Which team is in the most trouble replacing its aging players? - 2020 edition

Which team is in the most trouble replacing its aging players?

  • Adelaide

    Votes: 54 12.6%
  • Brisbane

    Votes: 1 0.2%
  • Carlton

    Votes: 14 3.3%
  • Collingwood

    Votes: 49 11.4%
  • Essendon

    Votes: 19 4.4%
  • Fremantle

    Votes: 5 1.2%
  • Geelong

    Votes: 220 51.3%
  • Gold Coast

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • GWS

    Votes: 2 0.5%
  • Hawthorn

    Votes: 90 21.0%
  • Melbourne

    Votes: 2 0.5%
  • North Melbourne

    Votes: 16 3.7%
  • Port Adelaide

    Votes: 14 3.3%
  • Richmond

    Votes: 22 5.1%
  • St Kilda

    Votes: 2 0.5%
  • Sydney

    Votes: 21 4.9%
  • West Coast

    Votes: 32 7.5%
  • Western Bulldogs

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    429

hk89

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Most teams oldest player is probably 32 or 33. If you took out each teams oldest player the 4 years older that Burgoyne is wouldn’t change the average across 38 players that much.
The average player age is probably around 24, probably a bit older for best 22 players (and personally I think the age of your best 22 is probably a more useful r metric than total list age). If you replace Burgoyne with an average aged player, that is 13 years not 4. If you consider only best 22, then that is more than half a year onto the average from one player vs replacing him with a 24 year old. Currently there is less than 1.5 years difference between the oldest list and youngest list average ages, so if you just look at best 22, Burgoyne vs an average age player provides a pretty significant age bump to Hawthorn's best 22 average age.
 

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Bulldog1954

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The average player age is probably around 24, probably a bit older for best 22 players (and personally I think the age of your best 22 is probably a more useful r metric than total list age). If you replace Burgoyne with an average aged player, that is 13 years not 4. If you consider only best 22, then that is more than half a year onto the average from one player vs replacing him with a 24 year old. Currently there is less than 1.5 years difference between the oldest list and youngest list average ages, so if you just look at best 22, Burgoyne vs an average age player provides a pretty significant age bump to Hawthorn's best 22 average age.
Yes, if you replace Burgoyne with an average age player, make it just best 22 and don’t take away every other sides oldest player it does make a difference. Taking away Hawthorns oldest player and not every other sides doesn’t really make it a fair exercise though does it?
 

hk89

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Yes, if you replace Burgoyne with an average age player, make it just best 22 and don’t take away every other sides oldest player it does make a difference. Taking away Hawthorns oldest player and not every other sides doesn’t really make it a fair exercise though does it?
Didn't say it was fair, just pointing out just how far our average best 22 age could potentially drop when Burgoyne retires. Obviously other teams can do the same, and also get fairly significant drops, but no other team has quite the scope we do, due to Burgoyne being the oldest player in the competition.
 

Pessimistic

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Average list age for AFL was between 24.3 and 24.5 from 1989 to 2009. Expansion clubs caused it to drop to 24.1 ish but now it’s settled around 24.8 to 25.1

over six months older on average
 

old55

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Firstly I didn't say it was entirely contextual, I said they need to be interpreted in context. Richmond were last and nearly last for the two cited metrics, so clearly context plays a role, and only an idiot would argue otherwise. You didn't strike me as an idiot, but perhaps I was wrong.

Additionally, I didn't say Essendon had no decent inside mids because their clearances and contested possession numbers indicated that was the case, I said they had no decent inside mids because clearly they have no decent inside mids. They rely on guys better suited to other roles helping out in that respect. It was an Essendon fan who was using contested possession and clearance numbers to say something about Essendon (and Hawthorn's) inside mids without referring to context.
I'm very interested to hear your definition of an "inside mid" that doesn't use the terms clearances and contested possessions.
 

Jobe Watson

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Comparing teams on metrics without noting their game style doesn't tell you much. Hawthorn finished second last for clearances, the only team that finished below them was the premier. The premier also finished second last for contested possessions (and WC finished last). You don't necessarily need to win stoppage clearances if you rely heavily on putting pressure on the opposition and generating turnovers like Richmond does. Similarly teams that tend to rely on retaining possession as a key aspect of their gamelan tend to get less contested ball numbers. Having the guy that was 1st and 2nd for clearances and contested possessions in the competition the previous season break his leg in the pre-season probably had somewhat of an impact too (although we were bottom 6 for those metrics in 2018 too, so again, game style has as much impact as personnel).
It's also important to look at clearance differential and Hawthorn finished dead last for that in 2019. I mean, I agree that you don't need a dominant stoppage unit to be competitive and it's only just one part of an overall gameplan, but if our inside mid unit is so terrible then why are they so much more competitive in the clearance game than Hawthorn's, despite Hawthorn having real inside mids like Worpel and O'Meara?

Shiel, Merrett and Heppell have all made All-Australian teams playing as centre square midfielders. They may not be tall, dominant inside bulls like a Cripps - and I agree we need a player like that - but they're at least competitive when it comes to winning clearances. And we have Parish, McGrath and D.Clarke who are also coming along as inside mids. Our bigger problems are with our forward line and general gameplan. I would definitely take Worpel, but he wouldn't dramatically improve our team.
 

hk89

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I'm very interested to hear your definition of an "inside mid" that doesn't use the terms clearances and contested possessions.
I was responding to a post referencing team clearances and contested possessions and using that as a measure of how good your inside mids are. Cotchin and Martin are a shit load better inside than any Essendon inside mid, but Richmond finished last and second last for clearances and contested possessions and won the flag. Again, if you think team game plans don't impact total clearance and contested possession numbers as much as who your inside mids are then I'm not sure what else to say.
 

old55

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I was responding to a post referencing team clearances and contested possessions and using that as a measure of how good your inside mids are. Cotchin and Martin are a shit load better inside than any Essendon inside mid, but Richmond finished last and second last for clearances and contested possessions and won the flag. Again, if you think team game plans don't impact total clearance and contested possession numbers as much as who your inside mids are then I'm not sure what else to say.
What specific measurable attributes define "inside mids" and differentiate Cotchin and Martin as better inside mids than Essendon's?

What's your definition of an inside mid?
 

JackFlash

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yep. You got people that live Ross Lyon tactics and people that hate it.

I hope Ross Lyon coaches another AFL club to irritate you lol.

Make Ross Lyon great again lol
You want me irritated that much? I'm such a lovable fellow...i don't deserve that kind of torture!
 

Freomaniac

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You want me irritated that much? I'm such a lovable fellow...i don't deserve that kind of torture!
If I wanted you to suffer, I would of wanted the cats to sack your current coach and Hire Ross Lyon as a Replacement! lol
 

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hk89

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It's also important to look at clearance differential and Hawthorn finished dead last for that in 2019. I mean, I agree that you don't need a dominant stoppage unit to be competitive and it's only just one part of an overall gameplan, but if our inside mid unit is so terrible then why are they so much more competitive in the clearance game than Hawthorn's, despite Hawthorn having real inside mids like Worpel and O'Meara?
For similar reasons Tigers were bottom 3 for both clearance and contested possession differential despite having real inside mids like Martin and Cotchin. Game plan. Slightly different game plan reasons, but still game plan. Of course it isn't all game plan, we were also truly rubbish in the middle in the first half of the season while we adapted to not having Mitchell. We were somewhat better when Worpel took a massive step up in the second half of the year. You really can't judge a team's midfielders by its team clearance and contested possession numbers. Hawthorn started their 3-peat with a flag won while coming bottom 6 in contested possession average differential despite having contested beasts of the likes of S.Mitchell, J.Lewis and Sewell in that team. The aggregate numbers really don't say much. Nobody in the footy world thinks Essendon has a decent inside midfield unit, this isn't some kind of outlier opinion.


Shiel, Merrett and Heppell have all made All-Australian teams playing as centre square midfielders. They may not be tall, dominant inside bulls like a Cripps - and I agree we need a player like that - but they're at least competitive when it comes to winning clearances. And we have Parish, McGrath and D.Clarke who are also coming along as inside mids. Our bigger problems are with our forward line and general gameplan. I would definitely take Worpel, but he wouldn't dramatically improve our team.
I think it's a stretch to say McGrath has come on as an inside mid. I agree he's come on in general, and I loved his elimination final performance, but you had 10 players with more average contested possessions and 11 more for clearances. Averaging about 1.5 clearances a game isn't my definition of 'coming along as an inside mid'. Shiel, Merrett and Heppell are definitely decent mids, but I'm not sure any of them are regularly considered top 10 inside mids. Merrett won his AA in a year where he averaged twice as many non-contested as contested possessions. Worpel was nearly equal on UP vs CP this year (slightly more uncontested). Heppell and Shiel did have decent contested AA years (not quite the ratio Worpel had this year, but still decent). This year is 6 years since Heppell's AA.

For what it is worth, I'd have probably taken Essendon's midfield over ours for the first part of the season, and I don't it would have been close. However with Mitchell back next year, Worpel stepping up, Wingard helping out at clearances, and O'Meara hopefully playing with less attention, I doubt I'd be choosing Essendon's inside mids over ours this year, but hard to know until the season starts (and Mitchell's ability to return to full flight after his injury still a big question mark). Also worth pointing out that the oldest player in that Hawthorn inside mid group is Mitchell at just over 26 and a half (which isn't to say Essendon's are ancient either, but a lot of other sides would be more worried about the age of their inside mids than Hawthorn).
 

hk89

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What specific measurable attributes define "inside mids" and differentiate Cotchin and Martin as better inside mids than Essendon's?

What's your definition of an inside mid?
Someone who wins contests at stoppages/contests and gets the ball out to teammates. Again, you can't look at team aggregate stats to assess how good individual players are in this regard because different team styles create different numbers of stoppages and also different number of contests around the ground. Even using individual contested possession/clearance numbers to justify say Martin being a better inside mid than say Heppell is also a fools errand, especially for someone like Martin who can be very damaging when played forward. Do you believe Martin isn't a better inside midfielder than anyone at Essendon?
 

Freomaniac

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For similar reasons Tigers were bottom 3 for both clearance and contested possession differential despite having real inside mids like Martin and Cotchin. Game plan. Slightly different game plan reasons, but still game plan. Of course it isn't all game plan, we were also truly rubbish in the middle in the first half of the season while we adapted to not having Mitchell. We were somewhat better when Worpel took a massive step up in the second half of the year. You really can't judge a team's midfielders by its team clearance and contested possession numbers. Hawthorn started their 3-peat with a flag won while coming bottom 6 in contested possession average differential despite having contested beasts of the likes of S.Mitchell, J.Lewis and Sewell in that team. The aggregate numbers really don't say much. Nobody in the footy world thinks Essendon has a decent inside midfield unit, this isn't some kind of outlier opinion.
Ok well that was a shock to me. Because a team with Hodge, Mitchell, J lewis and Sewell should of been easily in the top 4 when it came to contested possessions.

Saying that, I always got irritated with a certain thread where to win the flag you had to average 100 points a game in Attack and concede no more than 86 points in defence. To me I found that Bull****. Because If A team that averaged 99 points a game and conceded 85 is still a dangerous side especially if they finish in the top 4.


What made that thread even more funny is the last 4 Premiership sides have not averaged 100 points a game in attack during the regular season. Hell, None of them have averaged no more than 91 points a game or 13.13.91 a game in attack.

Hell the 2019 season was the lowest average scoring overall in 50 years.

Ironic that The AFL this year they brought in that Stupid 666 rule for one main reason: To Kill off Ross Lyon tactics, In which they did. But it also backfired. As again.... the 2 most attacking sides in 2019 was Brisbane and Geelong and they both averaged 90 points a game.
 

Grrr

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What specific measurable attributes define "inside mids" and differentiate Cotchin and Martin as better inside mids than Essendon's?

What's your definition of an inside mid?
Inside mids that distribute the ball and put others into space are the valuable ones. Pendelbury has been doing it for years. Sam Mitchell was elite in that capacity. His namesake is nowhere near as destructive (but for weight of numbers). And they don't even have to be high possession winners like Cripps or Neale. Dion Prestia is elite at getting the ball and not being tackled and distributing it cleanly. One of the most underrated player in the league in my eyes. Cotchin while not a high possession winner uses his body as a battering ram and clears the path for others. Martin is the complete footballer inside and out.

Essendon's best inside mid Heppell tries his guts out, but he is not a creative distributor. Merrett is not an inside mid. McGrath is a good mix but still finding his feet. Jake Stringer would be your best bet, but that has been said for years.
 

Ambrosia

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I was responding to a post referencing team clearances and contested possessions and using that as a measure of how good your inside mids are. Cotchin and Martin are a shit load better inside than any Essendon inside mid, but Richmond finished last and second last for clearances and contested possessions and won the flag. Again, if you think team game plans don't impact total clearance and contested possession numbers as much as who your inside mids are then I'm not sure what else to say.
Essendon is set up to be a counter attack team surely puts them in the Hawthorn/Richmond basket of not focussing on winning the clearances each game. Watching Essendon I'm far more worried about our ability to set up behind the ball and lock it in then our ability to win clearances.

Not saying this is a perfect measure of how good an inside midfield is because ruckman obviously play a big part however no side is setting up to lose centre clearances. Essendon were 6th in CCL differential.

Personally I'd say todays footy is less about how you win it at the stoppage and more about well you restrict the opposition when they have it and on flipside how well you move the ball when you have it.
 

Grrr

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Essendon is set up to be a counter attack team surely puts them in the Hawthorn/Richmond basket of not focussing on winning the clearances each game. Watching Essendon I'm far more worried about our ability to set up behind the ball and lock it in then our ability to win clearances.

Not saying this is a perfect measure of how good an inside midfield is because ruckman obviously play a big part however no side is setting up to lose centre clearances. Essendon were 6th in CCL differential.

Personally I'd say todays footy is less about how you win it at the stoppage and more about well you restrict the opposition when they have it and on flipside how well you move the ball when you have it.
Agree with the bolded in particular, but more often than not it is the mids who help the back or with transitions, hence it is so important to have creative players in there. Half backs with elite kicking skills are more than handy as well. Shiel was meant to be that player at Essendon but didn't have the season you'd hoped.
 

Ambrosia

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Agree with the bolded in particular, but more often than not it is the mids who help the back or with transitions, hence it is so important to have creative players in there. Half backs with elite kicking skills are more than handy as well. Shiel was meant to be that player at Essendon but didn't have the season you'd hoped.
I think our coaching was a bit of an issue last year. Worsfold’s philosophy was to play it safe by going long and wide from the defensive 50 which saw us have the ball trapped back there quite a lot.

Everyone seems convinced Shiel had a poor season last year. Sure his kicking let him a down a bit at times but overall I’d say he was as advertised. Top 10 in i50s, top 20 in metres gained and top 10 in centre clearances is excellent.

Merrett and Shiel seem to have copped too much flak for our 2019 failures with Smith injured and Heppell having a 3rd straight injury effected below average year. Forced the duo to carry a very shallow midfield and make do with a makeshift forward line headed by Mitch Brown and Mckernan for most the year.
 

Grrr

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I think our coaching was a bit of an issue last year. Worsfold’s philosophy was to play it safe by going long and wide from the defensive 50 which saw us have the ball trapped back there quite a lot.

Everyone seems convinced Shiel had a poor season last year. Sure his kicking let him a down a bit at times but overall I’d say he was as advertised. Top 10 in i50s, top 20 in metres gained and top 10 in centre clearances is excellent.

Merrett and Shiel seem to have copped too much flak for our 2019 failures with Smith injured and Heppell having a 3rd straight injury effected below average year. Forced the duo to carry a very shallow midfield and make do with a makeshift forward line headed by Mitch Brown and Mckernan for most the year.
I wasn't criticising, and pretty good stats, but yes hard to come into a midfield that was thin and not really functioning as you'd like. Essendon seemed all or nothing a bit last year. Wide as you say then helta skelta when Saad had the ball and hoped that Tippa got on the end of it.
 

Ambrosia

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I wasn't criticising, and pretty good stats, but yes hard to come into a midfield that was thin and not really functioning as you'd like. Essendon seemed all or nothing a bit last year. Wide as you say then helta skelta when Saad had the ball and hoped that Tippa got on the end of it.
I personally think with our personnel we should lean in to that sort of play and just put offence to the max given the amount of fleet footed players we have. Saad and McKenna are two of the most attacking hbfs in the game. Shiel, Mcgrath, Merrett, Zaharakis (bit average now), Fantasia, Walla and Parish all have the physical attributes to thrive in a fast paced helta skelta game style.
 

hk89

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Essendon is set up to be a counter attack team surely puts them in the Hawthorn/Richmond basket of not focussing on winning the clearances each game.
I agree, which is perhaps why your average clearances are 6th last. You end up with a really low number of stoppage clearances, which I'm guessing is very largely game plan related (i.e. your games probably have less total stoppages to get clearances from) - supported by the fact you were 3rd last for average stoppage clearances As I've said in a few posts, I don't think you can judge the strength of an inside mid group by these stats due to the relatively large influence of game plan factors. Instead, look at who the guys are and how they stack up against the elite inside mids in the competition. Shiel is probably the closest you have to a player who has been elite on the inside recently, and at GWS he didn't play overly inside in many of his seasons (his AA year was fairly inside though, and he seemed to play a fairly inside role for you guys, although not as effective as his 2017(?) at GWS). Merrett's AA numbers don't speak to me of a predominantly inside role, and Heppell's AA was quite a few years ago. Essendon still lack a quality big bodied mid. Really so did Hawthorn until Worpel stepped up, even Mitchell isn't really a physical beast either - size wise he's probably more a Shiel type, maybe even smaller than Shiel, and not as fast, but still a beast at clearance work despite that, so perhaps 'big bodied mid' role is overrated anyway.

Watching Essendon I'm far more worried about our ability to set up behind the ball and lock it in then our ability to win clearances.

Not saying this is a perfect measure of how good an inside midfield is because ruckman obviously play a big part however no side is setting up to lose centre clearances. Essendon were 6th in CCL differential.
And 6th last for stoppage clearances differential, leaving you 7th last for average clearance differential . You're probably better placed than me to speculate why Essendon's centre clearance clearance differential is so much better than your stoppage clearance differential.

Personally I'd say todays footy is less about how you win it at the stoppage and more about well you restrict the opposition when they have it and on flipside how well you move the ball when you have it.
Agreed, which is why Tigers won the flag with poor figures in terms of both averages and differentials in contested ball and clearance stats. Eagles are interesting too - fairly dominant at clearances, but very low numbers for contested ball. Probably down to the flip side you mention - how well they move the ball, couple of kicks and straight into Kennedy or Darling's hands probably doesn't create many contests. Interestingly in Essendon's elimination final humiliation , WC actually lost the clearances, and smashed Essendon in contested ball. You can make whatever you like of these numbers, but Essendon's midfield has looked decidedly soft in its last two finals humiliations.

Anyway this is massively off topic. Essendon's midfield group isn't particularly geriatric (and neither is Hawthorn's) , and this isn't the "Does Essendon have a poor inside midfield group" thread. Essendon are a long way down the list of teams that need to worry about replacing older players - their issues lay elsewhere IMO.
 

Ambrosia

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And 6th last for stoppage clearances differential, leaving you 7th last for average clearance differential . You're probably better placed than me to speculate why Essendon's centre clearance clearance differential is so much better than your stoppage clearance differential.
I just restricted to centre clearances because game style doesn’t influence a sides ability to win a centre clearance. Stoppage clearances can largely influenced by game style.

Agreed, which is why Tigers won the flag with poor figures in terms of both averages and differentials in contested ball and clearance stats. Eagles are interesting too - fairly dominant at clearances, but very low numbers for contested ball. Probably down to the flip side you mention - how well they move the ball, couple of kicks and straight into Kennedy or Darling's hands probably doesn't create many contests. Interestingly in Essendon's elimination final humiliation , WC actually lost the clearances, and smashed Essendon in contested ball. You can make whatever you like of these numbers, but Essendon's midfield has looked decidedly soft in its last two finals humiliations.
I think you calling Essendon’s midfield is confirmation bias. You have to remember contested possessions doesn’t mean hard ball gets. All intercept possession and loose gets are contested possessions. In that final Essendon could get their hands on the ball but couldn’t move it effectively from a stoppage or from their defensive 50. I’m pretty sure from memory Essendon also won hard ball gets that game.
 

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