It’s been like it for a few years now.Throwing has become a blight this season. You'd be forgiven for thinking that the umps have been instructed to let it go in order to keep the game flowing.
I do wonder if this has been a fitness issue in regards to our HFF's in the lead up to our season. Cripps, Venables and Rioli ( In Willies case an injury in the lead up) have all been injured or had a lack of pre-season which hasn't aloud them to push up the ground as easily. Cripps has built his fitness up enough to the point he is clocking up just as many K's as Gaff. Once Rioli gets back to peak fitness then look out!There definitely has been some amendments since the Geelong game - most notably the forward flankers are no longer playing strictly goal-side of their opponents and are pushing much higher up the ground, often into the defensive zone, helping to block lead-up areas of opposition forwards. This is also providing an additional counterattacking outlet as they are presenting in the corridor as soon as the defence is able to gain possession.
Cripps in particular is being deployed in a more expansive role as evidenced by the recent jump in his distance covered figures.
As for the Melbourne game, I'm in alignment with your thoughts. The Demons committed extras to the stoppages on the back of Gawn's ruck dominance and tried to emulate Port's play-on mentality to keep the defence from settling from there. Two things occurred in the last quarter that in my opinion proved decisive:
- Melbourne tired - Back-to-back road trips playing an exhaustive style that cannot be maintained for four quarters. As Gawn tired, his taps became less decisive and the clean clearances from Melbourne that caught out the defence earlier in the game dried up. With slower ball movement from the Demons and extras trying to get up the ground, McGovern and Hurn were able to zone off opponents and intercept mark.
- Change in possession mentality - Rather than trying to be clean and play perfect football it became don't think, get it forward and apply pressure. Lots of tap ons and flicks forward over trying to take outright possession and handball. With Melbourne's midfield guilty of following the ball, clearing the initial contest and tackle zone through knocking it forward allowed the spread of Eagles players waiting on the outside to become involved and move the ball quickly into attack, completely exposing the injury-impacted defence of the Demons.
Throwing the ball is a bit of a pet hate of mine. Propelling the ball forward with what is supposed to be the stationary hand (WB), throwing it over the head or dropping it to a teammate's advantage the second a tackle happens (Haw). Grrrr.Maybe I've just noticed it more in 2019.
Apologies for missing this one earlier.Dylan82
What do you make of the changes to our gameplan since you wrote the OP? Originally you suggested that a press would be a good backup for when oppo forwards were zoning off our defenders in order to create extra numbers at the stoppages. To my eye watching on TV this change seems to have been implemented to reasonably good effect. In recent weeks we are seeing all of Sheppard, Schofield, Jetta, McGovern, Cole getting possessions in the forward half. I'd also suggest we're seeing a lot less intercept marks from the guys we would usually expect to be taking them, but that would be an expected result of such a change, and based on the results, not a cause for concern.
One midfielder is notable for their absence here. Not mentioning any names. Lets just call him Dom S. or D. Sheed.Interesting to see our tackle numbers since the Geelong game.
We were getting in the 30-59 zone up to & including that game.
Since then 87, 51, 75, 100. So it looks like we have amped that area up to keep teams from running away with it easily in the midfield.
Looking at individual midfielders tackle stats:
Yeo had 10 in the first 10 rounds
7, 8, 12, 6, 16, 15 since then
Redden 15 in first 5 round - 13, 3, 2, 15 since then.
Shuey averaged about 6 for first 8 rounds - 12 & 10 last 2 games
Gaff, Hutchings, Rioli, Pettr. pretty consistent with tackles per game (3-4)
Masten was averaging 2 before being dropped
Out rucken have been doing ok with tackles getting 6-ish per game.
So it seems that Yeo, Shuey and Redden have bumped up the tackle output with the addition of Cripps.