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

Damon_3388

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The footy gods will see to it that he will not win a flag as a coach because of his abandoning of the Bears!
If anyone could have forseen in 1993 what the Bears had evolved into by 2001-2002, much less an ambitious 20-21 year old coming from a culture of excellence at Port Adelaide, then they have genuine amazing psychic ability. North of the Victorian border was truly a football wasteland at that time, so I don't really think you can blame the guy for not wanting to be there.
 

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Bunk Moreland

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His early career was totally mishandled IMO.

Watts had the athleticism and ability to be a more skillful version of Nick Riewoldt. Melbourne should have just given him the (eventual) Jesse Hogan pathway, of playing VFL/VFL Reserves for his entire first year (while he was still 17/18), and then played him at CHF and CHF only from 2010 onwards. None of this "getting into the game", "learning how to play your position, by not playing your position" cruising and bruise-free footy on half back.
ROFL. C’mon mate

Riewoldt was a natural footballer, attacked the contest, was courageous as they came in the marking contest and through sheer hard work turned himself into an incredible athlete who could run any defender big or small into the ground.

Watts!?

Maybe he could’ve been a bit better, but it’s dead clear he never had any of those qualities or drive.

He was a tall skinny CHF when drafted, that’s the start and end of comparisons.

Footy is littered with them. He was good as a junior part-time footballer. When things got serious in the professional ranks he simply didn’t have what was required to improve himself.
 

Damon_3388

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ROFL. C’mon mate

Riewoldt was a natural footballer, attacked the contest, was courageous as they came in the marking contest and through sheer hard work turned himself into an incredible athlete who could run any defender big or small into the ground.

Watts!?

Maybe he could’ve been a bit better, but it’s dead clear he never had any of those qualities or drive.

He was a tall skinny CHF when drafted, that’s the start and end of comparisons.

Footy is littered with them. He was good as a junior part-time footballer. When things got serious in the professional ranks he simply didn’t have what was required to improve himself.
How much of this is hindsight wisdom based on how he turned out? If there was a better plan, better coaching and he was driven to achieve more, things could have worked out differently for Watts.

Even taking the Riewoldt comparison out, I feel like Melbourne largely created the player Watts became. Perhaps he didn't quite have the drive needed to reach his potential, but the environment he came into allowed him to cruise and flounder too.
 

Bunk Moreland

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How much of this is hindsight wisdom based on how he turned out? If there was a better plan, better coaching and he was driven to achieve more, things could have worked out differently for Watts.

Even taking the Riewoldt comparison out, I feel like Melbourne largely created the player Watts became. Perhaps he didn't quite have the drive needed to reach his potential, but the environment he came into allowed him to cruise and flounder too.
I think great players are a mix - certainly a product of coaching but they have self-motivation and drive too. I wouldn’t say Melbourne didn’t have it at all. Jones and Scully always seemed quite driven, even in the face of poor coaching and development.
 

Damon_3388

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I think great players are a mix - certainly a product of coaching but they have self-motivation and drive too. I wouldn’t say Melbourne didn’t have it at all. Jones and Scully always seemed quite driven, even in the face of poor coaching and development.
You could also say that's probably the main reason Jones and Scully made it, too, as neither of them ever really had many tricks as footballers beyond workrate and continually "cracking in hard". They both probably recognised their own "niche" and way to be successful early, and kept on with that. I know that Scully was reported to be a meticulous "professional" preparer with a great fitness base even before being drafted, which probably gave him the jump on his peers and allowed him to play himself into being the #1 draft pick.

Clubs and coaches also need to recognise the difference between players, and that some aren't as naturally driven as others. Watts was MVP of the u/18 National Championships as an under-ager. He had serious talent, and with his athleticism and frame, was a worthy #1 pick with mouth-watering potential at the time he was drafted. Yeah, he could have been more driven and determined off his own bat, but how many 17- or 18-year olds (even AFL draftees) are? Everyone needs guidance and a bit of a push at that age, and I don't feel like Watts was given the right guidance and pushed in the right way early, and that largely comes down to Melbourne's coaches and (dearth of) senior players in that era. I mean, David Neitz, Melbourne's games record holder and longest-serving captain, retired the year Watts was drafted. Could he not still have been a part of the club, and mentored Watts on how to become a successful KPP and leader at AFL level? Seems like a natural, logical fit.
 

Damon_3388

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I’ll go a bit left field and suggest Daniel Wells. He was a good player for north and played some absolute blinders, but he was also prone to go missing and meander to 16-20 disposal games.

If he went to Hawthorn with his skills and Clarko’s ruthlessness, he may well have been as well regarded and as good as Burgoyne.
It's mainly recency bias that causes people to forget how good Wells is. He's had the injury record that Burgoyne was supposed to have (based on how supposedly "cooked" he was once he came to Hawthorn) at the same age. Wells has played just 36 of a possible 119 games over the past 5 seasons (2015-present), and 19 of those games came in one year (2016). Meanwhile, Burgoyne has added 107 of a possible 118 games to his career tally over the same time period.
 

AFDogs

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Tom Liberatore probably needs somewhere with a stricter culture/scrutiny to get him back to his best ala a Luke Dahlhaus type move. His 2014 run was pretty godly but has since regressed.
 

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Johnny Karate

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His early career was totally mishandled IMO.

Watts had the athleticism and ability to be a more skillful version of Nick Riewoldt. Melbourne should have just given him the (eventual) Jesse Hogan pathway, of playing VFL/VFL Reserves for his entire first year (while he was still 17/18), and then played him at CHF and CHF only from 2010 onwards. None of this "getting into the game", "learning how to play your position, by not playing your position" cruising and bruise-free footy on half back.
Agree that his early career was mishandled. Playing him in the QB as a publicity stunt in 2009 was a ******* disgrace.

I think he does lack an innate competitiveness though, which probably meant he was always destined to be a disappointing number 1 pick and not a genuine star of the competition. That said, a competent club such as Collingwood, Hawthorn, Geelong, West Coast etc wouldn’t have gifted him games and most likely could’ve made him an elite by position flanker.
 

Power Raid

TheBrownDog
Oct 15, 2004
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ROFL. C’mon mate

Riewoldt was a natural footballer, attacked the contest, was courageous as they came in the marking contest and through sheer hard work turned himself into an incredible athlete who could run any defender big or small into the ground.

Watts!?

Maybe he could’ve been a bit better, but it’s dead clear he never had any of those qualities or drive.

He was a tall skinny CHF when drafted, that’s the start and end of comparisons.

Footy is littered with them. He was good as a junior part-time footballer. When things got serious in the professional ranks he simply didn’t have what was required to improve himself.
Yep

Watts is a waste of football talent but would never had made it at any club as he’s scared of contact.

He was better suited to under age footy as it was against boys not men.
 

Damon_3388

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Agree that his early career was mishandled. Playing him in the QB as a publicity stunt in 2009 was a ******* disgrace.

I think he does lack an innate competitiveness though, which probably meant he was always destined to be a disappointing number 1 pick and not a genuine star of the competition. That said, a competent club such as Collingwood, Hawthorn, Geelong, West Coast etc wouldn’t have gifted him games and most likely could’ve made him an elite by position flanker.
All fair enough.

Was that "lack of competitiveness" clear before he was drafted, though, or fostered (or drawn out further than it may have been elsewhere) by the Melbourne environment at the time?

Also, is Watts' "lack of competitiveness" further exacerbated by being drafted ahead of one of the "hungriest" and most physical and "up for the contest" players we've seen in NicNat?
 

Rusty Brookes

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Aug 9, 2001
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Des Headland.

Won a flag at Brisbane in 2002, kicked 34 goals and came equal fourth in the Brownlow. Top one draft pick poised to be a superstar.

Went to Freo, failed to get in the top 10 in their B&F in 2003 and played well below the level he did in 2002 for the rest of his career.
 

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