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Snoopy

It's The Preseason Stupid

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In an effort to move past the teeth gnashing and knee jerk reactions to this year's disappointments it's time to acknowledge that the real reason probably started a few days after the loss to WCE in the Preliminary Final last year when something like 17 players were scheduled for end of season operations to fix ankles, shoulders, hips, knees and heavens knows what else. This cruelled our preseason which most recognize is the foundation stone of strong on field performances.  Fitness is a non negotiable in footy and we just don't have it.

It was reported here that Craig Jennings (I think) said that at one stage in the preseason we had 12 players fit enough to complete the main session indicating that the injuries we had went well beyond those who had operations.  Key players effected included:-

  • Our entire starting midfield had interrupted preseasons - Viney, Harmes and Oliver had operations and Jones and Brayshaw had injuries. If my memory is correct none started with the main group until February and some not until March.
  • Three of our best forwards had interrupted preseasons - Tmac had both ankles operated on, Melk had hammy issues and Trac a knee operation
  • Our best defenders had interrupted preseasons - Jetta a knee, May with his issues and Lever recovering from an ACL.  From memory Hibberd might also have had a operation.

This is a list of the "main crew" who had little or no preseason..  Then there were players like Stretch, Hannan, Oscar Baker and Hore who were also significantly disrupted. 

Through no fault of anyone, unless you want to suggest we send 13 of our Preliminary Final players off for end of season surgery in August, these players lack fitness because of the lack of a proper preseason. I think this lack of fitness underlies the majority of the issues we have faced this year including:-

  • an inability to run out games
  • inability to play 4 quarters
  • basic skill errors - these occur when plays fatigue
  • a lack of confidence
  • a lack of connection
  • a lack of two way running

Compounding this has been a wretched run of injury in season.  AVB, Smith, May, Melksham, Hibberd and Jetta have been significant losses.  JKH, Stretch, KK and Garlett have added to our issues.

On Champion Data stats we lost 89 games to injury to our best 22 in the first 10 games - 50% more than any other team and this on top of a poor preseason.  You can carry some injuries but there reaches a stage when you lose so many that the game just falls apart because you're playing too many players who are NQR.  We've seen this with Richmond and Collingwood.  Is it any surprise that Geelong and Brisbane are doing surprisingly well.  They've had no injuries of note.  And is it any surprise that Gawn and Salem have performed so well.  To my knowledge they had good preseasons.

The vitriol directed at players, coaches and fitness staff beg the reality of our situation.  Calls to rebuild, change the coach and radically change the game plan ignore core issues that have led to our situation.  Posters are far too keen to find blame rather than find reasons.

I've never been more confident that we've got the building blocks to be very good.  There are some gaps in our list we need to fill and we could well do that in this trade period.

This has been a disappointing year but is not reflective of our Club or the players and staff.

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Snoopy said:

In an effort to move past the teeth gnashing and knee jerk reactions to this year's disappointments it's time to acknowledge that the real reason probably started a few days after the loss to WCE in the Preliminary Final last year when something like 17 players were scheduled for end of season operations to fix ankles, shoulders, hips, knees and heavens knows what else. This cruelled our preseason which most recognize is the foundation stone of strong on field performances.  Fitness is a non negotiable in footy and we just don't have it.

It was reported here that Craig Jennings (I think) said that at one stage in the preseason we had 12 players fit enough to complete the main session indicating that the injuries we had went well beyond those who had operations.  Key players effected included:-

  • Our entire starting midfield had interrupted preseasons - Viney, Harmes and Oliver had operations and Jones and Brayshaw had injuries. If my memory is correct none started with the main group until February and some not until March.
  • Three of our best forwards had interrupted preseasons - Tmac had both ankles operated on, Melk had hammy issues and Trac a knee operation
  • Our best defenders had interrupted preseasons - Jetta a knee, May with his issues and Lever recovering from an ACL.  From memory Hibberd might also have had a operation.

This is a list of the "main crew" who had little or no preseason..  Then there were players like Stretch, Hannan, Oscar Baker and Hore who were also significantly disrupted. 

Through no fault of anyone, unless you want to suggest we send 13 of our Preliminary Final players off for end of season surgery in August, these players lack fitness because of the lack of a proper preseason. I think this lack of fitness underlies the majority of the issues we have faced this year including:-

  • an inability to run out games
  • inability to play 4 quarters
  • basic skill errors - these occur when plays fatigue
  • a lack of confidence
  • a lack of connection
  • a lack of two way running

Compounding this has been a wretched run of injury in season.  AVB, Smith, May, Melksham, Hibberd and Jetta have been significant losses.  JKH, Stretch, KK and Garlett have added to our issues.

On Champion Data stats we lost 89 games to injury to our best 22 in the first 10 games - 50% more than any other team and this on top of a poor preseason.  You can carry some injuries but there reaches a stage when you lose so many that the game just falls apart because you're playing too many players who are NQR.  We've seen this with Richmond and Collingwood.  Is it any surprise that Geelong and Brisbane are doing surprisingly well.  They've had no injuries of note.  And is it any surprise that Gawn and Salem have performed so well.  To my knowledge they had good preseasons.

The vitriol directed at players, coaches and fitness staff beg the reality of our situation.  Calls to rebuild, change the coach and radically change the game plan ignore core issues that have led to our situation.  Posters are far too keen to find blame rather than find reasons.

I've never been more confident that we've got the building blocks to be very good.  There are some gaps in our list we need to fill and we could well do that in this trade period.

This has been a disappointing year but is not reflective of our Club or the players and staff.

 

 

 

 

What you say has some merit, but we are not the first team to play a Final Series and then send players to hospital. 

Meth Coke and The Filth were also hit hard. They dealt with it and sorted out a plan B, whilst we have not  

 

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1 minute ago, Sir Why You Little said:

What you say has some merit, but we are not the first team to play a Final Series and then send players to hospital. 

Meth Coke and The Filth were also hit hard. They dealt with it and sorted out a plan B, whilst we have not  

 

Do you take on the information that these clubs have not been hit with the severity that we have?

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Love it Snoop dog. A rare ray of logic shining through the morass. 

There is a lot of focus on injuries but the poor preseason is the real kicker as players can never get the fitness base game if not done pre season. its just not possible.

Injuries hurt a team's chances of course but the impact is mitigated if the club had a good pre season with high percentages of players completing most if not all sessions. Richmond is good example this year. We have had the both issues and the impact is plain to see. 

I'd add that it must really hurt a teams capacity to run effective drill that simulate game plan and introduce any new systems when so many players can't train with the main group.

Compounding that issue is who can't train. Having your key mids not available makes it hugely difficult to plan and practice set ups and plays at stoppages, which are critical parts of any game plan. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Sir Why You Little said:

What you say has some merit, but we are not the first team to play a Final Series and then send players to hospital. 

Meth Coke and The Filth were also hit hard. They dealt with it and sorted out a plan B, whilst we have not  

 

Rubbish. They were not as hard as us. No where close. Not in the same universe. A completely unhelpful myth.

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For this reason I've been keeping my powder dry this year. I thought we'd have a down year but didn't think it would be this down. If we can get to 9 or 10 wins I think we'll have done ok but the main thing is the FD need to ensure our squad (and best 22 in particular) is ready to go day 1 of preseason. No excuses, if anyone needs surgery, send them off now don't wait til August/September. If Viney or Tmac goes for post season surgery (or even Gawn following his ankle roll on Sunday) and we find out theyve been grinding it out in a nothing season not only will I be [censored] off but the coaches will not be able to throw that excuse out again in 2020.

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1 minute ago, Engorged Onion said:

Do you take on the information that these clubs have not been hit with the severity that we have?

Yes i do. What i will not accept is Basic skill errors

Kicking to a man

Suicide Handballs to a stationary target

Dropped Chest Marks

very poor Goalkicking

This is outside of what the OP has stated

What i am seeing is attitude and that is not fixed with surgery 

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4 minutes ago, binman said:

Rubbish. They were not as hard as us. No where close. Not in the same universe. A completely unhelpful myth.

Suit yourself. I don’t really care

they were hit hard, particularly Meth Coke but they are back in gear now...

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7 minutes ago, Sir Why You Little said:

Yes i do. What i will not accept is Basic skill errors

Kicking to a man

Suicide Handballs to a stationary target

Dropped Chest Marks

very poor Goalkicking

This is outside of what the OP has stated

What i am seeing is attitude and that is not fixed with surgery 

I accept the fact that pre season medical issues impacted on our fitness - no doubt about it.

However, SYWL makes a very valid point about skills - or lack thereof. In the games I have attended, I have witnessed appalling kicking, marking and handballing that reverted to the embarrassing level that I thought we had left behind us.

I also saw terrible decision making time and again in the way we enter forward fifty. Although our forwards also have to carry a share of the blame in this as they are too often stone footed and seem unable to lead or are caught way out of position. They have generally been poor in keeping the pill in our attacking zone.

These matters cannot be explained by lack of fitness.

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All correct about the pre-season and injuries. There is no doubt that they have significantly affected our chances of success this year.

But my concern is not that we will miss finals and finish low. My concern is that when, in games, we have the chance to perform to a high level that we still fail.

Fatique, lack of match fitness and restricted preparation should not impact on basic choices and skills when we are free to make an impact. It's the stuff ups when we are not under pressure that hurt us most.

All 42 (44?) players on our list should be able to execute to advantage. That they can't be relied upon to do this is damning.

2020

Go dees.

BBO posted while I was writing. Agree with BBO's post.

Edited by tiers
Extra comment
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The issue is that we don't seem to have a system of play that stands up in all conditions. Other clubs have systems of play that seem to cope no matter how many injured players they have because the soldiers coming up from their VFL club plays the same system and does a reasonable job when required.

Helter skelter football does not stand up in finals - the coaching staff need to develop a game plan/style that will work and indoctrinate the whole list to play it.

Not sure Goody is the guy to do that?

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the pre-season is certainly part of it, maybe a big part, but as others have said there is a lot of other things contributing. we don't seem to be making much of  fist about anything. very disappointing

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3 minutes ago, bazza226 said:

The issue is that we don't seem to have a system of play that stands up in all conditions. Other clubs have systems of play that seem to cope no matter how many injured players they have because the soldiers coming up from their VFL club plays the same system and does a reasonable job when required.

Helter skelter football does not stand up in finals - the coaching staff need to develop a game plan/style that will work and indoctrinate the whole list to play it.

Not sure Goody is the guy to do that?

Exactly right. 

An MFC Template, that can deal with changing players. Injuries are always 2 minutes away....they are not new

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, stevethemanjordan said:

Like the O-Mac myths?

Yep. Exacltly like them. Assertions based on innacurate information and opinion confused with fact.

For example that omac is not up to AFL standard. Which is your opinion. And one clearly not shared by the club given they saw fit to extend his contract (which they tend not to for players not at AFL standard).That they extended this contract is a fact.

There's a new one too. That he won't be back.

On omac he is one of the 17 players who had post season surgery and had an interrupted preseason. Like his team mates his struggles this season need to be seen in this context. 

 

Edited by binman
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Accepting the preseason/surgery/injury/fitness issues, I have one simple question:  Why has the coach persisted with a ballistic, fast brand of contested football that requires going flat out for 4 qtrs and in his words 'we the easiest to score against'? 

One of two answers: 

1. Coaches believe players are not fit enough to play the ballistic brand but are too stupid/stubborn to adjust the brand to what player fitness allows. 

OR

2. Coaches believe players are fit enough and there are other reasons for non-performance

Take your pick.  Either or.

#stoptheexcuses

Edited by Lucifer's Hero
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46 minutes ago, Snoopy said:

 

 

Welcome.

 

The truth lies somewhere in-between the extremist views on this site, I think you'll find. 

I don't think anyone doubts that off-season injuries and interruptions to preparation have had an impact on our ability to perform at our best and therefore impacted our season. Except maybe @Satyriconhome because he's in constant denial. 

However, I can't fathom the thought that it is only injuries and interrupted prep that is the reason we find ourselves third bottom from the ladder with eight rounds remaining. And anyone who believes it is only injuries has rocks in their head. Seriously.

Worrying trends in our game, the changing of the rules, an inflexible coach playing the same game plan, some complacent young players, etc, etc. There are many factors.

The interrupted pre-seasons to players has only further highlighted the inadequacies that have existed since 2018. That is indisputable.

We got absolutely schooled and smashed in the prelim by West Coast which should have been a wake-up call. Collingwood had done the same to us earlier in 2018 as well as a couple of other sides. The trends throughout last year have carried into this year, fit players or not. If we win contested ball convincingly, we generally win. Allow us to get first hands on and then pressure and harass us, we're in enormous trouble. We only know how to play one way. Not dissimilar to Essendon's 'free flowing and fast paced game'. They're not balanced and neither are we.

Generally, I use this forum as a place to vent frustration like many others. But I don't believe it's all doom and gloom for us. I simply see this year as a massive learning curve for Simon Goodwin and a test for him more than anything else. Like Chris Scott last year, like Buckley and Hardwick after their down years, Goody has an opportunity to recalibrate. List balance, game-style etc. 

I hate saying things like this, but it's the year we had to have imo.

 

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All true but a few other facts:

Coaches got ahead of themselves we are not as good as we think.

Poor planning to lose 3 big forwards - Watts, Pedersen, Hogan without adequate replacements

We are slow - other teams have been recruiting fast outside runners & quick small pressure forwards while we have been picking slow plodding mids

Some players not up to it & need to be moved on

We need better specialist coaches - a forward coach needs to have been a top level forward with lots of experience not a half back flanker who has has done a level 4 accreditation

Our injury management has been woeful 

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9 minutes ago, Lucifer's Hero said:

Accepting the preseason/surgery/injury/fitness issues, I have one simple question:  Why has the coach persisted with a ballistic, fast brand of contested football that requires going flat out for 4 qtrs and in his words 'we the easiest to score against'? 

One of two things is happening: 

1. Coaches believe players are not fit enough to play the ballistic brand but are too stupid/stubborn to adjust the brand to what player fitness allows. 

OR

2. Coaches believe players are fit enough and there are other reasons for non-performance

Take your pick.  Either or.

#stoptheexcuses

 

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1 hour ago, Snoopy said:

In an effort to move past the teeth gnashing and knee jerk reactions to this year's disappointments it's time to acknowledge that the real reason probably started a few days after the loss to WCE in the Preliminary Final

There's no doubt injury is playing a role in our performances this season.

....but another problem started well before the Preliminary final and was shown up in that game.

We are too one dimensional with personal (FD & players) and game plan.

5 minutes ago, stevethemanjordan said:

 

 

Welcome.

 

The truth lies somewhere in-between the extremist views on this site, I think you'll find. 

I don't think anyone doubts that off-season injuries and interruptions to preparation have had an impact on our ability to perform at our best and therefore impacted our season. Except maybe @Satyriconhome because he's in constant denial. 

However, I can't fathom the thought that it is only injuries and interrupted prep that is the reason we find ourselves third bottom from the ladder with eight rounds remaining. And anyone who believes it is only injuries has rocks in their head. Seriously.

Worrying trends in our game, the changing of the rules, an inflexible coach playing the same game plan, some complacent young players, etc, etc. There are many factors.

The interrupted pre-seasons to players has only further highlighted the inadequacies that have existed since 2018. That is indisputable.

We got absolutely schooled and smashed in the prelim by West Coast which should have been a wake-up call. Collingwood had done the same to us earlier in 2018 as well as a couple of other sides. The trends throughout last year have carried into this year, fit players or not. If we win contested ball convincingly, we generally win. Allow us to get first hands on and then pressure and harass us, we're in enormous trouble. We only know how to play one way. Not dissimilar to Essendon's 'free flowing and fast paced game'. They're not balanced and neither are we.

Generally, I use this forum as a place to vent frustration like many others. But I don't believe it's all doom and gloom for us. I simply see this year as a massive learning curve for Simon Goodwin and a test for him more than anything else. Like Chris Scott last year, like Buckley and Hardwick after their down years, Goody has an opportunity to recalibrate. List balance, game-style etc. 

I hate saying things like this, but it's the year we had to have imo.

 

Was just writing the above when you posted this 'steve'...I'll leave it there and let you fill in the blanks. Pretty much agree with what you are saying here.

...and have expressed similar in my "Writing on the Wall" thread.

I just hope Goody is smart enough to learn the lesson...couldn't stand going through another coach.

Edited by rjay
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Agree with the OP. More often than not, we've faded from about half way through the third quarter onwards. That's a fitness issue. And when you are not fit and lagging towards the end of a game, skills start to go missing. When you get exhausted, both cognitive skills and physical skills go backwards at a great rate of knots.

During the season, players can't make up the fitness they've missed through a bad pre-season, because they spend all week recovering their banged up bodies and general soreness. It's not like they can go for a 10km run the next morning.

And I'm over the "yeah but other teams found a way through it" mantra, like we just can't bear to recognise the fitness deficiency and want to blame coaches, attitude and some whipping boys for the answer.

No other team has had the surgeries, injuries and ongoing best-22 player loss that we've had. Nowhere near it.

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12 minutes ago, Lucifer's Hero said:

Accepting the preseason/surgery/injury/fitness issues, I have one simple question:  Why has the coach persisted with a ballistic, fast brand of contested football that requires going flat out for 4 qtrs and in his words 'we the easiest to score against'? 

One of two things is happening: 

1. Coaches believe players are not fit enough to play the ballistic brand but are too stupid/stubborn to adjust the brand to what player fitness allows. 

OR

2. Coaches believe players are fit enough and there are other reasons for non-performance

Take your pick.  Either or.

#stoptheexcuses

Really? Only one of 2 things are happening and you are privvy to both. There are no other possible scenarios?

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19 minutes ago, binman said:

Yep. Exacltly like them. Assertions based on innacurate information and opinion confused with fact.

For example that omac is not up to AFL standard. Which is your opinion. And one clearly not shared by the club given they saw fit to extend his contract (which they tend not to for players not at AFL standard).That they extended this contract is a fact.

There's a new one too. That he won't be back.

On omac he is one of the 17 players who had post season surgery and had an interrupted preseason. Like his team mates his struggles this season need to be seen in this context. 

 

Oscar at present, isn't up to AFL standard and he's in his fifth year.

The proof is in the pudding, he is not playing. After five years. That doesn't mean he can't be on a list. 

I always stated that he was playing because we had zero quality or depth over the years. Now we do. And where is he?

Out of the side.

Don't write back, there's no need.

Edited by stevethemanjordan

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