Autopsy Season 2021 review

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dlanod

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Sep 14, 2006
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Well, have at it.
  1. What went well?
  2. What didn't?
  3. How to improve and other next steps?
  4. How do you think we'll fare next year?
  5. Anything else from the season gone
 

Jivlain

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One thing that worries me is the number of players we've used recently - even with some more injuries lately we've been shying away from getting games into depth and it's both leaving our depth a little parlous and meaning we've seen at times players looking pretty sore and tired out there.
Good to get some early games into the kids next year because we do need to keep the depth ticking over.
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ZoBlitz

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Sep 20, 2004
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One thing that worries me is the number of players we've used recently - even with some more injuries lately we've been shying away from getting games into depth and it's both leaving our depth a little parlous and meaning we've seen at times players looking pretty sore and tired out there.
Good to get some early games into the kids next year because we do need to keep the depth ticking over.
View attachment 1226542
I think it is a tricky balance between keeping up continuity as you aim for a top 4 position and also giving young players an opportunity. Be interesting to see whether we change the balance any next season.
 

briztoon

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One thing that worries me is the number of players we've used recently - even with some more injuries lately we've been shying away from getting games into depth and it's both leaving our depth a little parlous and meaning we've seen at times players looking pretty sore and tired out there.
Good to get some early games into the kids next year because we do need to keep the depth ticking over.
View attachment 1226542
Been saying this for a couple of years.
 

dlanod

Moderator
Sep 14, 2006
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Well, have at it.
  1. What went well?
  2. What didn't?
  3. How to improve and other next steps?
  4. How do you think we'll fare next year?
  5. Anything else from the season gone
To answer my own questions:
  1. Top four again, for the third time running. We're building a solid and consistent team but there still feels like improvement to come. We were BS away from being in a second prelim running, though I'd have rathered a better effort last week.
  2. Well, part one is obvious - not making the GF. Part two is losses to Hawthorn and the Saints. We're massively dependent on full effort all the time around the ball and if it slips so do we. Ultimately I don't think it would've changed things at the pointy end but we need some more speed off a wing.
  3. This will be tricky. Two first round picks but both late. Largely locked into the same team list next year. We really are relying on internal improvement and it's not impossible - Melbourne basically got that this year - but it's harder.
  4. I reckon we should be a pretty safe bet for top 4 or thereabouts again. Fagan and Noble have always had a massive focus on finals, as even before we made one they were planning out the right team and players for it so it'll be interesting to see the developments there.
 

dlanod

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I think it is a tricky balance between keeping up continuity as you aim for a top 4 position and also giving young players an opportunity. Be interesting to see whether we change the balance any next season.
We did use the younglings though - guys like Prior, Coleman, Dev, Fullarton and Madden all played about half a season. Out of those who didn't get a game, only really Joyce seemed to do anything like putting his hand up. The bigger issue seems to be our list itself rather than selection, because it smells like the latter is being forced by the former.
 

FLVanLandingham

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Apr 3, 2017
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1. I think on the whole our season went well. I don't really believe in a perfect season and we screwed up several times. Also we got some experience into young guys, and had success (yes success) with Joe (for what we expected of him when he came in). Big O growing into the season. Starc and Bailey getting the footy world's attention (i think I agree Starc will be soon in the mid). Once again our young players. Prior and Dev especially. Really look like quality players.

2. Injuries. Mental toughness. Speed in the backline. Mids going missing sometimes. A gameplan that is dependent on players switched on. The ruck combination (I mean Joe and Big O went alright, but I liked Joe up forward after we lost hipwood). We need someone other than Robbo to get the physicality fired up. We were stuck in a conundrum of playing players into form or out of injury.

3. Inject some speed into the backline. Rejig our mids to get a better spread of styles of play. work out how we will play Andrews/Gardiner/Adams/Payne together.

4. I think we'll be top 4 next year. And honestly I think we will win it all. The boys will be angry and hungry. We'll still have our #1 forward line (when does HIpy come back?) and hopefully our defence will be settled and without injuries.

5. Screw all the haters, Big O is one of my favourite players and I think will be our #1 ruck for the next few years. Well done to Joe for having a full season, and kicking a goal in each reg game. McCarthy showed he is honestly one of the best small forwards. This season he had a lot more consistency.


This was cathartic to write after that match.
 

dlanod

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I know the 1-5 record will be trotted out a heap over this off-season but I'm getting in first (well, technically not first but early) and say not all losses are equal. 2019 was a learning experience and tonight was brutally close to going the other way. Would 2-5 really have stopped those commenting on it from doing so? I'm going with no. The Geelong and Melbourne losses are the key ones to focus on and the similarities show what we need to work on.
 

ZoBlitz

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Sep 20, 2004
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Well, have at it.
  1. What went well?
  2. What didn't?
  3. How to improve and other next steps?
  4. How do you think we'll fare next year?
  5. Anything else from the season gone
I'll make a serious post for a change!

1. Top 4. Bailey's development. Oscar's development. Linc's season and especially his hot patch. Rich's season. Zorko bouncing back from injury. Daniher having a solid/good season. Adams looking better with a less injury affected season than usual. Dev getting games and looking like a player. McStay's kicking for goal. Kiddy and Madden showing something in a few games.

2. Our inability to turn around games when we started getting beaten in the midfield. Our leaky defence on the rebound. Neale getting constantly injured one way or another. Andrews and Darcy suffering form and/or injury-wise. Major injuries to Hippy and Rayner. Structural injuries during games at the wrong end of the season.

3. Rayner's return should hopefully provide some difference in the midfield. Maybe a rejig of our defensive setup when teams rebound? Another back flanker with good disposal skills would help our structure. Possibly some more depth in the key forward area.

4. Our list profile suggests that we should be around the top 4 again. Hopefully the natural improvement of our young guys will be the difference.
 

briztoon

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Also cited Richmond as an example of how to develop depth and play finals
No, I cited Richmond as a team that’s not afraid to play youth, to get experience in to them, or find out if they’ll make it.

Like most teams that have been at the top for a while, and draft late, they don’t have a lot of quality youth on their list.

But hey, keep bringing this up every opportunity you get. I might reply again in 50 posts time.
 

ZoBlitz

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I know the 1-5 record will be trotted out a heap over this off-season but I'm getting in first (well, technically not first but early) and say not all losses are equal. 2019 was a learning experience and tonight was brutally close to going the other way. Would 2-5 really have stopped those commenting on it from doing so? I'm going with no. The Geelong and Melbourne losses are the key ones to focus on and the similarities show what we need to work on.
Agreed. Even with the Geelong game I don't think the lack of games played due to the pre-finals bye helped us, even if we were clearly off all game.
 

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Gadzorks

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Oct 23, 2015
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One thing that worries me is the number of players we've used recently - even with some more injuries lately we've been shying away from getting games into depth and it's both leaving our depth a little parlous and meaning we've seen at times players looking pretty sore and tired out there.
Good to get some early games into the kids next year because we do need to keep the depth ticking over.
View attachment 1226542
Tricky year with no consistent twos competition to keep young players match fit. If a kid is match fit, he's worth a try even when you know skills are not ready. When they are not match fit, the gap is just too wide.
 

Elixuh

See you on the 9th green at 9
Oct 27, 2011
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Well, have at it.
  1. What went well?
  2. What didn't?
  3. How to improve and other next steps?
  4. How do you think we'll fare next year?
  5. Anything else from the season gone
  1. Development of players. Top four again. I'm glad ZoBlitz reminded me with his post - McStay's goal kicking has been great. Same with Eric. There is nothing to suggest we won't be back up the top again next year.
  2. Injuries. Jekyll and Hyde midfield.
  3. It is marginal improvement from here to a flag for us. Just putting the right pieces in the right slots. The coaching group will also have a good body of work to make some game plan changes.
  4. Top four. QF win. PF win. GF win.
  5. Touch wood, but I don't think we will have some a bad injury year next year. Was pretty bizarre this year.
What I am most looking forward to now, is hearing Cam Rayner's name called over the speakers next season.
 

Jivlain

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  1. Development of players. Top four again. I'm glad ZoBlitz reminded me with his post - McStay's goal kicking has been great. Same with Eric. There is nothing to suggest we won't be back up the top again next year.
  2. Injuries. Jekyll and Hyde midfield.
  3. It is marginal improvement from here to a flag for us. Just putting the right pieces in the right slots. The coaching group will also have a good body of work to make some game plan changes.
  4. Top four. QF win. PF win. GF win.
  5. Touch wood, but I don't think we will have some a bad injury year next year. Was pretty bizarre this year.
What I am most looking forward to now, is hearing Cam Rayner's name called over the speakers next season.
Clugga's goalkicking is much better this year on that front as well. Ticks on that.
 

Tom14

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Oct 13, 2015
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1. Forward line potency and even spread of goalkickers. When at our best, it was pretty much impossible to shut down everyone and that is a far cry from Charlie or bust of 2019. Otherwise, Zac Bailey's development, Clug's run of elite games in the first half of the season, and a return to form of Zorko. It was good to blood a few kids and learn about them, particular Dev, Prior and Kiddy.

2. Injuries sucked the fun out of a lot of the season. While we were settled in some spots we lost key contributors at the worst moments, and other players were clearly hampered with injury and down on form at times. While Harris didn't have a bad season he wasn't quite to the level of the last few years, and it put more pressure on our less defensively apt smaller defenders. Discipline also a problem for this team - you give away free kicks with pressure sometime, but in some crucial games we cost ourselves. Beyond all that, we are a gun midfielder short and our best mids are a bit too similar in some respects, leaving far too big a load on Clug and Zorks to create. Our away record could use some improvement too, as we didn't really take any big scalps and just beat the teams we were expected to.

3. There is no realistic path other than internal improvement based on club decisions to date. If there was any suggestion we had any cap room I'd be running directly to offer Luke Parker a hell of a lot of money to see if he is actually gettable, but seems unlikely. Main thing over the off-season has to be to work on our team defence. It's been our weakness for most of the last 18 months and we could do more to assist our back 6 who are required to win too many one on ones. A bit more speed in the team particularly in the back half/wing would really help too.

4. We should be good enough to be top 6 or thereabouts again. Its hard to know who can carry it on, who will surprisingly improve etc but we aren't going to lose anyone significant to delisting/trade out/retirement, and will get some back. I worry about Hippy not being back until midway through the season, and we are going to need to be lucky injury wise as any team that makes a flag run usually needs to be. As to whether we can take the next step and make a grand final, I unfortunately have my doubts, but that doesn't mean we should blow things up. Watching my team win has been such a joy the last 3 years and is way better than being in an endless rebuild in the bottom half of the ladder.

5. Compared to last year I watched far less footy this year. part of it was being in lockdown last year and footy being on every day, but I really struggled to get into this year after the midway point of the season. Getting to go to a couple of games at the start of the season was nice but 2 years of living in Melbourne to get to see the lions play a grand total of 2 games has really sucked.
 

Toffee Lion

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As Fagan put it in his presser, this was our best season yet.

Seems weird to say that off the back of a PF finish in 2020 but when you consider circumstances, this was our first real year facing adversity. We started slow, got affected by COVID, then hit some form and then another rough patch, only to then still make Top 4 while having key players injured. Kind of crazy when you summarise it all, we did well to make the most of a tough situation.

2019 we were the up and comers, the team with no finals experience and no expectations. We should have beat GWS but ultimately it was a successful season. 2020 was our year, we were favoured, we had barely travelled and even a once in a century GABBA Grand final presented itself. It all lined up and we fell at the 2nd last hurdle. Albeit to a really good Geelong side that night.

We've come so far from the dreary 2010's. We've finished 2nd, 2nd & 4th. While we've stumbled come finals time, it's been a much more enjoyable 3 years of football and I expect it to last for at least a few more years. If we can snatch a flag in that time, well that'd be great.

I personally feel that 2022 will present itself as our best year/team yet. Barring injuries of course. A fully fit Rayner, Hipwood to come back, McStay, Answerth, the continued improved health of Neale/Gardiner etc and most importantly, more experience. There will certainly be no more excuses moving forward. It's time for finals wins, this kind of brings the next topic.

Chris Fagan. The saviour of our club. Are there concerns regarding his coaching come finals time? Or do our results have too many other factors at play outside of Fages. I think a 3 point loss to GWS & 1 point loss to the Dogs are hardly sack worthy performances. We're talking 1 goal away from 3 Prelims in a row. He obviously has great rapport with the team and the club/fanbase. I would love for us to maybe look at assistant coaches if coaching is astray come finals time. Fages is the man and until we go 1-10 in finals, I have full faith he will deliver us a premiership at some point.

I guess this review is looking more so to the future. 2021 had it's ups and it's downs but even with the 1 point loss at the end in a semi final, it still beats 2005-2018.

I'll say this now though. We will win the 2022 premiership at the MCG. Bookmark it.
 

Big Sauce 21

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Fagan was the saviour of our club, he now has us up and running and we need to do better. Another disappointing finals performance at home, a flop. We need to recruit well this year. Speed and a ruck/forward
 

PattyKwasagun

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Others have said similar things, but 2022 will be the first year I go in with genuinely high expectations on what we should be able to do.

Before 2019, I (like many of us) just hoped to be a little closer to the 8 - what happened was far beyond expectations.

Before 2020, I was hoping we wouldn't fall off a cliff and would at least make finals again, with no real expectation on what we would do if/when we got there. That made the Richmond final such a great gift, and also took the sting out of the prelim loss for me. Just being in finals still felt good enough.

Before 2021, I was hoping we might have a bit of resilience from 2 finals campaigns, but was concerned we may struggle to keep the form line of the previous two seasons going. There was no ceiling on what was possible, but not really any expectations yet either.

That has all changed now though - before 2022, I'll be hoping we are ready to be one of if not the standout team in the competition, and anything less than a grand final appearance will be a disappointment.
 

TS13

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Aug 28, 2021
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1. Top 4 again, really consolidating ourselves as a genuine top 4 side (some Vic fans love pointing to soft draw/all games in Qld). Emergence of some serious talent in Stace, Bails, Dev(?)
2. Losing our fitness guy to the Dees and some unfortunate injuries (Cam, Hippy, Neale, Dizzy, Harris, McStay just to name a few)
3. I think improvement will have to come internally from the younger players, and maybe a more consistent run of games for our established guys.
4. I think it depends on how Hippy is tracking next year, realistically, even if he comes back late, won't see the best of him until '24.
5. Think we found some answers for our team (e.g. Answerth, Kiddy, Madden for the backline), but slightly concern about a bigger body dynamic mid that can burst out of a pack that we lack (and the other top team's always seem to punish us Trac/Oliver/Bont/Dusty) etc.

Lastly, I've recently joined this forum after lurking for a few years now, this board seems to genuinely care about the club, and differing opinions are generally well respected amongst the lions fans here. Hoping to join in with more discussions going forward. Go Lions!
 

fugitive

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I know the 1-5 record will be trotted out a heap over this off-season but I'm getting in first (well, technically not first but early) and say not all losses are equal. 2019 was a learning experience and tonight was brutally close to going the other way. Would 2-5 really have stopped those commenting on it from doing so? I'm going with no. The Geelong and Melbourne losses are the key ones to focus on and the similarities show what we need to work on.
I think there’s also an underlying challenge of developing mental resolve to be a successful finals team, we were never really in the Geelong/Melbourne games but statistically speaking we should have won all the others comfortably if we played with composure and punished teams on the scoreboard. There is also an art in controlling the tempo of the game in cut throat finals, we were 3 goals up late 3rd quarter last night and let the dogs have a run on with 4 consecutive goals into the 4th quarter to pile on pressure late into the game. Frustratingly, the only way you can build this resolve is to play more finals.
 

jackess

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No, I cited Richmond as a team that’s not afraid to play youth, to get experience in to them, or find out if they’ll make it.

Like most teams that have been at the top for a while, and draft late, they don’t have a lot of quality youth on their list.

But hey, keep bringing this up every opportunity you get. I might reply again in 50 posts time.
So they did what you think they're supposed to do?

I just think we didn't spread out those opportunities.

Our substitute players were Fullarton, Coleman, Matho, Payne, Prior, TBerry, Cockatoo and Robertson.

Those 6 young guys had some nice development this season. Matho helped us win a couple of big games and Cocky has huge upside. Joyce is the only one I thought could've played but maybe he isn't good enough.

Richmond also go very heavy on the mature agers while we've drafted more projects recently
 
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Nuggo

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1. Culture now at our club is awesome and should be celebrated. With good culture you can grow anything. We found some players and will get back some.

2. A failure in finals this year was a sting. Even though injuries can be blamed for this year our midfield game plan and/or players to execute when it matters needs to be reviewed. Just banging it forward by a rucks fist or a midfielders boot will only work againsts sides with an average or below Ruckman and against sides that don't have premium intercept defenders. A review of injuries will not doubt be done.

3. Continue internally. Perhaps some players that in other years would be kept need to make way. It is a fine line now at keeping the culture to moulding a top 4 side into a premiership side. Desperately need to get the 2's up and running again. Perhaps a job for Clarko😁.

4. Top 4 to top 6 again. See what we do with the midfield. If no change then perhaps no change to the end result.

5. Still love the game and the mighty Lions bring on 2022.
 

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