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Why did we fail to make the finals last season? Many attribute it to the last round loss to Collingwood, and/or the poor performance against Brisbane the week prior. I also recall three narrow losses near the start of the season that were faulted at selection, such as the naming’s JKH and a premature Weideman. We’ve also argued the regular overuse of the handball, as well as single quarter fadeouts. I guess there’s no right or wrong answer and it’s in the past. However, it was clear we all wanted improvements in these areas, so the question is now, have they been made? Let’s start with selection. Many of us were gobsmacked with the naming’s of Wagner and Maynard over Brayshaw and Tyson. Additional, some of us questioned the omission of Frost when facing the well-built Hawkins and Taylor. Consequently, Wagner’s first half was atrocious, where on three separate occasions he made foolish errors, including a missed tackle, a failed pick-up, and arguably a failed spoil, which cost us goals. His second half was better, although, I still consider him a liability. Next were our tall backs. On too many occasions O.McDonald got man-handled by Hawkins. Granted, he and Lever did a good job curbing his influence, although, things may have been different if Taylor didn’t go off early. Thus, I still can’t fathom the omission of Frost. Additionally, did we or did we not target Lever for his innate ability to leave his man to spoil or intercept a mark for a defensive rebound (we saw very little of this yesterday)? If so, why is Lever playing as the second tall? At Adelaide he played as the third behind Talia and Keath/Hartigan so he could do what he does best. The coaching panel have and tendency to create non-beneficial miss-matches (before and during game day). I hope the basic concepts of opposition analysis and player selection improve by next week. Now the game plan. Time and time again we’re reminded we’re to play a contested brand of football. That’s great, but what about the other half of non-contested football and efficient transitions from one end of the ground to the other? Yesterday, we won the contested possession and tackling pressure counts, yet Geelong destroyed us on the spread where they continually hit one-another lace out on the chest. Conversely, we continually, instead of overusing the handball like last year, opted to flood an end or side and bomb it to a contest (out of fifty, down the wing, inside fifty). How do we expect to make a tilt for finals if we can’t spread and hit lead up targets by foot (this was also an issue last year)? We’ve got that very large MCG to call our own, and yet we don’t use it appropriately. Instead every goal is made difficult. If given the space we’ll see far more from the less contested players such as Hunt, Melksham, Hannan, and Garlett. Dare I say it will be interesting to watch Watts with more space at Port Adelaide. If what we saw yesterday was the game plan it is far too one-dimensional, far too inefficient and tiring, and needs to be supplemented. If not I expect more single quarter fadeouts and subsequent losses. What are your thoughts and arguments? For me these need to improve above all else as I genuinely believe we have a list that on its day can beat any other to a flag.