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Rodney (Balls) Grinter

Drop off of midfield and time in forward half dominance

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As the season progresses, I have noticed a distinct drop off in both these parameters from the way we played last year and even the start of the season.  Perhaps it's partly due to our opponents of the last two or three weeks who we didn't perform particularly well against in these area last year either, but I suspect it has been a trend over the course of the season.

I can understand that perhaps we might now be prioritizing the quality of forward 50 entries as opposed to just banging it in their to be rebounded, but we seem to struggle to move the ball forward of centre full stop.

It is particularly noticeable at stoppages and center bounces that where once these were our strength, now I see all too readily our opposition take the ball away with ease after a tap goes to two or three players standing meters clear of any opponent.  I know there have been calls about poor work rate and about our players all hunting the ball on the inside like bees to a honey pot, but surely when we are getting out positioned at relatively static situations at clearances to the point the opposition takes the ball away with relative ease, then it's not just effort but dumb football handing such gifts to our opponents that we then have to work out butts off to get back.

I find these trends particularly concerning when we have basically the best ruck in the league and haven't suffered injury wise in the middle.

Anyone else noticed and have any thoughts on this?

Edited by Rodney (Balls) Grinter
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Interestingly, have been thinking about this and can draw one main conclusion. The main protagonists - Oliver, Harmes, Brayshaw, Viney and, to a lesser extent, Jones all had interrupted pre seasons in varying degrees. They also represent the few in the squad that have pretty much been untouched by injury 'in season'. I am of the belief that they have shouldered a very heavy load whilst being under prepared. They all look weary and the end of the season can't come quickly enough. Viney, in particular, looks shot. Harmes not far behind. Don't think Brayshaw's been right at any time. Oliver still very good but struggling a little atm.

Gven a longer break,  a full pre season, some luck, midfield additions through the draft and trade and things can turn around

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8 minutes ago, Diamond_Jim said:

For a team with a dominant ruckman our mid field clearance rate has been seemingly woeful this season.

Not really.

We're 4th in clearance differential this year (i.e. more clearances than our opponents).

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13 minutes ago, titan_uranus said:

Not really.

We're 4th in clearance differential this year (i.e. more clearances than our opponents).

Would love to see some more definition on that stat along the lines of clean clearances. For example Oliver getting the ball on the ground and then handpassing out to a player who is immediately tackled. Is that a clearance. Similarly viney taking the ball and then giving off a fumbled handball which leads to an opposition player tapping the ball to an outside runner. Is that a clearance.

Just seems to me that we get very little clean ball

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1 hour ago, Diamond_Jim said:

Would love to see some more definition on that stat along the lines of clean clearances. For example Oliver getting the ball on the ground and then handpassing out to a player who is immediately tackled. Is that a clearance. Similarly viney taking the ball and then giving off a fumbled handball which leads to an opposition player tapping the ball to an outside runner. Is that a clearance.

Just seems to me that we get very little clean ball

I agree and I think this is a big part of it.  Oliver's dinky little handballs seem to have become less effective than more effective.  Where as last season they would get to a player on the move and create a chain of good connections further up the ground, it seems more the case at the moment that these end up selling our players into trouble and the ball moves nowhere.  Alternatively our opposition often seem to move the ball out effortlessly out of the congested area just through good positioning around the stoppage.

I do also think the rule change with the 6-6-6 hurt us badly in the center clearance scenarios as we seemed to have mastered a tactic that worked a treat there and are now just around the mark.

I must say, I don't have any strong statistical evidence to back up my assertions on clearances, which is mostly based on the impression I get of clean movement out of pack situations watching the game, but I do think that the time in forward half assertion I have made would be backed up statistically based on what I recall being flashed up for individual games.

Edited by Rodney (Balls) Grinter
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Hot take: Gawn is not a very good centre square ruckman. The follow up work is so important in there and isn't his strength at all, so he stays close to the ground rather than jumping for clean hit outs. 

Apart from that neither Oliver nor Viney have even passable kicks on their non dominant sides (Clarry not terrible but not even good) and Viney's lost the burst to get clear. And Brayshaw's too slow to even be at some of the centre bounces. Teams are using quicker players at centre bounces to get that balance and we don't have a forward who the coaches trust to come in and do that. Petracca kind of does but he's not super quick changing directions and is another player without a left.

Around the ground Gawn is more suited to winning decisive hit outs but around the ground stoppages rely on wingers, half backs and half forwards and we are clearly short on quality there.

 

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My guess...

I personally think anytime we have Viney & Clarry in the starting four we are limiting our ability to clear the contest more often in the centre and to a lessor degree, the around ground stoppages

Viney a long way off his 2018 top five form and not exactly the most agile mid.

Gus played more time through the middle last season.  Significantly less time in the middle this year and form has dropped right off from his top five 2018 form as well.

Gawn is probably getting as many taps but with an immobile starting line up i also feel he is now frustrated with less players hitting the contest on the move to tap to.  Lately i've noticed he is often just tapping it anywhere, sometimes straight to the opp's mid over the back etc or just trying to rip it out himself.

A lack of leg speed/agility with Clarry / Viney starting and Clarry's hot potato handball obsession means we are also getting caught more often even when Gawn is connecting ok.

The opp have probably also done their homework as to roughly where his hit out hot zones were in 2018 and are now picking him off more often.  All the reason why its handy to play alternatives like Pruess (if he was more adept elsewhere, which at this point he isn't).

While we are far from terrible, without an in form Gus playing more time in the middle we lack a slippery escape option.  Having said that, i have enjoyed seeing Tracc starting to play more time here with some impact  of late.

Edited by Rusty Nails

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I'm not sure if you guys have been following but I can simplify it all for you. It's all Goodwins fault and has nothing to do with 666 or any new rules and something about Pert.

I'm also surprised no one has brought up Gil as it seems Pert and Gil don't agree on a few key MFC issues.

 

 

 

I actually hope this discussion continues as I really enjoy dissecting the structure and tactics!

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Last year our midfield would swarm at the ball or the opponent with the ball. They caused fear, panic, intensiy and were able to put two or more goals on in a row. I've barely seen back-to-back goals this year (except at the start of a game, when we are 'fired up'). We just don't seem to scare teams this year. We lost our fight. The pressure we used to apply kept the ball locked down or created goals. Without the goal scoring this year, we aren't in the heads of the opponent.

Our basic problems were there last year (turnovers, going missing for quarters and the other team scoring back-to-back, to-back goals without a reply) it is just amplified because of our lack of scoreboard pressure this year, and we seem to be always chasing.

We used to score well in the time-on period, but can barely score heavily at anytime this year.

We lack confidence. Even when we get out in front, usually with our good starts we let them back in.

Teams used to get us on the spread. Now they just punch it into the spaces we create within our zones.

Need to play accountable football with shoulder to shoulder defense, contesting/controlling the ball with a pack mentality and trusting each other. Without our pack mentality and trust we can't get the ball back, lock it down or score.

Some outside run would also help.

Stop the turnovers by improving our angles with better kicks/ handball to advantage. Looks like we are too straight with our delivery and leads. Works at training but in hard situations it is a method for turnovers.

Need ruthlessness (to hammer teams when we are in front), stronger will power (to stop the oppositions back-to-back goals) and some improvement in footy IQ (to maintain possession, get it back, score goals and control the tempo).  

Edited by kev martin

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3 hours ago, martin said:

Interestingly, have been thinking about this and can draw one main conclusion. The main protagonists - Oliver, Harmes, Brayshaw, Viney and, to a lesser extent, Jones all had interrupted pre seasons in varying degrees. They also represent the few in the squad that have pretty much been untouched by injury 'in season'. I am of the belief that they have shouldered a very heavy load whilst being under prepared. They all look weary and the end of the season can't come quickly enough. Viney, in particular, looks shot. Harmes not far behind. Don't think Brayshaw's been right at any time. Oliver still very good but struggling a little atm.

Gven a longer break,  a full pre season, some luck, midfield additions through the draft and trade and things can turn around

Agree with above. Particularly the bolded bit and the last  para as a whole. Our luck has been wretched this season. Not a week has gone without an injury. 

Things can turn around. No guarantees of course, but I am confident they will.

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2 hours ago, Unleash Hell said:

I'm not sure if you guys have been following but I can simplify it all for you. It's all Goodwins fault and has nothing to do with 666 or any new rules and something about Pert.

I'm also surprised no one has brought up Gil as it seems Pert and Gil don't agree on a few key MFC issues.

 

 

 

I actually hope this discussion continues as I really enjoy dissecting the structure and tactics!

image.jpeg.99b4f8813fc0cdd9b11af1f6de42d094.jpeg

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59 minutes ago, jnrmac said:

image.jpeg.99b4f8813fc0cdd9b11af1f6de42d094.jpeg

Haha here fishy fishy.

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17 hours ago, Diamond_Jim said:

Would love to see some more definition on that stat along the lines of clean clearances. For example Oliver getting the ball on the ground and then handpassing out to a player who is immediately tackled. Is that a clearance. Similarly viney taking the ball and then giving off a fumbled handball which leads to an opposition player tapping the ball to an outside runner. Is that a clearance.

Just seems to me that we get very little clean ball

Now that's an interesting debate.

Champion Data defines a clearance as "Credited to the player who has the first effective disposal in a chain that clears the stoppage area, or an ineffective kick or clanger kick that clears the stoppage area".

So I don't think either of your examples would be a clearance as neither of them "clear the stoppage area".

Having said that, an ineffective kick or a clanger kick that clears the stoppage area counts. I suspect there are quite a number of these in any given game from our mids.

I would agree with you that the quality of our clearances is not as high as other sides. I think we still get our hands on the ball a lot in the middle, and Gawn helps with that, but I think we then struggle to convert that first touch into a clearance which translates into retaining the ball. A lot of the time it feels like a rushed/hacked kick forward and/or a turnover. But the strength of our mids in getting the ball and being the ones to at least control it out of the stoppage is still there, as it was in 2018.

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3 hours ago, titan_uranus said:

I would agree with you that the quality of our clearances is not as high as other sides. I think we still get our hands on the ball a lot in the middle, and Gawn helps with that, but I think we then struggle to convert that first touch into a clearance which translates into retaining the ball. A lot of the time it feels like a rushed/hacked kick forward and/or a turnover. But the strength of our mids in getting the ball and being the ones to at least control it out of the stoppage is still there, as it was in 2018.

Yep agree with this.

It has appeared that quite regularly this year we do get first hands on the ball at the stoppage but get tackled which either results in another stoppage, a rushed disposal that is turned over or a hot-potato handball to another player under pressure. In contrast, the opposition appear to get more unpressured clean clearances.

I'm not sure whether this may be due to our CP and clearance dominance last year. With Gawn in the ruck and a strong inside midfield group, teams may be using a more defensive mindset at stoppages to sweat on our first possession and try turn it over. On the other hand, perhaps we have a more attacking mindset at the stoppages given is one of our strengths, such that when we don't win it first or alternatively turn it over, we are not in as good a position to defend the opposition's exit.

Or is it just a work rate thing? Hard to know the exact cause, but clearly it is an area of strength which we can hopefully exploit better next year.

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On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 1:39 PM, titan_uranus said:

Not really.

We're 4th in clearance differential this year (i.e. more clearances than our opponents).

i think people just assume we are crap at everything.

One main problem is when you pump the ball in soften (and often more time than the opposition) and don't score, you lose the edge. it takes away all our energy to do all the hard work and watch forwards who have no idea in front of goal.

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10 hours ago, Scoop Junior said:

Yep agree with this.

It has appeared that quite regularly this year we do get first hands on the ball at the stoppage but get tackled which either results in another stoppage, a rushed disposal that is turned over or a hot-potato handball to another player under pressure. In contrast, the opposition appear to get more unpressured clean clearances.

I'm not sure whether this may be due to our CP and clearance dominance last year. With Gawn in the ruck and a strong inside midfield group, teams may be using a more defensive mindset at stoppages to sweat on our first possession and try turn it over. On the other hand, perhaps we have a more attacking mindset at the stoppages given is one of our strengths, such that when we don't win it first or alternatively turn it over, we are not in as good a position to defend the opposition's exit.

Or is it just a work rate thing? Hard to know the exact cause, but clearly it is an area of strength which we can hopefully exploit better next year.

I think it's probably a bit of all of those things.

I think teams looked at us in 2018 and when planning for us in 2019, they've focused on how they set up at stoppages. I think the way we approach stoppages also means that if we're off (in that we don't convert our first touch into a clean chain away and a decent inside 50) we're set up to be exploited by our opponent. And I think that the mistakes we were making, leading to repeat wasted inside 50s, sapped us of confidence and that affects our mids' ongoing work rate.

I reckon we've been trying to change this in the back half of 2019 but it's nowhere near fixed yet.

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Firstly! I’m sick of seeing Brayshaw playing out of the centre square... He is a contested ball beast! So play him to his strengths Goodwin. I’m as frustrated as Brayshaw is!

Gawn - Oliver, Viney and Brayshaw shape as one of the best midfield clearance sides when up and firing! Gawn’s chemistry with these guys is top rate.

Oliver- is coming off a double shoulder operation over the pre-season. Not making excuses for him but I do feel his handball game has suffered some what from this. 

Viney- needs some time and consistency after coming back from serious foot injury. I think we under estimate the seriousness and road back to Jack to be at 100%. 

Brayshaw- it’s simple! He has been played out of position most of the season and plays like he is frustrated and disinterested at times. 

With Burgess at the helm of the fitness department I can see these boys up and cracking for 2020. 

The recruitment of two dashing outside runners (Hill and Langdon should be priorities) is not to be under estimated as it will take some burden from these boys.

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