Strategy The midfield

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Jeremias

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There has been a lot of discussion creeping into other threads about our midfield, but it deserves its own thread.

We enter 2020 still reliant on an experienced few, though the depth we have managed to build in this area of the ground is seriously impressive. We now have a glut of talent who could feature prominently, albeit many are very young and require further development.

The proof will as always be in the pudding, but it is very hard to not get excited about what this group may produce in 2020 and beyond, and it all starts in the midfield.

For a while now I have wanted to take a deeper look into our midfield, and 2020 is finally the year to do it.
I will be posting in this thread a weekly update on formations, success rates and any other stats relevant to the midfield debate.

In the meantime, I am keen to hear what you think is our optimal midfield setup come R1 vs the Tigers?
What are your expectations for our midfield group in 2020?
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of our midfield options, both individually and as a collective?
Are there any specific types you think we need to target come the player movement period at the end of 2020?

For reference, this is the midfield group we recently voted as being our consensus best 22:

C: Sam Walsh, Patrick Cripps, Will Setterfield
FOL: Matthew Kreuzer, Ed Curnow, Marc Murphy
INT: Sam Petrevski-Seton, Zac Fisher, Jack Newnes

Whether or not you agree with this as being our best setup to start the year, there is no doubt this is a very talented group. Even more telling perhaps is the caliber of footballers who would be waiting in reserve.

Have at it.
 

HARKER

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Patience is needed. Too early to tell. Young legs get a real working out during preseason esp under AR. Many are still tapering. Lets wait and see when the real stuff starts and give it a few rounds for the dust to settle. Then we can see who has made progress over the past 6 months in the off season. Then we have another 6 months of home and away games and all the development that that will bring. I am confident that things will seem much less uncertain by the end of this year.
I agree but other than Walsh, there's no one who's really jumped out and said, 'it's mine'
I'm not suggesting that they're all fails, but I simply don't know what that hierarchy will look like.

1. Cripps
2. Walsh

3 - 7. I don't know. Dow? Setterfield? Fisher? SPS? Stocker? Philp? Kennedy?

For me, it is a mystery as right now I have little confidence in nominating player x, y or z as being the next cab off the rank...and it does work that way.
 

therubbernub

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You see, I'd be worried about Collingwood also.
There isn't a lot underneath behind Pendlebury, Beams and Sidebottom and they're all on the downhill slide already, although Treloar and Adams are senior mainstays and they have a bona-fide bull in DeGoey who can actually play midfield.

The writer above identified our midfield as a bit of a mystery and for now, I can see why that may be the case.
Which players are next cab off the rank should Murphy & ECurnow retire at years end?
Ask that question of every AFL team- same answer. Its the nature of the beast, your mature dependable mids dont get there overnight and when they do they have limited time there before retirement looms. The 4-5 year window is what most get. then there are those that get out of the blocks really quickly eg Judd, Walsh, Selwood- who are worth their weight in gold.
 

therubbernub

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Murphy isn't far from 33. The situation may well be taken out of his hands and we also have to be considering for life after ECurnow.
Some the younger guys have to 'put their hand up' this year. I just don't know who those players may be and maybe the club isn't quite sure either.

I want it to be Setterfield and Dow, given what that would do to the whole, but nothing here is for certain.
The pieces may well fall into place, but I don't think that's how it works. We'll see.
Patience ... Fretting about it now does no one any good
 

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therubbernub

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.....which is why I've thought prioritising a developed big bodied A grade mid is and continues to be the #1 priority and missing link at Carlton followed by the open question marks on the long term fitness of both Harry and Charlie, followed by the open question marks over the long term potential of Cuningham/Setterfield/Dow/Stocker/Kennedy/LoB....

So many questions for 2020 to answer - interesting year up ahead with the real possibility of TV only games being played with compromised lists anyway as the corona virus starts to impact.

eg there is ZERO chance I have any interest in going to any mass gathering for the foreseeable future ...
me too- my mother in Law's birthday is coming up- I will have to unfortunately decline. I will however, make an exemption for her funeral though
 

CJMB

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GWS's mids seem to come on a lot quicker than ours.

After the somewhat more senior group, in Coniglio, Kelly, Ward, Whitfield they have

2016 - Taranto is already a front-liner.
2015 - Hopper really looks the goods and has already become a regular best 22 player.
2016 - Perryman is classy although playing a different position now.
2018 - Caldwell is impressive but maybe starved for opportunity.
2018 - Hately seems to be on the verge of a regular spot now.
2019 - Green looks like a gun already.

It seems they have a good idea of when to hold them and when to fold them.
Due to the nature of the beast, they've also had a pretty decent hand coming into each draft, especially when they've got academy players that are highly rated.

As long as they can keep 'turning a profit' on players like Shiel and get a bit of an academy discount every couple of years, the wheels should keep turning for them... business as usual.

Just having a look at sub-30 picks (bold are best 22/fringe 22/played last week):

2012: 1 Whitfield, 2 O'Rourke, 3 Plowman, 12 Jaksch, 14 Corr, 27 Stewart
2013: 1 Boyd, 2 Kelly, 14 McCarthy, 29 Lobb
2014: 4 Pickett, 6 Marchbank, 7 Ahern, 23 McKenna, 24 Steele
2015: 7 Hopper, 13 Kennedy, 16 Himmelberg
2016: 2 Taranto, 5 Setterfield, 14 Perryman, 20 Cumming
2017: 11 Bonar, 27 Daniels, 28 Taylor
2018: 11 Caldwell, 14 Hately, 22 O'Halloran, 24 Hill
2019: 4 Ash, 10 Green

There's 31 players there, of which 16 have left GWS. Isolating it just to mids, there's 16, of which 6 have left (O'Rourke, Setterfield, Ahern, Bonar, Kennedy, Steele).

Caldwell & O'Halloran seem the 'non-marquee' ones primed to leave next, with the likes of Hately, Ash & Green all getting games ahead of them now. Kinda feels like at GWS you might not have too many opportunities to break out and claim a spot, otherwise you'll get left behind.

Perhaps the way their mids, particularly inside mids, come on might be due to the type of player they're often drafting. Pretty solid, robust frames. Green, Hately, Taranto, Hopper... all solid kids.

We do really need to start to see our younger crop step up. Ideally, our '15 & '16 mids should be able to significantly impact games, after all they are in that same Taranto/Hopper/Perryman age bracket. Between Walsh, Setterfield, Petrevski-Seton, Fisher, Dow, O'Brien, Cuningham, Stocker, Kemp, Philp & Kennedy there's a bucketload of talent... now I want to see them start turning that into output & results (talking about their own football, not necessarily the match score, although that should improve as a byproduct!)
 

therubbernub

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Not sure what that means, but a couple of years ago Collingwood were regarded as having if not the best, then certainly one of the best midfields.
Things can change quickly though
and if one isn't properly prepared, things can go south very quickly.
Collingwood have put time into Sier and Wills but neither has shown up as being a long-term genuine mid quite yet.

Point was that we have many players we identify as midfielders but have we players that will take over from Murphy and ECurnow, without missing a beat.
As things stand right now, it is a mystery and just dropping in a list of names doesn't count.
A few years before that, they were regarded as a poor team- injuries had decimated them for 2-3 years. But it allowed them to get games into their young players and when their older injured players came back, suddenly overnight they had a top midfield.
 

therubbernub

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I wouldn't have said no to Coniglio. I was thrilled with that notion. They are two seperate issued though.

Yes, we do need goal-kickers but here's the thing - We've made huge mistakes by way of recruitment, drafting or development if one or two of -
Setterfield, Kennedy, Dow, Petrevski-Seton, Stocker, Fisher etc don't become genuine high-possession, quality inside or inside/outside midfielders.

Think about it and look at what we paid for those players. Someone has to come good and become genuine quality starting mids....but which ones?
This is the mystery.
Bit over the top dont you think?
 

HARKER

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Ask that question of every AFL team- same answer. Its the nature of the beast, your mature dependable mids dont get there overnight and when they do they have limited time there before retirement looms. The 4-5 year window is what most get. then there are those that get out of the blocks really quickly eg Judd, Walsh, Selwood- who are worth their weight in gold.
It's a discussion thread. :)

Lots can go right for some teams and plenty can go wrong for others.
On profile we have a really good balance i.e (in simplistic terms)
Grunt - Cripps, Stocker, Kennedy
Smarts - Walsh, Setterfield
Evasiveness and clean hands - Fisher, SPS
Speed & Power - Dow, Philp

By no means that's exactly right, but you get the idea.
I've simply posed the question as to who people feel will take the next step, this year.
 

therubbernub

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GWS's mids seem to come on a lot quicker than ours.

After the somewhat more senior group, in Coniglio, Kelly, Ward, Whitfield they have

2016 - Taranto is already a front-liner.
2015 - Hopper really looks the goods and has already become a regular best 22 player.
2016 - Perryman is classy although playing a different position now.
2018 - Caldwell is impressive but maybe starved for opportunity.
2018 - Hately seems to be on the verge of a regular spot now.
2019 - Green looks like a gun already.

It seems they have a good idea of when to hold them and when to fold them.
There is something to be said for adding young Mids into a group of top line mature other mids. They are way ahead of us in that regard
 

therubbernub

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Come on now. You can't be selective in not including the rest of that sentence.

Let's not all head down that path now. :)
I agree there is uncertainty, but it seems to me that your starting premise is that we might have failed with recruiting our mids. There are no certainties in drafting, but the law of averages usually work out. My main problem with the young mids we have atm is that they are fairly light. Fisher, SPS, Dow, LOB. This seems to have been address by SOS with Stocker and Kemp as the most recent additions- unfortunately Stocker is still behind in his fitness and Kemp has his ACL. Both these players could start impacting next year. So for now, in 2020 we have to make do with a smaller midfield sans Cripps
 

HARKER

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I agree there is uncertainty, but it seems to me that your starting premise is that we might have failed with recruiting our mids. There are no certainties in drafting, but the law of averages usually work out. My main problem with the young mids we have atm is that they are fairly light. Fisher, SPS, Dow, LOB. This seems to have been address by SOS with Stocker and Kemp as the most recent additions- unfortunately Stocker is still behind in his fitness and Kemp has his ACL. Both these players could start impacting next year. So for now, in 2020 we have to make do with a smaller midfield sans Cripps
It's not that at all, if one reads the sentence to its conclusion. :)

I could say that if the CFC don't make finals before 2025, it will be deemed to have been a failure in regards to our rebuild.
One can't then read that as; The CFC have been a failure, now can it? :)

OK, let's try it this way in regards to mids 25 and under, as it may be simpler.
Which do you think will be best?

1. Cripps
2. Walsh.....easy so far

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
 

therubbernub

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It's not that at all, if one reads the sentence to its conclusion. :)

I could say that if the CFC don't make finals before 2025, it will be deemed to have been a failure in regards to our rebuild.
One can't then read that as; The CFC have been a failure, now can it? :)

OK, let's try it this way in regards to mids 25 and under, as it may be simpler.
Which do you think will be best?

1. Cripps
2. Walsh.....easy so far

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
3. Martin
4. Stocker
5. Kemp
6. SPS
7. Dow/Fisher/Setterfield
 

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blue_trinity

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GWS's mids seem to come on a lot quicker than ours.

After the somewhat more senior group, in Coniglio, Kelly, Ward, Whitfield they have

2016 - Taranto is already a front-liner.
2015 - Hopper really looks the goods and has already become a regular best 22 player.
2016 - Perryman is classy although playing a different position now.
2018 - Caldwell is impressive but maybe starved for opportunity.
2018 - Hately seems to be on the verge of a regular spot now.
2019 - Green looks like a gun already.

It seems they have a good idea of when to hold them and when to fold them.
Taranto - pick 2, strong bodied junior. Maybe come on a bit better than expected, but not significantly

Hopper - would have gone close to pick 1 if not for academy. Was a bull junior who if anything has come on slower than expected

Perrymen - Pick 14, never really been a bonafide mid and won’t be going forward, come on about as expected

Caldwell - good value selection at pick
9. Was part of a group of 8 seriously good draftees that all could have staked a claim on pick 1. Gws lucky that Adelaide picked Jones ahead of him (even though I like jones as a player).
Was only an issue of staying injury free, which he largely has. Was always going to show signs of being a great player, come on as expected

Hately - again, towards the top end of an incredible strong draft. Man child that was always going to adapt fairly quickly at afl level. Probably looks a little better than I expected, but again, not significantly

Greene - would have likely gone pick 1 if not an academy pick. Mountain of a kid. Going to be a star. Little surprise there.

long story short. Yes, gws have selected well. Yes, they’ve been given a huge helping hand With academy picks at the top end and very high end draft selections.
They have developed well, but would have thought we have developed similarly when comparing high end selections i.e Wietering, Curnow, McKay, Sps, Walsh. The only one who has taken a bit of time is Dow, but he is on par with expected development.
 

Jeremias

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Amazing what a few preseason games can do to the minds of supporters.

One minute they’re talented kids, the next we’re full of doubt.

Just relax. These guys are huge talents, but mostly very young. Not everyone can come in and have an impact straight away.

Not sure why we’re comparing ourselves with GWS either. The Giants get a huge let up with the academy...and look at the midfield talent around them. Chalk and cheese.
 

CJMB

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Taranto - pick 2, strong bodied junior. Maybe come on a bit better than expected, but not significantly

Hopper - would have gone close to pick 1 if not for academy. Was a bull junior who if anything has come on slower than expected

Perrymen - Pick 14, never really been a bonafide mid and won’t be going forward, come on about as expected

Caldwell - good value selection at pick
9. Was part of a group of 8 seriously good draftees that all could have staked a claim on pick 1. Gws lucky that Adelaide picked Jones ahead of him (even though I like jones as a player).
Was only an issue of staying injury free, which he largely has. Was always going to show signs of being a great player, come on as expected

Hately - again, towards the top end of an incredible strong draft. Man child that was always going to adapt fairly quickly at afl level. Probably looks a little better than I expected, but again, not significantly

Greene - would have likely gone pick 1 if not an academy pick. Mountain of a kid. Going to be a star. Little surprise there.

long story short. Yes, gws have selected well. Yes, they’ve been given a huge helping hand With academy picks at the top end and very high end draft selections.
They have developed well, but would have thought we have developed similarly when comparing high end selections i.e Wietering, Curnow, McKay, Sps, Walsh. The only one who has taken a bit of time is Dow, but he is on par with expected development.
On Hopper’s ‘slower‘ development, pretty sure he had glandular fever early on at GWS which really knocked him about for a year.
 

HARKER

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Amazing what a few preseason games can do to the minds of supporters.

One minute they’re talented kids, the next we’re full of doubt.

Just relax. These guys are huge talents, but mostly very young. Not everyone can come in and have an impact straight away.

Not sure why we’re comparing ourselves with GWS either. The Giants get a huge let up with the academy...and look at the midfield talent around them. Chalk and cheese.

:) It's not the supporters but what the club is doing with them.

SPS is playing back, Dow and Fisher are to play forward, Setterfield has been relieved of midfield duties for now......etc etc.
Maybe this conversation is too difficult here unless one is applying ample syrup.
 

HavUEvaSeenTheRain

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Taranto - pick 2, strong bodied junior. Maybe come on a bit better than expected, but not significantly

Hopper - would have gone close to pick 1 if not for academy. Was a bull junior who if anything has come on slower than expected

Perrymen - Pick 14, never really been a bonafide mid and won’t be going forward, come on about as expected

Caldwell - good value selection at pick
9. Was part of a group of 8 seriously good draftees that all could have staked a claim on pick 1. Gws lucky that Adelaide picked Jones ahead of him (even though I like jones as a player).
Was only an issue of staying injury free, which he largely has. Was always going to show signs of being a great player, come on as expected

Hately - again, towards the top end of an incredible strong draft. Man child that was always going to adapt fairly quickly at afl level. Probably looks a little better than I expected, but again, not significantly

Greene - would have likely gone pick 1 if not an academy pick. Mountain of a kid. Going to be a star. Little surprise there.

long story short. Yes, gws have selected well. Yes, they’ve been given a huge helping hand With academy picks at the top end and very high end draft selections.
They have developed well, but would have thought we have developed similarly when comparing high end selections i.e Wietering, Curnow, McKay, Sps, Walsh. The only one who has taken a bit of time is Dow, but he is on par with expected development.
The way I see it.
Curnow and McKay really should be kicking their 40plus goals or at the least that level of footballer this season if it hadn’t been for injuries. Look at players who were similarly developed like Cameron, Darling, Riewoldt, Franklin, Roughead, Tex, Lynch, Kennedy, Daniher, Stringer, Hogan ect managed by their fifth year. They don’t all magically come good by then but the majority have proven they can kick 40plus goals, been AA ect. To not be that level and come good is probably the exception to the rule. Them being out really hurts.
SPS and Setterfield are fourth year guys who we would expect to be more then role players so both we would probably be expecting huge improvements from this season. As in being the difference between winning and losing.
Dow and LOB just need to improve. Marchbank needs to become a good player this year. 6th season so it’s time to perform.
Williamson being the X factor on our list.
Fish I love but think he will always be a bit player, fourth season so should be playing fairly consistent good football.
SOJ, Kennedy and Cunningham are probably only ever going to be role players but if they can’t do that this year then they probably never will.

The two guys I can really imagine taking our midfield to a new level are Setters and SPS. There are another 3 in Dow, Fish and LOB who should all offer more then what they have in the past. this is the most exciting year I can remember in terms of players hitting the age where they should really come on. No way should we become gun shy about the list because of two poor preseason games.
 

RedFury

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One thing that we need to realize is that Teague would have woven new elements into our gameplan over the summer that probably are going to take a bit of time to come together - playing against yourself is fine but now that we're actually playing against real opposition this is the time when we'll actually learn the most and can tweak and adapt things as necessary.

I wouldn't be too alarmed by the practice games or even how we start the year - what's important is that we need to see things gradually improving and coming together as the year goes on. If we start 1-4 I won't be that concerned, but if we finish 1-4 and still look the same side as we do now, that's when I'll be a tad worried.

Also, pre-seasons are great for players to improve their strength and fitness but there's nothing like playing real games to help the young guys actually get better. It seems some of us expected a few of these guys to go from 20-50 game players to 100 game players over the pre-season.
 

BrisbaneCFC

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It's not that at all, if one reads the sentence to its conclusion. :)

I could say that if the CFC don't make finals before 2025, it will be deemed to have been a failure in regards to our rebuild.
One can't then read that as; The CFC have been a failure, now can it? :)

OK, let's try it this way in regards to mids 25 and under, as it may be simpler.
Which do you think will be best?

1. Cripps
2. Walsh.....easy so far

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
3. LOB
4. Stocker
5. Setterfield
6. Fisher
7. Dow

NB. That said, push them all back two places for SPS/ Martin in midfield, as I consider them better fits for us in defence and forward respectively.
 

Jeremias

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:) It's not the supporters but what the club is doing with them.

SPS is playing back, Dow and Fisher are to play forward, Setterfield has been relieved of midfield duties for now......etc etc.
Maybe this conversation is too difficult here unless one is applying ample syrup.
Not too difficult at all, but some will always overreact and try find something that just isn’t there.

We will be fine, most of the kids will become excellent footballers, but it takes time.

Why exactly are we concerned that 21 year olds aren’t the full players they project to be?
 

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