Made it to the game for the first time yesterday this year, being out in country vic with young kids makes it hard. It crystallised a few thoughts. Firmly in the 'Don't overreact but be disappointed camp' by the way.
Hogan out hurts, not even from an output point of view. My thoughts are that he provided confidence to players, and sheltered them from responsibility, he was examined more than most if we had a poor game in terms of scoring. The whole forward half is adjusting to this in 2019, taking one step up each, the slow start hasn't let them build confidence that they can fill the shoes of the one above them last year. This has played out in our connection moving forward and I think our goal kicking lately. Goals feel precious and hard earned, the pressure to kick them is amplified and it is playing on minds of footballers low on confidence anyway.
Tmac is endemic of this. He is still working hard, but his decision making or forward craft is severely compromised at the moment. Its partly not having played alot forward, and hardly ever as the main man. Each time someone was about to kick where he was leading he changed directions. When a player kicking was under pressure and had no way to carry and break the line he lead backwards. When there wasn't room to lead forward he lead forward and got chopped off because he had to take slow steps.
Others manifest this forward of the ball with a lack of cleanliness. I'll use Spargo here to demonstrate. He was clean last year, one of his most endearing qualities. It meant he capitalised. He just isn't quite at the moment. Along with a host of others. This is playing out in the midfield with kicking as well. Skills are just a fraction off. Or at least the consistency of there execution is. It is a trust in self and trust in others things.
The good news for me is all of this is eminently fixable. It is too late for this year I think but the games coming home are incredibly important, they are all winnable. We have played probably 4 of the top 6 teams this year over the last month. There ability to pressure and affect our execution is why they are good teams. And with a bit of luck we could have won 1 or 2 of them. I still have faith in this list and the direction. We've a chance to add some more quality over the next off season, but I wouldn't be searching for too much change. Things need refinement, players need confidence. But we don't need to start over. We have all the raw ingredients for a flag push. Get them working well, get them focused and invested. Keep looking for opportunities to add to the mix, in terms of personal, ideas and method. You have to be lucky to win a flag, it doesn't mean you change everything after each attempt. Even if they do go badly. Learn, reset, adjust and go again.