One supporter's observations on 2021 ahead of 2022

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Justnetime

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May 18, 2021
92
200
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Carlton
I’ve been reading a lot on here and in the media about Carlton’s defensive woes. Blame has been apportioned in a lot of different areas, and ultimately the defensive group have taken a bit of a hit. When we fail defensively, Saad and Williams have been called out in the media. In the early part of the season, I even looked at Jones a few times and wondered if he had brain cells. Often we found him 20 metres away from his man who goals. Later in the season I was happy Jones was in our side.

What is really important to remember about our defensive group is that individually, so many of them ‘could be’ in that shortlisted all Australian defensive group. Weitering, Docherty, Saad, Williams have all been around the mark. Jones has been mentioned in the media in the last few seasons as a squad chance. Probably just us Carlton fans can see Stocker growing into a strong player. Plowman / Newman / Williamson incite a divided view on their value but they fill the last spots of a strong defensive group.

Personally I feel that defensive group is our strongest - yet evidence is there that we leak goals. I think the cause if further up the field (no brainer – but the detail is interesting). Throughout last season and this season I’ve watch some games with a different perspective. I’ve watched our players when we have lost the ball. Most people watch our players when we have the ball and rate them when they do well with the ball.

Example. Marc Murphy. Marc’s football traits are to find space, lose his opponent and either kick inside 50 or score a goal (creative force). His nature is not to find hard contests (latter years – sore shoulders). Each game he typically finds space and at least gets one goal. In the famous Freo game, a wonder goal. Over 3 years of watching Marc, without the ball, I have seen him often running behind an opponent midfielder 15 metres back as his midfield opponent goes inside 50 for a layup pass or kicks a goal. I doubt anyone really looks at the net effect of Marc doing that. Kicks one goal but his lack of closing down opponents leads to more than one opponent goal. No one sees that his lack of pressure then makes the defenders look out of place and poor due to lack of pressure.

So is above a one off thing at the Carlton footy club. No. It’s about footballer’s natural traits. Gibbons who didn’t play much this season is another link up player like Murphy. He wants space to do his best work (he loses most contested 1-on-1 situations). The cost of this is his opponent also gets space so it is about is a Gibbons better than their opponent’s use (not IMO). I think these link up / space players with no speed, are dead in the current game (Hasleby/Bell in their day), Murphy/Gibbons today.

When the start of 2021 commenced and I looked at Carlton and they talked about Gibbons/Murphy playing in our forward line, I just died a bit. The state of the game has moved to full ground transition plays. Every player now has to play a part in attacking or defensive transition. Not just attacking transition. Gibbons and Murphy’s week in week out traits just don’t include hard defensive running (and TACKLING/PRESSURE). Then looking at this as an impact we introduce Fisher (not his best season), Owies and Honey. Ultimately, Owies and Honey came in and tried 100% with defensive pressure but it requires ‘all forwards’ to do it as a group to be effective. If not, one opponent gets free and away they go. So Carlton had a confused forward setup with defensive pressure. Some players had the traits and others didn’t. No point having 1 defensive fwd like Owies chasing like a rabbit and Murphy waiting in space for a lucky turnover. Murphy should have made way earlier…and not even be played really. This is on the coaches and players so im glad the current coaching team are out. They are either confused or lacking game sense.

So a forward line that leaks on defensive transition is causing us a few headaches but it isn’t the only issue as we have our midfield to deal with. But before that i still think a new coaching set up can solve our forward line issues quickly. Take personalities aside and look at the traits of the role and then select the players. In 2/3 games when we did have dominance in the midfield and around the ground, all our small forwards looked great regardless. There was one game where all the smalls kicked goals. Our current smalls (Fisher, Owies, Honey, Durdin) will be good enough easily when we solve some of the transition and midfield issues. So long as they bring the pressure as their first trait, and as a collective group. That and removing dead IQ defensive players like Casbault also helps.

A similar lack of pressure problem exists with Cripps up the ground but from a slightly different viewpoint. Cripps has contested traits but it just too slow (in an overly slow midfield group). Watching him without the ball. Check it out yourselves. He is trailing his direct opponent by 20 metres on defensive transition (jogging mid-paced). Opponents are handpassing to Cripps direct opponent as an outlet play. So then it is about does Cripps value outweigh his slowness on defensive transition. 2021 says hell no on traits. Not enough possessions, terrible metres gained, terrible disposal efficiency. He did make us proud with his tackling efforts – proves he is trying.

One mindboggling observation which showed Barker and Teague completely struggling. I cant remember the specific games but there were at least 2 games where this occurred. At the centre bounce Cripps was placing himself behind his midfield opponent with his hand on his opponents shoulder guarding him. Our rucks weren’t winning any taps. So the midfield coach and Cripps somehow came up with a strategy that we will lose the tap to advantage so go defensive on your midfielder. I watched the CBA play unfold and just laughed time and again at the stoppage. Opponent won/split tap, Cripps direct opponent was either first in for the ball and ran away as Cripps too slow, or his direct opponent received a handpass and ran away. In every case Cripps too slow to hinder his opponent in any way. In each of the contests, Cripps didn’t even go for the ball, he just sat on defensive side of his opponent scared he would break away too fast. I mean it was slightly ******ed thinking. This plan took away Cripps only strength (get ball) and left him with his biggest weakness (chase player). Most now accept/understands that in this transition game Cripps is basically a roll dice player. He wins clearance we go inside 50…Cripps loses clearance, the opponents goes inside 50. The coaches group somehow removed our chance at an inside 50 while leaving the opposition with their inside 50 strategy intact. One more perspective, Cripp's rushed inside 50 deliveries hardly resulted in a shot on goal. Cripps opponent getting 10-15 metres clear space and time did result in way more goals.

Kennedy (much better with implied running pressure), Setterfield (season write off), Ed are all not fast. Walsh gets a pass. Ed gets a passes too I guess but should be cover only. Zac Williams just went wrong. Dow a complete conundrum in general (watch carefully – cant turn at all at speed, great straight line speed). All don’t have enough defensive transition pressure. All look even worse due to a defensive forward set up leaking the ball so easily. Dow and Cripps are complete liabilities on the defensive side of the game. They don’t have the traits. They do have attacking traits.

So our midfield needs some refinement. After we refine the small forwards. Transition advances means the game is like netball with brutal hits. Back and forth with team transition. Footy a lot more complicated and hard due to more resources. Gibbons, Cripps, Dow, Murphy (gone), Casbault (gone), Mcgovern are all attacking players with liability in defensive transition. Kennedy, Cripps, Setterfield are mid paced to slow (Cripps) in a game where you have to turn and put on implied pressure on the kicker. This game is now reliant on 22 players all doing their part.

I haven’t really got the answers on the midfield due to our current list structure issues (Cripps, Setterfield, Kennedy, Stocker all being inside mids and slower). Cripps needs to hit 28+ possies a game or his dice rolling benefit is a net loss. With the current state of the game the only Carlton midfielder I currently like is Walsh. I’m completely pissed off that Teague didn’t at least try Stocker in the midfield to see ahead for 2022. Hopefully we get Cerra as he does look on the surface to be able to apply implied pressure. Annoyingly, Martin is always injured but has current midfield state of play traits. Can tackle, has speed, can kick, can get metres gained, has an AFL IQ brain unlike a few of our current mids. If we remove history and names, the traits of a current midfielder point us towards the following players: Walsh, Cerra (if we get him), Martin. Then take a chance on Zac Williams, Stocker & Kennedy. Then put up a prayer for Dow and Cunners. In all of this, see if Cripps can find 30 possessions a game as he needs too. Overall, I think we need to use the trade period to solve this as the draft is too slow for this rebuild group.

Strategically, If our midfield is weak in 2022 then remove Cripps and go with players who can really lock down on the opponent defensively as we can rebound from half back as we have 1-on-1 individual winners in that space. Just need pressure on the opponents inside 50 kick. This in a nutshell was what was missing throughout 2021.

So
  1. Fix the forwardline’s identity (pressure from all)
  2. Within reason review the midfield group with ‘traits’ suiting the current state of the game (2 way running, implied pressure etc.). Pick the players with the traits, not the names.
  3. Fix two more things. Stoppage/CBA craft and set ups/exits. Set up CBAs if we have to…to rebound in 2022 from half back while we rebuild that midfield.
We aren’t far off the top 8. We are a little way off the midfield required to win a flag.
 

thylacine60

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  1. Fix the forwardline’s identity (pressure from all)
  2. Within reason review the midfield group with ‘traits’ suiting the current state of the game (2 way running, implied pressure etc.). Pick the players with the traits, not the names.
  3. Fix two more things. Stoppage/CBA craft and set ups/exits. Set up CBAs if we have to…to rebound in 2022 from half back while we rebuild that midfield.
We aren’t far off the top 8. We are a little way off the midfield required to win a flag.
good post
 

Blue Pulse

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Mar 19, 2014
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So
  1. Fix the forwardline’s identity (pressure from all)
  2. Within reason review the midfield group with ‘traits’ suiting the current state of the game (2 way running, implied pressure etc.). Pick the players with the traits, not the names.
  3. Fix two more things. Stoppage/CBA craft and set ups/exits. Set up CBAs if we have to…to rebound in 2022 from half back while we rebuild that midfield.
We aren’t far off the top 8. We are a little way off the midfield required to win a flag.
Nice write up and great observation, a couple of observations or opinions with regards to my view:

  • Was playing Murphy a club decision or a coach decision? I feel it was both, to go with a feel good story. If this wasn't Teague's plan he wasn't strong enough to stand up to the club. You are not going to teach a guy at his age to defend in the modern game when he has been a walk up start all his life. I mean no disrespect to Murphy saying this, but he wasn't going to get any better compared to last year, the same could be said with regards to Betts, but Betts has a few more tricks and is the cream on the cake for a very good side-unfortunately not ours. Casboult playing with a bung knee for a lot of the season and Cripps playing beat up, there's 4 players that we are struggling in one side. Gibbons, gives his all but does not have enough tricks to play as just a small forward, was recruited as a mid but like a number of other mids recruited was given little time there.
  • There has been so much focus on Cripps it is ridiculous, once again he should not have been playing injured the way he was and should have been told. For a bloke who played in the condition he was in, his numbers were still okay, his metres gained were poor as he just became an extractor towards the back end of the season cause he couldn't kick.
  • Our game plan did not suit our players, high forward press and poor disposal skills killed us on the rebound, there was no room for error in our gameplan resulting in us being one of the highest scored against on the rebound. (and I don't even need to look that up) Notice the game plan worked better when O'Brien replaced Cotters on a wing and was able to hit up forwards. We needed an almost perfect game as per against Saint Kilda for our plan to work.
  • Players playing out of position, was just mind boggling. Ed Curnow, one of the best taggers in the game, if you don't play him there, don't play him at all. Setterfield, coming off a good season as a mid gets pushed to the wing? SPS back? Williams as a mid when under done? Too many players playing with injuries. Too few running through the middle to change things up and try and get the combination right.
 

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JustaBattler

Everyone Looks Better In Blue
May 31, 2012
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So
  1. Fix the forwardline’s identity (pressure from all)
  2. Within reason review the midfield group with ‘traits’ suiting the current state of the game (2 way running, implied pressure etc.). Pick the players with the traits, not the names.
  3. Fix two more things. Stoppage/CBA craft and set ups/exits. Set up CBAs if we have to…to rebound in 2022 from half back while we rebuild that midfield.
We aren’t far off the top 8. We are a little way off the midfield required to win a flag.
Good post - fair observations.

Here is the easiest fix though -

Opposition cant run very well if they get hammered in tackles though - this is the real cause of teh between the arcs nuffery on display for the last few years. In any contact sport - the better teams use defensive hurt as an attacking weapon.

Many will be amazed to see the difference if a new coach comes in and says ' no tackle? No play !'.

We've played blokes who have averaged less than a tackle a game - repeatedly and then scratch our heads wondering what is wrong with midfield.
 

gbatman

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Mar 26, 2008
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Excellent write up, hit the nail on the head.

If you want to know what is wrong with Carlton then watch how Melbourne and the WBD played in the prelim this year. Speed in the midfield, no player playing like they are afraid to get hurt and afraid of contact, effort to to get to the opposition player with the ball, effort to get to the lose ball, fast transition from attack to defence and vice versa.

Our forward line does not defend as you said and it's largely due to structure. We let our opponents have too many outlets. We don't push into the forward line and cover the space/opposition. Lose players for the switch and lose players for the handball out the back every time kills us and that is about positioning and effort. Our forward structure just had poor coaching written all over it.

The midfield is a real worry for my. This may be controversial but I am not comfortable signing Cripps to a big contract, as you said he is not that good, he's often a liability defensively. Dow (won't chase), Cripps (slow), Kennedy (slow), Setterfield (Slow), Curnow (Slowish) is a disaster. I have been saying for a while now that the new coach will need time, this is why, our midfield needs to be rebuilt. Get Stocker in there ASAP. Walsh is a gun. Get Cerra. Get Carroll up and going. Put more time into Ramsay as a midfielder, get him out of the backline.

We need a midfield that like Melbourne and the WBD and Richmond for years before this can run both ways, can get to the lose ball quickly and the opposition quickly and is not afraid to take a hit and we are so far off that. As for the forward line, I think it will come on. Owies, Honey and Durdin are appealing to me, IMO good coaching will go a long way to sorting out the lack of pressure.

As you said our defence is pretty good. It stands up really well in the few games where we were able to restrict the opposition ball movement. However our ability to get to our opponents and defensively run in the midfield as well as a forward line where opposition can quickly and cleanly rebound from makes it hard for them.
 

Arr0w

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Nov 13, 2015
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Good post - fair observations.

Here is the easiest fix though -

Opposition cant run very well if they get hammered in tackles though - this is the real cause of teh between the arcs nuffery on display for the last few years. In any contact sport - the better teams use defensive hurt as an attacking weapon.

Many will be amazed to see the difference if a new coach comes in and says ' no tackle? No play !'.

We've played blokes who have averaged less than a tackle a game - repeatedly and then scratch our heads wondering what is wrong with midfield.
I believe the majority of the low tackle numbers stemmed from an expansive gameplan

The best/better sides win the contested possession, 7 of the 8 finalists led the averages (Crows 5th, * 16th) and a byproduct of that is healthy tackle number.

Have no doubt that this will be a focus under Voss
 

JustaBattler

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May 31, 2012
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I believe the majority of the low tackle numbers stemmed from an expansive gameplan

The best/better sides win the contested possession, 7 of the 8 finalists led the averages (Crows 5th, * 16th) and a byproduct of that is healthy tackle number.

Have no doubt that this will be a focus under Voss
Have to say that (depending on the player) my level of patience with some of the players ( too many) regarding their personal ability to make the tackles that matter, where they matter the most, and when they matter the most - is not high.

Totally agree that the Teague game plan was a major factor structurally (and probably gave players confused imperatives) - but we have played a few one steppers too often for my liking

Yes I favoured Lyon for what I knew he was going to bring - I reckon Voss got teh message too regarding defense first ( he actually mentioned it in his speech)
- will be important wo the new coach has aroiund him as well ...

but I do expect to see significant imporvement pretty fast and I am pretty confident about seeing it too.
 

BlueLocke

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Oct 11, 2019
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A defensive focus is obviously going to be the shift; the ability to save some tickets for when we control the footy is something we just didn’t do last year. We’re probably the fittest team in the competition; yet also the dumbest (in terms of energy investment into output).

What I really think will make the transition of game plans viable is we have genuine forwards capable of regularly hitting the scoreboard. Bolton went defence-first because our best forward was Levi Casboult supported by Matty Wright. We now have McKay, Curnow, Fisher, Silvagni, Martin, etc.

If we sort out the bizarre midfield marathon running game plan, we’ll actually have the ability to both attack and defend.
 

Justnetime

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May 18, 2021
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Good post - fair observations.

Here is the easiest fix though -

Opposition cant run very well if they get hammered in tackles though - this is the real cause of teh between the arcs nuffery on display for the last few years. In any contact sport - the better teams use defensive hurt as an attacking weapon.

Many will be amazed to see the difference if a new coach comes in and says ' no tackle? No play !'.

We've played blokes who have averaged less than a tackle a game - repeatedly and then scratch our heads wondering what is wrong with midfield.
Totally agree. I think our points are linked.

If our forward smalls follow the right current day game plan then they need to tackle and harass which are traits some players have and others don’t. We need to consider the whole list of small forward traits but it did my head in that Murphy got picked as a small forward. His natural traits are to avoid contact and be elusive of other players. Those latter traits aren’t wanted in the current game Due to turnover transition where it is Murphy’s direct opponent that will start the chain going the other way.

What grated most was the match committee choosing him week in week out. They have no understanding of a top 4 style side. In the latter half of the season Betts stops chasing hard and went for hangers. Infuriating. So yes, Murphy, Betts and Casbault got everything they wanted while we lost repetitively….thanks Teague….no spine on senior players at all.

Voss needs to pick players with traits. No favourites.
 

Justnetime

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May 18, 2021
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Carlton
A defensive focus is obviously going to be the shift; the ability to save some tickets for when we control the footy is something we just didn’t do last year. We’re probably the fittest team in the competition; yet also the dumbest (in terms of energy investment into output).

What I really think will make the transition of game plans viable is we have genuine forwards capable of regularly hitting the scoreboard. Bolton went defence-first because our best forward was Levi Casboult supported by Matty Wright. We now have McKay, Curnow, Fisher, Silvagni, Martin, etc.

If we sort out the bizarre midfield marathon running game plan, we’ll actually have the ability to both attack and defend.
Im hoping the defensive shift really does turn us around as well. Given two of our defenders are Saad and Williams, even a defensive approach will include some attacking flair by default. Just their natural tendencies.

A lot hinges on Charlie too. But I see net gains by removing Casbault (lowest afl footy IQ for sure) and then removing some players who are too conditional. I personally think the link up / find space players like Murphy, SPS and Gibbons don’t help us. Hopefully Voss feels the same.

A committed set of players, a decent transition plan easily trumps a good list of players in today’s game.
 

Matty411

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Sep 21, 2012
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I’ve been reading a lot on here and in the media about Carlton’s defensive woes. Blame has been apportioned in a lot of different areas, and ultimately the defensive group have taken a bit of a hit. When we fail defensively, Saad and Williams have been called out in the media. In the early part of the season, I even looked at Jones a few times and wondered if he had brain cells. Often we found him 20 metres away from his man who goals. Later in the season I was happy Jones was in our side.

What is really important to remember about our defensive group is that individually, so many of them ‘could be’ in that shortlisted all Australian defensive group. Weitering, Docherty, Saad, Williams have all been around the mark. Jones has been mentioned in the media in the last few seasons as a squad chance. Probably just us Carlton fans can see Stocker growing into a strong player. Plowman / Newman / Williamson incite a divided view on their value but they fill the last spots of a strong defensive group.

Personally I feel that defensive group is our strongest - yet evidence is there that we leak goals. I think the cause if further up the field (no brainer – but the detail is interesting). Throughout last season and this season I’ve watch some games with a different perspective. I’ve watched our players when we have lost the ball. Most people watch our players when we have the ball and rate them when they do well with the ball.

Example. Marc Murphy. Marc’s football traits are to find space, lose his opponent and either kick inside 50 or score a goal (creative force). His nature is not to find hard contests (latter years – sore shoulders). Each game he typically finds space and at least gets one goal. In the famous Freo game, a wonder goal. Over 3 years of watching Marc, without the ball, I have seen him often running behind an opponent midfielder 15 metres back as his midfield opponent goes inside 50 for a layup pass or kicks a goal. I doubt anyone really looks at the net effect of Marc doing that. Kicks one goal but his lack of closing down opponents leads to more than one opponent goal. No one sees that his lack of pressure then makes the defenders look out of place and poor due to lack of pressure.

So is above a one off thing at the Carlton footy club. No. It’s about footballer’s natural traits. Gibbons who didn’t play much this season is another link up player like Murphy. He wants space to do his best work (he loses most contested 1-on-1 situations). The cost of this is his opponent also gets space so it is about is a Gibbons better than their opponent’s use (not IMO). I think these link up / space players with no speed, are dead in the current game (Hasleby/Bell in their day), Murphy/Gibbons today.

When the start of 2021 commenced and I looked at Carlton and they talked about Gibbons/Murphy playing in our forward line, I just died a bit. The state of the game has moved to full ground transition plays. Every player now has to play a part in attacking or defensive transition. Not just attacking transition. Gibbons and Murphy’s week in week out traits just don’t include hard defensive running (and TACKLING/PRESSURE). Then looking at this as an impact we introduce Fisher (not his best season), Owies and Honey. Ultimately, Owies and Honey came in and tried 100% with defensive pressure but it requires ‘all forwards’ to do it as a group to be effective. If not, one opponent gets free and away they go. So Carlton had a confused forward setup with defensive pressure. Some players had the traits and others didn’t. No point having 1 defensive fwd like Owies chasing like a rabbit and Murphy waiting in space for a lucky turnover. Murphy should have made way earlier…and not even be played really. This is on the coaches and players so im glad the current coaching team are out. They are either confused or lacking game sense.

So a forward line that leaks on defensive transition is causing us a few headaches but it isn’t the only issue as we have our midfield to deal with. But before that i still think a new coaching set up can solve our forward line issues quickly. Take personalities aside and look at the traits of the role and then select the players. In 2/3 games when we did have dominance in the midfield and around the ground, all our small forwards looked great regardless. There was one game where all the smalls kicked goals. Our current smalls (Fisher, Owies, Honey, Durdin) will be good enough easily when we solve some of the transition and midfield issues. So long as they bring the pressure as their first trait, and as a collective group. That and removing dead IQ defensive players like Casbault also helps.

A similar lack of pressure problem exists with Cripps up the ground but from a slightly different viewpoint. Cripps has contested traits but it just too slow (in an overly slow midfield group). Watching him without the ball. Check it out yourselves. He is trailing his direct opponent by 20 metres on defensive transition (jogging mid-paced). Opponents are handpassing to Cripps direct opponent as an outlet play. So then it is about does Cripps value outweigh his slowness on defensive transition. 2021 says hell no on traits. Not enough possessions, terrible metres gained, terrible disposal efficiency. He did make us proud with his tackling efforts – proves he is trying.

One mindboggling observation which showed Barker and Teague completely struggling. I cant remember the specific games but there were at least 2 games where this occurred. At the centre bounce Cripps was placing himself behind his midfield opponent with his hand on his opponents shoulder guarding him. Our rucks weren’t winning any taps. So the midfield coach and Cripps somehow came up with a strategy that we will lose the tap to advantage so go defensive on your midfielder. I watched the CBA play unfold and just laughed time and again at the stoppage. Opponent won/split tap, Cripps direct opponent was either first in for the ball and ran away as Cripps too slow, or his direct opponent received a handpass and ran away. In every case Cripps too slow to hinder his opponent in any way. In each of the contests, Cripps didn’t even go for the ball, he just sat on defensive side of his opponent scared he would break away too fast. I mean it was slightly ******ed thinking. This plan took away Cripps only strength (get ball) and left him with his biggest weakness (chase player). Most now accept/understands that in this transition game Cripps is basically a roll dice player. He wins clearance we go inside 50…Cripps loses clearance, the opponents goes inside 50. The coaches group somehow removed our chance at an inside 50 while leaving the opposition with their inside 50 strategy intact. One more perspective, Cripp's rushed inside 50 deliveries hardly resulted in a shot on goal. Cripps opponent getting 10-15 metres clear space and time did result in way more goals.

Kennedy (much better with implied running pressure), Setterfield (season write off), Ed are all not fast. Walsh gets a pass. Ed gets a passes too I guess but should be cover only. Zac Williams just went wrong. Dow a complete conundrum in general (watch carefully – cant turn at all at speed, great straight line speed). All don’t have enough defensive transition pressure. All look even worse due to a defensive forward set up leaking the ball so easily. Dow and Cripps are complete liabilities on the defensive side of the game. They don’t have the traits. They do have attacking traits.

So our midfield needs some refinement. After we refine the small forwards. Transition advances means the game is like netball with brutal hits. Back and forth with team transition. Footy a lot more complicated and hard due to more resources. Gibbons, Cripps, Dow, Murphy (gone), Casbault (gone), Mcgovern are all attacking players with liability in defensive transition. Kennedy, Cripps, Setterfield are mid paced to slow (Cripps) in a game where you have to turn and put on implied pressure on the kicker. This game is now reliant on 22 players all doing their part.

I haven’t really got the answers on the midfield due to our current list structure issues (Cripps, Setterfield, Kennedy, Stocker all being inside mids and slower). Cripps needs to hit 28+ possies a game or his dice rolling benefit is a net loss. With the current state of the game the only Carlton midfielder I currently like is Walsh. I’m completely pissed off that Teague didn’t at least try Stocker in the midfield to see ahead for 2022. Hopefully we get Cerra as he does look on the surface to be able to apply implied pressure. Annoyingly, Martin is always injured but has current midfield state of play traits. Can tackle, has speed, can kick, can get metres gained, has an AFL IQ brain unlike a few of our current mids. If we remove history and names, the traits of a current midfielder point us towards the following players: Walsh, Cerra (if we get him), Martin. Then take a chance on Zac Williams, Stocker & Kennedy. Then put up a prayer for Dow and Cunners. In all of this, see if Cripps can find 30 possessions a game as he needs too. Overall, I think we need to use the trade period to solve this as the draft is too slow for this rebuild group.

Strategically, If our midfield is weak in 2022 then remove Cripps and go with players who can really lock down on the opponent defensively as we can rebound from half back as we have 1-on-1 individual winners in that space. Just need pressure on the opponents inside 50 kick. This in a nutshell was what was missing throughout 2021.

So
  1. Fix the forwardline’s identity (pressure from all)
  2. Within reason review the midfield group with ‘traits’ suiting the current state of the game (2 way running, implied pressure etc.). Pick the players with the traits, not the names.
  3. Fix two more things. Stoppage/CBA craft and set ups/exits. Set up CBAs if we have to…to rebound in 2022 from half back while we rebuild that midfield.
We aren’t far off the top 8. We are a little way off the midfield required to win a flag.
Bloody well thought out and insightful post, bud. Going off your summarised issues to fix (which I agree with), having Voss on board should absolutely help this - given his stated focus around game plan/team brand.

Secondary will be securing a strong stoppage/midfield coach - maybe that's Luke Power? Maybe another. But it all starts with the midfield.
 

Revenant1965

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Apologies if not quite the correct thread but I have an opinion and didn't want to derail other threads that have a different purpose...

There are some comments in the John Nicholls medal thread that relate to the North game (which 'did it' for me in wanting to see a significant change). And it made me think that... Maybe 2021 isn't the year we wanted it to be, but maybe it is the year we needed it to be...

So many things didn't go as wished... But Walsh stepped up further. Harry showed us what he could be... Charlie got back on the field... A number of young players have shown us what they've got.... And there is a changing of the guard at multiple levels...

Am looking forward to 2022 a lot more calmly than I have in the past.
 

bmaurizio

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Aug 11, 2004
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We are in more competent hands Luke Sayers was brave and pugnacious and the our way forward is now crystallising and achievable.
Sayer, Williams, Cook, Austin , Llyod , Vossy, and their support teams, are the new look CFC.
I’m embracing the audacious changes positively, theses experts have a fresh impetuous and will be instrumental in our upward rise. it’s going to be exciting and satisfying after so many years of wilderness & misery.
Hopefully we have a little luck and stability too on the way it’s so crucial, but our prospect should much more positive in a few season.
 

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Donnini

Senior List
Dec 16, 2020
263
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Our wings played very wide like Melbourne does that creates room for fast ball movement and direct hits to key forwards/Harry.

This also depends on halving clearances and stoppages which we failed to do - its not down to set ups but rather the rotation talent was left wanting.

Game plan will no doubt change where our wings will play a lot narrower like Bulldogs and Brisbane and bring more numbers to the ball. But will lack alot of outside run and gun.

There is no right or wrong just need cattle to execute their roles.
 

bmaurizio

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 11, 2004
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I’ve been reading a lot on here and in the media about Carlton’s defensive woes. Blame has been apportioned in a lot of different areas, and ultimately the defensive group have taken a bit of a hit. When we fail defensively, Saad and Williams have been called out in the media. In the early part of the season, I even looked at Jones a few times and wondered if he had brain cells. Often we found him 20 metres away from his man who goals. Later in the season I was happy Jones was in our side.

What is really important to remember about our defensive group is that individually, so many of them ‘could be’ in that shortlisted all Australian defensive group. Weitering, Docherty, Saad, Williams have all been around the mark. Jones has been mentioned in the media in the last few seasons as a squad chance. Probably just us Carlton fans can see Stocker growing into a strong player. Plowman / Newman / Williamson incite a divided view on their value but they fill the last spots of a strong defensive group.

Personally I feel that defensive group is our strongest - yet evidence is there that we leak goals. I think the cause if further up the field (no brainer – but the detail is interesting). Throughout last season and this season I’ve watch some games with a different perspective. I’ve watched our players when we have lost the ball. Most people watch our players when we have the ball and rate them when they do well with the ball.

Example. Marc Murphy. Marc’s football traits are to find space, lose his opponent and either kick inside 50 or score a goal (creative force). His nature is not to find hard contests (latter years – sore shoulders). Each game he typically finds space and at least gets one goal. In the famous Freo game, a wonder goal. Over 3 years of watching Marc, without the ball, I have seen him often running behind an opponent midfielder 15 metres back as his midfield opponent goes inside 50 for a layup pass or kicks a goal. I doubt anyone really looks at the net effect of Marc doing that. Kicks one goal but his lack of closing down opponents leads to more than one opponent goal. No one sees that his lack of pressure then makes the defenders look out of place and poor due to lack of pressure.

So is above a one off thing at the Carlton footy club. No. It’s about footballer’s natural traits. Gibbons who didn’t play much this season is another link up player like Murphy. He wants space to do his best work (he loses most contested 1-on-1 situations). The cost of this is his opponent also gets space so it is about is a Gibbons better than their opponent’s use (not IMO). I think these link up / space players with no speed, are dead in the current game (Hasleby/Bell in their day), Murphy/Gibbons today.

When the start of 2021 commenced and I looked at Carlton and they talked about Gibbons/Murphy playing in our forward line, I just died a bit. The state of the game has moved to full ground transition plays. Every player now has to play a part in attacking or defensive transition. Not just attacking transition. Gibbons and Murphy’s week in week out traits just don’t include hard defensive running (and TACKLING/PRESSURE). Then looking at this as an impact we introduce Fisher (not his best season), Owies and Honey. Ultimately, Owies and Honey came in and tried 100% with defensive pressure but it requires ‘all forwards’ to do it as a group to be effective. If not, one opponent gets free and away they go. So Carlton had a confused forward setup with defensive pressure. Some players had the traits and others didn’t. No point having 1 defensive fwd like Owies chasing like a rabbit and Murphy waiting in space for a lucky turnover. Murphy should have made way earlier…and not even be played really. This is on the coaches and players so im glad the current coaching team are out. They are either confused or lacking game sense.

So a forward line that leaks on defensive transition is causing us a few headaches but it isn’t the only issue as we have our midfield to deal with. But before that i still think a new coaching set up can solve our forward line issues quickly. Take personalities aside and look at the traits of the role and then select the players. In 2/3 games when we did have dominance in the midfield and around the ground, all our small forwards looked great regardless. There was one game where all the smalls kicked goals. Our current smalls (Fisher, Owies, Honey, Durdin) will be good enough easily when we solve some of the transition and midfield issues. So long as they bring the pressure as their first trait, and as a collective group. That and removing dead IQ defensive players like Casbault also helps.

A similar lack of pressure problem exists with Cripps up the ground but from a slightly different viewpoint. Cripps has contested traits but it just too slow (in an overly slow midfield group). Watching him without the ball. Check it out yourselves. He is trailing his direct opponent by 20 metres on defensive transition (jogging mid-paced). Opponents are handpassing to Cripps direct opponent as an outlet play. So then it is about does Cripps value outweigh his slowness on defensive transition. 2021 says hell no on traits. Not enough possessions, terrible metres gained, terrible disposal efficiency. He did make us proud with his tackling efforts – proves he is trying.

One mindboggling observation which showed Barker and Teague completely struggling. I cant remember the specific games but there were at least 2 games where this occurred. At the centre bounce Cripps was placing himself behind his midfield opponent with his hand on his opponents shoulder guarding him. Our rucks weren’t winning any taps. So the midfield coach and Cripps somehow came up with a strategy that we will lose the tap to advantage so go defensive on your midfielder. I watched the CBA play unfold and just laughed time and again at the stoppage. Opponent won/split tap, Cripps direct opponent was either first in for the ball and ran away as Cripps too slow, or his direct opponent received a handpass and ran away. In every case Cripps too slow to hinder his opponent in any way. In each of the contests, Cripps didn’t even go for the ball, he just sat on defensive side of his opponent scared he would break away too fast. I mean it was slightly ******ed thinking. This plan took away Cripps only strength (get ball) and left him with his biggest weakness (chase player). Most now accept/understands that in this transition game Cripps is basically a roll dice player. He wins clearance we go inside 50…Cripps loses clearance, the opponents goes inside 50. The coaches group somehow removed our chance at an inside 50 while leaving the opposition with their inside 50 strategy intact. One more perspective, Cripp's rushed inside 50 deliveries hardly resulted in a shot on goal. Cripps opponent getting 10-15 metres clear space and time did result in way more goals.

Kennedy (much better with implied running pressure), Setterfield (season write off), Ed are all not fast. Walsh gets a pass. Ed gets a passes too I guess but should be cover only. Zac Williams just went wrong. Dow a complete conundrum in general (watch carefully – cant turn at all at speed, great straight line speed). All don’t have enough defensive transition pressure. All look even worse due to a defensive forward set up leaking the ball so easily. Dow and Cripps are complete liabilities on the defensive side of the game. They don’t have the traits. They do have attacking traits.

So our midfield needs some refinement. After we refine the small forwards. Transition advances means the game is like netball with brutal hits. Back and forth with team transition. Footy a lot more complicated and hard due to more resources. Gibbons, Cripps, Dow, Murphy (gone), Casbault (gone), Mcgovern are all attacking players with liability in defensive transition. Kennedy, Cripps, Setterfield are mid paced to slow (Cripps) in a game where you have to turn and put on implied pressure on the kicker. This game is now reliant on 22 players all doing their part.

I haven’t really got the answers on the midfield due to our current list structure issues (Cripps, Setterfield, Kennedy, Stocker all being inside mids and slower). Cripps needs to hit 28+ possies a game or his dice rolling benefit is a net loss. With the current state of the game the only Carlton midfielder I currently like is Walsh. I’m completely pissed off that Teague didn’t at least try Stocker in the midfield to see ahead for 2022. Hopefully we get Cerra as he does look on the surface to be able to apply implied pressure. Annoyingly, Martin is always injured but has current midfield state of play traits. Can tackle, has speed, can kick, can get metres gained, has an AFL IQ brain unlike a few of our current mids. If we remove history and names, the traits of a current midfielder point us towards the following players: Walsh, Cerra (if we get him), Martin. Then take a chance on Zac Williams, Stocker & Kennedy. Then put up a prayer for Dow and Cunners. In all of this, see if Cripps can find 30 possessions a game as he needs too. Overall, I think we need to use the trade period to solve this as the draft is too slow for this rebuild group.

Strategically, If our midfield is weak in 2022 then remove Cripps and go with players who can really lock down on the opponent defensively as we can rebound from half back as we have 1-on-1 individual winners in that space. Just need pressure on the opponents inside 50 kick. This in a nutshell was what was missing throughout 2021.

So
  1. Fix the forwardline’s identity (pressure from all)
  2. Within reason review the midfield group with ‘traits’ suiting the current state of the game (2 way running, implied pressure etc.). Pick the players with the traits, not the names.
  3. Fix two more things. Stoppage/CBA craft and set ups/exits. Set up CBAs if we have to…to rebound in 2022 from half back while we rebuild that midfield.
We aren’t far off the top 8. We are a little way off the midfield required to win a flag.
Great post interesting, we’ll detailed, agree with yr fixes especially rebounding from defense and MFC demonstrated what a scintillating engine room will do , win one a flag, there in lies a big part of our solution.
 

Faz 2000

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OP well-thought out and detailed. Have to agree with a lot of it.

I think what recent premiers (Richmond in particular) have made clear is that the entire 18 (and 22 selected, and 44 on the list) is important. Everyone needs to be playing their bit in a system for it to work. Not everyone will be a superstar, but a few weak links with glaring deficiencies or no buy-in to a plan really ruins any system for everyone else.

A few players who are consistently out of position, or too slow, or not applying pressure and the whole field opens up to checkers-style hopping over the top transition. It doesn't matter how many AA-caliber defenders you have if 2 extra opponent players are running inside 50 with their Carlton counterparts nowhere to be seen.

This does not mean everyone's role is the *same*, but everyone has a role to play. I'd argue that Dusty Martin became the most damaging player in the league WHEN he stopped trying to be an all-court 2-way player. He no longer got back-half possessions and instead was utilised by the Tigers are a purely offensive weapon. Sure, he can still tackle, and he's not negligent in defense, but he's always looking to be attacking side and the one doing the delivering. He has the best attacking skillset in the league, so why try to make him what he's not? Double down on his unique gift! So their structure and system relied on others covering his man, but then actively looking to use his skills when attacking. And it worked.

Here's where I think we have all gone a bit sour on Cripps. Clearly playing hurt this year, Cripps is one of the (if not THE) best in the league at something - and that is winning contested possessions and turning it into a clearing handball. Some folks - and definitely Cripps himself - have made the mistake of thinking he can do everything. He's not Dusty, or Fyfe, or Dangerfield. Or Petracca. He's not quick, he's not a particularly accurate or penetrating kick - but he IS a fantastically talented and hard-to-stop player, with a valuable skillset and a bonus x-factor (his size and contested marking). I think the GOOD Cripps can bring to our team vastly outweighs his weakness in speed and defensive run. But our system has to take that into account in order to work. Personally, I think he'll be fantastic in 2022 - so long as he keeps his game simple and to his strengths. To me, he isn't the problem, our system was, and possibly our expectations of Cripps to be everything was.

As for Murphy - unfortunately he became a late-career whipping-boy. But to me, he really was a liability in 2021. Because unlike Cripps he no longer possesses any unique weaponry or ability, and the net positive he brought to the team was nowhere near the damage his liabilities did. You simply cannot play an "outside" "offensive" player who is not quick, kicks poorly and doesn't like running two ways. Or, as described well above, a small forward who does not apply pressure. That may as well be an empty jumper. Sad - and we mustn't forget or disrespect what Murphy HAS done for the Blues over the journey, but he went a few years past his use-by date.

The midfield IS the weakness, and I hope Voss and co find a different combination and approach that makes the most of what we have to be more effective in there. We will need to add more, but maybe not much more. If I had a magic wand, I'd love to sprinkle in a Shai Bolton and Ed Langdon, or something along those lines... but really, nobody has everything. Certainly a bit more speed, endurance and footskills would be good and may not be on the list - or, miracle of miracles, maybe somewhere in Williams, O'Brien, Martin it actually is.

Looking ahead, I am sure Voss and team will take a fresh look at our squad and gameplan and bring a new perspective. I think they will find something good can be made from the raw materials we have. Anyone would be hard-pressed to want more for a building team than to start with key forward capable of winning the Coleman (McKay), a Brownlow/B&F level midfielder (Walsh) and a AA-level key defender dripping in leadership (Weitering). And there's a lot more than that.

PS - I think Cerra has the potential to be a superb acquisition, bringing some balance and poise to a midfield that has bugger-all of either.
 
Last edited:

RedFury

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Jul 12, 2010
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I don't know if this makes sense but I've thought for a couple of years that many of our players seem to chase like they are trying to show that they are chasing (like ticking some sort of defensive box) without actually really wanting to catch their opponent.

The ones who are actually intent on running down guys are glaringly obvious but there's not many of them.

Note this isn't about speed but intent.
 

Faz 2000

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I don't know if this makes sense but I've thought for a couple of years that many of our players seem to chase like they are trying to show that they are chasing (like ticking some sort of defensive box) without actually really wanting to catch their opponent.

The ones who are actually intent on running down guys are glaringly obvious but there's not many of them.

Note this isn't about speed but intent.
There's "unrewarded running" which is a good thing, creating opportunities in offence, providing options.

Then there's "useless running" which is chasing tail after your opponent is goal-side and you're horribly out of position and no longer able to impact the game.

Our side has specialised in the latter - nobody more so than SPS.
 

Justnetime

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I don't know if this makes sense but I've thought for a couple of years that many of our players seem to chase like they are trying to show that they are chasing (like ticking some sort of defensive box) without actually really wanting to catch their opponent.

The ones who are actually intent on running down guys are glaringly obvious but there's not many of them.

Note this isn't about speed but intent.
This is a great point. I don’t want to name this player, but I think he is actually escorting his player down the field which makes it even worse as no one else covers because of the close proximity.
 

Justnetime

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May 18, 2021
92
200
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OP well-thought out and detailed. Have to agree with a lot of it.

I think what recent premiers (Richmond in particular) have made clear is that the entire 18 (and 22 selected, and 44 on the list) is important. Everyone needs to be playing their bit in a system for it to work. Not everyone will be a superstar, but a few weak links with glaring deficiencies or no buy-in to a plan really ruins any system for everyone else.

A few players who are consistently out of position, or too slow, or not applying pressure and the whole field opens up to checkers-style hopping over the top transition. It doesn't matter how many AA-caliber defenders you have if 2 extra opponent players are running inside 50 with their Carlton counterparts nowhere to be seen.

This does not mean everyone's role is the *same*, but everyone has a role to play. I'd argue that Dusty Martin became the most damaging player in the league WHEN he stopped trying to be an all-court 2-way player. He no longer got back-half possessions and instead was utilised by the Tigers are a purely offensive weapon. Sure, he can still tackle, and he's not negligent in defense, but he's always looking to be attacking side and the one doing the delivering. He has the best attacking skillset in the league, so why try to make him what he's not? Double down on his unique gift! So their structure and system relied on others covering his man, but then actively looking to use his skills when attacking. And it worked.

Here's where I think we have all gone a bit sour on Cripps. Clearly playing hurt this year, Cripps is one of the (if not THE) best in the league at something - and that is winning contested possessions and turning it into a clearing handball. Some folks - and definitely Cripps himself - have made the mistake of thinking he can do everything. He's not Dusty, or Fyfe, or Dangerfield. Or Petracca. He's not quick, he's not a particularly accurate or penetrating kick - but he IS a fantastically talented and hard-to-stop player, with a valuable skillset and a bonus x-factor (his size and contested marking). I think the GOOD Cripps can bring to our team vastly outweighs his weakness in speed and defensive run. But our system has to take that into account in order to work. Personally, I think he'll be fantastic in 2022 - so long as he keeps his game simple and to his strengths. To me, he isn't the problem, our system was, and possibly our expectations of Cripps to be everything was.

As for Murphy - unfortunately he became a late-career whipping-boy. But to me, he really was a liability in 2021. Because unlike Cripps he no longer possesses any unique weaponry or ability, and the net positive he brought to the team was nowhere near the damage his liabilities did. You simply cannot play an "outside" "offensive" player who is not quick, kicks poorly and doesn't like running two ways. Or, as described well above, a small forward who does not apply pressure. That may as well be an empty jumper. Sad - and we mustn't forget or disrespect what Murphy HAS done for the Blues over the journey, but he went a few years past his use-by date.

The midfield IS the weakness, and I hope Voss and co find a different combination and approach that makes the most of what we have to be more effective in there. We will need to add more, but maybe not much more. If I had a magic wand, I'd love to sprinkle in a Shai Bolton and Ed Langdon, or something along those lines... but really, nobody has everything. Certainly a bit more speed, endurance and footskills would be good and may not be on the list - or, miracle of miracles, maybe somewhere in Williams, O'Brien, Martin it actually is.

Looking ahead, I am sure Voss and team will take a fresh look at our squad and gameplan and bring a new perspective. I think they will find something good can be made from the raw materials we have. Anyone would be hard-pressed to want more for a building team than to start with key forward capable of winning the Coleman (McKay), a Brownlow/B&F level midfielder (Walsh) and a AA-level key defender dripping in leadership (Weitering). And there's a lot more than that.

PS - I think Cerra has the potential to be a superb acquisition, bringing some balance and poise to a midfield that has bugger-all of either.
Great post Faz. Sometimes in long posts there is just so many words you can’t fit everything in. And as you rightly point out Murphy was a good player for us and overall a credit to the Carlton footy club. In analysis I have to get to the point quickly and feel he is one in his latter years that has cost us. Doesn’t mean I forget Murphy from draft to 27.

The Dusty comment is another good insight and I think the link with Cripps over little defensive pressure is a fair perspective. I feel Martins pace does provide ‘implied’ pressure. And in 20/21 Cripps has just got so banged up and extremely slow. Which I feel is another thing the club has got wrong. Rest Cripps and just play Kennedy. Then Cripps would get his body right.

For Cripps, I think Wines rediscovering A grade form is what we want. Great Voss is coming. Like you said, for Cripps it is see ball get ball and not anything else. I’d accept that version back into our midfield if he gets 28 per week. The only thing I’d develop Cripps in is mongrel. Other players mug him on rebound running. I think he should mug them back in a physical way. There was a game he almost ran straight over a player and it looked awesome. I’d like him to just keep running through them as that opportunity presents itself. I think this is one easy area he can develop a la Cotchin went much harder post 26.
 

SBYM

Fish, chips, cup 'o tea, Mary @#? Poppins. London!
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Y'all saw much more footy this year than I did, I'm sure, but when I did manage to watch we often looked clueless. Put simply, there was imo a notable lack of cohesiveness between the separate parts of the team.

Fix whatever those underlying issues are and we will see a huge improvement, I have no doubt.

We don't have terrible players but we often appear to be a terrible team.

Now...back to the dick jokes. ferrisb is a poo poo head.
 

Faz 2000

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I think this is one easy area he can develop a la Cotchin went much harder post 26.
Funny you say that, because I’ve said before the thing Cripps needs to do is get mentored on leadership by Cotchin. How to have impact on the group when it needs it, not how to do everything yourself.
 

therubbernub

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I’ve been reading a lot on here and in the media about Carlton’s defensive woes. Blame has been apportioned in a lot of different areas, and ultimately the defensive group have taken a bit of a hit. When we fail defensively, Saad and Williams have been called out in the media. In the early part of the season, I even looked at Jones a few times and wondered if he had brain cells. Often we found him 20 metres away from his man who goals. Later in the season I was happy Jones was in our side.

What is really important to remember about our defensive group is that individually, so many of them ‘could be’ in that shortlisted all Australian defensive group. Weitering, Docherty, Saad, Williams have all been around the mark. Jones has been mentioned in the media in the last few seasons as a squad chance. Probably just us Carlton fans can see Stocker growing into a strong player. Plowman / Newman / Williamson incite a divided view on their value but they fill the last spots of a strong defensive group.

Personally I feel that defensive group is our strongest - yet evidence is there that we leak goals. I think the cause if further up the field (no brainer – but the detail is interesting). Throughout last season and this season I’ve watch some games with a different perspective. I’ve watched our players when we have lost the ball. Most people watch our players when we have the ball and rate them when they do well with the ball.

Example. Marc Murphy. Marc’s football traits are to find space, lose his opponent and either kick inside 50 or score a goal (creative force). His nature is not to find hard contests (latter years – sore shoulders). Each game he typically finds space and at least gets one goal. In the famous Freo game, a wonder goal. Over 3 years of watching Marc, without the ball, I have seen him often running behind an opponent midfielder 15 metres back as his midfield opponent goes inside 50 for a layup pass or kicks a goal. I doubt anyone really looks at the net effect of Marc doing that. Kicks one goal but his lack of closing down opponents leads to more than one opponent goal. No one sees that his lack of pressure then makes the defenders look out of place and poor due to lack of pressure.

So is above a one off thing at the Carlton footy club. No. It’s about footballer’s natural traits. Gibbons who didn’t play much this season is another link up player like Murphy. He wants space to do his best work (he loses most contested 1-on-1 situations). The cost of this is his opponent also gets space so it is about is a Gibbons better than their opponent’s use (not IMO). I think these link up / space players with no speed, are dead in the current game (Hasleby/Bell in their day), Murphy/Gibbons today.

When the start of 2021 commenced and I looked at Carlton and they talked about Gibbons/Murphy playing in our forward line, I just died a bit. The state of the game has moved to full ground transition plays. Every player now has to play a part in attacking or defensive transition. Not just attacking transition. Gibbons and Murphy’s week in week out traits just don’t include hard defensive running (and TACKLING/PRESSURE). Then looking at this as an impact we introduce Fisher (not his best season), Owies and Honey. Ultimately, Owies and Honey came in and tried 100% with defensive pressure but it requires ‘all forwards’ to do it as a group to be effective. If not, one opponent gets free and away they go. So Carlton had a confused forward setup with defensive pressure. Some players had the traits and others didn’t. No point having 1 defensive fwd like Owies chasing like a rabbit and Murphy waiting in space for a lucky turnover. Murphy should have made way earlier…and not even be played really. This is on the coaches and players so im glad the current coaching team are out. They are either confused or lacking game sense.

So a forward line that leaks on defensive transition is causing us a few headaches but it isn’t the only issue as we have our midfield to deal with. But before that i still think a new coaching set up can solve our forward line issues quickly. Take personalities aside and look at the traits of the role and then select the players. In 2/3 games when we did have dominance in the midfield and around the ground, all our small forwards looked great regardless. There was one game where all the smalls kicked goals. Our current smalls (Fisher, Owies, Honey, Durdin) will be good enough easily when we solve some of the transition and midfield issues. So long as they bring the pressure as their first trait, and as a collective group. That and removing dead IQ defensive players like Casbault also helps.

A similar lack of pressure problem exists with Cripps up the ground but from a slightly different viewpoint. Cripps has contested traits but it just too slow (in an overly slow midfield group). Watching him without the ball. Check it out yourselves. He is trailing his direct opponent by 20 metres on defensive transition (jogging mid-paced). Opponents are handpassing to Cripps direct opponent as an outlet play. So then it is about does Cripps value outweigh his slowness on defensive transition. 2021 says hell no on traits. Not enough possessions, terrible metres gained, terrible disposal efficiency. He did make us proud with his tackling efforts – proves he is trying.

One mindboggling observation which showed Barker and Teague completely struggling. I cant remember the specific games but there were at least 2 games where this occurred. At the centre bounce Cripps was placing himself behind his midfield opponent with his hand on his opponents shoulder guarding him. Our rucks weren’t winning any taps. So the midfield coach and Cripps somehow came up with a strategy that we will lose the tap to advantage so go defensive on your midfielder. I watched the CBA play unfold and just laughed time and again at the stoppage. Opponent won/split tap, Cripps direct opponent was either first in for the ball and ran away as Cripps too slow, or his direct opponent received a handpass and ran away. In every case Cripps too slow to hinder his opponent in any way. In each of the contests, Cripps didn’t even go for the ball, he just sat on defensive side of his opponent scared he would break away too fast. I mean it was slightly ******ed thinking. This plan took away Cripps only strength (get ball) and left him with his biggest weakness (chase player). Most now accept/understands that in this transition game Cripps is basically a roll dice player. He wins clearance we go inside 50…Cripps loses clearance, the opponents goes inside 50. The coaches group somehow removed our chance at an inside 50 while leaving the opposition with their inside 50 strategy intact. One more perspective, Cripp's rushed inside 50 deliveries hardly resulted in a shot on goal. Cripps opponent getting 10-15 metres clear space and time did result in way more goals.

Kennedy (much better with implied running pressure), Setterfield (season write off), Ed are all not fast. Walsh gets a pass. Ed gets a passes too I guess but should be cover only. Zac Williams just went wrong. Dow a complete conundrum in general (watch carefully – cant turn at all at speed, great straight line speed). All don’t have enough defensive transition pressure. All look even worse due to a defensive forward set up leaking the ball so easily. Dow and Cripps are complete liabilities on the defensive side of the game. They don’t have the traits. They do have attacking traits.

So our midfield needs some refinement. After we refine the small forwards. Transition advances means the game is like netball with brutal hits. Back and forth with team transition. Footy a lot more complicated and hard due to more resources. Gibbons, Cripps, Dow, Murphy (gone), Casbault (gone), Mcgovern are all attacking players with liability in defensive transition. Kennedy, Cripps, Setterfield are mid paced to slow (Cripps) in a game where you have to turn and put on implied pressure on the kicker. This game is now reliant on 22 players all doing their part.

I haven’t really got the answers on the midfield due to our current list structure issues (Cripps, Setterfield, Kennedy, Stocker all being inside mids and slower). Cripps needs to hit 28+ possies a game or his dice rolling benefit is a net loss. With the current state of the game the only Carlton midfielder I currently like is Walsh. I’m completely pissed off that Teague didn’t at least try Stocker in the midfield to see ahead for 2022. Hopefully we get Cerra as he does look on the surface to be able to apply implied pressure. Annoyingly, Martin is always injured but has current midfield state of play traits. Can tackle, has speed, can kick, can get metres gained, has an AFL IQ brain unlike a few of our current mids. If we remove history and names, the traits of a current midfielder point us towards the following players: Walsh, Cerra (if we get him), Martin. Then take a chance on Zac Williams, Stocker & Kennedy. Then put up a prayer for Dow and Cunners. In all of this, see if Cripps can find 30 possessions a game as he needs too. Overall, I think we need to use the trade period to solve this as the draft is too slow for this rebuild group.

Strategically, If our midfield is weak in 2022 then remove Cripps and go with players who can really lock down on the opponent defensively as we can rebound from half back as we have 1-on-1 individual winners in that space. Just need pressure on the opponents inside 50 kick. This in a nutshell was what was missing throughout 2021.

So
  1. Fix the forwardline’s identity (pressure from all)
  2. Within reason review the midfield group with ‘traits’ suiting the current state of the game (2 way running, implied pressure etc.). Pick the players with the traits, not the names.
  3. Fix two more things. Stoppage/CBA craft and set ups/exits. Set up CBAs if we have to…to rebound in 2022 from half back while we rebuild that midfield.
We aren’t far off the top 8. We are a little way off the midfield required to win a flag.
Nice post, but i was surprised that hewett didnt come into your calculations
 

Dunna Heartknee

Team Captain
Jul 4, 2020
590
1,763
AFL Club
Carlton
Funny you say that, because I’ve said before the thing Cripps needs to do is get mentored on leadership by Cotchin. How to have impact on the group when it needs it, not how to do everything yourself.
One of my work colleagues is a Richmond member part of the cheer squad (his father works at the club) told me a story on what he believed was the turning point of the club, a lot of moving parts but this was the catalyst.
It happened in a game I can't for the life of me remember who he told me they were playing, Richmond were getting beaten at half time and when they went into the change rooms. Hardwick ripped into Cotchin telling him he had to stand up and start acting like the captain, every one follows the captain so start leading by example.
I couldn't believe my ears when he went on to say that most of the cheer squad were laughing when Cotchin ran back on the ground got into a wrestle and got his ass kicked, this went on week after week while the Tiger army laughed for a while then started feeling embarrassed for him, he wasn't just getting beaten by a little bit but actually being hammered.
Cotchin came back after the off season break a changed person, all of a sudden he was winning his scuffles or at least holding his ground in every one of them. All the players knew and believed if they got in any trouble Cotchin had their back. The whole mind set of the playing group changed and followed his example, followed him into battle, followed him into a dynasty.
I'm with you I hope he has at least a chat with Cotchin,
 

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