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Gerard Healy's view of the Demons


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Healy's article is excellent and quality in-depth analysis of tactics is often missing in the sports pages. For me it echoes my questions about the type of defensive zone Melbourne would employ this year. I did write up a training report last week which discussed some of the tactics that the dees have begun to work on at training.

I made the similar point as Healy that Melbourne was one of the few teams that did not work on a full press defensive zone 2010. Healy mentioned that Essendon was pushing nearly all of it's players up to the forward fifty when Melbourne was kicking out, whereas the Demons keep their defenders up around the middle of the ground, allowing for more space in the zone. I have been watching carefully at training for any obvious Collingwood style forward press when we are kicking out of defence and had not seen it until training last week, when they finally began to practice the full press zone.

Healy is then right - Melbourne have not been practicing kicking out against highly clustered zones. However, the MFC have begun to practice against this type of cluster zone at training. Nor has Melbourne put their own full press into play during games (I didn't see it against the bummers). Perhaps unlike the Bombers who have spent their summer working on defense, Melbourne has been honing other parts of their game plan and are now beginning to focus on the zone.

The main reason I was happy to see Brian Royal employed was the fact he was coaching at St Kilda last year and would have an intimate knowledge of defensive zones. Similarly, Todd Viney was at Hawthorn when it developed Clarko's Cluster and thus would also have valuable input in regard to different types of zones.

Perhaps what is of interest, and what Healy is arguing for, is whether the Dees will be ready to unveil a previously unseen full press defensive zone on kick-outs by round 1, and whether of not they can counter the zone when kicking out. I noted that the Demons on occasion played on from the kick out and bombed the ball to the middle of the ground where two tall marking options where waiting. This was a set play they were working on at training and against the Bombers I thought it worked okay. Either way, that the Bombers created had 26 turnovers to Melbourne's 10 in the forward half is a damning statistic and must be addressed if the Dees are to make further progress up the ladder this year.

I won't be at the practice match at Visy, but would love to hear from those who do go in relation to this aspect of the MFC gameplan. It might just be that the coaching staff don't want to overload a young team with gameplan information and will build on their knowledge throughout the season. It also might be that the Dees don't want to reveal their cards before the season proper and don't really care for the spoils of the NAB cup.

Cheers

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Healy's article is excellent and quality in-depth analysis of tactics is often missing in the sports pages. For me it echoes my questions about the type of defensive zone Melbourne would employ this year. I did write up a training report last week which discussed some of the tactics that the dees have begun to work on at training.

Great point Bhima, the game and especially the tactics have changed and developed so quickly that it is disappointing to hear commentary from 'expert's like Robert Walls.

They give you nothing from a tactical point of view. The same old comment to change each match, 'move the forward to the ruck or ruck forward' etc etc.

Something we could take from the coverage of US sport (especially NFL) is the fantastic coverage and in-depth analysis that is part of both their magazine type programs and the game day commentary.

Great article By G Healy.

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I'd say we reasonably well covered in terms of having match ups for opposition key forwards (between Chip, Rivers and Garland and Macdonald and Warnock as back ups) and smalls too. Chip gives us great drive from the backline goinbg forward, especially for a guiy his size capable of playing on some of the big gun forwards and run off them.

But unless we move someone like Davey back there, we have no one with really top quality kicking skills to bring the ball out of the backline. This is a key part of the game at the top level (at most levels, really) and it's one area we do struggle in. I'd love one really classy and silky skilled half-back flanker to finish off our back half. We really need two if we are to have depth.

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I'd say we reasonably well covered in terms of having match ups for opposition key forwards (between Chip, Rivers and Garland and Macdonald and Warnock as back ups) and smalls too. Chip gives us great drive from the backline goinbg forward, especially for a guiy his size capable of playing on some of the big gun forwards and run off them.

But unless we move someone like Davey back there, we have no one with really top quality kicking skills to bring the ball out of the backline. This is a key part of the game at the top level (at most levels, really) and it's one area we do struggle in. I'd love one really classy and silky skilled half-back flanker to finish off our back half. We really need two if we are to have depth.

Agree, Davey has provided this by taking them on the move and pin pointing passes through the zones at times. Hence why they're trying the likes of Strauss and Bennell at times down back. Blease is another who may provide depth in this area, but for the time being it is still a work in progress. If one of these can cement this spot in will enable us to utilise Davey elsewhere.

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Roles should be better defined when we have our frontline 21 out there but it was dissappointing to see the lack of awareness of structure on Thursday.

I will say this, as someone who has agreed that our pressure, and our risk and dare through other teams pressure has been poor - it had improved in 2010.

I will wait for the season propoer to render judgement.

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Healy is correct and the football departmant are aware of this, the issue again is we have two high draft picks that have been on our list for three years that are earmarked for the back half. Both Blease and Strauss need to be injected into our defensive half this year, the both have the speed and skill that we need down back. Our back 6 have been under that much pressure over the past 4 seasons that all they have been able to do is defend.

Our zone is OK we just turned the footy over last week and didn't work hard defensively. We are not good enough just yet to beat teams when we don't play well. You also can't conceed 52 free kicks in a game and expect to win.

Not to concerned about this, you win more of the footy midfield your back 6 look like stars, you get smashed in the midfield your back 6 look extremely bad.

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When Healy left Melbourne for the Swans I believe the MCC committee may have vetoed his membership of the MCC.

While he is now an MCC member (got it a couple of years ago)I still think he holds it against us (the MFC).

Or he may just be giving an opinion which is trong and has merit, which it seems some here dont like to hear that as a team with much hype sorrounding us we still clearly have deficiencies and they need to be rectified quickly.

Alot of Healy bashing here, perhaps he has alot to say when it comes to Melbourne because he wants them to advance and become succesful.

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That is a good article and it is spot on. At both ends of the ground our zone work is poor. It has been for years, and it can't stay the way it is if we want to climb the ladder.

I'm not sure whether developing our own defence will necessarily translate into being better able to work it out of opponent's zones, but that might be the case. Either way we really do suck at bringing the ball through a zone from the kick-in, and our defensive zones don't work as well as others do.

Where we have excelled recently is on the turnover, where the other side doesn't get the time to set the zone up and they turn it over around half back. But that's pretty easy and we need to develop a better way to get the ball out from our kick ins.

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I read the Healy article and it was very interesting. I would seem we had real difficulty extricating ourselves out of the Essendon zone last Thursday. We often took the wrong option or were too slow to execute the right option. The long bomb to the centre was often the most effective tactic to break the zone but can't be used all the time or teams will "structure up" to counter it. I also think that our 'switching' was as bad as I had seen for a long time. This may indicate that the back-line players with the ball didn't have the confidence to pierce Essendon's zones with their kicking precision. I don't think we'll play as badly again but it certainly points to some chinks in our armour. Etihad is smaller and gives much less room for error. We need to have a tactic for playing this and other more confined grounds.

Last year our defence looked good most of the time. Frawley's confident running through the lines is probably one reason as it immediately broke the zone and enabled us to transfer to the corridor.

The other positive from last year is that our defence was very hard to score against. This was often commented on during telecasts. Even Collingwood's 'forward pressure' didn't worry us too much. We have a defence with fantastic desperation and great anticipation. Under most circumstances at the MCG they made good decisions and executed them reasonably well.

Garland had a shocker with disposal the other night. He is not normally too bad. While Strauss's kicking is superb, he doesn't have the desperation and defensive judgement of the others. Neither does Bennell. He has the speed and class in picking up the ball, and is a great mark for his size but I would rather see him on the wing for the time being. Warnock will be back at Casey as soon as Frawley is ready, but we are lucky that we kept him as a stop gap.

It was the tremendous pressure applied by the Essendon forwards and mids and the constant supply from the midfield that made our defence look silly. Scully and McKenzie were sorely missed.

The thing that worried me the most, was our lack of forward pressure. It was better last year but nothing seemed to click against the bombers. Petterd's return we help. He is fantastic at keeping the ball alive in our fifty. I see this as one of his great strengths. Watts needs to lay the occasional tackle that sticks. His zonal pressure is OK but most of the time it's ineffective. Jurrah likewise.

According to Petterd's account of training the other day following the loss, they spent some time reviewing the tapes. I hope they come up with something.

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