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Melbourne's Backline


wisedog

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Last year there was a lot of talk about our backline being in complete shambles… and they were.

For most of the season, Bell and Carrol were our only recognized defenders. Carrol battled away, but he was mostly played at full back out of necessity.

At the time there was no heir apparent. Garland, Frawley and Warnock were just a bunch of tall guys who hadn’t shown much.

But they’ve been given some real game time under Bailey, and it looks to be paying off. Who would have thought Garland would hold Buddy to one of his lowest scoring games of the season…

So if these three continue to develop, add in Rivers and Whelan and things are looking up.

How do you think we’re traveling?

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They still have a long way to go, but if they can keep improving, then the signs are positive.

As well as they played on the weekend, I think having Green down there to give them assistance made a huge difference, as did the pressure from the midfield.

As a unit, they all seemed to help each other out which was most pleasing.

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I think they were great yesterday, and i think they have been good all year. Warnock is a real keeper i recon.

Im not worried about our backline anymore.

The forward line is more of a problem!

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Yep. Agree with that. Our backline has been a problem for a while, but we've recruited and blooded players in those positions that will develop the way we need them to. So they've started to come out of that dark tunnel...

The forward line is years away from being as strong as it was in the heyday of Neitz, Robertson, Yze etc etc... And with our midfield being half-finished, I'm now more worried about our scoring options than anything else (besides, maybe, the ruck).

We can't rely on Wonna and Davey to be our targets. That simply won't work in the long run. And as much as we all love Robbo, it's unlikely he'll still be kicking 4 a match with any regularity in three or so years. Also, Benny Holland showed with startling clarity what we miss in the square. And that's a big body that can cause a spillage against two opponents, and keep his feet. Robbo has never been this player, and as much as we all love Benny's work ethic, he's VERY old.

Miller has been tried deep, and found wanting. Dunn has the body, but not the temperament. Newton would be a sensational option at FF OR CHF, but has not got the heart so far...

We need a Hurley, or to do what we did in 2004, and recruit ALL all players.

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I really do like Garland and Buckley I think we found 2 good players there if Warnock can play well on Kossie then I'm sold on him as well and with Rivers to come back it's starting to look alright. I'm really worried about Frawley I think his last month has been poor.

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i always wondered about our backline and thought that sandys seem to hold quite well.. So now sandys backline is ours and the boys seem to gel well together and have been relying on each other for a couple of years sofar...i think that makes a big difference then just brining in one or two at a time.. these guys all know each others games..

What ever happened to ferguson???

i think it is fairly well settled down back with options as far as bringing in the older guys when you have the super strong forwards otherwise lets get the kids running..

the only downside at this stage seems to be the last 5 minutes per quarter where the young guys body dont quite have the stamina of the older oppersistion.. but that will change slowly..

we wont need greeny there when rivers gets backk...but i would always....always play rivers as a extra man loose...nothing would get past him with out being remarkable.

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Some may find the comparison amusing but I see a little bit of Nick Maxwell in Warnock.

Not beset with an abundance of natural talent but a competitive fire that gets the absolute most out of himself.

I love his willingness to tackle, shepard and support.

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Defensive for the Future:

Key defenders:

Jarrod Rivers- proven quality backman.

Colin Garland- extremely young and raw and will only improve

Matthew Warnock- very inexperienced, will only improve

James Frawley- see Garland. in 2 years i expect big things

Key defensive monster to take the Browns on the afl...:

Stefan Martin

Running backs:

Bell- i hope will improve. has the attributes but not the smarts atm

C.Johnson- can't crack it into the team

Sylvia- makeshift backman, but showed promise there

Pettard- showed promise there

Cheney- too young to tell

McNamara- too young to tell

As everyone can see, we have the potential to have a strong defense of the future, but atm it very much depends on how these guyz develop.

We still need a monster defender, and if Martin doesn't come on we may have to draft another one.

A couple of running defenders would also be great.

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I was really happy to see Dutchy play forward yesterday. It tells me that Bails is really intent on backing our younger players down back, exposing them to some of the best forwards in the comp. I think most of us expected Dutchy to take Roughead, but that would have been the easy option. Credit to the coach who gave big jobs to Col Garland and Matty Warnock - yesterday's game would have been worth at least half a dozen for those guys.

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I was also pleased to see young defenders given the jobs on Franklin and Roughead and do well. But it must be taken into account that the midfield pressure was as good as I've seen from Melbourne in the last couple of years. It was vey difficult for the Hawks forwards to get lace out delivery with the way their midfielders were being pressured. But full credit to the defenders for being well organised and helping each other out.

I've been a big Bell fan since he started but I'm a little worried about him. He hasn't developed his footy smarts in his time at the club. He's a great athlete and his skill execution is good, but his awareness and decision-making are huge problems and I wonder whether there's much improvement in that regard. With the way the game's played and the importance of having running defenders who make good decisions, I'm not convinced Bell is the answer. Perhaps he could offer something in another position because I like his attributes.

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Don't count the chickens before they hatch. Whilst Garland and Warnock have been solid, they are not there yet. I was impressed with Warnock zoning off his man to help out Garland, it was good to see.

Bell is a big worry at the moment, he has had a average year. Pettard is a good player, i look forward to him coming back, as well as Wheels. Buckley also impressed me on the weekend. I have bagged him in the past, he suprised me on the weekend.

Lastly how good was Green going back to help the boys, took some great marks.

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Delisted by MFC last year, ignored in PSD by other clubs. He mght have been real handy this year - wasn't very old either.

He'd be around 26 or 27. No value going forward, better off getting games into youngsters that are going to be around for a tilt.

Warnock is 24 and lucky that Rivers is injured as he is finally showing something.

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Cheney is, and McNamara is one of the youngest to be drafted; he turned 18 a month ago.

Yes both very young and from what little I've seen both very good prospects.

I'm expecting to Martin to continue developing well and I think if we drafted Hurley then we could soon have one of, if not the, best defensive units in the AFL.

Garland Hurley Frawley

Rivers Martin McNamara

This would release Petterd to play more as a utility,

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Yes both very young and from what little I've seen both very good prospects.

I'm expecting to Martin to continue developing well and I think if we drafted Hurley then we could soon have one of, if not the, best defensive units in the AFL.

Garland Hurley Frawley

Rivers Martin McNamara

This would release Petterd to play more as a utility,

No Warnock eh? Still, looks like a good defence on paper. We'll have to see how the current one goes over the remainder of the year, because I think at this stage Naitanui and/or Rich are more important for us than Hurley. I like the idea of releasing Petterd as well.

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No Warnock eh? Still, looks like a good defence on paper. We'll have to see how the current one goes over the remainder of the year, because I think at this stage Naitanui and/or Rich are more important for us than Hurley. I like the idea of releasing Petterd as well.

If we did draft Hurley, he should definitely be groomed as a key forward.

Key defenders:

Warnock, Garland, Frawley, Rivers, Martin, Carrol

True key forwards:

Miller- plays well up the ground and isn't a goal kicker.

Bate- plays well up the ground and isn't a goal kicker.

Robbo- is 29 yrs old. need to look to the future

Newton- looks like he's lost the plot. doesn't have the attributes (slow, lacks intensity, skills below his knees shocking)

forward line looking very thin- we need to draft a gun forward asap

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Its hard to gauge what our biggest need is from up coming drafts.

Our midfield is youngish, but could do with a star in there. Someone like Palmer.

Our forward line needs a target and as mentioned, the incumbents are either too old, don't kick goals or haven't found there feet at AFL level.

Then there is our ruck combination. Some OK games from Jamar and PJ, but we would love a Cox to be in there.

So what do we go for. Our early picks pretty much have to go to the best player, regardless of where they play I think. We will find a spot for them I'm sure.

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It's a pretty satisfying prospect - to have a number of defenders come through the system at the same time, working together, knowing eachother's games and how to help eachother.

Good defenders are always premium value. They also tend to gain a lot from experience, prolonging their peak period and making a contribution for many years.

Good defenders are also, in my opinion, the foundation for great teams that can win the tight, intense games - they don't give away the cheap goals that shatter momentum and morale.

So it's a very satisfying thought that me might finally be getting some strong young defenders through, but I'll keep my fingers crossed and touching wood for now.

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No Warnock eh? Still, looks like a good defence on paper. We'll have to see how the current one goes over the remainder of the year, because I think at this stage Naitanui and/or Rich are more important for us than Hurley. I like the idea of releasing Petterd as well.

Warnock's non inclusion is not intended to be dismissive of him, nor Cheney, Bell and Bartram for that matter.

I have seen Warnock as a solid player, wasn't sure he would measure up at AFL level, but very pleased with his efforts against Port & Dorks [could not guage the Adelaide game as was listening to ABC Adelaide commentary...the Adelaide Broadcasting Commission].

If we did draft Hurley then you may even play Warnock on the bench as cover for an extra backman and/or if you wanted to throw Hurley forward.

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