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.
 

Arr0w

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IMHO, it will continue to change to onballer utility, backman, forward, midfielder

Positions were from another era, where most players lacked versatility

Sheedy started the change, swinging players to all parts of the ground.

Now many players can play in all 3 arcs, most in 2, which has been a focus at junior level for many years.
 

HARKER

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STILL A MYSTERY

Who is part of the next-gen Carlton midfield?
There's no doubt the addition of veterans Marc Murphy and Ed Curnow to Carlton's youthful midfield group aided superstar Patrick Cripps in the back-end of last year. However, finding the next wave of young talent is still a priority. Sam Walsh is a gem and will continue his impressive development this season, but a number of other youngsters haven't yet been handed permanent midfield roles under David Teague. Fellow first-round pick Sam Petrevski-Seton has been shifted into the backline, David Cuningham and Matthew Kennedy have gone forward, while Paddy Dow has found himself on the fringes of the club's best team. Will they make the move back into the engine room this year? – Riley Beveridge
This is a fair question and right now still a bit of a worrying one.
Our best starting midfield still remains to be Cripps, ECurnow and Murphy, with the latter two on the wrong side of 30
Next in line is Walsh and that's fine, but I still don't see him as being a genuine stoppage player.

It's what happens after these guys where the mystery begins and it's only a couple of pre-season games but who are the guys that are going to take over from Murphy & ECurnow?

Setterfield - The player I had next in line, but now we have questions about his stoppage abilities.
SPS - Seems primed for the backline.
Dow - No certainty to even be a starter and has ben 'banished' to the forward line.
Fisher - Needs strong bodies around him and he's being asked to play forward.
Stocker - Who knows? Being used in the backline for now.
Cuningham - He's not a midfielder.
Kennedy - Clearly out fo favour and for now, has a line through his name.
Philp - Probably too early for him at tis stage.

It makes for a lot of names, yet a lot of uncertainty.
 

1981

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Setterfield is a wingman right now. So doesn't help inside.

Fisher is a HF and in any event too skinny to be a clearance player.

SPS has gone back and with good reason as the current backline wouldn't know how to work the ball out of a paper bag.

Dow showed a bit the other night. I think he will take some good positive steps this year but might still be lacking a tank.

Newnes showed a bit early the other night but again he is a wingman.

I think the midfield overall will improve this year but we still don't have anyone who goes near Cripps' ability on ball and I'm not sure on ball wise we will truly improve until we trade in a star. The Coniglio miss was massive.

I have a feeling we will be closer to bottom 4 than the lower rungs of the 8 so a high pick beckons potentially. Is there a standout big bodied mid in the draft? Is there anyone in FA who fits that bill? If we can't trade one in or get one via FA then we might have to rebuild the midfield adding a top on ball prospect to the one we got last ye a r.
 

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Blue__Balls

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I fail to see how this is any different to any other side...

West Coasts midfield is predominantly Gaff, Yeo, Shuey, and now Kelly.
Richmond - Martin, Cotchin, Prestia
Collingwood - Treloar, Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Adams

Roll down to the middle of the table:
Essendon - Shiel, Merrett, Heppell, Zaharakis
Adelaide - Crouch x2, Sloane
Melbourne - Oliver, Viney, Jones, Harmes

Bottom sides?
St Kilda - Ross, Steele, Dunstan, and now Hill.
NMFC - Cunnington, Ziebell, Higgins


It's almost like football teams rely fairly heavily on their experienced mids to carry most of the load, while the younger players develop in supporting/secondary roles.
 

HARKER

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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?
 

Blue__Balls

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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?
It's not really a relevant question though, as Murph and Curnow aren't retiring at year's end. Both are still playing senior footy to a very high standard, will be viewed as required players by the club, and are unlikely to be turning down $400-500k in favour of a premature retirement.

Gives us, minimum, this season and next to enact the succession plan.

Get another 40+ games (at whatever level) into Walsh, Dow, Stocker, O'Brien, Setterfield, SPS, Fisher, Williamson, Cuningham, Gibbons, Philp, Ramsay, and hopefully 20+ games into Kemp.

Three of those come on and we have a front line midfield group (in partnership with Cripps) to rival any. Plus two off-seasons worth of recruitment.
 
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HARKER

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It's not really a relevant question though, as Murph and Curnow aren't retiring at year's end. Both are still playing senior footy to a very high standard, will be viewed as required players by the club, and are unlikely to be turning down $400-500k in favour of a premature retirement.

Gives us, minimum this season and next to enact the succession plan.

Get another 40+ games (at whatever level) into Walsh, Dow, Stocker, O'Brien, Setterfield, SPS, Fisher, Williamson, Cuningham, Gibbons, Philp, Ramsay, and hopefully 20+ games into Kemp.

Three of those come on and we have a front line midfield group (in partnership with Cripps) to rival any. Plus two off-seasons worth of recruitment.
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.
 

JustaBattler

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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 ...
 

Ald Gardiner

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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?
Wow Harks, if you’re worried about those classy Pies mids you have me terrified re our depth
 

HARKER

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Wow Harks, if you’re worried about those classy Pies mids you have me terrified re our depth
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.
 

JustaBattler

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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.
but Harks- wren't you of the opinion that the number 1 priority at Carlton was small forwards?
 

HARKER

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but Harks- wren't you of the opinion that the number 1 priority at Carlton was small forwards?
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.
 

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HavUEvaSeenTheRain

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The only big worry is if Cripps goes down. Put a tag on Murphy and we could be in huge trouble. Personally I’m happy enough with Curnow, Murphy and Cripps.
Head to head, Curnow tagging the oppositions best player maybe break even or be a small loss, Cripps win and Murphy maybe a small loss. If none of our young kids step up this year (besides Walsh) then we have a few worries at our club. Personally I expect things to work themselves out pretty well as long as we can stay fit. We aren’t really that young anymore so we should see drastic improvement imo
 

JustaBattler

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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.
I think we need 4-5 to come on - not 1-2. Right now we have Cripps/Ed/Murph and Walsh - and the rest are still learning how to kick the ball and not fluff a handpass - hopefully next year they will learn how to tackle too.
 

Blue__Balls

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I think we need 4-5 to come on - not 1-2. Right now we have Cripps/Ed/Murph and Walsh - and the rest are still learning how to kick the ball and not fluff a handpass - hopefully next year they will learn how to tackle too.
Depends how you want to define "coming on".

Reckon 2 need to become genuine A-graders, good for 25-30 touches a game on a consistent basis and at a high standard.

Another 2-3 becoming "solid" midfielders is also necessary. The 18-25 possession types who don't set the world on fire, but prevent you from being over-reliant on the top liners.

That's what I see when I look at successful midfields - two or three you'd class as elite, three or four you'd class as good (but made to look better due to team synergy), and then rotations and depth/developing players.
 

blue_trinity

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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.
Not a mystery to me to be honest. Somewhere between 2-4y time, our midfield will consist of Cripps, Dow, Walsh as first choice stoppage (with Walsh rotating to a wing with Setterfield). Stocker and Dow interchangeable. Kemp rotating with Cripps and just generally being used wherever needed in a similar role to Yeo/Fyfe.

- Plenty of support from Sps who will be used else where

- so far Philp looks like he’ll be used through there once developed, and as a pressure fwd

- smaller but still significant midfield roles from players who can swing through there depending on opposition/injuries, docherty, Fisher, gibbons, Martin, Williamson

that’s the way I see it anyhow.
 

HARKER

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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.
 

HARKER

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Pretty sure we paid stuff all for Setters

The Stocker deal inadvertently netted us Kemp and Philp
This is the thing - We have the quantity but unsure of the quality.
We can go the draft and attain another 3 midfielders this year but so what?

We have to make good of what we have and for now at least, it's all more than just a little up in the air.
We here, can pretend that we have the makings of a great midfield, but there's been little evidence of that just yet and which is why our midfield comes into question, as has been the case by the author of that article.

The reason I started this thread (I thought I did) was for this very reason. I'm unsure of what we have, but if others have the answers, then that's great.
 

therubbernub

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STILL A MYSTERY



This is a fair question and right now still a bit of a worrying one.
Our best starting midfield still remains to be Cripps, ECurnow and Murphy, with the latter two on the wrong side of 30
Next in line is Walsh and that's fine, but I still don't see him as being a genuine stoppage player.

It's what happens after these guys where the mystery begins and it's only a couple of pre-season games but who are the guys that are going to take over from Murphy & ECurnow?

Setterfield - The player I had next in line, but now we have questions about his stoppage abilities.
SPS - Seems primed for the backline.
Dow - No certainty to even be a starter and has ben 'banished' to the forward line.
Fisher - Needs strong bodies around him and he's being asked to play forward.
Stocker - Who knows? Being used in the backline for now.
Cuningham - He's not a midfielder.
Kennedy - Clearly out fo favour and for now, has a line through his name.
Philp - Probably too early for him at tis stage.

It makes for a lot of names, yet a lot of uncertainty.
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.
 

therubbernub

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Setterfield is a wingman right now. So doesn't help inside.

Fisher is a HF and in any event too skinny to be a clearance player.

SPS has gone back and with good reason as the current backline wouldn't know how to work the ball out of a paper bag.

Dow showed a bit the other night. I think he will take some good positive steps this year but might still be lacking a tank.

Newnes showed a bit early the other night but again he is a wingman.

I think the midfield overall will improve this year but we still don't have anyone who goes near Cripps' ability on ball and I'm not sure on ball wise we will truly improve until we trade in a star. The Coniglio miss was massive.

I have a feeling we will be closer to bottom 4 than the lower rungs of the 8 so a high pick beckons potentially. Is there a standout big bodied mid in the draft? Is there anyone in FA who fits that bill? If we can't trade one in or get one via FA then we might have to rebuild the midfield adding a top on ball prospect to the one we got last ye a r.
Kemp seems to fit the bill and will have a year of extra maturity on him compared to any 2020 draftees. But of course we need mature mids not youngsters. Failing a younger player stepping up, we will need to add someone like Wines . But I have faith that we will have at least 2 break out years in our midfield. Could Williamson move into the midfield? Marchbank?
 

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