Analysis Players who should have been better, but stagnated at poor clubs

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PP34

Finals MVP
Oct 8, 2009
26,233
18,745
AFL Club
Carlton
Bryce Gibbs is one from Carlton. Turned into a very good player. But I always wonder how it impacted him with the club taking until 2013 to start using him as a midfielder.

He was drafted pick 1 as a gun junior midfielder. Spent multiple seasons at Carlton plugging gaps in the backline.

Four years wasted that I think could have been better served with him developing as a young kid in the middle. I think he ended up softer because of it.
 

woosha24

Premium Platinum
Apr 5, 2015
3,070
5,035
AFL Club
West Coast
Can I nominate a good player who would have been better?

Nat Fyfe.

Justifiable star, but had to adjust his game to the sh*tfulness of the Harvey and Lyon schools of coaching, and the spuds around him often drag down his performance. Will end his career with the 2013 losing Grand Final as his highlight.

If he played for Hawthorn, Geelong or Collingwood and had the benefit to develop under better structures and coaches he would be stupidly good. He is still a very good player, but I think he has been stagnating at Freo for a while now, whereas a better club would have gotten more out of him.
 

HTPunter

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 27, 2014
5,088
5,744
AFL Club
North Melbourne
A different tact to other names - Shaun Atley.

Other people mentioning players at bottom 4 clubs etc. Atley came into a mid table club which went 14-9 in his 2nd year for the season.

I think however if he went to a club that persisted with him for longer at state level or dropped him when his performance was plateauing, he might have gone up the extra levels. Instead he's just maxed out as a decent, solid, 5-6/10 most weeks player. Nothing more. 1 game where he has got Brownlow votes in his career, never stepped into the midfield where his size, speed, agility would be huge. He played 16 games his first year and has played full seasons bar 1 or 2 games ever since.

To put his durability and inability to be dropped into perspective, he turns 27 later this month and yet needs less than 5 full seasons to get 300 games! He could do it months before he turns 32, a feat that a champion like Scott Pendlebury is receiving wide plaudits for this week.

I feel like if he had had more demanded from him early in his career, he could have achieved a whole lot more. Instead I believe he's coasted and sums up the Brad Scott era, alongside guys like Macmillan and McDonald, extremely well.

Not saying we were a poor club, but there was definitely guys who peaked well below their expected in the Scott era and while it's different to bottom 4, it's not a Geelong/Hawthorn era either and so that is why I think a guy like Atley can considered to have stagnated due to his club.
 

Blackhawk42

Premiership Player
Feb 5, 2018
3,184
5,015
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Chicago Blackhawks Melb Renegades
Can I nominate a good player who would have been better?

Nat Fyfe.

Justifiable star, but had to adjust his game to the sh*tfulness of the Harvey and Lyon schools of coaching, and the spuds around him often drag down his performance. Will end his career with the 2013 losing Grand Final as his highlight.

If he played for Hawthorn, Geelong or Collingwood and had the benefit to develop under better structures and coaches he would be stupidly good. He is still a very good player, but I think he has been stagnating at Freo for a while now, whereas a better club would have gotten more out of him.

Disagree completely on this one. Ross has possibly killed the development on many young players in his time, but Fyfe wasn't one of them. Nat is the only player in the AFL who occasionally looks like he is playing school footy and is the dominant kid because he hit puberty quicker. It stands out more because Fremantle have been so average for a period of time now. That game against Carlton that they lose this year springs to mind. Same with the game against Collingwood last season where they lost by 90 odd points and he got 3 Brownlow votes. You could argue he wouldn't appear so dominant (or wouldn't have to be) if he played in a current Richmond, West Coast, Collingwood or Geelong side with other star midfielders pulling more weight.
 

BF Tiger

Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 5, 2007
5,940
13,094
9th
AFL Club
Richmond
No, he played every game that year and won the B&F. That might've been the year that the players had a mid-season heart-to-heart and challenged Deledio to do better. He responded by leading the comp in contested ball for the second half of the season.

Perhaps at a top club he would've been better. I remember a radio caller a decade ago who said the same things you're saying about the hair etc. and put it down to grumpy old man ramblings. Maybe there's something to it, I don't know. You could make a case to say Knights, Campbell, Richardson could've been better players and they were all club greats, and Deledio sits comfortably with them. Play in a successful era though, and the focus is on your strengths.
I agree with this so much about Knights. Was a really good player and probably should have ended up with more than his two best and fairests at Richmond.

Only one AA selection, but severely hampered in that regard by playing in a mostly poor Richmond side.

Always seemed to have space and time, even though he wasn’t that quick. I’m certain he would get more recognition if he’d played at a successful club.
 

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Sonny Bonds

Debutant
Jul 21, 2019
85
152
Lytton
AFL Club
Melbourne
I really feel for the top Melbourne draft pick players from about 10 years ago. So many of them were really highly rated as juniors and then did nothing at an AFL level and I can't help but feel that was more down to Melbourne than because of their supposed lack of talent.
Name a few for me.

I agree Melbourne has a problem with development of players, but most of these juniors went on to other clubs for a second chance. I can't help but feel it comes down to bad luck.
 

Ron The Bear

Heartbreakers, with your 44
Jul 4, 2006
29,689
27,491
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
I wanted to say like Pendles but didn’t want to appear to be putting him in the same category.
Was in the top 50 all-time for Brownlow votes when he retired. He was a great player, undersold I think because our games often weren't caught on video in the age of limited TV cameras. The knock on those Bartlett-era mids - Knights, Campbell, Lambert, Nicholls - was that they didn't work both ways, early on at least. It wouldn't be allowed to happen now.
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
51,042
53,234
AFL Club
West Coast
Development so important.

The now Melbourne Kolodjashnij was pick 5. His twin brother was pick 41 and has probably gone past him after Kade looked good early on.
 

FrakturedHalo

The Voice of Reason
May 6, 2017
516
570
Melbourne
AFL Club
Collingwood
Unfortunately, he played in a s**t Richmond where he could roll along at 70%, work on his beach muscles, worry more about his hair and still win our B&F.
This genuinely made me lol'z and spit coffee all over the screen laughing. Your precision insight and analysis puts the rest of these washed up ex player hack self-styled 'experts' on Fox, 7 et al to shame
 

100action

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 18, 2009
5,914
5,293
Mogadishu
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Cooney and Higgins would have been so much better at hawthorn or geelong.

Both coasted at 70% on large contracts for the better part of a decade. Their lack of application really hurt the 07 to 09 flag tilt.
 

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