Analysis The Rebuild Of Essendon And North Melbourne And Their Future Prospects

Which team has the better on-field prospects?

  • Essendon

    Votes: 21 30.9%
  • North Melbourne

    Votes: 47 69.1%

  • Total voters
    68

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Yoda_

Hall of Famer
May 6, 2007
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The sooner Essendon realise their older players aren't the answer the better. Heppell, Smith, Shiel, Merrett, Stringer, Zaharakis, Paris etc. just isn't good enough. North are ahead of Essendon because they've realised that their midfield needs renovating.
Mids/small are easier to replace than talls.

I’m still confused by this desperation supposedly has that we made all the wrong moves in our off season.

Yeah, we need big mids but non suitable were available at our draft picks. The cost of Dunkley vs the draft commodity ended as the best result for Essendon.


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Gavin Excell

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Apr 22, 2007
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Mids/small are easier to replace than talls.

I’m still confused by this desperation supposedly has that we made all the wrong moves in our off season.

Yeah, we need big mids but non suitable were available at our draft picks. The cost of Dunkley vs the draft commodity ended as the best result for Essendon.


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Essendon made the right call this draft replenishing the key positions. If just one of that group becomes a 200 game player will be justified. Talls one of the hardest to land
 

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La Dispute

La Dispute
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I think you're selling McGrath and Ridley short.
Nah McGrath’s way more workmanlike than you’d expect from a number one pick. His nous and IQ aren’t on the same level as Simpkin, let alone his skill. He might make a couple of AA squad’s or even pluck a nod at some point, but Simpkin’s ceiling is top 5 in league.

I also rate Ridley, but even if he transitions into one of the best half back flankers in the league he won’t enter into discussions as a top 10 league player - rebounding defenders never do.

Maybe I rate Simpkin higher than most, but he’s got a far more complete game than either McGrath or Ridley, and all the key attributes to develop into an elite midfielder.
 
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Gavin Excell

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Nah McGrath’s way more workmanlike than you’d expect from a number one pick. His nous and IQ aren’t on the same level as Simpkin, let alone his skill. He might make a couple of AA squad’s or even pluck a nod at some point, but Simpkin’s ceiling is top 5 in league.

I also rate Ridley, but even if he transitions into one of the best half back flankers in the league he won’t enter into discussions as a top 10 league player - rebounding defenders never do.

Maybe I rate Simpkin higher than most, but he’s got a far more complete game than either McGrath or Ridley, and all the key attributes to develop into an elite midfielder.
Simpkin top 5 league is a genuine stretch
 

Yoda_

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Essendon made the right call this draft replenishing the key positions. If just one of that group becomes a 200 game player will be justified. Talls one of the hardest to land
Absolutely!

as has been mentioned profusely, 2021 sounds like a midfield heavy draft and the impending arrivals of the Davey twins and Tex Wanganeen whilst Josh Misiti (smokin Joe’s boy) is a big powerful midfielder who is also on the horizon.


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Yoda_

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Nah McGrath’s way more workmanlike than you’d expect from a number one pick. His nous and IQ aren’t on the same level as Simpkin, let alone his skill. He might make a couple of AA squad’s or even pluck a nod at some point, but Simpkin’s ceiling is top 5 in league.

I also rate Ridley, but even if he transitions into one of the best half back flankers in the league he won’t enter into discussions as a top 10 league player - rebounding defenders never do.

Maybe I rate Simpkin higher than most, but he’s got a far more complete game than either McGrath or Ridley, and all the key attributes to develop into an elite midfielder.
He could end up with a career like Bryce Gibbs which is nothing to turn your nose up at.


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owen87

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
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A topic sure to be discussed throughout the coming years is in relation to Essendon and North and which club’s future looks to be better positioned to make another tilt for a flag.

Last year Essendon finished in 13th position with 6 wins, 1 draw and a percentage of 79.2. Along the way they beat Freo 6pts, Syd 6pts, Coll 15pts, North 14pts, Crows 13pts, Hawks 16pts.

North finished 17th with 3 wins and 71.9% beating the Saints 2pts, Giants 20pts and Crows 69pts.

Both clubs went into the 2020 offseason looking at rebuilding their lists in order to start their climb back up into finals contention.

During the trade period they each lost some of their more experienced players for varying reasons. Of note, the Bombers said goodbye to Saad, Daniher and Fantasia while North had Higgins and Brown move on.

Supporters of both clubs seemed to be happy with the players that they were able to attract with the Bombers bringing in Wright, Hind and Caldwell whereas the Roos picked up
Corr and Stephenson.

On completion of player trades/bids Essendon took players with picks 8, 9, 10, 39 and 53 while the Roos had picks 3, 13, 36, 42 and 56.

The 2020 draft was widely recognised as having more top-end talent for KPP’s while 2021 is said to be on the opposite scale with more elite midfielder talent on offer.

After the draft it was plain to see that both clubs took differing approaches to their rebuilds as the Bombers focused on shoring up their key positions stocks while the Roos went in with a strong focus on midfielders and ball-getters.

With an eye to the future and with the current state of each team’s lists, which one would you say is positioned better at the moment?
I wasn’t unhappy with the draft from Essendon, I think they made the right call to take talls given the players available at our picks, and that we need to turn the spine over moving forward.

I’m intrigued by North’s decision not to take talls, especially with McDonald available at their selection. I think Philips will be a good player from the get-go, but McDonald seemed like he could be the focal point of their forward line for a decade.
 

La Dispute

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Simpkin top 5 league is a genuine stretch
Why? He is the complete package as an inside/outside mid.

Beautifully balanced, great kicking skills, evasive, clever and creative around the stoppages, defensively sound, and has the added bonus of being dangerous inside 50.

There's obviously no guarantee he gets there, but that is where he could end up with his skillset and career trajectory so far.
 

Off Tap

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Simpkin top 5 league is a genuine stretch
I would've thought that the wraps would've been on LDU instead. Seen Simpkin 3 - 4 times and wasn't that impressed but thought that LDU was one out of the bag.

Massive upside and wouldn't be surprised if he was the one that ended up top 5.
 

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Old Stuckup

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Can a dons fan post their 23 and under team for comparison
B: Francis - Zerk-Thatcher - Ridley
HB: Ham - Reid - Redman
C: Cox - McGrath - Snelling
HF: Clarke - Jones - Perkins
F: Cahill - Eyre - Mosquito
R: Draper - Parish - Caldwell
I/C: Hird - Guelfi - Bryan - Johnson
 
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AnEmptyChair

Team Captain
Nov 12, 2020
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Why? He is the complete package as an inside/outside mid.

Beautifully balanced, great kicking skills, evasive, clever and creative around the stoppages, defensively sound, and has the added bonus of being dangerous inside 50.

There's obviously no guarantee he gets there, but that is where he could end up with his skillset and career trajectory so far.
Yep. Agree that he's no certainty to get there, but his current trajectory suggests that he could get there.

In the first 7 or 8 of 2020, until he hurt his ankle, he was arguably a top 10 player in the league and was in a lot of mid-year AA teams. One of only two players in the league along with Neale that was top 10 in total possession, contested possessions, clearances, effective disposals and score involvements in that period, which supports your appraisal of his skillset. Also reflected in his Brownlow votes. IIRC he was around the top 5 after about 5 or 6 games. At his best he wins it in close, he uses it well, and he creates scores. There's not too many mids in the league who have the all round skillset that he does.

His big issue is consistency, and he's acknowledged that himself this pre-season. After his blistering start, yes, he did hurt his ankle and he was pretty much a 22 year old carrying the entire midfield, but that can't entirely account for the fact that particularly his kicking ability dropped off so much that he ended the season in the top few in the league for clangers, while dropping away in all those other stats. Ultimately what will decide if he can really reach that elite echelon is whether he can bring an extended level of performance like he did in the first 8 games or whether he will continue to blow hot and cold throughout a season.

I would've thought that the wraps would've been on LDU instead. Seen Simpkin 3 - 4 times and wasn't that impressed but thought that LDU was one out of the bag.

Massive upside and wouldn't be surprised if he was the one that ended up top 5.
As a North fan, I obviously want both of them to be top 10 players, but as someone who watches them both every week, I think Simpkin is slightly more likely than LDU. He literally has everything you want in a modern midfielder and I rate him slightly higher than LDU. As I said above though, it's just about consistency with him.
 
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dave10

Club Legend
Apr 26, 2004
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While I think Essendon should be doing a rebuild now, I don't think they are going to go down this path.

I remember reading somewhere the club itself believe they are in a position for a tilt for the premiership.

Also Rutten would be trying to win as many games as possible even at the expense of improving the list long term. He will be under pressure to get the wins due to Essendon having a culture of turning against people who are not an "Essendon person".
Essendon are rebuilding.

At the recent draft it is hoped that it has drafted its goal to goal line for the next 10 years.

It’s expecting a low ladder position this year and plans to draft possibly the best midfielder in the draft. This added to Caldwell as recent high caliber midfielder talent.

Its list already has a reasonably deep core of quality youth in place in addition to last / this years draft and trading hand: McGrath, Ridley, Langford, Redman, Jones, Draper and Parish.

Informed Essendon people know 2021 will be challenging from a results perspective. That’s why it didn’t trade its 1st round pick in the upcoming draft for Dunkley.

By end if 2021 it should be reasonably set, with future drafts and trading to fill gaps.
 

Yoda_

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How good are the Davey twins coming through and what would they be worth draft-wise?
Some suggest one is tracking to be a first round prospect whilst the other also very likely to get taken. Tex Wanganeen also on the horizon and as mentioned Josh Misiti is a big boy already at 16.


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Great8

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Apr 19, 2015
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Some suggest one is tracking to be a first round prospect whilst the other also very likely to get taken. Tex Wanganeen also on the horizon and as mentioned Josh Misiti is a big boy already at 16.


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Yeah, I’m not sold on Tex just yet and every chance he still chooses Port from what I hear
 

JT_the_Man

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norths 23 and under team - whats dons look like

FB - Young - Mckay - Hayden
HB - Perez - McGuinness - Bonar
C - Scott - Phillips - T.Powell
HF - Stephenson - Comben - Thomas
FF - Taylor - Larkey - Zurhaar
FOLL - Xerri - Davies-Uniacke - Simpkin
INT - Mahoney - Bosenavulagi - Lazzaro - Ford
Born from 97 onwards.

B Ridley - BZT - Francis
HB Redman - Reid - Guelfi
C Ham - Caldwell - Cox
HF Perkins - Jones - Snelling
F Mosquito - Eyre - Cahill
R Draper - McGrath - Parish
Int. Clarke - Johnson - Bryan - McBride - Brand - Hird
 

La Dispute

La Dispute
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Yep. Agree that he's no certainty to get there, but his current trajectory suggests that he could get there.

In the first 7 or 8 of 2020, until he hurt his ankle, he was arguably a top 10 player in the league and was in a lot of mid-year AA teams. One of only two players in the league along with Neale that was top 10 in total possession, contested possessions, clearances, effective disposals and score involvements in that period, which supports your appraisal of his skillset. Also reflected in his Brownlow votes. IIRC he was around the top 5 after about 5 or 6 games. At his best he wins it in close, he uses it well, and he creates scores. There's not too many mids in the league who have the all round skillset that he does.

His big issue is consistency, and he's acknowledged that himself this pre-season. After his blistering start, yes, he did hurt his ankle and he was pretty much a 22 year old carrying the entire midfield, but that can't entirely account for the fact that particularly his kicking ability dropped off so much that he ended the season in the top few in the league for clangers, while dropping away in all those other stats. Ultimately what will decide if he can really reach that elite echelon is whether he can bring an extended level of performance like he did in the first 8 games or whether he will continue to blow hot and cold throughout a season.
Injury certainly didn't help, but after the second half of the year opposition teams really clamped down on him (partly in Cunnington's absence) as he was clearly North's prime mover in the first half of the year, especially in the early wins.

His outside game is obviously eye-catching but there's a definite toughness and control while players are trying to tackle him. Has the rare ability to be able to get his arms free, not by using his strength (which has also improved significantly) but by manoeuvring quickly as he's being pursued. Also manages to keep his feet really well, and rides opposition tackles.

Consistency will come over time. This is the first year he's had real opposition attention, and he handled it pretty well. Clangers come from increased pressure, and he probably tried to do too much with the ball at times throughout the year, but he's a good field kick. As he develops he will spend even more time at stoppages, and won't be expected to impact as an outside player. He has super quick hands, and does a lot of damage linking up or providing a quick outlet around the ground. Ultimately be an outside-leaning inside player, which was roughly the role Shaun Higgins played at North.

Interesting to see how he progresses. Probably one of my favourite opposition players to watch, and I think he'll end up challenging McCluggage as the best player from the 2016 draft pool.
 

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