Offseason Changes + Road to the 2021 Premiership

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truman

All Australian
Oct 24, 2013
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Granted, without question the team has the talent within it to have achieved far more this year (and last year) than what has eventuated.


But we are a long way off from having any premiership window closed.

If fit, the midfield is stacked better than any other going around - depth remains an ongoing concern if injuries arise, but Shuey, Yeo, Kelly, Gaff, Sheed, Redden is a damned fine list to be choosing from - and of those only Shuey and Redden will be over 30 next year.

In defence McGovern and Barrass are in their prime, Sheppard will still only be 30 in 2021 and the retirement/replacement of Hurn and Jetta is already underway with development coming from Duggan, Rotham, Cole and Nelson.

Up forward Darling is right in the middle of his best years, Allen is outstanding for a young key forward that is yet to play 40 matches and old man Kennedy still goes alright despite his age (Second in both the Coleman [34] and goals per game [2.0] this season behind Hawkins only). The oldest member of the forward group after Kennedy is Cripps who will be 29 next year.
Ryan took his game to another level - he was 8th in the competition for average score involvements per game, equal with D.Martin. The next highest Eagle for that statistic is Darling who came in 51st. Among those who managed at least 10 matches this year, just four players who have played less than 100 matches overall ranked inside the top 30 for score involvements per game: Ryan, McCluggage, Bolton and Butters. His talent is prodigious - and he has only just started to make an impact higher up the ground, giving him scope to potentially improve even further.
Cameron is another massive talent who just needs to get his body right and he will also provide a boost to the team up forward - and who knows what is going to happen with Rioli and Venables? The squad would be improved by the return of either of them.

In the ruck Hickey remains as an understudy that is still better than half of the first choice options in the competition, whilst Williams will be into his third year of development. The biggest query is probably in regard to what can realistically be expected from Naitanui as a 31 year old, particularly if the league goes back to standard quarter lengths - that said, Naitanui's absence in 2018 didn't stop the club from going all the way.


To say that the window is closed is pessimistic in the extreme. Three years ago the majority were consigning the club to a rebuild and saying that anyone over 25 should be traded out - the club did neither and won a premiership instead.

The best 22 of this club is more than capable of beating any team, anywhere, more often than not - and that places them right in the hunt for the premiership next year.
I completely agree about Ryan, star. But he's the only under 25 year old on our list atm who you'd say is a genuine star of the competition. Yes Oscar Allen has the potential. Waterman whilst a good player is not someone I would expect to be a top 50 player in the comp.

I hear what you are saying about the ruck but I mean we will surely never get better ruck service than this year and we got beaten first round of finals. I don't think our ruck depth is going to make us improve more than say Rozee and butters etc natural improvement heading into their third year.

Am very happy to be proven wrong, I'm just concerned our best players are getting older and there's not the quality of young players to replace them, particularly in the midfield.
 

Ok Boomer

Back in my day
Jul 27, 2015
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I thought Zac Langdon was pretty good in his first season but his stats don't reflect that at all really aside from a high tackle count. Still, he would assist in locking the ball in the forward line, one of our biggest problems in 2020 with no Rioli, Venables and a match fit Cameron. It would have to be a cheap deal though.
 

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frenchconnection

Norm Smith Medallist
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I completely agree about Ryan, star. But he's the only under 25 year old on our list atm who you'd say is a genuine star of the competition. Yes Oscar Allen has the potential. Waterman whilst a good player is not someone I would expect to be a top 50 player in the comp.

I hear what you are saying about the ruck but I mean we will surely never get better ruck service than this year and we got beaten first round of finals. I don't think our ruck depth is going to make us improve more than say Rozee and butters etc natural improvement heading into their third year.

Am very happy to be proven wrong, I'm just concerned our best players are getting older and there's not the quality of young players to replace them, particularly in the midfield.
That's why Simmo & Co will need to manage the list well next year so we get the best out of some of the more mature players - imo some weeks going forward to next season perhaps rest some of the older players from time to time and get more games into deserving younger players - not necessary to play your best 22 every week - obviously depending upon who we are playing.

Simmo does seem to get his favourites and then you have players like Jetta who couldn't buy a game - if there's no room in his preferred position then try him somewhere else which Simmo finally did but not in the final. I was gobsmacked when Petrucelli and Ainsworth were picked ahead of experience in a do or die final. I would have gone for Jetta and Schofield as both Petro & Ainsworth were out of their depth and still not AFL ready just yet.

Roll on 2021 and let's hope we don't have another year like this one - it was a strange year with Covid and would like to get back to some sort of normalcy as 2020 is not a year I will look back on with fondness that's for sure even though it will get a mention or 2 in future history books.
 

ziad

Brownlow Medallist
May 2, 2009
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That's why Simmo & Co will need to manage the list well next year so we get the best out of some of the more mature players - imo some weeks going forward to next season perhaps rest some of the older players from time to time and get more games into deserving younger players - not necessary to play your best 22 every week - obviously depending upon who we are playing.

Simmo does seem to get his favourites and then you have players like Jetta who couldn't buy a game - if there's no room in his preferred position then try him somewhere else which Simmo finally did but not in the final. I was gobsmacked when Petrucelli and Ainsworth were picked ahead of experience in a do or die final. I would have gone for Jetta and Schofield as both Petro & Ainsworth were out of their depth and still not AFL ready just yet.

Roll on 2021 and let's hope we don't have another year like this one - it was a strange year with Covid and would like to get back to some sort of normalcy as 2020 is not a year I will look back on with fondness that's for sure even though it will get a mention or 2 in future history books.
2021 will be more a covid season than a 2019 normal one.
 

The Passenger

James Osterberg Jr.
Mar 25, 2003
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Winning more ground ball, better tackling and showing more hunger. These are the three areas we need to improve and they are all interrelated.

When opposition teams let us play on our terms we look a million bucks. But when good teams up the pressure (Richmond the obvious example) the game plan doesn't hold up.

We are a good team. But to a win a flag you have to be an excellent team, maybe even a great team.

I don't think we need to throw the whole gameplan out the window but it certainly needs a bit of tweaking to give us a harder edge to win more contested possession and then use our footskills once we have it. Against the top teams we just aren't winning enough of the ball.
 

FreeTK

Premiership Player
Oct 2, 2019
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I'm not 100% sure we are still in the window.

There will be a 22 round season + longer quarters (18 or 20 minutes). Both of those probably work against our older list, and reduce Nic's TOG and therefore influence on games.

If we are going to contend and make top 2/4 we need a lot of development from our younger players, Petch, Waterman, Brander and Allen and need to address the cohesion of the midfield.

We are a top 8 side, but we may be between old guard and new generation and next year might be a transition year.
 

flamingEMBERS

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I would like to see us reward the run and overlap a bit more. Jackson Nelson often zips past leaving the backline but is burnt. If we promote that play and dish the handball bit more I think we’ll be much more dangerous. I’m not saying throw out our game style, just use it the handball when it’s on.
 

Lynch takes a mark

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Apart from goals per game and accounting for shortened quarters Kelly isn't far of. I think a lot of that is to do with WCE 'holding their forwards' to keep opposition numbers out of the forward line, it means mids stay in the middle, back line has even or extra numbers and forwards kick all of the goals.

Sheed, gaff, Kelly, Shuey and Redden combined for a whopping 20 goals for the season - tactics, not an accident. To get midfield goals then you have to lose a midfielder for the extra forward and bring up a defender to cover in the midfield and we lose our extra number in the backline, then people start complaining about Barrass and McGovern being sh*t.

When Kennedy retires then you need to find an extra 30-50 goals per season, that would probably come from mids pushing forward and having a small defender/flanker come up from the backline for stoppages and get the extra number.

For those who don't get the role of Brander on the 'wing' - think of having a CHF and CHB dynamically changing throughout the game and quarter depending or stoppage position. If brander gets 10 disposals and 5 marks then he is likely saving the midfields arse after a quick break out of the forward line or he is part of the chain in transitioning to half forward. If he pulls it off then he becomes an unbelievably valuable player, maybe not to fans but to opposition coaches he is a nightmare.
 

swingdog

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Aug 3, 2007
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I would like to see us reward the run and overlap a bit more. Jackson Nelson often zips past leaving the backline but is burnt. If we promote that play and dish the handball bit more I think we’ll be much more dangerous. I’m not saying throw out our game style, just use it the handball when it’s on.
This.

The Richmond / Bulldogs style is to run in waves. It's a whole of team attack coming out of the backline. We sort of do it (which is why Kennedy and Darling push up so far for marking opportunities), but we seem to be stuck between that and our preferred precision kicking style. The latter really comes into view when we kick out from a point - we are ploddingly slow and predictable.
 

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amazingjoshy

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 29, 2005
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no such thing as a window.

we were tipped to be bottom in 18

Richmond were a rabble leading into 17

Dogs were nothing in 16

Port were a basket case leading into 20

whoever wins just wins

On SM-G925I using BigFooty.com mobile app

Couldn't agree more....biggest myth in football.

Narrative always changes after the fact. At the end of 2017 we were expected to fall of the cliff by everyone (including half this board)
 

Dale Doback

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Aug 6, 2018
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I think if we're any chance in 2022 we need to start planning for JK's decline in 2021. At 196cm with long arms and strong hands he's going to leave a bigger hole than you realize. Darling and Waterman are only 191cm, Allen maybe 193cm. To counter that next year I'd like to see McGovern used more in the Adam Hunter role, swinging him forward and back, depending on matchups or Opposition coaching tactics. It seems they're spending more time scheming to cut out his intercepts than they do worrying about our midfield (which is alarming but a separate topic). And the smarter teams like Port and Richmond easily worked the ball around him this year. Collingwood negated his influence in the final too.

Woosh might have been sledged as a one trick pony for the Hunter switch forward as his only real counter move but at least he had one, and it worked! Simmo does nothing when Gov can't get into the game through tactics. Christ if SOS was pushed forward by Carlton back in the day there's no reason we can't do the same with Jezza.

And if Simmo did grow enough seeds to push Gov forward, he should play him deep, push Darling and Allen up and leave him one out. He's the same height as JK but with better hands. It would be a bit of robbing Peter to pay Paul but Barrass and Rotham held there own down there with assorted 2nd and 3rd tall's when Gov was out this year. I like Harry Edwards potential and Brander can be used down back as well if he doesn't work out on the wing.
 

DickDunn

Premiership Player
Sep 8, 2011
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Simmo has on multiple occasions moved gov forward. 2015 GF for example.
I might be remembering wrong but has he ever been swung forward in a win? The Port after the siren game maybe? It seems to be a last-resort move when we’re getting hammered.

Watching Dusty and especially Danger go about it in the finals makes me wish we had a goalscoring mid with the ability to genuinely terrorise oppn defenders if sent forward. Obviously they’re two generational players and every team would want them. But it does tip the scales towards thinking Patrick Cripps would be a very handy free agent acquisition next year if we got him to spend plenty of time up forward
 

Doashuey

Club Legend
Sep 13, 2017
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I might be remembering wrong but has he ever been swung forward in a win? The Port after the siren game maybe? It seems to be a last-resort move when we’re getting hammered.

Watching Dusty and especially Danger go about it in the finals makes me wish we had a goalscoring mid with the ability to genuinely terrorise oppn defenders if sent forward. Obviously they’re two generational players and every team would want them. But it does tip the scales towards thinking Patrick Cripps would be a very handy free agent acquisition next year if we got him to spend plenty of time up forward
Except he couldnt hit the side of a barn. Would be Carlton's worst kick for goal and they have Casboult!
 

Chris_6678

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 29, 2007
17,804
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I might be remembering wrong but has he ever been swung forward in a win? The Port after the siren game maybe? It seems to be a last-resort move when we’re getting hammered.

Watching Dusty and especially Danger go about it in the finals makes me wish we had a goalscoring mid with the ability to genuinely terrorise oppn defenders if sent forward. Obviously they’re two generational players and every team would want them. But it does tip the scales towards thinking Patrick Cripps would be a very handy free agent acquisition next year if we got him to spend plenty of time up forward
This is true.

I would rather a mid that can swing forward as you mentioned.
 

Dale Doback

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I might be remembering wrong but has he ever been swung forward in a win? The Port after the siren game maybe? It seems to be a last-resort move when we’re getting hammered
From memory Gov pushed forward following his opponent when Port were flooding our forward line.
 
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Dale Doback

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Watching Dusty and especially Danger go about it in the finals makes me wish we had a goalscoring mid with the ability to genuinely terrorise oppn defenders if sent forward. Obviously they’re two generational players and every team would want them. But it does tip the scales towards thinking Patrick Cripps would be a very handy free agent acquisition next year if we got him to spend plenty of time up forward
You're talking about 2 Brownlow medalists. Pretty hard to find. Yeo can push forward and take a grab but we can't afford to lose his aggression around the ball.
 

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