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

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Abasi

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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?
Ok, you don’t have any insight into the job he is doing other than that he’s not Andrew Russell, and for that reason you’re questioning his personality, his drive and suggesting the club should review what he is doing?

I think you might need to stop.
 

SSSSSS

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Shortened quarters/season for a team which we have systematically trimmed down to account for the marathon approach/a gameplan designed for the wider expanses of the MCG.

Yes we play ugly football but we at least won with it last year.

Seasons a write off but this season is such an anomaly that it is completely stupid to write off a coach and his staff, as well as half the playing list.
 

phlogiston

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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.
The way you describe that is similar to descriptions I've read about trench warfare in WWI. And frankly the footy is about as entertaining to watch as trench warfare (fortunately without the loss of life). Your post is bang on, good points in every sentence.

As an aside: we sat down and watched a bit of the St Kilda Port game over the weekend. There were half a dozen incorrect disposals where the umpire was in good position clearly not paid. Mr 14 got up after about half a quarter and announced he had better things to do with his time than watch the footy. And this from a kid who used to religiously watch all games (not just Hawthorn ones). We're watching the game die in front of us, and future supporters are moving away.
 

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TheFourPillars

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My opinion of whats wrong is probably different to everyone else in here but here goes
We are not world beaters but we are certainly not as bad as we are showing now as a team.

Lets approach this systematically.

What has an effect on the way we play.
  1. Mental State.
  2. Gameplan
  3. Players,
  4. Coaches
  5. Football grounds / surfaces

Footballers are humans. A lot of how a team plays is above the shoulders single most important reason for playing badly. So what can effect that negatively. Lets start with Losses. Losing means players lose confidence in themselves and their teammates. They take less risks, they are rushed and make bad decisions. This is exacerbated after each loss as the media pressure has increased on the club. It makes players insecure with all the talk of list reductions at the end of the year and there would be a sense of self preservation. Then you have to factor in that they are going to be away from home for a long time in this environment and state and it only makes matters worse.

Next thing to look at is the game plan. At the start of the year when we played Brisbane and Richmond we executed well and our skills were much better the game plan worked. Game plan hasn't changed so much as the players ability to execute it. Clarkson is not asking them to hack kick every time we go forward. Its the players not running in support making bad decisions and having no confidence in other players

Next is the Players. We have had a few injuries to players during the year. Ideally The team plays its best when the team sheet is the same. However we have had players drop off mentally / physically during games as well it is part of the unsual season. Some players have lost form. Some are at the end of their careers.

Coaches well its hard to say at this stage as I am unable to go to games or training. The message from the coaches is it stale? Or is it, that the players are just trying too hard. I can not form an opinion on this

Football grounds / surfaces it is not an excuse but certain teams do play better at certain grounds its a fact. We struggle on the smaller grounds for whatever reason. Before someone comes at me about the SCG refer to my comments above about mental state. This effect is minimal but still there.

Anyways my 2cents
 

frankapple

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i think our best 22 should be:
B: Sicily Frawley Scrimshaw
HB: Day Frost Impey
C: CJ (Non catB) Worpel Smith
HF: Wingard Gunston Breust
FF: Morris McEvoy Hardwick
R: Ceglar JOM Tommy
IC: Maginness ? ? ?
Using the corridor much more due to having competent kicks and overlap run off half back. Going more direct and faster also plays into the way our forwards like to play. I think getting connor downie for cheap in the draft plus another player like an elijah Hollands with xfactor and an ability to kick properly through the middle with our first pick is paramount. Also like Hardwick forward as it makes space for day scrimshaw and impey to coexist. Hopefully Kosi is ready soon to take over from Frawley? Just need to get some fast players and speed up our game + effort. McEvoy is an insane contested mark so if we need the dump kick forward we have big boy forward to clunk a few or bring it to ground. We will be fine hawkers! The bones of the team is there.
 

Collins-Langford-Ayres

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Might be wrong, but has the conditions in games hurt us?

We seem to play a 'try to keep hold of the ball' with predicatble chips passes, but the greasy game conditions appears to be making that harder and when we bomb long we aren't a great down the line contested marking side and when it comes to ground, we get out-contested. When we turn it over on the odd time we do take a risk we are getting killed.
 

Mrzohs

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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.
I agree 100%
The Problem i see is we are already halfway thru the season the time to move players around and change style is now.
I think our game plan is suited to the longer quarters and bigger grounds, by the time you are on top of a team in a quarters you have about 5-10mins to make the most of you're momentum, it's more important than ever to put the scoreboard pressure on. If we make 2 mistakes in the backhalf a qtr (a stoppage setup or by foot) resulting in a goal, you have lost the quarter and play catch up for the rest of the game.
 

PenAndPaperJosh

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I think one of our biggest issues is that we don't have a composed midfielder who is our designated distributer. Sam Mitchell was our guy for years & he hasn't been replaced, we don't have that calm head to just make some space, stop & prop looking for a target. Currently everything we do is rushed in the midfield & even when guys have time they lack the composure (awareness) that they have the time & still rush their disposal.

I think people are too quick to jump onto needing a goal kicking mid, or more run out of defence instead of just composure.
 

LuckyHawk

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I think we should be much more competitive with our current group. We have enough talent
to warrant better results. In my view the players are trying to play the way Clarko says to and its
the wrong game plan.
 

Gralin

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I don't see them executing a game plan most of the time so bit hard to say if it's the wrong one or not.

I see exactly what we've seen in the past with teams who have no confidence for whatever reason.

Overcommitting to contests, no movement from team mates when we have it. People not willing to leave their man to cover.

Players not willing to shepherd or block for team mates.

Players going to ground instead of risking contact while bending over for the ball.

Players not lowering their eyes or looking inboard

Kind of hard to dissect whether the actual game plan is effective when we aren't doing the things for each other that you need to
 

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Delecate Des

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Excellent discussion regarding game plan etc, so I thought I would add the following from an injury fitness perspective? Coming back from the first lock down, I felt we were really underdone! This is natural given the massive disruption to training workloads and the ability for group training. From memory teams were given 2 weeks’ notice before commencing small group training, then large sessions, then season recommenced. The first three games we struggled to run out matches with the Geelong game as a stands out as one where we stopped dead in our tracks!

Our forward line in particular has been disrupted with Lewis (returning from off season shoulder surgery) & Patton (returning from knee surgery). Both of these were then effected by disrupted training, potentially contributing to their soft tissue injuries and then loss of confidence. When Patton done his hammy, he looked to be much heavier than I noticed at the start of the season. Lewis in particular seems to be protecting his shoulder which effects his ability to mark or contest. I would like to see both rested from the seniors and conduct a training block before gaining touch in the scratch matches. Breust our most consistent goal kicker also missing means Wingard spends less time on ball, reducing a rotation and much need X factor around the ball. O’Brien under rated work of making a contest has also been missing? Gunston is then required to play further up field as well.

If we add Ceglar to the injury list, we have had Patton, Lewis, O’Brien missing games. Leaving McEvoy, Gunston as the only big men that have played consistently on ball or forward.

From the mid field we have players returning from long term injuries Mitchell and Howe (the latter yet to be seen at senor level) Mitchell also picked up an shoulder injury against Brisbane. Howe body work at stoppages, I suspect has also been missed? Henderson is another that started off well, then struggled with a concussion before a knee injury. Doesn’t take into account the usual bash and crash injuries! Shiels for example was banged up a few weeks back after a heavy tackle. I would also add Nash as another who is yet to be sighted this year, although I am not convinced he is the pressure forward we need (not enough goals), but could be better suited to an mid role similar to Howe??

Fingers crossed our defence has escaped any significant injuries to key personnel. Only Scrimshaw missing multiple games. Hopefully with Impey near returning we can add more defensive depth and release Day up field.

As games will be further condensed, we will most likely see more rotation of players to reduce workload. Last years and this year’s draftees physical development will also suffer. So I would expect that those that do get a run will be one or two games before managing their respective workloads. The exception most likely players like Day who seem to have a natural aerobic capacity.

The 4P correctly raises the fact that footballers are humans! Despite the lengths that clubs go to in programming how players, train, eat, sleep, rest, prepare and recover. We as humans respond differently to drastic changes to routine. AFL is new to extended road trips away from home, (unlike US sports)! Only those within the club will know for sure how they have adapted!

The hub life chose them, they didn’t choose hub life!!!

The lack of consistency and continuity in personnel (less form drop off) greatly effects execution in both skill and /or game plan. Consider this has greatly contributed to how our season has played out so far!! Refer to below side with players missing multiple games in red?

FB: Hardwick – Frawley – Scrimshaw

HB: Sicily – Frost - Impey

C: Smith - Mitchell – Day

HF: Gunston - Lewis - Breust

FF: Wingard – PattonO’Brien

R: McEvoy - O'meara - Worpel

IC: Burgoyne - Scully - Shiels – Ceglar Howe- Stratton - Hanrahan - Morrison – Nash - Henderson
 

robiecampbellbrown

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i think our best 22 should be:
B: Sicily Frawley Scrimshaw
HB: Day Frost Impey
C: CJ (Non catB) Worpel Smith
HF: Wingard Gunston Breust
FF: Morris McEvoy Hardwick
R: Ceglar JOM Tommy
IC: Maginness ? ? ?
Using the corridor much more due to having competent kicks and overlap run off half back. Going more direct and faster also plays into the way our forwards like to play. I think getting connor downie for cheap in the draft plus another player like an elijah Hollands with xfactor and an ability to kick properly through the middle with our first pick is paramount. Also like Hardwick forward as it makes space for day scrimshaw and impey to coexist. Hopefully Kosi is ready soon to take over from Frawley? Just need to get some fast players and speed up our game + effort. McEvoy is an insane contested mark so if we need the dump kick forward we have big boy forward to clunk a few or bring it to ground. We will be fine hawkers! The bones of the team is there.
Elijah Hollands did his knee so we are certain to draft him
 

Judd2Sewell

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Shortened quarters/season for a team which we have systematically trimmed down to account for the marathon approach/a gameplan designed for the wider expanses of the MCG.

Yes we play ugly football but we at least won with it last year.

Seasons a write off but this season is such an anomaly that it is completely stupid to write off a coach and his staff, as well as half the playing list.
That make no sense though. If we are marathon runners then why don't we ever run out games?
 

William Wonka

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Our main problem for a while now (amongst others) is that we are too keen to bomb it long into the 50 where it is spoiled/intercepted about 35 meters out.
What we did very effectively in the threepeat years is get the ball to the area just outside scoring range.
This enabled us to spot up fowards.

Excuse my pathetic photoshop attempt but blue is what we do now red is what we need to get back to.
20200727_181005.jpg
 

Brishawk

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Our main problem for a while now (amongst others) is that we are too keen to bomb it long into the 50 where it is spoiled/intercepted about 35 meters out.
What we did very effectively in the threepeat years is get the ball to the area just outside scoring range.
This enabled us to spot up fowards.

Excuse my pathetic photoshop attempt but blue is what we do now red is what we need to get back to.
View attachment 920571
This was a deliberate shift in strategy as teams had become too good at defending short kicks and we lacked the footskills to execute it.

we did also do the long Bomb historically too but we had other options so it had more value when Decencies couldn’t simply sag off deep knowing we auto bomb.
 

Harper_Hawk

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This was a deliberate shift in strategy as teams had become too good at defending short kicks and we lacked the footskills to execute it.

we did also do the long Bomb historically too but we had other options so it had more value when Decencies couldn’t simply sag off deep knowing we auto bomb.
The quarters are too shoot now to be fiddling and mucking around the boundary lines. It's british bulldogs style run in waves through the middle at all costs. Just run and carry. Hawks did this against Richmond for the first three quarters and the Tigers didn't know what hit them...it was only till the last quarter that Hawthorn slowed that Richmond caught up. Which brings me to my next point. I think hawthorn are unfit. Andrew Russel leaving may have an impact here...bit we are not running the games out well.
 

thejockey

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I think one of our biggest issues is that we don't have a composed midfielder who is our designated distributer. Sam Mitchell was our guy for years & he hasn't been replaced, we don't have that calm head to just make some space, stop & prop looking for a target. Currently everything we do is rushed in the midfield & even when guys have time they lack the composure (awareness) that they have the time & still rush their disposal.

I think people are too quick to jump onto needing a goal kicking mid, or more run out of defence instead of just composure.
Yep Sammy was brilliant at it , one of the best we have seen ever at it.

He also had a midfield that would work for him , sacrifice and make him the space ( however minimal ) he needed .

We arent a functioning unit and are right in self preservation mode currently
 

Zack

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Shortened quarters/season for a team which we have systematically trimmed down to account for the marathon approach/a gameplan designed for the wider expanses of the MCG.

Yes we play ugly football but we at least won with it last year.

Seasons a write off but this season is such an anomaly that it is completely stupid to write off a coach and his staff, as well as half the playing list.
Agreed. Anyone who can't work out we are set up for long quarters and our two fastest players are out.
Probably needs to look at our team structure.

Frawley for example has great closing speed, and is probably having his career year at Hawthorn.
He's been superb, moreso in the face of adversity so far. Plus he's provided more run than anyone from defence while clubs have isolated Siz in the pocket so he can't open up the field with his superb kicking.
 

William Wonka

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This was a deliberate shift in strategy as teams had become too good at defending short kicks and we lacked the footskills to execute it.

we did also do the long Bomb historically too but we had other options so it had more value when Decencies couldn’t simply sag off deep knowing we auto bomb.
Agreed.
However it doesn't need to be short kicks.
We need to treat the area just beyond 50 as the priority target rather than going halfway into the fifty.
Harder for the opposition to defend
 

TheFourPillars

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Our problems have been not actually getting it deep inside 50 kicking the ball with no direction or team work no matter where we are on the field but especially when going inside 50. We also have no semblance of team work. There is no overlap run no help from your team mates no support no trust it comes with the lack of confidence
 

Jack Gun Cyril Stun

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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).
Great footage. What stood out to me also was the tackling / contest /pressure difference.
Basically when we had the ball or was in our control (3-4 times) every Melbourne tackle or contest stripped us of the footy.
We made 7 attempts at them and didn’t stop them once. Stratton got closest.
Looked like boys against men.
 
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Gralin

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That make no sense though. If we are marathon runners then why don't we ever run out games?
I mean we used to treat the season as a marathon. We built our team to outlast and peak come September.

We were built for the marathon in that sense.

Shorter quarters and shorter and interrupted season is likely to make that less worthwhile
 

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