • #50
West breaks out this year, aided by other mids needing to isolate.
I like West, probably more than most on here.
Sadly I see Libba's body needing more of a break this year. Dunkley poised to take a lot more centre square attendances this year as the main beneficiary, but I think West definitely plays more football this year. His first senior game in 2021 seemed a classic case of wanting it 'too much'.
 

Remove this Banner Ad

Remove this Banner Ad