Analysis Post bye - Where does the improvement come from to threaten ..... this year?

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Norm Smith Medallist
Jan 19, 2014
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Buckley's writing us off. Half this board have written us off? Won't/can't make the top 4, the end is nigh.

Where are we at?

Positives

  • positive in the win loss ledger
  • in the 8 at no.7
  • on equal points with 5 and 6 - behind them on %
  • we haven't played West Coast yet
  • 4 points clear of 8th
  • no injuries to the midfield
  • no injuries to the forward line
  • at full strength we have the run and gun players at hb and in midfield to threaten

Negatives

  • % (but we haven't played WC yet)
  • significant injuries to the backline
    • Richards
    • JJ
    • Jones
    • TOB
  • Conversion rate
  • I50 retention rate
  • Midfield/fwd connection
  • midfield defense - particularly vulnerable to quick opposition midfields with top end tap ruckman
  • one on one defense back 6

The thing that strikes me is our scope for improvement. It's arguable that Port and Collingwood have played as well as they can, with not a lot of scope for improvement, and have reaped the rewards, being top 2 on the ladder and pretty much guaranteed a top 4 finish. I like watching them both so good luck to them. And if they maintain the pre bye form they're every chance of being deserving winners. Tis a long season though.

Melbourne, Richmond, Geelong and ourselves strike me as the teams with the most scope for improvement between now and September.

In our case, our inability to get reward for effort or convert at an acceptable rate is hardly breaking news. But it is critical to our chances. There is a very long list of unreliable set shots for goal. From our very best player right through to our newer ones. The set shot bogeyman does not discriminate in the western.

There is also the small matter of connectivity between mids and fwds. Dump kicking/bombing does not help our cause. Fwds not leading into space doesn't help. Mids not kicking into space for fwds to run onto doesn't help. And then set shot conversion rate doesn't help. I feel that the mids and fwds need to go to the pub, have a beer and sort this sh1t out. It is within their control to solve the problem.

Our back 6 cop it quite a bit but in many cases the damage is done with unpressured entries their opponents receive - and that's a midfield and fwd defensive issue. At those times, they are on a hiding to nothing. Of course they've shot themselves in the foot on more than one occasion with unforced turnovers and they're a modest one on one defensive unit to begin with, even at full strength. Our fortunes this year lie with those further upfield, defensively and offensively. They can however contribute to our scoring on the defensive rebound and JJ, Richards and Dale will have a significant influence in that respect if we are to progress.

Apart from our mid/fwd connection and our conversion rate, our glaring weakness is our midfield defense. We are particularly vulnerable to opposition mids who are quick - at stoppages and in general play through the corridor. Port have showed us that .... twice. It is/should be an area of the highest priority because unsurprisingly, the best teams we play will have quick mids and a good ruckman.

So, apart from an obvious mid and fwd collective improvement in connection and conversion, I'm going to name the 5 players that I think we need to get the most improvement out of to win.....in order of importance.

  1. Bailey Smith: He is quicker than most in our team. If we are to pressure/stop quick opposition mids on the break from a stoppage or through the corridor in general play, he needs to step up. A vast improvement in his defensive game is the number one priority imo. Technically and attitudinally. Offensively, he can run and gun but not run and pass. If he's in possession, I'd be happy enough for him to shoot for goal from 50 every time on a fast break from a stoppage. if he misses, we at least have time to set the defense.
  2. Tim English: We ask a lot of Tim. He really is fantastic in general play and defensively around stoppages. But we have to go the well again with Timmy. He needs to improve within this season in his ruck duels against the Lycetts and Gawns of this world. We'll meet them in September and their taps are supplying quick mids who we already know are a problem for us. Sorry Tim, it's a big ask but a lot rests on your shoulders. You'll be well rewarded for your efforts.
  3. Aaron Naughton: Leading into space and away from other forwards and converting. It's an easy one ... and essential. Defensively and second efforts I see no reason to complain.
  4. Tom Liberatore: Tom looks to me to be part of the mid/fwd connection problem. He needs to find, or we need to provide him, an alternative to the dump kick I50 out of stoppages or from congestion. The retention rate from these kicks is so bad it's detrimental. He's part of the problem but also part of the solution. His vision, hands and kicking generally is of such high quality that other options must exist or should be made to exist. Handball fwd or laterally into space to force another stoppage or better still to one of JJ, Richards and/or Dale streaming through from the hbf.
  5. Bailey Dale: With Bont and Libba, probably the best field kick in the team. Eliminate the unforced errors and hit targets I50 a bit more and it's a 3-4 goal a game turnaround (eliminate 2 against and help put 2 on the board for us).
 
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Here we go dogs

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Sep 17, 2014
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For me it would take close to an extraordinary turn around to become a threat.

It will fall a lot on some of our younger players as we know what to expect from the senior core.

We also need to settle that backline asap.

The main components for me to get us to this level are:

James O’Donnell - As defenders I think we could possible afford to carry one of Gardiner, Bruce, Keath (age has gotten him) and TOB (who is unfortunately injured) in a final series, but certainly not 2 trusting we get Jones back.

James O’Donnell may not be ready right now, but I think as long shot we need to invest in him now so we can get him ready in 10 weeks time as a 2nd or 3rd tall if his played. From what I’ve seen at VFL he has all the traits to be far better than a plodder. He has also been poorly used at afl level.

Aaron Naughton - I don’t know wtf the strategy is forward of centre. So potentially this is a coaching issue but he has to start working with our other forwards instead of completing against them. Would also like to see him present up the ground harder. He hasn’t quite hit his straps this year.

JUH - again this is unrealistic, but JUH aus showing glimpses that he could be a top handful of players in the game. He probably needs to hit this level for us to become a contender.

Bailey Smith - Needs to show us his better than just a good player. Also needs to put in a far better effort defensively.

Outside of the above mentioned players I am very concerned by our defensive running through the midfield and on the wings. Port and even north genuinely cut us up with their ball movement in transition. I think this was due to lack of pace and defensive awareness. Unfortunately I don’t think we have the cattle to counter the defensive running deficiencies. I was really hopeful Roark smith (understood his No superstar) could get his body right as he actually works hard defensively and really works to the right spots to close space. All our other wing alternative have had very interrupted years and I wouldn’t bank on them being contributors this season in Bendendo and Gallagher. Think both will be very good players long term.

Would also be good to have a fit Sam darcy and Riley Garcia. Sam Darcy will will be a genuine superstar in years to come and Riley Garcia looks like a finals footballer.
 

perro_loco

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For me it would take close to an extraordinary turn around to become a threat.

It will fall a lot on some of our younger players as we know what to expect from the senior core.

We also need to settle that backline asap.

The main components for me to get us to this level are:

James O’Donnell - As defenders I think we could possible afford to carry one of Gardiner, Bruce, Keath (age has gotten him) and TOB (who is unfortunately injured) in a final series, but certainly not 2 trusting we get Jones back.

James O’Donnell may not be ready right now, but I think as long shot we need to invest in him now so we can get him ready in 10 weeks time as a 2nd or 3rd tall if his played. From what I’ve seen at VFL he has all the traits to be far better than a plodder. He has also been poorly used at afl level.

Aaron Naughton - I don’t know wtf the strategy is forward of centre. So potentially this is a coaching issue but he has to start working with our other forwards instead of completing against them. Would also like to see him present up the ground harder. He hasn’t quite hit his straps this year.

JUH - again this is unrealistic, but JUH aus showing glimpses that he could be a top handful of players in the game. He probably needs to hit this level for us to become a contender.

Bailey Smith - Needs to show us his better than just a good player. Also needs to put in a far better effort defensively.

Outside of the above mentioned players I am very concerned by our defensive running through the midfield and on the wings. Port and even north genuinely cut us up with their ball movement in transition. I think this was due to lack of pace and defensive awareness. Unfortunately I don’t think we have the cattle to counter the defensive running deficiencies. I was really hopeful Roark smith (understood his No superstar) could get his body right as he actually works hard defensively and really works to the right spots to close space. All our other wing alternative have had very interrupted years and I wouldn’t bank on them being contributors this season in Bendendo and Gallagher. Think both will be very good players long term.

Would also be good to have a fit Sam darcy and Riley Garcia. Sam Darcy will will be a genuine superstar in years to come and Riley Garcia looks like a finals footballer.
 

perro_loco

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To me we need the following players to improve around 10%: Scott, Gardner, Baker, McNeil, BSmith and Hannan. Get back JJ, Richards and Jones. We have time for that. If we improve in that sense and our system also improves we are a real chance for a second Bevo premiership. Bevo has been good at preparing us for finals. Collingwood, Melbourne and Port are at their peak, but can they maintain it? So, in my opinion we win the flag this year. There you go I said, and we beat Freo easily on Saturday.
 

dogwatch

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Buckley's writing us off. Half this board have written us off? Won't/can't make the top 4, the end is nigh.

Where are we at?

Positives

  • positive in the win loss ledger
  • in the 8 at no.7
  • on equal points with 5 and 6 - behind them on %
  • we haven't played West Coast yet
  • 4 points clear of 8th
  • no injuries to the midfield
  • no injuries to the forward line
  • at full strength we have the run and gun players at hb and in midfield to threaten

Negatives

  • % (but we haven't played WC yet)
  • significant injuries to the backline
    • Richards
    • JJ
    • Jones
    • TOB
  • Conversion rate
  • I50 retention rate
  • Midfield/fwd connection
  • midfield defense - particularly vulnerable to quick opposition midfields with top end tap ruckman
  • one on one defense back 6

The thing that strikes me is our scope for improvement. It's arguable that Port and Collingwood have played as well as they can, with not a lot of scope for improvement, and have reaped the rewards, being top 2 on the ladder and pretty much guaranteed a top 4 finish. I like watching them both so good luck to them. And if they maintain the pre bye form they're every chance of being deserving winners. Tis a long season though.

Melbourne, Richmond, Geelong and ourselves strike me as the teams with the most scope for improvement between now and September.

In our case, our inability to get reward for effort or convert at an acceptable rate is hardly breaking news. But it is critical to our chances. There is a very long list of unreliable set shots for goal. From our very best player right through to our newer ones. The set shot bogeyman does not discriminate in the western.

There is also the small matter of connectivity between mids and fwds. Dump kicking/bombing does not help our cause. Fwds not leading into space doesn't help. Mids not kicking into space for fwds to run onto doesn't help. And then set shot conversion rate doesn't help. I feel that the mids and fwds need to go to the pub, have a beer and sort this sh1t out. It is within their control to solve the problem.

Our back 6 cop it quite a bit but in many cases the damage is done with unpressured entries their opponents receive - and that's a midfield and fwd defensive issue. At those times, they are on a hiding to nothing. Of course they've shot themselves in the foot on more than one occasion with unforced turnovers and they're a modest one on one defensive unit to begin with, even at full strength. Our fortunes this year lie with those further upfield, defensively and offensively. They can however contribute to our scoring on the defensive rebound and JJ, Richards and Dale will have a significant influence in that respect if we are to progress.

Apart from our mid/fwd connection and our conversion rate, our glaring weakness is our midfield defense. We are particularly vulnerable to opposition mids who are quick - at stoppages and in general play through the corridor. Port have showed us that .... twice. It is/should be an area of the highest priority because unsurprisingly, the best teams we play will have quick mids and a good ruckman.

So, apart from an obvious mid and fwd collective improvement in connection and conversion, I'm going to name the 5 players that I think we need to get the most improvement out of to win.....in order of importance.

  1. Bailey Smith: He is quicker than most in our team. If we are to pressure/stop quick opposition mids on the break from a stoppage or through the corridor in general play, he needs to step up. A vast improvement in his defensive game is the number one priority imo. Technically and attitudinally. Offensively, he can run and gun but not run and pass. If he's in possession, I'd be happy enough for him to shoot for goal from 50 every time on a fast break from a stoppage. if he misses, we at least have time to set the defense.
  2. Tim English: We ask a lot of Tim. He really is fantastic in general play and defensively around stoppages. But we have to go the well again with Timmy. He needs to improve within this season in his ruck duels against the Lycetts and Gawns of this world. We'll meet them in September and their taps are supplying quick mids who we already know are a problem for us. Sorry Tim, it's a big ask but a lot rests on your shoulders. You'll be well rewarded for your efforts.
  3. Aaron Naughton: Leading into space and away from other forwards and converting. It's an easy one ... and essential. Defensively and second efforts I see no reason to complain.
  4. Tom Liberatore: Tom looks to me to be part of the mid/fwd connection problem. He needs to find, or we need to provide him, an alternative to the dump kick I50 out of stoppages or from congestion. The retention rate from these kicks is so bad it's detrimental. He's part of the problem but also part of the solution. His vision, hands and kicking generally is of such high quality that other options must exist or should be made to exist. Handball fwd or laterally into space to force another stoppage or better still to one of JJ, Richards and/or Dale streaming through from the hbf.
  5. Bailey Dale: With Bont and Libba, probably the best field kick in the team. Eliminate the unforced errors and hit targets I50 a bit more and it's a 3-4 goal a game turnaround (eliminate 2 against and help put 2 on the board for us).
Pretty good assessment NW.

On your five who need to improve:
1. Bailey Smith - we know he can do most of what's needed. Just go back to the tape of the 2021 QF against Brisbane. Where is that Bailey?
2. English - Not sure he's going to get a whole lot better in the taps, not this year at least. What I'd like him to do is eliminate the occasional game where he unexpectedly seems to lose form and doesn't have much influence. It's happened in two or three games this year.
3. Naughton - he's not far off what we'd been hoping for already. He probably would have had at least 5 against North if not shifted to defence (he had 2 of our 5 goals to half time and we kicked 15). That would have had him pretty much on 50 goal a season pace. Yes if he can suddenly work out how to lead properly that would be good but it's a bit much to expect that to suddenly click mid-season.
4. Libba - as the extractor he seems to be dumping the ball blindly forward by design / under instruction. In the past I think he would have fired out a handpass more often but we seem to be playing a territory game. If that is correct then it's hard to see how this can be improved easily. The alternative is to go back to handballing to someone on the fringe of the play in the hope of a quality delivery i50. However a lot of people here hate that because it so often ends up being turned over if the opposition maintains its pressure in close.
5. Bailey Dale. I've been a hard marker of Dale but watching him recently he has been excellent with his kicking. My biggest knock on him has been his contested game but that's never been his designated role so I think we have to accept him as is. We should just get the most out of him for his dash out of defence and his generally good delivery. He has pretty good footy IQ too. I think the occasional clanger may be just being a bit too ambitious.

The system things I'd like to see us improve are (each one is a lengthy discussion point on its own, so I'll just list them for now):
1. Transitions from defence, including preparedness to use the corridor once we are outside the d50.
2. Vulnerability to goals on the quick rebound.
3. Somehow getting Bont and Daniel to be the main deliverers i50.
4. Naughton, Jamarra and Weightman developing some cohesion instead of spoiling each other.
5. Conversion rate.

A further thing that has been good but must be maintained for four quarters every match is our pressure rating -tackling, chasing, blocking, smothering, etc. If we lose focus for a quarter we can concede big scores quickly. That happened a few times early in the year. As I said it seems to have been OK recently, but it's critical to our ongoing success that we maintain it throughout every game.

I'm not quite so concerned about the quick succession of opposition goals. Most clubs experience this to some level due to the 6-6-6 when their opponents are in rare form. We seem to have improved in this area. Not sure how but it has happened less in the last month or so ... I hope that's been through good management and not just good luck.

Finally while we're busy working out how we can improve there are also some risks of things going sour.
Mainly it's injuries. Any injury resulting in several missed games for Bont, English, Libba, Daniel or Dale (seeing he's the last running defender left) will hurt our prospects badly. Treloar is probably in that group too. Every side needs a bit of luck with injuries especially in relation to their top six players. I feel like we've already had our share of bad luck this year. We don't need any more of it.

Then there's the risk of "the bye factor". For whatever reason most clubs are underperforming immediately after their bye. I hope we're right on top of that one. We've already dropped a few games we expected to win so every win is crucial for us now. We cannot afford to lose to Fremantle this week as it's a game that most of us have pencilled in as a win. The pundits and bookies have too.

The other risk is when we get a run of good wins that Bevo may try to be a bit too clever again. That has hurt us in the past. I don't mind him trying things (he's had some successes after all) but he has a tendency to persist longer than he should when everybody can see it's not working. I can never get rid of the anxiety that he'll pull out some "courageous" move again and not quickly revert when it fails. If he can get us on a winning run he shouldn't be changing much at all.
 

hutchy31

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Some considered writeups in the OP and above. I don't disagree with a chunk of the areas/players identified where potential improvement can be gained, I'm just sceptical of how much can be done in season, particularly given the current set up (footy dept, coaching team, playing group) haven't been able to improve substantively in some of these areas for the best part of two years (and potentially even longer if you look at 2021 as an outlier).

Forward entries and goal kicking, transition ball movement (particularly without Richards and JJ in the side, and with a Bailey Dale who looks all at sea sometimes in his decision making and execution), and the continuously frustrating sight of 2-3 KPFs in the same 10 square metres of the forward 50 and contesting the same ball - none of these are new issues. Defensive setup generally but particularly from centre clearance/midfield when the ball is lost in the contest appeared better for at least part of the first half of the season, but there's at least a decent chance that is largely due to the presence of L.Jones rather than anything substantively different to our game style - although this remains to be seen, and the next couple of months of footy will be enlightening on that score if nothing else.

I've got confidence in the ability of the top 10-12 players on our list to play well coming home. I can't say I have any confidence in any other part of the footy department to facilitate the improvement needed in the areas that will be important in the run to (and hopefully during) September. The hard work on the above should have been done pre-season, and it either wasn't or it was and hasn't stuck.

I suspect we'll win enough games to finish 7th/8th, and it would be good to see some sustained performances at AFL level from our younger players to get greater confidence in certain parts of the list - A. Jones, Darcy, JUH (some better goal kicking is all that is needed for him to lift off imo), maybe get a look at a few others like Busslinger and Clarke before September if they warrant it. Use what should be a decent draft hand to fill the gaps in the list as best we can and see what 2024 brings, ideally with a refreshed coaching team.
 

Next Waiting

Norm Smith Medallist
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Small sample size acknowledged, however, some of the things we have hoped for were evident against Freo.

  • Improved conversion rate :whitecheck::whitecheck:
  • Space in the forward line :whitecheck:
  • unheralded and under-manned defense holding up :whitecheck:
  • super sub West :whitecheck:
The above would need to hold for a few weeks to be confident the improvement has been made, however, it's a start. And these improvements came against the trend where teams off the bye lose to teams not off the bye :whitecheck:.

  • Bevo and conditioning staff planning :whitecheck:

No resting on laurels though. Where does the continued improvement come from? A consolidation of the above and ...

I suspect that our forward and midfield defense in particular will get an audit this week against the Pies. Midfield defense against quick running and spreading teams remains my primary area for improvement along with mid/fwd connection. Smith and Treloar will need to have big defensive games. We know that Bont and Libba pretty much always do.

Macrae had a lot of clearances against Freo which suggests he spent more time than usual this season around stoppages. He was at CBs against Freo when we iced the game. I think I'd be a little nervous about trying to repeat that against the quicker Pies unless English and Lobb have the ascendency. He may also have spent more time there to cover Caleb's redeployment to the backline.

I think Caleb's creativity and ball use will be needed as part of the midfield rotation against the Pies. We need to try to aggressively win this game - attack and defense - and to fire as many shots as possible from the midfield and rucks.

Big games for English, Lobb, Smith, Treloar and Daniel
 

Next Waiting

Norm Smith Medallist
Jan 19, 2014
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Small sample size acknowledged, however, some of the things we have hoped for were evident against Freo.

  • Improved conversion rate :whitecheck::whitecheck:
  • Space in the forward line :whitecheck:
  • unheralded and under-manned defense holding up :whitecheck:
  • super sub West :whitecheck:
No resting on laurels though. Where does the continued improvement come from? A consolidation of the above and ...

I suspect that our forward and midfield defense in particular will get an audit this week against the Pies. Midfield defense against quick running and spreading teams remains my primary area for improvement along with mid/fwd connection. Smith and Treloar will need to have big defensive games. We know that Bont and Libba pretty much always do.

Big games for English, Lobb, Smith, Treloar and Daniel
My patience has run out.

I don't know whether or not Smith listens to and/or reads and/or buys into all the sympathetic murmerings in the media about how he's being played out of position and all the woe is me sh1te. Too bad, too late.

We need an alternative. One who will put his hand up and apply himself to the task of stopping dangerous quick mids of the opposition for the good of the team (our team .... his team).

To apply for the position you must have demonstrated examples of the following

  • Speed
  • Resilience
  • Aggression
  • A selfless attitude
  • A can-do attitude
Your primary role will be to stop Nick Daicos (Collingwood), Zac butters (Port) and Christian Petracca (Melbourne). A successful showing this season will earn you a contract extension and the eternal gratitude of our fan base.

You'll receive an intensive 8 week on the job training program and orientation. No experience is necessary but a healthy dose of mongrel will be viewed favourably. If you'd like to be part of a winning team and make a difference to the outcome of our season, put your hand up at the next training session.

I'd like to nominate VDM for the job.
 
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Piggyg

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The forward line looks to finally be clicking, which is a positive. We lack pace and stamina all over the ground but particularly midfield. Our current game plan seems to allow for this with safe transition/territory up the wings, but this means we over possess the footy and lack creativity and efficiency when moving the ball because we do it at all costs. We need numbers around the ball and every player playing like they are possessed and every tackle to stick so that we can either get the ball first or dispossess the opposition every time they get it. If we don’t have the speed, then we need to develop a way more physical presence around the stoppages and just scare the s**t out of whoever we come up against, or wear them down. We can’t be a Collingwood side with current personnel, so it’s time to play some unattractive, unsociable footy
 

Next Waiting

Norm Smith Medallist
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Poulter looked quite good on the wing last week against the best team in the comp. Shows promise.

Still mulling over the midfield defense. If Cleary was given a shot (and was successful) and perhaps Bailey Dale moved up to a wing/hb role, that might allow Williams to spend some time in the middle in rotation with Treloar and say VDM. Macrae will spend time there but his presence there is primarily offensive against quick teams.

It's a bit of a patch work but rather than exhausting one player minding the likes of Daicos and Butters, the load could be spread depending on which area of the ground the game is being played and whether it's a CB or general stoppage. Each of Treloar, Williams and VDM offer something a little different defensively and offensively. Treloar and VDM have good pace and Williams reasonable.

I'm ruling a line through Smith for the rest of the year.
 

RedWhite&Blue

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For me it would take close to an extraordinary turn around to become a threat.

It will fall a lot on some of our younger players as we know what to expect from the senior core.

We also need to settle that backline asap.

The main components for me to get us to this level are:

James O’Donnell - As defenders I think we could possible afford to carry one of Gardiner, Bruce, Keath (age has gotten him) and TOB (who is unfortunately injured) in a final series, but certainly not 2 trusting we get Jones back.

James O’Donnell may not be ready right now, but I think as long shot we need to invest in him now so we can get him ready in 10 weeks time as a 2nd or 3rd tall if his played. From what I’ve seen at VFL he has all the traits to be far better than a plodder. He has also been poorly used at afl level.

Aaron Naughton - I don’t know wtf the strategy is forward of centre. So potentially this is a coaching issue but he has to start working with our other forwards instead of completing against them. Would also like to see him present up the ground harder. He hasn’t quite hit his straps this year.

JUH - again this is unrealistic, but JUH aus showing glimpses that he could be a top handful of players in the game. He probably needs to hit this level for us to become a contender.

Bailey Smith - Needs to show us his better than just a good player. Also needs to put in a far better effort defensively.

Outside of the above mentioned players I am very concerned by our defensive running through the midfield and on the wings. Port and even north genuinely cut us up with their ball movement in transition. I think this was due to lack of pace and defensive awareness. Unfortunately I don’t think we have the cattle to counter the defensive running deficiencies. I was really hopeful Roark smith (understood his No superstar) could get his body right as he actually works hard defensively and really works to the right spots to close space. All our other wing alternative have had very interrupted years and I wouldn’t bank on them being contributors this season in Bendendo and Gallagher. Think both will be very good players long term.

Would also be good to have a fit Sam darcy and Riley Garcia. Sam Darcy will will be a genuine superstar in years to come and Riley Garcia looks like a finals footballer.
Could not disagree more with the bold bit.
We are only a 'couple of players clicking' away from being the main threat to Collingwood.
I'm hoping when we get Jones, Darcy and JJ back and more games into Red that will be when we hit our straps and push deep into September.
We just need to get there which I think we will.
 

Here we go dogs

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What is so good about Hardwick?
He struck while the iron was hot and won his flags and then saw his team failing and jumped ship... lightening won't strike twice with Dimma just like it didn't with Clarko who drove Hawthorn off a cliff.
Hardwick will get found out at Gold Coast. He has been surrounded by the best footy department in the business at richmond, which admittedly he built over a 6 year period at Richmond.

He won’t get the same amount of time or resources to build what he did at Richmond. I believe this will explode spectacularly.

I think Clarko will be okay at north though. Clarko is better tactically.
 

Here we go dogs

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Could not disagree more with the bold bit.
We are only a 'couple of players clicking' away from being the main threat to Collingwood.
I'm hoping when we get Jones, Darcy and JJ back and more games into Red that will be when we hit our straps and push deep into September.
We just need to get there which I think we will.
I think there is too much to work out between now and the end of the season. I think we can get there next year, but it’s to much to do over the next 7 weeks. The following has not occurred and is holding us back from being serious:

Settling the Team - We are at round 19 and the side still has not been settled. We are still rotating key structural players. We don’t have a clear vision on the right mix of role players. This needed to be worked out by round 15 at the latest.

Role Players - Even if we had the right mix, I just don’t think the players 16-24 on the list are good enough. When we lose we have a lot of dead wood.

I think to some degree we have been unlucky with this. My view at the start of the year was the team lacked energy last season and we needed to give guys like Bendendo, Garcia and A.Jones a good go to provide a spark and they have largely been injured. Also our draftees all had interrupted preseasons.

They obviously would’ve known about Buss’ shoulder and you would assume had done the due diligence on Clarke as he had his back problems immediately. So I really wonder if they recruited for the now when 18 year olds are often ready to impact day dot.

Ball Movement - we are just too slow with the ball and not direct enough. I’d be shocked if we got this right by now and the end of the season.

All these matters take a preseason to get right. I don’t see it being done over night. I hope am wrong and I guess you never know what happens when you get to the finals.
 

Next Waiting

Norm Smith Medallist
Jan 19, 2014
6,093
9,676
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Silver lining time.

Richards out is inconvenient but it gives Cleary an opportunity. Richards likely only 1 week you'd think and he's certain to come back in when well again.

My recollections of Cleary are that he makes good decisions and has a sizzling right foot. There are few spots up for grabs now so he is my biggest watch tomorrow along with any change up in the origins of attack.

I think our attacking in recent years has probably been a little predictable in so far as we like to go down the left wing or at least the left half of the ground. So many of our better and more influential players are dominant lefties (Bont, Libba and Macrae). TBF all those can kick off both feet but still. Another sizzling right just opens up the right wing a bit more as an option making us less predictable.

The prospect of a balanced attack in terms of field position, right or left with equal effect is enticing. Speed from the back in the form of JJ, Richards, VDM, Cleary and Dale feeding good ball users in the middle who can kick off either (Bont, Libba, Daniel and Macrae) into a less congested forward line of Naughts, Marra, Flea and Lobb. Dale, Cleary (I think) and JJ can also hit targets I50 from a fair way out and then there's Poults on the left wing and Williams on the right.

Where does the improvement come from to be threat? More run and penetrating kicks from the back to and through the corridor and a more even distribution of attack through the left and right wings. Half fwds pushing and dragging their opponents up the ground to assist the run through and opening up the fwd line for Naughts, Marra, Lobby and Flea.

Another thing I'm looking for is in what part of the ground we make the switch (if we do). Making it in the D50 tends to telegraph to the opposition where we're headed. I'd like to see us go into the corridor midfield either with a searing pass or a man beating run and short kick. In both cases to the waiting arms of good ball users with vision (Libba, Bont, Daniel and Macrae) who then choose the best option of handing off to a rampaging half back, going to the left wing or right wing or to a leading forward I50.

It's that fast penetration, either by foot or by run, into centre midfield to proper ball users that I believe will scramble defenses and unlock the attack. You need the players with the capacity to do it but also enough of them so if one or even two are sat on the whole thing doesn't fall apart.

Duryea has done his job holding the fort through the winter grind and Cleary has been made to work hard and bide his time in the VFL. If Cleary has a strong showing today it looks like another to string to what could be a very attacking, varied and promising bow with JJ, Richards, Dale and VDM.
 
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Next Waiting

Norm Smith Medallist
Jan 19, 2014
6,093
9,676
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
FB: ? Jones Richards

HB: Dale ? JJ

C/Wing: ? Treloar ?

HF: ?
Marra ?

FF:
Weightman Naughton Lobb

Foll: English Bont Libba

I/C: ? ? ? ?

Sub: ?

Certain to be in there somewhere

  • Macrae
  • Daniel
9 spots/roles in flux.

Some candidates will be far more likely than others. 1/3 of fwd spots unclear plus interchange

Back

3 talls or 2 talls? Run? Penetrating kicks? Interceptors? Shutdown?

  • Gards
  • JOD
  • Keath
  • Duryea
  • Cleary
  • VDM
Centre/Wing

Pace/run? Ball use? Link? Penetrating kick? Left or right? Endurance? Defensive prowess (pressure and tackling (qty plus quality)?

  • Williams
  • Poulter
  • Cleary
  • Smith
  • Baker
  • VDM
  • Macrae
  • Daniel
Forward

Pace? Defensive prowess (pressure and tackling (qty plus quality)? Scoring ability? Scoring assist?
  • Jones
  • West
  • Smith
  • Williams
  • Scott
  • VDM
  • Clark
  • McNeil


A lot of question marks. But somewhere in here is a key, a player and/or a combination and a way to use them that will make us the best we can be this year and gives us a chance.
 

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