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Its the forward line stupid

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This article from HPN Footy highlights where the Dees Mids, Forwards & Backline stood in relation to other teams as of July 12th. Suprisingly our midfield was ranked 2nd in the league. But as you can see our Forward line is the biggest weakness, with backline not far behind. See screenshot attached.

https://www.hpnfooty.com/?p=31795

This suggests that over the off-season the main focus has to be creating a functional forward line again. For me this isn't too big a task, but what we really need is someone to replace the Hogan role. A big roaming forward that opposition key backs are wary of is priority #1. This allows Bridesmaid Tmac to get off the chain & 2nd bridesmaid Weideman to pop up and take the 3rd best defender.  Priority #2 is a genuine proven small forward like a Papley or someone that can actually crumb and kick goals.

I think the backline will fix itself after a summer of Lever, May & Hibberd playing together. Although i think Hibberd is cooked and on the decline. Maybe his role needs to be replaced too?

 

 

 

hpn-ratings.png

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The forwards are not the problem. The delivery into the forwards meant that no forward had a chance.

But in saying that the forwards would have helped if they could convert and hold the ball in or slow the rate it came out.

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I still think we have shallow midfield depth. This year has shown only Oliver and maybe Harmes as consistent performers. Most others are currently passengers.

Some might well say "what about Viney, or Brayshaw?" Their deficiencies have been found out this year. Get Anderson and Langdon and we go some way towards fixing our outside mid hole. Moving Salem into the midfield full time might help too. Trac needs to step up again in 2020.

Edited by Moonshadow
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29 minutes ago, billyblanks29 said:

This article from HPN Footy highlights where the Dees Mids, Forwards & Backline stood in relation to other teams as of July 12th. Suprisingly our midfield was ranked 2nd in the league. But as you can see our Forward line is the biggest weakness, with backline not far behind. See screenshot attached.

https://www.hpnfooty.com/?p=31795

This suggests that over the off-season the main focus has to be creating a functional forward line again. For me this isn't too big a task, but what we really need is someone to replace the Hogan role. A big roaming forward that opposition key backs are wary of is priority #1. This allows Bridesmaid Tmac to get off the chain & 2nd bridesmaid Weideman to pop up and take the 3rd best defender.  Priority #2 is a genuine proven small forward like a Papley or someone that can actually crumb and kick goals.

I think the backline will fix itself after a summer of Lever, May & Hibberd playing together. Although i think Hibberd is cooked and on the decline. Maybe his role needs to be replaced too?

 

 

 

hpn-ratings.png

The basis of our forward line's success in 2018 was Tom Mac. Melksham was not far behind, Hannan was a consistent contributor, and when it mattered - very late in the season, including 2 of the three finals, Weidemann put up his hand. Fritch and Garlett at times, and Spargo were very handy as well. As was Neal Bullen. This season Tom Mac has played injured or not at all - he fired up in one solitary game - Melksham has been injured, ditto Weidemann, Garlett and Hannan. Fritch played back because of the lack of May, Lever, Jetta and Hore and Hibberd at times. Spargo simply went backwards because of the chaos created by our inability to replace our first graders.

But that's seen as an inexcusable 'Excuse' by some. It's not an excuse, in my opinion, just the simple facts. It is what it is.

I haven't even mentioned the lack of Vandenberg and J. Smith...

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Our forward line was completly unfunctionable. Yes there was poor delivery into it but the players led to the wrong positions and on too many occasions could not hold marks. With TMAC out of form and the weed not taking the next step it was always going to be a stuggle. The situation with joel Smith in the pre season was farcical as I guessed he was being groomed as a full forward type. 

The only good thing I saw late in the year was Petty being tried down there. There maybe some hope there.

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We have one kpf and a couple of uesfull half forwards and no small forwards of any quality at this point. The great hope VDB is missing and who knows if he will ever play again. The forward line is IMO a big problem that will take at min. 2 years to improve. A big problem for an AFL team is not being able to kick goals

Edited by old dee
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I think we have the forwards to kick a score, we did last year, we just need them out on the park and not injured. we also need coaches who can teach the players a system of ball movement and leading patterns. we currently don't have that, I've barely seen it all year.

would also like us to stop with the high press defence that we don't have the leg speed to stop goals out the back with. I want to see defenders who can play on a man and beat them. find out who can actually defend. none of this zoning crap.

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9 minutes ago, Demon Dude said:

I think we have the forwards to kick a score, we did last year, we just need them out on the park and not injured. we also need coaches who can teach the players a system of ball movement and leading patterns. we currently don't have that, I've barely seen it all year.

would also like us to stop with the high press defence that we don't have the leg speed to stop goals out the back with. I want to see defenders who can play on a man and beat them. find out who can actually defend. none of this zoning crap.

Take out TMac and Milkshake, now who are these forwards who going to kick a winning score? The only other one from 2018 has a broken foot and plays for Freo. 

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Our problem is a combo of forwards unable to find space, and onballers unable to kick to the forwards from close enough to the the forward 50 to enable the forwards to get either behind defenders or lead up into space.

Because we lack line breaking pace we are kicking to the forwards from too far out to make the defenders worry about whether the forward will come forward on a short lead, or double back for a kick over the top. We aren't generating the latter.

It's possible we are getting too many players behind the ball and therefore lack options ahead of the ball. We need to pull the trigger quicker so we can break faster and get closer to our goal for the crucial last kick in.

But in short, it's forwards lacking space and ball carriers unable to find a forwards in space. The forward finding space is helped by the onballers and the onballers finding a forward in space is helped by forwards. It's not chicken and egg, it's chicken and chicken. Or egg and egg. 

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1 hour ago, dieter said:

The basis of our forward line's success in 2018 was Tom Mac. Melksham was not far behind, Hannan was a consistent contributor, and when it mattered - very late in the season, including 2 of the three finals, Weidemann put up his hand. Fritch and Garlett at times, and Spargo were very handy as well. As was Neal Bullen. This season Tom Mac has played injured or not at all - he fired up in one solitary game - Melksham has been injured, ditto Weidemann, Garlett and Hannan. Fritch played back because of the lack of May, Lever, Jetta and Hore and Hibberd at times. Spargo simply went backwards because of the chaos created by our inability to replace our first graders.

But that's seen as an inexcusable 'Excuse' by some. It's not an excuse, in my opinion, just the simple facts. It is what it is.

I haven't even mentioned the lack of Vandenberg and J. Smith...

T-Mac by his own admission never played with any hampering injury and was cherry ripe.  Said himself he had a severe form issue up till the meniscus that took him out in Rnd 16 (from memory).

Not sure why so many are parroting this as if it's an accepted fact on D'land.  Fake news.

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18 minutes ago, old dee said:

Take out TMac and Milkshake, now who are these forwards who going to kick a winning score? The only other one from 2018 has a broken foot and plays for Freo. 

I still think a decent forward coach should be able to develop a functional forward unit out of what we already have, particularly if we get everyone fit.

Talls: TMac, Weids, Petty 

Flankers: Tracc, Melk, Hannan, JSmith, AVB, a rotating midfielder Harmes/Oliver

options: Dunkley, Lockhart, Spargo, Chandler, perhaps May goes forward...

( I don’t think Jeffy and maybe ANB will be there and I think Hunt should play on the wing). 

first requirement is to get the set shot goal kicking sorted, that issue has cost us 4 or 5 games this year. Get a specialist kicking coach in preseason for heaven’s sake! 

Then get targets leading at the ball carrier providing multiple targets, spreading the defence; don’t all cluster in one area as the ball is coming in and how about not having everyone flying and no one down for the spilled ball? 

Surely this so called forward disconnect can be rectified!!! 

 

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Get Wayne Carey to training for a month.

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2 minutes ago, Clintosaurus said:

Get Wayne Carey to training for a month.

A fabulous idea and you have my vote Clinto, other than much needed addition of a genuine KF pls.

However, can we make it at least an entire pre-season and ongoing for the entire season following that pls?  We are coming from that far back in terms of forward craft.

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Hunt was something of a revelation up forward this year. Often he did fast leads straight towards the ball kicker - gave him a space advantage vs his opponent, and allowed the kicker to know exactly where to place the ball predictably for it to be marked. 

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20 minutes ago, Clintosaurus said:

Get Wayne Carey to training for a month.

Is he known as a coach? There's no point getting him in if he's not. Just because someone was a great player doesn't automatically mean they can coach.

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37 minutes ago, Rusty Nails said:

T-Mac by his own admission never played with any hampering injury and was cherry ripe.  Said himself he had a severe form issue up till the meniscus that took him out in Rnd 16 (from memory).

Not sure why so many are parroting this as if it's an accepted fact on D'land.  Fake news.

He didn't jump, run or move the same way he did last year: that's not form. He had surgery, I believe, over the break...

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The cattle are in place. What's missing is a game plan that teaches forwards when and where to run and teaches midfielders and backs to know what to look for and to deliver. Until now, it has been ad hoc, so called" chaos" play and relied on individual great efforts to score.

Let's add to that. No great dramas - just need good, intelligent coaches to make it work. One of the features of long established top clubs is that they are able to refresh and renew by absorbing new players who have been taught the game plan and can slot in. It's much harder when 44 have to be taught.

Let's get a game plan and then we will know. It's up to you coaches.

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There was more space this year with 6-6-6 so I don't think they lacked space. We lacked good players on the park and continuity of those players. If t Mac, Weird & Garlett played every week so far this year wed have 3-4 more wins no doubt.

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14 minutes ago, La Dee-vina Comedia said:

Is he known as a coach? There's no point getting him in if he's not. Just because someone was a great player doesn't automatically mean they can coach.

Dane Swan said he was the best assistant coach he ever had at Collingwood.

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6 minutes ago, bjDee said:

Hunt was something of a revelation up forward this year. Often he did fast leads straight towards the ball kicker - gave him a space advantage vs his opponent, and allowed the kicker to know exactly where to place the ball predictably for it to be marked. 

hunt was ok on the lead, but he often did bugger all beyond that, he is not a strong tackler. opposition players seem to shake lose from him pretty easily.  and for all his speed he does not seem to catch the opposition players very often with the ball.

I feel the problem with our backline is that they dont play as a team, they play as a group of individuals all going for the same ball. they do not seem to have trust in their fellow players at times.  I lost count of how many times we have 3 melbourne players going up against 1 opposition player, usually with lever or may crashing the pack which consists mainly of our players. and the ball falls over the pack to the waiting opposition forwards.

As for our forward line we have a couple of problems. we often are out numbered when we go into attack. our kicking is usually to the flanks or directly to opposition players. for some reason our players just do not seem to be able to read the flight of the ball as well as our opponents do. Our own players do not help out each other i.e.by getting between our leading forwards and their opponents to take some of the pressure off. Our scoring ability is not always bad, but our kicking for goal is atrocious.  Our defensive structure from a kick-in is woeful, we let the opposition have easy kick ins to the flanks where if we get the ball places us in the worst attacking position. from there we allow the next easy pass, then the next, then the switch and we are all at sea. We have shown we can win contested possessions so man up for f's sake. encourage the opposition to kick down the middle, back yourselves to win the ball and attack.  i do miss dunnies torps when he used to kick in.

Lastly too many of our players just dont know how to move the ball on. they mark the ball and start looking sideways, worried about where to go. often they overlook the quick pass to a players 20-30m away.  

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1 hour ago, Rusty Nails said:

T-Mac by his own admission never played with any hampering injury and was cherry ripe.  Said himself he had a severe form issue up till the meniscus that took him out in Rnd 16 (from memory).

Not sure why so many are parroting this as if it's an accepted fact on D'land.  Fake news.

rubbish. like the player is going to talk up his injury as an excuse. he was miles off what he could do last year. you could see it from the start playing on Rance in the preseason who rag dolled him. he just didn't have his body right. I likened him to an elephant. just could not jump, and was not making space well at all. even his 6 goals against the blues I wasn't convinced he was 100% right.

remember a lot of games in 2018 he was the number one key forward.

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2 hours ago, Earl Hood said:

I still think a decent forward coach should be able to develop a functional forward unit out of what we already have, particularly if we get everyone fit.

Talls: TMac, Weids, Petty 

Flankers: Tracc, Melk, Hannan, JSmith, AVB, a rotating midfielder Harmes/Oliver

options: Dunkley, Lockhart, Spargo, Chandler, perhaps May goes forward...

( I don’t think Jeffy and maybe ANB will be there and I think Hunt should play on the wing). 

first requirement is to get the set shot goal kicking sorted, that issue has cost us 4 or 5 games this year. Get a specialist kicking coach in preseason for heaven’s sake! 

Then get targets leading at the ball carrier providing multiple targets, spreading the defence; don’t all cluster in one area as the ball is coming in and how about not having everyone flying and no one down for the spilled ball? 

Surely this so called forward disconnect can be rectified!!! 

 

Our tall forward is TMac, the others are a guy who has play 6-7 decent games in three years and the other is kid who might yet be better than average.

Tracc cannot kick a goal from a standing position to save his life. Hannan is a vfl player who occasionally plays the odd good quarter. J Smith and AVB are injured 90% of the time. Hunt is useful. Dunkley and Lockhart are sadly those sort of players who better than VFL quality but just not good enough at the senior level. Spargo is of average talent who will always be too short. Chandler is a kid who is yet to prove he is a consistently good player at Casey let alone at the AFL. You forgot Sparrow. Actually think he is the best of them all at Casey.

That does not look like a forward line that will consistently kick winning scores to me.

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1 hour ago, dieter said:

He didn't jump, run or move the same way he did last year: that's not form. He had surgery, I believe, over the break...

From the horses mouth....i'm merely the postie Dieter.

Rnd 8 after the nail biter over GC.  And yes it REALLY is T-Mac speaking... i don't have the time or skills to pull off a fakey! :cool:

Specifically...

5:45 - form slump / trying too hard / asks for advice from Brendan Goddard re getting out of form slump... and;

8:00 - "FIrst time in 3 Years where i haven't really had a major surgery, whereas other years i've had big time off, and i'm like 'yep great i'm gonna have a full pre-season essentially and um should be able to improve' and then it doesn't come to you early in the season and it's just you know it's frustrating, you're trying different things at training, trying to work harder and harder, doing extra weights and stuff and it's almost the last week i've just tried to relax a little bit and it started to come back a bit on the weekend and i'd stopped caring a little.... etc".

57 minutes ago, Bay Riffin said:

rubbish. like the player is going to talk up his injury as an excuse. he was miles off what he could do last year. you could see it from the start playing on Rance in the preseason who rag dolled him. he just didn't have his body right. I likened him to an elephant. just could not jump, and was not making space well at all. even his 6 goals against the blues I wasn't convinced he was 100% right.

remember a lot of games in 2018 he was the number one key forward.

As per above please feel free to listen to the entire interview BR or if you don't have the time, can't be bothered, the times highlighted ✌🏼

...and if you need further word from the man himself, this after Rnd 14 following his 3 goals vs the Dockers and the bloody meniscal tear.

Again speaks about a massive form/confidence/belief slump from early in the season to the point of self pitty and despair at times (as the season wore on). Trying too hard etc.  From the 1:50 mark for those interested...

https://m.melbournefc.com.au/video/2019-06-24/on-the-radio-tom-mcdonald-3aw

Edited by Rusty Nails

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42 minutes ago, Rusty Nails said:

where i haven't really had a major surgery,

Hey, Rusty, thanks for the reply. I can see you care and are as well informed as can be. 

I recall however before the season started there were murmurs about his foot/toe. I watched a lot of those early games and he just didn't seem to be moving properly. No doubt - as you point out - he was maybe trying too bloody hard but - like Ray Biffin - I'm not the only one who noticed things were a wee bit awry with the Tom. 

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