Review Preseason Game 1: Defeated by the Blues

Remove this Banner Ad

Log in to remove this ad.

blitzer

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 27, 2006
6,898
7,639
House
AFL Club
Essendon
My thoughts on the replay that i just finished watching.

The talls:
A lot to like about our talls. Both some immediate improvement and for the long term future.
Stewart - Him moving back is literally the biggest move of the season for me. I was enormously impressed by him. He not only defended Harry McKay really well but he moved like a freight train at times running forward and kicked well. I could legit see him being our no 1 defender for the next 3-5 seasons. Best part is he can stand 200cm types but has the pace to play on quicker leading types.
Cox - Got plenty of it, i thought his short kicking was very good on both sides (some of his longer kicks were ill directed/went astray). At 200cm after not having played a game of footy in 2020 - I thought it was an incredible performance and just quietly I think we may have a future superstar with qualities that will make him a nightmare to matchup on in the future. He is really skinny still but playing on the wing it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Jones - Looks to have the makings of a quality key forward. I'm looking at him as likely to be our no1 key forward by the start of next year. Expect him to play every game this year when fit. Good on the lead and looks to be a hard worker and a nice finisher.
Wright - I'd call him an upgrade on McKernan. Not as aggressive but will give away less frees, a bit more useful in the ruck and a very nice kick at goal. Don't expect huge production but what he does is good.
Draper - A seriously big physical body out there. That said he still looks fairly raw and mistimed a lot of situations where he had worked to have the advantage. Could be anything. I think he's a decent chance to end up a Mumford type.
Bryan - Quite the surprise for me. I had read in training that he was pushing past Phillips and watching him i thought he competed admirably against Pittonet who is a bit of a beast himself (did get completely lost in one defensive effort against Pittonet in the back 50 though where he conceded an easy mark). Bryan surprises me in a number of areas. For a young ruck he seems quite physical, he's also a pretty good mover. I would say he moves better than Draper (mind you he has a few kgs to go). A decent chance to get a few games if injuries hit our ruck or key forward stocks.
Hooker - Sadly had no impact today. It didn't look like he was labouring or anything but nothing really happened for him today.

The rest:
Caldwell - AFL ready. Seeing him and Parish together - they are honestly kind of similar. I'd say Caldwell maybe just a bit ahead on a few attributes like size, strength and kicking but only to a small degree in each. He'll go pretty well for us this year.
Cahill - Lively early but did fade as the game went on. I thought his whole game was OK. Showed some good signs at times but he'll need to be able to use his kicking to more advantage if he wants to keep a spot.
Ham - Seemed very good. I expect him and Cox to be our starting wings and to play lots of games. You can tell he's put on some size and was moving really well. Also his disposal seemed a bit better - more composed I'd say.
Smith - Has got his movement back. So we saw some of the aggression he was known for in 2017. That said I wish he'd bloody stop his left footed shots on goal. He misses nearly 100% of them. He thinks he's dual sided but his kicks on his left suck.
Heppell - He looked a bit rusty at first but he's just such a ball magnet. It feels like he's always on screen. Playing on the half back flank he is going to get a lot of ball if he can get some continuity in his fitness and form.
Ridley - Considering he's missed a bit of training he looked pretty good. You could see that normal composure and class that we saw all of 2020 from him.
Hind - Will give us more than we got from McKenna in 2020. Explosive pace and used it well. Wasn't prolific but made an impact. Very good pickup by us I reckon.
Perkins - Has some nice size and tried to put on some moves a few times. Probably failed more than it worked but I liked his confidence and it'll take him some time to build into the year given all the footy he's missed. I'm thinking he'll play about 10 games this year if i had to guess but who knows.
Waterman - 4 goals and a lovely kicking technique. He could be that medium sized player who takes Towsends spot. Reminds me of Tory Dickson from the Bulldogs. I reckon we'll pick him up anyway.


Struggle Town:
Laverde: Dunno why we are playing him down back. I was a fan of keeping him on but not as a backman. If he can't play forward even with Stringer out I honestly don't know what we are doing with him.
Gleeson: He's behind so many players now with the likes of Francis, Ridley, Heppell etc. Didn't do much either. I think he's going to be playing a lot of reserves.
Cutler: Didn't do much and what he did do wasn't good. I can't see him starting ahead of Cox or Ham. Hell I'd play Guelfi on the wing before him (who actually had a red hot start to the game).
 

Schnitzengruben

Club Legend
Aug 4, 2019
2,078
2,717
AFL Club
Essendon
Positives;

- Caldwell was super clean with the ball in and amongst traffic.
- Hind looks like a very economical replacement for Saad. Slotted in well.
- Waterman aka Thicc Shiel looked good. Sign him up pronto.
- I liked Hep's positional change.
- Harry Jones showed huge improvement.
- Glimpses at times from Perkins and Cox were great.

Negatives;

- Cutler, Laverde and Gleeson shouldn't be close to best 22.
- Parish needs to work on his kicking. Does a lot of of "no look dump" kicks that 2018/19 McGrath did.
- Wright seemed a bit wrong. Ba dum tss. Nah, just seemed very slow/ineffectual around contests. Always looked like he was running/moving at 85%.
 

Cup_o_Jobe

Senior List
Aug 9, 2017
296
373
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur
Seems to be a lot of divergent views on how Stewart went down back. I'm definitely in the "he looked all at sea" camp. He was caught out of position heaps and when it came for body-on-body stuff was thoroughly outclassed by the blues forwards (esp. McKay). I don't blame him for it: he's spent his life as a CHF type so it is a big ask to start playing as a key position defender, but I don't think he's even remotely AFL-level back there at the moment.

As disquieting as it was to watch our defense in shambles for much of the game, the solace I take from it was that this was obviously a "see what happens" game for us, with much of the game featuring Stewart, Laverde, Gleeson, and Cutler in the back 6. None of those players are in our best 22 down there for round 1. If we get Ambrose and Hooker right for the key positions, Ridley and Francis doing their pure intercept stuff, and 2 of Redman, Cahill, Hind and Heppell rotating through the flanks/pockets, it is suddenly a completely different structure, with literally hundreds of games of extra defensive experience added in.

I'm not against the Stewart as a defender experiment, but he needs to be given a half dozen games or so in the reserves first to learn the craft, the zones, the patterns etc. before we ask him to go shoulder to shoulder with Kennedy, Hawkins or Dixon.
 

rumply

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 11, 2002
23,745
23,229
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Iggles, 76ers.
Seems to be a lot of divergent views on how Stewart went down back. I'm definitely in the "he looked all at sea" camp. He was caught out of position heaps and when it came for body-on-body stuff was thoroughly outclassed by the blues forwards (esp. McKay). I don't blame him for it: he's spent his life as a CHF type so it is a big ask to start playing as a key position defender, but I don't think he's even remotely AFL-level back there at the moment.

As disquieting as it was to watch our defense in shambles for much of the game, the solace I take from it was that this was obviously a "see what happens" game for us, with much of the game featuring Stewart, Laverde, Gleeson, and Cutler in the back 6. None of those players are in our best 22 down there for round 1. If we get Ambrose and Hooker right for the key positions, Ridley and Francis doing their pure intercept stuff, and 2 of Redman, Cahill, Hind and Heppell rotating through the flanks/pockets, it is suddenly a completely different structure, with literally hundreds of games of extra defensive experience added in.

I'm not against the Stewart as a defender experiment, but he needs to be given a half dozen games or so in the reserves first to learn the craft, the zones, the patterns etc. before we ask him to go shoulder to shoulder with Kennedy, Hawkins or Dixon.
yep agree on Stewart, he's going to need a lot of work before there can be any confidence in him holding down a key back spot.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

boncer34

Formerly "Doss"
Jul 11, 2005
49,702
54,560
Baghdad
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Melbourne Storm
I wouldn’t be popping the champers if I were a Blues supporter either from what I gather. 21 points with a near full side against bottom 4 contenders like us - only a practise game I know.
They weren't taking it seriously like we were though. Just ask their posters, we treated it like a grand final.
 

Shanghaistu

All Australian
May 8, 2018
768
743
Shanghai
AFL Club
Essendon
I actually thought playing the entire list out of position was a joke. Seems it isn't
This. Is there a real strategy or body of evidence to warrant putting Laverde, Stewart and hooker all in the backline? Feels like we’re just throwing a bunch of positional changes around and seeing what ‘sticks’, with the season starting in 3 weeks...
 

Keystone agony

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 15, 2011
16,828
5,036
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Port Adelaide
This. Is there a real strategy or body of evidence to warrant putting Laverde, Stewart and hooker all in the backline? Feels like we’re just throwing a bunch of positional changes around and seeing what ‘sticks’, with the season starting in 3 weeks...
Im all for changing positions on a couple but i feel weve gone way to heavy handed

Im annoyed with J.Stewart because he kicked 22 goals 15 in 15 games and then got dropped and never seen for a while then last year he kicks 11 goals in the last 8 games of which some were as a defender

They obviously arent prepared to play H.Jones, Wright and J.Stewart in the same forwardline with Stringer as the 4th it is a bit top heavy. Id just let H.Jones buy his time in the 2s and there will no doubt be an injury to one of those 3 or an injury to a mid and Stringer plays more onball with 3 tall fwds

Its hard to find key fwds capable of kicking 1.5 goals a game and we have one sonwere playing him down back

People say we look weak down back now. Well yeh our 2 best key defenders are injured. Ambrose will be back and play Hooker as a key defender if Hurley isnt right
 

ghostdog

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 18, 2008
9,403
5,111
gondawanaland
AFL Club
Essendon
Positives;

- Caldwell was super clean with the ball in and amongst traffic.
- Hind looks like a very economical replacement for Saad. Slotted in well.
- Waterman aka Thicc Shiel looked good. Sign him up pronto.
- I liked Hep's positional change.
- Harry Jones showed huge improvement.
- Glimpses at times from Perkins and Cox were great.

Negatives;

- Cutler, Laverde and Gleeson shouldn't be close to best 22.
- Parish needs to work on his kicking. Does a lot of of "no look dump" kicks that 2018/19 McGrath did.
- Wright seemed a bit wrong. Ba dum tss. Nah, just seemed very slow/ineffectual around contests. Always looked like he was running/moving at 85%.
In fairness to Wright, we knew what we were getting.
 

Remove this Banner Ad