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

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Davo-27

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I think a reason we are struggling to play our system well this year is because its been over a year since Andrew Russell trained the squad and as Carlton are getting fit and playing good footy, were losing conditioning and playing poor footy, I think this issue is criminally under rated.

Also we tend to rely on runners and kicking down the boundary which relies on quick disposal, speed and quality possession, which has not clicked very often this season.

McEvoy as a defender has pros and cons, when we put pressure on opponent mids, McEvoy cleans up in defense, but if we drop pressure then opponent forwards just run laps around him.

Our work out of defense is ok, it's our mids bombing into our forward line that has been an issue for around 3 years, this very rarely happened prior to 2016, because we had some amazingly consistent quality in the midfield, Lewis, S.Mitchell, Hodge, Burgoyne all had over 70% DE and some close to 80% DE, now all of our mids are between 55%-65% DE which means they connect less with team mates and that is obvious when you watch us play.

As for style, were playing the Mick Malthouse style of football he perfected at Collingwood, win ball in backline, keep near boundary for less hurt if you turn over and then create turn over to score easy goals, right now we have no way of creating turnovers and our movement is too slow, as are our players from less than elite fitness.
 

TylerDurden

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I think a reason we are struggling to play our system well this year is because its been over a year since Andrew Russell trained the squad and as Carlton are getting fit and playing good footy, were losing conditioning and playing poor footy, I think this issue is criminally under rated.

Also we tend to rely on runners and kicking down the boundary which relies on quick disposal, speed and quality possession, which has not clicked very often this season.

McEvoy as a defender has pros and cons, when we put pressure on opponent mids, McEvoy cleans up in defense, but if we drop pressure then opponent forwards just run laps around him.

Our work out of defense is ok, it's our mids bombing into our forward line that has been an issue for around 3 years, this very rarely happened prior to 2016, because we had some amazingly consistent quality in the midfield, Lewis, S.Mitchell, Hodge, Burgoyne all had over 70% DE and some close to 80% DE, now all of our mids are between 55%-65% DE which means they connect less with team mates and that is obvious when you watch us play.

As for style, were playing the Mick Malthouse style of football he perfected at Collingwood, win ball in backline, keep near boundary for less hurt if you turn over and then create turn over to score easy goals, right now we have no way of creating turnovers and our movement is too slow, as are our players from less than elite fitness.
I'll go a step further and say we're moving the ball to a stoppage scenario more often than not. Stops the oppo from scoring and minimises the risk of turnover. Then hope you win the next stoppage and gain territory from there.

Painful to watch but he's obsessed with defending at present and trying not to concede goals, to the point where he almost doesn't care to score. He'd borderline be happy with a 0-0 draw at present.

We're stifling some seriously talented players.

If he doesn't mix it up now, God knows where this ends up.
 

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Davo-27

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I'll go a step further and say we're moving the ball to a stoppage scenario more often than not. Stops the oppo from scoring and minimises the risk of turnover. Then hope you win the next stoppage and gain territory from there.

Painful to watch but he's obsessed with defending at present and trying not to concede goals, to the point where he almost doesn't care to score. He'd borderline be happy with a 0-0 draw at present.

We're stifling some seriously talented players.

If he doesn't mix it up now, God knows where this ends up.
Yes the reason you go boundary is because if you don't get a mark or clean poss, you can cause a throw in and reset.
 

TylerDurden

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Yes the reason you go boundary is because if you don't get a mark or clean poss, you can cause a throw in and reset.
Which has us as the worst team in the comp to watch. It's embarrassing now. We may aswell dump it over the line each time and hope to not get pinged for deliberate.

Sad state of affairs indeed.
 

Davo-27

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Which has us as the worst team in the comp to watch. It's embarrassing now. We may aswell dump it over the line each time and hope to not get pinged for deliberate.

Sad state of affairs indeed.
Our midfield is hard to watch most of the time, sometimes JOM or Smith or Wingard will put together a good quarter or 2, but it is so rough watching these guys be uncompetitive for most of the games

Our forward line is a joke other than Breust or Gunston, I just laugh at how bad they are now or else I'd be crying

Only shining light is the defense and they can't handle the torrent of crap flooding their way each game.
 

Easy Slips Catch

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As Clarko said "it's a lack of polish". JOM, Tom, Worp, Sheila, Stratts, Skully, Frostie and Chip are all poor users with limited vision. Our midfield won't ever hurt good defences. We need to rebuild our guts and that will take some time.
 

Abasi

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I think a reason we are struggling to play our system well this year is because its been over a year since Andrew Russell trained the squad and as Carlton are getting fit and playing good footy, were losing conditioning and playing poor footy, I think this issue is criminally under rated.
Is this something you know as fact or is it just a theory?

Because if it’s just a theory it’s pretty unfair on Luke Boyd to be declaring online that he’s not doing his job, I must say.
 

Gene Simmons

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I was optimistic that we could rebuild on the run, but its very clear that we need to inject early draft picks and mould them the Hawthorn way..

Top up players and pick pocketing them from opposition clubs worked from 2010-2015 because they were filling a role in a well oiled machine.

Young guys like Day & Morris recent debuts only emphasizes this point as will Finn Maguiness..

Of our current "senior" players IMO we have less than 10 players who I can confidentially say will be at the Hawks in 5 years time; Mitchell, O'Meara, Sicily, Hardwick, Worpel, Wingard, Scrimshaw.
 

gianytee

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I think it’s the slow ball movement. If you wanna play slow Then u must control the air as the zone will be set.

Only problem is McEvoy is in the backline, Ceglar takes one contested mark a game, TOB never sticks them, Patton bring a contest but cannot stick then and Lewis is a lead up FF not a contested marker. So if you wanna play that way you need the players like the Blues have in McKay, McGovern and Caboult who can all take a grab which we don’t.

Also those players in the side to me makes us to predictable and slow, we are better with Gunston at FF with him and Breust with Wingard being the focus which means they need clean and fast ball.

Thing is our team selection suits the slow game plan I mean fast movement is driven by your hall users, under Clarko our ball users have always come from the back. Our back 6 has Frawley (who is ok as he is our stopper), Stratton, McEvoy, Morrison who offer no dare in their kicks or Dash meaning it’s left up to Sicily, Hardwick, Day and Scrimshaw who the latter 2 are too young to be the drivers of the dash.

Midfield is not dangerous at all Mitchell and Worpel and Shiels offer no paceor dare in their kicks while JOM can but I guess is being played wrongly.When none of them can play FWD where stuck with a one paved midfield with no versatility.

Thing is we actually have the cattle to play fast, daring footy so it can be changed easily

To me you just tell everyone to go through the corridor or at least change the angles through dare and that right away offers leading patterns for Silk, Gunston, etc
 

Spursfan

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I was optimistic that we could rebuild on the run, but its very clear that we need to inject early draft picks and mould them the Hawthorn way..

Top up players and pick pocketing them from opposition clubs worked from 2010-2015 because they were filling a role in a well oiled machine.

Young guys like Day & Morris recent debuts only emphasizes this point as will Finn Maguiness..

Of our current "senior" players IMO we have less than 10 players who I can confidentially say will be at the Hawks in 5 years time; Mitchell, O'Meara, Sicily, Hardwick, Worpel, Wingard, Scrimshaw.
'Top ups' must work to some extent - 4 of those 7 were from other clubs.
 

Hot Diggity

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Good thread.

I am not potting Stratton here but we are lacking on field leadership all over the park. This cannot be underestimated.

That sh*t that Papley pulled yesterday would have been met with an angry Hodge, Mitchell, Lewis, Roughy etc back in the day. At the moment no one is willing to fly the flag consistently.

Additionally, I think clarko might have lost a bit of his mojo. He is calling out opposition players, clubs and umpires. This is not something he has done before. He is usually very measured but he has let his guard down this year.

That's just a couple of things I've noticed that may be symptoms of more pressing issues at the club.

Thoughts?
Possibly, and when things aren't going well professionally one usually seeks an escape in home life, hobbies, other interests.

Living in a hub that can't happen - Clarko's human, and it may just be getting to him.
 

kazzooka

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So many things going wrong hard to list them all. As it's excluded from this discussion I won't go into detail but we have been selecting the wrong players and playing players in the wrong positions. This must be addressed play the best available ruck in the ruck, and best chb at chb. Other areas of the ground have issues too. We have also traded for and drafted the wrong players, also gave up too much and got too little in return for leaving players. Lewis had a better Melbourne career than delidio at gws, look at what each club got in return...


1. This group has not played with each other enough. A lot of the Clarkson era premiership players played together from 2002 or 2005. In 2008 when hodge, Mitchell, Brown, Osborne, ladson, sewell were in thier primes they had also played together since being drafted. O'meara, Mitchell, wingard, patton, Scully, impy, Sicily, Frost are all at that stage of their careers but have hardly played together. This sticks out more when the season is inturupted and training restricted.

2. Skills we have a few okay kicks but many poor. Sicily and Hardwick probably the only really reliable ones. None of the calibre of mitchell, Lewis, Hodge, Suckling, guerra, Dew, Franklin, Roughead, Rioli, Birchall. Handballing is appalling. Some of them i have never seen hit a decent rocket handpass. All floaters that barely make it to the players toes. Sicily cannot handball.. Like at all its embarrassing. So many times a quick handball will get us out of trouble and attacking but we miss targets of float them.

3. I find it hard to critise a game plan that isn't being executed. I assure you that coaches instructions are not to, go back behind the mark then kick backwards if you mark in space on the wing. Nor is is it to ignore the free player in the corridor and then take a chip sideways or bomb it to a pack. Also don't think blindly bombing forward to opponents standing by themselves is in the game plan.

4. Tackling if you can touch them you should be able to grab them.

5. Forward entries. If you are within 50 kick a goal. Why when 40 metres out running into goal would you pass to a contest. I can't remember who it was maybe gunston was within range but chose to kick to Burgoyne who was between 2 players on a tighter angle and nearly just as far out. Kick for goal or at least get it deep for a chance at a mark, crumb or stoppage. Shiels goal a clear example, really tough shot but kicking that goal is easier than hitting a target, that person taking a contested mark against 2 or 3 and then kicking the goal.

6. Seems we aren't fit. It looked like everyone was switched on and determined early but in the 2nd half they were missing. Mostly mids. I have said for a while and Chris Scott said they exploited it too. We do not pick enough midfielders. Look at how many Collingwood and gws play. We have 4 and 3 wingers. We currently haven't filled a small forward role and have bruest out too. We should be playing our next best player which is probably Jones or Howe (cousins and finn too) off the bench and let Worpel, O'meara get dangerous forward. We are better served by more mids than struggling 1 position players.
 

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Davo-27

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Is this something you know as fact or is it just a theory?

Because if it’s just a theory it’s pretty unfair on Luke Boyd to be declaring online that he’s not doing his job, I must say.
He is doing his job, he just happens to not be Andrew Russell, a guy who made Essendon fit enough to be a dominant team in the late 90s and 2000, a guy who made Port a powerhouse in the early 2000s before coming to us and making our new young team a powerhouse and in his second season we are seeing huge improvement in a rabble like Carlton, Luke Boyd learned from him, but im not sure he has that same quality of personality and drive?

I think it's worthwhile acknowledging it and maybe the club working with Luke to improve the fitness regime?
 
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Brishawk

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So I managed to get the voice over and some animation going in this video :)

In the video we see the lead up and conclusion to a stoppage on the half back flank. We see both how our over enthusiasm for being near the football kills our rebound and leads to a stoppage that was lucky not to be a goal.


Again, this isn't due to lack of effort. These are structural and behavioural issues that have nothing to do with talent and as such are fixable through coaching. I think this is absolutely the biggest issue the team has at present because it destroys any chance of us being able to construct meaningful passages of play and also exposes us to greater threats if the opposition win it and get it outside our crowd around the ball.

EDIT: In the first part of the video, had Shiels charged forward and provided an option it gives Frawley and Henderson more space to work in and gives Shiels defender a difficult decision to make. Does he stick with Shiels and risk the hawthorn players working through the defence and moving the ball forward, or does he rush at Frawley and risk Frawley putting a handball over the top to Shiels. Putting yourself in a dangerous position makes it harder for the opposition to defend. O'meara also joins the group late and potentially is guilty of the same issue. At least one of those two players needed to stay out and be the release player.

In the second part, probably Scully staying out would have been sufficient to stop an easy entry but also Henderson blocking Petracca's run towards the ball would have allowed an easy take by O'meara and a handball out to Scully (assuming he held his position).
 
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Yardie

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So I managed to get the voice over and some animation going in this video :)

In the video we see the lead up and conclusion to a stoppage on the half back flank. We see both how our over enthusiasm for being near the football kills our rebound and leads to a stoppage that was lucky not to be a goal.


Again, this isn't due to lack of effort. These are structural and behavioural issues that have nothing to do with talent and as such are fixable through coaching. I think this is absolutely the biggest issue the team has at present because it destroys any chance of us being able to construct meaningful passages of play and also exposes us to greater threats if the opposition win it and get it outside our crowd around the ball.

EDIT: In the first part of the video, had Shiels charged forward and provided an option it gives Frawley and Henderson more space to work in and gives Shiels defender a difficult decision to make. Does he stick with Shiels and risk the hawthorn players working through the defence and moving the ball forward, or does he rush at Frawley and risk Frawley putting a handball over the top to Shiels. Putting yourself in a dangerous position makes it harder for the opposition to defend. O'meara also joins the group late and potentially is guilty of the same issue. At least one of those two players needed to stay out and be the release player.

In the second part, probably Scully staying out would have been sufficient to stop an easy entry but also Henderson blocking Petracca's run towards the ball would have allowed an easy take by O'meara and a handball out to Scully (assuming he held his position).
That is a great analysis Brishawk. Not only does Scully get drawn to the contest but our other outside runner (Smith) is close in on the boundary side so will only get caught in congestion if the ball falls that way.
 

rogiebear93

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I think a reason we are struggling to play our system well this year is because its been over a year since Andrew Russell trained the squad and as Carlton are getting fit and playing good footy, were losing conditioning and playing poor footy, I think this issue is criminally under rated.
Actually I'd argue it's the opposite.

We were the second or third best side in the last 5 minutes of quarters in 2018 and 2019. That's where Mitchell wins a lot of his ball and gets it forward. That's where Scully gets his advantage in terms of work rate.

We're a high work-rate, slight team that lacks explosive players when you compare us directly to other teams. So what do you do in that situation? Do you try to change things for a single season, or back the team in to do better when we're back to conventional game time?

It's a difficult one, and I'm not making excuses for the team, but there's pretty simple explanations for some of why we're playing poorly and to shove it all on Andrew Russell being missing is wrong.
 

Brishawk

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That is a great analysis Brishawk. Not only does Scully get drawn to the contest but our other outside runner (Smith) is close in on the boundary side so will only get caught in congestion if the ball falls that way.
Yeah pretty hard to have a player in space on the boundary. It is essentially man on man except Henderson gives petracca too much space as he is thinking like a player wanting to be the release player...except he is way to close for that. So either get out the back or get on the most dangerous player in the opposition, would be my advice.
 

Mrzohs

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So I managed to get the voice over and some animation going in this video :)

In the video we see the lead up and conclusion to a stoppage on the half back flank. We see both how our over enthusiasm for being near the football kills our rebound and leads to a stoppage that was lucky not to be a goal.


Again, this isn't due to lack of effort. These are structural and behavioural issues that have nothing to do with talent and as such are fixable through coaching. I think this is absolutely the biggest issue the team has at present because it destroys any chance of us being able to construct meaningful passages of play and also exposes us to greater threats if the opposition win it and get it outside our crowd around the ball.

EDIT: In the first part of the video, had Shiels charged forward and provided an option it gives Frawley and Henderson more space to work in and gives Shiels defender a difficult decision to make. Does he stick with Shiels and risk the hawthorn players working through the defence and moving the ball forward, or does he rush at Frawley and risk Frawley putting a handball over the top to Shiels. Putting yourself in a dangerous position makes it harder for the opposition to defend. O'meara also joins the group late and potentially is guilty of the same issue. At least one of those two players needed to stay out and be the release player.

In the second part, probably Scully staying out would have been sufficient to stop an easy entry but also Henderson blocking Petracca's run towards the ball would have allowed an easy take by O'meara and a handball out to Scully (assuming he held his position).
Great video you can see the lack of awareness and complete breakdown, is this a coaching thing or on field
- Hendo is caught in no man's land he should be on the outside of the contest waiting for handball/ stopping a break away. at worst body on Petracca
- Mitchell and Jaeger both hunting the ball freely.
- Bennell and #22 are both standing there free with no player between them and the contest.
 

Brishawk

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Great video you can see the lack of awareness and complete breakdown, is this a coaching thing or on field
- Hendo is caught in no man's land he should be on the outside of the contest waiting for handball/ stopping a break away. at worst body on Petracca
- Mitchell and Jaeger both hunting the ball freely.
- Bennell and #22 are both standing there free with no player between them and the contest.
The worst part is we outnumber them at the contest (and have an extra in defence). We needed someone willing to sacrifice their chances of getting the ball and stand in between them and the goal. IT must be hard to work on these things without been able to get the mids together outside the main session once per week.
 

darthmann

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Yeah pretty hard to have a player in space on the boundary. It is essentially man on man except Henderson gives petracca too much space as he is thinking like a player wanting to be the release player...except he is way to close for that. So either get out the back or get on the most dangerous player in the opposition, would be my advice.
I always watch other team's games and think there's so much more space on the ground for them to move the ball, whereas in our games there's always a million blokes around the ball and rarely ANYONE on the outside or moving enough through the middle.

I wonder how much of that is that there quite literally isn't enough space for us to work with on these smaller grounds. Your analysis is great and shows that our instruction/execution isn't effective for whatever handful of reasons.

As we've established it's most likely harder to adjust gameplans and get the message across quickly this year given how different training and playing is. We are and have been throughout the entire Clarko era big on the 'draw and kick' strategy with handballing, however this simply doesn't work at all when playing along the boundary and without any space. Therefore we struggle to have good connections with the forward line outside of anything other than centre clearances (which every other team in the comp has anyway thanks to 6-6-6).

So, I think in simple terms — we need more space.

This comes through: more attacking ball users, a more aggressive gameplan, a bigger oval, fresher personnel, making use of the corridor, the boundary and switching instead of always going down the line, run and carry, and legspeed.

So I ask, what do we need to do for these above changes to be implemented? We will have a better idea come Friday night, but obviously adding Impey and moving to Optus help address a couple of those issues. You can be a coach and change a gameplan, but that doesn't mean the players will listen. There's only so much Clarko can do, and only so much the list can do.
 

Mrzohs

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The worst part is we outnumber them at the contest (and have an extra in defence). We needed someone willing to sacrifice their chances of getting the ball and stand in between them and the goal. IT must be hard to work on these things without been able to get the mids together outside the main session once per week.
It's a worry spot on more numbers at the contest and a easy win with no real pressure, no wonder it looks like the team has more players on the field.
A lack of not playing many games together and like you say not much time on the training park.

Now it looks like from the outside they can't play together, we need receivers in every contest! i can see our issue being similar to what Geelong had with Danger,Selwood,Ablett all in the square at once. Melbourne have started to get there mix in balance.

Could we try moving some of our guys and spreading the the talent on other lines Eg Jom to a wing, Worpel Half forward Flank, Mitchell Half Back like we use to do it with Hodge,Mitch,Lewis days. Then swapping who takes the center square and just having one or two ball winners in the square at one time surrounded by receivers ie...Wingard,Smith,Jones,Silk,Bruest,Impey,Silk,Scrimshaw. start get them thru the middle.
 

Brishawk

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It's a worry spot on more numbers at the contest and a easy win with no real pressure, no wonder it looks like the team has more players on the field.
A lack of not playing many games together and like you say not much time on the training park.

Now it looks like from the outside they can't play together, we need receivers in every contest! i can see our issue being similar to what Geelong had with Danger,Selwood,Ablett all in the square at once. Melbourne have started to get there mix in balance.

Could we try moving some of our guys and spreading the the talent on other lines Eg Jom to a wing, Worpel Half forward Flank, Mitchell Half Back like we use to do it with Hodge,Mitch,Lewis days. Then swapping who takes the center square and just having one or two ball winners in the square at one time surrounded by receivers ie...Wingard,Smith,Jones,Silk,Bruest,Impey,Silk,Scrimshaw. start get them thru the middle.
I think before we shuffle players around (not against this btw) we need to get them thinking about team work and sacrificing for each other. We could rotate them out and bring in jones and Finn (or Howe when fit) to sacrifice their game to allow our ball winers some space. But we also need our outside players to trust that the inside guys can get the job done without them and stay outside. Roles and responsibilities at each stoppage should be clear even if the players in those roles rotates.
 

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