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Posts posted by Deespicable

  1. Baker has a groin injury and hopes to resume straight after X-mas.

    Spargo injured his ankle ligament last Friday - unless he did them badly, should be back next week.

    I think Petty had a minor knee clean-up post-season.

    Not sure why Smith wasn't there, but he looked really strong last Friday. He has bulked up more and was working with backs - if fit will play on Jack Darling in Rd 1 IMO.

    Most impressive today was Ed Langdon - ran hard, kicked well and looked eager.

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  2. Obviously it is just a dream team at the moment and VDB, Smith and Bennell would have a lot of work to do.

    But if fit, they are all very worthy first-22 members.

    KK is almost in same boat.

    Happy with trial of Harmes as defender because we need a right-footer with pace coming out, but suspect he will be needed in midfield after a few weeks. 

    FB: Lever - May - Salem

    HB: Harmes - Smith - Hibberd 

    MID: Langdon - Vandenberg - Bennell 

    HF: Petracca - Petty - Hunt

    FF: Melksham - T.Mac - Fritsch 

    R: Gawn - Oliver - Viney 

    INT: Brayshaw - Tomlinson - Jetta - ANB

    Depth: Jones - Sparrow - Lockhart - Pruess - Baker - Hannan - Dunkley - KK - Weideman - two high picks  

  3. I have always been very bullish about Joel and with Frosty gone, he's super important to add pace and aerial skills to our backline.

    The last place I want him lining up is the forward line, because as we all know, forwards have to turn tighter and pivot when tackled and I just don't want to hear that he's aggravated his OP attempting a shot around the corner.

    I actually think he's the closest thing we've got to Tom Stewart on our list. What he needs is to play as many games as he can, so that he can become more au fait with our systems and also so that gets a feel for how far he can go with umpires when tunnelling opponents - as all defenders try and do.   

  4. Love all the thoughts and given that I've only really had a good look at Rowell and Serong, my order is based on what I think each club's list managers would be thinking.

    1 GC - Rowell - This guy is such an amazing hardworker and a beautiful baulker, reminds me a little of a smaller Robert Harvey. May be too small to be a long-term superstar, but definitely a SC special in his first year and guaranteed 200-gamer.

    2 GC - Anderson - I've noticed how Knightmare and others already see his upside and he's got his dad's athleticism. I reckon he may struggle a bit at AFL level early, but once his body adjusts he oozes class and he is a better kick than his dad. He trained with us mid-season and I'm sure it would throw a spanner now in our planning if the Suns didn't take him. The AFL puts so much money into the Suns, and they have already made it clear to them and us what they want.

    3 Melb - Hayden Young (Dandenong) - I loved what dazzledavey said about him. "Young in my opinion is one of the best users of the footy in the draft. Absolute sublime with his ability to bullet low 40m passes on both sides of his body. Yes he is genuinely a duel sided player with both feet. Plays his best footy across half back as the quarter back who will sit out the back of the stoppage and wait for the handball receive to then set up a counter attack with his foot skills, but also his intercept marking is exceptionally well. Had stints as a midfielder after the championships and showed that he has the ability to push up into the midfield as a genuine wingman who could deliver with poise inside 50. Honestly you just want the ball in this kids hands at every opportunity because he uses it so well."

    We need a quick defender, especially with Frost departing and with Hibberd and Jetta getting on, so we need someone like Young with run and kicking ability to take the pressure off Salem. I can't see us taking Serong this early, even though he is a guaranteed 200-gamer, because I reckon we feel our midfield is good enough and we may yet add Martin to our group of onballers.

    4 Adel - Dylan Stephens (SA) - I reckon they will weigh him up with Will Gould, who is another SA player and one who shone in the SANFL finals. But Stephens has pace and I reckon that's what Adelaide needs big time now. They will also consider Serong and Flanders, but surely the logic of recent seasons will tell them to go local. 

    5 GWS - Tom Green (NSW) - I haven't seen any of his games, but the reports say he's an inside bull and I reckon Sydney will want him enough to put a bid on him and he lives virtually on their doorstep. He actually fits Sydney's requirements more than GWS, especially with Kennedy almost finished and Parker getting on, but unless they are planning some cute swap he will surely join the Giants and back-up their gun midfielders.

    6 Syd - Luke Jackson (WA) or Sam Flanders (Gippsland) - I've jumped Jackson up the order because I reckon Sydney will have been so [censored] off this year that they didn't have a back-up ruck plan once they started getting injuries and reports say Jackson could be a bit like a future Grundy and with Blakey and Daniher (after next year), they will have their bigs shored up for post-Franklin days. If they feel Jackson is too much of a stretch and could still be around their pick 25, then I reckon they will go Flanders and groom him for the Kennedy role in 2021.They will also consider Serong, but I reckon his lack of size and their good history with mids will see them want the bigger-body option. 

    7   Frem - Devon Robertson (Perth) - I've assumed here that GWS had to give up pick 6 as part of their Green acquisition and I can't really see how the Giants can get around losing six, unless the Swans come to some sort of whacky deal - very happy if a draft expert can explain how they can manipulate it for me. As a result Freo should have pick seven and having made last year their bigs draft, they will want more midfield help for Fyfe, although Brayshaw and Cerra should be even better next season. Freo will have to decide between Serong, Kemp (coming off a knee injury that will mean he barely plays next season, if at all) and their own boy Robertson, who was a star for WA's winning U18 team. As with Adelaide, they have been burnt by Victorians wanting to go home, so surely they will go their own lad. Surely!

    8 Melb - Cody Weightman (Dandenong) or Caleb Serong/Sam Flanders (Gippsland) - This hopefully is a lot tougher for Tubby Taylor than simply just reading out Weightman's name. Clearly we were excited by the prospect of the pacey, quick forward with a leap and that's why sold the farm to go up the order. But Cody is pretty small (just 177cm - 5ft10in) and we have already spent the past three drafts trying to find small forwards who can play near the goalsquare (Spargo and Sparrow with our top remaining picks and Bedford, Chandler, Lockhart with speculative picks). It infuriates me that this obsession led us to having 15 sub 6-footers on our list and whilst we have moved on two of them, Cody would be another vertically challenged player in an era when smalls need to be incredibly fast plus manic tacklers  - and not one of our choices has majorly explosive leg-speed. In one sense, I reckon we already solved our small forward problem this year when we sent Jayden Hunt there too harass and whilst his evasive skills and smooth kicking need working on, he certainly harassed. Hunt's not too dissimilar to Castagna and provided Young and Joel Smith (if fit) can cope with quick forwards up the other end, then Hunt is a good option alongside Petracca, Melky, Fritter and maybe ANB. So if someone has some Cody videos please put them on DL as I don't really understand why we would move heaven and earth to get him - maybe a few freakish snaps and leaps will make it clearer.

    The more sensible option to me is to go whichever one of Serong or Flanders that is left over. This will add depth to our midfield and both can spend their first season primarily being used up forward as they develop bodies. From the games I saw Serong was the second best junior behind Rowell. He is a tad small (180cm), but he's got a good leap, tackles hard and kicks beautifully to position. To me he looked a safe bet to be drafted by the Roos at 8, but for some reason they must have felt he'd go earlier, and jumped at the prospect of our 2020 pick. From all reports Flanders (182cm) is a huge talent as well that could develop into a frontliner. I am not sure about how quick either of these two are, but they both scored a few bags of goals as mids and if they have enough speed, then it's a tick from me.

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  5. I just hope we take advantage of this unexpected opportunity in the pre-season draft and are flexible enough to adjust our original plans to accommodate Martin.

    There's no doubt he's an incredibly classy and quick midfielder and that's what we have all been crying out for because of our lack of outside run. It may be that he ends up playing on a wing and forces Goody to shift his thinking on Tomlinson a bit, but you don't give up quality when it stares you in the face.

    The money should not be an issue given we already had enough room to make a major bid for Jamie Elliott.

    The only issue is convincing him to want us more than Carlton and ultimately that's up to our coaching staff and key players to make him feel Gosch's Paddock is a great venue and that our environment is up to speed with most clubs. We also need our former Suns - May and KK - to take him out for coffee and make him feel at home.

    We also should play what's left of our NT card - the Alice Springs trip is a highlight for our indigenous players who are beset upon and idolised by the locals.

    I just hope we don't blow it. This is Josh Mahoney's time to shine!

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  6. Love how Josh Mahoney is so matter of fact about things, unlike half the other footy managers.

    I am very happy with attempts to improve our line-up with Langdon (wingman and great runner), Tomlinson (depth and tall swingman - not keen on him playing wing though) , Elliott (playing out of goalsquare, although he's not across the line yet) plus by the sounds of it either a quality kicking half-back in Hayden Young or a hard-working, good kicking small in Caleb Serong with pick three.

    But ultimately our list management team (not sure how much input Todd Viney has on it this year) has set up Goody for either a nice bounce back or an alarming fall should the moves not win the fans over.

    Part of that reason is that the two most vilified regular players at the club (ANB and Oscar) are both still at the club and a fan favourite in Sam Frost has been effectively shown the door.  

    Ignore the fact that OMac had another year on his contract, if the club wanted him to move on, they would have found a way - clubs are very shrewd with this kind of thing.

    So all this builds the appetite for an intriguing year and one that will be very much about our coach - success or failure.

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  7. Sadly I booked my trip down there some time back and have to sit through what I am confident will be as one-sided game as possible, partly because our coach will again select nine guys under 6 feet (182cm) and express surprise that his midfield can't spot up anyone.

    But in case he heeds some semblance of sense that was clearly lacking last week, he must realise that North are a very physical side that lacks polish.

    They will gobble up our minnows and spit them out. So please find room for whatever bigs we have left and that means the following.


    Preuss - Gawn will be out anyway, but it gives him a shot at Goldy.

    Keilty - Yes I know he's out of form in the VFL, but we need a big body and it can be his send-off game. And play him down back, so he can help on Ben 10.

    Petty - If he's fit, he's in.

    Josh Wagner - God knows how he didn't get in last week when five midgets made it before him. And given he's been playing as a mid in VFL, then it's time we tried him there for us. 

    Hunt - Unbelievable non-selection last week in favour of who again - Chandler, ANB and Spargo? Yeah right.


    Gawn (injured)

    Chandler, Spargo, JKH - yes all three are 173cm and yes they are way too small and it's just blatant cruelty to play them in Hobart.

    Dunkley - Has a bit of talent but no need for him to be butchered yet. A big pre-season awaits.

    Note: Billy and ANB stay in because even if they may have their cards stamped, they run and make space.

    Please, please change it up in middle and start Oliver and Harmes on wing.

    Let others have a final shot negating Cunnington, Ziebell and Higgins, including the Wags brothers and use Trac in burst on the ball more.

    B: Salem Keilty Hibberd

    HB: Jones Lever Hore

    C Oliver J.Wagner Harmes

    HF: ANB Petty Fritsch

    F: Viney Frost Melksham

    Ru: Preuss Brayshaw (tag Higgins) Lewis (have Jordy tag Cunnington) 

    INT: Stretch, C.Wagner, Hunt, Petracca

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  8. Made a poor choice and went tonight, rather than watch the Ashes.

    Goody decided to try to test his latest approach out tonight - it was basically retooling the 2017 Richmond small forwards model that served them so well.

    He made two major changes to their style, which has been mega successful at night.

    Because we don't have Jack Riewoldt, he decided to go even further and scrap anybody over 6 foot (183cm) from the forward half. This meant that on those occasions when players were under pressure and have to kick quickly to a pack, there was absolutely no-one available to fly (except Fritter, who in desperation flew about two minutes before the ball arrived). Rampe, Lloyd and Melican had a field day.

    Goody's idea was that we would be so methodical and precise from down back that we would link up and spot the best short option and then outrun them with our pace and the speed of our lead-up players. That worked well when Jordy got the ball, because he can kick quickly and find targets, but most of the time we were too slow to prise out an option. Part of that comes from the fact that our quickest (and arguably best forward all year)  in Jayden Hunt had been dropped. So on the few occasions that Angus and Olly and Harmes got clear they had nobody to single out. Only once dod a passage of short link up play reap rewards - watch a replay of the build-up to ANB's goal in the last.

    The other surprise was that we decided for reasons that are best known to Goody to try out Spargo in a Caleb Daniel type role down back. The difference of course is that Caleb can kick 50m on the run, whereas poor little Spargs kicks like his leg is a seven wood.

    Then because Spargo was playing back, we ditched our recent initiative of playing Jones as the sweeper/assist man in front of the defence. Instead we set him forward where we got a reminder of why we offered him just $160K for next season.

    He wasn't alone. Did anyone feel any of our bottom 10 had good moments? Sorry but it was one of those nights where it's hard to walk away and find anything good to say. Sorry but if you had a Chandler highlight, you must have been watching Friends.

    Hibberd was really good though (much more like 2017) and Jordy hit target after target and Lever got through another game and spoiled well. Melky also looked like he was back in the groove up forward. But from there you will struggle.

    I still believe Goody deserves a chance at coaching under pressure next year, but I think we had better start planning our caretaker role because we are slipping further and further behind.

    Does anyone know who the likely No.1 pick for the 2020 draft is?  

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  9. Clearly back to the Neeld days, but at these times you have to look harder for gems.

    6 Hibberd - Beat his man regularly and provided run and kicked well much of the night.

    5 Lewis - Drifted out of it after half time but was the only player who disposed of the ball cleanly virtually the entire night.
    4  Melksham - Our best (only) forward target all night,. Mixed it up playing from the goal square with Fritter (who flew for everything but took nothing) and Frosty (who made a solid cameo there in last quarter). 

    3 Harmes - Couple of major howlers, but breaks line and takes mark (which is why Olly misses out here).

    2 Gawn - Monstered Aliir all night but wasn't able to impact the scoreboard when he drifted forward.

    1 Brayshaw - Tackled really strong early and looked composed, but when he went long couldn't find a forward ... because we don't have any you might say.

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  10. Obviously we can all try and be wise before (and after) the event, but given Sydney's lengthy list of injured talls, the fact that we have chosen to match them and go so small could be pure Goody wisdom. It is a night game and sure to be greasy conditions after all.

    Or maybe the AFL promotion department asked if we could help them market the game as the battle of the minnows to the tune of 'It's a small world after all'. 

    On a serious note I think this may be our smallest side ever - Viney, Jones, JKH, Stretch, C.Wags, Salem, ANB, Spargo and now Chandler - that's a club record nine sub-6 footers.

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  11. Obviously we can all try and be wise before (and after) the event, but given Sydney's lengthy list of injured talls, the fact that we have chosen to match them and go so small could be pure Goody wisdom. It is a night game and sure to be greasy conditions after all.

    Or maybe the AFL promotion department asked if we could help them market the game as the battle of the minnows to the tune of 'It's a small world after all'. 

    On a serious note I think this may be our smallest side ever - Viney, Jones, JKH, Stretch, C.Wags, Salem, ANB, Spargo and now Chandler - that's a club record nine sub-6 footers.

  12. I think the O.Mac thing is close to hitting the fan, which I think is totally unfair on Oscar, who I'm sure doesn't tell Goody each week that 'I must play, I'm turning the corner this week'.

    Footy clubs during the season are pressure environments and it mounts when clubs are losing and losing insipidly like ours has in the past few weeks.

    The image is further tarnished when the coach (and don't try and tell me it's a match committee thing because it ain't) backs a player who is way too slow to play on a forward and is unable to apply intense pressure or strength. He's had 73 games now to show his worth. That's almost as many as Brent Grgic got and he had genuine upside, even if his downside (ballooning each kick) was eventually spotted. O.Mac has some upside - he's a lovely kick and can spoil (not aggressively though) - but there isn't a Demonlander who rates him.

    Do you think we are all alone? Do you think the players might also be frustrated by him constantly getting a game? Do you think they just don't notice his lack of intensity and one percenters and just say, that's OK, that's Oscar?

    Goody's Oscar obssession is about to become one the main reasons he will have just 11 games to show his value as coach next season before being shown the door.

    Goody's game plan malfunctioing is not something any of us (including the board) can really fathom, but Oscar playing each week and not being able to keep up with the play is something the board and all of us can see.

  13. I am starting to warm to the idea of us picking up Brad Hill, although given his value i can't see it getting done unless we are willing to trade Angus. I know a lot of us would feel a bit aggrieved if that happened.

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  14.  I like Richo, but he's not the right man for us - his style is similar to Goody's  in that he likes his side to get the ball forward, but he's not coming in to work guys over on the training track at his age. 

    Goody is 42, he's not a kid on training wheels that needs a new mentor to replace Macca. He needs quality 'next generation' coaches to spark things up at training and reduce the generational impasse between players and coaches.

    We have just appointed Darren Burgess as fitness coach, which should be a good get, but he is over 50 and won't be doing most of the drills with the players - he's now too old for that. But he has years of experience and should know how to get blokes fit and have smarts in injury and load management.

    We also have several ageing assistant coaches and by ageing I mean the following. Once coaches get into their 40s, they rarely have the physical capabilities to hammer, chase, pressure their younger colleagues. They have smarts, but eventually it's best to move them on into other roles or back into the coaching system at lower tiers - ammos and metro sides etc. 

    Ruck coach Greg Stafford turns 45 in a few weeks.

    Stoppage coach Ben Mathews is a ripper but he's 42 next year.

    Forwards coach Jade Rawlings is about to turn 42 and he still is happy to have blokes body him at training, but he's not a young pup.

    Midfield development Justin Plapp is also 42.

    Backline coach Troy Chaplin is just 33.

    Development coach Max Rooke is 37.

    Player development coach Matthew Egan is 36.

    So to me the most important gets now are two or three young assistants who can be hands-on at training - Jordy should be No.1 choice and there are others who have just retired and can impart knowledge and instantly have respect of their young players.

    To me a really good tackling coach is high on the list - the Billy Slater role has worked at Saints this year, is there another Storm ex-player who we can snare to impart technical wisdom? 

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  15. Obviously we'd love a quality key forward but I suspect we will have to just hope we get lucky with one late in piece - especially given we have already used our past two early picks on talls - Lever and May.

    Petty's rise in past month has taken a bit of pressure off in this area as well.

    So it's outside run and a small forward that need addressing to me.

    Pick 3: Assuming the Suns get a priority pick and steal Noah Anderson from us, then the next best player for pick 3 is  listed as Caleb Serong. He was sensational in the game I saw when he played Vic Metro and would waltz into our line up on a forward flank. He's a tad smaller than six feet, which worries me (see mid-year review) but he's got that bit of mongrel that tells me he'll end up at North if we don't take him.

    Pick: 21: Ed Langdon - He should solve our outside run problems and at 24 and 183cm, he'll come straight in on a wing. The only issue is whether Freo wants more than our second rounder and I can see this being a lengthy battle. We may have to give them our third rounder as well - I am reluctant for us to give them our 2020 second rounder as well, unless we get their second rounder back and that won't happen, unless they are very cocky about their chances for next season.

    Other picks
    2x tall forwards - Obviously these will be highly speculative, but we have to take a risk on a couple

    1x pacey forward - This becomes two if we end up with Anderson after all and don't take Serong.

    1 x tough midfielder who has been unlucky at previous drafts.

    1x tough, pacey medium defender - we have to start preparing for life without Jetta and Hibberd.

    1x indigenous talent - with Garlett and maybe JKH gone and Jetta close to retiring, we have to start grooming a player who has a few tricks. Bedford has them but is just too small. 

    All up I have 8 inclusions, which is why some big calls on fringe players will have to be made. 

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  16. Only two players in contention for inclusion this week and both must play if fit.

    1 ) Marty Hore - what a disgrace that he was left to play VFL last week.

    2) May - Obviously depends on him passing his fitness test.

    Out: Lever (if injured, but I suspect that he will just be heavily strapped and will be good to go)

    O.Mac - if the coach wants to omit Preuss instead, then O.Mac has to play forward and back-up ruck if that is the case. 

    C.Wagner - only left out if Lever is fit.

    Shock move: I liked how Goody sent Hunt back last week to combat the pacey Tiger smalls and I think this week it's time we tried to get Salem more involved with offense and play him in the mids with job of tagging Sidebottom. 

    B: Hunt May Hore

    HF: Jones Lever Hibberd

    C Baker Brayshaw Salem

    HF: Melky Petty Fritsch

    F: Petracca Lewis Harmes

    Ru: Gawn Oliver Viney

    Int: Frost (def), JKH (mid), Dunkley (fwd),  Preuss or O.Mac (ruck/fwd)

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  17. Finally got a chance to watch the reply and I know my votes are too late but I wanted to pass comment.

    6 Gawn - So clean with his marking on a night that was drizzly.

    5 Fritsch - Our most reliable forward and continues a great two months - both down back and now up forward. I suspect he's now fifth in B&F.

    4 Hunt - Was involved in about five goal-saving plays plus brilliant in the play that netted Dunkley's first goal after Jones' errant handball. More than justified Goody's decision to send him back to counter the Tiger small quicks. 

    3 Hibberd - Caught with the ball late but for the most part our most evasive defender on the night under pressure.

    2 Oliver - As stated by others, he panicked with quick-gives a few times, but worked his butt off all night even with a dislocated finger.

    1 Lewis - I gave it to the old fella because he negated the Tigers All-Australian defender Grimes and kicked two on him.

    Best play of the night: Jones' left-foot 45m inboard pass to Fritter. 

  18. Always a tricky time of the year for players and coaches alike and some changes have to be made because of current club status.


    Lewis - The most important signing of year in my opinion - as a key assistant. Clearly a coach in waiting and will be in huge demand as assistant at several clubs. Whether Goody can keep him as assistant probably depends on money offered and how highly Jordy regards Goody. If Jordy goes to another club for broader experience, then we must bring in a well-respected recent player as an assistant. Our current team of back-ups is getting a little long in the tooth.

    Garlett - Served us well during a tricky revival time under Roos when we weren't a popular destination and we needed pace even more so than now. A very good pick up from Carlton for virtually nothing.

    Maynard - Made the switch from b'ball a little too late and perhaps doesn't have quite enough pace. He's a very clever accumulator, but he's now 28. He had the honour of starting 2018 on Ablett, so he will take with him plenty of good pub stories.  Hope he decides to play for Casey next season because he's very reliable.

    Keilty (rookie) - Declan has given it his best shot for three years now and I was rapt when he got a couple of games this season. He now goes into the trivia books as an AFL player with a 100 per cent winning record - which this year is saying something.

    Nervous wait

    Billy Stretch - I have always rated Billy higher than the coach and was won over on him three years ago when he emerged from a tackling drill at training with some good scalps including Jack Viney. He reads the play well and makes good position and I reckon he should have got more than one week on trial as a backman, because ultimately he's a tad small for current-day midfielders and a tiny bit too slow for the wing spot, but he's disciplined enough for defence and he kicks to position well. He's regarded as having a high work-ethic at training, so I hope we retain him for another year, but I suspect  we will move him on. Adelaide, with a new era on way, would be crazy not to take him with a late rounder or rookie him if he's delisted.

    JKH - It's hard not to look at the Tigers game as his last chance to show why he should be retained. Personally I thought he really kicked on late last season and was shocked that after being rushed back in with Hannan for the Darwin game, because of a shortage of fit numbers, he was dropped after just one go at it. Yes he turns the ball over, but he runs and runs and runs like Sauce, so it's a big call. He's 24 so it may be that the match committee has given up waiting. His freakish goal in our upset win over in Adelaide five years ago remains one of my all-time Dee highlights.

    Tim Smith - As with Declan, a really worthy pick-up as a rookie, but at 28 and with a coach who keeps wanting to play him as his back-up ruckman, then you have to wonder how he survives. He's too courageous for his own good so injuries keep happening and you wonder what would have happened if he had got that free kick against West Coast that he deserved. He may get another year but I suspect we need to take a few risks with late-order draft picks again.

    Joel Smith - I've been on record for a long time saying he's a star in the making and he's still only 23, so you don't delist someone who can make a big difference. My concern now is that he looked so good as a forward pre-season that Goody will want him to play there. To me his groin issue (OP) means he has to go back and play defence, as there's not so much twisting required down back as there is up forward, where the problems arose.  We also have to convince him, or more importantly his dad, to re-sign. That may be harder than many think. 

    Kade Chandler - Some of you may be surprised to see his name listed here given he's only had the one year and he's still only 19. And if you've seen him, he's a nice little left-footer who reminds me of Jack Lonie from the Saints. But at 173cm, he is part of a bigger problem that has been brought on by Tubby Taylor's recruiting. He is one of 15 players under six feet on our list - that's way too many (see my mid-season review for more detail). Ordinarily the club would give him another year, but we do need a sub-182cm cull and he may fall victim to it.  

    Josh and Corey Wagner - I have included them both as a package because to me it's either both in or both out. My view is that the brothers are tremendous hard-workers who make a huge difference at VFL level. If Josh had line-breaking skills then he'd be an AFL regular, while Corey is a tad slow for the wing, but Goody doesn't want to give him a shot in the middle, except at VFL level, where he is a star. I hope we retain both of them for another year. And if we don't then I'd try and keep them both as Casey co-captains for next year.

    ANB - As with Billy, an ideal clubman and the fittest player at the club so it's a huge call to move him on. All of us have bemoaned his occasional butchering of opportunities and this year it's been an extra tough gig as a small forward in our side. But what if we move him on and the AFL reduces interchange back to 30. How stupid would we look? 

    Kade Kolodjashnij and Aaron vandenBurg - obviously the club won't be pushing either of these two guys out, but if medical reports on them between now and October don't bode well, then early retirement is possible.  

    Guy Walker - An impressive looking pony-tailed hard worker before Christmas, but his season-long injury on top of being 24 already makes it hard to retain him. He's a Category B, so if we don't have a fresh name to replace him in that category, then I'm happy for him to have another go. But he's no Dayne Zorko in waiting.

    Oscar Mc - None of you will be surprised to see his name listed here. But he's contracted so it won't happen unless he is fed up with everyone's constant criticism. The thing that I find even more perplexing than his selection is that he is still yet to be tried as a forward - the position he often played his junior football. Given what a find T-Mac was as a forward in 2018, it's incomprehensible to understand why he hasn't lined up there on occasions or even in the back-up ruck role, given he shares his brother's tank and has extra height than him.  

    • Like 5

  19. I am hoping both the coach and players realise what a win against Richmond would mean to the way we all look forward to next season.

    Clearly the Tigers have had our measure the past 3 seasons and they are now flag favourites. A loss to us will be a huge blow to them and will mean we can at least take something from our season horribilis. At least 70,000 (mainly Tiger fans) will go on Saturday night, so hopefully Goody and his selectors treat this with vision and excitement.

    The Tigers, as we know, play a fanatic pressure-type game and love greasy night conditions because it exposes anybody who is not seriously savage at the ball. They will miss Cotchin, but will most likely bring back Caddy. They are currently going with two ruckmen to compensate for Nankervis being out - Soldo and Choi - and both can be exposed.

    IMO, there are few key elements that need addressing or it's game over before the ball is bounced.

    1)  Riewoldt and Lynch - You cannot seriously play Oscar on either of them at any stage. They both like to lead up and Oscar likes to trail back, so only a numbskull would pick him for this game. In a perfect world May and Frosty play on them, but if May is not fit, then Lever has to get Lynch. Marty Hore will come back into our back six, so we have an intercept help player if Lever has to take Lynch.

    2) Bachar Houli - Basher smashed us last time even though we tried to tag him. We have to make sure he is matched up with either Hunt, Melky or Harmes. Harmes must start forward to try and get this to work and hopefully he can expose him on the counter. Later Harmesy may be needed on the ball.

    3) Nick Vlastuin - Another underrated star down back for them and the perfect match up for Jordy to try and negate his intercepting and clean-up influence.

    4) Soldo and Chol - This is the one area that we can try and exploit the Tigers and if Goody plans to use Tim Smith as our back-up tapman again then he is a bigger nong than some of you have been saying. Bruce's first two goals last week came directly from when Smith was on the ball on him. I'm sure we can all realise Goody's frustration at Preuss' not nailing the McGovern tackle in Alice Springs and he did drop about five marks that day, including the embarassing sitter in the last term. But Preuss has to play. He may drop marks but he has a presence and against Richmond that is critical. And the ball at least gets to the ground when Preuss is in the vicinity. I would start Preuss in the ruck as a surprise tactic and plan to use Gawn as the No.1 man after half time when we generally are running out of steam.  

    Further to this, playing Gawn forward at start, means Astbury will probably go to him and Petty can try and play more of a negating role on Grimes, which is what we want because Grimes, Vlastuin and Houli are their Kryptonite. They have to be curtailed for us to have any chance. Gawn is more likely to surprise them up forward early when it is less greasy because the later it gets, the more they will push him under, just as they did against Cox last week. But getting some tough bump and grind in the centre-bounces early from Preuss will give Gawny a chance to exploit them on the ball in the second half.

    5 Dusty Martin - Yes he's back in form. Angus showed on Yeo in Alice Springs that he lifts when challenged and Dusty should be his all night. We have to find a way to get more out of Angus and give him more leadership and this is our chance.

    6 Kane Lambert and Sydney Stack - both provide plenty of run with Ellis. We have to make sure we get disciplined players on them, hence this is the week to move Hibberd and Nev forward to a wing with a plan to have them nullify their influence. In a perfect world Nev takes Stack whenever he can, while Hibberd gets Lambert. Having Jetta and Hibberd on a wing makes us more accountable and gives us more presence. The Tigers will kill us if we show the slightest sign of whimpiness or one-way running, so we need defensive-minded wingmen.

    So for me, it's the following changes:

    Out: Oscar Mc, Corey Wags, ANB, Tim Smith, J.Wags (only if May fit)

    In: Hore, Dunkley, Melksham, Preuss and May (if fit)

    Starting line-up

    B: Salem (Castagna) May or Lever (Lynch) Hore (Caddy if back)

    HB: Jones (L.Baker) Frost (Riewoldt) Lever or Wags (Edwards)

    C Jetta (Stack) Brayshaw (Martin) Hibberd (Lambert)

    HF: Petracca/Melky (Ellis) Lewis (Vlastuin) Hunt/Fritsch (Short)

    F: Harmes (Houli) Gawn (Astbury) Petty (Grimes)

    Ru: Preuss (Soldo) Oliver (Graham) Viney (Prestia)

    Int: Melky (fwd), O.Baker (mid),  Dunkley (mid/fwd), Hunt/Fritsch (fwd)

    Tiger Int: Broad (def), Rioli (fwd), Chol (ruc/fwd),  Bolton (fwd)

    As stupid as it sounds, I reckon we are not without a chance if we go with the right mix. We will know if we are fair dinkum on Friday when the team is picked though.

    • Like 2

  20. 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. 

  21. 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?

    • Thanks 1

  22. 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

  23. 4 hours ago, Dee Dee said:

    Thanks for that, Deespicable, a good read during breakfast. However, as a 177cm midget myself, I’m all for the success of the short guys like the 177cm midget Jay Lockhart. Ah, I miss the good old days of the  6 foot ruckman.

    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. 

  24. 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


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