Game Day Round V, 2019: The Lycett Strikes Back (West Coast vs. Port)

Dylan82

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All the warning signs were there last week and none were heeded.

Port did exactly the same thing that Fremantle did last week - the difference being they were clinical and translated their dominance onto the scoreboard.


Teams know our defence likes to stay at home and set up when we don't have the ball. Opposing sides are increasingly sending their forward flankers up the ground and placing them on the defensive side of contests, knowing they won't get marked there. With extra players providing cover to the defensive side, the small defenders of the opposition are given far greater license to run off the West Coast forwards and provide offensive spread of the ball. The extras hit the stoppages and cause a mismatch of numbers in the opposition's favor. If the clearance falls their way, suddenly there are multiple players breaking into space that the Eagles can do little about. In that situation, having greater numbers of players in defence means little, as the running player in space bearing down on 50 can either take the shot themselves or spot up one of the other players that are leading from the centre square towards goal.

If the clearance goes to the Eagles, then the additional numbers create pressure and cause the possession to become a disposal that does not result in a mark to another Eagle, nullifying a major part of the controlled game plan. With slowed ball movement and lower quality disposal going into attack, the functionality of the forward line breaks down almost fundamentally. It's like it is 2017 all over again.


This is why the team is hemorrhaging contested possession figures and why opposition clearances are ending in goals whilst clearances to the Eagles are ending in turnovers.


The only way I can see this issue being addressed is to omit players in the forward setup (including any "resting" ruckman) for ground ball winners and ensure that any opposition players pushing behind the ball are matched up tightly at the stoppages.


Let's hope we don't have to go through another debacle like tonight before the necessary changes are made by the coaching panel.
 

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