Analysis - Reasons to be Cheerful (2019) - Part One. | BigFooty

Analysis Reasons to be Cheerful (2019) - Part One.

Discussion in 'St Kilda' started by Drake Huggins, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. Drake Huggins

    Drake Huggins All Australian

    St Kilda
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    As a critic of many aspects of the club throughout 2018, I thought that now is the time to take a deep breath and have a slightly more objective look at where we are at as both a football club and playing list. Now the draft and trading periods have concluded, my over aroused sympathetic nervous system, and its tendency to dislocate calm and rational thought in my prefrontal cortex*, has returned to relatively normal (for me) functioning.

    I wrote a piece on SS in March this year, titled "Are we Norf MarkII ?" I was sure that the departure of Riewoldt and to a lesser extent, Joey, would have a dramatic and detrimental effect on the playing group. Nothing too revelatory there. Like Norf, who cleaned out five experienced leaders and veterans in one hit, we were bound to suffer short-term consequences. Like Norf, we can also bounce back to the fringes of the eight and a 10-12 win season in 2019. My reasons are as follows.

    First, the draw. For the past three seasons, we have endured the toughest draws of any club. Relief in 2019 appears to be on its way. I know these things are impossible to predict with absolute certainty, but CD rates our draw as the third "softest" based on the available data.

    Second, we now have Ratten and Slater in the club. Tactically and from a leadership perspective, this has been a coup. If AR stumbles, we also have a ready-made replacement. Big ticks all round. I think AR will be more motivated as well, knowing he has to perform. If this makes him draw on Ratten's experience, then we'll be all the better for it. Having drained the stagnant pond of our assistant coaching panel, I believe the fresh ideas and elevated levels of motivation newbies bring with them will rub off on the playing group.

    Third, our administration has also been bolstered, significantly. Satan was first. A hard-arsed, competitive and ambitious beast at the top. A friend of Gill the dill, with plenty of connections at the Death Star and industry in general. Cronyism never looked so good. His little mate, Gags, also seems to know what he's doing. Ditto, Gubby, who's already made his presence felt and will hopefully do so for years to come. Both are a massive upgrade on Trout. Then again, a Cigar Store Indian would be an upgrade on Elshaug. (Sorry!!)

    Apologies to those who are triggered by this. I had to have last one shot. I couldn't help myself. And to save the usual suspects several hundred strikes of the keyboard, yes, I'm a one trick pony, embittered because he gave me the arse, a fanboi of John Peake and John Beveridge and I made the whole thing up. That's better. Now back to the good stuff.

    Throw in the efforts of the recruiters over the past three years. Is it a coincidence that the reigns were handed to Chris Liberatore and his training wheels were taken off around 2016, and our recruiting has improved since then? I wonder. The facts suggest the acquisition of Battle, Long, Coffield, Clark, M. King and Bytel augurs very well for the future. All potential 'A' graders. Throw in Steele, Marshall, Phillips, Rice, Paton, Austin and Clavarino and we have the basis of a very good list. If, they continue to develop. Hannaberry will pay for himself purely with his off-field influence (future coaching material I reckon), a handy pick up in Kent, with Gresh and Carlisle from 2015 rounding out the rebuild that should've begun in 2012. The mature agers from this year have me feeling like Big Kev when he was alive. Excited! (The decision to not select Marlion Pickett with a late selection or rookie pick left me perplexed, the only criticism I had. Then again, no one else wanted him either, a bit like Stack.)

    At last, we have some genuine leg speed and grunt. I know some won't make it, but Parker and Hind should play a lot of senior footy this year. Wilkie was runner-up in North Adelaide's B & F last year and was subsequently challenged by the coach to get better. He did and went one better this year and took home the buttered confectionery. In a premiership year, no less. Me like. Throw in the return from injury of Roberton and Bruce and we are looking strong again.

    The best part of their bold approach this year is they've taken chances, both with trades and picks. The list looks refreshed, despite the fact we had a relatively poor starting position. As per usual, the media seems to have ignored what a great effort this has been, especially as no one seemed to want to come to the club, even preferring Carlton and Brisbane. Ouch! I doubt we'll have the same problem attracting players next year.

    So, given a reasonable run with injuries, I think we'll get back to at least 2016 standards. We need a couple to step up their leadership performance. I'm looking at Ross, Billings, Roberton and Steele. The Roo hangover should now be over. Give 12 to Max and let's get on with it. Off the field, we've made strides as well. I'm a fan of the China project, RSEA Park is a magnificent facility that will only get better and I still hold hope we'll get that stand-alone VFL team. The women are on track for their start in the AFLW as well and I'm hoping our disillusioned members find one last effort and sign up again. The mistakes of 2018 have been largely corrected!

    I'll put what little credibility I have left on the line early and predict 12 wins, a decent percentage, courtesy of a revamped forward system, and a last minute entry into eighth place. Hey, I started with nothing and I've got most of it left!

    Go Sainters!

    * Prefrontal Cortex is responsible for complex thoughts and behaviours, moderating social behaviour, decision making and expression of personality traits. It is believed to be the last structure of the brain to evolve and is one of the one that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. In psychology, there is a common saying, "Last to grow, first to go." This means that when we are over aroused, the first thing that decreases in function is this vital part of the brain.
     
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  2. Bob Cobb

    Bob Cobb The King has arrived!

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    Agree with everything Drake.

    Can’t wait for 2019 to start.

    Go Saints!
     
  3. Sir Skid

    Sir Skid Just one of the boys!

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    Good read Drake Huggins

    The off season moves on and off the field have been really encouraging this year.
    Fingers crossed we've gone past the pivot point of bottoming out.
    Club can now set about climbing up the ladder rather than holding the bloody thing up.
     
  4. Kildonan

    Kildonan Moderator

    St Kilda
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    It's great to see some positivity on this board. :thumbsu:

    The club has rolled the dice three times with speedy mature aged players, and a fourth time with a 211 cm rookie and a fifth time with a serendipitous talent discovery. All could be busts, but they all have at least one outstanding feature that we require. The recruiters get the thumbs up for taking calculated risks and we're quite happy that some of these guys have rough edges and a bit of character.

    Not all of our issues have been addressed, but it is a great start with two elite kids added + they recognised our pace issues and targeted mature aged recruits for an immediate result there. They saw our ruck issues and are addressing them but it is still a work in progress. Now we need to improve our forward entry issues and our kicking efficiency.
     
  5. Saint Watto

    Saint Watto Premiership Player

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    A great article/read there Drake...…..agree with everything you have said.

    I'm still pinching myself we're where we are right now...…...pre Gold Coast game I was ready to follow the club into the Abyss......things looked incredibly bleak at that point.

    I never dreamed that we could restructure things so quickly as well as we have....kudos to all at the club.

    The stern criticism by some on here at Lethers and the banker were completely unwarranted IMO......time will tell of course but so far...…..both get big ticks from me.

    I'll be very very surprised if with all the additions on/off field that we don't show improvement on field for 2019.

    Very surprised !!!!!

    And by the way Drake....you have a vault full of credibility as far as I'm concerned.....on my occasional visits to SS....remember that you were very critical of several at the club....most who have now gone....your thoughts were shown to be correct.
     
  6. Drake Huggins

    Drake Huggins All Australian

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    Thanks, SW. Now was that small denomination used bills in an unmarked paper bag?
     
  7. Strahany

    Strahany Premiership Player

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    Many people bemoaned the decision not to draft a midfielder this year, however two points need to be taken into consideration which should help turn some of the negativity around.

    Firstly, we took two top 10 midfielders only last year in Clark and Coffield. Some people were talking about the prospect of being able to trade pick 4 for, say, 5+10 and walk away with both Smith and Caldwell, and how taking those two would significantly boost the side. Well, we effectively already did that and we’re just waiting for them to develop. Sure, Clark and Coffield mightn’t have shown as much promise in their junior years as Smith and Caldwell, but they have some serious talent which will hopefully be realised.

    Secondly, we now have an abundance of KPF depth which provides a myriad of benefits. In the short term, it allows us to ease into the development of Battle, McCartin, and King, rather than being forced to play them. It also allows us to pick the best possible combination to build around, before ultimately cashing in on the excess. A forwardline of a fit and firing Membrey, McCartin, and King would be exceptional; I wouldn’t be against utilising the extra mobility/tank of Membrey and Battle to try and fit the latter in, too (although very unlikely as it would be difficult). Apparently, KPF stocks are thin upon an early assessment of the 2019 draft class, so working someone like Bruce into form could yield a very solid trade return in the form of drafting a high quality mid, trading for an established one, or trying to bring Ben King back a year early .

    We now have a core group of young midfield talent in Gresham, Billings, Steele, Clark, Coffield, and Bytel. Whilst only really Gresham and Steele have proven themselves, Billings has shown he has it in him and the rest are yet to have the chance to develop. There are only so many positions which can be given to developing midfielders, so we’re as stocked up on them as we are KPF’s, in reality. But they difference is that reading excess KPF’s should always net you more than trading excess midfielders. It was easily the right call if King was as equally talented as the best available mid, IMO, let alone considering the fact that he is supposedly much better.
     
  8. Keg on legs

    Keg on legs Brownlow Medallist

    St Kilda
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    Great read Drake.

    Great to see some positivity, it's been a while.

    You summed up a lot of my thoughts, only with a hell of a lot more eloquence than i could've done it with. I doubt my thread "me likey likey" would have resonated quite as much. Well done :thumbsu:

    Bring on 2019!!!
     
  9. MUFKilda

    MUFKilda Club Legend

    St Kilda
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    An excellent opening post, Drake; many thanks for taking the time to write it. It's especially helpful for us non-experts. Some excellent follow-up posts too :thumbsu:

    Surely 2019 will be better than this year? You have to think a decent start will be vital. Is it realistic to expect a turnaround of such proportions that finals are a possibility? You never know: where there's life there's hope. Someone had to be obvious and post it:

    Saying okey-dokey
    Singalong to Smokey
    Coming out of chokey


    Does that translate to Australia?

     
  10. StCicatriz

    StCicatriz Brownlow Medallist

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    great read

    we finally have some leg speed on the list
     
  11. gringo2011

    gringo2011 Premium Gold

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    No beige in our selections of mature players, all seem to be party time.
     

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  12. SufferingS8INT

    SufferingS8INT Team Captain

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    I honestly think Lethlean is the best thing to happen to this club. Only time will tell.

    On another note I think the kids we drafted added some much needed hardness to our side. With Koby and long out of the team we really were the ‘saints’ of the competition. Now we’re packing heat and should make for some excellent viewing at least.
     
  13. dct66

    dct66 Premium Gold

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    Fantastic read Drake Huggins.

    No doubt our 2018 off-season has been much better than our 2018 season. It was right from the off when Lade and Ratten joined the coaching ranks and it has just got better and better with each further appointment and addition. Adding Billy Slater is great left-field thinking. A very successful big-game player. So too Hanners. We have great young talent but lost our not-quite successful big game players and lost our way. We have a new ruthless, bound for success edge off field plus few take-no-prisoners campaigners onfield and that will definitely set us up for a brilliant 2019.
     
  14. BlacreJacks

    BlacreJacks Club Legend

    St Kilda
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    It's good to read this thread after I see the hack KM is rating St Kilda to finish 2nd last only behind the Suns next year.

    Barrels your mate!
     
  15. LongerHasHickey

    LongerHasHickey Team Captain

    St Kilda
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    Excellent post Drake. Hit the nail on the head with all of your points. Great point about the media not giving us kudos for turning around our poor draft hand going into this year's draft. They were quick to criticise but in the end we managed to have a pick in each round, while adding banners and retaining pick 4.

    Another point I will add is that the new acquisitions should make our list more balanced. If Max King comes on we have a forward who is capable of pinch hitting in the ruck and a tall with good tackling pressure. I really think he could help McCartin and Membrey flourish.

    There is also the next level of development in the young mids such as Clark and Coffield. Another pre season in these boys should allow them to impact games more with their quality disposal.

    The mature age draftees suit the modern high tackling pressure game. I felt that the saints needed to take a similar approach to the tigers in bringing smalls with great tackling pressure on the cheap, so kudos to the recruiting team. Additionally, this will allow the saints to give more midfield minutes to the likes of Billings and Gresham.
     
  16. Mattysaints

    Mattysaints Draftee

    St Kilda
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    Cracking post drake. One thing to also consider is the flow of the draw. We don’t have long patches of multiple games vs likely top 5 or 6 season finishers. If you look at the entire season in 4 game blocks there is a match you would pencil in on the winners board in every 4 game patch.

    We also have a softish first match with Gold Coast and then 3rd match Fremantle. Both eminently winnable. No doubt they will think the same but I believe positive energy is infectious. With a bit of luck we start winning all the 50/50 matches we target in the draw and jagging one or two others.

    Here is to an upbeat season without the long consistent periods of gloom of 2018. I know being a saints supporter comes with its challenges but personally I am sick and tired of challenges. I want upbeat!!

    I am calling 10 wins this season but happy to be wrong and get plenty more.
     
  17. CursingFijian

    CursingFijian Premium Platinum

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    Guys while we are all feeling warm and fuzzy in the after glow of an eventful post-season, trade and draft, I thought it's about time we revisited the contribution that big Jakey Carlisle is making and acknowledge how lucky we are to have him on board. Probably first man selected in our side every week this year I reckon.

    upload_2018-11-25_19-29-12.png

    Jake keeps a very low profile through the off season and is happy to give up the spotlight to the youngsters, and sometimes we tend to forget the efforts that the very best players put in to keep themselves in shape and ready to dominate oppositions.

    Onya Jake. Looking forward to watching you show the youngsters how it's done again in 2019!

    upload_2018-11-25_19-34-22.png
     
  18. Murraj1966

    Murraj1966 Brownlow Medallist

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    I'd love to see the media hand wringing if we made the finals.

    That shithead Barrett would jump off a bridge
     
  19. Drake Huggins

    Drake Huggins All Australian

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    If there's one thing I've learnt over the years it is don't attach any sort if credibility to the scribblings and drivel of the media pack. Most of them are lazy and don't know much about any club bar their own. How many predicted WC's flag this year? Norf's rise? Adelaide's slump. Essendon's disastrous start? None. Shows how much they know.

    I have several good friends who work in the media and I'm reliably informed they have their own caste system. At the top are the acknowledged specialists, who've usually had very successful careers in the areas they now write about. Next come the business and finance journos who rank alongside the political reporters. Then come the geeks and nerds who have a particular passion. Think medicine, science, the environment etc.

    Last of all are the sport and showbiz hacks. They are the dalits or untouchables of this system. Looked down upon by the rest of the profession for their shallowness and vaccuous natures.

    The trade period was full of inaccuracies. As Hutchy and the purple corkhead demonstrated when caught out on air. Anything, including bare faced lies are ok as long as it gets the clicks. Sums those two rats up perfectly. If there is no news, just make it up is their motto.
     
  20. dct66

    dct66 Premium Gold

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    Loved Bucky's verdict on our draft in the SunHun saying we should have taken a midfielder rather than Max King without naming which midfielder we should have taken. Lazy, cheap shot with no accountability.
     
  21. DarkSaint

    DarkSaint Club Legend

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    Great thread.

    Last year i dont think could have gone any worse if it tried. We lost some key players to our side and also shot ourselves in the foot in nearly ever match we played in. Having more scoring shots up until half time and being down by 20 odd points week in week out absolutely killed the confidence of the team and imo the coaching panel.

    So far the off season has started great with the acquisitions that we have made (speed, disposal and toughness). We have a fit and firing Robbo and Bruce who we missed structruly. It appears that Paddy has finally got his issues under control and has never looked leaner. I love the kid and when ever he has played, he has taken the no.1 key back allowing Membrey etc the 2nd abd 3rd defender.

    I know his influence on games hasnt been huge, but if he can play 20 games this season I've got him pencilled in for 40 goals (happy to bookmark it). I've watched him very closely and he just knows how to lead and make space. Our teams disposal inside the forward 50 hasnt helped anyone and I can see that changing with the addition with Ratten and how we transition.

    I've bagged the club/coach all last season and deservedly so imo, but it's a clean slate for everyone and hopefully we dont all sink the boot in again. The passion and enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of us and the interstate membership and already been paid for even though I said a number of times I would if Richo is coach.

    Time for the club to stand up and respond!
     
  22. Drake Huggins

    Drake Huggins All Australian

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    Another example of a very talented player being a hopeless coach. I know he didn't have much to work with in Sydney, but rumour had it at the time that he couldn't get on with anyone and that he sooked up a lot of the time. Must have been used to winning too much at Hawthorn. His record as a coach speaks for itself and is an accurate reflection on how he writes. Shouldn't his ghost writer pick him up on these things? Whatever happened to sub-editors? Oh wait.....

    I find his columns in the HS cliched, error ridden, lazily thrown together, with little relevant content. I know a lot of these footballers who go into the media, post playing days, are as dumb as dogshyte, but that doesn't mean we have to be subjected to them. There are exceptions, of course, but alas, like regrets, they are few but then again, too few to mention.

    I'm excited!!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  23. Ricmel

    Ricmel Premiership Player

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    Yes it is but nothing goes wrong, everything goes right. And that just doesn't happen. I recall threads like this at the start of 2018....C graders will become A graders, B graders will become elite etc etc.

    I think off field the club is really heading the right way with personnel, initiatives and facilities. On field we have a long way to go and I really do not see any A grade talent (the big knock on us) has been added other than potentially Hannebury. The mature agers look like a bunch of journeymen (can do a job) but unlikely to shoot us up the ladder and the young talent needs another year or two.

    Like 2018, the success or otherwise of 2019 will depend on our middle groups ability to get to the next level. Billings/Acres/McCartin/Dunstan/Lonie/Sinclair - 4 players we took in first round and a couple we punted on. 2019 swings on how these players improve. Ironically, my greatest confidence is in Lonie, I think he will have somewhat of a break out year.

    In terms of the OP, I think you are a year ahead of yourself - and I don't mind that. I can cop another "development year" if we have got our young talent right - Clark, Coffield, King and Bytel. I do think we will be more attractive to FAs in years to come and a low draft pick and FA at the end of 2019 might be all we need to challenge again.
     
  24. sunny3193

    sunny3193 Club Legend

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    Love it.
    You need to change your nick after that post.
    Perhaps “Uplifting and Motivational Saint”?
    Love that you’re acknowledging the changes and a new slate too.
     
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  25. DarkSaint

    DarkSaint Club Legend

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    Haha i think i should.

    I'm more than happy to sink the boot into the club/coaches when it's warranted. But also more than happy to give them a clean slate for the following season if it looks like they tried to fix up the issues that they had throughout the season (coaches, leadership, etc).
     
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