- Oct 6, 2002
- AFL Club
- Western Bulldogs
- Other Teams
- Melbourne..VICTORY, Leeds
Thanks Guido, that was worthwhile.SkyNews piece on our relationship with VU with a panel discussion with Gordon and VU vice chancellor afterwards. Probably won't be too many eye opening insights to many supporters, but worth a watch.
Weird I know, but I remember when I first saw him play, I thought to myself that the kid has calves like Daniel Cross. An 18 year old having legs that looked as powerful as a player with one of the highest work rates going around.https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/27125793/these-kids-ticking-bombs-threat-youth-basketball
I haven't looked into it too deeply but we saw our own Bailey Smith troubled by an Achilles at the tender age of 17 and the Club were forced to step in and lessen his excessive training loads.
Pretty good analysis that, hard to disagree with much.It’s time for the Western Bulldogs to grow up
First things first: the 2016 Western Bulldogs are gone and they aren’t coming back.
The game and the league have changed in the past three seasons, and half of the Dogs’ premiership players have either left or are unlikely to play for the club again.
Too much of the analysis on these Bulldogs is still viewed through the 2016 prism. It’s time for everyone to move on and see them for what they are, and what they could be.
The Dogs don’t have many A-graders on their list, which is part of the reason they’re stuck in the middle of the ladder. But they do have two bonafide stars.
It’s not difficult to make a case that Marcus Bontempelli is the best player in footy, and his prolific running mate, Jack Macrae, is one of the league’s best second bananas.
The second tier
This is the Bulldogs’ strength, and why when things click they can mix it with just about any side – they’ve beaten three of the current top-four.
As one of only two Bulldogs premiership captains, Easton Wood will forever be a legend at Whitten Oval, but Father Time is undefeated, and it appears he’s come for the skipper.
Of 66 players this season who have been involved in at least 30 one-on-one defensive contests, Wood’s loss rate of 39.4 percent is worse than 62 of those players – blimey.
Luke Beveridge has earned some criticism since the glory of 2016. His regular shuffling of players both on the field and in and out of the 22 over the past three seasons has at times been baffling.
But while criticism is warranted, he has also come up with a plan to put his team in a winning position on many occasions only to be let down by woeful finishing in front of the big sticks.
Sunday’s loss to the Lions was a good example. There’s no shame in a three-goal defeat at the Gabba these days, but if the visitors had made the most of their early chances, it could have been a different game – that’s been a regular theme.
Luke Beveridge (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)
The Team That Should Be Footscray is far too easy to score against. They’re giving up a goal on 24.9 per cent of opponents’ forward-50 entriwa
Some of that is because their aggressive transition game can leave them badly exposed on turnovers, part of that is because their defenders aren’t very good.
Zaine Cordy always seems to be outsized and outclassed, and while Jackson Trengove has been a solid addition to the back six, much of his good defensive work is undone by skill errors and poor decisions.
There’s not a more exciting young prospect in the league than Aaron Naughton. He can be a little shaky in front of goal – it’s the Bulldog way – but he’s special in the air. Naughton is eighth in the league for marks inside-50 this season and has taken more contested marks than anyone. Oh, and he’s still a teenager.
Tim English is starting to look every bit the modern ruckman he was advertised as, and Bailey Smith gives the club the kind of player they’ve been crying out for – an inside midfielder with breakaway speed.
Ed Richards has had a bit of a second-year slump, but still looks a long-term player off halfback or a wing. Josh Schache might never live up the lofty expectations that come with being a No.2 pick, but he should play plenty of footy alongside Naughton and – unlike many of his teammates – is a reliable kick for goal. As are Patrick Lipinski and Bailey Dale, who are both contributing forward of centre.
The finals door is still ajar and if the Dogs can beat the injury-hit Bombers on Saturday night, they’ll nudge it open a little further. It’s a game they should expect to win.
There’s a strong foundation here with one gaping hole: they desperately need a quality key defender. That has to be the priority this offseason, and their entire haul of draft picks should be on the table for ready-made players.
We’ve seen how even the league has become; the gap from first to everyone but Gold Coast is pretty slim, but if you don’t step up, you’ll quickly be left behind.
Three years without finals would be tough to swallow, a fourth would be borderline unacceptable.
On output, it's getting to the point where Wood is only making it into the side ahead of Williams because of his role as captain. As players, it seems even Williams has gone past him. If he weren't captain, and if we weren't so desperate for proper on-field direction, then I doubt Wood would be playing in the 22 from next season onwards.Pretty good analysis that, hard to disagree with much.
The stat that Easton Wood is ranked #63 of 66 defenders for one on one contests (30 contests minimum) is damning . Unless he can work back to a role allows him more intercept opportunities I think his position must be questionable.
Good article by Wayne Carey in the Age about Dogs season and immediate to long term future
I don't think it's surprising that losing Adams, Naughton (to the forward line) and Morris (plus Hamling if you want to go a bit further back) has seen Wood and Cordy have their worst seasons in some time. It's just not their game. They need help, but a particular kind of help that the likes of Young (x2) etc can't really provide.Pretty good analysis that, hard to disagree with much.
The stat that Easton Wood is ranked #63 of 66 defenders for one on one contests (30 contests minimum) is damning . Unless he can work back to a role that allows him more intercept opportunities I think his position must be questionable.
Stop talking complete senseI don't think it's surprising that losing Adams, Naughton (to the forward line) and Morris (plus Hamling if you want to go a bit further back) has seen Wood and Cordy have their worst seasons in some time. It's just not their game. They need help, but a particular kind of help that the likes of Young (x2) etc can't really provide.
Haven’t had a great success rate with that surname.I don't think it's surprising that losing Adams, Naughton (to the forward line) and Morris (plus Hamling if you want to go a bit further back) has seen Wood and Cordy have their worst seasons in some time. It's just not their game. They need help, but a particular kind of help that the likes of Young (x2) etc can't really provide.
Matthew Lloyd:Can everyone please post the best media takes this week for us vs essendon. Even if it's just a roast of them I wanna hear it
Mark Robinson:"It was horrible. They were horrible last night, Essendon. One of the worst performances in the history of the club and obviously the club has been around for well over 120-odd years. It was appalling," Lloyd told Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show.
"I was there as a spectator last night – the amount of people leaving at half-time and three-quarter time angry, the venom towards the players for a lack of effort."
1. What was that, Essendon?
The texts came at quarter-time. Every Essendon person either sent them or received them. Disappointment and disbelief eventually gave way to texts dripping with anger and fury as the Bulldogs piled on goal after goal. The positive trajectory from the past five weeks has been enveloped by doom. Suddenly coach John Worsfold is a target because his insipid players made him a target. That’s what happens when players surrender. It’s also what happens when the coach’s game plan doesn’t stand up. It’s too easy to say the coach must be sacked. It’s far bigger than that. When a team kicks 106 points from turnovers there are queries about defending without the ball. Worsfold may well be gone if his players surrender over the next two weeks — they play Fremantle away and Collingwood at the MCG. As coach he is responsible for every aspect. but this was also a players’ issue. This was pathetic. The team has kicked eight goals in six quarters of football. They didn’t come to play in the second half against Port Adelaide and didn’t come to play in the four quarters against the Bulldogs. If they don’t come to play over the next two weeks then change will be demanded.
2. Injuries are not an excuse
There’s no shame in losing — unless you lose like that. Six changes at selection hurts connectivity but doesn’t break hearts, spirit and systems. There were words spoken after the game by players and there likely will be more during the week. “We can either listen to the outside noise and succumb to the pressure or we bury deep and stick together,’’ skipper Dyson Heppell said after the match. “Fair enough, we’re going to cop it from the outside. We’ll own that, that’s fine. They can say what they like, but we’re going to stay strong internally as a whole club. The whole club needs to own this one.’’ The club is already bunkered down. No Essendon player or official was available for radio interviews yesterday which was the right decision. Enough has been said already.
3. Why so inconsistent?
Orazio Fantasia is sore according to the Bombers and that may explain why he had one handball in the first half on Saturday night. He is symbolic of Essendon. He can look a million dollars or he can look a footy pauper. Anthony McDonald-Tipingwuti is the same. One week Jake Stringer is one of the most devastating players in the AFL, the next week scratches for seven possessions. Shaun McKernan is the same. David Zaharakis was limp and Heppell is injured. Zac Clarke is beaten every week. Every player on the field on Saturday night has the finger pointed at them. This club has been inconsistent for 15 years, which is what hurts the fans most. Is that a Worsfold problem, a players’ problem or a culture problem? Starting to think there’s an acceptance of mediocrity.
6. This week the Dogs kick goals
The Bulldogs didn’t muck around. It started in the midfield with the ball hogs — Josh Dunkley, Jack Macrae and Lachie Hunter and Marcus Bontempelli — and ended in front of goals with 11 goalkickers and a score of 21.11. Hunter told 3AW it’s a positive to have a settled forward squad of Aaron Naughton and Josh Schache as the talls with Bailey Dale, Toby McLean, Tory Dickson, Sam Lloyd and Patrick Lipinksi around them. Dale has been a revelation. He has kicked 13 goals and averaged eight score involvements from his past four matches. He had just seven goals from his previous 13 matches. If the Dogs make September they will scare which ever team they play.
4 Points: Don and dusted? The Bombers don't look a finals team
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took 108 minutes to circle the earth on his first space flight in 1961. Essendon took the same time between kicking goals at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night. So yes, you could have circled the earth in the time it took Essendon to kick their second goal against the Bulldogs. At least Gagarin would have enjoyed the view, which is more than can be said for those watching the Bombers.
Of course, we are still waiting for North’s second goal – but that is a different story. This was no normal round of footy. It snowed Friday night, North kicked one goal for the match Saturday night. And Essendon, oh Essendon. Put their loss this way: a statistician reported on Saturday night that in the history of the top-eight system, no side outside the eight had ever beaten a side inside the eight by 100 points or more.
First, we start with the partial explanation, not the excuse. Essendon had more of their best team missing than playing. Those absences can explain a loss, but not one of this magnitude. Injuries are only a partial explanation, for Essendon lacked something more elementary than players.
This was a passionless defeat. It was a meek surrender that spoke to a lack of desire to run and to work. And while yes, they missed many players, the midfield still had Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett, Dylan Shiel and Dylan Clarke (tagging) in the team. They are first-choice centre-bounce players. Jake Stringer was also there for burst rotations and while Tom Bellchambers was a critical loss because it exposed Zac Clarke, who is well past his use-by date, they were playing against a third-year, stripe of paint ruckman in Tim English (enormously promising but still a foal). English was excellent again.
Essendon lost the contested possession count by 38 and the uncontested possession count by triple figures. So they were beaten in congestion and beaten for running once the ball broke from congestion. Oh, and the tackle count. That combination speaks to their appetite for work.
The Bulldogs are a side that likes to counterattack from half-back. They are back playing in the manner of their 2016 flag year, with clean sharp handballs from superior numbers of players, drawn to where the ball is trying to be won. Then once they win the ball, they ricochet it about with snappy handballs until they reach one of the many players already heading at pace towards goal. Suddenly, they are a wave washing through the ground. Essendon knew this and were powerless to stop it.
Here are two stats that describe this picture better than any others. Essendon laid one tackle in their forward 50. For the night. The Bulldogs kicked 10 goals from balls that started in Essendon’s forward line. Essendon could offer nothing to counter. In large part this was because they had three quarters of their spine missing – Michael Hurley, Joe Daniher and Bellchambers – so they had little marking power.
These are not matters that are going to be quickly fixed. Essendon now not only looks unlikely to make the finals, but undeserving of doing so with the team they have available to them. Pressure returns to John Worsfold, but it might as readily turn to the medical and fitness program that has left them so thin for numbers.
Essendon have lost more than 10 percentage points in the last two games. They are easy to play against now, and unfortunately came up against sides in the last two weeks that punish teams that do not have an appetite for work. Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs are fast, attacking, offensive units that both deserve to be playing finals, and the Bulldogs in particular are ripe to win a final if and when they get there. Port and the Dogs are in both in far better form than either of the sides that look likely to finish in fifth and sixth place – Collingwood and GWS.
Those two making the eight would not be a case of making up the finals. Both look likely to be able to win finals if and when they do get there. The same cannot be said of Essendon.
New Dogs, old tricks
The measure of the Bulldogs' win is also impacted by the fact they were without Tom Liberatore, Caleb Daniel and Mitch Wallis. The reason they we able to so thoroughly cover their absence was that Josh Dunkley has moved from good to very good. As others have noted, after he racked up 16 touches and kicked a goal in the first quarter alone, he's in the best form of his career.
The critical thing about Dunkley as a midfielder is that he is a big body and defence-first in his thinking, and has an enormous aerobic capacity to run all day. He knows where to put himself, and helps create space and time for others. His kicking is still poor but his running and ball-winning ability offsets it.
Other midfields have drawn credit for containing bigger names, but the combination of Marcus Bontempelli, Jackson Macrae, Lachie Hunter and now Dunkley (and Liberatore and Wallis) stands up with any midfield in the competition. Beyond that, they’ve also recruited a serious, underrated talent in Hayden Crozier. His run off half-back in the first quarter set up what was to come, as much as Dunkley's efforts around the ball.