Our Defence

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Bazza Bulldog

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There has been a fair bit of discussion across a range of threads about whether or not our defence can hold up in 2021. I thought that this debate was worthy of its own thread.
Some of the questions raised include:
- Do we have enough defenders who win the majority of their 1-1 contests?
- Are our KPD's able to hold their own against some of the larger and elite KPF's?
- Should the gains with playing Naughton forward be put on hold and send him back, now that Bruce is hitting form, Gardner injured, English showing promising signs up forward and JUH is hopefully close to busting the door down?

For context, below are our listed defenders (by height).
Young - 198cm
Gardner - 197
Keath - 197
Cordy - 193
Khamis -189
Williams - 187
Wood - 186
Crozier - 185
Butler - 183
Dale - 182
Scott - 180
Duryea - 179
JJ - 178
Daniel - 167

I'm interested in the views of others.
 
Last edited:

dogwatch

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I'm of the view that you need a quality defensive unit to win a flag. One that rarely concedes scores over 90 points. Sure you need flair in the midfield and a couple of dynamic forwards but coaches rely heavily on having a disciplined and consistent defence.

Even in 2016 while we had Roberts and Hamling who were certainly regarded as no-name KPDs we had some pretty good players around them - Wood in his prime, Moz (say no more), Matt Boyd (AA) and JJ (Norm Smith Medal).

Do we have such a defence? Well we have plenty of talent on our list but it's far from being a settled backline where everyone knows how his fellow defenders play the game. That lack of time together may yet be the biggest weakness, rather than how it's comprised. Obviously it will continue to improve in 2022 if allowed to settle.

I think we have a good core group - Daniel, Williams, Crozier and Keath. We need three more including one tall defender.

I think Duryea is probably good enough although he seems to have quite a few detractors here. JJ might make the grade again in 2021 but clearly Bevo is expecting more from him this year than just a run and gun player. Dale might prove himself worthy but I'm not going to declare him a certainty after just three games. There's also Richards whose ankle injury was untimely. HBF might turn out to be his spot, but for now Dale has seized it. Then there's Gardner about whom much has already been said. He could be our Joel Hamling this year if he recovers from surgery well and continues to improve on the field. His AC injury was very untimely.

The further question is who are the Break Glass players in case of injury? I don't see Butler being ready yet and Roarke Smith hasn't shown enough despite several years on the list. That leaves Cordy (a known quantity but a modest ceiling and maybe too short for the KPF monsters) Young (we'll find out more this weekend) Khamis (yet to debut but showing some promise) and Scott (no idea where to place him at the moment). None of them inspire me with confidence when I think about a Grand Final 22 but some of the younger ones may improve considerably over the course of the season.

Or maybe we move somebody else to half back like Hunter, West, Lipinski or McLean?

The final Break Glass player if really desperate has to be Naughton (eg if we lost both Keath and Gardner) but for now his place is up forward.
 

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Dogsman16

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Just my opinion on what Beveridge will do but if Cordy and Young don't step up to the plate Beveridge will go with 1 KPD. Wood will play as the second KPD and we will pick a highly attacking, highly mobile defensive unit. With plenty of medium coverage from Williams, Crozier, Dale and Duryea.

He has a history of this. 2016 finals for starters had only Hamling and Morris up against Darling, Kennedy and the resting ruck. 2018 rd 4 he went with Wood on buddy and only had Naughton as the 2nd/Intercept KPD.

This strategy is heavily reliant on midfield supremacy and selfless defenders peeling off their man (with mids running both ways to provide coverage). Also means we will look to counter-attack at every opportunity (which is not a bad method with these current rules).

What he won't do is move Naughton back. For starters our KPF trio thus far are leading the competition in terms of goals. He won't change this. The other major problem that this would cause is that Bruce plays his best as the deepest KPF (check out his 50 goal season at St Kilda and guess who he was playing alongside). So either you are pushing him to play further up the ground (in a role he's nowhere near as good at) or you ask JUH to play as the CHF and he hasn't got anywhere near the tank to play this role. Not to mention Naughton absorbs the best KPD each and every time. Naughton offers so much more than just goals to our forward line.

The way to paper over our lack of a quality secondary KPD is Tim English and to have him play as that behind the ball player. He's an excellent intercept defender and it's probably the best method to protect our defence under high balls. You could use Keath and Wood as the man on man defenders and have English as the main intercepting option. I think it's probably the best option.
 

Dogsman16

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The break glass in case of emergency will be for Wood to play tall. I'm not talking about taking Hawkins but rather he will be taking the more athletic options (Jeremy Cameron for instance if we want to use Geelong forward line as a case study). Tex Walker/Jack Darling types.

Then it comes down to picking as many mobile medium options who read the play well, cover ground well, pressure the ball carrier and obviously outnumber the big forwards in marking contests. It's exactly why Bailey Dale is preferred to JJ right now is that because he provides better high ball protection. Same with Duryea.

My absolute pet hate is having uncontested marks inside our defensive 50. This is why it's so important to have defenders with closing speed. Much rather we lose one on ones in a contested variety instead of easy hit up ball that the current KPF's are getting more of this year.

Want to know why Josh Bruce had a field day and kicked 10. It's because he continued to get separation on the lead. He took about 6 marks on the lead against opponents who doesn't have elite closing speed. At least force him to take far more marks in a contested situation (ideally with 3rd man support).

The leadup forward is back in vogue. To me first and foremost you need to create a defence that is capable of stopping this (by pressuring the ball carrier (forcing bombed kicks) and defenders with closing speed).
 

doggie dog

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If Bevo has in his mind, Gardner is a better player than Cordy, well Cordy is screwed.

Stef Martain has been a revelation in the ruck, completely changed our center structure for the positive, Why not make Sweet the backup ruck possie.
Then move Timmy into Gardner's role. Timmy's strength is not his aggression at the ruck contest, but his height, mobility, and intercepting marking.
He could be that KPD Jordy Roughead use to play for us, and what he is now playing at the Pie's.

I'm still keen on Khamis, but to replace Scott in the team, the dude just looks ready to take the next step. Like woody, Khamis is a pure athlete who can play on smaller or bigger opponents.

I'm confused that some posters continually keep calling for more small forwards(I'm more confident in our FWD line than the backs with Gardner), what we need is 1 more KPD and another developing. I hope Lewy Young can be one of them, and I'l be happy to throw a 2nd and a 3rd at the Crows for McAsey.
 

Woof

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After three weeks we have quite clearly the least Points Against. Something is working, for now. Looking forward to seeing how we perform in a big test against Brisbane.
 

Pugz89

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After three weeks we have quite clearly the least Points Against. Something is working, for now. Looking forward to seeing how we perform in a big test against Brisbane.
Having the least points against after having played one of the most potentially teams in attack, the Eagles, who have the best three-pronged attack in the league, is quite the effort tbh.
 

Jeff 1975

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There has been a fair bit of discussion across a range of threads about whether or not our defence can hold up in 2021. I thought that this debate was worthy of its own thread.
Some of the questions raised include:
- Do we have enough defenders who win the majority of their 1-1 contests?
- Are our KPD's able to hold their own against some of the larger and elite KPF's?
- Should the gains with playing Naughton forward be put on hold and send him back, now that Bruce is hitting form, Gardner injured, English showing promising signs up forward and JUH is hopefully close to busting the door down?

For context, below are our listed defenders (by height).
Young - 198cm
Gardner - 197
Keath - 197
Cordy - 191
Khamis -189
Williams - 187
Wood - 186
Crozier - 185
Butler - 183
Dale - 182
Scott - 180
Duryea - 179
JJ - 178
Daniel - 167

I'm interested in the views of others.


Depends what type of game is played
A high marking game we are in trouble and this has been a Achilles heel for many years
If we bring the ball to the ground and play a sweeper / midfield game we are are a good chance
 

yebiga

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We might get-away with one key position defender if JUH flourishes towards the back-end of the season.
The little footage I seen of him, he appears to be very good in the air and natural defensive forward qualities. He flies for his marks with as much aplomb as Naughton. If this proves to be the case, than in the big games come finals, Bev has the luxury of switching Naughton to defense as the game demands without losing much or anything on the offensive side.

Given the progress of Sydneys young bloods, it's not a stretch for JUH to do the same.

We simply play Wood as the 2nd tall and if Wood's opponent starts to present a serious threat we switch Naughton over for a period of time.
It's not an ideal solution but it may well be sufficient.
 

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_Mike_

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I’d be inclined to play Naughton down the ground as a CHB/CHF with his ability to read the play and clunk marks. Sort of a cross between Glen Jackovich and Carey playing style.
 

Mattdougie

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Personally believe it will cost us when it matters

Keath, Croz and Williams don’t worry me but any mix of the rest does.
 

Dogsman16

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I'm hoping JUH can also become a multi positional player. I think he would be good enough (and has all the attributes) to be a chop out intercept defender in the same mould as Naughton. Especially as his footskills are better and he's even quicker than Naughton (which is a fair achievement in itself).

He's obviously the long term FF partnering Naughton but having 3 players like Naughton/English/JUH would give us so much flexibility.
 

Bazza Bulldog

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Our defence held up well today against quality opposition.
We are the only team who has played 4 games and have less than 300 points against (we are at 239).
Bailey's x 2, Wood, Keath and Young were fantastic today IMO.

I'm interested to see how Young goes in the next few weeks and hope he can get a good run at it.
He is a better intercept mark than Gardner and cleaner at ground level. Whilst Gardner is a better spoiler at the moment, Lewy spoiled well today. My favourite part of his game today was that he held his own against Charlie Cameron 1-1 more than once.
 

Doggies_13

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On track to have the best defensive record at the end of round 4 unless Melbourne keep Geelong under 40 points.

I think our defence can hold up as long as our mids preform, our defenders generally only get caught out when we lack pressure up the field and in the forward half.
 

doggies ftw

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What’s the best mix for this season, fully fit?

2x KPD - Keath a lock, hopefully Young becomes a lock for the other spot. They both compliment each other nicely. Cordy & Gards the other options but Young my favourite

2x Mediums - Williams & Croz both locks, brilliant in the air, brilliant defensively, brilliant offensively. No worries here.

2x Rebounders - Daniel & Dale both locks. Daniel been a bit down but he’ll be back. Could possibly move him up the field but I still love him cleaning up our mess in defence and propelling our attacks. Dales the interesting one, could almost class him as a medium but for mine I’m playing him as a distributor, it’s just a bonus that he’s good in the air and reading the play too so he’s racking up intercept possessions. Turning into a very important part of the defence.

Leaves us with one more spot in the standard 7 defenders, with 3 obvious candidates Wood, Doc and JJ (and apparently Scott but anyway). Personally I’m playing JJ up the field around the ball. I think his speed and skills is the missing ingredient in taking our forward half game to the next level.

So comes down to Doc & Wood. Both can lockdown a small, Docs got a better penetrating kick, Woods better in the air and can play on a tall. Both pretty calm, experienced heads. Do we really need more aerial support with Keath, Young, Williams, Croz & Dale? Is Wood just overkill in that regard, I think at times last year we had too many similar medium types it hurt us a bit.

So maybe we’re better off with Doc whose probably slightly better suited to locking down a small, better kick and probably offers more offensively. But we could also let Wood play Williams role and free him up to play a more offensive role, which we’d get a lot more out of him than Doc in that regard.

Im not sure, I really like them both in the side, but I’m leaning towards Wood freeing up Williams. You really just can’t go wrong having someone with Woods intercept ability in the side. Maybe It’s just a case of which one has a better match up on the day
 

Libba39

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FB: Wood Keath Crozier
HB: Dale Gardner Williams

First Rotation: Dureya
Second tier rotation: Daniel / JJ
Emg: Scott/Young

Our size now across the other parts of the ground with Naughton, Bruce, English fwd, Martin in ruck, and 3 x mids over 190cm means that we should have enough aerial power overall to cope with any side.

Crozier, Wood and Williams are all marking flankers and play tall. To be honest when I look at these 3 it makes me realise how blessed we are to have them.

I must admit I'm a little worried about Caleb's form. Wonder if he's carrying a niggle or two. Either way I have Dureya ahead of him as a pure 100% defender. Don't forget that Taylor was one of the few who stood up in the final last year.

In short, this defense can hold together long enough for us to win finals.
 

BEaston

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What’s the best mix for this season, fully fit?

2x KPD - Keath a lock, hopefully Young becomes a lock for the other spot. They both compliment each other nicely. Cordy & Gards the other options but Young my favourite

2x Mediums - Williams & Croz both locks, brilliant in the air, brilliant defensively, brilliant offensively. No worries here.

2x Rebounders - Daniel & Dale both locks. Daniel been a bit down but he’ll be back. Could possibly move him up the field but I still love him cleaning up our mess in defence and propelling our attacks. Dales the interesting one, could almost class him as a medium but for mine I’m playing him as a distributor, it’s just a bonus that he’s good in the air and reading the play too so he’s racking up intercept possessions. Turning into a very important part of the defence.

Leaves us with one more spot in the standard 7 defenders, with 3 obvious candidates Wood, Doc and JJ (and apparently Scott but anyway). Personally I’m playing JJ up the field around the ball. I think his speed and skills is the missing ingredient in taking our forward half game to the next level.

So comes down to Doc & Wood. Both can lockdown a small, Docs got a better penetrating kick, Woods better in the air and can play on a tall. Both pretty calm, experienced heads. Do we really need more aerial support with Keath, Young, Williams, Croz & Dale? Is Wood just overkill in that regard, I think at times last year we had too many similar medium types it hurt us a bit.

So maybe we’re better off with Doc whose probably slightly better suited to locking down a small, better kick and probably offers more offensively. But we could also let Wood play Williams role and free him up to play a more offensive role, which we’d get a lot more out of him than Doc in that regard.

Im not sure, I really like them both in the side, but I’m leaning towards Wood freeing up Williams. You really just can’t go wrong having someone with Woods intercept ability in the side. Maybe It’s just a case of which one has a better match up on the day
I'm definitely taking Duryea over Wood. There's enough aerial ability with Williams and Croz, no need for Wood.
Easton with ball in hand is a bit worrying these days. His only real positive is his intercept game which is no where near where it was in years past as he's lost a lot of his athleticism.
Having Duryea play lock down, gives so much more freedom to Daniel and Dale for rebound. Duryea is also pretty good with ball in hand himself.

Wood only plays if one of Williams or Croz are out or if we want to go 1KPD for me.
 

Martyn_30_

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The big issue over last couple of years has been poor defence on transition rather than the backman themselves, which isn't strength but its not the weakness it was made out to be in the pre season. So long Beveridge doesn't revert back to the madness of one tall defender.
 

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