Autopsy Season 2020

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Kapers

Club Legend
Sep 25, 2019
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For me a very disappointing season.

16th is just not good enough.

We won 5 games:

1. Adelaide.
2. North Melbourne.
3. Hawthorn.
4. Greater Western Sydney.
5. Melbourne.

Not a single win against a Finals bound team.

74 our highest score of the year. Eight games less than 50. And these stats sum up for me the core problem – we just don’t score enough and so can’t put teams away.

We look so much better when we play fast attacking football yet too often we don’t play that way.

As for the players:

1. Chad Warner. Initially I liked what I saw but for me not really given a chance. Retain but I’m not convinced.
2. Kaiden Brand. No opinion. The reality with list sizes to be decreased is we will likely delist (I’ll say) 8 players. Sadly I say Delist #1.
3. Dylan Stephens. I think he’ll make it. Prone to a lack of awareness and turning the ball over which worries me. Retain.
4. Ryan Clarke. Seems to have found a tagging role. Always tries hard. Not best 22 but Retain.
5. Isaac Heeney. Clearly a big loss. Has struggled with injuries for a while (remember the glandular fever?) so hopefully cherry ripe for Round 1. Retain.
6. Jackson Thurlow. Don’t mind him. Need defensive depth. Would like to see his big kick more. Retain.
7. Harry Cunningham. Have liked his role this year. Think he’s a smart defender. Retain.
8. James Rowbottom. Super year, very much a breakthrough. Needs a haircut. Retain.
9. Will Hayward. Very frustrating player. Like very much what he can bring but consistency a problem. Retain.
10. Sam Naismith. The reality is he just can’t get his body right. We are a much better team when he’s out there but sadly it’s not often enough. The ruck department is a problem for us that needs to be fixed as a priority. Sorry, Delist #2.
11. Tom Papley. Always dangerous. The heartbeat of the team. Retain.
12. Josh Kennedy. Done more than enough so that it is he that dictates when he goes. Retain.
13. Oliver Florent. See Will Hayward. Retain.
14. Callum Mills. Fine player, much better down back when he’s sweeping up. Retain.
15. Sam Gray. It hasn’t worked unfortunately. Delist #3.
16. Zac Foot. I liked what I saw and am surprised we didn’t see more. Retain.
17. Will Gould. I was really looking forward to seeing him. I always like a country boy straight off the farm. Clearly needs to work on some things pre-season. Retain.
18. Callum Sinclair. Does frustrate me – often feels he holds up play when we are in the ascendency. I prefer him as a Forward/Ruck. Tries his guts out. Retain.
19. Matthew Ling. I very much liked what I saw. Disappointed we didn’t see more. Retain.
20. Sam Reid. Yes he frustrates but I think our forward line needs him. Retain.
21. Jack Maibaum. Sadly another year where we haven’t seen him. Sorry, Delist #4.
22. Nick Blakey. I think one more pre-season and we’ll have a very good player on our hands. Retain.
23. Lance Franklin. If he plays most of next season we will be around the 8. He’s still just that important. Retain.
24. Dane Rampe. Missed him. Worry how much he’s got left in the tank. Retain.
25. Ben Ronke. Perhaps that Hawthorn game was the worst thing that could have happened for him. Seems to have body issues. One more year. Retain.
26. Luke Parker. Terrific season, B&F beckons. Retain.
27. Justin McInerney. Looks the goods. Retain.
28. Lewis Taylor. See Sam Gray. Delist #5.
29. George Hewett. Important player, much missed. Retain.
30. Tom McCartin. Forward or Back? Nice problem to have. Retain.
31. Harry Reynolds. Just hasn’t happened. Delist #6.
32. James Bell. I’m not convinced but in front of others in the delist race. Retain.
33. Ryley Stoddart. I just never felt quite good enough. Sorry, Delist #7.
34. Jordan Dawson. Super player. Retain.
35. Barry O’Connor. No comment. Retain.
36. Aliir Aliir. Another frustrating player. I think best as a defender/ruck pinch hitter. Retain.
37. Elijah Taylor. Sadly not a football question now and unfortunately I think will be Delist #8.
38. Colin O’Riordan. Not best 22 but good depth. Retain.
39. Brady Rowles. No comment. Retain.
41. Hayden McLean. Liked what I saw but needs to get more into games. Retain.
42. Robbie Fox. Breakout year. Retain.
43. Lewis Melican. Another frustrating one for me. Retain.
44. Jake Lloyd. Lucky to have him. Retain.
45. Sam Wicks. Liked what I saw. Retain.
46. Joel Amartey. I thought he showed something. Retain.
48. Michael Knoll. Need ruck depth. Retain.

Early call for 2021: 8-12.
What was good enough?
We win today and are 14th.
Don't capitulate against Carlton and we are 11th.
Don't have an awful start against Essendon and we are 10th.

So, if we came 10th (which is just papering cracks over) you would be happy with the teams performance?
BS.
Ladder position is a dumb metric unless you are going for a premiership.
 

Heeney2Franklin

Brownlow Medallist
Nov 20, 2007
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We aren't going to be climbing that high if we don't trade anyone in imo.
Still way to young of a team to be consistent.
If all we do in the off season is draft 3-4 more kids we'll probably end up with a similar season as the GCS.
I think its important to fill some slots with trade ins you dont wanna keep finishing bottom 4 year after year thats how you lose good players to other teams.

Not expecting to climb that high in 2021 just dont think you can finish in 15th or 16th again.
 

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JZ_Skitzo

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Apr 14, 2017
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Things I liked:
Justin McInerney

Change in game style and the players getting better at executing it. Can really see the improvement across the group in this aspect over the course of the season. Can really see them look to cut it to the middle if they can.

Rowbottom's development. Lol this campaigner is 19.

McCartin showing he can do it at both ends of the ground. But love him down back.

Getting a look at all the young players, despite most of them not showing much imo.

Effort. Always putting in effort no matter how outmatched they were.

Disliked:

Injuries. Robbed of seeing Heeney and Franklin added to a horrid 2020.

Inconsistency from some younger players. Florent, Hayward and Blakey not as consistent as we all would like. We know at their best they can be great players. Keeping in mind they're all young and this is par for the course (I hope).

People over reacting to results forgetting the talent sitting on the injury bench.

forward line structures or lack thereof on what seemed like most occasions.

Reid. Always been a fan of him but underwhelming season I feel. May of suffered without franklin.

The lack of weight training that appears to be going on. Guess they want them streamline and aerodynamic for the new gut running style.

Getting smoked in the ruck week in and week out.

Overall a tough year but a lot of promise. A couple of quality ins and a fully fit best 22 to increase the level of talent across the board and should be pushing for the top 8 in 2020.
 

BruceFromBalnarring

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Jan 13, 2007
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Things I liked:
Justin McInerney

Change in game style and the players getting better at executing it. Can really see the improvement across the group in this aspect over the course of the season. Can really see them look to cut it to the middle if they can.

Rowbottom's development. Lol this campaigner is 19.

McCartin showing he can do it at both ends of the ground. But love him down back.

Getting a look at all the young players, despite most of them not showing much imo.

Effort. Always putting in effort no matter how outmatched they were.

Disliked:

Injuries. Robbed of seeing Heeney and Franklin added to a horrid 2020.

Inconsistency from some younger players. Florent, Hayward and Blakey not as consistent as we all would like. We know at their best they can be great players. Keeping in mind they're all young and this is par for the course (I hope).

People over reacting to results forgetting the talent sitting on the injury bench.

forward line structures or lack thereof on what seemed like most occasions.

Reid. Always been a fan of him but underwhelming season I feel. May of suffered without franklin.

The lack of weight training that appears to be going on. Guess they want them streamline and aerodynamic for the new gut running style.

Getting smoked in the ruck week in and week out.

Overall a tough year but a lot of promise. A couple of quality ins and a fully fit best 22 to increase the level of talent across the board and should be pushing for the top 8 in 2020.
We were stiff, that’s for sure.

I think our most important players are Naismith, Rampe, Heeney, Franklin and Reid.
Missing 4 of those really hurt.
 

GoTheSwannies

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Aug 5, 2009
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I liked the competitiveness, I enjoyed watching the young guys improve and thoroughly enjoyed the back half of the year where the game style changed, and we played with a bit of flair. Overall, i was happy with the way we closed out the season.

I didn't like tuning in most weeks knowing we were going to lose. But the above points made it worth it.

Very promising signs. I think we'll make the 8 next year.
 

SeanM

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Oct 17, 2016
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I like what Longmire said in the press conference. That wins and success are not going to automatically happen. We still need to grab it with both hands.

That even though we gave experience to a lot of young players and had a strong finish to the season. It does not automatically mean we will easily move up the ladder next season. Or our young players will have improved trajectories.
 

GoTheSwannies

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Aug 5, 2009
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I like what Longmire said in the press conference. That wins and success are not going to automatically happen. We still need to grab it with both hands.

That even though we gave experience to a lot of young players and had a strong finish to the season. It does not automatically mean we will easily move up the ladder next season. Or our young players will have improved trajectories.
I haven't seen the press conference yet, but based on your summary, I think that's great messaging, particularly for a young group.

Horse knows that great teams are built on consistent effort over many years and that to be a great team, you can't afford to take the foot off.

Great messaging from horse. Strong message to the playing group.
 

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Chaisa

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As for the players themselves. Note that there were a few games I missed so might've made some bad assumptions about these guys:

1. Chad Warner - looked like a real bolter early doors but his performances in the side showed there's a long way to go. His attack on the footy is a very promising sign, though.
2. Kaiden Brand - thought he was about to show that he could be a handy fullback short-term after his start to the season but unfortunately injuries did him in. I feel like given the list cuts he might be up against it for a spot in 2021 alas, especially given McCartin's form down back later in the season.
3. Dylan Stephens - pretty handy Year 1. Still bullied somewhat around the ball but I see that improving as his body becomes more AFL ready. His ability to take things on looks very exciting and his skills are rather solid too. I think he's going to be a very good player and someone that can easily be a top-level winger/midfielder.
4. Ryan Clarke - very much a case of "what you see is what you get". He's not the most talented bloke in the system and his kicking is very poor but you know that he'll work his ass off and his ability to stop the best players is extremely handy. A very nice guy to have in the 20-30 range and has probably shown better tagging ability than Hewett (though unlike Hewett he won't hurt you going forward).
5. Isaac Heeney - sh*t go, eh. Performances pre-ankle injury was pretty patchy though not helped by being moved around from the midfield to forward line and being the leading target up forward despite only being 6'1" doesn't help. He did still have some outstanding performances - we don't beat Adelaide or North Melbourne without him, and if we lose those games we'd be celebrating a certain kind of woodwork...... I'd still like to see him improve his bad games, because we all know that with consistency he has the potential to be a Top 20 player in the game.
6. Jackson Thurlow - thought he was on his way out of the AFL halfway through the year, but to his credit his second half of the year was quite exciting. His two goal performance against Collingwood was the best performance but added quite a bit off half-back and looked more like the player I'd thought he'd become before his ACL (which was way back when he was still at Geelong!). I kind of fear this was very much a "play well for a new contract" bump but ehhh, that's nothing a year on year rolling contract won't fix.
7. Harry Cunningham - reinvented as a defender, he did a good job. I don't think he had performances that was off the page unlike Lloyd or Rampe but always seemed to do his job and never had his colours lowered. I like his speed there too, gives us something extra we didn't really have.
8. James Rowbottom - what a fantastic season! Oddly his numbers aren't as fantastic as I expected but for a second year player in an often quite undermanned midfield he was given a role that many men of his age and experience wouldn't dream of. And he took it with both hands! Every game he won plenty of clearances and produced a couple of "wow" plays. He'll be up there with the Kirk's, Kennedy's, Bolton's, Jack's etc. of the world by the time he retires I think.
9. Will Hayward - not sure if it's the travails of being a young forward in a bad team or something but it hasn't really worked in the last couple of seasons. He still seems capable of magic but he rarely had a performance that really stood up to take notice - he didn't kick more than 2 goals in one game and his highest disposal count was 15. Get the feeling he'd be better in a good team - he was one of our best kids in 17/18.
10. Sam Naismith - poor fella. Actually did quite well when he was fit but he tore his ACL and that was that. I can't help but think this should be the end but given he's contracted for 2021 hopefully he gets a farewell game. Made us look a significantly better team at his best.
11. Tom Papley - fu** you, Alastair Clarkson. Before his rant after his mediocre team was exposed Papley was on fire, almost a Coleman threat and certainly the best small forward in the comp. In the second half of the year he got a shittier run with frees and missed a lot of shots on goal. 26.27 says a lot - it should've been a 35-40 goal year which would've been insane given the year. Thank fu** he's staying, hoping for a 50+ goal season next year.
12. Josh Kennedy - I was worried that knee injury was going to be it for him. Happily, it wasn't. A strange year from him as while there were plenty of games where he still looked the key cog of our midfield, there were times where he looks really slow. I worry about how he's going to fare next season but I said something similar this time last season so who knows. Hopefully his likely farewell year is more Kirk than O'Keefe.
13. Oliver Florent - loved his start to the season but lost confidence significantly after a certain point and just seemed lost. I can cop the bad kicking as he does take the game on and give us skills that our midfield otherwise lacks but he plain could not find the footy. Hopefully it was just an off year as his progress was moving along very nicely. If it's not, that is a real concern going forward.
14. Callum Mills - lots of question marks about where he should be playing and I'm still not sure of the answer. Ideally this would've been the perfect time to trial him midfield but tall defensive injuries generally put paid to that. The good news is as a defender he is still a fantastic servant. He might lack Rampe's brilliance, Dawson's kicking or Lloyd's accumulation but he is a very smart footballer and he rarely lets you down. His performance against Richmond in particular was the difference between the ultra defensive strategy kind of working and it flopping. He showed good signs when he did play midfield but seemsed to generally lack the dominance he has down back, which makes me think it's not going to happen. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.
15. Sam Grey - OK, I got the logic in signing him. When Port played him midfield he was generally pretty good and he did have games where he kicked some bags up forward. But for the most part he added nothing. Only kicked one goal in seven games and seemed to have minimal impact with his touches. I think the only thing that saves him is the extra (?) year on his contract.
16. Zac Foot - played a couple of games and showed OK signs. The speed and pressure at least is a decent thing to fall back on. Still he has a long way to go if he's to become AFL relevant and alas there may not be the time for him to get there.
17. Will Gould - I was really looking forward to him being unleashed but the break came at a really sh*t time for him given his fitness base when coming to the club. Alas in the scratchies he looked a long way off AFL conditioning and couldn't add much even at that level so I see why he wasn't played. Needs a huge off-season (and not that kind of huge).
18. Callum Sinclair - a brilliant servant for so, so long. Alas, not really his year. Still fought hard and never was completely anonymous but generally struggled for impact and his body seemed to show signs that it was failing him. I worry about him next year, but hopefully he can still do some damage.
19. Matt Ling - liked his debut, but I'm not sure there's enough there. Seems to have some good traits but whether he can improve enough to maintain AFL relevance is another question. If this was his first year I'd be liking his chances but alas it's his third....and the main reason I haven't completely given up is because of where he was drafted....
20. Sam Reid - just wasn't his year. Couldn't seem to impact games at all, and his body plain didn't look up to AFL standards. Maybe he'll get back to somewhere near his best with a full off-season but even that level isn't exactly sky high and he'll be 29 too.
22. Nick Blakey - he got a bit too ahead of himself this year after looking like the next big thing last year and he'll need to work on that. It probably didn't help he was left all alone up forward without Reid, Franklin and even for a time McCartin. When Reid got back he was moved up the field a bit and looked a lot better playing a hybrid onball/half-forward role. Still think he's going to be a great player, but probably needs to learn how to impact when things aren't quite going his way. Which in fairness there were great signs of later in the year.
23. Lance Franklin - miss you. Please come back and produce some magic of old. It might be too much to expect with a 34 year old body but if there's anyone I can't quite write off, it's Buddy.
24. Dane Rampe - pre-injury was in borderline AA form. He did a fantastic job leading an often inexperienced defence in both a defending and attacking role. His performances against Hawthorn and GWS are exactly the types that young players should be looking towards when they're looking for the definition of courage. Shame the injury happened, but hey at least it let the other defenders take control.
25. Ben Ronke - poor run with injury. That said, still added little when he did play. The memories of that great 7 goal performance is rapidly fading, and I feel like his position has been overtaken by other players and his time at Sydney is up.
26. Luke Parker - typical year from Parker, though I'll also add I think I was more impressed by him than I have been in the recent past as he was often the one leading the midfield and generally did a very good job. He's still not quite at his 14-16 level of brilliance, but not that far off it and along with Rampe (and permainjured Franklin) our best, most important player.
27. Justin McInerney - what a find! I was surprised he broke his way into the 22 at the start of the season but showed good signs early doors, and when he came back he looked like a 300 gamer. His energy and enthuisiasm shows and his impact undeniable. I am extremely excited going forward.
28. Lewis Taylor - should've copped an absolute bullocking for the way he turned up in the off-season. In saying that, his performances on the park were mostly OK. Nothing fantastic but he did add some pressure and speed to the forward line when there. At the very least, the experiment worked better than Grey even though I don't think he's going to amount to too much.
29. George Hewett - frustrating year. Was never quite 100% fit and the situation with his son couldn't have helped either. Kennedy's injury should've opened up a huge role for him in the midfield without him needing to tag but then his back went. Still a very important player at the club and hopefully he re-signs.
30. Tom McCartin - tremendous young player. Form up forward was patchy but for a 20 year old with not fantastic service he showed some good signs. Where he really excelled though was down back, I'm not sure he lost a matchup playing as a key defender in the back half of the year. Reads the play so, so well. He is going to be a star.
32. James Bell - actually got a fair crack, there were a few OK signs but for the most part I can't say I was terribly impressed. Seems to have some decent pace but doesn't have enough ability to get himself involved and seemed to lack the nous to play forward. Maybe he'll be better in the guts but there's like 10 better options there. Don't think he's up to it.
33. Ryley Stoddart - unfortunately for him my main memory of Stoddart's season is that performance against Gold Coast where he torched the ball every time he got it. Alas I feel like his ball use is too much of a liability to be an effective defender and that is a problem when he can't really play anywhere else.
34. Jordan Dawson - a bit of a strange year, but made up for it big time in the second half of the year. The first half of the year he generally played OK but for the most part didn't find as much of the footy as I had hoped. Wanted him to take the kick-outs but Lloyd's form made that impossible. Playing as an outside utility of sorts in the second half of the year though he was fantastic. Excellent ball use and hit the scoreboard well too. A terrific weapon to have.
36. Aliir Aliir - again a fairly patchy year. There were times where I thought he looked a genuine weapon, there were times where he looked kind of lost. It seems like we've lost a lot of trust with him down back which hurts when you look at his 16/18 form. Might be best suited to the ruck funnily enough, but his lack of size hurts there.
37. Elijah Taylor - on the field looked rather promising. But that is basically irrelevant as things stand. I think most of what can be said has already been said so I won't go further.
38. Colin O'Riordan - can barely remember him playing. Just seemed to add nothing offensively and didn't really stand out defensively. Not really sure he's Best 22 anymore, might be a handy depth option I guess.
41. Hayden McLean - more in and out of the team than I would've hoped. When he played I thought he showed a lot of good signs; he showed a lot of aggression and seemed a good mark, yet got dropped at the first sign of a bad game. I worry what that means for his future going forward. If he can maintain trust going forward I like him as an option, even if he may not have the extreme talent of someone like Blakey.
42. Robbie Fox - what a year! I questioned keeping him on the list as he was already 27 and was basically a fringe player. The first game he played this season was rather bad. Yet out of necessity he played as an undersized KPD for the whole season....and did a really good job! Was very honest and rarely let his man dominate. I'm not sure how good he's going to be going forward but he's someone that all incoming players should look to as someone who does the tough stuff and gets the best out of him.
43. Lewis Melican - back in the side mid-season after a seemingly neverending run with injury, he did a reasonable if unspectactular job. There were quite a few games where his lack of pace seemed exposed but for the most part remained disciplined and seemed to put up reasonable disposal numbers for a defensive KPD. Not sure he's the right option going forward but his end to the season was solid.
44. Jake Lloyd - I remember being quite annoyed at him last year for accumulating a lot of cheap touches without really doing much, but happily this year his game has expanded far beyond that. He was having a fair bit of impact with his disposal and never seemed to lose his head down back. His leadership down back seemed strong after Rampe's injury, too. A brilliant year that will likely see him rewarded with the B&F and might have a shot at AA.
45. Sam Wicks - finally got a good crack after having to wait for ages to play after dominating in the NEAFL. I'm not convinced on him but his defensive pressure is undeniable and seems to have OK enough forward nous. Probably has overtaken Ronke in that role.
46. Joel Amartey - alas, I didn't really notice him in the only game he played. Hard to say he stood out much in that.
 

Kapers

Club Legend
Sep 25, 2019
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Both beat sides that are playing finals this year, we didn't. Nearly beating the Cats is hardly something to crow about in that context.
Also got slaughtered by the Hawks and GWS respectively.
We also stopped Melbourne from making the 8.

We are allowed to think we are better.

Also if we beat the cats are we suddenly a different team?
Does our season mean something completely different because we beat a top 8 team?

Is last year a better year because we beat some top 8 teams?

I just think we should be looking at the progression of individuals, we will have to work hard, but I hope we are better next year.
 

BloodySwan

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Oct 2, 2016
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Melican appears to have returned to form
McCartin looks like a generation best defender
Fox looks settled in defence. Really thought his career was done before he got back into the 22
Mcinerney & Rowbottom look super promising
Blakey's shift into the middle can go either way. He's good with the ball, assuming he can find more of it will become a very damaging player. Still think he needs to bulk up though
 

Swannnnn

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Oct 24, 2017
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I liked what I saw from the team this season. Some of the transition off halfback from yesterday's game for example was almost Richmond-like. Even though Hayward cocked up that goal 20 metres out, the passage of play preceding it was soo good, it was 2-3 kicks from halfback to our forward 50 with Hayward not even having to break stride to mark the ball from Dawson.

5 wins may not look great, but in a lot of the games we were right in it (Yesterday's game, the Carlton & Brisbane games come to mind) and more importantly we rarely gone into ultra defensive mode in them to minimise the losing margin. Our problem is in each game, there will be periods where we absolutely lose control, get smashed in clearances, become fumbly. It happens like clockwork. This isn't unexpected for a young team, but the challenge will be for the young guys to start taking ownership and wrestle back control when things don't go our way. If they can learn to do that, we'll starting winning games in the future where we are in similar position.
 

S120

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I'll keep my thoughts mainly related to players. Tried to group players as much as possible to make it a bit easier to think through and present.

Ol' reliable: Kennedy, Parker, Sinclair, Lloyd, Rampe.
These guys have been performing for many years and when fit, they did as we expected them to in 2020. Not all at the same level obviously - Rampe is a far better player than Sinclair for example - but given our expectations for what and who they are as players, these guys all led the club well. Had Rampe played a full season he'd have taken our his 2nd consecutive Skilton imo. Lloyd, in place of him, will be the favourite after a good bounce back year from a relatively quiet 2019. Kennedy & Sinclair showed they're still capable of playing well - I think from next year both need to be utilised differently as we continue our transition: Kennedy to play more across HF and Sinclair to be relieved of the burden of playing number one every week. Parker had a mainly good year with about a month of poorish games, but I'll lock him in for another podium Skilton finish.

Middle-aged & rising: Cunningham, Papley, Florent, Mills, Dawson, Fox.
These guys all had at least serviceable years as the next crop of leaders or just middle rung guys. All will be top 10 in the Skilton imo. I was delighted to see Cunningham and Fox become consistent pillars of the defence after wanting them to play there for quite a while. They're both well suited to those roles. Cunningham I think is in with a shot at his first top 5 Skilton finish and Fox a good shot at making the top 10. Papley had a cracking start to the year and an "almost" 2nd half of the year. I think his 2nd half of the year will be keeping him in good stead for the next few seasons; he attracted so much attention and the whole footy world woke up to just how good he is and consequently the attention from opposition coaches went up. Yesterday's game on a good player in O'Connor and a very good defence shows how good he is - he didn't kick straight but to have 7 scoring shots against Geelong is a huge game. If he stays fit, he's gonna be at the top of the small forward logpile for many years. Dawson started a little slowly but finished the year really well. He's so clean and is starting to consistently be very influential in games all over the ground. We need to pick a spot for him soon rather than let him go anywhere though I think. Mills had a really consistent year and I think the debate about where his future lays is done: he's a defender. Florent started the year excellently and dropped off but I think he's got some improvement in him still - top 5 in Inside 50's for the year but needs to be more accurate.

Middle-aged & uncertain: Melican, Hayward, Aliir, O'Riordan.
Melican finished the year in much better form than how he started. He seems like a guy who needs to be in tip top shape to have an influence. It's taken him a long time to recapture his good form and that's a bit concerning because it suggests if he gets hurt it'll take him longer than most others to be valuable again. But glad to see him show his ability again. Hayward's middle 6 weeks were excellent after he shifted to HB and moved forward again but he as well has been very inconsistent. Seems like a mental thing with him - when he's focused he's really good. Aliir played all over the place and it seems like we're not sold on him as a permanent defender anymore. Forward/ruck might be his lot from now on. O'Riordan would be disappointed in his year, hasn't nailed a spot in the side and was well and truly overtaken by Fox and Cunningham.

Young & rising: McCartin, Blakey, Rowbottom, McInerney.
These guys, oh boy. McCartin must stay at CHB for good. God damn does he look like a top prospect there. Blakey started finding his feet as a true midfielder in the last 6 weeks of the year and I hope he stays there next year. Too skinny to be a true target but his skills and run out of the middle are very valuable pushing up into the forward line. Rowbottom had a tremendous year and looks like our next very good midfielder while McInerney cemented his spot as a true wingman of the future. Great runner, cool head on his shoulders and kicks goals.

Young & uncertain: Bell, Stoddart, McLean.
I like the cut of McLean's jib and hope he gets at least another year as a FF/2nd ruck - looks like once he fills out properly he will be a hulking big guy. Bell has done more than I expected from him tbh but I'm still not sold that he has anything which will allow him to flourish at senior level. He's got a bit of pace, OK skill, and goes pretty hard physically but just not sure he's quite got the package. Stoddart is done for.

Debutants: Warner, Stephens, E.Taylor, Foot, Ling, Amartey, Wicks.
Pretty happy with what this cohort gave us this year. I'm very bullish about what 24 year old Dylan Stephens will be. His running power is excellent already and when he's adjusted fully to senior level and the amount of time he can win for himself to pick a good option and execture, he's gonna be real good. Warner shows promise with his physicality but skill-wise has a lot of work to do - I'll remain without an opinion on him for now. Elijah, well, we all know where that sits. Was happy with how Ling looked in his first few games - I don't think he'll be a star but he's a senior-calibre player in the making and I hope we retain him now that he's finally been able to actually play. Wicks definitely deserves another year at least - he'll have to show he can kick goals consistently at seniors level to have a future, but his tackling and chasing is tremendous, perhaps the best I've ever seen from a Swan. Amartey is almost certainly gone.

Recent acquisitions: L.Taylor, Gray, Clarke, Thurlow, Brand.
Maybe the most talked about cohort. We've really struggled to get production out of acquired players the last two years. Nothing from Gray which surprised me because I was quite bullish about his 2020 season - I thought he was gonna be the most effective of the lot. Taylor struggled for most of the year but did look a bit fitter when he re-entered the 22 in the last month. Brand showed real promise in his two games but then his body let him down and others have overtaken him. He's a bit tall and lumbering which might not be ideal anymore either but I'd retain him for depth. Clarke and Thurlow I think provided more than most people expected. Clarke's defining flaw was seen in full view in the last quarter yesterday: streaming inside 50 with a shot to get back within a goal with enough time to maybe win it and without pressure on him, he kicks it straight to a Geelong defender. I don't even know what he thought he was trying to achieve. But his physicality, discipline, tackling and running are useful. Thurlow did well as a utility and maybe one another year.

Not used: Gould, Maibaum, Reynolds, O'Connor, Rowles, Knoll.
The biggest disappointment here is obviously Gould who a lot of people thought would give us value straight away. Given how weird this year was, I'm OK with where he sits as long as he realises he's gotta get himself way fitter over summer. Still got a lot of ability and will come good imo. Disappointed for Maibaum that he didn't get an opportunity but partially that was out his hands with the death of his mother. Reynolds injured all year so he'll be gone along with Rowles and Knoll who I suspect will be let go. BOC appears to have another year on his deal, seems like he showed a bit according to Laidler.

Reid: Reid.
Enough said.

Injuries: Franklin, Heeney, Naismith, Ronke, Hewett.
Really hurt to miss so many games from these guys. The first three in particular given their obvious ability and/or value but also Hewett with his disciplined and versatile play. Ronke almost certain to be traded/delisted imo.
 
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Kapers

Club Legend
Sep 25, 2019
1,513
2,587
AFL Club
Sydney
I think Longmire's post-match presser said a lot, we can't expect natural growth, we have to grab it with both hands. This year I expected a lot more from our kids in terms of growth, and I think the team did as well, but I also understand the inconsistencies we faced.

Florent is the best example of this, I've been one of his biggest defenders, but I've also expected more from him than he's given.

It'll be interesting to see if we can be more consistent next year.
 

caesar88

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 26, 2016
20,391
24,973
AFL Club
Sydney
Not gonna bother with those that barely played this year/likely to be cut as they didn't have a bearing on our 2020 season really. Also not gonna bother with blokes I've been pretty clear on.

Stephens - The first step - acclimatising to the physicality of the highest level - he passed with flying colours. Ran out games well, won plenty of the ball and showed great pressure. The next step - acclimatising to the pace of the game - will hopefully come.
Thurlow - Became a solid team player. Nothing remarkable but not much to lament either.

Cunningham - See above, albeit ultra reliable as a small defender.

Rowbottom - Said pre-season he will be our best player over the next decade, and I'm even more confident in making that call now. Maintain that he doesn't have a discernible weakness in his game. When it all comes together for him then he will be something else.

Hayward - I want to like him, but think his bad outweighs his good. Starting to think he's not gonna amount to much at all.

Papley - Think his head got in the way of his instincts in the second half of the year, but undoubtedly a gun. Hard to criticise him in what was a brilliant season for a small forward.

Florent - Like Hayward I'm starting to see too many flaws in his game emerging. Still has plenty going for him but not quite where we want him to be in his fourth year.

Mills - He's awesome!

Gray - A total disappointment.

Sinclair - Performed admirably as per and had some great showings around the ground, just very poor in ruck contests where we need him most.

Blakey - Despite his form woes in what was a challenging year I actually thought he took a giant step forward in his development. His best games this year were miles ahead of any of his best games in his first year, which proves he is capable of taking that next step. Always suspected he'd take longer than those he was drafted with.

Rampe - Just a man-crush that borders on me questioning my sexuality at this point tbh.

McInerney - Horse has handled his development very well. He & Stephens are living, breathing proof that dropping kids can actually be good for their development. They've come back better each time they've been dropped. McInerney suits our game plan and what we're trying to do perfectly.

L. Taylor - Lay off the KFC.

McCartin - He's a beast. Such a competitor that it was really just finding the role where that competitiveness would most allow him to shine. Bulldozing the bulldozing forwards of the game might just be that role.

Dawson - He's so good to watch at full flight. I still get frustrated that he can look a little laconic at times, but that probably comes with the territory of being a classy player who backs their skills in. Will be a top 5 player for us going forward.

Aliir - He had an up and down year but geez this guy can play. He can be so ******* good and that's actually most of the time, but when he's bad... oy vey.

COR - Stiff to be dropped I reckon. Honestly don't see much difference between he, Cunningham, Fox and Thurlow, but perhaps that's the problem?

McLean - For the record, I do not think this guy will be a star. At best I think he can be a Mumford-esque big man enforcer who is handy to the team but never more than player 18-22. Which still makes him worth keeping as he showed promising signs.

Fox - Bloody love him now, mainly because I just love seeing blokes save their careers through hard work and discipline. Has toe to match. Not a star but has become a player who you know what you will get.

Melican - Basically see above. Our defensive system from development to coaching to leadership is so first class that if you adhere to that system, you cannot fail. Melican is proof of this.

Lloyd - Favourite Swan in Rampe's absence and he delivered. Love him up the ground more where he plays with less panic and more confidence.

Wicks - Really liked this kid in the NEAFL last year. You just don't let hard working players with good skills like this go. I was already very buoyant about our youth, and uncovering guys like Wicks, McInerney and Stephens late in the year has been a massive bonus.
 
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Kapers

Club Legend
Sep 25, 2019
1,513
2,587
AFL Club
Sydney
Not gonna bother with those that barely played this year/likely to be cut as they didn't have a bearing on our 2020 season really. Also not gonna bother with blokes I've been pretty clear on.

Stephens - The first step - acclimatising to the physicality of the highest level - he passed with flying colours. Ran out games well, won plenty of the ball and showed great pressure. The next step - acclimatising to the pace of the game - will hopefully come.
Thurlow - Became a solid team player. Nothing remarkable but not much to lament either.

Cunningham - See above, albeit ultra reliable as a small defender.

Rowbottom - Said pre-season he will be our best player over the next decade, and I'm even more confident in making that call now. Maintain that he doesn't have a discernible weakness in his game. When it all comes together for him then he will be something else.

Hayward - I want to like him, but think his bad outweighs his good. Starting to think he's not gonna amount to much at all.

Papley - Think his head got in the way of his instincts in the second half of the year, but undoubtedly a gun. Hard to criticise him in what was a brilliant season for a small forward.

Florent - Like Hayward I'm starting to see too many flaws in his game emerging. Still has plenty going for him but not quite where we want him to be in his fourth year.

Mills - He's awesome!

Gray - A total disappointment.

Sinclair - Performed admirably as per and had some great showings around the ground, just very poor in ruck contests where we need him most.

Blakey - Despite his form woes in what was a challenging year I actually thought he took a giant step forward in his development. His best games this year were miles ahead of any of his best games in his first year, which proves he is capable of taking that next step. Always suspected he'd take longer than those he was drafted with.

Rampe - Just a man-crush that borders on me questioning my sexuality at this point tbh.

McInerney - Horse has handled his development very well. He & Stephens are living, breathing proof that dropping kids can actually be good for their development. They've come back better each time they've been dropped. McInerney suits our game plan and what we're trying to do perfectly.

L. Taylor - Lay off the KFC.

McCartin - He's a beast. Such a competitor that it was really just finding the role where that competitiveness would most allow him to shine. Bulldozing the bulldozing forwards of the game might just be that role.

Dawson - He's so good to watch at full flight. I still get frustrated that he can look a little laconic at times, but that probably comes with the territory of being a classy player who backs their skills in. Will be a top 5 player for us going forward.

Aliir - He had an up and down year but geez this guy can play. He can be so ******* good and that's actually most of the time, but when he's bad... oy vey.

COR - Stiff to be dropped I reckon. Honestly don't see much difference between he, Cunningham, Fox and Thurlow, but perhaps that's the problem?

McLean - For the record, I do not think this guy will be a star. At best I think he can be a Mumford-esque big man enforcer who is handy to the team but never more than player 18-22. Which still makes him worth keeping as he showed promising signs.

Fox - Bloody love him now, mainly because I just love seeing blokes save their careers through hard work and discipline. Has toe to match. Not a star but has become a player who you know what you will get.

Melican - Basically see above. Our defensive system from development to coaching to leadership is so first class that if you adhere to that system, you cannot fail. Melican is proof of this.

Lloyd - Favourite Swan in Rampe's absence and he delivered. Love him up the ground more where he plays with less panic and more confidence.

Wicks - Really liked this kid in the NEAFL last year. You just don't let hard working players with good skills like this go. I was already very buoyant about our youth, and uncovering guys like Wicks, McInerney and Stephens late in the year has been a massive bonus.
I've probably got rose coloured glasses on, but I'll bat for Hayward and Florent. I feel they still have their best ahead of them, and would fair much better with either 1. A better team around them, or 2. More experience under their belt.

Both could also be massive disappointments in 2-3 years, but for my own happiness I'll assume that they'll be stars by then hahaha.
 

Kapers

Club Legend
Sep 25, 2019
1,513
2,587
AFL Club
Sydney
Not gonna bother with those that barely played this year/likely to be cut as they didn't have a bearing on our 2020 season really. Also not gonna bother with blokes I've been pretty clear on.

Stephens - The first step - acclimatising to the physicality of the highest level - he passed with flying colours. Ran out games well, won plenty of the ball and showed great pressure. The next step - acclimatising to the pace of the game - will hopefully come.
Thurlow - Became a solid team player. Nothing remarkable but not much to lament either.

Cunningham - See above, albeit ultra reliable as a small defender.

Rowbottom - Said pre-season he will be our best player over the next decade, and I'm even more confident in making that call now. Maintain that he doesn't have a discernible weakness in his game. When it all comes together for him then he will be something else.

Hayward - I want to like him, but think his bad outweighs his good. Starting to think he's not gonna amount to much at all.

Papley - Think his head got in the way of his instincts in the second half of the year, but undoubtedly a gun. Hard to criticise him in what was a brilliant season for a small forward.

Florent - Like Hayward I'm starting to see too many flaws in his game emerging. Still has plenty going for him but not quite where we want him to be in his fourth year.

Mills - He's awesome!

Gray - A total disappointment.

Sinclair - Performed admirably as per and had some great showings around the ground, just very poor in ruck contests where we need him most.

Blakey - Despite his form woes in what was a challenging year I actually thought he took a giant step forward in his development. His best games this year were miles ahead of any of his best games in his first year, which proves he is capable of taking that next step. Always suspected he'd take longer than those he was drafted with.

Rampe - Just a man-crush that borders on me questioning my sexuality at this point tbh.

McInerney - Horse has handled his development very well. He & Stephens are living, breathing proof that dropping kids can actually be good for their development. They've come back better each time they've been dropped. McInerney suits our game plan and what we're trying to do perfectly.

L. Taylor - Lay off the KFC.

McCartin - He's a beast. Such a competitor that it was really just finding the role where that competitiveness would most allow him to shine. Bulldozing the bulldozing forwards of the game might just be that role.

Dawson - He's so good to watch at full flight. I still get frustrated that he can look a little laconic at times, but that probably comes with the territory of being a classy player who backs their skills in. Will be a top 5 player for us going forward.

Aliir - He had an up and down year but geez this guy can play. He can be so ******* good and that's actually most of the time, but when he's bad... oy vey.

COR - Stiff to be dropped I reckon. Honestly don't see much difference between he, Cunningham, Fox and Thurlow, but perhaps that's the problem?

McLean - For the record, I do not think this guy will be a star. At best I think he can be a Mumford-esque big man enforcer who is handy to the team but never more than player 18-22. Which still makes him worth keeping as he showed promising signs.

Fox - Bloody love him now, mainly because I just love seeing blokes save their careers through hard work and discipline. Has toe to match. Not a star but has become a player who you know what you will get.

Melican - Basically see above. Our defensive system from development to coaching to leadership is so first class that if you adhere to that system, you cannot fail. Melican is proof of this.

Lloyd - Favourite Swan in Rampe's absence and he delivered. Love him up the ground more where he plays with less panic and more confidence.

Wicks - Really liked this kid in the NEAFL last year. You just don't let hard working players with good skills like this go. I was already very buoyant about our youth, and uncovering guys like Wicks, McInerney and Stephens late in the year has been a massive bonus.
I've probably got rose coloured glasses on, but I'll bat for Hayward and Florent. I feel they still have their best ahead of them, and would fair much better with either 1. A better team around them, or 2. More experience under their belt.

Both could also be massive disappointments in 2-3 years, but for my own happiness I'll assume that they'll be stars by then hahaha.
 

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