Autopsy Round 4, 2020 vs Western Bulldogs

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Kennedy Parker

Jul 9, 2015
Ivory Tower
AFL Club
Other Teams
Sydney Sixers, Gold City Royals
Alright so usually try to leave the GDT open a few hours after the match end so people have some time to blow off steam and gather thoughts.

All round pretty miserable day, sadly first with JK Sr's passing, thoughts are with JPK and the Kennedy family. Then Sam Naismith's knee injury after all of his issues over the last couple of years, that's some devastating news, and in general the really flat performance on a milestone game for legend of this club and one of the true greats of the AFL, extremely disappointing result.

In terms of the finer details of the game, a few observations:

  • Papley is a boss - 4 goals, set up opportunities for others, every time he was near it he looked dangerous and was the only one who consistently found space inside 50 for us on the night.
  • McInerney and Rowbottom really competed all night and showed some good signs that they belong at AFL level.
  • Parker tried all game, lacked some polish but led from the front with his grunt; 9 clearances I think deserves props.
  • We made some changes in the second half which seemed effective, Mills to the midfield was able to find some of the ball and be involved in creating some scoring opportunities, Hayward did look better when moved to half-back - unlike Rohan he at least seems a good enough read of the play to get to the right positions to compete.

  • Once again slow out of the blocks, looked like we didn't even want to be there and you could count on one hand the number of players putting in their full effort. Pretty embarrassing attitude in the first half as the Dogs were convincingly working harder than us and putting on more pressure.
  • We have a continual issue with our entries into the forward 50 particularly at the SCG and not much seems to be changing to fix it.
  • Selection; we went in tall - couldn't win a contested mark for half the game, at one point it was 9 to 0. That speaks for itself.
  • The rest of the forward line appeared completely dysfunctional outside of Papley - it seemed like he was the only one making leads most of the game, no connection between delivery and forward position. Much like the Bombers game, too much long bombing and easy interceptions for defenders.
  • Heeney continues to be inconsistent
  • Opposition teams have figured out Aliir's weakness in one-on-one defending and aren't allowing him to cut across to other contests and intercept, it's always been a weakness but now no Grundy, no Brand, no Melican he's really getting exposed and that's something he'll need to adapt to because it's going to continue.
  • Lewis Taylor, he's there to kick goals and if he ain't kicking goals he's got nothing else going for him.
  • Blakey needs to be dropped, he's running around simply with no presence out there, not crashing packs, not making a contest, not sticking tackles, not playing with intent. In the last couple games he's popped up for an opportunistic goal here and there but its been a theme this entire year to date.
  • Can't fault Robbie Fox's efforts but I think the AFL is a bit above him to be honest


Premiership Player
Apr 13, 2014
AFL Club
Hurting for Naismith. Sadly a common thread for swans fans over the last few seasons. Tippett, Johnson, Reid and Naismith all missing or unlucky back from injury.

Sad that a career had to end tonight but that's football.

Thought we would have been more competitive but being young I guess you take the good with the bad.

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Brownlow Medallist
Apr 26, 2016
AFL Club
Papley is huge. Will be gutted if we lose him. We found a plumber who turned out to be the heart and soul of our team - not to mention a ******* gun.

You have to love Parker's hunger. You could almost see his frustration at how the team was not showing up for his old mate, and for his part, he tried his best. To me, he's a forward.

Mills looked like he wanted to lead when he went to the middle. I'm dubious about that experiment, but I also think a tough, strong, hard nut who would die for the club wouldn't go astray at centre bounces. Which leads me to...

Rowbottom. Get him at centre bounces permanently! The kid has all the makings of a gun and has never looked daunted by any challenge or opponent. He's a natural footballer who we shouldn't shy away from heaping more responsibility on.

Our small/medium players, Papley and Heeney aside, could not have been more disappointing in key one on ones. And I'n not even talking youngsters. Lloyd, Cunningham, Taylor, Fox... all brushed aside far too easily on numerous occasions.

Hayward and Blakey played like two guys who know they can get away with doing the bare minimum, but who are trying to go beyond that by over-compensating and trying to be too cute. They just end up liabilities and I believe both are too talented for this.

McLean and Sinclair did not work, but I think if anything, they were each other's own undoing. So many times they crashed the same packs and went for the same ball. They played like two guys who had played, oh yeah... 2 games together!

Honestly such a disappointing performance but the ones that give us the most to work on are the ones that have often produced our best responses.


Brownlow Medallist
Nov 11, 2012
AFL Club
Mills imo still isn’t a mid but dis a good job shitting Bont down

It’s not so much inconsistent but our lost talent isn’t great at all imo

Besides pap we have no a graders and a lot of gonna bes , the core are not taking the next step

The list isn’t in good shape

Sinclair looks done


Club Legend
Apr 22, 2013
AFL Club
Having woken up early I have A bit of spare time to dwell on this match and the season to date. The reality is that had Adelaide or north kicked straight in their early dominance we’d be 0-4 and in a crisis. So my comments are made in that context.

I don’t actually think we are in a crisis but we are miles off being a good side and if Naismith is injured we don’t have much left to avert the crisis so I can see a long few months coming up.

firstly the three tall set up doesn’t work in the AFL anymore. The sport at AFL level is too fast for guys who are fringe players to all be playing forward and McLean and Sinclair are fringe AFL players. Had Reid mccartin and buddy been available neither would play. I have never forgiven us for the buddy Reid Goodes Tippett 2014 set up and no one we have now comes within a bulls roar of that group.

secondly Hayward and heeney play tall not small. They fly for everything. The ball comes to ground reasonably often because of their efforts but our forward line doesn’t work when you then have two talls and two pseudo talls. So the balance needs to be found and if I was structuring I’d simply have one tall and a lot of mid sized players around.

thirdly Blakey needs to play behind the ball for a while - I’m a great believer in players starting in defence and learning how to beat their opponent in the easier position of half back flank. Our kicking would probably improve as well. so I’d give some thought to swapping Dawson and Blakey just to mix it up a little.

fourthly we are going to get pumped in the ruck again and from now on. We need to find a way to get Allir playing loose and this means we need to bring in a lock down defender or two. I’d play maibaum ahead of melican Just to see how he goes. I don’t rate melican personally and didn’t even that year people thought he was great - he was too slow but maybe without Grundy there is a spot there. But rampe is playing on too many tall players and it’s overworking him and everything else has become out of sync. So I’d admit the out of sync and try to play hi. On. A second or third best forward. And let some of the key defenders on the list have a go.

id never play ronke again. I prefer stoddart and McInerney but it’s a tough thankless position so it doesn’t matter too much and you know he will always give his best. He doesn’t have a very high ceiling but he does his best to get there every time he plays.

id play Stephens instead of Cunningham. Not because I don’t like Cunningham But because we should just see what Stephens has for a few weeks. give them 3 matches each as they work on kpis

We are very very dependent upon Papley at the moment. Partly because the rest of the forwards simply appear to be in abject fear when they are lining up for a shot - heeney, hayward - or cant count to 30 in an empty stadium. The side we have has got to get its reward for efforts elsewhere because they are going to be beaten in midfield and defensively a lot this season so kicking less than 50% of your shots is going to be devastating.

I'd actually play mills in the middle for the first 10 minutes each quarter, have dawson playing on his man or hayward or blakey and then roll everyone forward for the last 10 minutes. Lets try and see what strings we can add to people's bows.
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Club Legend
Feb 24, 2008
New South Wales
AFL Club
Other Teams
Cunningham, Blakey Lloyd, Taylor and Aliir stood out as disappointing for me. Hayward continues to disappoint up front but at least was better down back.

Blakey/Taylor/Allir/Hayward all should be on the chopping block. Plus one tall (Naismith is out obviously).

Banyo Bloods

Premiership Player
Mar 30, 2008
AFL Club
Waking up to the Naismith news is just icing on the cake of a dark day for the club. There just feels like no silver lining. Papley is our best and he is likely to go. All I want for the rest of my pathetic life is my Son to support the Swans and with his Mum’s influence for another team how can I hope to get him into it with tripe like last night.

Rowbottom is a positive he keeps tracking upward. McLean has something we can work with.

I once said that Allir was going to be one of the best defenders in the comp. I have no footy nous with that call. He was disinterested in putting in the hard yards.

and f the umpires for still allowing Libba to do his throw the ball over his head moves as long as the other hand is shaped like a fist in the general vicinity.

pretty much like the Swans I don’t have the heart to keep making an effort anymore I will sit out big footy for a while.

gutted with that crap last nigjt

Borough Blood

All Australian
Oct 18, 2015
AFL Club
Hurting for Naismith. Sadly a common thread for swans fans over the last few seasons. Tippett, Johnson, Reid and Naismith all missing or unlucky back from injury.

Sad that a career had to end tonight but that's football.
Quite possibly the end for him but still premature. Maybe just wait and see?

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Club Legend
Jan 17, 2013
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Forgive the intrusion, but just wanted to say it’s gutting to read the news about Naismith. For a bloke who has already been through a lot, particularly this year, and who seems like a genuinely good guy, that’s just shattering. Hope he’s back in the red and white at some stage.


Premiership Player
Oct 2, 2016
AFL Club
If we continue with performances like that we'll be gunning for the wooden spoon. Only 3 players seemed interested last night in winning (Papley, Parker & Rampe).

Also absolutely gutted for Naismith.

The King!

Chosen One
Aug 3, 2004
AFL Club
Other Teams
Cavs, Redsox, Patriots
If we kick straight in the third you probably go into the last Level and win

Slow start again and went longer, maybe the team was flat for JPK? he seemed flat , when he lifted the team lifted

they tried some things, some guys showed a bit , rowbottom and mcinnerney

we need to keep bringing in midfield talent , and rolling the list over but can’t do that in round 4 and no reserves make it harder to blood players

we are probably going to see a few games like last week and more like this week over the next 12 weeks or however long this goes

It is what it is to a degree

feel for Naismith , that would be shattering


Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 19, 2011
AFL Club
Other Teams
I think the death of John Kennedy sr weighed heavily on the side and the coach. Longmire looked like a ghost in the press conference and Kennedy himself at times had the look on his face of someone who wanted to anywhere else. His effort to play is highly commendable and he played relatively well but I just think the occasion was one in which there was a pall over the side. One which was hard to overcome until they got going in the 2nd half.

Anyway, that said, some pretty interesting stuff comes out of the game I think.

Firstly, Naismith is just brutally unlucky. I feel terrible for him.

Papley could genuinely win the Coleman this year. It's a year where key forwards are struggling and smalls/mediums have become the dominant forwards. He leads this forward line on his own and it isn't even close.

I loved what McInerney and Rowbottom did. They're having a go and trying their hardest. McInerney I'd like to see run and carry a little bit more but he's making good decisions, and attacking the ball carrier or loose ball fiercely. Rowbottom is adding strings to his bow steadily too.

I'm going to be very interested to see how the side shapes up next week after the magnets got thrown around so much after half-time (with some success mind you). Mills went to the midfield and did pretty well. My only concern about Mills in the middle is it might mean Florent gets less time in the guts. Seemed to work that way last night. Florent was off at HF or on a wing more. I still want Florent and Rowbottom getting centre bounce minutes.

It was brief, but Hayward went into defence and did far better than I expected him to and better than he has been as a forward this year. Obviously it was just one half of football, but do they just go back to their normal spots next week (or in Hayward's case get dropped)? Personally, I'd consider at least sticking with Hayward in defence to see what happens. Would seem a waste to me to have Hayward finally play some spirited football only for him to be dropped. Stick with it and see what happens. He took intercept marks and made a few mistakes as you'd expect, but there's something to work with there I think.

Aliir is still looking off to me. He looks heavy, slow. Cunningham is having a bad stretch but I'm glad he's in defence.

Blakey needs to play on a wing like he did late last year or not play. He's aimless as a forward atm. He's not helped by having our best 3 genuine talls not playing though. McLean and Sinclair as keys was always going to be not ideal but it was the only realistic option we had as far as I'm concerned. We needed a couple of targets to kick to but the Dogs swept it away easily much of the night.

Our issues at the SCG are real though. When we play at a longer, more narrow ground it suits our style more. It's not just coincidence.

Anyway, I'm less negative about the game this morning than I was last night. I think seeing how torn up Longmire was in his press conference reminded me of what happened and to put things in perspective a little. After all, we dominated the 3rd quarter and had we kicked straight, we'd have been very close at 3/4 time.


All Australian
Sep 25, 2011
AFL Club
I missed the last 5 minutes.. Woke up thinking i hope horse benched Naismith since the game was done.. Shattered.
Fox's effort against naughton was piss weak.


Senior List
Jun 9, 2016
AFL Club
Other Teams
1. Rowbottom is the future.
2. I really really like McInerney. He seems to have an awareness and composure lacking in some of his teammates.(except for one handball straight to English if memory serves).
3. The ruck situation. Feel sorry for Naismith but what do we do now? Is Sinclair a good ruckman? No. Will he give it absolutely 100%? Hell, yes. Does that mean we persist with him? I don't know. Age is the issue. And now mobility. No Buddy, no Reid - have Sinkers at Full Forward. Put Maclean in the ruck. In his first game last year he played against Gawn. As expected, Gawn won, but Maclean did well I thought. Give him a series of games. Dean Cox was the original ruck/mid and a champion, so some intensive one on one is required.
4. Mills to mids. That old chestnut. He did well against a rampaging Bont. One of the reasons against Mills to the mids is that he is too valuable at half back. I think McInerney or Hayward can take that position. Give Mills an extended run and we'll know one way or another.
5. Hayward. He won't find form in the reserves because there aren't any. Maybe he can do some time off half back, and McInerney can play half forward.


Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 12, 2013
Between the Bridges
AFL Club
Papley kicking 80% of our goals.
McInerney continues to improve (his debut was average).
Rowbottom isn’t suffering second year blues.
Second half was better albeit conversion of scoring opportunities was still poor.
Longmire moving Mills into the midfield mixing things up in the second half.

First half, in particular school boy turn overs at times (no peripheral vision, kicking across the field).
Losing at the SCG again.
Hayward, Blakey, Taylor a group of absent forwards, Papley can’t carry them.
Longmire mixing things up too much and losing out at the selections with three immobile talls.
Defence looked liked leaking goals even when they lost two forwards.

Naismith knee injury.
Fox not AFL standard.
Drafting of Taylor and Grey is bewildering given they add nothing to the team.

The Gong

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 24, 2012
AFL Club
Other Teams
Northern Districts Tigers
Gave Fox a plug for his game last week then he has an absolute mare last night.

McInerney looked comfortable for the first time at senior level and did some really nice things.

Rowbottom keeps on improving.

I liked Mills in the midfield. I want to see more of it just so we can know for sure if its a fit. I know we're short on quality forwards but if the ball isn't getting to Heeney then move him onto the ball for awhile as well to get a spark going.

Aliir just looks sloppy in his approach. A series of poor choices. He needs to be third defender but he's not even clunking his marks at the moment. Dropping sitters let alone contested marks. I don't know what our best backline looks like but it's not geling with the current procession of players. Missed Brand and we need another legit KPD to back him up. Aliir seems to be very much a confidence player and he seems to be at a low point.

Above everything else it was an attitude problem last night. Not enough pressure for long enough periods on the opposition and not enough intent with ball in hand.

We've moved away from the Swans brand. I know the game is all about the Richmond model of moving the ball on at all costs but we've lost our crown as contested kings. You still need to win the ball in the trenches in order to get it out to your speedsters.


Club Legend
Apr 6, 2008
AFL Club
What a depressing game to watch. Never really in it.

Clearly the SCG doesn't suit us anymore because we don't have the defence and strong contested players in the midfield that made those dimensions work for us in the past. It's a big problem.

As others have said though, the list is just in bad shape right now. We have to have everyone firing at the same time to really be competitive in some of these games, and that's a tough ask with such a young team. As usual, we have to work so hard for each goal, but when we turn it over and it goes back the other way, other teams score on us with relative ease. This has been the case for a while.

As for positives, I thought Rowbottom tried really hard and had an impact in close - he's been pretty consistent for us (although I question his ceiling as a player). Liked McInerny's game too - it seems that he's improved a fair bit from his debut, where he looked miles away from ever being an AFL player. Papley obviously was terrific, and one of only a couple of genuine A-graders we have right now. Mills looked pretty comfortable during his midfield stint and Dawson rebounded a bit from last week.

The bad - Aliir was awful again. I don't know what happened to him, but his confidence is shot and he is back to making really poor decisions regularly that completely expose our defence. It's disappointing because, like some others, I thought he was on a path to becoming one of the elite defenders in the comp. He's so far off that right now - he's not even average at the moment, hopefully he can flick a switch. Certainly he has too much talent to give up on.

The list just has too many players who are list cloggers or at this stage, just average or below average AFL grinders. Fox, Ronke, Cunningham and Taylor are good examples of this - they wouldn't be getting games anywhere else. Nor would McInerny, McLean and maybe Sinclair too. It is what it is - we're just at a different stage of list development than we have been in past years, and the on field product is suffering.

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