Analysis The Disciples of Daniel the Diminutive, elite footballer

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Doggy Dan

Club Legend
Jul 29, 2014
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Daniel has improved his defensive ability markedly this year. With his ability to mop up down back and set us up offensively he would be close enough to AA half back flanker at that moment
 

NthBondiDoggies

All Australian
Jan 18, 2011
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This is the point. Any small Backman can be isolated. Many of the examples of him being out marked would have been the same result for any of our smaller defenders. Against Mason Cox even Cordy looks like a mouse.

He isn’t that he is playing on a larger defender it is just he has elite endurance and reads the play better than most so anticipates and gets to the open player faster. If he doesn’t go it is a mark on an open player with no pressure - any other small Backman (and we do need some) would struggle also. He just has that jack Russell “go any animal no matter the size”. He has also really improved his tackling and is he can keep that going he keeps the pressure on.

We used to talk about JJ more in this way - still happens but focus is on Caleb. Defensively he is rarely beaten by even medium sized forwards in the air.

And now we have teams tagging him - not bad for a player many want to drop or move to a different role.

I can’t recall a game we lose because of his height or even him playing a stinker. But I can recall many games he was in the bests and cut the opposition up.
 

Next Waiting

Premiership Player
Jan 19, 2014
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This is the point. Any small Backman can be isolated. Many of the examples of him being out marked would have been the same result for any of our smaller defenders. Against Mason Cox even Cordy looks like a mouse.

He isn’t that he is playing on a larger defender it is just he has elite endurance and reads the play better than most so anticipates and gets to the open player faster. If he doesn’t go it is a mark on an open player with no pressure - any other small Backman (and we do need some) would struggle also. He just has that jack Russell “go any animal no matter the size”. He has also really improved his tackling and is he can keep that going he keeps the pressure on.

We used to talk about JJ more in this way - still happens but focus is on Caleb. Defensively he is rarely beaten by even medium sized forwards in the air.

And now we have teams tagging him - not bad for a player many want to drop or move to a different role.

I can’t recall a game we lose because of his height or even him playing a stinker. But I can recall many games he was in the bests and cut the opposition up.
I've been pleasantly surprised by how many significantly taller players he has been able to spoil, especially around the ground. That takes impeccable timing when you're giving away that much physical advantage.

As you suggest, a lot of small defenders are going to struggle one on one from a quick centre clearance. He's no exception there.
 

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Mattdougie

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 29, 2013
16,628
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This is the point. Any small Backman can be isolated. Many of the examples of him being out marked would have been the same result for any of our smaller defenders. Against Mason Cox even Cordy looks like a mouse.

He isn’t that he is playing on a larger defender it is just he has elite endurance and reads the play better than most so anticipates and gets to the open player faster. If he doesn’t go it is a mark on an open player with no pressure - any other small Backman (and we do need some) would struggle also. He just has that jack Russell “go any animal no matter the size”. He has also really improved his tackling and is he can keep that going he keeps the pressure on.

We used to talk about JJ more in this way - still happens but focus is on Caleb. Defensively he is rarely beaten by even medium sized forwards in the air.

And now we have teams tagging him - not bad for a player many want to drop or move to a different role.

I can’t recall a game we lose because of his height or even him playing a stinker. But I can recall many games he was in the bests and cut the opposition up.
Honest question

Can you recall many games where he plays really well when we lose?
 

Charlie Bucket

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Nov 16, 2015
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It's hard to get Brownlow votes in losing teams, but Caleb did it 3 times last year alone, vs North, West Coast and Collingwood. Racked up 29, 34 & 35 possessions in those games.
Yep, forgot about the WC game. 34 disposals at 94% efficiency. Was a scary game by him.

Outstanding performances by CD in 7 of the 10 losses he played in last year.
 

Mattdougie

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 29, 2013
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Funny how this thread goes silent when we lose

lol well Caleb was ok last night but some of you rate games on one single stats of possessions with zero context so keep thinking he is going to help us contend at HB while I will continue to doubt it.
 

immortalmike

Brownlow Medallist
Feb 11, 2008
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Funny how this thread goes silent when we lose

lol well Caleb was ok last night but some of you rate games on one single stats of possessions with zero context so keep thinking he is going to help us contend at HB while I will continue to doubt it.
You don't think he's improved markedly this year MD? I have struggled with him in the role in the past too.

I think he's definitely been better with his defensive nous and core strength. He's much harder to brush aside and players genuinely struggle to move him when he's over the ball. Even his kickouts tend to be smarter with him playing on to get more meters more often than not also.
 

True Dog

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You don't think he's improved markedly this year MD? I have struggled with him in the role in the past too.

I think he's definitely been better with his defensive nous and core strength. He's much harder to brush aside and players genuinely struggle to move him when he's over the ball. Even his kickouts tend to be smarter with him playing on to get more meters more often than not also.
Great call IM, he’s definitely improved his core strength and is a lot harder to move off the ball and embraces contact.. Not sure the defensive liability argument stacks up any more tbh, every team has a balance of defensive and attacking players in there defence. I’d have him in my backline before Saad, McKenna or Fantasia just saying...
 

Mattdougie

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 29, 2013
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You don't think he's improved markedly this year MD? I have struggled with him in the role in the past too.

I think he's definitely been better with his defensive nous and core strength. He's much harder to brush aside and players genuinely struggle to move him when he's over the ball. Even his kickouts tend to be smarter with him playing on to get more meters more often than not also.
I’ve never actually said he isn’t good at the role he plays when we win. Never said he isn’t a handy footballer that shouldn’t be in the team.

And honestly I’m not sure if he has improved or it’s the team improving IN SOME GAMES that helps him. In our losses this year he had been poor(as everyone has) and I still don’t think he will work in the backline against the better teams and nothing this year has changed that opinion. They stretch us and he is near useless when isolated.

His tackling has definitely improved but when I see a couple efforts in the Carlton game where he basically gave up a contested mark without trying Ir enforces my opinion.

Hopefully Duryea comes back in and Caleb can play a link role from half way to forwards that we really do lack And I think he would be far more use to a successful finals team
 

immortalmike

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I’ve never actually said he isn’t good at the role he plays when we win. Never said he isn’t a handy footballer that shouldn’t be in the team.

And honestly I’m not sure if he has improved or it’s the team improving IN SOME GAMES that helps him. In our losses this year he had been poor(as everyone has) and I still don’t think he will work in the backline against the better teams and nothing this year has changed that opinion. They stretch us and he is near useless when isolated.

His tackling has definitely improved but when I see a couple efforts in the Carlton game where he basically gave up a contested mark without trying Ir enforces my opinion.

Hopefully Duryea comes back in and Caleb can play a link role from half way to forwards that we really do lack And I think he would be far more use to a successful finals team
Far enough. Well reasoned post.
Either way I think having him play back there will improve his defensive awareness if he were to move up the ground, which I'd also like to see at some point.
 

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LittleG

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 18, 2015
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One of our best in a close win.

Was he the difference.... we’ll without him we lose. I wouldn’t say he was BOG but certainly very very good.
 

weltschmerz

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May 23, 2019
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If the ball's in our backline and one of our defenders gets hold of it, I'd want that defender to be Caleb. His efficiency by foot is consistently great.
 

DognBones

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Sep 3, 2007
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These are some of Caleb Daniel's strengths:
Best reader of the ball in the team
Best wet weather footballer in the team (or at least on a par with Libba)
Best player at ground level in the team (for obvious reasons I admit)
Best deliverer of the ball in the team (with a few stuffups like everyone else)
Best player who can turn a moment of crisis into a positive (perhaps Bont is more spectacular at this)

Would he get a game in all 17 other teams? In my opinion, most definitely.
Will he be beaten in the air occasionally by taller opponents? Of course, but nowhere near as much as one would think from a player his size.
Is he one of the first players picked each week when the match committee sit down for team selection? Absolutely, in the top 8 at least IMO.
We can debate his worth until the cows come home but Daniel is an integral part of our team and should get the kudos he deserves.
 

lachy

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Jul 5, 2004
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I always find it interesting that if anyone questions Calebs weaknesses deep back they are in someway questioning either his ability or worth to the team.

I still.don't like him deep back

Caleb is an exceptional footballer. High back through mid he is becoming one of the the best in the league. I still would love him more mid forward now, its not a negative, he is becoming that good

On SM-G975F using BigFooty.com mobile app
 

Deadly Dunkley

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Dec 18, 2015
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Dunno if we are watching the same player, he’s one of my favs and a top 5 player on our list imo, ball use elite
Not saying he can’t play - just prefer watching Bont, the emergence of English, Naughton and a few others. He’s a good player but he played out if his skin today. Hope he does the same next week as Freo are gunna be a bloody tough match up for our undersized backline....
 

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