Opinion The Bye: Optimistic or pessimistic for the rest of the season?

Where do we finish in 2021?

  • Top 4

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Scrape into finals

    Votes: 5 6.8%
  • 9th-11th

    Votes: 41 55.4%
  • 12th-14th

    Votes: 28 37.8%
  • 15th-17th

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Wooden spooners

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    74
  • Poll closed .

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Lore

Moderator ❀
Dec 14, 2015
24,709
33,035
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Essendon
Given it's the bye for us now, I thought it was interesting to reflect on some of the posts and the poll from the start of the year;

Poll results: Where do we finish in 2021?
Screen Shot 2021-06-06 at 11.50.00.png

League season results to the middle of R12:
Screen Shot 2021-06-06 at 11.51.57.png

We still have games to play against Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Geelong, Gold Coast and Adelaide, plus return fixtures against Sydney (we lost by 3 points last time), GWS (we lost by 2 points), Hawthorn (we lost by 1 point), Collingwood (we won by 24 points) and North Melbourne (we won by 72 points).

Our starting midfield is down to Merrett and Parish, but we should be getting a few others back from injury.

So I'd say we're not likely to finish bottom 3, haha. That looks pretty well sewn up. But beyond that opinion may vary, and finals are at least a mathematical chance.

So how many more games can we win? Where do you think we finish on the ladder? And how different is that from your predictions and optimism/pessimism compared to the start of the year?
 

Megabattimus

Club Legend
Oct 6, 2020
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I'd love another scalp so I'm hoping we can knock off at least one of Melbourne, Geelong and Bulldogs on the run home. Geelong seem the most gettable of those three and doing it in Geelong would be extra special.

Other than that, would love to beat all of Hawthorn, Adelaide, North, GWS, Sydney, Gold Coast and Collingwood. Should go into favourites against most of those and I'd be okay with losing either the Sydney or GWS game.

We don't have the depth to make a finals run so best case scenario is finishing 9th or 10th with 10-11 wins and a percentage still in the 100s. If we sneak into the eight there's every chance we just get smashed in an Elimination Final again, which would be super depressing.

On Pixel 3 using BigFooty.com mobile app
 

AFLXFACTOR

Draftee
Feb 16, 2018
15
12
AFL Club
Essendon
Cautiously optimistic. I thought we did pretty well to bring it to Richmond. We really had to make them work hard for the points. Too many misses in the end. I'm hoping we at least make the finals and win one.
 

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BombersDave

Debutant
Oct 21, 2020
103
142
AFL Club
Essendon
I'm still optimistic. At the start of the year I only wanted to get games into the kids and didn't care about win/loss record. We have been playing the kids which has been a massive tick and got more wins than I initially expected. It was also my hope we began playing with a discernable gameplan to entice the buy in from Merritt etc to sign on and I feel we're well on our way to doing that. My hopes for the 2nd half are to persist with the kids. Really hope with our injuries we play Perkins more in the guts and hope Reid gets to string some games together. Would think 5 more wins should be an absolute minimum and then a chance to win the 50/50 matches.
 

Seb78

Premiership Player
Aug 27, 2008
3,223
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9-11th for mine. Not a terrible result either. I think GWS potentially take WC spot in the 8.
A solid pre season especially for the younger guys. Luck for once with injuries, another good draft/trade in the off season, and 2022 looks like it could be a ripper year.
 

silk

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Sep 10, 2006
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I'm not worried about the rest of this season at all. We have already shown that we're are in the right track and I'd like to see us keep building on that. Keep getting games into Jones, Perkins, Cox etc. Hopefully we don't do anything stupid in the offseason and take our picks whenever they are to the draft.
 

eth-dog

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Jan 11, 2007
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I think we'll win 8-10 games for the year and finish between 11th and 15th in there. Hawthorne, North, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Collingwood are games I see us being around the mark for
 

Mr Bultitude

All Australian
Jul 20, 2019
957
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I'm optimistic we will see what's been happening for the rest of the season: playing our youth and continuing to execute a clear game plan. Optimistic I'll be enjoying Essendon for our remaining matches. Optimistic that we'll make a solid statement in our 150th year.
 

andleanback

Premiership Player
Aug 21, 2016
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Midfield is really going to get strained with Mcgrath going down. At the same time it’ll be good to see if anyone stands up and takes the opportunity to prove themselves in there. 8-10 wins will be a fair result imo, there’s really no benefit in limping into finals again and getting toweled up by a port or Richmond. Hopefully Draper is back in after the bye to help out parish and merrett.
 

acm21

Club Legend
May 7, 2019
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9-11 is probably where it will be. Can see wining the majority of the return legs, and hopefully pick up some of the leftovers. If we do get to the finals I hope we can atleast be competitive in the game (which is more likely this year then the previous seasons). I agree with silk , They've shown what they can do and will be built on through the rest of the year and we'll see some consistent performances and wins next year.
 

fishardansin

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Apr 6, 2008
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Judging by the last 10 min our boys definitely need a week off. They were cooked.

After such a successful block of games, it is a great time to reassess and change the midfield to cover McGrath, which won't be easy with Shiel and Caldwell still a way off.

Also, to sound a bit like a hypocrite, as I have been keen on Hooker to stay forward since 2017, but given Phillips good form, yes he made some errors in the first term last night but I think he's been very good apart from that, I'd like to find a way to fit Draper and 2MP into our side after the break with Phillips staying in. I think we can rotate Hooker forward and back and out of the side to have him as height support down back when there is an opponent that won't take too much advantage of how slow he's got. However, alongside Stringer and Tippa as the X-factor, I think 2MP as stay-at-home CHF then Draper and Phillips swapping between time in the goals square and time on the ball is the way to go. I'd have Draper 40% ruck and Phillips 60% ruck, based on Draper being more dynamic and Phillips having more km in his legs. If Draper goes a long way past Phillips and is capable of 80% ruck time then Phillips will have to make way with 2MP doing the extra 20% rucking and Hooker becoming a stay at home forward again.

With Reid and our suite of tall defenders developing in VFL, it would be good for our backline to see Ridley, Francis and Laverde play alongside two tall defenders in Stewart and Hooker for patches in games.

So that is forward and back, I think that can also combine to have an influence on the midfield. I'd like to see one of Tippa and Stringer in each centre bounce and have Perkins start at half-forward but then run around as a midfielder. I would also have Hind and Heppell playing small midfield minutes, possibly Redman as well. Ridley has demonstrated he can play on smalls and so can Francis. Laverde's game on Darling shows he can run with a mid-sized forward. Yes, Darling is KPP size, but his "thing" is that he covers the ground like a medium forward.

Without outright tanking I think we can give up on the prospect of a top 5 draft pick. I still think it will be top 10 and I hope we can go to the draft with that and find a half-forward or mid with some x-factor. I think McGrath and Langford's progress this year along with Perkins shows that we are going to be fine in the contest. We have Parish and Merrett able to contribute to that contest and add a whole lot of class to the first real disposal after gaining possession too. On top of that, we have Shiel and Caldwell. We don't need to sell the first-round pick for Dunkley anymore. I would be interested in getting Matheson though as a fringe player at Brisbane who has good size for a mid and we have no doubt that he and Parish will combine well. Not sure about Wanganeen, both if he'll be an amazing prospect or if he'll nominate Essendon. However, clearly, we have two speedy players for forward pocket and half-forward in the Davey twins. Let's hope Mosquito can come back from that knee and his time off too.

So, considering all of that I'd like to see us play a team each week that has an eye on both the future and being competitive each week. Something like:

Tippa Draper Stringer
Perkins 2MP Jones
Cox Lanford Redman
Heppell Laverde Hind
Stewart Francis Ridley

Phillips Parish Merrett

Hooker Waterman Ham (Guelfi/Ambrose/Durham/Hird)

Then later in the year (hopefully) we have McGrath, Shiel, Smith, Reid, Hurley, Zaka, and Caldwell all pushing for games. I'd also like to see Hooker given a week off every month. When he's out we can set up with our ruckman a kick behind the play and the FF doing ruck work forward of center.

Clearly, that side will go in as the underdog against Melbourne, Doggies, Geelong, Port and Richmond but I'd back them as 50/50 against all mid-table teams and favourites against anyone below us on the ladder. Of course, with the proviso that they keep bringing the energy of the last month and working within the system, or even improving their application of it.
 

fishardansin

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 6, 2008
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ps, I know it isn't the perfect thread to post that into, but I think it was the best of what was available on the main page. I also think that if all things go as supporters hope for 8-11 is possible, but 11- 13 is most probable.
 

Bjchan13

Premiership Player
Jul 23, 2018
3,376
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AFL Club
Essendon
I originally said 11 wins and i still think we can get them. But i think it was more about seeing an improved gameplan/mindset/energy under Truck and Co and i think we've seen that. The kids have sparked us, our senior players have showed a good attitude and we've seen improvement from a variety of players as well. All this while dealing with some significant injuries. If we produce a similiar effort for the 2nd half of the year its a big tick from me. Also, Merrett feels like hes staying. His leadership has been massive this year.

No matter where we finish on the ladder i think its obvious we still need to keep building through the draft. Keep using our picks. At the same time though, smart pick ups like Hind, Wright, Caldwell need to be targeted when available. Im comfortable that Truck, Dodo and Brasher are all on the same page here. No shortcuts. We've got the oppurtunity to build properly for the first time in a long time.

From what ive seen this year i would not be surprised at all to see us play finals next year and if Truck can genuinely instill this blue collar work ethic on the young group and essentially change our culture, i think next time we do make the 8 we might actually have a gameplan that is sustainable and stands up in the heat of a final.
 

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TheGrizz

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Sep 29, 2016
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Realistically I am counting losses against Melbourne, Geelong and the Western Bulldogs.

I think we are in with a punchers chance against Sydney and GWS in Victoria and at least a 50/50 shot against Adelaide at home and Gold Coast away.
If we take 2/4 from that group of games that would be a pass.

Otherwise we should be favourites against Collingwood, Hawkes, Norf.

That puts us a 10 wins for the year, which considering I had us pegged for 6 or 7 wins before round 1, is a wonderful effort

That being said, there is every chance that being a young team we could crash into a heap to end the year, particularly with 3 first choice mids out for a decent chunk of time in McGrath, Caldwell and Shiel.

I am just looking to see improvement in style, amd being competitive in games for longer, and blooding some more young guys when we can.

I think our percentage will be more of a telling indication of our progress than our win/loss margin.
 

Bowakawa

Major Leagues
Sep 8, 2010
3,813
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Essendon
Don’t think we’ll make finals but still optimistic.
If anything I’m curious and a little nervous about when we have a healthy list again. Expectations will be high during the off-season and it’ll probably take a while to gel early next season. Surely we won’t take Parish off ball again? How much does our 22 change? Whose roles change for Caldwell and Shiel? What’s Shiel’s role next year? Who’s our #1 target up forward if Hooker retires?
 

acm21

Club Legend
May 7, 2019
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Our percentage has been quite good considering our ladder position and games won. Couple which could of gone our way.
 

Goat Hird

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Apr 30, 2017
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Just want the boys to do enough to prove to merrett that he can win with this group. I also want another good draft. The top 8 we see is pretty much set. We'll finish around 10th, 11th and have a top 10 pick.
 

citizen-erased

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 11, 2007
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Gotta admit, chalk and cheese on the expectations and what this season has been.
too many revelations to wax lyrical on.

I think we have deficiencies that will get worked on, particularly defensive.
But effort has been fairly non negotiable. I like that.

We're a bit off the top 6. But that's ok given a lot of us were worried about finishing bottom 2.
Another 4 or 5 wins would be nice.
Would be nice to take out the hawks, swans & pies again.
Please don't lose to North.
 

Towno78

Premiership Player
Nov 6, 2009
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We have been looking great at times this year. Really excited for the future.

But we will fade badly for the rest of the year. We have fu** all depth, particularly in the middle, and a growing injury list.

If we escape bottom 4, it won't be by much. And I'm not bothered by that, so long as the players are still playing the way we want to play and laying the groundwork for next year.
 

MiguelM

Club Legend
Feb 22, 2014
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Wins & losses don't matter so much. Just get games into kids and fringe players.

Drill the defensive game into our group.

I am more positive on our team than I have been for ten years, we have out spine sorted & midfield well on the way esp with the emergence of Parish.

Need to find replacement for Hooker, another big mid & a silky outside runner, Bolton type.

If we can get a good run with injuries, we will make the eight next year IMO.

Also, players seem to love Rutten who hasn't put a foot wrong. Connecting with the club history is a masterstroke. It was only 8 months ago we were a rabble.

Also, hoping Parish and Merrett will sign prior to season end.
 

Macca18

EFC
Jul 6, 2009
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After Round 12:

2017 - 6 wins, 6 losses (102%)
2018 - 5 wins, 7 losses (90%)
2019 - 5 wins, 6 losses (102%)
2020 - 5 wins, 1 draw, 5 losses (86%)

2021 - 5 wins, 7 losses (102%)

So similar across the board, yep, but I’d argue the 2021 results so far and general direction far outweigh anything from those previous seasons.
 

JT_the_Man

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I think I picked us to finish around 11-11 heading into the year and had us finishing 10th or so, and I think we’ll finish around a similar mark. I’ll be picking us to win in 7 of our remaining 10, but don’t necessarily expect us to win all of them.

I also said heading in that our ladder position may end up flattering us due to a weak fixture. If we were to make finals I’d say our fixture has played a massive part, although I’m confident that making it can only be a positive for our group.

Midfield depth will be seriously tested without McGrath. Will be interesting to see how they go until Shiel (I’m assuming he’s back before McGrath?) gets back.
 

Ati Tude

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Mar 20, 2018
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Have enjoyed watching the kids play. Has definitely been a better year than expected, but expectations were low. I think the biggest plus is that Truck seems like he has a plan at the players are buying into it. Definitely a lot to get better at and experience needed for our players but tons of good signs. Still plenty of upside given we have essentially been without Shiel, Caldwell and Draper for most of the year.

Really hope we can get games into Reid before end of the year to give him more of a taste of it. Not sure Stewart is a medium term option so desperately need Reid to come on. We need another key forward to replace Hooker too. Eyre or Baldwin might do it but feels we need to get lucky there. I still think that medium term, Cox is our 3rd tall forward who can run a defender off his feet Nick Riewoldt style. But happy for Nik to be getting games on a wing at the moment.

Massive bonus for us this year with the form of Hind and Laverde. Francis been good too. But we do need to get a better defensive system as we can be leakish. Liked Redman's season too.

I expect we will have some inconsistency over the 2nd half especially given lack of midfield depth. Would be massive to win 1 of the 3 tough games (Cats, Dees, Dogs) and not lose to Norf, Hawkes or Pies.
 

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