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It's The Midfield Stupid!

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Rhino's excellent post highlights just how inexperienced we were compared to the Hawks on Sunday. But it only tells a part of the story. There are two other fundamentals a team needs to be genuinely successful.

You need a dominant midfield.

You need stars.

You can do your own analysis of the second of these points (which highlights why we did better against the Swans with similar "stats") and I'll tell you something about the first.

I think there are five pretty dominant midfields in the competition - Collingwood, Geelong, Hawthorn, Saints and Western Bulldogs. It's no surprise that most believe these teams will fill the top four spots - win the midifield and you'll usually win the game.

Here are some stats for you. I've taken the top five midfielders in each of these teams and looked at the number of years they've spent on an AFL list and the number of games they've played. Then I've compared them with us. You will most likely disagree with some of the selections but the conclusion is frightening whichever way you cook it.

Collingwood (Swan, Pendlebury, Thomas, Ball, Beams). 35 years on the list and 583 games.

Geelong (Bartel, Ling, Selwood, Johnson, Corey). 49 years on the list and 871 games.

Hawks (Burgoyne, Mitchell, Sewell, Rioli, Lewis). 41 years on the list and 669 games.

Saints (Dal Santo, Hayes, Montagna, Jones, Ray). 45 years on the list and 789 games.

Bulldogs (Boyd, Cross, Cooney, Griffen, Higgins). 42 years on the list and 676 games.

And now for us....... (Moloney, McKenzie, Scully, Trengove, Sylvia)** 24 years on the list and 277 games. BTW, we were missing three of these players on Sunday!!

For all those that think these figures are just excuses for losing and accepting poor performances - your dreamin'.

We've a way to go boys so like has been said before - enjoy the ride or get off now and join again at a later station when some of this shite is behind us.

*years on list maybe a little rubbery but you get the drift.

** edit to remove Morton and add Sylvia.

Edited by Snoopy

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And what exacerbates the problem is that the missing midfielders Scully, McKenzie and Morton represent a variety of midfield types leaving a lot of sameness about what's left in that division.

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nice one

as long as we're talking positives how about this

i50s 75 - 35

goals 16 - 12

that means we scored a goal 34% of the times we entered vs their 21%

there is a fair bit of shizen being spoken about 'how lucky we were' nevermind they took a huge number of ambitious shots at goal and heaps were rushed through. At the end of the day it's goals that matter and we only finished 4 down to a very good side

we played one weak, gutless, idiotic quarter, the rest of the day we were not bad, and it was in fact US who did the arsekicking in the 2nd

i don't care how young they are, Scullly and Jordie are very important and we will instantly look better when they return

chins up people

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nice one

as long as we're talking positives how about this

i50s 75 - 35

goals 16 - 12

that means we scored a goal 34% of the times we entered vs their 21%

there is a fair bit of shizen being spoken about 'how lucky we were' nevermind they took a huge number of ambitious shots at goal and heaps were rushed through. At the end of the day it's goals that matter and we only finished 4 down to a very good side

we played one weak, gutless, idiotic quarter, the rest of the day we were not bad, and it was in fact US who did the arsekicking in the 2nd

i don't care how young they are, Scullly and Jordie are very important and we will instantly look better when they return

chins up people

So very wrong.

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So very wrong.

oh really, I seem to remember being a point down at quarter time and 3 goals up at half time. losing the last qtr by 2 goals isn't a disgrace is it?

we were outplayed badly for about 40 minutes and that's all, unfortunately it was so bad it cost us about 10 goals

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Guest 36DD

And now for us....... (Moloney, McKenzie, Scully, Trengove, Morton) 20 years on the list and 223 games. BTW, we were missing three of these players on Sunday!!

For all those that think these figures are just excuses for losing and accepting poor performances - your dreamin'.

We've a way to go boys so like has been said before - enjoy the ride or get off now and join again at a later station when some of this shite is behind us.

*years on list maybe a little rubbery but you get the drift.

Agree totally with what you are saying and I was at pains to point out our lack of experience to some very frustrated supporters last night.

The figures may not look so skewed had you included Davey and Sylvia in your analysis, they both rotate a fair bit thru the middle.

You could go one step further and say that we dont have a settled midfield as yet, mainly due to injuries and the coaching staff trying to find best positions for our young players.

All those midfields you mentioned are very settled and would most likely line up as such most weeks of the season. Due to this continuity these players all know how each other play and they tick over like clockwork.

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oh really, I seem to remember being a point down at quarter time and 3 goals up at half time. losing the last qtr by 2 goals isn't a disgrace is it?

we were outplayed badly for about 40 minutes and that's all, unfortunately it was so bad it cost us about 10 goals

I think he is right - we were lucky that Hawthorn couldn't kick straight early on & it was the only thing that kept us in the game, not our own ability.

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Guest 36DD

Good point, Sylvia I think should be in but not Davey. He plays "in the midfield" but not "as a midfielder". I'll change the numbers - I'll leave Morton out as he's probably my fifth.

Even with col in there the stat is still pretty damning.

What makes our situation worse is that apart from Col, the experienced midfielders i.e. Moloney and Jonesy are honest battlers and would not necessarily be considered match winners.

As a result of this you can see the reasoning why the decision was made to get rid of junior and bruce....we desperately need to pump games into the young guns...scully, trengove, mcKenzie, Morton, gysberts as our experienced players are not quite up to it.

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how quickly does Moloney become a hack, last week was unanimously considered BOG

most of you are staggeringly fickle

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Guest 36DD

how quickly does Moloney become a hack, last week was unanimously considered BOG

most of you are staggeringly fickle

mate, I love beamer and the way he goes about it and yep u r right he was BOG last week.

would never call him a hack, but he is an honest battler and not A grade, the youngsters have the potential to be A grade that was the gist of my post

Edited by 36DD

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Rhino's excellent post highlights just how inexperienced we were compared to the Hawks on Sunday. But it only tells a part of the story. There are two other fundamentals a team needs to be genuinely successful.

You need a dominant midfield.

You need stars.

You can do your own analysis of the second of these points (which highlights why we did better against the Swans with similar "stats") and I'll tell you something about the first.

I think there are five pretty dominant midfields in the competition - Collingwood, Geelong, Hawthorn, Saints and Western Bulldogs. It's no surprise that most believe these teams will fill the top four spots - win the midifield and you'll usually win the game.

Here are some stats for you. I've taken the top five midfielders in each of these teams and looked at the number of years they've spent on an AFL list and the number of games they've played. Then I've compared them with us. You will most likely disagree with some of the selections but the conclusion is frightening whichever way you cook it.

Collingwood (Swan, Pendlebury, Thomas, Ball, Beams). 35 years on the list and 583 games.

Geelong (Bartel, Ling, Selwood, Johnson, Corey). 49 years on the list and 871 games.

Hawks (Burgoyne, Mitchell, Sewell, Rioli, Lewis). 41 years on the list and 669 games.

Saints (Dal Santo, Hayes, Montagna, Jones, Ray). 45 years on the list and 789 games.

Bulldogs (Boyd, Cross, Cooney, Griffen, Higgins). 42 years on the list and 676 games.

And now for us....... (Moloney, McKenzie, Scully, Trengove, Sylvia)** 24 years on the list and 277 games. BTW, we were missing three of these players on Sunday!!

For all those that think these figures are just excuses for losing and accepting poor performances - your dreamin'.

We've a way to go boys so like has been said before - enjoy the ride or get off now and join again at a later station when some of this shite is behind us.

*years on list maybe a little rubbery but you get the drift.

** edit to remove Morton and add Sylvia.

Good post. Yes we were beaten in the mid field by a very experienced group of players for a large part of the game, but what about the dreadful play in the 3rd quarter where we couldn't get the ball past our half back line from a Hawks point. I think they would have had the ball in their forward half for the whole quarter, except for the bounce after one of their goals and then straight back in again. I have never seen that before in an AFL game. We were pathetic in that period.

Lets be honest if they kicked straight it would have been a massacre rather than the thrashing it was.

I am not cutting my wrists and concede that we were beaten by a better stronger more experienced side, but we were pathetic for a considerable period of the game. Oh well lets hopefully belt the Lions and Suns and maybe see the return of Scully, McKenzie and Morton.

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how quickly does Moloney become a hack, last week was unanimously considered BOG

most of you are staggeringly fickle

Too true....spectacularly, tragically fickle. Also woefully predictable, hence once again Nathan Jones becomes the whipping boy. He was far from in our worst players last night, and as 'the Hun' did, I would probably put him in our 6 best. That he is not Gary Ablett seems a personal offence to so many posters here.

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Rhino's excellent post highlights just how inexperienced we were compared to the Hawks on Sunday. But it only tells a part of the story. There are two other fundamentals a team needs to be genuinely successful.

You need a dominant midfield.

You need stars.

You can do your own analysis of the second of these points (which highlights why we did better against the Swans with similar "stats") and I'll tell you something about the first.

I think there are five pretty dominant midfields in the competition - Collingwood, Geelong, Hawthorn, Saints and Western Bulldogs. It's no surprise that most believe these teams will fill the top four spots - win the midifield and you'll usually win the game.

Here are some stats for you. I've taken the top five midfielders in each of these teams and looked at the number of years they've spent on an AFL list and the number of games they've played. Then I've compared them with us. You will most likely disagree with some of the selections but the conclusion is frightening whichever way you cook it.

Collingwood (Swan, Pendlebury, Thomas, Ball, Beams). 35 years on the list and 583 games.

Geelong (Bartel, Ling, Selwood, Johnson, Corey). 49 years on the list and 871 games.

Hawks (Burgoyne, Mitchell, Sewell, Rioli, Lewis). 41 years on the list and 669 games.

Saints (Dal Santo, Hayes, Montagna, Jones, Ray). 45 years on the list and 789 games.

Bulldogs (Boyd, Cross, Cooney, Griffen, Higgins). 42 years on the list and 676 games.

And now for us....... (Moloney, McKenzie, Scully, Trengove, Sylvia)** 24 years on the list and 277 games. BTW, we were missing three of these players on Sunday!!

For all those that think these figures are just excuses for losing and accepting poor performances - your dreamin'.

We've a way to go boys so like has been said before - enjoy the ride or get off now and join again at a later station when some of this shite is behind us.

*years on list maybe a little rubbery but you get the drift.

** edit to remove Morton and add Sylvia.

One interesting fact about Geelong, probably public knowledge to some degree, but this came from the inner sanctum at [censored] Park, in 2007 Thompson was to be sacked before the mid-season had the Cats not improved. According to wikipedia, the Club met at the end of 2006 to decide his fate, but opted to keep him for stability reasons only. So, contrary to the media reports/club announcement that he was safe for 2007, he WAS to be sacked in 2007. Obviously, as history shows, the won the flag and the rest is history.

Their superdraft was 2003. So it wasn't until those players (Ablett, Bartel, Kelly, etc) were in to their 4th full season of AFL until they turned it on and become dominant. They won the preseason cup the year before that. Our superdraft is obviously the 2009 draft, where we, like geelong, drafted virtually an entire midfield core of top players in the one year. So, futher proof that we will continue to struggle over the next 2 years!

I know, I know, broken record stuff, sorry to those that understand.

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nice one

as long as we're talking positives how about this

i50s 75 - 35

goals 16 - 12

that means we scored a goal 34% of the times we entered vs their 21%

there is a fair bit of shizen being spoken about 'how lucky we were' nevermind they took a huge number of ambitious shots at goal and heaps were rushed through. At the end of the day it's goals that matter and we only finished 4 down to a very good side

we played one weak, gutless, idiotic quarter, the rest of the day we were not bad, and it was in fact US who did the arsekicking in the 2nd

i don't care how young they are, Scullly and Jordie are very important and we will instantly look better when they return

chins up people

The problem is C&B we will not see either of them any time soon!

So what happens over the next month?

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One thing that I can not understand is why our players are releasing the football as soon as they are tackled. Last night around the stopages as soon as we were tackled we released the football, Hawthorn on the other hand held on to it until they could see more an option. In that third quarter we seemed to get our hands on the footy get tackled drop it Hawthorn wins it and effects a clearance. The other concern is we never have players on the outside, it is like junior footy our midfielders all go the contest make it crowded and as soon as we turn it over we are flat footed standing where the ball was and not protecting around the outskirts. This is basic positioning that no matter what the experience in the midfield should happen.

I agree the midfield needs to play more games together but something we need to start seeing is our big body midfielders using their size to create space at the moment the ball gets tapped to someone they get tackled, we have a very good tap ruckman pick a spot tap it there create space for someone to get an effective clearance.

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Geelong's super draft was 2001. So it was their sixth season which only highlights the point further about experience and game time.

I know what you are saying RR but it is difficult after the last 4 years to cop yesterday.

In all the beltings of recent years I do not remember a quarter where the other team had that many scoring shots.

Thank god they could not kick straight!

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Too true....spectacularly, tragically fickle. Also woefully predictable, hence once again Nathan Jones becomes the whipping boy. He was far from in our worst players last night, and as 'the Hun' did, I would probably put him in our 6 best. That he is not Gary Ablett seems a personal offence to so many posters here.

and look how much room there is on the Jack Grimes bandwagon all of a sudden

someone even had a go at Jurrah FCS

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One interesting fact about Geelong, probably public knowledge to some degree, but this came from the inner sanctum at [censored] Park, in 2007 Thompson was to be sacked before the mid-season had the Cats not improved. According to wikipedia, the Club met at the end of 2006 to decide his fate, but opted to keep him for stability reasons only. So, contrary to the media reports/club announcement that he was safe for 2007, he WAS to be sacked in 2007. Obviously, as history shows, the won the flag and the rest is history.

Their superdraft was 2003. So it wasn't until those players (Ablett, Bartel, Kelly, etc) were in to their 4th full season of AFL until they turned it on and become dominant. They won the preseason cup the year before that. Our superdraft is obviously the 2009 draft, where we, like geelong, drafted virtually an entire midfield core of top players in the one year. So, futher proof that we will continue to struggle over the next 2 years!

I know, I know, broken record stuff, sorry to those that understand.

Very well said Billy and i do agree, But our experienced players must be stronger than what was shown last night, otherwise these kids will be left high and dry.

i am not saying our Experienced players are all A Grade champions but they have played years at this level.

Davey slowing the play down 5 minutes before half time was the wrong thing to do. We should have kept hunting.

This club must learn to be Bold against good opposition, that should always be a cornerstone of any game plan.

He may not have meant it, but Davey put up the white flag late in that second Q, and Hawthorn reacted without Mercy.

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The problem is C&B we will not see either of them any time soon!

So what happens over the next month?

we take a couple of convincing, steadying wins against Brissy and GC. Then we have a bye. Green says 2 weeks for Scully, get back Morton, Wonnaeamirri. Head over to WCE on 2.5 wins 1.5 losses. No need to panic.

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Very well said Billy and i do agree, But our experienced players must be stronger than what was shown last night, otherwise these kids will be left high and dry.

i am not saying our Experienced players are all A Grade champions but they have played years at this level.

Davey slowing the play down 5 minutes before half time was the wrong thing to do. We should have kept hunting.

This club must learn to be Bold against good opposition, that should always be a cornerstone of any game plan.

He may not have meant it, but Davey put up the white flag late in that second Q, and Hawthorn reacted without Mercy.

My opinion is that Davey did the right thing. After working as hard as they did to get that lead, the Hawks were coming in the last 5 monutes of tha tquarter, and could have potentially gone in level at half time if play kept flowing how it was starting to. That would have deflated a lot of our players had it happened.

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Good discussion post.

Most of us Demonlanders are patient. The strength of our posting after last night is absolute frustration that we served up the kind of game the whole club is trying its guts out to leave behind. And we are right to question Grimjes kicking, Jurrah's defensive game etc...

But our main focus has to be midfield. We were monstered last night. The five great midfields mentioned to start this post all have big bodies and experience.

For mine, Davey back to a half back flank to give him that quarter-back role as in 2009. Grimes into the midfield to use his decision making and game reading skills.

In Gysberts, out Bennell. ASAP.

In Scully or Morton(when injury allows), out Jetta

In Jordie if Jonesy has another poor game. I am undecided here. There is a part of Jonesy's game that we need, the in-and-under game that our other recruits don't have the body for. I love this bloke but hislimitastions are getting bigger and his resourcefulness lesser.

Then, barring injury play them in the same team, week in week out just like Carlton did with Gibbs, Murphy, Carazzo, etc...

.

Edited by Maldonboy38

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I see that a few posters are getting caught up in meaningless minutia (eg, how good Moloney is, how far away Scully and Jordie are, how many good quarters we played in the game etc.) so I'll try to bring it back on track.

It was clear yesterday that the main thing that we lacked was an ability to get our hands on the ball. In the stoppages we were facing Mitchell and Sewell, with another in like Rioli or similar. Mitchell won 11 contested possessions, Sewell 11 (Combining for 14 clearances) and Rioli with 13 (Roughead also won 13). For us, Moloney won 11, Sylvia 12 (combining for 11 clearances) .... but then it's Tapscott (9), Watts, Martin and Bail (8 each). In the midfield we had Moloney and Sylvia and then nothing. What's more is that neither of these are particularly adept defensive midfielders (Moloney 2 tackles and Sylvia 3). This means that when we lose a contest it gets cleared very easily. McKenzie becomes very important here.

No surprise that these are our two biggest bodied (and most experienced) midfielders. We saw with the Gold Coast that had a midfield of Ablett, Rischitelli and Harris (plus the physically developed Swallow) got absolutely smashed because of the sheer discrepancy in physical size and experience.

To relate to the 2001 Superdraft and Geelong, it took 6 years to bear fruit. Drafting 18 year olds, this means that they were 23 or 24. Our 'Superdraft' was probably 2009 (Scully, Trengove, Gysberts, Tapscott, Bennell, Jurrah, McKenzie). So that probably equates to about 2015.

Will we be better earlier? I don't know, but history shows that it can take time. We may get unexpected development earlier, but this would be a bonus rather than expected. Scully is still a skinny kid, as Gysberts. Trengove is bigger, but still much less than he will be, similar with McKenzie. Imagine the difference between Trengove now and Trengove built like Lenny Hayes!! Or Gysberts now and Joel Corey!!

I just hope that the Gold Coast game shows everyone the difference that games of experience and years of development bring.

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More useless stats;

In 2003, 2 years after the Geelong Superdraft (apologies for my error earlier), they suffered these losses (among others);

WB by 39

Kangaroos @ Skilled by 23

Pies by 47

Saints by 45

Lions @ Skilled by 14

Swans by 39

Crows @ Skilled by 17

Essendon by 36

Drew with West Coast @ Skilled.

They finished that year 12th, with 7 wins.

Of their senior players, they had the likes of Harley, King, Mooney, Riccardi, Sanderson, Milburn, Scarlett, and Ling who had already played significant amouonts of footy. Be 110% honest with yourself, how do those senior players compare to our current senior players?

As you can see above, they lost 3 games and had a draw at Skilled Stadium, with 2 of the losses and the draw being against interstate sides!

In 2004, in the first 2 rounds they lost to Saints (61) and Blues (54). However, they started winning games well too - Richmond (49), then toward the end of the year beat Carlton by 57 (after geting flogged earlier in the year buy them). They finished 4th with 15 wins.

If we are calling our Superdraft the 2009 one, we should expect losses like Sunday to happen again at times in the season. I think the significant improvement over the past 3 years (as per HG's stats froma couple of weeks ago), I think shows we are ahead of schedule to some degree. Also, keep in mind that the yera we picked up Watts and Blease, both these boys were bottome age recruits.

Next year finals will be expected. Providing we reach our win/loss record of last year, and possibly improve it slightly, Bailey should be given a 2 year extension. At the end of that 2 years, we should be in a financial position to chase the best Coach around, because he will be taking over from a team that will see our class of 2009 with around 60-80 games under their belt. Who knows, we may already have that premiership coach in charge.

Yet, people STILL expect miracles!

Edited by billy2803

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    A MAN’S ERRAND by KC from Casey

    A young and undermanned Casey Demons were sent out on Saturday to the Swinburne Centre in the shadows of the MCG on a man’s errand against a very experienced Richmond VFL combination which is the clear ladder leader and fielded no less than 18 AFL listed players. It was expected to be a rout and the Tigers made easy work of it in the early stages when they held a 26 point lead by quarter time. To their credit however, the Demons weathered the storm and kept their opponents within the range

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