List management 101 (69?)

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May 8, 2003
21,257
31,701
Hamish Paradise
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Islanders, Nuggets
Another season underway. Another familiar loss. Had a crack, miles off it.
After five years at the bottom we are looking another 2-3 years off any major movement up ladder.
As always, some encouraging signs. Mainly the kids.
Sheezel a ripper, Wardlaw cracks in, McKercher classy and Duursma looks a player. But so they should be. They are absolute high end draft picks. There would be something very wrong if they weren't quality young players. Goater looked good too - terrible luck.
Then look at the rest of the list.
It's horribly unbalanced. Backline is atrocious and still no small pressure forward.
After infamously culling all the fringe players, we have drafted so many mids and not much else. And many of them are small. Where is the system in what we've done?
What have we been doing for past five years?
We've tried recruiting guys from other clubs. But most have been just spot fillers. CCJ trade was always horrible and is looking even worse now. Corr is very average. Tucker adds little. Fisher and Stephens get time but looked average on debut. Daniel Howe. Should we have gone after a Ginnivan who at least filled a glaring need?
Greenwood and Stephenson been ok. Shiels solid last year. But none move the needle for us.
Logue was at least a tick until his injury.
Our key defender cupboard is virtually bare. We're relying on Comben who has never been a back and is made of paper. Nyoun, Pink??? Unlikely.
So many mistakes with drafting and trading it's amazing.
The CCJ trade.
Trading out of the first round of the draft when we were rebuilding, missing Pickett and/or Serong.
Jacobs Edward. Phoenix Spicer. Jack Mahoney. Hosie. Ham.
Phillips looking very shaky (ahead of McDonald).
Delisting and Relisting Turner? Why? What was Josh Walker all about? And then we flicked him when we were light on for key backs?
We should also have pushed harder with Horne-Francis. Port were desperate and like the CCJ trade we folded meekly. Even with Brown we took way unders for a bloke with his record.
I know some will disagree but I see a string of glaring mistakes leading to a historically bad team.
Some are with benefit of hindsight, undoubtedly, but lots of them like CCJ, Mahoney, Howe, even Corr, were obvious at the time.
And most have one bloke's hands all over them.
 
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Traded Pruess to godees. They hardly used him but traded him on for a better pick



Realistically, even though some of the trades you've listed are ordinary, even when the warchest was being bandied about there weren't many bites. Perhaps Dusty was a possibility until the Puma deal topped his bank account up and who knows about Kelly...

The counter point is that if either or both of them were landed, North moves up one or two spots but miss out on Sheez, Warlord, Colby and Durz. Maybe even one or two others like Sausage.

The short game was never landing a flag at Arden St. The long game has at least the potential to have the team in contention for a few seasons. But it's the next one or two trade periods along with some natural progression that will make it happen.
 

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What have we been doing for past five years?
I know it's been a tough 5 years but you said it yourself by not saying it with the bold. The reality is that we haven't been doing what we've been doing for the past 5 years, we've been doing it for around 2 years, maybe 3 if generous. I don't think anyone is disagreeing that we have made plenty of average calls over the last 3-6 years although I'd suggest some of the ones you're bemoaning aren't exactly disasters in the scheme of things - Spicer, Hosie, Edwards - these were not exactly big draft investments. Even the 2020 draft has mostly been a bust for the majority of teams, hard to expect too much from the mid season leftovers draft.

We have work to do no doubt, we're effectively now where we should have been 2 years ago had we not messed up so badly, I'm not however writing off a season based on 1 game in round 1 of the year when coming up against - IMO - the form team of the last half season of games. We were in no way embarrassed and will face much less difficult opposition at times this year.

If our loss was the criteria for a failed season Collingwood have had 2 weeks in a row of the same thing.
 
We have a ways to go to correct the errors of the past.

The biggest issues that presented so far (from a sample size of 1 game):

Our run and gun game plan is slick when it works but looks foolish when we get invariably exposed. I can’t believe that I am agreeing with Cornes when he said North fans are expecting better, something defensively. Of course this will improve if our young guys improve their fitness. But it is as much between the ears and about attitude as it is about seasoned bodies. We are now playing mids in their 3rd,4th,5th, 6th year now and there was very little on show (outside of a Wardlaw defensive cameo) to indicate that defensive running is in the top 10 priorities for the coaching staff.

Our inability to find any cohesion and organisation was as much about the will of the forwards and mids to run and defend as it was about defensive personnel (Corr or any other playing underdone will undo any of the good work done by others). We simply need players who are prepared to run defensively and shut down the oppos’ hb runners. This will improve if/when the likes of Jy and Will return to the team. But we need more from the players playing on the weekend. Recruiting 2 capable pressure forwards will work wonders here. I still remember the enormous impact Thomas and Campbell had in 2007 hunting and chasing and keeping the ball in the forward 50. I want to have fun seeing our players hunt the ball and man like that for fun again.

Our contested marking stinks and has done for 6 years. We have few players that can turn the tide or consolidate when the pressure is on by bringing down a big grab. Duursma has stuck out like dog’s balls because he can do this. But we need 3-4 more players who are reliable on the list. The contested marks were sonething like 3-23 in GWS favour (this might be wildly inaccurate) which is just nuts. Clarkson mentions this in the press conference but it could have been said for 36 months by the last 4 coaches. The coaches need to be supported by better, more balanced recruiting.
 
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What exactly do you imagine we could've gotten for JHF? I think Brady should be commended for putting that deal together, we made out like bandits.
LOL Righto. JHF for Wardlaw and Goad is in essence what we got for that deal. I don’t think that’s making out like bandits. :stern look
 
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No doubt, it doesn’t make for pretty reading. There are reasons why we’ve only won 12.5 games in four years. The next worst teams are Hawks and WC. They’ve won 27 (I think) over the same period. No matter which way we look at it, we are demonstrably the worst team in AFL era. I’d say it would be hard to find worse performing teams over a four year period back in the VFL days. I’m sure there were… hopefully. Anyway, what’s done is done - let’s beat Freo.
 
Disagree on JHF. We got Wardlaw for a despondent JHF. That's the best you can hope for from a bad situation.

There are still holes all over the place, undoubtedly. I get the sense that in order to win games, we're going to need to surf waves of momentum like our lives depend on it, rather than rely on any structural superiority. Those waves of momentum should come more often (case in point, 80 points against one of the more stacked defences in the league, and a mildly frustrated Adam Kingsley), but we're going to be cursing our list managers for a lot of this season.

There's not a lot we can do about it. The coaches will be aware of where we're lacking, and will try and carve out some makeshift solutions. We just have to hope that's enough, until we can maybe start looking at free agency/trade options to fill those areas when we're finally out of this 4+ year mudheap.
 
Disagree on JHF. We got Wardlaw for a despondent JHF. That's the best you can hope for from a bad situation.

There are still holes all over the place, undoubtedly. I get the sense that in order to win games, we're going to need to surf waves of momentum like our lives depend on it, rather than rely on any structural superiority. Those waves of momentum should come more often (case in point, 80 points against one of the more stacked defences in the league, and a mildly frustrated Adam Kingsley), but we're going to be cursing our list managers for a lot of this season.

There's not a lot we can do about it. The coaches will be aware of where we're lacking, and will try and carve out some makeshift solutions. We just have to hope that's enough, until we can maybe start looking at free agency/trade options to fill those areas when we're finally out of this 4+ year mudheap.
Should same guy who has overseen almost all of this still be involved?
 
I'd say the biggest error was trading out of the 2019 draft. And that wasn't Rawlings' doing. Neither was the drafting of the small midfielder trio in 2020. Or the Spicer, Mahony, Hosie or Ham decisions. Tucker doesn't really matter because we got Logue in with him. Howe doesn't matter because Clarko had a fixation on him and probably would've brought him across no matter who was managing our list. Corr was good last year and is capable of good footy, despite what people who struggle with the concept of object permanence may say.

Two biggest errors under Rawling were firing Walker and hiring CCJ.

Overall he hasn't been that bad. He's been slow on the uptake in the realisation that we urgently need a lockdown defender and a mobile and non injury-prone key forward, but he gets a pass from me so far. Don't let your anger cloud what's actually happened
How about a small forward?
 
How about a small forward?
Most teams have multiple small forwards.

We have none. Curtis isn’t one. Stephenson isn’t one. Zurhaar isn’t. Duursma isn’t. George isn’t.

We mistake medium forwards, who we have approximately 1,588 of, as small, crumbing forwards.

And we get torched like clockwork because the exit of our D50 is a 10 lane freeway with no boom gates.
 
LOL Zoomba. Rawling had committed to North in mid 2019 to be GM of Football and placed on Gardening Leave by the WC from that point on. To think he didn’t have some input into the trading of that 2019 first rounder of ours is being naive. Oh and he sure had input in the 2020 draft. Plus he was the Ironstein behind the end of 2020 cull. Since then we have been a rabble. Sure not all his fault. But make no mistake he has played a big part in what our list currently looks like plus why this has been the worse NMFC we have seen in our lifetimes. :stern look
 
Most teams have multiple small forwards.

We have none. Curtis isn’t one. Stephenson isn’t one. Zurhaar isn’t. Duursma isn’t. George isn’t.

We mistake medium forwards, who we have approximately 1,588 of, as small, crumbing forwards.

And we get torched like clockwork because the exit of our D50 is a 10 lane freeway with no boom gates.
Spot on TPA. It’s a glaring hole on our list. Harvey and RHJ our only true small forwards left on the list. We moved on 3 very ordinary small forwards last season and didn’t dare to recruit another? Garbage List Management. :stern look
 

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reaching for players in the second round instead of picking high production players

Will walker over balta
Nielson over touk miller
Mahony over Chad Warner
 
I think first time in a long time the balance is pretty good, but year theres a few decisions which have hurt us. The main ones though are Polec, Thomas, and of CCJ. At the time i never saw much to indicate CCJ was worth the price, but put it down to not seeing enough of him.
Better use of those Polec and CCJ picks should have netted us 2 players who are in the age sweet spot right now, which is where Thomas is. Then of course theres McKay who fit into that group as well, but we got overs so no regrets there. But just to point out we should/ could've had 3 or 4 extra players in battle hardened category.

What stands out is our need for a bigger bodied mid. Dare i say it, a Harley Reid type. So one might have that GC win as another misstep. Of course we never want to tank, but its clear GC went to Tassie with a footy trip mentality that game.
 
Spot on TPA. It’s a glaring hole on our list. Harvey and RHJ our only true small forwards left on the list. We moved on 3 very ordinary small forwards last season and didn’t dare to recruit another? Garbage List Management. :stern look
I wouldn't even put Harvey in that category. He's closer to a mid/forward, medium forward than a true small.

I think first time in a long time the balance is pretty good, but year theres a few decisions which have hurt us. The main ones though are Polec, Thomas, and of CCJ. At the time i never saw much to indicate CCJ was worth the price, but put it down to not seeing enough of him.
Better use of those Polec and CCJ picks should have netted us 2 players who are in the age sweet spot right now, which is where Thomas is. Then of course theres McKay who fit into that group as well, but we got overs so no regrets there. But just to point out we should/ could've had 3 or 4 extra players in battle hardened category.

What stands out is our need for a bigger bodied mid. Dare i say it, a Harley Reid type. So one might have that GC win as another misstep. Of course we never want to tank, but its clear GC went to Tassie with a footy trip mentality that game.

Agree there is a spot there, although given we have George, Duursma and a whole host of mid sized forwards I'd say one of them - Cam Z the obvious one today could play that role for us.
 
To put it lightly our list management and subsequent development over the past 20 years has been sub standard, arguably the worst in the league. I’ve been banging on about it for ages, and despite personnel changes it never seems to improve.

Combine this with poor drafting, terrible list strategy (lack of talls), poor recruiting (minus Logue, Higgins and Waite), getting value for players wanting out has been atrocious (Brown, JHF ect) and overpaying for players coming in (CCJ, Polec ect). Then you can see why it’s taking so long for us to dig ourselves out of this monumental ****ing hole we are in.

Basically, we’ve started 3 seperate rebuilds in an 8 year period and none of them have netted us any sort of improvement off the bottom of the ladder.

I’m hopeful though, that as of last year (Sheezel/Wardlaw) we have turned a bit of a corner.

Fact is, we are still a long way off.
 
The issue I have is the improvement is so slow, so slight, that by the time we are any good, the former 'young' pillars of our rebuild will themselves need replacing. Larkey, Zurhaar, Simpkin, LDU aren't kids anymore.
 
The issue I have is the improvement is so slow, so slight, that by the time we are any good, the former 'young' pillars of our rebuild will themselves need replacing. Larkey, Zurhaar, Simpkin, LDU aren't kids anymore.
They are all entering the start of their prime years (24-30).

Guys like Corr, Tucker, Fisher, Stephens, Scott, Stephenson have enough experience.

Expecting them to drive the team up the ladder now shouldn’t be some fanciful future plan.
 
The one positive about our crap list over the years is that it does net us high end talent like the above players. If we were ever going to be crap it's now, because all the other clubs who are good now will struggle and need high draft picks which they will not get because of the Tasmanian team coming in the next 2 years. I think we've timed it brilliantly.
 
The one positive about our crap list over the years is that it does net us high end talent like the above players. If we were ever going to be crap it's now, because all the other clubs who are good now will struggle and need high draft picks which they will not get because of the Tasmanian team coming in the next 2 years. I think we've timed it brilliantly.
No doubt that high end draft picks are the silver lining to being bad however it ain’t the recipe to success either. Check out the GC. Never made finals since their inception. Had a shit load of high end draft picks but no finals. :stern look
 
It didn't feel familiar to me.

We had a clear, identifiable game plan based around skill (unlike the last 5 coaches) and we brought it up to the premiership fancy as the youngest team in the comp.

Yes we're still 2-3 years off being proper contenders but you feel like there's a foundation of young talent on the field and a critical mass of the right people off the field now.

I think we need to put the onus on the people we have now to drive us forward rather than a tear the place down approach. Not saying changes can't be made.

Rawlings for mine came to us in a very dire state and like the tagger he was he put his hand up for any role required and said yes to whatever the club needed. Did he get it all right? Hell no. But he deserves some slack given the chaotic environment and is now in a more stable system doing what he's best at so will be judged more harshly for decisions made now than when he came to us.

Personally I'm going to enjoy the ride this year! Even if it's 6-8 wins it's going to be good to watch as we will shock a few good teams on occasion no question.
 
At what point do we acknowledge that we are the worst in the league at the off field stuff most likely because we spend the least amount of money. We would spend a fraction on recruiters and development compared to the rest of the league. Turning profit every year is great but it won’t count for much if we keep losing onfield.
 
No doubt that high end draft picks are the silver lining to being bad however it ain’t the recipe to success either. Check out the GC. Never made finals since their inception. Had a s**t load of high end draft picks but no finals. :stern look
Pretty tough to win a flag no matter what, but we used to say the same about Melbourne. And Carlton who finished top 4. While Lions and GWS got a ton, both finished top 4. Collingwood while not finishing low have been blessed with Father/Son.
 
No doubt that high end draft picks are the silver lining to being bad however it ain’t the recipe to success either. Check out the GC. Never made finals since their inception. Had a s**t load of high end draft picks but no finals. :stern look
To not have high draft picks in a compromised draft coming up in a few years will be nearly impossible for the teams who will be bottom 4 in 3 years. We are FINALLY in a good list space to be a finals mainstay in that time with the high end picks we are getting now. We can use those high-end picks in the next 3 years to bid on high quality players to fill a need. We will be a powerhouse in 3 years.
 

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