Autopsy The Season That Was

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Land of the Giants

Club Legend
Sep 6, 2012
2,319
3,361
Sydney
AFL Club
GWS
Other Teams
Thunder
Here's my thoughts:

The Good

1. The rapid development of so many players we hope will have big futures at the club
  • Lachie Ash
  • Tanner Bruhn
  • Jack Buckley
  • Isaac Cumming
  • Tom Green
  • Connor Idun
  • Xavier O'Halloran
  • Zach Sproule
  • Conor Stone
Throw in another high-draft pick courtesy of Collingwood, and the future looks much brighter than it did this time last year.

2. A return to finals

We might have just scraped in but we got there.

3. Winning the Elimination Final

Now we've got a real rivalry with the Swans! Next year's derbies, especially at the SCG, will be hot.

4. Learning to deal with life on the road, a welcome change from last year

We matured a bit in this department, which was good.

The Bad

1. Inconsistency

I know how I'll be responding to the question in the end-of-year survey about "How satisfied were you with on-field performances?"

Yes, we made the finals, but finishing sixth on a total of twelve wins and a draw is not credible, especially when the team that finished seventh won fifteen games.

We need to be more consistent - period.

2. Too many failures against lower ranked teams

The draw with North was bad enough, but losing the way we did against the Suns was unforgivable.

The Ugly

1. Toby's indiscretion against Matt Stevic

Sorry Toby. You just can't do things like that. And with the season over, it won't only be the AFL you're in trouble with.

Of Concern

1. What happens with the ruck?

This has become an annual discussion, but with Mumford supposedly retiring, we're going to be forced to finally do something.

I didn't include Flynn and Briggs in my rapid development list because there still seems to be question marks over them. Flynn performed well until he got injured, Briggs has been OK, but neither of them seem to be the answer to Mummy. As for Brayden Preuss, who knows? He might not even be on the list for much longer.

2. The Captaincy

Like everyone else on this board I was euphoric when Coniglio's long term deal with the club was announced.

Now I find myself wondering if it might have been better letting him go to Hawthorn. Deficiencies in his leadership were cruelly exposed in 2020 and he's been sidelined for most of this year with injury.

The last two years have not been what we were expecting from him after such a huge investment. Whatever happens with the captaincy, we need him to go back to being the player he was.

3. Coaching

Leon has been under a lot of pressure and it got pretty ugly after the failure in Ballarat.

Now he seems to have almost magically been forgiven. Is this a settled issue?

4. List management

What's happening with Finlayson? Does he have a future with us?

It's going to be a very interesting off-season, but with the development of so many youngsters, we've got a lot to look forward to in 2022. Not least because most of the country will be fully vaccinated by then and we can hopefully get our old lives back.
 
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Cmarsh

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2012
6,185
8,228
NSW
AFL Club
GWS
The biggest question for mine is how do we transition from being just a finals team to a genuine premiership contender.

Future looks promising with young backs and midfielders but we can't go to the next level with chronic problems with injuries.

May require a review of back office, especially the strength and conditioning team.
 

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Hendo_21

Team Captain
Aug 14, 2021
411
470
AFL Club
GWS
Here's my thoughts:

The Good

1. The rapid development of so many players we hope will have big futures at the club
  • Lachie Ash
  • Tanner Bruhn
  • Jack Buckley
  • Isaac Cumming
  • Tom Green
  • Connor Idun
  • Xavier O'Halloran
  • Zach Sproule
  • Conor Stone
Throw in another high-draft pick courtesy of Collingwood, and the future looks much brighter than it did this time last year.

2. A return to finals

We might have just scraped in but we got there.

3. Winning the Elimination Final

Now we've got a real rivalry with the Swans! Next year's derbies, especially at the SCG, will be hot.

4. Learning to deal with life on the road, a welcome change from last year

We matured a bit in this department, which was good.

The Bad

1. Inconsistency

I know how I'll be responding to the question in the end-of-year survey about "How satisfied were you with on-field performances?"

Yes, we made the finals, but finishing sixth on a total of twelve wins and a draw is not credible, especially when the team that finished seventh won fifteen games.

We need to be more consistent - period.

2. Too many failures against lower ranked teams

The draw with North was bad enough, but losing the way we did against the Suns was unforgivable.

The Ugly

1. Toby's indiscretion against Matt Stevic

Sorry Toby. You just can't do things like that. And with the season over, it won't only be the AFL you're in trouble with.

Of Concern

1. What happens with the ruck?

This has become an annual discussion, but with Mumford supposedly retiring, we're going to be forced to finally do something.

I didn't include Flynn and Briggs in my rapid development list because there still seems to be question marks over them. Flynn performed well until he got injured, Briggs has been OK, but neither of them seem to be the answer to Mummy. As for Brayden Preuss, who knows? He might not even be on the list for much longer.

2. The Captaincy

Like everyone else on this board I was euphoric when Coniglio's long term deal with the club was announced.

Now I find myself wondering if it might have been better letting him go to Hawthorn. Deficiencies in his leadership were cruelly exposed in 2020 and he's been sidelined for most of this year with injury.

The last two years have not been what were expecting from him after such a huge investment. Whatever happens with the captaincy, we need him to go back to being the player he was.

3. Coaching

Leon has been under a lot of pressure and it got pretty ugly after the failure in Ballarat.

Now he seems to have been almost magically been forgiven. Is this a settled issue?

4. List management

What's happening with Finlayson? Does he have a future with us?

It's going to be a very interesting off-season, but with the development of so many youngsters, we've got a lot to look forward to in 2022. Not least because most of the country will be fully vaccinated by then and we can hopefully get our old lives back.
Flynn and Briggs are absolutely the answer to our ruck problems, when they played together they were both really dynamic both equally skilled in the ruck while Flynn can go forward and be the third tall. Being able to rotate them and keep them fresh will only help them and make them better.
 

ClockworkOrange

Club Legend
Jan 30, 2016
1,093
1,731
AFL Club
GWS
Good - We are a top 4 team in cutthroat Finals.

Bad - We are a sloppy 5-8 Home and Away team.

Ugly - We simply have to get totally ruthless about delivering Top 4 Home and Away.

From fixturing, to list management, to umpire relations, to medical and conditioning, to Captaincy.

From the CEO on down all management decisions must be made with the singular goal of delivering Top 4 in 2022.

2022 must be a genuine ‘no excuses’ year.



Sent from my iPhone using BigFooty.com
 

PMBangers

@Headless approved!
Nov 7, 2017
19,241
33,536
Melbourne
AFL Club
GWS
Other Teams
Manchester City, Collingwood AFLW
The Good
First and foremost, how much happier the group seems to be this season and how that vibe has genuinely rubbed off to the supporters. Last season was a constant stress with leaks from the hub saying 'x isn't happy with y and this has pissed off z' and that we generally weren't handling it well, there was none of this season and Phil even said on the podcast a few times that it was a better feeling around it all despite being under a lot of the same restrictions, the first step to success happens with group unity on and off field, at least we can feel confident that we've got it off field now, and with a young group made up of largely interstate players it gives a good amount of hope that we aren't losing guys without other clubs stumping up ridiculous offers.

Development of youngsters and guys that I didn't think had it in them, like Cumming and Idun, to become vital parts of our best 22. I had slowly realised this through the season, but it hit home when Isaac went down in the elimination final and my first thought was 'fu** there's our best medium defender down', those two along with Buckley are now in our best backline, throw in Bruhn, Ash, Green, XOH, and even Taylor as guys that improved out of sight and it's exciting (Stone didn't play enough for me to count him, but last night was massive)

Fighting through injuries, keeping our finals streak against the swans alive, upset wins against Geelong and Melbourne as well

The Bad
We still have inconsistency issues and seem to lapse randomly through games, right now we don't have many players that can pull something out against the opposition momentum and get the rest of the team behind them, Toby does it, Hopper and Green can with their relentless hunt at stoppages, sometimes Haynes can be that guy, but we're not a team that you think can stage a comeback mid quarter right now, so when we slip we fall down the slope. throw into this the losses against Hawthorn, Suns, Swans where they fought back and the draw to North and it hurts to see again this year

Are our injuries ever going to get better? It feels like we haven't put out our genuine best 22 since Round 1 in 2012

Concerns into the future
Is Cogs form due to the interrupted year via injury, did he struggle in a hub, does our midfield function better without him, is he a forward permanently now? All questions that I think need some form of answer. I love Cogs, he ahs had periods where he's been our best player, but whatever it is, whether it's injuries or confidence, something needs to be done to help him get back to being the best player he can be, I hate seeing him being dragged through the mud in the media and being 'sent to Collingwood as steak knives', but we can't avoid the fact that he needs to be better next season.

Does the club trust Flynn or Briggs enough? Briggs is in every way but experience better than Mumford imo, and when we came up against a team in the finals that Briggs dismantled in the H&A season, we choose Mummy to go back to back games over him? If i'm a young player in Briggs shoes I'm looking at my options personally and he's got the suitors out there that will offer him that number 1 ruck mantle. I also question whether Flynn is a ruck or more a forward that can ruck? I like him better in the latter role personally, him and Briggs long term is a good partnership to try and maintain. I'll add on to this, where does this leave Preuss? He's had a lot of injury issues in the past, and 3 in one season doesn't leave me with much confidence with his endurance, have we quickly circled back to the 'GWS need a Ruck' phase?

Does Davis go on? He looked better last night after a few weeks off than he has before, if he keeps going is he going to be like Mumford needing breaks every 2 weeks? Is that where his body is at?

Outside of Hogan, do we have any true key forwards (outside of resting rucks)? HH just hasn't been that guy, he's a nice third tall type of player, so have we become too reliant on Hogan who hasn't got a great injury track record? Does this mean we really do look at a Callum Coleman-Jones to be that 200cm dude you put the ball on the head of?
 

Hendo_21

Team Captain
Aug 14, 2021
411
470
AFL Club
GWS
The Good
First and foremost, how much happier the group seems to be this season and how that vibe has genuinely rubbed off to the supporters. Last season was a constant stress with leaks from the hub saying 'x isn't happy with y and this has pissed off z' and that we generally weren't handling it well, there was none of this season and Phil even said on the podcast a few times that it was a better feeling around it all despite being under a lot of the same restrictions, the first step to success happens with group unity on and off field, at least we can feel confident that we've got it off field now, and with a young group made up of largely interstate players it gives a good amount of hope that we aren't losing guys without other clubs stumping up ridiculous offers.

Development of youngsters and guys that I didn't think had it in them, like Cumming and Idun, to become vital parts of our best 22. I had slowly realised this through the season, but it hit home when Isaac went down in the elimination final and my first thought was 'fu** there's our best medium defender down', those two along with Buckley are now in our best backline, throw in Bruhn, Ash, Green, XOH, and even Taylor as guys that improved out of sight and it's exciting (Stone didn't play enough for me to count him, but last night was massive)

Fighting through injuries, keeping our finals streak against the swans alive, upset wins against Geelong and Melbourne as well

The Bad
We still have inconsistency issues and seem to lapse randomly through games, right now we don't have many players that can pull something out against the opposition momentum and get the rest of the team behind them, Toby does it, Hopper and Green can with their relentless hunt at stoppages, sometimes Haynes can be that guy, but we're not a team that you think can stage a comeback mid quarter right now, so when we slip we fall down the slope. throw into this the losses against Hawthorn, Suns, Swans where they fought back and the draw to North and it hurts to see again this year

Are our injuries ever going to get better? It feels like we haven't put out our genuine best 22 since Round 1 in 2012

Concerns into the future
Is Cogs form due to the interrupted year via injury, did he struggle in a hub, does our midfield function better without him, is he a forward permanently now? All questions that I think need some form of answer. I love Cogs, he ahs had periods where he's been our best player, but whatever it is, whether it's injuries or confidence, something needs to be done to help him get back to being the best player he can be, I hate seeing him being dragged through the mud in the media and being 'sent to Collingwood as steak knives', but we can't avoid the fact that he needs to be better next season.

Does the club trust Flynn or Briggs enough? Briggs is in every way but experience better than Mumford imo, and when we came up against a team in the finals that Briggs dismantled in the H&A season, we choose Mummy to go back to back games over him? If i'm a young player in Briggs shoes I'm looking at my options personally and he's got the suitors out there that will offer him that number 1 ruck mantle. I also question whether Flynn is a ruck or more a forward that can ruck? I like him better in the latter role personally, him and Briggs long term is a good partnership to try and maintain. I'll add on to this, where does this leave Preuss? He's had a lot of injury issues in the past, and 3 in one season doesn't leave me with much confidence with his endurance, have we quickly circled back to the 'GWS need a Ruck' phase?

Does Davis go on? He looked better last night after a few weeks off than he has before, if he keeps going is he going to be like Mumford needing breaks every 2 weeks? Is that where his body is at?

Outside of Hogan, do we have any true key forwards (outside of resting rucks)? HH just hasn't been that guy, he's a nice third tall type of player, so have we become too reliant on Hogan who hasn't got a great injury track record? Does this mean we really do look at a Callum Coleman-Jones to be that 200cm dude you put the ball on the head of?
Flynn being more of a forward that can ruck makes it a perfect fit with Briggs right? He's better then your standard pinch hit ruckmen that goes in to give a breather to the primary ruck but also a quality forward marking option that we desperately missed last night while Briggs can handle 70%(?) of the ruck duties and Flynn is more than qualified to help out.
 

Gigantic

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 31, 2014
11,121
13,808
Sydney
AFL Club
GWS
Other Teams
Rabbitohs, LFC, PHX
The Good: One of the big highlights for me this year was the coming of age of the likes of Taylor, Cumming, Idun, Green, Buckley, Ash and the younger players stepping up when given the opportunity in Bruhn, Stone, Briggs, Stein. I feel confident moving forward that we're retaining an exceptional playing group.

The Bad: Again, injuries have let us down. At one point with about a month left of H&A our playing list looked fit and healthy with a short rehab report, but it all reverted back to the norm shortly after and we carried an extensive injury list into the finals series.

The Ugly: Failing to get the job done against the bottom sides. And then there's Toby Greene - he has been hard done by but he is not without his faults. His on-field indiscretions have let him down yet again, but that's our Toby, he plays on the edge... Another injury riddled season for Cogs. There's now some question marks next to his claim to captaincy, I'm happy to back him in and think he will do better with less pressure.

The Questions: Will this be it for Mumford? Davis? Reid? The latter two I think play another year. Our ruck situation is as unclear as ever with Preuss always injured, Flynn the most likely but has his injury worries too, Briggs has looked good in the limited opportunities he has had.
 

Pres

Premiership Player
Mar 8, 2002
3,895
2,290
Melbourne
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
LA Angels
Overall a terrific year from the Giants. Exceeded expectations for sure.

The Good

Heaps of positives. The main one would be the recognition that the team needs to move to a faster game plan - and looked miles better when they picked players who could carry that plan out.

The Bad

The forward line didn't really look much chop for vast sections of the year. Major inability to lock the ball in and if the club intends Riccardi to walk then I really don't know what the plan is in terms of talls. Hogan's body is shot unfortunately.

The Ugly

The club stands head and shoulders above any other major sporting organisation in Australia in terms of inadequate physical preparation and injury mismanagement. It's actually laughable. I'd almost be prepared to say they would have won a flag by now had someone like Darren Burgess been head of high performance for the last 6 years.

The Beautiful

The win down at Geelong was epic as was beating the Dees at the MCG.

The Surprising

Sproule, Stein and Buckley. Talk about three blokes coming from absolutely nowhere to become near first choice picks. Fans typically want to "play the kids" at the earliest possible opportunity but there's still a lot to be said for some players honing their craft in the magoos for a year or two :thumbsu:
 
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Ichabod Noodle

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 13, 2011
8,990
13,066
The Riff
AFL Club
GWS
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Raiders, Brumbies
The Surprising

Sproule, Stein and Buckley. Talk about three blokes coming from absolutely nowhere to become near first choice picks. Fans typically want to "play the kids" at the earliest possible opportunity but there's still a lot to be said for some players honing their craft in the magoos for a year or two :thumbsu:
add in Cumming & Idun who both spent prolonged periods in the 2s

also, it’s not just the fans, it’s the kids themselves who aren’t always willing to wait - Hately, Caldwell, Setterfield, Steel etc. etc. but you have to remember, playing early is only a relatively recent thing. Tony Liberatore only played 18 senior games in his first 4 years (wining the Gardner Medal twice) before cementing a senior spot (playing 280 odd & a brownlow). Even Michael Tuck only played 16 in his first three years before going on to play 400+.

The Magoos is where you learn, and hone, and get better, so that when you do come up, you hit the ground running - which is what most of our backline this year has done (& Sproule)
 

Gigantic

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 31, 2014
11,121
13,808
Sydney
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add in Cumming & Idun who both spent prolonged periods in the 2s

also, it’s not just the fans, it’s the kids themselves who aren’t always willing to wait - Hately, Caldwell, Setterfield, Steel etc. etc. but you have to remember, playing early is only a relatively recent thing. Tony Liberatore only played 18 senior games in his first 4 years (wining the Gardner Medal twice) before cementing a senior spot (playing 280 odd & a brownlow). Even Michael Tuck only played 16 in his first three years before going on to play 400+.

The Magoos is where you learn, and hone, and get better, so that when you do come up, you hit the ground running - which is what most of our backline this year has done (& Sproule)
As an aside, I wonder how much frustration the last two years would have caused our fringe players with disruptions and uncertainty throughout the reserves season.
 

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Maximus 2011

Debutant
Oct 4, 2019
104
149
AFL Club
GWS
The Season That Was

The Good:

Getting game time in to the kids and majority of them showing a lot of promise! The new backline crew holding out potentially Davis & Kennedy next year I see as being a huge positive and a changing of the guard. Idun, Taylor, Cumming, Ash, Haynes, Peatling, Buckley (when fit), Stein, really all look great! Throughout the year I have had to change my opinion on our backline being our weakness and main priority going forward to the fact that they are just about our strongest line.

Loved seeing Whitfield playing as a pure midfielder in the last quarter of the semi final. Get him in there and leave him in there. He will be top 5 mids in the comp if left in there and offers us a point of difference with spread from the stoppages. This goes with Ash as well as the hardness of Bruhn.

The Bad:

Losing to bottom ranked teams and always giving them a chance to get a good start against us.
Himmelberg needs help in the forward line.

The Ugly:

The injury list again.
Cogs form. Love the guy and think he is such a genuine human being. His form however has been horrible for a very long time now. Obviously has been hampered by injury. He isn't a forward. Sure he can provide good pressure in the forward line but that should be a job for a $200-300k per year player not a $850k+ player.

The Beautiful:

Sam Taylor. Arguably our most important player now. Absolute gun.
Hearing the players talk about playing their role. Music to my ears. Finally buying in and willing to sacrifice their game and stats for the benefit of the team.

The Surprising:

The evolution of Cumming. I hand on heart didn't see that cumming ;) I believe he can become a better player than Zac Williams in his prime, better kick and more athletic.

Very surprised with the Giants run in to the finals and equally surprised Leon left the kids in when the old fellas were available for selection. Kudos to Leon in getting us to the finals when everyone had written us off, I have long been a believer that he doesn't have what it takes to get us to the next level and personally I think this is still a possibility. Seems like a great scrapper coach against teams ranked above us but not tactically the best against the teams below us.

The Needs:

New fitness and medical team should be #1 priority in the offseason. Simply unacceptable losing what seems like 2 soft tissues every single week.

Key Forward. Himmelberg is not a #1 forward, neither is Hogan nor Finlaysonn& Riccardi will head back to Vic.
Need someone to sit under the high balls and bring the ball to ground in a predictable area for our smalls. Honestly feel (CCJ) Callum Coleman-Jones is the answer and is ready to go. Imagine him taking the number #1 defender in our forward line leaving Hogan getting the #2 and Himmelberg the #3 and playing more like a mobile flanker. Not to mention TFG would likely get a small defender matchup. We could possibly trade our pick #13 with the Tigers and get back CCJ and a late first or second rounder in return.

The Youth:

Unbelievable we still have players like Ryan Angwin (Pick #18 2020) & Conor Stone (Pick #15 2020) just waiting in the wings with so much upside ready to go. Add to these 2 players Ash, Green, Daniels, Bruhn, Hopper, Taranto, Briggs, Flynn, Taylor, Buckley, Hill, Cumming, Idun, Sproule all 23 or under (except Hopper). As you can see we have a ton of of young talent mainly in the midfield as well as the backline. So despite the chatter on Big Footy forums being about our need for a Key Position Defender I see our forward line as our main priority heading into the draft.
 

Giant Strides

Moderator
Nov 23, 2015
6,700
9,068
AFL Club
GWS
I don't think I need to comment - it's all been covered by others. I especially agree with Maximus 2011 's immediately preceding post (except the CCJ part).

The very good has been the rejuvenation of the team by having to play the kids ... and them showing they can do it. I agree that our backline has turned from an area of concern - having lost Corr, Shaw & Williams at the end of 2020 - to a strength. We just need to navigate through next year with a couple of LTIs and a fading Davis.

Looking forward to seeing what happens now in trade and draft periods, and to next year's campaign.
 
Jul 24, 2021
352
375
Mclean
AFL Club
Carlton
1/Injuries every year(need change).
2/Do you recruit a 29yo ruck?
3/list is good enough for finals.
4/ Leon actually earned coaching points this year.
5/ Dont panic as your on the right track.
6/ Coniglio conundrum?
7/ I'm confident in your management..
 

Hendo_21

Team Captain
Aug 14, 2021
411
470
AFL Club
GWS
It's been reported that North Melbourne are overhauling majority of their fitness staff due to too many injuries and lack of their best players being avaliable. WHAT A GENUIS IDEA, we should be doing the exact same thing it's bad enough for it to happen this year but it's the same story every year.
 

dlanod

Moderator
Sep 14, 2006
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It's been reported that North Melbourne are overhauling majority of their fitness staff due to too many injuries and lack of their best players being avaliable. WHAT A GENUIS IDEA, we should be doing the exact same thing it's bad enough for it to happen this year but it's the same story every year.
We did.

It just didn't work.

Need to do it again.
 

Maximus 2011

Debutant
Oct 4, 2019
104
149
AFL Club
GWS
I don't think I need to comment - it's all been covered by others. I especially agree with Maximus 2011 's immediately preceding post (except the CCJ part).

The very good has been the rejuvenation of the team by having to play the kids ... and them showing they can do it. I agree that our backline has turned from an area of concern - having lost Corr, Shaw & Williams at the end of 2020 - to a strength. We just need to navigate through next year with a couple of LTIs and a fading Davis.

Looking forward to seeing what happens now in trade and draft periods, and to next year's campaign.
Which part about the CCJ section don't you agree on? What we would have to give up to get him or the fact you don't think he is a player that fits our needs?
 

Giant Strides

Moderator
Nov 23, 2015
6,700
9,068
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Which part about the CCJ section don't you agree on? What we would have to give up to get him or the fact you don't think he is a player that fits our needs?
I just don't see him as the guy that fills that need. And hence the cost of him, even if he wanted to come, which again I'm not convinced of, would be disproportionately high.

I agree with the problem, just not the solution.

I'd like to see Flynn and Briggs tried in combination to see if they could be that solution. They've both clunked good marks, both up forward and down the line coming out of defence, which is what we need. But it's a small sample size, so we don't know if it will work over a season. But CCJ is a small sample size as well, hence why I'm not convinced he's the answer - he may be, I'm just not convinced that's the case.

I liked what Sproule did in the couple of games he played, but he wasn't able to do it in the Semi-Final. But essentially, he's like HH & Finlayson, a mobile KPD rather than that Hawkins-style big marking unit. That to me is Hogan - essentially if we can get his body right, that's a huge positive for us.
 

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