Nailed it!!I would argue results can improve and regress (to varying degrees) but an underlying problem still remain. I think this particular problem also existed in 2016 / 17 when our results were better (I was calling it out then too). I just think more people paid attention to it when things went really bad last year. IMO selection, coupled with a defence first focus and the value we place on effort and contest over skill and execution (which is directly related to our underlying selection philosophy), is why we will continue to be stuck as the 8th - 16th best team for the foreseeable future.
To answer your question more specifically, some examples of players out of position and / or getting a free ride / harsh treatment are: (FYI this isn't going through every player, just giving some examples)
- Marsh. Played down back at Sandy. Looked good. Picked in the ones. Played as a forward. Hardly gets a touch. Dropped. Goes back to full back at Sandy and was in to top 3 players. Picked again. If I could bet, I would load up on him spending substantial time forward again
- Coff. Trained all pre-season as a mid. Played forward first weeks at Sandy and couldn't get a touch. Played back the last few weeks (with Richo saying he wants him to work on his defensive craft and settle as a backman). Picked this week as a mid. IMO this lack of continuity is contributing to his current struggles (which are beginning to look serious)
- Clark. BOG as a mid last week (torched Sier). Was still running hard late in the 4th (his clearance, speed and shot from outside 50 that was touched on the line in the last minute was a big wow moment). But when he plays ones he is parked on the flanks or wings (hell his first game he played defensive forward, HBF and wing in his first 3 quarters). Has been in the middle less than half a dozen times in each of his AFL games this year. That is hardly a defined role that helps a young player. Has anyone considered that while every other top 10 player from that draft is playing week in week out, our two boys cant even play 2-3 weeks in a row in the same role? I am sure we say internally that this is for development. But considering just about every first round pick (outside of Gresh) was probably as good of a footballer when they arrived at the club as they are now, maybe that isn't the best approach with top-end talent? Seems to maybe work for our later picks, but not sure the philosophy should also apply our top 20 talent. Maybe this lack of a clearly defined and consistent role (or changing the focus of a players game to emphasise weaknesses rather than strengths) is actually why they are the only 2 top 10 picks from that year not playing. I see no evidence this is a better development strategy long term.
- Kent. Free ride at selection. Essentially we delisted (not dropped, delisted) one mid 20s mid 180cm forward with questionable disposal (who was getting about 15 touches, 4 tackles a week) and replaced him with a mid 20s mid 180cm forward with questionable disposal who gets that (or less) each week. But gets picked every single week without fail. Not sure where his credits in the bank come from. Everything I thought about Weller last year (who was at least a leader and organiser) I replace the name Kent with this year.
- White. Been ready for 2 years. Has attributes no one on our list has outside of Billings and maybe JWebb. No idea how some others get ahead of him for backline selection (well actually I do and it is part of the selection philosophy I question). I think exposed form should absolutely be rewarded. But there was nooo way he was getting picked this week despite his game last week. What happened this week has happened a number of times to him, and its absolutely no surprise. Also, picking average ball users / decision makers but better defenders in the backline, IMO contributes to us being stuck in this 8-16 range. I want to see better ball users picked at half back, not better defenders. But that's just my opinion. But the exposed form thing should hold regardless of preferences for gamestyle. Yet it doesn't, and the best players at Sandy rarely get selected the following week (see White and Clark being our best players last week in a game where we finally beat AFL aligned opposition - which has happened about 4 times in 3 years).
- Rice. Been played in a forward pocket all year. Just bizarre. Finally moved back this week. Not sure why that happened to him, but if he gets delisted this year I think we could look at that as a turning point.
- Hind. Looks to be improving each week. Why play him forward this week? Also why is Rowe being moved from a role as a key forward (taking the heat off Winx) and being put to the backline? This gives King no tall cover, and has Joyce, Clav, Gilbo and Rowe all back? Bizarre! Personally think Rowe is much better used as a tall bodyguard for Winx, rather than as a 4th tall backman. Granted that's not out of position for Rowe, but the logic of this move escapes me. Playing an 18yo thoroughbred as our only tall forward in his second game back from a knee reco. Really? Why not ruck him as well??
- Joyce being played on the second or third tall at Sandy. Comes in. Played on J.Cameron in career best form FFS. Dropped the next week. That's just brutal.
That is the type of stuff I am talking about. Add to that the selection of injured players that underperform (Webb, Newnes, Bruce etc), and some left field selections like Phillips (who has done well, but was hardly doing much to warrant selection ahead of others), and for me that undermines selection integrity.
Now there are more I can mention, and I am sure you will disagree on some of the above. Its an opinion business. But IMO there is an entrenched problem at selection that has been there for 3 + years.
The handling of Lonie over the last 2 years is probably the best example (for those who don't see any Sandy games). Was best on at Sandy most weeks (nearly won the B+F from about 12 games) and couldn't get a look. Importantly when he did, he was often stuck in a forward pocket. When he was finally played further up the ground at the back end of last year, and we used his I50 entries (the same way Sandy did), everyone was shocked and wanted him re-contracted. The bi-polar handling of the role many players play between the VFL and the AFL (and often on a weekly basis for some young players), along with not picking players on form (see picking Long after 3 kicks at Sandy), for me undermines selection.
Then there is positioning in the ones. I am not going to go through every line here as much of this thread (and others) does that regularly. The one that seems to be the most obvious is Acres being played a 50/50 split mid-forward. The ONLY other players in the league that do that are Ablett, De Boer and Dunkley (and the bulldogs have just shelved that with Dunkley). So unless you are a freak like G. Ablett, or you have the midfield depth of GWS, he is the only player in the league that gets played like that. See the below article for what happened when the Bulldogs stopped doing that to Dunkley!
Once again, people will want to debate player x or y I noted above, and that is fine. But arguing the merits of one specific selection or one role played by player x in a particular week is not the point I was trying to make, nor the discussion I am trying to generate. I only itemised specific examples because you asked me to (fair enough). My original post was just supporting others who think there are ingrained issues at the selection table, and that despite improvements in other areas, this particular problem remains (and can be seen again this week, as it was last week and will be again next week). Its actually why I generally avoid the game preview threads (and might go back to doing so).
Anyway that's just my two cents mate. Completely respect others disagree. End of the day we all want what is best for the team. I just think this is a clear area we will look back on in a few years and see some fundamental errors.
**** me how good is lygon street
I’m in heaven
Hahahahah noAn inexperienced country boy like you will eat dinner then get a restaurant tout dragging you in for another meal every three hundred meters down the street. They don't like to take no for an answer. You'll blow up like Joey Montagna by the end of the night.