- Sep 21, 2012
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
- Piggy Smith, Heat
Not sure how I missed this but I do agree with the primary sentiment that we haven’t acknowledged that there is a balance issue that needs rectifying.It's a problem that has multiple layers.
The starting point is recruitment. The prime example for me is selecting McGrath to turn him in to Taranto. One is a specialist inside pig with an elite engine the other was primarily a half back/defender who could play in the middle with amazing athleticism. 5 years in, Taranto has already been a prime mover in a midfield that played in a GF - Coniglio and Ward missed significant parts of 2019. Taranto was second only to Kelly among the mids for average disposals that year and he played all 26 games - if that means one thing it means he was at the top of the midfield rotation (as a third year player).
Dodoro is Scott Clayton, forever chasing the flashier player at the expense of the meat and potatoes simplicity that most decent midfields are built on.
Second major problem is "accepting we have a problem". There is virtually no prospect that Dodoro will give up on a combination of Parish, Merrett, McGrath, Caldwell and Shiel and he appears to have almost complete control in this regard. If that's the case, where does the midfield time come from? Adding 3 midfielders to the team means moving on 2 of these players. That leaves us with a core of 5 to which we'd want to add Perkins. Midfields do not really go deeper than that in any meaningful sense - the depth is really a matter for the balance of a healthy list. The rest of the rotations should be a Tippa or a Stringer for a few minutes to try to steal or break the ball out of the middle.
It's scary that we get 2 injuries to midfielders and the remaining genuine midfield prospect on the list is a guy whose kicking is so bad we're playing him as a pressure forward (i.e. Clarke). That gets us to the boring old argument of the complete lack of respect paid to the midfield in recruiting, list management and day to day coaching (which has churned through all the options despite the consistent incompetence of our midfield and without really ever looking at the alternatives).
Seriously, how the fu** did we take Hibberd, a 192cm, 95kg inside midfielder who would probably be 6:25ish over 2km, play him on ball for 2 of his 20 quarters and then delist him to carry on with, and I don't take any pleasure in saying this, a nothing romance story like Lachlan Johnson? Ned Cahill, a slow small forward who at a small 178cm probably looks best suited to a midfield role (it sure as hell doesn't look like it will be half back)?
Our first choice midfield, like I said somewhere else comprises 2 x AAs (the oldest of which is 28), 1 x 100 game 6th year pick 5 and 1 x 80 game 5th year pick 1 and it has been embarrassed for the last 20 games.
I’m still disappointed in the Hibberd thing but I don’t see it as related to anything other than the club’s crook view that he wasn’t good enough, that the role is not important enough or a mixture of the two. He could have had Gleeson’s spot on the rookie list without it impacting Johnson (who was picked not only because we wanted him, but so we could immediately place him on the inactive list and take another selection, which I actually thought was very clever) and Cahill who was picked because Fantasia was doing the hokey pokey. Both need to get reps in as small forwards before we can make any kind of judgement.
I’m probably in the minority in not thinking we need to trade out someone established because the mix is so toxic, it’s just missing a bruiser or two.
In the same way that we’ve seemingly gone tall at every available opportunity of late we now need to go really heavy on mids and hopefully nail a couple, not something I think Dodoro is capable of doing.