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.
 

gbatman

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We're at the make or break point with our midfield.

First 22 midfield:

Kreuzer - Adequate ruckman, not elite but adequate which is fine. Body isn't durable and is old for a ruck so probably hasn't got a lot of time left.
Cripps - Elite centerman with plenty of time in the game. Perfect for our side. Elite player.
Walsh - Will be an elite player and is really close to that mark. At this stage he looks like being the perfect midfielder. Has all the traits.
Murphy - Not elite but the next rung down. Good competent player but is getting older.
Curnow - Good competent player but is also running out of time.
Setterfield - Highly rated but lacks a few things like pace. Was ok last year considering his past but he really needs to come through this season with the goods.
Newnes - Looks like a good get, mature senior body who can play on the wing. Not an elite player but I think he'll be a good above average player.
Gibbons - Probably more of a forward but will be used a bit in the middle I guess.

Then there's the rest.

Dow - Has not come on as hoped. We have conceded he is probably a slow developer as he has a lot to work on. Will be seen as a bit of a speculative pick if he has not come on this season and does not push hard for a game and play some good footy as this is his year.
Stocker - Would be hoping he is in the conversation for selection at least this season. Expecting big things from him next season but at this stage it's just a matter of seeing that upward trend in his game.
O'Brien - Very hit and miss last season but has always shown a bit. Size is a concerne. Needs to show something this season. More of the footy, more damaging and more consistency.
Fisher - Disappointing 2019 after showing so much earlier. Needs to step up this year. Lack of physicality and forward nouse is concerning. Has a lot of ability.
SPS - Probably going to make it as a defender.
Cuningham - Another I expect to go up a level but also in the forward line.
Kemp - Not expecting much this year but long term I expect a lot.
Ramsay - First year player I have a lot of hope for.
Philp - Looks ok but may not impact this season.

This last group is the group we really need to see a big jump on. Our midfield at best is above average but it's not elite. We have some good players in there but to be the best we need others to step up. It's a long list of candidates which is good and I don't expect things to go bang round 1 but mid way or towards the end of the season I expect there to be a few who continue to demonstrate they are too good for VFL.

A few injuries and our midfield could well look very mediocre or we could see players step up and take us to the next level. Could go either way.

Key to it is physicality and repeat efforts. We look great when on top but get cut to pieces when a good midfield challenges us and lifts their intensity. We need to lift our intensity, physicality and efforts to the next level. The talent and ability is there but it remains seen as to whether we are tough and aggressive enough in a strong contest.

Game on, ball is in the players court.
 

I AM CARLTON

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I don't think our midfield is strong enough to compete with the best teams yet.
From what I can see Cripps, Walsh, Curnow & Williams appear to be playing most midfield minutes. I would like to see the following:
1. Williams given more time in midfield to prove he can make it.
2. Curnow moved out of the midfield.
3. SPS & Stocker given midfield minutes to see what they could bring to the table.
4. Dow & Setterfield need to play reserves and if they capture some form then I would consider them.
 

jpfalvo

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I don't think our midfield is strong enough to compete with the best teams yet.
From what I can see Cripps, Walsh, Curnow & Williams appear to be playing most midfield minutes. I would like to see the following:
1. Williams given more time in midfield to prove he can make it.
2. Curnow moved out of the midfield.
3. SPS & Stocker given midfield minutes to see what they could bring to the table.
4. Dow & Setterfield need to play reserves and if they capture some form then I would consider them.
Williams is not a midfielder. Not fit enough.
Needs to go to the hbf where he could be a weapon setting up the play.



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Kruzering

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I don't think our midfield is strong enough to compete with the best teams yet.
From what I can see Cripps, Walsh, Curnow & Williams appear to be playing most midfield minutes. I would like to see the following:
1. Williams given more time in midfield to prove he can make it.
2. Curnow moved out of the midfield.
3. SPS & Stocker given midfield minutes to see what they could bring to the table.
4. Dow & Setterfield need to play reserves and if they capture some form then I would consider them.
If you move curnow out of the midfield then you have to move him out of the team
 

Stamos

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I’d go further and suggest if Curnow doesn’t have a tagging role then he maybe he shouldn’t be there...
I thought we were a couple of years away from that point until round 1 when I saw Setterfield lining up on the wing.
 

Kruzering

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We need to move away from Curnow. While still serviceable, we know his limit. We need to give his minutes to the likes of Setterfield, SPS, Stocker etc

I also think Williams would be better off on a wing or HB. Give him some midfield minutes but should be a mix

Setrerfield, SPS and Dow should take it off him

None are playing with the required intensity

Stocker the only one imo who is playing hard enough to warrant a shot, maybe kennedy
 

majesticseacapt

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If Cripps stopped trying to be dusty I have no doubt our midfield would be much more damaging and quicker.

Cripps made a name for himself by putting his big frame over the ball, drawing 2-3 players and giving the hands off..

The last few years have seen Cripps more often than not, attempt to break these tackles, do u-turns, try to run around the opposition, give these bulls**t handballs.. Patrick, play to your strengths; win the contested ball and give the first option..
 

Blue1980

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We need to move away from Curnow. While still serviceable, we know his limit. We need to give his minutes to the likes of Setterfield, SPS, Stocker etc

I also think Williams would be better off on a wing or HB. Give him some midfield minutes but should be a mix
Like his role at GWS, stints on ball rather than that being his main gig
 

Dramoth

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If Cripps stopped trying to be dusty I have no doubt our midfield would be much more damaging and quicker.

Cripps made a name for himself by putting his big frame over the ball, drawing 2-3 players and giving the hands off..

The last few years have seen Cripps more often than not, attempt to break these tackles, do u-turns, try to run around the opposition, give these bulls**t handballs.. Patrick, play to your strengths; win the contested ball and give the first option..
I think that Cripps has seen his partner in crime at the centre bounces leave the club and he thinks that he alone has to do the job the Kreuzer did in chasing and hunting the ball. Kreuzer had the advantage of knowing where he was going to tap the ball so he could start moving in that direction to chase it. Cripps doesn't know where the ball is going to land with Pittonet rucking and has to move further to try and hunt the ball. If we had a reasonable stoppages setup, the ball should be landing in his lap or in another blues players lap at each stoppage both in the centre and around the ground.
 

majesticseacapt

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Cripps doesn't know where the ball is going to land with Pittonet rucking and has to move further to try and hunt the ball.
While this is true, Cripps is still finding plenty of the ball but it wasting it more often than not.

I would much rather see cripps hunt the ball and give the first option to Walsh, Williams, fogarty, sps, Martin, or one of the 38 running half back flankers we have
 

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Dramoth

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While this is true, Cripps is still finding plenty of the ball but it wasting it more often than not.

I would much rather see cripps hunt the ball and give the first option to Walsh, Williams, fogarty, sps, Martin, or one of the 38 running half back flankers we have
Our first move should always be towards our goal. Too often we are trying to take the ball from the clearance towards the opposition goal. Too often we see our mids setting up in a equilateral triangle with a single point out towards a win, I would move it around a bit so that there is two points closer to their goal, facing our goal. It means 2 things.
1. The bulk of our mids are facing towards our goal already and when they move, they are moving towards our goals.
2. If the opposition gets the ball, we have defensive numbers on the right side of the centre circle to close them down.

But every time, we set up with either 2 players on one wing or two players facing their goals meaning that if the opposition wins it, we are chasing rather than blocking.
 

thebluelagoon

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Curnow is still in the team because nobody is playing well enough to take his spot. No point playing the kids for a loss, thats what bolton did. They need to earn their spot. We are all frustrated by the lack of output from these guys:


stocker
setterfield
dow
kennedy
martin
fisher
dow
sps
cuners
etc

They are all suppose to be mids and we can't find one or two to make a consistent fist class effort.

I'm not sure how SPS' endurance is? We need to be getting the ball in his hands more and the coaches need to push him to take more risks. His 20 meter kicks are precise and often creative but would be damaging if he could do it at 40-50 meters.

Stocker, just play him in the mid in the seconds until he earns a spot in the midfield. Same goes for Dow and Setters. We should have a stacked seconds midfield with young boys working hard to bash down the door in their chosen position.

if murphy can no longer play Mid then one wonders what his job is? backup for Martin and Fish?
 

smashbox gill

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Curnow is still in the team because nobody is playing well enough to take his spot. No point playing the kids for a loss, thats what bolton did. They need to earn their spot. We are all frustrated by the lack of output from these guys:


stocker
setterfield
dow
kennedy
martin
fisher
dow
sps
cuners
etc

They are all suppose to be mids and we can't find one or two to make a consistent fist class effort.

I'm not sure how SPS' endurance is? We need to be getting the ball in his hands more and the coaches need to push him to take more risks. His 20 meter kicks are precise and often creative but would be damaging if he could do it at 40-50 meters.

Stocker, just play him in the mid in the seconds until he earns a spot in the midfield. Same goes for Dow and Setters. We should have a stacked seconds midfield with young boys working hard to bash down the door in their chosen position.

if murphy can no longer play Mid then one wonders what his job is? backup for Martin and Fish?
I think Setters is more than capable of replacing Ed. Really came on last year in an inside mid role, been played on a wing this year despite his strength being inside. Gone back to VFL and laid 20 tackles in 2 weeks while collecting possessions.

just another example of Teague playing people in wrong positions
 

james Dean

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The inability of Setterfield, Dow, O’Brien, Kennedy, SPS, Cuningham and Stocker to develop into consistent midfielders has set us back big time.

We’ve had to overpay for Williams to play midfield, when it appears he can’t run out a full game there.

We literally just have Cripps, Walsh and an ageing Curnow.
 

Triniboy

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Bluebaggers, the key player at stoppages is a smart ruckman who can tap/palm the ball and protect the ball/onballers.
Unfortunately Pittonet is a third grade ruckman who lacks skill/smarts and our onballers/coaching staff haven’t worked out positioning to feed off the the opposition ruck.
We will start winning games the sooner TDK can play and those forward line players who aren’t prepared to chase and tackle (we know who they are) are dropped and replaced with players who are prepared to be accountable irrespective of experience.
Out Murphy, In Honey or Durdin.
Move Levi to the backline and Jones to CHF.
 

HereComesJuddy

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The inability of Setterfield, Dow, O’Brien, Kennedy, SPS, Cuningham and Stocker to develop into consistent midfielders has set us back big time.

We’ve had to overpay for Williams to play midfield, when it appears he can’t run out a full game there.

We literally just have Cripps, Walsh and an ageing Curnow.
The inability of our club to develop the guys you mention is more the problem then the players themselves.

Its only now with Luke Power being head of development and our reserves side finally right, will we see our kids flourish.

The more time in the 2nds the better I say for the kids. Our coach has dragged them in for a game then tossed them out more times that I can count. Setterfield being played on the wing... our 1sts have become not fun for our kids with many seniors playing well below average facing no consequence.
 

Juddernaut08

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Want Cuningham to get 20+ disposals for the next 3 games.

He's generally fantastic when he gets the ball. Clean, one touch, fast, great kick.

Just needs to be played in the right spots and make the most of his opportunity. If he had Ed's magnet ability he'd be rivalling Walsh for our best young mid.

6th year for david (although in fairness he's had sh*t injury luck). let's lift son!
 

Ash24

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Want Cuningham to get 20+ disposals for the next 3 games.

He's generally fantastic when he gets the ball. Clean, one touch, fast, great kick.

Just needs to be played in the right spots and make the most of his opportunity. If he had Ed's magnet ability he'd be rivalling Walsh for our best young mid.

6th year for david (although in fairness he's had sh*t injury luck). let's lift son!
He wasn't getting midfield minutes earlier on in the year because of Williams. Put him back on a HBF, and let Samo/Cunners rotate across half forward and on-ball. Once Newman comes back in, that frees Stocker up for more time in the guts too.
 

branedotorg

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Literally everyone else can see it except our man Teague
He didn't build the list though, assume ol SOS was trying to build depth with value, so we can later trade developed players out for picks.

Phase one complete, phase two I'm not convinced by yet.
 

Azzurro

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I've been thinking about what our current team would look like if we tried to incorporate our young midfielders back in their (close to) best positions.

It's impossible to fit them all in without:
1. Dropping some of our elder statesmen
2. Making some compromises on where some of them play (e.g. Walsh is a brownlow chasing gun in/out mid but is also an elite wing/mid)

Given we did so well without Murphy, albeit against the poostained excuse for a club that is *, it makes me think the "kids" are closer than ever to being able to carry us forward. Certainly more so than when Bolts was throwing them into the fire.

If I apply this approach across the ground, trying to select 22 of our currently fit younger brigade, here's what I come up with.

Note: I think this forward line will work if Teague gives it a chance.

Also note that this was built based off me thinking our stoppage setup is too static - IMO we need more to rotate through the stoppages, to create matchup headaches for opposition coaches.

Main issue I can't solve is ruck backup without Levi - meaning, either TDK to CHF and Pitto to ruck, Setters to sub. Or, Levi for Kennedy. Or, team unchanged, screw the backup ruck and throw an extra tall mid in there (Crippa?!), focus on a more defensive stoppage set-up and sharking the opposition ruck tap.

Parks Weitering Docherty
Williams Jones Saad

Walsh SPS Cottrell
TDK Cripps Dow

JSOS Kennedy Cuningham
Betts McKay Owies

Stocker Setterfield Plowman Fogarty

Sub: Ed

When Fisher or Martin is fit, replace Eddie.

Run the HFs and HBs through stoppages as well.

Clear the 50 for Harry and put intense pressure on defences to cover numerous intelligent mid-fwd who can apply tackling pressure, and whose superior game sense makes up for their lack of pace.

Failing all this, we simply must trade some of these guys while they have currency. Work our who will be part of our future, and back them in - trade the rest, as uncomfortable as it may be.

And FFS, rotate Williams across HB and Mid - experiment with him as a full time mid later.
 

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