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Deespicable

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Deespicable last won the day on March 18 2016

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  1. 6 Viney - He has really lifted since the bye and was back to his best. 5 Petracca - He's been getting more and more physical by the week. More and more like De Goey now. 4 Harmes - Once again didn't stop working, just needs a tad more finesse at times to become a superstar. 3 Jones - I'm loving his move down back and he is now a sure thing to play on. God knows why it took Goody so long to use him in this role. 2 Gawn - Class and a half above Trengove and English, but failed to impact up forward. 1 Petty - Already has more goals than Weed has in any game this season.
  2. The Doggies are a fast, young side and with the game at Marvel I'd be disappointed if we didn't add some extra speed and that means either JKH or Baker should come in and JKH has been superb in VFL for two weeks so deserves his shot. Assuming both Lewis and Viney avoid suspension, then it should be just the three changes, although Weid should be sent back to VFL if Smith is fit again, as he needs to rebuild his confidence. Out: T.Mac, Hore, Petty, Weid? In: Gawn, Lever, JKH, T.Smith?
  3. The loss of Lever is a serious setback, but his absence does not mean we have to pick a third tall, although Petty will be considered. Lockhart will be a definite in and I'd hope ANB and JKH are brought back in to try and counter Freo's run a pace. And as stated in my mid-year rankings, I'd be punishing Olly for playing safe and playing him at full-forward. As with others, Wags, Jeffy and Spargo are first out . I'd have Salem on Walters, Hibberd on Fyfe to free up Harmes and Jones on Matera. T.Mac should be rested until he is back to full speed fitness level and his omission leaves room for T.Smith and Preuss. B: Salem May Hore HB: Jones Frost Fritsch C Baker Brayshaw JKH HF: Petracca T.Smith Hannan F: Lockhart Olly Weid Ru: Gawn Hibberd (Fyfe) Viney Int: Harmes, ANB, Preuss, Hunt
  4. Yes we are seriously vertically challenged like the Pies of the 50s and 60s, but Lockhart may be the pick of the small brigade other than the three that have already well and truly made it - Viney, Jones and Salem. He has lovely kicking skills, can be very evasive and like Charlie he has a dip. He's got about 5cm (2 inches) head start on Charlie, which is is why I think he is a better chance of becoming a regular.
  5. Deespicable’s 2019 Mid-Year Player Rankings Before getting into my annual mid-year rankings, it is necessary, this year especially, to pass judgment on Simon Goodwin as well. This was supposed to be the year that we ended our drought, instead it’s turned into the year from hell. With every loss the pressure mounts and the number of fans bemoaning Goody grows. Depending on which source for info you use, you will now hear an opinion on Goody's ability and even the odd "he's lost the players" line which smacks in the face of last September. As with Hardwick in 2017 and Simpson and Bucks in 2018, Goody faces a summer of introspection trying to reconfigure a side and squad that Champion Data proclaimed back in March as the best list in the league. Already the changes have started with Brendan McCartney being sacked from his role as defensive coach. It's a fair bet he won't be around at all next year. Jade Rawlings has come back as forwards coach instead of Max Rooke and while Troy Chaplin remains as defensive coach, Jordan Lewis is the obvious choice to fill that role in 2020, if we can convince him not to sell out to media opportunities. Our ageing fitness guru David Misson is also moving on but the one that should be under the most pressure is Jason 'Tubby' Taylor, after what may go down as our worst draft performance ever. What amazes me with Taylor is that he was so keen on tall midfielders when he opted for Olly, which followed Gus, Trac, Harmesy and Vanders, that we all thought he was a miracle man. This year, aside from our three trades, we have brought in six players under six feet (183cm). And not one of them is electric quick like Jayden Hunt. All up we now have 15 vertically challenged players on our list in a squad of 44. Could someone explain how that is good list management? Sure every side needs small players, but 15? The impact such an imbalance can cause became obvious early when Joel Smith and VDB joined Mitch Hannan on the injury list. Suddenly we were devoid of mid-sized forward options and once Melky went down, it's been game over. We all have our personal view on who should be omitted and included, but the one continual shock non-inclusion has been our 205cm recruit Brayden Preuss. I’m not about to say he’s a star in waiting or anything silly like that, but those of us who watched him kick three goals as a forward and back up tapman in our pre-season match against the Pies thought he may well be an inspired choice. With Gawny rested the following week, he rucked almost the whole of the next game against Richmond and with that, the experiment of playing him forward was ditched. At least until the Swans game (a good selection on such a short ground) where he snagged a couple and looked a really good enforcer until hurting his shoulder. The next week he played a bit hurt but still kicked two more including one gem from 60m out. That’s seven goals in three games as a forward (albeit an injured one). On this year’s basis, that from one of our talls should have been a ticket to play for the rest of the season. Not to mention the fact that he gives Gawny a decent cut out. Sure he’s slow, but Tom Mac isn’t? As stated Goody has big decisions to make in the off-season, but most revolve around what to do with his underachieving side. What does he do with our revered loyal skipper Nathan Jones? Are the Mac brothers, once lauded as supreme athletes for their size, washed up already or can a summer of sprint training re-invent them? And can we keep going with Clayton Oliver in the middle when he keeps playing safe and looking after his SuperCoach score? As strange as it may seem, I'd send him forward for the rest of the season in the hope of accelerating his rise to superstar status and overcoming his current case of the yips. But by far Goody’s biggest job is figuring out his game style for 2020. Can he continue to play our 'attack at all costs' style of game which renders us so prone to the counter. Does he look at what the Cats are doing with Stewart and Blicavs and play a sweeper to cover the 'over the back' play? He's tried that a bit with Frosty, but he needs someone a little more assured. Steven May with the help of the pacey Joel Smith could be our best bet to stop that play which has seen us leak goals like we are the Suns. The only positive I can impart is that under Neale Daniher we were really good at bouncing back. Between 98 and 2000 we finished 4th, 14th (3rd bottom) and back to 2nd. Let's hope that's a good omen for next year. 2019: One to 44 – Rating our list (last year’s rank in brackets). 1 Max Gawn (1) He’s our only winner each week and in recent weeks he’s even taken on more of a role at ground level with a career high 30 disposals against Grundy and the Pies. He’s the player the media seek out first after each game and as we saw against the Pies, even little girls with spectacles want to do their warm up with him. But there’s two questions remaining for him this season, now that he’s shored up the AA ruck spot – Grundy will be interchange again. The first is whether he will be sole captain next year – my bet is that he will share it with Jack Viney. The second is where he now stands in the pantheon of ruckman. He’s gone way past Jeff White and whilst he doesn’t have a Brownlow, he’s better than old Jimmy, who was more ruck-rover than ruck anyway. That makes him our best ever and with three superb seasons behind him now, he’s about to go past Eagles great Dean Cox for the best this century. As for best of all-time, only the Herald Sun's Robbo and Bomber fans would be willing to rate Simon Madden ahead of him now, although Gawny may need another 100 good games to beat that comparison too. 2 James Harmes (13) He stepped up late last year and became one of our elite mids and most of us will never forget his clash with Joel Selwood in the finals. This year his game’s grown further. He now gets all the major assigments (Danger, Treloar etc) and he’s encouraged to hurt the other way, which he would if we had any forwards of note. But he needs a breakout elite game. One where he kicks three or four and racks up 40 touches. Fanciful you say. Sorry, but I reckon it will happen. If Olly and Angus stay focused with him, we are a couple of quality forwards away from major success. 3 Christian Salem (12) Every side needs a bit of silk out of defence and he’s clearly our most precise kick – Adem Yze of 2000 if you like. But unlike Yze that year, he’s really developed his one on one skills, which means he now is our most trustworthy defender. I’d like to see him drift forward and bang home a few goals from 50m, but with our luck this year he’d hit the post, as he did in the Pies game. 4 Clayton Oliver (2) When you are coming off a year as an All-Australian, the expectation mounts and his pre-season shoulder surgery made it hard for him to hit the season running. But I suspect this has been the year he’s had to have, before becoming a great. Apart from Jayden, he’s almost the quickest bloke out there and if you compare him with the greats of the game – Dusty, Danger, Fyfe and Cripps – what does he lack? The confidence to take the game on and kick goals is the only thing stopping him from joining that group. I mean he’s kicked one goal this season. Against the Pies his exceptional workrate was there for all to see, yet he recorded a career low 54 metres gained. Compare that to Angus (713m) and Harmesy (709m) and you can tell there’s something wrong with his game. He’s playing safe, maybe to protect his Supercoach score, maybe to protect himself from critics. His handball backwards to May to take a shot from 60m was classic Olly. I reckon he needs a few games this season being left at full-forward for an entire game, so that he develops a bit of selfishness and at the same time realises the frustration that comes from leading and seeing players give it off sideways. You can tell he’s struggled mentally a bit with the higher aspirations and his game against De Boer in Rd 10 was so bad, it was comical. 5 Angus Brayshaw (10) As with Olly, he’s had to endure a year where an average game in a losing side brings a chorus of what’s wrong with Angus. Ultimately both have to wear some of the criticism for the “disconnect” between mids and forwards, although I’m sure not having a forward target who can lead quickly makes it hard to spot the best option. That disconnect got to the stage where even Goody decided he wasn’t travelling that well and took him out of our middle set up for a few weeks. But his return to the guts coincided with him showing his game awareness skills against Adelaide and Collingwood. He’s still classy, but he may need to be given some leadership this off-season to get him back to the Pendlebury/Mundy level. 6 Jake Melksham (9) Having established himself as our best forward last year, his pre-season was ruined when he suffered a hamstring strain after X-mas. He managed to get back just in time for Round 1 and posted one of our few memorable highlights from that game, swinging around on to his right foot with a long bullet pass which was marked near the goalsquare by Tom Mc for our first goal of the year. That was arguably the last time our forward line looked like it had in 2018. In desperation he was tried as a midfielder against Richmond and looked far more likely to hit targets than most of our players, but even he looked forlorn by the lack of swift movement. An unlucky kick saw him break his toe and it now looks like his season may be done – as it is for our team. But with 10 goals in eight games, he did lead our goalkickers until recently. 7 Jayden Hunt (18) Written off by some as a one-trick pony after last season, you could tell pre-season he wanted his spot back and he worked his butt off lowering his eyes and improving his short kicks. Then two weeks and two bad losses into the season, Goody realised that Mr Nippy was our best chance of being free on a lead and sent him forward where his ability to kick goals from 50m makes him irreplaceable – especially this year. He currently leads our goalkicking with 14, but it’s his assists that have impressed me, not to mention his forward pressure. Given he wears the No.29 and is still a bit prone to a wobbly drop punt, it’s hard not to think it’s Kevin Bartlett reincarnated. Happy if he scores half as many career goals as ‘hungry’. 8 Christian Petracca (14) I know I’ve been critical of him in the past and just as critical of our coaching staff for not correcting his high ball drop, but for the past six weeks or so I’ve been mega impressed with his game – his workrate now is exceptional and his use of his body is De Goey-esque. He still makes the odd disposal choice error – not even god knows why he short-passed the ball 10m backwards against the Pies, and the yips (high ball drop again) have been costly for him with set shots, but there’s signs now that he’s a becoming a genuine player. 9 Jack Viney (6) He got back in time for finals last year and what a series he played and what a leader we all said. But this year he again spent pre-season in the rehab group and as a result was rushed in for Rd 1 and has struggled to impact games. He’s still our hardworking leader, but what surprised me most was that he came off second best in his clash with Richmond’s Sydney Stack. I mean we are talking about our strongest man here against a first-year Tiger. People are now also suggesting he lacks pace, but I just hope that he gets a chance to do a full pre-season for once and shows everyone what an amazing, tough talent he is. 10 Michael Hibberd (5) As with Viney, his reputations has fallen a notch this year, but he still does all the percentage plays with courage and application. His game on Dusty Martin was a ripper and I’m a little disappointed he hasn’t been tried in the middle of the park again. Now with Lever and May back, hopefully Goody can be a little more adventurous and have him tag and pester a few stars – Nat Fyfe this week and Patrick Cripps come to mind. 11 Marty Hore (New) One of our few revelations this season with his impressive aerial intercept work and sound left-foot making him an automatic choice for our coach and all SuperCoaches. He’s not mega quick though, so he needs quick players around him so that he doesn’t have to line up on a Charlie Cameron or Tom Papley – hence why Joel Smith’s return to defence next year is so important. But he’s been well worth the No.56 pick and at 23 should be around for five or six more years. The Pies must be kicking themselves for letting him get away. 12 Sam Frost (23) Finally Goody has realised that he does bring something different to the table and that a little left of centre is not necessarily a bad thing. I can’t forget his long bomb against the Hawks in the finals last year which set us on our way, nor the fact that he ran off TomaHawk in the elimination final. We all know that he’s risky, but if our style is to play on at all costs (which it is this season), then he’s ideal. This year he’s had to take all the key forwards from Tex through to the Hawk and Cameron, but now with May available, we will find out whether he can turn laterally quick enough to mark smaller forwards and whether he can play up the field or not. His effort in disrobing the Eagle’s Jack Petrucelle was a gem. 13 Bayley Fritsch (22) One of the few on our list who had a sensational pre-season which led to a spot on the X-files – and he was a member of the winning Rampage team that included such megastars as Cripps and Riewoldt. The hype about him hit new levels, and maybe he started to believe it a little too much, because his first nine weeks were hardly earth-shattering and his ability to break through lines almost non-existent. He showed a bit against Adelaide though and was clearly one of our best handful against the Pies. The question for many is where he should play and, given his lack of body strength at the moment, it has to be as a running half-back or wingman. Maybe if he bulks up pre-season, he can be sent forward, but not now. 14 Nathan Jones (4) Like it or not, his name and future is going to be a hot topic for the next two months as the debate over whether he should, or should not play on goes up a notch. At 31 and with 276 games already behind him, our skipper is certainly not too old to keep going compared to other guns such as Burgoyne (36), Ablett (35), Mundy (33) or Higgins (31). The difference though is that he has not found a niche or been tried either in a less physically demanding position – ie: defence or attack. Personally I had hopes that he could play a Jarrad McVeigh-type disciplined link role down back for us and with Jetta out, this seemed even more likely. But instead Goody has played him primarily on the wing, which has been a graveyard offering for previous leaders in Grimes and Trengove and even Tyson last year. He’s kicked a few nice long bombs and had a night out against Sydney, but in general he hasn’t looked comfortable playing on younger, quicker opponents and trying to find our forwards. With Viney, playing, there just isn’t scope for another 5ft 10in (178cm) mid in the middle trying to crumb Gawny, however courageous he may be. So with our coach unwilling to send him back or forward, he is now likely to be faced with a tough choice of inciting a potential James McDonald situation. That choice may be made harder if the pressure goes on to us to take quite a few draft picks. 15 Alex Neal-Bullen (21) Another of Goody’s project players who has failed to cope with higher expectations this season. He still runs his butt off but he’s struggled to break clear of packs and when he does, the game of finding a tall forward has gone up a level this year. He’s too good for VFL, but are his kicking skills good enough at AFL level – perhaps that question could be leveled at most of our players? I just wonder what would happen if he played a tagging role in the middle – we know he’s disciplined enough to make it work. 16 Jay Lockhart (New) This Tassie boy looked very efficient with his kicking skills at Casey last season and got a big break when the club added him to the list as a March rookie. Within a few days he was making his debut down at Geelong and how good was it when he took on Joel Selwood, not once, but twice. He’s kicked a few classy goals already and while he stands just 177cm, he’s got a good leap and barring an unlucky injury or two, this guy will make it, even though he’s already 23. If you want to see one of the best VFL games ever played by a Casey player, watch a replay of his game against the Pies. 17 Oskar Baker (37) In a year when almost nothing has gone right, he’s the story we needed to keep us coming back and if you haven’t seen his first game youtube by now, then you aren’t a supporter anyway. What a dad! And it’s nice that he’s come in and shown a bit – with two goals he’s even outscored our No.1 midfielder (sorry Olly, gratuitous sledge). He’s also got a bit of height (184cm), unlike most of our recent draft picks, and has good pace (endurance type, not explosive as has been reported). I said last year he’s an everyready battery who just needs to work on his disposal and that’s pretty much still the case. He’s 21, so he’s not young, but he certainly is making progress and there’s still plenty of upside given he was playing QAFL with Aspley two years ago. 18 Tom McDonald (8) Let’s flash back to Rd 1 for a second. T.Mac, coming off an injury interrupted pre-season, sees Melky free on the outer wing and heads back towards goalsquare. The 60m bullet flies slightly over Robbie Gray and T-Mac judges it perfectly and marks and converts our first goal of the season. Who needs Jesse! Well sadly the story doesn’t have a happy ending. Since that moment we have seen arguably the worst 11 games played by a key forward, broken up for a week by a very solid game in defence on Tom Lynch (also mobile-impaired at the moment) against Richmond. Almost every week I have called for T-Mac to have a week or two off to try and get back some of his speed as I know he missed most of the 200m reps this pre-season and quite a bit of agility work because of a mix of turf-toe and knee soreness. But Goody has decided to keep persevering with Tom and we have had to keep watching the trainwreck as one of our best players is continually beaten for pace on the lead – and that’s a lead he starts. Together with O.Mac’s plight, it’s made me wonder if he is washed up as well. But I suspect in Tom’s case, it’s injury driven. He still has incredible aerial judgment and he works hard at ground level, it’s just that his bread and butter cut back play towards the goalsquare has been rendered obsolete. 19 Brayden Preuss (New) It is hard to figure this one out. Many of us felt he’d done a deal with Goody to play a handful of games when we recruited him because quite obviously with Gawny in the line up, he was a back-up tapman. It was so calming pre-season knowing he was around contesting with Gawny at training rather than a couple of developing kids and we all thought back then we could rest up Gawny on finals eve. Then when he had a cracker as a forward pre-season against the Pies he seemed a certainty for Rd 1. But a poor game (first rucking mind you) against Richmond saw Goody ditch his plans, at least until Rd 4 when the SCG dimensions and our growing injury list lended itself for another big. He looked fearsome, snagging a couple more until he copped a shoulder knock. He managed to play the following week and his thumping goal from 60m out against the Saints remains a season highlight. His shoulder injury forced his omission for the Tigers game and from then it’s been a complete mystery why he’s been overlooked for T.Mac and Weid or Keilty, who have all struggled in the ruck when Gawny rests. 20 Tim Smith (31) Once again the Bull made his way into the seniors for the Richmond Anzac game and he quickly showed T.Mac and Weid how to lead and mark. He was done over by the umps big time in Perth and missed the Pies game with flu, but he’s shown enough playing the corridor lead-up role to warrant another year. 21 Billy Stretch (24) As a Billy fan, I was rapt when he finally got a chance to show his wares against Richmond and he was really good in a losing side that night. Injuries meant he got to play the next five weeks on the wing and he never really quite nailed it, which is not a good thing when you are losing. With Salem out, he was sent down back against Adelaide and I thought he did a pretty good job until Wags bowled him over which allowed his man Eddie to break free and fire up the locals. He’s out of contract and many have already hit the delist button and given he’s just 180cm, you’d think I’d want him gone too. But I don’t. I want him to have a run as a small defender because I know he’s disciplined and, unlike almost our entire squad, he’s a right footer, which means we can switch left and still head back right if we don’t like that option. 22 Jeff Garlett (26) It’s been an interesting year for Jeffy. Having lost out to Goody’s lovechild Spargo last season and missed our historic finals, he was brought back in for the Richmond game and like so many that night, struggled. Jeffy is still our best chance of converting an over the back from Angus, but most sides are awake to that nowadays. Hence he’s done well on occasions – the Darwin and West Coast games were vintage Jeffy, but unfortunately the others have been more about what vintage is Jeffy – he turns 30 in August and that looks to me the end date on his AFL career. 23 Sam Weideman (33) What a morale-sapping year for the Weid. As we all know he showed a few glimpses late last year and was clearly in Goody’s planning in the post-Hogan era. What we didn’t know was that his manager had jumped ahead even further putting a price tag on him in the vicinity of $650,000 a year – not bad for a bloke averaging a goal a game as full-forward. A stint in the reserves and that horror miss in Darwin seem to have made him mega-keen to get the paperwork done, maybe so that his price didn’t fall even further. A new two-year is best for both parties. If he comes on he can quickly get his $400K contract redone and if he treads water, Melbourne can jettison him. The signs were good against the Pies though with more marks than he’s had all season. 24 Oscar McDonald (16) There’s been enough vitriol about poor Oscar this year and from what I’m told he’s a super nice guy off the field. He’s contracted for another year and if doesn’t spend most of it playing as a forward (albeit in the VFL), then I’ll be very surprised. Enough said. 25 Jordan Lewis (17) Jordy lost out on all fronts this year. Firstly he twinged a hammy just before Round 1. Secondly, when he did return, almost every supporter had cottoned on to his lack of pace and started potting him, especially with our opponents beating us out the back with monotonus regularity. Secondly with May and Jetta out, Frosty had to play and any semblance of a controlled, slow, switching build up from down back that Jordy likes (and Hawthorn and Geelong and other sides employ) went out the door. The result was that even the selectors lost faith and sent him back to play against old mate Roughy. What’s worse is that our injury run has meant Casey is unlikely to play finals, although Jordy may be able to help correct that with a bit of luck. He’s like a playing coach down there and he’d be a smart choice as our backline coach for next season, although he will get quite a few job offers I reckon. 26 Charlie Spargo (27) Firstly let’s state now that if Charlie was 185cm tall, he’d be an absolute superstar. He does everything you want – spots up players, makes position and tackles with intent. His old man Paul has trained him well and he should be mighty proud. But as I said last year, when you are just 173cm tall (5ft 8in), it’s bloody hard making it in this industry. You have to be explosively quick (like Boomer Harvey was) or an incredibly good kick with amazing stamina (like Caleb Daniel is). Sadly Charlie is not mega quick and he’s not a thumping kick for his size, which limits his upside, because he can be brushed off by defenders – Matt de Boer would be too if he was 173cm. Goody still loves him, but I reckon it’s a big call. 27 Josh Wagner (28) Wags has been almost a regular this season playing nine games after spending most of last year in the twos. He’s certainly been one to benefit from injuries and to be honest, he hasn’t really made half-back his own. As I said last year, he’s not a thumping kick, and he’s not mega-quick so he struggles to break lines and invariably is forced short. In a squad of left foot defenders with impressive foot skills led by Salem, May, Fritta and Hibberd and potentially KK, it’s hard to see how he can fit in. He’s 25 this week and been in the system long enough to know where things are headed. 28 Harrison Petty (39) Before you go and send him on his way as being another tall that hasn’t quite got what we need, I’ll just remind you he is still only 19 and there are signs that he’s improving – have a look back at how he read the play against West Coast. The problem now is that we have our first choice defensive talls, so he may need to be tried as a forward at VFL level. I’m not sure he’s quite quick enough to make it, but let’s wait and see one more year – he’s a big after all! 29 Declan Keilty (38) I was really rapt that Dec got a chance at AFL level after a four-year odyssey at Casey. And he will go down in history as one of the few players to boast an unbeaten win/loss record with his two games being wins against Hawthorn and Gold Coast. He’s now got the body to make it, but he’s not quite quick enough and his kicking isn’t quite reliable enough. But he was certainly worth the rookie risk. 30 Corey Wagner (New) Having won our best and fairest at Casey last year, it was great to see him rewarded with a rookie spot and Goody even found room for him in Round 1. As with his brother, he works his butt off and is a good tackler, but he lacks the class and kicking ability to really impact at this level. Whether we keep him on for another year may depend on if we keep Jonesy. 31 Tom Sparrow (New) I am not sure who was busy watching Prince Alfred games, but we ended up with two small forwards from the school and both were regarded as surprise selections by the local AFL clubs (Crows & Power), who not surprisingly should know more than us. Sparrow does have a bit of upside being built strongly and he’s blessed with a fair degree of pace, but you’d want him to look the part for pick 27. He’s listed at 183cm, but he’s another Collingwood 6 footer. He came in late for Round 1 and did well to convert his first goalsquare play into a six-pointer, but he is very much a speculative pick. 32 Kade Chandler (New) Another SA youngster from the tiny country town of Penong, he fits Tubby Taylor’s recent penchant for small players, standing just 173cm. He’s a lively left-footer who provides good forward pressure at VFL level, but gees, it will be a huge step if he can make it. 33 Toby Bedford (New) Came to us via our indigenous project and yes he’s another one for our small brigade. But that didn’t stop him nailing Gawny in a big tackle pre-season which won his the coaches award for the day. He looks classy and has skill but at 172cm and weighing less than a pencil, he’s struggled to win the ball at Casey level. 34 James Jordon (New) Well at least JJ has height (187cm) in his favour, but to be honest, he will need to really work on his weights next season to make it at this level. He just looks like a nice guy to me, which is a worry, and I’ve struggled to see the traits that made him a must have by Taylor. He’s still only 18, so he’s one of the young ones, but pick 33. No ratings This year’s injury list quickly went through the roof and it’s only been in the last few weeks that a few have been let back into the main training group. Jake Lever (7) How good did our aerial work down back look against the Pies. It’s only one game but his partnership with May got a solid tick of approval. It may take him a few weeks to really pick up the pace, but he’s a smart player and with Jordy finishing, that’s what we need down back. Steven May (New) What a disaster – initially at least. Our new man on a salary that puts him in our top three wage earners and he comes in to pre-season unfit and depending on your contacts, absolutely shitfaced on occasions. An early striking ban (unlucky?) and a hamstring-related shocker against Geelong (he wasn’t Robinson Crusoe that night mind you) added to supporter angst. But he’s knuckled down and got himself fit, and the result was an ultra-impressive performance down back against the Pies. By god he can kick it, maybe further than Lynden Dunn. And he’s very much a Darwin man, which means we have finally got the right link for ‘dialing a crowd’ up there. He may yet be Todd Viney and Jason Taylor’s smartest choice of November 2018. Neville Jetta (11) Many Demonlanders rate Lord Nev an All-Australian and his teammates hold him in such high regard that he was named in our four-man leadership group. But that honour backfired a bit as injuries immediately restricted him and he lasted just four games before heading off for knee surgery (lateral meniscus). His one-on-one work has been missed and it is now doubtful whether he will resume this season. Joel Smith (30) His dad Shaun wasn’t the only one wondering why the club put him back on the field against Brisbane in a pre-season practice match. Whether the decision exacerbated his OP, we may never know, but it wasn’t a good look, especially given Joel had been one of our few March highlights. How good was it watching him smash ANB and others at 200m reps throughout February and then see him turn on the afterburners against the Pies and Tigers. But here’s two key points for 2020. Firstly the club has to sign him (dad may not be keen now) and secondly once he gets over OP, he does not have to play forward as Jayden has taken that role a bit anyway. To me, it is a hell of a lot safer to play a guy with an OP history down back, where he doesn’t have to turn sharply to evade a tackle … just saying! Mitch Hannan (19) As one of our mid-size leading, tackling forwards, he’s been sorely missed, especially with Kent off to St Kilda. He looks so good at training and hopefully his knee issues permit him a good run next pre-season and we can finally see him fit and capable of dominating games. Aaron vandenBurg This time last year I said his career was at the crossroads because of his ankle-related stress injury and he charged back and became a dominant force in our run to the finals. Few if any will forget his brutal tackle on Jordan Murdoch in the finals and he looked a million dollars playing through the middle against the Pies pre-season and against the Tigers. But then his stress fracture came back and our hard man was sent back indoors running on alter Gs, rather than the real ’G. He’ll be 28 next February, so as with Maynard, you wonder if he’s missed the karma boat, which is a massive shame because this guy could have be a star if his body held up. Jay Kennedy-Harris (35) Sorry fellow Demonlanders, but if you expect me to join you bagging him then it won’t happen. Like many of you, I had him down to be shown the door last season, but he really developed as a player in the final few weeks of 2018 and looked likely to be first 22 pre-season this year before he became another of our rehab group specials. He played one VFL game to get his fitness going after his knee surgery and lack of fit players necessitated him being rushed in for the Darwin game. Sure he butchered the ball that night but TIO Stadium is more slimey than Mitchell St after dark, so I’m not sure why he wasn’t cut a bit of slack. To me, right now, he is our best chance of making it as a wingman because of his tank and evasiveness. If the list-culling question is who will be a better wingman for us in 2020, Nathan Jones or JKH, then I know my answer? Kade Kolodjashnij (New) Came to us as part of the Hogan/May deal and looked good with his Lleyton Hewitt style cap on backwards pre-season until a slight hamstring/adductor tweak sent him to the rehab group for a few weeks. He played about three quarters of a VFL practice match and for reasons best known only to the coach, was rushed in like he was Brian Peake or Phil Carman to the side that was belted down at Geelong. Goody had also decided he could play half forward/wing and he looked majorly lost, although the following week against Essendon we did get to see that he has a lovely left-foot kick. A head knock sent him back to concussion school and it seems our medical staff has managed to get on top of it this time, which they did with Angus mind you. I don’t quite get why he hasn’t been played off half-back to get his confidence going and defence is where his brother has made it. He hasn’t got electric speed but he certainly isn’t slow, so defence would seem the right fit – that is where Gold Coast had success with him after all. Corey Maynard (34) This guy just can’t get a break. He’s had chronic hip soreness and just as he started to find form in the VFL, he copped a nasty headknock against Port and he’s been back in the rehab group. There’s no doubt he can find the pill and has game awareness, but he just can’t get on the park. He’ll be 28 in October, so he may have run out of time to make it. Kyle Dunkley (New) Thank Christ Carlton overlooked him for the mid-season draft and thank Christ, Coburg’s Sam Lowson got injured the weekend before the draft, otherwise Jason Taylor would have drafted another sub six-footer. The Blues loss has been our gain with Dunkley, who is just a pup. He turns 19 this week. He already has impressed in his two VFL games for us and at 185cm looks far more formidable than our mosquito fleet. He’ll get a chance this year, barring injury, but I doubt he’ll have much impact until he gets stronger like his brother. But you can tell he has great stamina, good aerial skills and a penchant for the hard ball. Aaron Nietschke (New) Another of our surprise selections from country South Australia on draft night and at least he is the full 6ft, probably with an inch to spare. Sadly he didn’t get a chance to show his talent, doing an ACL in early February. At least he’ll get a chance to bulk up now and we should find out about this time next year if he’s a value spec pick or not. 2018 rankings 2017 rankings: 2016 rankings http://demonland.com/forums/topic/40708-rating-or-list-from-1-44/#comment-1294469
  6. 6 Gawn - fired up after Robbo went for Grundy as AA pick ahead of him. Both are certs. But Max has shown why he's starting 18 with Grundy on bench. 5 Harmes - had a great battle with Treloar for much of game and his run was super damaging. 4 Brayshaw - how composed was he all game. Reminiscent of 2018 at last. 3 Fritsch - finally played like his pre-season form suggested. 2 May - how good was it in the first half having a defender who wins in the air. Now we know why we got him. 1 Petracca - Our only real link between middle and forward and again worked his butt off only to be let down by the odd bad choice of disposal. Olly was prolific and was almost brilliant, but still fell back on handball instead of taking the game on himself and kicking to a lead. Gave away a couple of stupid frees as well.
  7. Another disgraceful effort by you JoeBoy - makes me wonder if you actually ever go to the game. Fritsch - best game 2019 Brayshaw - shades of 2018 Harmes - our prime mover Petracca - another step forward Weid - finally showing something
  8. How good is it when we lose like that and our season is finished and yet we have a week of great excitement coming up and a chance to inflict some pain on our favourite foe. I know we often say it's along night coming up at selection, but I'd love to be on the panel this week just listening to the rhetoric. I have eight players who could come in - four of whom I regard as certainties if they prove their fitness. And yet i've got to say that the performance and run by our mids last week in Darwin was the best we've had all season. My four certain ins are Lever, May, Salem and Hore - all defenders. Three of my omissions come from our defensive group against Adelaide. O.Mac - yes there needs to be a full enquiry if he is not played as a forward in the VFL - that is his only chance to make it now and it's why we recruited him in the first place. Wags - he's actually been quite serviceable in the past six weeks but he's just not quite quick enough to be a gun rebounder and he's not quite tall enough to play as a big and he's not quite a long enough kick to be a linebreaker either. Stretch - He drew the defensive straw last week and I thought his positioning was very good and if it wasn't for the four coming back, then I'd be happy to see him get another go back there as we need a right foot kicking runner coming out of there to break up our predictable left side forays. That leaves seven backs (one off the bench) for the Pies six De Goey (Hibberd), Stevo (Salem), Hoskin-Ell (Frost), Mihocek (Lever), Reid (May), Thomas (Hore) and Varcoe/Pendles (Fritsch) drift. I thought our mids were great on Saturday and I reckon they will relish the challenge against the midfield that many now rate as the best. Oliver will again be tagged, this time by Greenwood and hopefully he doesn't give up like he did against de Boer and shows his maturity and tries to work through it. Hopefully Olly sets himself a target of 10 tackles and ignores his lack of numbers in other areas. I'd also start him on the bench, just to force Bucks into some quick rearranging. Two players must be manned closely - Pendles and Sidey. I just reckon it's time we gave Angus the extra task of negating a player - Pendles ain't quick so I'd be putting it on Angus to negate him. Then a decision has to be made on whether Harmes goes to Sidey or we give the job to the EverReddy battery. It's one for the match committee but given how poor Treloar can be kicking under pressure, then I'd place Harmes on Treloar and risk sending Baker to Sidey. That leaves Jonesy for his old mate Beams and our other super runner in JKH playing on their fittest bloke (Phillips). Viney has a date with Adams as usual. Some will argue that JKH should be dropped but I really liked his run last week and that was his second game back after one week in the VFL. Sure his kicking was a little off in the greasy conditions after half time, but gee he presented well all game and is probably one of the best suited player to keep Phillips honest on our list - our star trio excluded. The Pies defenders are also quite big, so unless it's extremely wet, then we can't just play a bevy of crumbers like last week. Can you imagine the frustration if Moore is allowed to play on Jeffy or Spargo and just peels off and intercepts at will. Moore must be made accountable. That means we must play three bigs, unless it is majorly wet. It would be criminal not to play Weid again after last week's finish and Smith is doing a good job as our Mihocek style lead up man. So one of Jeffy or Spargo has to go. Personally I'd leave out Spargo, although i accept that he looked more lively last week than his previous outings this season. The issue for our selectors is again to decide if T.Mac needs a two week rest (one bye) to get himself speed fit. As I've said all season, he missed almost all the 200m reps at the start of the year and did not do the leg drills he would normally do because of his turf toe and calf issues pre-season. The result is that he has lost all his pace (he never had a lot mind you) and it's cost us for 11 weeks now. T.Mac has amazing aerial judgment but his biggest weapon was his gut running and ability to work back and catch out defences. That's been non-existent this year. Two weeks of speed drills without playing may make a difference. As a result I'd be considering Preuss because we need a player that forces Moore to be accountable and one that punishes a defender that drifts across his flight path. If Cox is recalled, the Preuss is a must because where he can help most is as a back up ruckman. Last year Cox murdered T.Mac when the Grundy/Gawn show was sent backstage. Three other players also have claims for a recall. ANB has been unlucky after his starry game against Hawthorn, Lockhart is a goer but finding a spot for either of them is untenable this week. Jordy is also unlucky and would add smarts, but I can't see a match up for him this week unless Hore is again out. So that leaves: Out: T.Mac (rested to get speed fit), Stretch, J.Wags, O.Mac, one of Garlett or Spargo In: Lever, Hore, Salem, May, Preuss B: Salem May Hibberd HB: Frost Lever Hore C Baker Brayshaw JKH HF Trac T.Smith Hunt F: Spargo/Garlett Weid Preuss Ru: Gawn Harmes Viney Int: Jones (mid), Hannan (fwd), Fritsch (def) Oliver (mid) I actually reckon we are a chance this week, although if we continue to miss shots, then the best match-ups in the world mean nothing.
  9. Totally agree with you on this and you can add quite possibly his biggest mistake of all from last year - overrating his squad and going for the Liam Stocker. That deal has not only cost them Matt Rowell (how good did he look for Vic Metro on Saturday) but also quite possibly Clarkson, who was rumoured to be close to agreeing to the switch post-season. SOS can look back on a career that saw him named full back of one century and worst recruiter of the next century. And amazingly he had the gaul to give Bolton the cold shoulder when he didn't play his son earlier this season. At least he did have a great eye for talent when he chose his wife!
  10. I finally got a chance to go through the tape again and I've got to say the game was a bit like the Eagles match, in that even with a dodgy defence we finally seem to have the legs and run to drive the ball through the middle - fantastic efforts by our entire midfield brigade and backed by Hunt who linked up spectacularly and Trac who is getting closer to a breakout De Goey type game. Obviously our key issue is being beaten close to goal so often both forward and back. And in defence it wasn't just O.Mac. Fritz made two howlers back there early before becoming very effective off half back. With Jetta out our only player who seems to be play the last line percentages correctly is Hibberd and even he struggled with an inspired Betts in the final few minutes. Sadly we don't have a Tom Stewart or a Dylan Grimes or a Shannon Hurn to make the strong and smart plays on the last line - maybe that will change a bit this week with May and Lever back on top of Salem and Hore. The other problem is our lack of ability near the goalsquare up the other end. T.Mac, as has been mentioned, was a huge failure again on Saturday, although his strength last year was using his endurance and running back into the area. He has never had a leap and he doesn't have the pace for a lead (his defenders invariably beat him to it when he does) but he does have great marking judgment. As I've said elsewhere, he could still beat almost any footballer in a marathon, but his pre-season injuries meant he didn't spend time on his acceleration out of the blocks and it continues to hurt him and us. He also missed almost all the 200m pre-season rep sessions. He needs three weeks of just pure speed running and with the season now over - there's no point in not resting him and getting him speed fit. The bye is his chance to finish the season on a good note. Pleasingly on Saturday we did have an extra tall (Weid) up front which meant the ball did hit the ground quite a bit and Jeffy and Spargo and Trac and Hunt all looked dangerous. Yes I get the Garlett toughness vitriol but it was probably also his best night for crumbing all season - he messed up about four chances though and still kicked three. Having Hannan back at least gives us another mid-size quick marking option and whilst it wasn't his night, he gives us more balance and more hope when it gets down there. So ultimately I think the doom and gloom of others here was misguided. Our midfield was on top almost all night and I'm sure they will be excited by the chance to play against the Pies and their highly rated midfield. It was great to see Baker and JKH providing more outside run (albeit with a few turnovers) and Angus was so much better playing predominantly in the middle. Our defence should also pick up with four keys back in the side next week, although Goody will have to think long and hard about stopping Stephenson over the back. He also will have to again try and figure out his best balance up front.
  11. So putting Bryce Gibbs on him is a hard tag is it?
  12. Like many of us, I've been gobsmacked that Preuss keeps being overlooked but the dewy evening conditions up in Darwin won't suit him. That probably means he's a monty to play. I think most of us would agree that six players have to go after that dismal first three quarters - C.Wags, Lockhart, Petty, Spargo, O.Mac and Jeffy. But of the six, Jeffy should be given one final game in Darwin as a send off. Lever will play unless his ankle is worse than expected. Salem and ANB are certain ins if fit and Jordy was the pick of the lads at VFL level so has to come back. Hannan didn't have a great game in the VFL I believe, so probably needs another week. JKH is another who may need another week. Both should play against the Pies. So my five changes this week are: In: Lever, ANB, Salem, Lewis and a decision on which of Weid or Preuss plays. Out: C.Wags, Spargo, Lockhart, Petty, Oscar Mc B: Salem Frost Hore HB: Jones Lever J.Wags C Stretch Harmes Lewis HF: Baker T.Smith Petracca F: Hunt T.Mac Garlett Ru: Gawn Brayshaw Viney Int: Fritsch, Oliver, ANB, Preuss/Weid
  13. I will expand on this when I do my mid-season review in two weeks time, but essentially we were beaten well before quarter time. How can a coach pick 7 players under 6 ft (Viney, Jones, Hunt, Spargo, Lockhart, Garlett, Corey Wagner) against a side called the Giants who are actually a huge side is beyond belief? It's hard to fathom how you could leave out an aggressive tall in Preuss for a game where aside from Mummy, they had Tomlinson, Taylor, Davis, Cameron, Himmelberg, Finlayson and Haynes who are all well and truly 192cm plus. Not surprisingly we were smashed aerially, except for Gawny who more than held his own. Of course the answer is that we have some major injuries and unfortunately almost all of them have been to our mid-size brigade - Hannan, Joel Smith, Vanders and more recently Hibberd and Melky and you can throw KK into that mix as well. The injuries to May and Lever have meant that we've been forced to play slows in Oscar Mc and more recently Petty and been exposed on the lead. On the positive side our injuries have given a lot of players a chance to see if they are up to AFL level. Baker showed a bit today, Stretch again covered plenty of territory and Josh Wags was resolute in defence, but clearly many of our fringe player are just not up to the level. Have a look at the stats - Garlett, Corey Wags, Lockhart and Spargo had a combined 32 disposals - that's eight touches each on average. Petty and Oscar Mc combined for 13 disposals and three marks, whilst their opponents Himmelberg and Finlayson had 16 marks and shared six goals.
  14. 6 Gawn 5 Hore 4 Viney 3 Harmes 2 Josh Wagner 1 Frost Plenty of players looked good in final term junk time led by Petracca and Fritsch.
  15. Topic said changes, so i'll stick to that. Structural 1) Switch Angus back to middle. Yes I know the Jonesy on a wing didn't work, but losing Angus from the wing hasn't either. And we finally have some run out there - even if both Stretch and Baker are error prone, both work their butt off. 2) Send Jonesy to half-back. We have a plethora of left foot defenders going down the left wing all the time. Is it a crime to go down the right side on occasions? Can't any of our forwards catch a ball when they lead left? By the way I thought Jonesy was exceptional in the first half against Eagles, but tired and was ineffective when it counted after half time. We have to find a spot for him to play on next year and defence is the only option left. 3) Make Preuss a late inclusion. Gawn was a superstar for three quarters and we had great run up the middle with Tim Smith leading up well and giving it off, but when Gawny tired in last quarter against Hickey and Vardy, it hurt us. Mummy will be told to work Gawny over, so it would be nice if we had back up and Preuss is a player who can work Mummy over as well. Bringing him in late will upset their balance and force a rethink. 4) Play Lewis as a forward. We can't have Jordy, Jonesy, O.Mac and Petty all in our back seven (we become way too slow), but Jordy has the smarts to at least position himself well in the forward line. He is still a dead-eye accurate kick as well. 5) Back in the attack down the spine method. With five first choice defenders still out, we are going to be exposed if we try and chip it around, but how good was the manic handball run and carry of the second term against Eagles. Until we get Lever, May, Hibberd and Jetta back, it's better to go down fighting than playing a precision brand that can be intercepted anyway. 6) Back in Stretch and Baker. Yep I did see their errors, but at what point on Friday night did anyone think we were slow and not quick to man up - could it have had anything to do with having two team oriented runners on the wing sharing the role with Angus. Even when Fritter let Ryan run into the pocket it was because he decided that with so many bigs already back there, he should zone off the lead options. It backfired, but hey we lost it because of our errant shots earlier in the night. Baker deserves another shot and Billy deserves a fairly long extended crack at it. Don't judge their games by possessions. Judge it more by their run and pressure. 7) Play Petty again. The move to having a big backline in Perth was not the disaster many of us expected, although I suspect it would have been if it was greasy conditions. The Giants have plenty of talls up forward with Cameron, Himmelberg and Finlayson, so there's a role for Petty again before Lever comes back in. Out: Obviously our concussion boys are all in doubt, but I suspect one of them at least will play. If only one of them is out, then it would be hard not to argue for Fritter to go back to VFL. He's a talent but watch the last term replay and tell me he didn't panic twice under pressure. He needs to go back to VFL and play in the middle and learn to cop contact and hold onto the ball in a tackle. IN: Lewis and Preuss. B: N.Jones Frost Hore HB: Petty O.Mac Salem (if OK) C Stretch Oliver Baker HF: Petracca T.Mac Lewis F: Garlett Hunt Preuss Ru: Gawn Harmes Brayshaw Int: Viney (hard tag on Kelly when on), Lockhart, Wagner, T.Smith (if fit), ANB (if fit) Emerg: Fritsch
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