How do we take the next step to a premiership?

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POBT

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 10, 2004
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You are 100% right in the fact we got opened up too many times but that is not because we had too many talls. It was all because we had lazy forwards not working hard enough when we needed to switch from attack to defence. Although Hipwood's stats show he isnt a big tackler, he runs 12 kilometres a game and applies pressure all the time when the ball is with the opposition. Our small forwards (1 in particular) need to step up and increase their work rate to do more defensive work. Some just dont do enough.
A lot of that's likely true but, in the context of the proposal to play 2 rucks and 3 key forwards, it is a fair enough concern to raise. Irrespective of the reason why, playing an extra tall creates a big risk to our defensive structure.
 

Section 5

Club Legend
Nov 26, 2018
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You are 100% right in the fact we got opened up too many times but that is not because we had too many talls. It was all because we had lazy forwards not working hard enough when we needed to switch from attack to defence. Although Hipwood's stats show he isnt a big tackler, he runs 12 kilometres a game and applies pressure all the time when the ball is with the opposition. Our small forwards (1 in particular) need to step up and increase their work rate to do more defensive work. Some just dont do enough.
Agree forwards need to apply a bit more pressure along with others in that area
We know it's usually smalls that are more likely to put pressure on defenders in our forward 50 than our talls.
However it does require a team effort in that forward 50 area
Lions are ranked 2nd in contested possession also 2nd in tackles inside forward 50 just behind Melbourne in both
But those 2 stats are only part of forward pressure. A simple chase puts perceived pressure on opponents.
I think Charlie may be your (1 in particular) and agree he needs to do more in this part of his game.
We are a top 4 side so just need some tinkering i think
 

Section 5

Club Legend
Nov 26, 2018
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A lot of that's likely true but, in the context of the proposal to play 2 rucks and 3 key forwards, it is a fair enough concern to raise. Irrespective of the reason why, playing an extra tall creates a big risk to our defensive structure.
Just to clarify hopefully
My proposal does not have 2 rucks + 3 key forwards on the ground at the same time. Well negligible with maybe around 3% of the time with a 2nd ruck

So 3 talls and 3 smalls forward is as balanced as you will get on the field for 97% of game

We usually line up with Jo - McStay - Hippy (Proposed 3rd tall in 2022 not a ruck fwd) + 3 smalls. Bench cover a small.
The small on the bench replaces the smalls on the field. This usually involves the other mid on the bench also at times
The 2nd ruck replaces the 3 talls on the field + Oscar

I put this forward as i would like us to have our usual 3 KPF on the field. Then Hippy seamlessly fits in on his return
Not the 2KPF +Fullarton (Fort) forward when not rucking.

We play better with 3 KPF and our record last year indicates this is the case

It could end up 3 KPF with Jo as ruck relief but i think that is not in Jo's long term interest and throws our forward structure out during this time.
Not to mention every time Jo went up in the ruck i thought he was going to injure himself
 

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Sanchez365

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May 9, 2011
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As mobile and good defensively as McStay and Hipwood are, they are nowhere near as effective as a good small such as a McCarty or (when he's on) Cameron. Just think about adding a Tom Berry in the forward line instead of say Hipwood. We lose alot of marking power, but gain more defensive pressure on the half backs running out of defence.

Now I'm not suggesting we drop the three tall structure all together, or that Berry Jnr should play over Hipwood. But I think adding another tall on the bench is a recipe for disaster.

On an aside, what I would prefer us to do would be to ensure we play a genuine utility in the sub role all season. Basically a Lester sl that if any injury happens (tall or small) he can be shuffled in to plug that hole.
 

Mighty Lions

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Jan 9, 2019
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A lot of that's likely true but, in the context of the proposal to play 2 rucks and 3 key forwards, it is a fair enough concern to raise. Irrespective of the reason why, playing an extra tall creates a big risk to our defensive structure.
How? Adding another key forward (Hippy) improves our defensive structure so I don't understand your thoughts. Please elaborate.
 
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POBT

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Mar 10, 2004
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How? Adding another key forward (Hippy) improves our defensive structure so I don't understand your thoughts. Please elaborate.
Last year, we played 3 forwards and 1 ruck. That meant there were large parts of the game where we played two forwards and a ruck.

It is being proposed to play 3 tall forwards and 2 rucks. That presumably means that, at all times, we will have 3 tall forwards in play, plus a ruckman. That has to be a risk, given taller players generally don't cover the ground as well, don't have the same agility, aren't as effective at ground level. Hipwood could be a 200cm version of Cyril Rioli and we'd still be running a risk of being too tall with 3 tall forwards and 2 rucks.

Then add in the fact that the additional tall is taking the spot of a running player. That means more TOG for the guys who have to cover the ground all day. Every side plays its key position players for greater TOG% than its running players because you want maximum effort constantly from the latter. Playing an extra tall comes at a significant cost to that.

I'm never opposed to a concept being trialled, including this one. But we have to have our eyes open to the consequences. When assessing risk-reward, you can't just focus on the reward.
 

lionraven

Team Captain
Feb 17, 2016
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I think Daniher, McStay and Big O are locks. I dont recall many games were we played 5 talls (2 rucks, 3 tall forwards). We always have that 4th option being either a ruck (Martin/Smith) or a forward/ruck (Ballenden/Fullerton). The only developed ruck/forward we have on our list is Big O who has now transitioned to mainly ruck. It was tough with Martin as we couldnt rest him forward given his forward craft and goal kicking weren't good enough. We would have to rest him behind the ball or on the bench. Big O can rest forward and still be effective as the deepest forward. I like seeing Daniher play in the ruck as I think getting him touches frees him up a bit and gets him into the game. He seems to be a player that feeds on momentum and if he is just kept deep without getting any touches he can fade from the game. What I disliked about playing Daniher in the ruck is he seemed to get gassed later in the match and wasnt as effective in the forward line afterwards. I like McStay as CHF running up and down the ground being that link player. He also lays some fantastic pressure for a big player.

The question for me this preseason is who can solidify that 4th tall spot. If fort can play as a ruck/forward then ideally ruck time should be split 40/40 between Big O + Fort with 20% Daniher for an altered centre bounce look/forward 50 stoppage ruck setup. Fort and Big O would continue to switch between ruck and forward throughout the game with aiming for almost 0 time on bench. If Fullerton has been building his muscle mass (as seen on some of his recent photos) I would like to see him play predominantly forward with ruck time 70/30 between Big and Fullerton/Daniher. Payne is the other interesting one. He looked decent enough when thrown into the deep end last finals. Do we swing him forward for a year and see how he can develop given Adams/Andrews/Gardiner have locked up the 3 back roles.
 

davemc_lions

Premiership Player
Aug 21, 2013
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Honestly when we got over run in games
Charlie and Joe both run one way more often than not. People underestimate the work Hippy and McStay do.
Mids Lyons and Neale if you get past them your away. Add M Robbo to this as well. Berry was under done.
Our back 6 like to zone off as well. Rich and Birchall not fast.. Left Starc to cover everything
Add to that Harris knee seems a problem why he seemed to not run. Darcy was way under done.

When you have the ball being overly attacking works.
If you turn it over teams run in waves and we get cut up easy
Could say that for most teams although we lack runners and speed in the midfield.
Lyons and Neale both great players although both together we need something different in there as well.
 

Section 5

Club Legend
Nov 26, 2018
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Last year, we played 3 forwards and 1 ruck. That meant there were large parts of the game where we played two forwards and a ruck.

It is being proposed to play 3 tall forwards and 2 rucks. That presumably means that, at all times, we will have 3 tall forwards in play, plus a ruckman. That has to be a risk, given taller players generally don't cover the ground as well, don't have the same agility, aren't as effective at ground level. Hipwood could be a 200cm version of Cyril Rioli and we'd still be running a risk of being too tall with 3 tall forwards and 2 rucks.

Then add in the fact that the additional tall is taking the spot of a running player. That means more TOG for the guys who have to cover the ground all day. Every side plays its key position players for greater TOG% than its running players because you want maximum effort constantly from the latter. Playing an extra tall comes at a significant cost to that.

I'm never opposed to a concept being trialled, including this one. But we have to have our eyes open to the consequences. When assessing risk-reward, you can't just focus on the reward.
I get what you are saying and they are all valid points

The team that wins the premiership usually does something different to others
Just take this year most posts are about how to match/beat Melbourne at their own game. This won't work as they have a big start on their game-plan
I remember Mick Malthouse saying their "around the boundary" style was 3 years in the making before the Pies were successful

Regarding the bolded
With 3 talls i would hope the ball will be marked more in our forward 50 therefore reducing defensive pressure in that area
I think not marking the ball in the first place is where opposition waltz out of our forward 50 along with kicking directly to the opposition
We are a very good stoppage team so i don't see that as our issue

I expect Jo or someone else takes the ruck duties inside 10/35 that leaves Oscar positioned somewhere defensively between wing/halfback.
You are correct about TOG for key forwards in general but not all of them.
Jo's TOG is 93.83% with some ruck duties. Personally i would like to see this reduced to 88/90%
He suffers from obvious fatigue at times and it shows in his non pressure also at times
Josh Bruce 86% Jeromy Cameron 82.47% Ben King 90% Franklin 89.7%

A good debate on the pros and cons of just 1 positional change to our Lions team
 

davemc_lions

Premiership Player
Aug 21, 2013
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with defensive structures and we also often bomb it in.
Marks inside 50 will be down.
I do not mind if the ball hits the ground we have some talented smalls.
Problem is we often get our bombs into forward 50 picked off which then allows the ball to move quickly.
A few of our forwards if they cannot mark need to do more to spoil it. Often you see someone watching a defender mark.
Having players who are not super fast we get caught on the spread.

Not to say we do not do the same from Adams/Andrews and Rich too takes a lot of intercept marks.
Just the less intercept marks the better.. I do think we miss some speed and spread from our midfield.
Our fastest players are normally in the forward line. J Berry if he ever can get fit has the running power that will help.
Hence I also think why Sharp got games. Zorko had a great year although has dropped off a little pace wise
Bailey sometimes runs one way although hope he can learn more defensive pressure
 

Grasshopper17

Way too much to say
Mar 12, 2003
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Then add in the fact that the additional tall is taking the spot of a running player. That means more TOG for the guys who have to cover the ground all day. Every side plays its key position players for greater TOG% than its running players because you want maximum effort constantly from the latter. Playing an extra tall comes at a significant cost to that.
All the more reason for us to be the fittest side in the comp. There's no reason why this should not be the case, given the conditions our guys face every preseason compared to basically every other club.

There's plenty of clichés I can throw in here, like "the little men might get slower but the big men don't get any shorter", or my personal favourite "big men play big roles in big games". Our game plan has served us well in the regular season but has come up short in finals. There are parallels between us 2019-21 and Port Adelaide 2001-3. It wasn't until Port adjusted their game plan away from their possession based style of game (which hindsight has demonstrated was ahead of its time) to kicking longer into their forward line that they got reward for their efforts in September.

Our strategy of sucking all our tall forwards up outside 50 and leaving the midgets to roam free in the forward line may yet prove to be the benchmark for the next 20 years. But until it proves sustainable in September we are far better off having our deepest forward be a tall one basically at all times, and playing 3 key forwards plus a ruckman on the field at all times (with a 5th tall on the bench) will most easily facilitate this.

The other thing which hasn't really been touched on by anyone in this discussion is that playing a third key forward makes it harder for the opposition to play a loose floating defender to come across packs as the third man up etc. Particularly if all three of our key forwards are able to separate themselves from each other (this is something we have done very poorly, if at all, in recent seasons). Obviously we think first of Jake Lever, but the competition has plenty of them and it's a trend that will only be accentuated by Melbourne's success.
 
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