Coach Senior Coach Ben Rutten

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Big Slam

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It’s a characteristic of footy in 2021 though, massive swings in momentum and the ball pinging from end to end. The fact that Rutten hasn’t worked out how to stop it is far from an indictment on him.
In the four games so far this season (Vs Carlton, Geelong, Hawthorn and Port Adelaide), how many times have you seen 3 or 4 of our players run into our forward 50 uncontested?
 

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In the four games so far this season (Vs Carlton, Geelong, Hawthorn and Port Adelaide), how many times have you seen 3 or 4 of our players run into our forward 50 uncontested?
I’m not really sure what you’re getting at, enough to suggest we’re generating enough ball, not enough to suggest we are using it properly with plenty of chains ending before then
 

Lore

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This is the sound of sky-high expectations falling back to Earth.

Rutten isn't taking over a top 4 team, à la Chris Scott or Adam Simpson (or Nathan Buckley :roflv1:). We've just had a broom put through the ranks and senior players walk out, leaving a newb in charge of a rabble.

We knew 6-8 months ago that 2021 was going to be awful. 2020 ended about as badly as it possibly could have, 4 senior players walked out and several others delisted, with weedy KPPs drafted to replace them. Hallmarks of a rebuild, whether you want to use the label or not.

The fixture came out in December, with six of last year's top eight sides and four interstate trips including back to back Sydney/Brisbane trips before the bye. It's going to be a very painful 12 weeks until then, and who knows where we'll be at after that. After the bye we have a theoretically easier run with only Geelong and GC games outside Melbourne, and five straight games at Marvel. The bye also coincides with the expected return of most of our injured players after yesterday's trifecta, which could work out for us if we're hoping for a 'Fremantle 2020' type season.

As a benchmark to aspire to, Fremantle's 2020 season doesn't set a particularly high bar – they started the season 2-6 and racked up half a dozen ~6 goal losses – but even with the poor start and the re-start, they blooded lots of their kids, did lots of theory training via video link, and built hope in the second half of the year with a few wins against mid-ranking sides, a 31 point win over Sydney in Round 12 and a 64 point drubbing of North Melbourne in the second last game of the season.

My ladder prediction was 13th to 15th before the season began, and I'll stand by that. Losing big to flag fancies and going one point off a poor to middling side after dominating the first half doesn't change much.
 

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Big Slam

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I’m not really sure what you’re getting at, enough to suggest we’re generating enough ball, not enough to suggest we are using it properly with plenty of chains ending before then
If allowing the opposing team to run 3 or 4 of their players uncontested into their forward 50 is such a characteristic of 2021 football, then how come we’re not seeing our team do it?

Also, from the point of controlling the football, why are opposing teams scoring against us using 32% fewer possessions than we are (meaning we are working wayyyyyyyy harder to score points than we allow our opposing team to score points)?
 

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This will be worse than the Knights short era.
Get used to old mate sweaty palms doing jack sh*t coaching in the last 5 mins whilst we try to hang on to a 2 goal lead only to get done in the last 40 secs
 

CBombers17

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This is the sound of sky-high expectations falling back to Earth.

Rutten isn't taking over a top 4 team, à la Chris Scott or Adam Simpson (or Nathan Buckley :roflv1:). We've just had a broom put through the ranks and senior players walk out, leaving a newb in charge of a rabble.

We knew 6-8 months ago that 2021 was going to be awful. 2020 ended about as badly as it possibly could have, 4 senior players walked out and several others delisted, with weedy KPPs drafted to replace them. Hallmarks of a rebuild, whether you want to use the label or not.

The fixture came out in December, with six of last year's top eight sides and four interstate trips including back to back Sydney/Brisbane trips before the bye. It's going to be a very painful 12 weeks until then, and who knows where we'll be at after that. After the bye we have a theoretically easier run with only Geelong and GC games outside Melbourne, and five straight games at Marvel. The bye also coincides with the expected return of most of our injured players after yesterday's trifecta, which could work out for us if we're hoping for a 'Fremantle 2020' type season.

As a benchmark to aspire to, Fremantle's 2020 season doesn't set a particularly high bar – they started the season 2-6 and racked up half a dozen ~6 goal losses – but even with the poor start and the re-start, they blooded lots of their kids, did lots of theory training via video link, and built hope in the second half of the year with a few wins against mid-ranking sides, a 31 point win over Sydney in Round 12 and a 64 point drubbing of North Melbourne in the second last game of the season.

My ladder prediction was 13th to 15th before the season began, and I'll stand by that. Losing big to flag fancies and going one point off a poor to middling side after dominating the first half doesn't change much.
Longmuir and Freo are an interesting comparison. They were used in the argument made last year that Essendon had no excuses not having picked up the then 'new' gameplan better (as was St kilda under the newly apppinted Ratten).

So that's us pre-personnel changes. And thus my point about our midfield having a heap of continuity with the Rutten message and being somewhat indicative of his coaching abilitly - something has to be surely?

Whilst personally i had very few expectations for this season, similarity to last year, I did expected to see improvement in our defensive capabilities and willingness from our midfield to compete hard for 4 quarters win lose or draw. This would at least represent buy-in from the group and a coaches message being understood and implemented. That clearly hasn't happened yet. Now we do have injuries as an excuse for it not to (for a while) but a failure to show clear signs of improvement in this area in the second half if the year should and will see this coach under the pump big time IMO.
 

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If allowing the opposing team to run 3 or 4 of their players uncontested into their forward 50 is such a characteristic of 2021 football, then how come we’re not seeing our team do it?

Also, from the point of controlling the football, why are opposing teams scoring against us using 32% fewer possessions than we are (meaning we are working wayyyyyyyy harder to score points than we allow our opposing team to score points)?
As I said before, I think the key characteristic of the first two games has been midfield turnovers, that does two things for us, it burns the players running forward to get on the end of it and it burns the defenders that are being told to press up and compress the field. It also makes it way easier for the other team to score on us because we are at sixes and sevens when the ball is turned over.

I suggest you go and watch the all the goals videos on the website from round 1 and 2, count at least a dozen goals already this year as a result of an uncontested mark inside 50 or a goal on the run, both as a result of a possession chain running the ball into the forward 50. And that’s not counting the other chances created.
 

owen87

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Also, from the point of controlling the football, why are opposing teams scoring against us using 32% fewer possessions than we are (meaning we are working wayyyyyyyy harder to score points than we allow our opposing team to score points)?
We play a handball heavy gamestyle, without the midfield / high-half forward experience and class that Richmond have.
 

Big Slam

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As I said before, I think the key characteristic of the first two games has been midfield turnovers, that does two things for us, it burns the players running forward to get on the end of it and it burns the defenders that are being told to press up and compress the field. It also makes it way easier for the other team to score on us because we are at sixes and sevens when the ball is turned over.
I agree - and said as much last week (and the week before, and the week before).

Everything you said above is 100% why Rutten should be playing a defensive zone instead of the defensive hard press that he is.

It’s very, very poor coaching.

It’s also the definition of insanity.
 

owen87

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Everything you said above is 100% why Rutten should be playing a defensive zone instead of the defensive hard press that he is.
Is he though?

Are we just assuming the players are playing 100% as instructed, or is there perhaps a combination of lack of experience and not having sufficient numbers of the right players available, to fully execute the system?
 

Big Slam

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Is he though?

Are we just assuming the players are playing 100% as instructed, or is there perhaps a combination of lack of experience and not having sufficient numbers of the right players available, to fully execute the system?
Yes, he is.

Look at how high up our defenders are. Through all 4 games our defenders have been positioned high. Several times on the weekend alone all of Ridley, Francis, Laverde and Redman were up on OUR wing-half forward line.....at the same time.

We’re essentially allowing opposing teams a rendition of their own Pagan’s paddock. If he wants to play a hard press then we need to be tighter with the ball and/or have a swing man playing loose in the back line who sweeps (think prime Scott Wynd) who can ply the role of the cleaner if/whenthe press breaks down.

Of course, you can say that maybe he is instructing the defensive group to play a deep zone, but if he is he’s either a terrible communicator (because they are all pressing - literally all of them) or he doesn’t have the playing group because they are just going rouge (all at the same time) and refusing to do what he is instructing.
 

owen87

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Yes, he is.

Look at how high up our defenders are. Through all 4 games our defenders have been positioned high. Several times on the weekend alone all of Ridley, Francis, Laverde and Redman were up on OUR wing-half forward line.....at the same time.

We’re essentially allowing opposing teams a rendition of their own Pagan’s paddock. If he wants to play a hard press then we need to be tighter with the ball and/or have a swing man playing loose in the back line who sweeps (think prime Scott Wynd) who can ply the role of the cleaner if/whenthe press breaks down.

Of course, you can say that maybe he is instructing the defensive group to play a deep zone, but if he is he’s either a terrible communicator (because they are all pressing - literally all of them) or he doesn’t have the playing group because they are just going rouge (all at the same time) and refusing to do what he is instructing.
I just wonder whether with the personnel available, we're seeing a breakdown in what the coaches want to happen versus what the players have trained to do.

I'd have thought Heppell was meant to be directing traffic down there if Hooker / Hurley / Ambrose were all playing forward. Stewart was meant to play KPD.

If they've spent all off-season with Stewart playing deeper, and Heppell in a sweeper role directing traffic, is it simply that these inexperienced guys aren't adapting and getting dragged up the field when they should be sitting further back?

This season is a learning process (as opposed to a Learnings process) so I wouldn't expect players to be getting it right all game, every game, but we should see progress on how they manage it, and build layer upon layer of knowledge and execution over the course of a couple of seasons, the way we've seen Hawthorn then Richmond do successfully.

If young guys are getting too caught up chasing the play instead of holding their position, then the consequences of seeing the ball coming back over their heads at 100 miles an hour while the opposition players are ahead of them is going to illustrate pretty quickly what happens when they position themselves wrong.
 

Big Slam

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I just wonder whether with the personnel available, we're seeing a breakdown in what the coaches want to happen versus what the players have trained to do.

I'd have thought Heppell was meant to be directing traffic down there if Hooker / Hurley / Ambrose were all playing forward. Stewart was meant to play KPD.

If they've spent all off-season with Stewart playing deeper, and Heppell in a sweeper role directing traffic, is it simply that these inexperienced guys aren't adapting and getting dragged up the field when they should be sitting further back?

This season is a learning process (as opposed to a Learnings process) so I wouldn't expect players to be getting it right all game, every game, but we should see progress on how they manage it, and build layer upon layer of knowledge and execution over the course of a couple of seasons, the way we've seen Hawthorn then Richmond do successfully.

If young guys are getting too caught up chasing the play instead of holding their position, then the consequences of seeing the ball coming back over their heads at 100 miles an hour while the opposition players are ahead of them is going to illustrate pretty quickly what happens when they position themselves wrong.
Fair enough - and you are right, Heppell back there plying the role of the General and directing the troops is a vital role and one that was missing on the weekend....although we saw the exact same hard press last week Vs Hawthorn as well and Heppell was there then (and played a cracker).

I also strongly believe the coach needs to understand the strengths of his players and positional groups and allow them to play to those strengths and hide their weaknesses - something I’m yet to see Rutten do. If there is a bunch of green kids playing back not having them play a deep zone is criminal and setting them up for disaster.

That said, you are also right, it is a process and there could/should be progress as we go along. Really you need 1/4 of a season to understand the identity of a system so by round 6 if we are still seeing the same things....
 

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Fair enough - and you are right, Heppell back there plying the role of the General and directing the troops is a vital role and one that was missing on the weekend....although we saw the exact same hard press last week Vs Hawthorn as well and Heppell was there then (and played a cracker).

I also strongly believe the coach needs to understand the strengths of his players and positional groups and allow them to play to those strengths and hide their weaknesses - something I’m yet to see Rutten do. If there is a bunch of green kids playing back not having them play a deep zone is criminal and setting them up for disaster.

That said, you are also right, it is a process and there could/should be progress as we go along. Really you need 1/4 of a season to understand the identity of a system so by round 6 if we are still seeing the same things....
I'm optimistic on the back of Rutten & Caracella being key parts of building the system that's working so well for Richmond, but we're paper thin on players available to execute it and are relying on Laverde and Francis to hold down a KPD slot against guys who are ~ 10cm taller than they are. Dixon looked like he was playing against children out there.

Not moving Hooker back, says to me that there's some method or purpose to leaving those inexperienced guys back there, because moving Hooker back is so obviously the first move to make if you were trying to limit your losses.
 

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This is the sound of sky-high expectations falling back to Earth.

Rutten isn't taking over a top 4 team, à la Chris Scott or Adam Simpson (or Nathan Buckley :roflv1:). We've just had a broom put through the ranks and senior players walk out, leaving a newb in charge of a rabble.

We knew 6-8 months ago that 2021 was going to be awful. 2020 ended about as badly as it possibly could have, 4 senior players walked out and several others delisted, with weedy KPPs drafted to replace them. Hallmarks of a rebuild, whether you want to use the label or not.

The fixture came out in December, with six of last year's top eight sides and four interstate trips including back to back Sydney/Brisbane trips before the bye. It's going to be a very painful 12 weeks until then, and who knows where we'll be at after that. After the bye we have a theoretically easier run with only Geelong and GC games outside Melbourne, and five straight games at Marvel. The bye also coincides with the expected return of most of our injured players after yesterday's trifecta, which could work out for us if we're hoping for a 'Fremantle 2020' type season.

As a benchmark to aspire to, Fremantle's 2020 season doesn't set a particularly high bar – they started the season 2-6 and racked up half a dozen ~6 goal losses – but even with the poor start and the re-start, they blooded lots of their kids, did lots of theory training via video link, and built hope in the second half of the year with a few wins against mid-ranking sides, a 31 point win over Sydney in Round 12 and a 64 point drubbing of North Melbourne in the second last game of the season.

My ladder prediction was 13th to 15th before the season began, and I'll stand by that. Losing big to flag fancies and going one point off a poor to middling side after dominating the first half doesn't change much.


I agree with all of this but when I read it, two things sprung to mind:

1. where has the expectation management been from the club; and following on from this point,

2. a comparison between Rutten's deer in the headlights press conference (he was clearly shocked about something) and Nobel's attitude in his post-match presser.

I don't need the coach foaming at the mouth, Rhys Shaw was a man out of control last year and there was nothing good about that, and whether Rutten is on the bench is neither here not here in my view. I don't think Nobel cares more than Rutten.

The reason the comparison is important is because Nobel addressed where his team is at, the "excuse" of the rebuild, and a sub-par performance very simply with nothing to hide and naturally. Our coach's attitude seems to reflect the perpetual denial of Essendon post 2004. 6 quarters of rubbish from a midfield that contains 2 AAs, a 100 game 6th year pick 5, an 80 game 5th year pick 1 and lots of head scratching.

We have no choice but to play the season out and then look at what Rutten has achieved. I'm certainly not calling for him to be sacked but it is inevitable if there isn't some honesty about what is happening on field. It has very little to do with raw key position players being recruited. It is an extension of what happened last year and all of our recruiting was aimed at a very long term rebuild with a coach who was appointed at a time we thought we were a contender (the end of 2019 with the promise of a year in which Daniher, Fantasia, etc are all fit and firing).

This is the problem with PR management. You don't want to admit to a rebuild because you want to avoid a headline but you end up magnifying the problem because no matter how much people are treated like they are stupid, they're not.
 
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owen87

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2. a comparison between Rutten's deer in the headlights press conference (he was clearly shocked about something) and Nobel's attitude in his post-match presser.
Rutten is definitely not great in front of the media. I get the sense he'd very happily not do these media conferences.

What you see as deer in the headlights I see as a disappointed man. Both at the loss and the injuries.

I didn't think he was that bad, his comments regarding the contested work not being good enough from the midfield, about being on the bench being a better option for communication with the players (especially given the inexperience we're fielding), and that the defense really has no chance when the ball is coming back in with minimal pressure all ring pretty true.
 

Lore

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I agree with all of this but when I read it, two things sprung to mind:

1. where has the expectation management been from the club; and following on from this point,

2. a comparison between Rutten's deer in the headlights press conference (he was clearly shocked about something) and Nobel's attitude in his post-match presser.

I don't need the coach foaming at the mouth, Rhys Shaw was a man out of control last year and there was nothing good about that, and whether Rutten is on the bench is neither here not here in my view. I don't think Nobel cares more than Rutten.

The reason the comparison is important is because Nobel addressed where his team is at, the "excuse" of the rebuild, and a sub-par performance very simply with nothing to hide and naturally. Our coach's attitude seems to reflect the perpetual denial of Essendon post 2004. 6 quarters of rubbish from a midfield that contains 2 AAs, a 100 game 6th year pick 5, an 80 game 5th year pick 1 and lots of head scratching.

We have no choice but to play the season out and then look at what Rutten has achieved. I'm certainly not calling for him to be sacked but it is inevitable if there isn't some honesty about what is happening on field. It has very little to do with raw key position players being recruited. It is an extension of what happened last year and all of our recruiting was aimed at a very long term rebuild with a coach who was appointed at a time we thought we were a contender (the end of 2019 with the promise of a year in which Daniher, Fantasia, etc are all fit and firing).

This is the problem with PR management. You don't want to admit to a rebuild because you want to avoid a headline but you end up magnifying the problem because no matter how much people are treated like they are stupid, they're not.
I think part of it is probably some sort of media relations department deciding the company line, i.e. "do not utter the word 'rebuild' under any circumstance". As you've said the perpetual denial thing goes back a long way, so I don't think it's him personally on that score. That said, his interviews over the pre-season didn't dodge the fact that we're unlikely to make finals this year, spent most of it talking about the young core and the 'blue collar' culture he's trying to build with decals on the walls and history lessons for the players. The selections that have seen senior players actually rebuilding their fitness in the VFL for the first time in their careers indicates something too, but I realise that's more subtle than the average punter is going to notice.

On your second point, he looked a bit stunned and definitely disappointed. I think we all felt that way – not so much for the scoreline but for 'who the hell plays next week?'. He simply answered the questions he was asked in a simple and straight-forward manner, there was no spin and no 'expectation management' coming from him. Which I think is very much what you see is what you get, but perhaps we need a bit of spin after all.
 

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I'd forgot about Mahoney, sack him too

Sack EVERYONE!!!@%@^$@??!!! :drunk:
 

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His presser was fine i thought, he's getting better. Some awkward questions didnt help at the start, whoever that flog was. 'They're renowned for inside 50's, but are they harder to defend against now? Because of the way they load up?' Seems like a strange question to me
 

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Fair enough - and you are right, Heppell back there plying the role of the General and directing the troops is a vital role and one that was missing on the weekend....although we saw the exact same hard press last week Vs Hawthorn as well and Heppell was there then (and played a cracker).

I also strongly believe the coach needs to understand the strengths of his players and positional groups and allow them to play to those strengths and hide their weaknesses - something I’m yet to see Rutten do. If there is a bunch of green kids playing back not having them play a deep zone is criminal and setting them up for disaster.

That said, you are also right, it is a process and there could/should be progress as we go along. Really you need 1/4 of a season to understand the identity of a system so by round 6 if we are still seeing the same things....
I am neutral as far as Rutten goes. I still think the issues we have are 90% list related. One thing you will notice across the comp is poor sides have poor structures across the ground including defenders getting too high and forwards as well.

People have to remember we ae trying to build of a low base. We have no club culture like Sydney. We are building from a culture of me first football. It will take over 2 seasons to build a consistent style of football.
 

CBombers17

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I am neutral as far as Rutten goes. I still think the issues we have are 90% list related. One thing you will notice across the comp is poor sides have poor structures across the ground including defenders getting too high and forwards as well.

People have to remember we ae trying to build of a low base. We have no club culture like Sydney. We are building from a culture of me first football. It will take over 2 seasons to build a consistent style of football.
Who are the main "me first" culprits at the club in your opinion and what do you see us doing about it? Or what should we be doing about it?

Rutten's been there for 3 preseasons now - he would know who on the list isn't prepared to play team football. Isn't it his responsibility to get them going how he wants it by pulling the available levers?
 

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Who are the main "me first" culprits at the club in your opinion and what do you see us doing about it? Or what should we be doing about it?

Rutten's been there for 3 preseasons now - he would know who on the list isn't prepared to play team football. Isn't it his responsibility to get them going how he wants it by pulling the available levers?
On holiday so I am not repeating myself now. Everyone I have mentioned for non defending.
We have SFA leadership depth.
Rutten can not fix the issue in one pre season and can not clear the list in that time either even if he has been here for two seasons.
His job now is to outline what he expects and work the list that way. They have drawn the line in the sand. Right now we just have to see what transpires.
 

Bombers32

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Rutten has a good r’ship with the group and especially the younger players who appreciate his up front direction. Not loud or demonstrative but very direct.

We have a good coaching group but a very young list decimated with injuries to good players. Can’t believe people wanted Chook swung back in the 3rd against Hawks. He has been a great servant but is shot. Can be a target up forward and that’s it. Truck spent the off season telling Laverde and Stewart that they had one chance to have a career with us. Play back and make it work, you’ll be given the opportunity. Asked Hepp to go back and control the tempo and bought Hind in to replace Saad. Would have been completely counter intuitive to sh*t the bed in the 1st round and swing Chook back the minute things fell apart. Strong leadership, go the distance, play the long game.
 

bomberlegend2007

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Rutten has a good r’ship with the group and especially the younger players who appreciate his up front direction. Not loud or demonstrative but very direct.

We have a good coaching group but a very young list decimated with injuries to good players. Can’t believe people wanted Chook swung back in the 3rd against Hawks. He has been a great servant but is shot. Can be a target up forward and that’s it. Truck spent the off season telling Laverde and Stewart that they had one chance to have a career with us. Play back and make it work, you’ll be given the opportunity. Asked Hepp to go back and control the tempo and bought Hind in to replace Saad. Would have been completely counter intuitive to sh*t the bed in the 1st round and swing Chook back the minute things fell apart. Strong leadership, go the distance, play the long game.
This is exactly why I look at the glass half full.
 

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