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  • Birthday 08/14/1991

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    Melbourne Demons, Cricket, Music.

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  • Favourite Player(s)
    David Neitz, James Frawley, Liam Jurrah, Nathan Jones, Jack Trengove
  1. I don't think Ablett is trying to make the case that being an AFL footballer is a harder life or more difficult than the more traditional pathways followed by those unfortunate not to be selected on draft day - in fact he recognises that it is something that thousands of young men would happily do. Rather he is providing a glimpse into the strange and unique life of an AFL footballer for all its glory and pitfalls. We all have to make sacrifices in life, particularly when pursuing a career, and the point of Ablett's article isn't to compare the difficultly or intensity of those sacrifices but merely give more understanding about how those sacrifices - made at a very young and naive age of 18 - can shape the lives of these young boys. The main point of the article seemed to be that the structured life of an AFL footballer removes individuality and limits personal growth because everything is provided for you, meaning that you define yourself through football, the football club and the people within those circles. You eat what you are told to eat, exercise when you are told to exercise, who to talk too, what to say etc. etc. Combine that structured lifestyle with the incredible ego trip provided through the celebrity of AFL football and most 18yo's will probably struggle to ever explore a life outside of that bubble. When that structure and celebrity is taken away, either due to retirement or delisting, it would be incredibly confronting - I imagine that many ex-footballers have to question and explore who they are outside of football for the first time once they stop playing footy. Of course people make bigger sacrifices and live harder lives, that isn't the point. The point is that the emotion, fanfare and life of an AFL footballer can often have unnoticed consequences and that even though these kids (sometimes) get paid big money to kick a ball around it doesn't make those consequences any less difficult.
  2. With the drafting season well and truly upon us and the memories of skinny first-round draft picks being unable to stack on any kilos still fresh in our minds, I thought it might be wise to understand the science behind why some boys stay boys and others become men. And with any hope our recruiters have watched this video and will stay away from the 'skinny and tall high-half forward, great aerobic capacity and the potential to develop into that Nick Riewoldt type player after a couple preseasons in the gym' draft prospects...
  3. I play with Mac Uni but I used to play with Maroubra (now Randwick) Saints.
  4. There are some clear reasons why Roos wants to put Watts in the middle. He has great skills by hand and foot and a very good footy brain - , something which we've lacked in our midfield - often see him do some very clever taps or passes to teammates that allow them to clear congestion and break lines (basketball influence is evident here). Plus you can combine this with speed, particularly the first 20m which he tested at below 3 seconds in the draft combine and his height & strength could make him into a very damaging midfielder that would rest up forward and still be damaging in front of goals. He should have about 5-6kgs at least on most midfielders, so by further adding to his core strength and learning how to use his body correctly he could become very damaging in congested situations. In theory He'll be able to break tackles, use a burst of speed to get clear of everyone else and then provide a pinpoint pass to a leading target up forward. Although his training regime will need adjustment, primarily his fitness base so that he can maintain high speeds for entire quarters and games. Often I noticed he was unable to chase down players and I believe in part this because he lacks the endurance to maintain his speed across the game (similar to Trengove), although it may partly be due to confidence/attitude in believing he can make those tackles. This is impossible to measure though and needs to be addressed outside of the gym and field. Obviously there are concerns regarding his attitude and desire for the contest, I'm not really worried about it personally. Firstly, Watts has shown improvements in this area and this has improved simultaneously with the confidence in his game and belief that he is an AFL player, albeit I don't think either have improved greatly from when he was drafted for various reasons. He has played his best games though when he has been able to get his hands on the ball and in my opinion its during these games he also shows the most desire for the ball. Playing in the midfield, against smaller bodies, he should be getting the ball a lot more and over the year I believe that there will be significant improvement in his hunt, desire and aggression to the ball and player. Although this is assuming he settles into the midfield well and finds some form, builds his confidence and belief. On a side note, I know that this happened in my footy. Like Watts, I'm a tall player that played up forward and was often criticised for not using my size enough but this year I was moved into the first ruck position (normally just a relief ruckman due to my inability to jump very high). I found that even though I was pretty average in the ruck that just playing in the midfield allowed me to get my hands on the ball and it eventually clicked that I was too big for midfielders to tackle effectively, so I could normally get a pass out. I also started just becoming much more aggressive in my game, being able to use my bigger body meant that I was for the first time confident to really attack the game. It also probably helped that I was also the fittest and strongest I've been in my life. At the end of the year I won my first B&F, something that was very unexpected considering that I've never won an award for footy besides participation awards (also lucky with a few well timed injuries and overseas holidays). I only mention this because I'm a similar height and the same age as Watts so I guess we'd be at similar stages of development and maturity (but there might be a bit of a difference to playing AFL footy and playing in the low divisions of Sydney AFL comp).
  5. Firstly, it should be noted that as fans we don't have insight into the inner workings of the club but can only judge from what we see on the field, which for a lot of people on this list is an unfair assessment of what they are doing at the club. We don't get to see the work that the people are doing in the Melbourne offices and therefore our criticism may be unwarranted if the players simply aren't performing on the field. At the same time it might be completely justified but the point is that we're basing it of an assumption. Secondly, people often just want change for the sake of change - a trend that seems particularly prevalent in sporting culture. This is clearly intensified under crisis but it's really important that those in charge of the careers of these 10 people (and assumingly many others as well) don't just make snap decisions for the sake of just giving the appearance of moving forward. Decisions like that tend to create instability throughout the organisation and the last thing this club needs is more instability. I've been really pleased that Jackson has given the indication that while no-ones position is safe, he won't be rushed into making the necessary changes. Don McLardy - President Really difficult to quantify his success at the club. Was brought into the position under tragic circumstances and the job hasn't seemed to have gotten any easier since. The handling of the tanking scandal and the sacking of the CEO in particular have certainly raised questions about his leadership. A decision to remove him might be purely as a scarifical. Verdict: Most Likely gone. Mark Neeld – Senior Coach Enjoyed very little success, which regardless of the clubs youth falls onto him. Verdict: Gone. Not sure if it will be mid-season or will coach out the year. Tim Harrington – General Manager - List Management Has helped secure some big names in Clark and Dawes and implement the recruiting strategies of the coach (the strategy itself remains in question). Most fans want him out but his job probably relies on whether or not he stop key players on our list leaving. Verdict: Unsure. Todd Viney - General Manager - Player Development & Strategy Has experience at successful clubs, plus is a former captain and club champion. In a position where his influence wouldn't show for at least a few years. Verdict: Stay. Although his role may be readjusted under the new footy dept., structures that will be implemented. Neil Craig - Director Of Sports Performance Very experienced and players have often spoken very highly of his influence on the club. His role will come under review from Jackson. Verdict: Stay. Josh Mahoney – Football Manager One of the few people left from Bailey's era, his position will definitely come under review due to the restructuring of the footy department. Verdict: Probably gone or at least reshuffled under a new structure. Jade Rawlings – Backline Coach Reasonable experience as an assistant coach; Backline is in reasonable shape but is lacking with an out of form Frawley and also without Rivers leadership and ability to read the play. Seems competent but if the head coach goes then usually the assistants fall as well. Verdict: Possibly gone. Brian Royal - Midfield Coach Only assistant from Bailey era that is still coaching at the club. Midfield is in an abysmal state, hasn't progressed at all under him. Verdict: Gone. Leigh Brown – Forward Line Coach Least experienced assistant coach but the most recent to play the game. Unfortunate to not have both key forwards in the side as that hasn't helped the structures at all but the defensive pressure in the forward line is almost non-existant. Verdict: Possibly Gone. David Misson – Elite Performance Manager Plenty of success at several sporting clubs not just AFL teams. From reports our fitness has increased but this hasn't really been shown on the ground yet - debatable if fitness or work-rate in general is the cause of this. Similarly to Viney's position the benefits of his program won't really show for a few years. Verdict: Stay. While Jackson has made it clear that no-ones position is safe, we have to ensure that anybody removed from the club can be replaced by someone that can improve the club more than the current staff. Which sounds like an obvious comment but considering Melbourne's position it should be noted that we may not have the same level of talent to draw from as the top tier clubs. And lastly, by simply restructuring the club and adjusting the roles of some people we might be able to improve the club more than if we slashed the staff and replaced them, particularly considering the instability that may cause and also the significant financial cost it would bring.
  6. The structure of this poll is flawed because it suggests that we should just trade these players regardless of what is on offer - that's why I voted 'no' on all 3. Although if the question had the option of should we use as trade bait, then I would have answered 'yes' to all except Gysberts. Don't just trade for no reason. These are all contracted players, which have all shown promising moments of talent in the past and should not be just disregarded for the sake of it.
  7. The article mentions his VFL form being very good, does anyone have any insight into how he was performing?
  8. This is an encouraging sign, showing our improvement in fitness. Although the run that I'm referring to is the spread of the players, creating space to lead and attack into.
  9. I do believe that the coaching staff would have recognised and addressed these concerns as well, it would be foolish to think otherwise. I agree Frenzy Mckenzie, that it will make it a million times harder to get these guys to perform as they're instructed when they train if they don't believe they can perform on game day. Confidence is everything in sport. PaulRB, as I said above the defensive mindset is crucial for a winning formula but it just seems at the moment that Neeld and co, are just so focused on achieving it that is sacrificing the attacking side of our game, evident in our low uncontested possession count. This area needs to be addressed soon and part of that is trusting his side (which is a side built for running) to attack while maintaining those defensive structures. If not, we'll keep getting smashed in the uncontested possessions by 100+. Similar to the old saying, you can't score if you don't shoot. Well you can't kick, handpass, attack, control the game in anyway, score and you definitely can't win without the ball. They have got to do both - attack and defend.
  10. Mark Neeld's revamped side of 2012 has had a refocus over the pre-season, moving away from the fast moving, risk taking but undisciplined and unaccountable football of the Bailey era towards a much more hard-nosed defensive mindset. Neeld has brought in Collingwood's premiership 'press' game-plan and also its key underlying feature - relentless defense. Under Bailey's game plan which mimicked Geelong's run and carry style of play, Melbourne's major concern was its lack of contested possession and inability to stop the bleeding when a team got a run on us, among several other concerns. The central cause of these, which as the game changed towards the press became more obvious was that Melbourne in general but in particularly the midfield and forward line lacked strong and accountable defense. Enter Mark Neeld. Neeld joined the club in late September last year and immediately took a sword to the clubs coaching department. In his first address to the players he spoke bluntly about what he considered absolutely necessary for this club to be successful and what he expects the players to do - which is hard, accountable and contested football (watch it here if you've never seen it: http://www.melbournefc.com.au/dee%20tv/tabid/8667/default.aspx#playvideo its on page 3). And so far this year the Demons have completely changed in regards to game style, they're playing wide to the wings rather than down the corridor, winning the contested possession count and tackling with ferocity. Yet despite these changes on the field the difference in the scoreboard remains the same, in fact you can argue that its significantly worse with big loses against Brisbane and Richmond which are considered winnable games and that the Demons now rest at the bottom of the ladder below AFL babies Gold Coast and GWS. So why hasn't our new hard-nosed game plan changed anything at least in regards to the scoreboard? Is it a lack of talent, ambition or has Neeld already lost the players? Frankly, its none of those and the last one in particular is outrageous. The team in my opinion certainly doesn't lack any talent, players like Jack Watts, Colin Sylvia, James Frawley, Jack Trengove, Jack Grimes, Mitch Clark, Jeremy Howe, Brent Moloney to just name a few, are all incredibly talented and skillful. The lack of ambition and drive argument is always invalid in regards to AFL footballers, if the players didn't want to win games they wouldn't be playing, either by their own choice or the coaches - as Jack Trengove said "I just want the premiership". Our problems are a result of something much simpler - we've stopped running. Comparatively the 2012 Demons side while it is a much more disciplined outfit, lack that spread and hard-running that won us games against Adelaide (98 points), Fremantle (89 points) and Essendon (33 points) last year and Sydney (73 points) the year before - all of which are considered top finals contenders in 2012. This year we're playing accountable defensive football but we don't ever shift from defensive to offensive play to build that momentum shift, we're too worried about our opponents and therefore don't spread off them or take risks. And while this kind of play may be helping Melbourne rectify its contested possession deficiency it's causing severe problems on the other end, as the uncontested possession differential is getting wider and wider. And that's why Melbourne's other major problem of stopping the bleeding is still occurring; you simply cannot win games if you don't have the football. Teams will continue to relentlessly attack if we can't take control of the football for extensive periods of play and stop their momentum. Perhaps it's not all in the game plan though, a severe lack of confidence has spread throughout the club and that's understandable after spending 5 years on the bottom and had almost all of our experienced leaders cut from the side - we've simply forgot how to win games. That's why players such as Bennell, Blease, Watts, Tapscott etc etc are running around in the 2's rather than in the Red and Blue. They have no one who can guide, instruct and protect them in games. It's obvious as well, when a side packs on consecutive goals our heads drop and we don't believe we can win anymore - that's what clearly happened in the second quarter against the Hawks and the third quarter against the Tigers. Lack of confidence in a club is a cancer that will rot the club from inside out and this concern needs to be address quickly. So as I sat and watched with my head in my hands last Friday night as Hawthorn walked all over us, I asked: How do we get our midfield more involved? How do we stop the bleeding? How do we find 100+ more possessions? How do we fix this team? In the end I went to bed angry, depressed and comtemplating the benefits of sucicide. Yet the sun still rose on Saturday morning and after having some breakfast and putting away my length of rope, gun and generic letter to my friends and family (now a weekly ritual) I had calmed down and begun to address some of these questions. And after many hours of contemplation I realised it came down to a matter of simply bringing the run back. All night against Hawthorn we where second to the ball and that's because we've become more concerned with out oppenents more than the ball itself. A primership cannot be won of just one style of play - offensive or defensive - it must have a strong relationship between both. Melbourne under Neeld need to focus on integrating that running system with that hard and accountable defence, which means running both ways (something that we lacked under Bailey). As a result we should not only be first to the ball but also providing greater protection for the ball carrier and that our options up forward should never be stagnate. And when we don't have the ball we can place immense pressure on the opposition and force turnovers, particularly in the forward 50. In order to do this Melbourne players need to, as Mick Malthouse pointed out against Geelong, trust each other to win the one-on-ones and look to spread and generate movement across the field, but more importantly - Neeld needs to trust his players. Neeld and his coaching staff need to stop playing 2-3 of our key midfield players as run-with or tagging roles and allow the Melbourne players to attack, having faith that at the same time to keep their defensive structures and limit the impact of opposition midfielders. He needs to trust that the Melbourne players can play defensively rather than force it because that makes the players self-concsious and second guess themselves. Now this will develop over time. Trust is never something that can be given instantly - it has to be earned. And hopefully we can begin to see this develop over the season. The game plan itself will also take time and that's why I don't expect to see us suddenly 'click' next week and play with a clear and undeniable style that incorporates both hard attacking run and disciplined, accountable defense but I do look towards progress over the season. And that means challenging top-sides, punishing weaker ones, winning tight contests, running harder, winning and controlling the football more and irradicating confidence concerns which means; seeing real belief in the side, not just from us the supporters but from the players themselves. Patience is a characteristic that is crucial to all Melbourne supporters and I have faith in Neeld and the new coaching department but once again I feel it might be a bit of a wait till we see success. But when it does happen, it will be glorious. CARN THE DEMONS!!
  11. There are people who love and people that can help you. Talk to someone now before the next round. http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?
  12. I love that game! Still gets me pumped up. Mitch Clark should be shown countless footage of David Neitz - the man was unstoppable! And I agree, very underappreciated. There isn't too much difference - in terms of skill level - between the 06' and the current team except that we would struggle to mount a comeback like that one. Amazing what a solid core of leaders will do to a team. Good news is that we're starting to build a strong group of young leaders but being realistic players like trengove and grimes need more games and experience before they're ready. Although if Green can shake his anxiety of being the leader, Davey gets out of his form slump and Moloney stays sober then things will improve a lot faster.
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