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Be Patient with Lever

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The MCG is a huge factor for Lever. He looked good in preseason in Tassie and at Casey and was playing well at the Gabba before the dew came up and he didn't adapt to slippery conditions and a struggling side.

But back on the G - firstly it holds some mental demons for the Crows from grand final day, but it's also a ground they don't play at very often or play well at. It's very wide compared to Adelaide Oval and that means you have to go side to side as a defender much more than at Adelaide Oval. It's much harder to stay in a back 6 formation, you need to be more flexible. 

At the Crows - Brown, Talia/Hartigan (depending on match up) and Kelly played back pocket, full back, back pocket. Lever was allowed to sit on a flank and position himself to intercept. It's why I thought he'd replace Vince in our best team, turns out for now it's Hunt but anyway...

We'll likely leave Jetta and Frost/Oscar closer to goal but the G is wider and the ball can move out and around and back in to the next wave of forwards or even a drifting in wingman, be squared up at CHF or be run straight through the lines. Unless you're Rance who can get up field pressure and dominate in the air and on the ground as the deepest defender I can't see the same level of intercepting at the G as at Adelaide Oval. The trade off is there's more space and scope to counter attack and be involved on the way out. 

Any talk of Lever somehow magically restructuring our backline was laughable. As if talk that our backline is now lacking structure because of him - that ignores just how out of shape we were throughout a lot of last year. The idea of structuring a backline around any one player is silly to begin with. What he has to be is a very good player who makes life easier for his team mates by getting himself and them in the right spots, working hard both ways, making the right level of aggressive decisions with the ball etc. 

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On 08/04/2018 at 10:36 AM, Lucifer's Hero said:

As always spot on with your assessment.

I feel, Lever's arrival has 'disrupted' our defense eg Hibberd has played 'out of position' and Hunt dislodged.  This week, Hibberd  said: "the inclusion of Sam Frost...will allow him to play his more familiar run-and-carry style, rather than a deeper defensive, one-on-one role."   http://www.melbournefc.com.au/news/2018-04-06/frosts-return-to-freeup-hibberd 

Both Hibberd's run-and-carry style and Lever's interceptor style mean they play off their man and are not really accountable (and both rarely tackle).  I don't think we can afford both players doing this (especially if Hunt comes back with his own run-and-carry style) even with a zone defense.  Too much 'defending' is being left to Nev and Oscar.  Smart coaches will exploit it, mercilessly.

Yesterday, I didn't notice much talking nor backing up among the defenders.  Almost like each was doing their own thing without much synergy.  Opp coaches are becoming very good at isolating our defenders and our guys need to start talking and helping each other.

I know our defense is a work in progress and Goodwin etal are experimenting but hopefully, the back 6 settle quickly and they learn to work together.  We have three very challenging games coming up and Clarkson and Worsfold are very clever tacticians.  

 

?

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https://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/jake-lever-adding-new-dimension-to-melbournes-defence-says-teammate-neville-jetta/news-story/cae88833a283c5785af2cc0a51e1faf6

In that article, Jetta talks about Lever's role/impact.  Of course he will be upbeat but I found this significant:

"...Lever finally showed glimpses of his best form in Melbourne’s 37-point win over North Melbourne on Saturday...He racked up 20 disposals and took six marks, re-finding his voice to marshal and organise ...[the] Demons backline".  Jetta said:  The way he’s able to see the game and help blokes around him...". 

Therein are the 'intangibles' that supporters, commentators etc not on the field cannot see/hear and will never see/hear so its a bit rich judging him from afar. 

For now, Lever has a job to learn and kudos to him for how he is applying himself to the craft of one-on-one defending.  In time he will become our backline general.  I reckon one of Lewis' jobs is to teach Lever everything he knows about defence structures, tempo, positioning etc etc as each game unfolds.

I will go with Goodwin - give Lever 6-8 weeks before judging.  

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24 minutes ago, Members' Wing said:

?

Yes, Worsfold is a clever coach/tactitian.  At Ess he just has dumb players who get lazy and who can't or won't carry out instructions!

Edited by Lucifer's Hero

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1 hour ago, DeeSpencer said:

The MCG is a huge factor for Lever. He looked good in preseason in Tassie and at Casey and was playing well at the Gabba before the dew came up and he didn't adapt to slippery conditions and a struggling side.

But back on the G - firstly it holds some mental demons for the Crows from grand final day, but it's also a ground they don't play at very often or play well at. It's very wide compared to Adelaide Oval and that means you have to go side to side as a defender much more than at Adelaide Oval. It's much harder to stay in a back 6 formation, you need to be more flexible. 

At the Crows - Brown, Talia/Hartigan (depending on match up) and Kelly played back pocket, full back, back pocket. Lever was allowed to sit on a flank and position himself to intercept. It's why I thought he'd replace Vince in our best team, turns out for now it's Hunt but anyway...

We'll likely leave Jetta and Frost/Oscar closer to goal but the G is wider and the ball can move out and around and back in to the next wave of forwards or even a drifting in wingman, be squared up at CHF or be run straight through the lines. Unless you're Rance who can get up field pressure and dominate in the air and on the ground as the deepest defender I can't see the same level of intercepting at the G as at Adelaide Oval. The trade off is there's more space and scope to counter attack and be involved on the way out. 

Any talk of Lever somehow magically restructuring our backline was laughable. As if talk that our backline is now lacking structure because of him - that ignores just how out of shape we were throughout a lot of last year. The idea of structuring a backline around any one player is silly to begin with. What he has to be is a very good player who makes life easier for his team mates by getting himself and them in the right spots, working hard both ways, making the right level of aggressive decisions with the ball etc. 

Wonderfully written, but in my view, rubbish! Hibberd is a great interceptor and he proved that last year. The MCG didn't seem to be much of an impediment! Further, although he is very left footed, he is capable on the right.

contrast this with Jake who is not marking the ball, and invariably turns to the right and at least once or twice per game, gets caught. Very costly deep,in the backline. My view is that we have effectively recast the backline to accomodate him. A good player, Hunt,  has lost his place and in my view a backline including all of Oscar, Frost, Hibberd and Lever is top heavy.  I've mentioned before that Mick Malthouse on the ABC cast doubt in the recruitment of Jake, because " I've never seen him beat an opponent one on one" 

Anyway, we have him, at an absurd price, so must make the most of it.

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57 minutes ago, Farmer said:

Wonderfully written, but in my view, rubbish! Hibberd is a great interceptor and he proved that last year. The MCG didn't seem to be much of an impediment! Further, although he is very left footed, he is capable on the right.

contrast this with Jake who is not marking the ball, and invariably turns to the right and at least once or twice per game, gets caught. Very costly deep,in the backline. My view is that we have effectively recast the backline to accomodate him. A good player, Hunt,  has lost his place and in my view a backline including all of Oscar, Frost, Hibberd and Lever is top heavy.  I've mentioned before that Mick Malthouse on the ABC cast doubt in the recruitment of Jake, because " I've never seen him beat an opponent one on one" 

Anyway, we have him, at an absurd price, so must make the most of it.

I too was critical of the price for that reason. Still am. 

I just think he can be a good player but not as some special fix all interceptor. Hibberd - who has a lot more MCG experience by the way - is an excellent all round football. Aside from an aversion to tackle and a wont to play off his man he does everything well. And that's the kind of player Lever has to be and the type of player you need at the MCG. 

The intercepts will come for Jake as he rounds out his game and also if we pick up our forward pressure and midfield spread. The Hawks and Tigers have mastered that and had huge wins in recent grand finals. Adelaide and West Coast - teams that play on skinny grounds - have been caught out on the wide spaces of the MCG wondering why they can't lock the ball in forward and can't get their intercept players working at half back.

I also disagree with how much I've seen Hibberd use his right. He's good enough to go right and get back on his left, but Lever can go left and get back on his right! His left isn't terrible either. And yes, Lever needs to get better at using the ball deep in the backline because he will end up there. 

Hunt has lost his spot but Wagner and Vince as much as Lever has taken it. Hunt can and should get it back.

 

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2 hours ago, Farmer said:

Mick Malthouse on the ABC cast doubt in the recruitment of Jake, because " I've never seen him beat an opponent one on one"

Don't you rofl at everything Malthouse says?

I do

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4 hours ago, BigFez said:

Always a tricky one when draft picks and future draft picks are involved.  Based on our recent form at the draft table the odds are we would have done very well, but we could have also drafted a dud, or who knows!  I agree we folded at the draft table, but he could be the final piece of the premiership puzzle and the list management team would not have wanted to risk losing that.

At this point in time I'm not saying we have paid overs, and I'm not saying we haven't either.  Have a look at Tom Boyd for the dogs.  He has played 3 good games in his AFL career and ask any Bulldogs supporter if they are unhappy with that trade and most will say no, because he played a big part in delivering them the 2016 flag.

Time will tell, but my view is we will  be happy with the trade once we are able to look back on it.

All that is true but mostly irrelevant to the D's.

Just like some of us who shook our heads after Rnd 2.  Unhappy with some of the form and mental fade-outs etc.  As it has been a constant of the poor past.

Things are looking better since then, with a few players starting to lift themselves, Re onfield leadership, etc. 

 

But when things are left to lay undisturbed at this club, most often things do not change; so in some ways the negative angry supporter responses on social media, can have a motivating factor for the players to lift their games.

I think this has happened in our case.

 

Now the trade/draft folded hand last season Re Lever.  This is not Levrers fault nor his issue.  And the posts Re the weak hand played at the trade table by us are in know way about Levers form.

 

But just, (from me anyway) about the apparent weak effort to push the Lever trade situation to better suit us.  I see it as the 2018 draft as a strong draft with a lot of top-end talent, so 2 picks in that draft should have carried a lot of weight. Re trading.

 

If the trade didn't happen, then we would have done very well with others anyway & Jack Higgins looks like a top catch, as has PHarrison who we took later.

Interesting that Harrison may become the player we wanted from Lever ?  but bigger.

 

Lever will still be a great player for us, but the issue is the way the club folded up its offer, And just bent over.  Using too much of our currency doing that.

.

Edited by DV8
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4 hours ago, DeeSpencer said:

We did get pick 35 back in this draft. That's where I would've haggled for more but it was a mid first downgraded to a late 2nd. If you think you can find a good player with either of those picks and not miss a star at pick 10 then the deal is much better. Harry Petty was the pick and if he's a solid serviceable player and Lever gets it together the deal is looking good. I'd trade two mid first rounders for 1 gun and 1 serviceable player every year for sure.

I would have kept pick 10 2017 off the table.  Future picks &/or a player.  What did we get for watts his name again?

So a 1st Rnd future pick (2018), plus compensation pick for Watts should have about done the job. If not the compensation pick, then a 3rd Rnd future pick (2018) should have made the deal.

Our 2017 early pick should have remained tucked away in our pocket.

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Let’s not over cook this. He just needs to develop some trust in the back half by beating or nullifying his man and covering space at the right times. Hasn’t done that enough just yet hence some criticism. He can intercept as much as he likes after that

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1 hour ago, DeeSpencer said:

I too was critical of the price for that reason. Still am. 

I just think he can be a good player but not as some special fix all interceptor. Hibberd - who has a lot more MCG experience by the way - is an excellent all round football. Aside from an aversion to tackle and a wont to play off his man he does everything well. And that's the kind of player Lever has to be and the type of player you need at the MCG. 

The intercepts will come for Jake as he rounds out his game and also if we pick up our forward pressure and midfield spread. The Hawks and Tigers have mastered that and had huge wins in recent grand finals. Adelaide and West Coast - teams that play on skinny grounds - have been caught out on the wide spaces of the MCG wondering why they can't lock the ball in forward and can't get their intercept players working at half back.

I also disagree with how much I've seen Hibberd use his right. He's good enough to go right and get back on his left, but Lever can go left and get back on his right! His left isn't terrible either. And yes, Lever needs to get better at using the ball deep in the backline because he will end up there. 

Hunt has lost his spot but Wagner and Vince as much as Lever has taken it. Hunt can and should get it back.

 

And there is nothing wrong with using Lever off the defensive wing situation.  covering off incoming high ball into our defensive 50Mtr arc.

We still keep our defensive tall setup as structured (2 talls) with the runners around, and Hunt and Lever can still play on wings.

I don't really want hunt off the halfback line, ever since late last year. I prefer him starting on the wing and pushing back into our defence when the play is in there, and bringing the ball out with run.

When on the wing (offensively), I'm happy for him to bomb long into our F50Mtr Arc, as a chaos ball; which should be brought to ground IF we cannot get a guaranteed mark.

This should bring our quick smalls into play controlling the inside 50 play.  (I wish we had Jack Higgins)...

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He's 22. He's still 2 or 3 years off his peak. Maybe we should give him more than 3 games before writing him off hey 

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29 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

He's 22. He's still 2 or 3 years off his peak. Maybe we should give him more than 3 games before writing him off hey 

Who is writing off Lever? and how?

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4 minutes ago, DV8 said:

Who is writing off Lever? and how?

Plenty are. Can't play one on one. Not worth what we paid. Is struggling on the bigger ground (MCG). Poor disposal. Etc etc

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5 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Plenty are. Can't play one on one. Not worth what we paid. Is struggling on the bigger ground (MCG). Poor disposal. Etc etc

OK. I wondered if you were responding to my thoughts.

He's just not inform, Yet.

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5 hours ago, DeeSpencer said:

I too was critical of the price for that reason. Still am. 

I just think he can be a good player but not as some special fix all interceptor. Hibberd - who has a lot more MCG experience by the way - is an excellent all round football. Aside from an aversion to tackle and a wont to play off his man he does everything well. And that's the kind of player Lever has to be and the type of player you need at the MCG. 

The intercepts will come for Jake as he rounds out his game and also if we pick up our forward pressure and midfield spread. The Hawks and Tigers have mastered that and had huge wins in recent grand finals. Adelaide and West Coast - teams that play on skinny grounds - have been caught out on the wide spaces of the MCG wondering why they can't lock the ball in forward and can't get their intercept players working at half back.

I also disagree with how much I've seen Hibberd use his right. He's good enough to go right and get back on his left, but Lever can go left and get back on his right! His left isn't terrible either. And yes, Lever needs to get better at using the ball deep in the backline because he will end up there. 

Hunt has lost his spot but Wagner and Vince as much as Lever has taken it. Hunt can and should get it back.

 

 

1 hour ago, DV8 said:

OK. I wondered if you were responding to my thoughts.

He's just not inform, Yet.

Ok, we give him time.Just worried about an unbalanced backline

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we paid overs for a Fist.

Lever really is just one Fist roving the back line , unaccountable , looking to fist the footy over the boundary line.

over hyped. hes ours now, so we' will have to deal with it. But lets remember this as we watch all the first round talent for the next two draft periods go to the other clubs.

We shouldve learnt by now that single big name recruits dont change fortunes of footy clubs

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Hunt and Lever rotate off the bench in defence in same fashion as weid and  pedo in the attack. These guys add to the churn with only one or the other on at any time rotating with others as required.

i have been promoting the churn as a new coaching tactic and think we are developing the playing list to acheive that.

We can also churn the list each game to suit the opposition. Having no injuries is the bonus factor.

 

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6 hours ago, Fitz Fitzpatrick said:

we paid overs for a Fist.

Lever really is just one Fist roving the back line , unaccountable , looking to fist the footy over the boundary line.

over hyped. hes ours now, so we' will have to deal with it. But lets remember this as we watch all the first round talent for the next two draft periods go to the other clubs.

We shouldve learnt by now that single big name recruits dont change fortunes of footy clubs

A damn good fist that gets to the right areas and creates a contest

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10 hours ago, Farmer said:

 

Ok, we give him time.Just worried about an unbalanced backline

Start lever from the wing if necessary, if he's a floating sweeper across the defence, means he plays loose & reads the play to intercept.

He can do that from the wing, maybe he'll be going back a bit with the flight occasionally.  He doesn't want to start deep does he?

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18 hours ago, Lucifer's Hero said:

Yes, Worsfold is a clever coach/tactitian.  At Ess he just has dumb players who get lazy and who can't or won't carry out instructions!

Sorry LH Worsfold is a lead by example type and great motivator but certainly is tactically inept.

Meth Coast team of the early noughties had no plan B and survived on their supreme midfield talent. The brains behind their resurgence in 2011-12 was Phil Walsh.

The message from coaches like Worsfold gets very stale after a while

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I'm not concerned just yet. Lever, and our other backs just need time to gel and work as a unit. You hear each and every team refer to their defense as a team within a team and it takes time to get to know each other, build trust etc.

Look at Geelong, they are struggling in 2018 without Lonergan and Mackie. Richmond have a solid defensive unit, but it's taken them a couple of years to get it right with Grimes, Astbury, Rance and co. 

Our backs are still learning this, OMac is really only starting his second season as a 'regular'. Frost is still learning the caper, and whilst Jetta, Hibberd and co are experienced they just need time together. Lever isn't any different. It's probably one of the reasons why I think we are still learning the caper in 2018. I expect us to make finals, but I still think that it will be another year before we are a contender for the premiership (although I don't mind if the 2018 team proves me wrong!!)

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Not fair to judge Lever on less than a handful of games at a new club with a new setup and new style. The kid, and he;s still a kid, will be a great player and leader of this club when all is said and done.

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