Strategy What is going wrong? A discussion of tactics, strategy and execution issues and how to fix them

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Brishawk

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I think we all have some ideas on what is going wrong and how to fix it so I'm starting this tread so we can have an extended discussion on the tactics, strategy and execution issues affecting our performance. I want to keep this seperate from list management and selection of player A instead of player B. There are plenty of threads in which that occurs and it just distracts from some of the other bigger issues we have around tactics, strategy and execution that simply won't be improved by changing players.

WARNING: THIS IS NOT A DISCUSSION OF PLAYER SELECTION AND LIST MANAGEMENT.

I'd appreciate if we stay on topic for those who want to discuss these issues but I'm not a mod so it is going to take a team effort and self discipline.

To start off discussions, I have produced a video of a passage of play from the Demons game which highlights a few of our issues. I have a few others in the pipeline but I'm new to the software. The videos are crude but I think they will be better than posting a dozen screen shots. There is no sound because....I'm still working out why it didn't come across but hopefully I'll work that out before the season is over :)


General points raised in the video are that we have a tendency to commit all players to charging around towards the football. We also go to ground a lot. You will see a counter of time we go to ground in the passage of play...it is 7 time to 2. And we only bring the demons to ground once (the other time a demon goes to ground tackling a hawk).
 

On Topic

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I think the main issue that everyone has pointed out several times is the conservative going down the line kicks which literally end up with the above happening more often than not. We play for stoppages but then lose the stoppages. It fundamentally does not make sense.

Ball holders have some immediate options with a bit of risk to kick to but wait too long to pull the trigger and then have to go down the line. Maybe this is what Clarkson is talking about with a team down on confidence. The players are doubting themselves and start playing in their shells and ultimately playing safe.

The other pressing concern is how hard we have to work to get it forward only for the ball to slingshot to the other side of the ground with ease. We saw this start happening in 2018 but we were able to lock the ball in our forward half and score repeatedly before that would happen.

Our zoning defense is being picked through too easily as well. Opposition have been creeping forward with short, diagonal kicks to a free man before pulling the trigger on a deep corridor kick. Structures appear to have been found out and need significant revising.
 

LMGjr

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No player or List management here mate, as I think we've done well in areas other would disagree with, so what's left, the intangibles that's what.

Every business has a value that is attached to their intangible value - it's my opinion we've given too much of this away by being "nice". I fully support a gag order on ex players now. I hope Buckly wins it this year (if we can't) because he has stole nothing from us first hand (a intangible asset).

Just maybe Clarkos b*tch about holding the ball, papsmear etc is a intangible message to his players that "enough is enough, I'll take the whack in the media, but the first one (player) that gets suspended or pinged for making their opponent actually truly effing earn it will get a gold star". He has had to stick with the old guys because the season is effed from CoVid for the young guys not playing vfl putting real tangible pressure on the old fellas.

Intangible assets. We've given them away to easily recently, but the real question is the return going to worth the sacrifice, while other people b*tch about Clarko having a little "sook" in the media. The answer should be self evident, since this man is self compossed for the most part, if the players are getting the true message, and supporters support our coach for bitching about what was truly hopeless effing umpiring instead of blaming him or as some have Frawely............... seriously.

Get behind the man, because he is our greatest intangible asset, which is proven by how many of his assistants have won the premiership since we naturally declined as every great side does.

Jeff also has this intangible asset, so the people bringing him into it are maybe motivated by their political bias, instead of the fact the man gets results, no matter if you agree with his method.

So my question is what are our intangibles - for me it's our people, always has been, but we've let them even out the comp by being nice helping out the idiots who couldn't work it out on their own. Yes I'm pissed about this. So is Clarko if you go back to how much has been stolen by "poaching intangible" knowledge through our people.
 

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Abasi

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Brishawk great job and I’m keen to hear the audio.

The footage is pretty damning, although I do also think it’s a bit rough to highlight Worpel and Morrison for falling over as Worpel got hit front on while taking the kick and Morrison at least put his body over the ball and delivered to a teammate without taking possession.

One thing we do seem to be doing a lot of is getting sucked into the honey pot, as they say, and then should we get our hands on it not being able to find that clear player who is moving through or passed the contest(is anyone even moving?). We look stagnant and reactive a lot of the time, whether we have the ball or not.

Apart from this and our ability to continuously fall over, I’ve been a bit of a broken record on how poor our hands are, and how we continuously put our teammates under pressure by hand balling to their ankles.

I would need to go back to yesterday’s game(🤢) to identify the players involved, but a perfect example of this was late in the last where we had a 3 on 2 near the boundary in the Swans forward pocket. We had a Hawk take possession on the boundary with two teammates in close proximity who were clear.

His handball hits the ankles of player 1, who has to gather from his feet killing the time he had should it have hit him at waist height. He then had to immediately give it to player 3(Hardwick) who is also now under pressure, and as a consequence all he can manage to do is screw the ball over his shoulder in desperation to clear it.

Swans mark the ill directed kick.


I’d love to see an improvement in some of these basic skills and some more refined clearance work where we get our hands on it and maintain possession because we just seem to hand it back a hell of a lot when we do actually get it our hands on it first.
 

TylerDurden

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Skills tend to clean up with confidence and belief in the gameplan. The gameplan has to prove to work for the players to buy in. If they don't, you'll see dips in confidence, then the errors pile up.

Also if we're stifling the players and over coaching them, you'll see it fall apart quickly. Soon the big beltings will come.

Sounds doom and gloom, but we have to turn this around immediately. Send a message at selection for once, and flip the ball movement on it's head.

Swans did it a few weeks ago after the Tigers loss and already look far better for it. Players are enjoying footy again, look more confident, and the rest flows.

We're making it too hard at present. And over complicating things.
 

Abasi

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Skills tend to clean up with confidence and belief in the gameplan. The gameplan has to prove to work for the players to buy in. If they don't, you'll see dips in confidence, then the errors pile up.

Also if we're stifling the players and over coaching them, you'll see it fall apart quickly. Soon the big beltings will come.

Sounds doom and gloom, but we have to turn this around immediately. Send a message at selection for once, and flip the ball movement on it's head.

Swans did it a few weeks ago after the Tigers loss and already look far better for it. Players are enjoying footy again, look more confident, and the rest flows.

We're making it too hard at present. And over complicating things.
We can’t or won’t pull the trigger. Maybe it’s not even a choice of the two.

Our ball movement and connection is almost completely unseen.

When was the last time we had a player take a two bounce run anywhere on the ground, that wasn’t a consequence of a deep switch? We can’t find any space.
 

TylerDurden

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We can’t or won’t pull the trigger. Maybe it’s not even a choice of the two.

Our ball movement and connection is almost completely unseen.

When was the last time we had a player take a two bounce run anywhere on the ground, that wasn’t a consequence of a deep switch? We can’t find any space.
Not allowed to pull the trigger mate.
Over coached at present.
 

LMGjr

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Skills tend to clean up with confidence and belief in the gameplan. The gameplan has to prove to work for the players to buy in. If they don't, you'll see dips in confidence, then the errors pile up.

Also if we're stifling the players and over coaching them, you'll see it fall apart quickly. Soon the big beltings will come.

Sounds doom and gloom, but we have to turn this around immediately. Send a message at selection for once, and flip the ball movement on it's head.

Swans did it a few weeks ago after the Tigers loss and already look far better for it. Players are enjoying footy again, look more confident, and the rest flows.

We're making it too hard at present. And over complicating things.
Bring on the belting, if that makes the players go back to just playing, even within the system, which seriously can't be that effing complicated as people like to make out as these guys are not Albert Einstein, otherwise we'd have won nothing, let alone 3 in a row, and every Ex assistant since.

But play to your natural instinct all you like within the system if you have no forwards what are you to do? Recruit them I guess, hence Patton. Not have a strong contested mark do his shoulder and lose his bit of nasty because of it would be the first port of call to solve issues.

Seriously the coach can only instill self belief with the players he's got, but if the next "gen" players aren't playing where does the coach go?

This is circular, but I have faith we'll come out of the circle the better for it, if we lose no more intangible assets, but instead chase some of them back to the club.

Hey Birch, what you do next year?

What are you up to Gibbo, any chance you can do a day a week teaching the young fellas when to zone off and how to kill a contest?

Mark Williams (possibly the most underrated Hawk because we sent him to the DRUG cheats), will you teach these boys how and when to actually lead at the footy?

These boys (next gen) need proven legends (which we have plenty of) just reinforcing the absolute simple sh*t, while AC does what he does.

This sh*t is now chess, now checkers. But to show the strong "chess" moves we need HAWTHORN people who've done it in the games that matter back reinforcing these boys that they are capble.

Intangible knowledge. I wouldn't listen to Burns or Bolton, sorry, I just wouldn't. But are they capable of setting up a system within the system as that's their job, not get out there and show the young boys the simple basics, which they alreay know but need reinforcement of it from people they respect. Again it's intangible.

Get back to basics on advice re skills from the players who've done it, and let the systems then work themselves out.

It's still a simple game; Jack Ringworm leads up the middle taking all and sundry with him via knees, elbows, whatever it takes, Tom Lynch takes a uncotested mark in the very same pockets we kick to to get a throw in and has a set shot................Hmmmmm pretty efing simple when all is said and done, but of course everyone over complicates with this small brigade BULLSHIT, they won last year because of the 2 key forwards and two key backs and a sevricible ruck. Not the smalls up forward. That's diversionary.

We lost Roughie and Buddy and to a lesser degree Shoe, Spang etc......hard god damn shoes to fill.

TOB's absence showed big time against the Swines. The "almost man" competes, bringing others into the game!!!!

If we ever win a flag with him in the side he deserves a bigger applause of appreciation then Shoey and Spang got. Because he is the sacrifice.
 

thejockey

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It's all above the shoulders for mine . Confidence is a massive in sport and we have none.
Its whittled away since the last quarter vs North and gradually we have hit rock bottom.

Our highly structured 'system' works when we are all in synch and confident .
We zip the ball around by foot , hit targets and open the field up.
Without those we play safe , move the ball sidewards , backwards but more importantly slowly .

We wont pull the trigger on that harder kick because we look afraid of making a mistake.

Its hard to get back , I think and hope that we simplify things up .
I would like to see us having guys running past for handballs , get the ball moving and in motion .
If we make a mistake or two , so be it but get the guys to persist .

Im not as down as a lot here , I think we can and will rebound quickly ....just not this season as far as playing finals etc
 

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Yardie

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I'm loathe to say it but Carlton had this problem and it has partly resolved itself by letting the players be more attacking. Our teams have not been great at contested footy but we have always had a great defense that had excellent rebounding skills. Because we don't have that rebounding dash and play too many players with poor foot skills in that area we end up having to go up the line. I'd like to see more attacking flair from the half back line and players spreading more and take a risk on the corridor. If players want to switch the play it should be by kicking forward and across, not sideways and or back. It means that players like Smith, Scully and Maginness who can run all day need to be running to space all day.
 

Simon Crawshay

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In terms of strategy, we moved on 3 alltime greats a year early but have not done the same with our midtier players such as Stratton Poppy Burger. Why not? This has stunted the development of the next layer badly. Why the change in policy?
This is a great point in my opinion.

We moved on club B&Fs such as Mitchell, Hodge and Gibson (and Sewell prior to that) the moment their form started to dip but we have carried Stratton, Poppy and to a lesser extent Shiels and Burgers for a good two years now.

We were ruthless with the stars yet have shown the mid tier players so much leeway.
 

Abasi

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It's all above the shoulders for mine . Confidence is a massive in sport and we have none.
No doubt that’s a massive part of our current formline, but I also think we’ve not adapted to the hub, the grounds we’ve had to play at and the shortened games.

Gameplan is no doubt an issue, and when you run at 27% disp efficiency in a quarter, you’re never going to be able to execute it.
 

TylerDurden

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This is a great point in my opinion.

We moved on club B&Fs such as Mitchell, Hodge and Gibson (and Sewell prior to that) the moment their form started to dip but we have carried Stratton, Poppy and to a lesser extent Shiels and Burgers for a good two years now.

We were ruthless with the stars yet have shown the mid tier players so much leeway.
Birchall another. Lewis.
 

thejockey

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No doubt that’s a massive part of our current formline, but I also think we’ve not adapted to the hub, the grounds we’ve had to play at and the shortened games.

Gameplan is no doubt an issue, and when you run at 27% disp efficiency in a quarter, you’re never going to be able to execute it.
I really thought the hub system would suit us nicely . You cant measure what impact its had but results suggest we simple haven't adapted to this season at all.

Fair to say no gameplan holds up with that DE%!
 

darthmann

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No doubt that’s a massive part of our current formline, but I also think we’ve not adapted to the hub, the grounds we’ve had to play at and the shortened games.

Gameplan is no doubt an issue, and when you run at 27% disp efficiency in a quarter, you’re never going to be able to execute it.
I agree that the problem is just a mesh of everything. If this was a normal year it would be easier to identify what is problematic, but it's too hard given how compromised the season is to understand how much its impacting specific clubs relative to others. Some will rise to adversity and others (see: us) will crumble.

It's some parts personnel, some parts gameplan, some parts COVID, some parts coaching etc. I suspect we will get a better idea of what's really awry when we play at Optus the next few weeks. While I'm always excited to watch us play (I know...) I find it difficult to really give a sh*t about our performance or the result, because it's just impossible to get a read on this season. It makes no ******* sense.

I am on board with the calls to view it as a pre-season for 2021 and prepare for the major list turnover that Covid cuts will likely cause. If there is a major shift in form and gameplan and we stumble in the 8 then great, if not then let's just pocket the high picks we'll get and make some smart off-season moves. Good list management and the steady implementation of a gameplan for next year will see us rebound pretty quickly from this sh*tstain of a year imo.

Clarko isn't an idiot. He sees the same garbage we see, he knows our gameplan and our personnel aren't working presently. However I think a gradual move towards a superior gameplan and a turnover of youth will be his method of improvement given how all over the place this year is.
 

H00t

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The game plan isn’t bad. It’s just not right for us. We need to take full advantage of our list and get the players playing to their strengths. Rather than having them play a lesser game to try and fit Clarko a ideal plan. E.g. our forwards all look best leading and marking so let’s kick the ball low into space than always kicking rain makers.

We’ve seen it with bulldogs, Richmond and west coast. These teams aren’t the most talented individually but with their game plans suiting their strengths they are able to play well above their ability and win flags.

Of course finding the perfect game plan is incredibly challenging and can be near impossible but if there’s one coach I’d back to do it it’s Clarko
 

Brishawk

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I think the main issue that everyone has pointed out several times is the conservative going down the line kicks which literally end up with the above happening more often than not. We play for stoppages but then lose the stoppages. It fundamentally does not make sense.

Ball holders have some immediate options with a bit of risk to kick to but wait too long to pull the trigger and then have to go down the line. Maybe this is what Clarkson is talking about with a team down on confidence. The players are doubting themselves and start playing in their shells and ultimately playing safe.

The other pressing concern is how hard we have to work to get it forward only for the ball to slingshot to the other side of the ground with ease. We saw this start happening in 2018 but we were able to lock the ball in our forward half and score repeatedly before that would happen.

Our zoning defense is being picked through too easily as well. Opposition have been creeping forward with short, diagonal kicks to a free man before pulling the trigger on a deep corridor kick. Structures appear to have been found out and need significant revising.
Certainly there is an issue with the way we move the ball. There are two aspects to this. How we move it after winning it in broken play v how we move it in static play. Our tendency to charge in at the ball and with no concern for threats outside of the contest or being a threat outside the contest, mean that even when we do win it, we are surrounded by a crowd of players, mostly our own, and there are opponents outside of ours so they have no way of exiting the congestion. So we typically walk it on the boot or turn it over. IT would take a miracle to move the ball quickly and cleanly through the congestion.

Movement from static play is a different issue and the number one issue we have is that we do not proactively clear the corridor once we have a static play. We literally loiter at CHB to CHF until it looks like we are going to kick long down the line. It isn't even a case of skill or confidence to centre the ball, we simply don't even give ourselves a chance to do it. I don't think that is the game plan per se but rather players not understanding how to create dynamic play through movement off the ball.

Our zone defence is a problem and I suspect it is hard to fix those sorts of things with only one session a week and lots of issues. I think if we sort our ball movement out and not get sucked into the football we will get better field position and better forward fifty entries which takes the pressure off the midfield zone. When we get sucked in and they opposition win the ball out, we are all stuck on the side and it makes us look very slow. But actually we are just giving them a head start.
 

WWSD

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We can’t or won’t pull the trigger. Maybe it’s not even a choice of the two.

Our ball movement and connection is almost completely unseen.

When was the last time we had a player take a two bounce run anywhere on the ground, that wasn’t a consequence of a deep switch? We can’t find any space.
Jarman Impey last year before injury. :(
 

TylerDurden

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Watch Adelaide today. Spooners but playing with far more flair and moving the ball in a far more threatening manner than us. We have a superior list than them, but they'd probably beat us at present. I dont know how many more losses we let mount up before we do something about it.
 

Brishawk

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Brishawk great job and I’m keen to hear the audio.

The footage is pretty damning, although I do also think it’s a bit rough to highlight Worpel and Morrison for falling over as Worpel got hit front on while taking the kick and Morrison at least put his body over the ball and delivered to a teammate without taking possession.

One thing we do seem to be doing a lot of is getting sucked into the honey pot, as they say, and then should we get our hands on it not being able to find that clear player who is moving through or passed the contest(is anyone even moving?). We look stagnant and reactive a lot of the time, whether we have the ball or not.

Apart from this and our ability to continuously fall over, I’ve been a bit of a broken record on how poor our hands are, and how we continuously put our teammates under pressure by hand balling to their ankles.

I would need to go back to yesterday’s game(🤢) to identify the players involved, but a perfect example of this was late in the last where we had a 3 on 2 near the boundary in the Swans forward pocket. We had a Hawk take possession on the boundary with two teammates in close proximity who were clear.

His handball hits the ankles of player 1, who has to gather from his feet killing the time he had should it have hit him at waist height. He then had to immediately give it to player 3(Hardwick) who is also now under pressure, and as a consequence all he can manage to do is screw the ball over his shoulder in desperation to clear it.

Swans mark the ill directed kick.


I’d love to see an improvement in some of these basic skills and some more refined clearance work where we get our hands on it and maintain possession because we just seem to hand it back a hell of a lot when we do actually get it our hands on it first.
I'm not intentionally singling out any player here (although Worpel is a serial offender), just using this example to highlight how frequently we end up on the ground (7 to 2 in one passage of play is insane). We do it as a team all over the ground. It isn't just bad luck or confidence either. Worpel goes to ground twice in this clip. The second time he is actually pushed in the back and not much he could do given what was happening around him. But the first time he goes to ground is because Smith doesn't block an/or Worpel is stationary when taking the ball. Imagine if he starts 2 m back from there and takes a few steps in as the ruck contest is in progress so that he meets the ball on the move...I'd suggest he goes straight past Viney and gets a clear kick forward. I have a sequence of every stoppage in the first quarter of the pies game and we basically set up stationary around every stoppage so that even when we win it, we still need to break a tackle or fire off several handballs just to get a quick kick forward. There is no plan to exit the congestion in place at all.
 

Buttonsticher

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It's hard to tell from not being able to see the whole ground only tv coverage view but when I see a player hesitating and looking for options I assume that nobody is running attempting to give options or if they are there is no confidence in the team mate to win the contest. I'm sure both phyisical and mental fitness has suffered because of the prevailing conditions but a lot of teams are in the same boat. I'd rather sink having a go than lose because of indecision.
 

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