Strategy The bloody forward line!

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Bunk Moreland

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Had threads in previous years but they all seem closed, so...

While the midfield seems to have been all the focus of recruiting and improvement, I think this is the area we really need to bed down heading into 2021.

Due largely to injury it hasn't functioned consistently since 2017. That's three years now. It surely needs some attention. We've relied on injury-prone players since 2017 and it's let us down, time and time again.

Stringer: no-brainer and our best forward.

Hooker: think the time has come to return him forward permanently. His lack of agility is a bit of a problem - so he needs to be surrounded by quicker teammates - but he more than makes up for it with presence and marking. Given we have Hurley, BZT, Ambrose, Ridley and Francis, it's tough to argue that he's not now better utilised forward.

Tipungwuti: super-dangerous small forward.

Langford: I'm one that wishes we'd play him largely as a permanent forward. He had great hands, seems to position well and is a great kick for goal. I think he has the potential to be a solid Jack Gunston-type, rather than a hit-and-miss "midfielder".

Daniher: the big one. I really don't know what to say about him? He gets fit or he doesn't, he stays or he goes. Obviously he's either a permanent fixture, or we look for a repalcement.

Fantasia: great when 'on'... but the injuries. Doing calves now, which isn't a great sign.

Laverde: don't mind him, but will we ever see him get a run at it?

Stewart: yet another injury-prone forward. Spending basically three years out of the game is going to hurt anybody. Who knows whether he can get back?

McKernan: reckon he looked good in 2018 and 2019, but seems to have regressed a little this year. Needs help. Even of he's not a best-22 selection, I wouldn't be against keep him around. His size and ability to play in the ruck makes him good depth.

Smith: effective mid / half forward, though doesn't quite seem fit... or something.

Snelling: good nuisance value, I don't mind him.

Townsend: can be effective but a bit of a blunt instrument.

Cahill: worth persisting with for a bit, I think. Knows where the goals are.

Begley: personally, I hope to see more on him in the midfield. But I guess we'll see.

Plus we have the young blokes who haven't played yet.

So what?

Well, firstly, I don't think we can spend another year "hoping" for our best forward line to get fit. It's just not going to happen with so many long-term, injury prone players.

I'd look to rebuild the core of the forward line. And it'd revolve around Hooker, Stringer, Langford and Tipungwuti.

The injured: I don't think we can carry all of Daniher, Fantasia, Stewart and Laverde any longer. It's four spots on our list dedicated to forwards who barely get on the park. Obviously you can keep 1-2 around, but having this many is becoming a huge burden and impacting our planning. Revolves around Daniher, obviously... if he happens to stay, then I don't think we can keep both of Stewart and Laverde - both of whom are out of contract. How many perennially injured forwards can we have on the list?

I'd be happy to shop Fantasia - again he's just too injury prone. No idea what we'd fetch. Perhaps a mid-late second-rounder.

End of ramble. Shoot it down.
 
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Duckworth

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I wouldn't try to rebuild around Hooker, who is in the twilight of his career. At that point you may as well back in Jones and gift him a couple of games (as a 3rd tall) alongside Mckernan and Stringer.

Forward line is the biggest weakness in the team. Snelling starts forward but is effectively playing as a mid up the ground.
 

Bunk Moreland

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I wouldn't try to rebuild around Hooker, who is in the twilight of his career. At that point you may as well back in Jones and gift him a couple of games (as a 3rd tall) alongside Mckernan and Stringer.

Forward line is the biggest weakness in the team. Snelling starts forward but is effectively playing as a mid up the ground.
Yep, I guess i mean for 2021. Hooker isn't a long-term option, but I think would be best used forward for the remainder of his career.
 

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blitzer

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I agree with a lot of the OP.
For mine the 3 guys we have that should be locks for the medium term (say 3+ years) are:
Stringer, Tippa and Langford. The good news is Tippa and Langford are both durable. Stringer is so so durability wise. Langford may not be as proven but I love his forward line play he just knows how to lead, take a mark and then kick straight.
Now how to round out the forward line. Well ideally I'd like two talls and another small forward to give us a good balance up forward.
For this year I'd round it out with Daniher, Hooker and Smith as my first choice with McKernan, Stewart,McKenna, Townsend, Fantasia as the AFL ready backups.

For the longer term: Well Hooker isn't going to be around that long (I reckon he'll either retire this year or may play on 2021 depending on whether he stays healthy for the rest of the year) so lets hope that one of those promising tall types we've got running around in scratch matches works out: Crauford, Jones and Bryan (I know two of them are supposed to be more ruck than forward but we'll see).
Daniher situation will sort itself out by the end of the year one way or another. Both fitness and contract wise.
I really like the look of young Cahill personally but we've got tons of small forward options so i'll just say we are well covered there.
I don't expect Laverde or Fantasia to ever sort out their body/form issues so they aren't in my long term thinking. Daniher is the only one that I would persist with that's been extremely injury prone just because he's going to be so hard to replace.

By the end of the year and subsequent trade period I hope we are going into next year with a forward line of 4-5 guys that are durable enough to play together for most of a season so we can actually build up synergy with each other and the midfield. Tall forwards look like they will be an issue for us for the forseeable future unless Daniher recovers and re-commits to us and one of our young tall forwards really exceeds expectations. McKernan is a stop gap solution.
 

Lore

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There is another thread from the middle of last year, but it's good to have a new one for a new year. Things change a bit each season.

Agree that Hooker is probably best used forward. In addition to his marking and his size, he also has the ability to direct troops. He's certainly played on enough forwards in his time, he must have some idea, and I'm pretty sure he's trained forward a bit the last few years as well. Currently injured but would be nice to see him come into the forward line when he's healed up. Getting old man injuries :( He's contracted to 2021 so I think with the backline as it is he is definitely more needed forward.

Also agree we can't have half our permanent long term forwards permanently on the long term injury list.

Smack is going on 30, be interesting to see how much longer we carry a journeyman who isn't performing. I think so long as he's getting games he'll be kept though, we already moved on Brown so we don't really have any other mature cover in that area. His presence on the list likely correlates directly with the number of injury-prone tall forwards we have, and he will continue to be a presence year on year until that issue is resolved. Looks like Phillips and Bellchambers want his spot too.

I'd personally have more belief in Laverde than Stewart. Was just getting some form when he got that syndesmosis injury, whereas I haven't seen Stewart in form for ages. Begley seems to be in the midfield in the 2nd atm. He was going alright before the ACL I think.

We need to keep Stringer healthy. He's had his fair share of injuries as well, though thankfully not LTIs.

Townsend hopefully doesn't have any real damage, but looking at the pic of his face after that game there's at least a black eye, could well be a fractured cheekbone or eye socket. Guess we find out after there's been scans or an injury update.

Walla is fast becoming our most experienced forward, few more games and he'll go past Joe, and then Stringer only has 30 on him.

Of the newbies;

Bryan and Crauford (rucks) have been playing both forward and defence, sometimes against each other and swapping jumpers each quarter. Not sure either of them are that close but desperate times, desperate measures. Least they're tall and healthy.

Gown had a good 6-8 months out with repeated fractures in his foot, missed his first full pre-season, so he's back in training now and the knock on him seems to relate to the timing of his marking. I remember Joe being a deadset baby giraffe in his first few games, flying for speccies and then face-planting without the ball. I'd rather see Gown doing that than be bombing it on the head of a 174cm crumber.

Jones finally played his first scratch match coming off injury, seemed okay I think it was 20 minutes. Probably two more scratch matches to build up to full game time and then senior selection will be dependent on his form, conditioning and opportunities. Might get lucky but I reckon he'll be available around the same time as Joe and Jake, could get a debut and then come out because Stringer is available or something.

I think McBride might be injured, he's played 1 scratch match in a month. Might have played defence that day too.

We have plenty of smalls to pick from, but most don't have much or any experience. McQuillan seems to be playing in defence and Mosquito is off half-back in the scratch matches atm.


There's also something odd going on with the forwards/defenders, in terms of the only defender that isn't injured and didn't play on Friday was Gleeson, as I said some of our small forwards are playing defence in the scratch matches, Fantasia was moved to defence, McKenna forward. We seem to have too many smalls in the forward line and too many talls in defence, though most seem to have experience at both ends 🤔 If the smalls can go back then the talls can go forward - like Hooker or Francis forward, or even Redman.
 

TheFrenchCut

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I'm nervous we're going to do something silly regarding a tall forward if/when Joe leaves.

Long story short, Hooker forward is the right move. I'd build something around him, a tall, as well as three dangerous small forwards in Walla, Smith and Fantasia. Mozzie is another who interests me because I think he can create but also put pressure on.
 

freddy mercury

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I'm nervous we're going to do something silly regarding a tall forward if/when Joe leaves.

Long story short, Hooker forward is the right move. I'd build something around him, a tall, as well as three dangerous small forwards in Walla, Smith and Fantasia. Mozzie is another who interests me because I think he can create but also put pressure on.
He has one year left in him mate. If that. We shouldn't be playing him.
 

Yoda_

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When was the last time we had a young (18 / 19 year old) KPF draftee come in and play AFL &/or VFL from the start consistently in there first year? Pretty sure even Joe Daniher was injured in his first year. Steinberg?
 

Lore

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When was the last time we had a young (18 / 19 year old) KPF draftee come in and play AFL &/or VFL from the start consistently in there first year? Pretty sure even Joe Daniher was injured in his first year. Steinberg?
Last I heard the big guys take longer to mature physically, so if you have decent list management they shouldn't be straight into your best team because you should already have mature KPFs in those spots. Joe played five games in his first year (no more than 2 in a row starting Round 11). He came into the side permanently in 2014 and topped our goal kicking for the year with 28 goals. That was also the season that Hurley moved to defence, Carlisle went forward, and Gumby had been traded to Fremantle. Our third best goalkicker in both years was a ruckman (Bellchambers, then Ryder).
 

CBombers17

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Is Mosi out of the picture forward now? I must have missed why we are developing him as a bavk flanker?

I thought he was a 'classic small forward'?
 

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Kakkle

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When was the last time we had a young (18 / 19 year old) KPF draftee come in and play AFL &/or VFL from the start consistently in there first year? Pretty sure even Joe Daniher was injured in his first year. Steinberg?


He wasn't. I think he played every VFL game + the 5 in the AFL. Steinberg had a couple of stand out games as a forward in his first year, was odd that he never really got another run as a forward in the VFL.
 

Darealrath

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I'd look to rebuild the core of the forward line. And it'd revolve around Hooker, Stringer, Langford and Tipungwuti.

....
As much as I'd love Joe to return and commit his future to the team, this makes sense.

Hooker going forward is the only way to get KPD reps into BZT/Francis which is critical while Hurley is still around to guide them. Langford looks a natural up there and Stringer and Tippa need no explanation.

I'd trade Fantasia too. Between him and Joe we could have a reasonable draft hand and some cap space.

Only worries are:
  1. Would it be too tall to add one of Stewart/Jones/McKernan? Even Laverde? There's an argument for loading up on smaller types around Hooker, who you can be pretty confident won't be outmarked, and using him as a bit of an anchor within 30m of goal to base forward pressure around. But I'd like to see Jones get some senior footy.
  2. Do either Smith or Cahill have the legs to be genuine pressure forwards? Is Mozzie up to it? Should we even have specialists for this role or could you get by with rotating midfielders through here?
Ideally Stewart can use the remaining rounds to show he's up to standard as depth at a minimum. I'm guessing McKernan hangs around if Bellchambers is no longer at the club, though I wouldn't mind a hard decision being made on him.

I like Laverde but would prefer him given a shot further afield if his body can handle it (could he not playing Cutler's role? We could do with someone who can take a grab on the wing). Same with Begley.
 

ant555

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As much as I'd love Joe to return and commit his future to the team, this makes sense.

Hooker going forward is the only way to get KPD reps into BZT/Francis which is critical while Hurley is still around to guide them. Langford looks a natural up there and Stringer and Tippa need no explanation.

I'd trade Fantasia too. Between him and Joe we could have a reasonable draft hand and some cap space.

Only worries are:
  1. Would it be too tall to add one of Stewart/Jones/McKernan? Even Laverde? There's an argument for loading up on smaller types around Hooker, who you can be pretty confident won't be outmarked, and using him as a bit of an anchor within 30m of goal to base forward pressure around. But I'd like to see Jones get some senior footy.
  2. Do either Smith or Cahill have the legs to be genuine pressure forwards? Is Mozzie up to it? Should we even have specialists for this role or could you get by with rotating midfielders through here?
Ideally Stewart can use the remaining rounds to show he's up to standard as depth at a minimum. I'm guessing McKernan hangs around if Bellchambers is no longer at the club, though I wouldn't mind a hard decision being made on him.

I like Laverde but would prefer him given a shot further afield if his body can handle it (could he not playing Cutler's role? We could do with someone who can take a grab on the wing). Same with Begley.
If you are relying on Laverde to do anything other than play one nice game and then get injured then you will get burnt. De listed is the word I would be looking for.
 

DapperJong

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No to Hooker forward. He’d be similar to Lloyd’s final year but with 1/4 of the goals. That’s not progression.
 

Bunk Moreland

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As much as I'd love Joe to return and commit his future to the team, this makes sense.

Hooker going forward is the only way to get KPD reps into BZT/Francis which is critical while Hurley is still around to guide them. Langford looks a natural up there and Stringer and Tippa need no explanation.

I'd trade Fantasia too. Between him and Joe we could have a reasonable draft hand and some cap space.

Only worries are:
  1. Would it be too tall to add one of Stewart/Jones/McKernan? Even Laverde? There's an argument for loading up on smaller types around Hooker, who you can be pretty confident won't be outmarked, and using him as a bit of an anchor within 30m of goal to base forward pressure around. But I'd like to see Jones get some senior footy.
  2. Do either Smith or Cahill have the legs to be genuine pressure forwards? Is Mozzie up to it? Should we even have specialists for this role or could you get by with rotating midfielders through here?
Ideally Stewart can use the remaining rounds to show he's up to standard as depth at a minimum. I'm guessing McKernan hangs around if Bellchambers is no longer at the club, though I wouldn't mind a hard decision being made on him.

I like Laverde but would prefer him given a shot further afield if his body can handle it (could he not playing Cutler's role? We could do with someone who can take a grab on the wing). Same with Begley.
I’m not super concerned about being “too tall” because it’s often not the whole story with a taller player. What I wouldn’t want is another slower beast alongside Hooker. Fit, 2017-era Daniher or Stewart would be fine. They’re both tall but they’re mobile. As long as it’s somebody who can get up the ground a bit, it’s fine imo.

I just don’t think we can hold Daniher, Stewart and Laverde - plus Fantasia - and hope one or two of them works their way back to regular footy. We’ve done it for three seasons now and been burnt. I don’t know how much longer we can keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Daniher - probably gone. If he stays, we’ll nurse him.

Stewart - I think he basically has to play out the rest of this year and not show a sign of further injury. If he gets hurt again, I think he’s done.

Laverde - from here, I think he’ll struggle. He just does not get on the park. The fitness staff would want to have major confidence to keep him from here I think. The only thing he really has going for him is this latest injury isn’t an “injury prone” one... it was just an impact.

Fantasia - as I’ve said, I’d cut our losses and get what we can. We’re not short on small forwards. A significant calf injury for a bloke with his history is bad news.
 

DapperJong

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It’s probably a one-year solution but, aside from us finding one via trade, we probably don’t have many other options.
It depends if you think we are in contention any time soon, I think. Our great white Hope in Daniher was meant to be our 5 year development into our big, great forward but obviously it just hasn’t worked out. I think you need to start again and focus on Jones/Crauford etc
 

Zach Package

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It depends if you think we are in contention any time soon, I think. Our great white Hope in Daniher was meant to be our 5 year development into our big, great forward but obviously it just hasn’t worked out. I think you need to start again and focus on Jones/Crauford etc
Devil’s advocate would be that Hooker would command the best defender and would in theory make it easier for Jones or Crauford or Bryan or whoever else.

Would also mean that more favourable match ups for a Townsend/Stringer/Laverde type player.

An enormous shame that that 2017 forward line essentially blew up, they were so dangerous and fun to watch, they just never got the chance to build on the gains they made.
 

Lore

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Is Mosi out of the picture forward now? I must have missed why we are developing him as a bavk flanker?

I thought he was a 'classic small forward'?
Same thing as Fantasia, McKenna and Walla. They have all played both positions in their career as either a creative forward with midfield rotations or attacking off the HBF. No one has said he's permanently anywhere, but his last scratch match player review said:

"He pretty much played the whole game on the half-back flank. He's learning to attack and get back to find his man as quick as he can, because he's such an attacking and aggressive half-back. He wins his own ball and gets in great positions to be used. It was another good learning game for him."

It is also worth noting that scratch matches are 12/14/16 a side with top-ups from other clubs, so players are necessarily playing out of position at times just to get a run.
 

CBombers17

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Same thing as Fantasia, McKenna and Walla. They have all played both positions in their career as either a creative forward with midfield rotations or attacking off the HBF. No one has said he's permanently anywhere, but his last scratch match player review said:

"He pretty much played the whole game on the half-back flank. He's learning to attack and get back to find his man as quick as he can, because he's such an attacking and aggressive half-back. He wins his own ball and gets in great positions to be used. It was another good learning game for him."

It is also worth noting that scratch matches are 12/14/16 a side with top-ups from other clubs, so players are necessarily playing out of position at times just to get a run.
Oh ok. Him not being mentioned in the OP and also the way he's spoke about as a half back (i'd read that scratch match review) made me wonder had i had missed his transition to a defender somewhere.
 

DapperJong

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Devil’s advocate would be that Hooker would command the best defender and would in theory make it easier for Jones or Crauford or Bryan or whoever else.

Would also mean that more favourable match ups for a Townsend/Stringer/Laverde type player.

An enormous shame that that 2017 forward line essentially blew up, they were so dangerous and fun to watch, they just never got the chance to build on the gains they made.
Why wouldn’t you want a Jones learning on the best defender?
 

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