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I have been meaning to start a thread, not about the state of footy media and the coverage of the game (though this issue is related to my focus) but about the tactical evolution of the game.

There was an excellent article discussed on Demonland a few weeks back arguing essentially that  'AFL football's problem is not the football itself, but the way it is filmed and broadcast'  

it argues there was a widening gap of 'understanding between those intimately involved in the game at club level — the coaches, assistants and analysts who have access to every available piece of footage filmed on game day — and the average fan and even journalists, who, if they're not sitting in the stands, are entirely reliant on what's shown by the Seven Network and Fox Sports.' 

The author, Russel Jackson 'asked AFL coaches and team analysts a simple question: would they be able to understand a game of modern AFL football from the television broadcast alone?', with the answer being a firm no, with hose asked painting 'a picture of AFL broadcasting as something closer to a coaching fraternity in-joke' 

The focus of this article is about television coverage but it touches on an issue that frustrates me no end - the almost complete lack of decent analysis of the game across all forms of media. 

For me, the way game is covered live but also discussed  on radio and TV, feeds the narrative that the game needs to get back to the golden game of themid 90s football with it high scores and glorified one on one battles. It is no coincidence that it was this point in time where the completed the transition to a fully professional, elite sport.   

This narrative is the driver of all the ridiculous rule changes the AFL has made in the last 5 years as it seeks to legislate the game back in time. And of course those changes simply don't work and all have any number of unintended consequences.

But he game is not going back. 

I reckon footy is fantastic now. Of course it is different now than it was in the 80s and 90s, but that is as it is. It is a game that it is constantly evolving and changing.

The following factors all combine to create the perfect environment for constant evolution, even revolution:

  • the AFL has only been fully professional end elite for 30 years,
  • the size of they playing field,
  • the number of players involved (ie 22 a side),  
  • the 360 degree nature of the game,
  • the rules
  • the athletic profile the game demands
  • the combination of distance players cover and the fact the game is so physical

For me the tactical evolution of the game is what i love most about the game. 

So in this thread i am hoping to create a space where Demonlanders can help fill the analytical void and post, discuss, argue all things games plans, tactics, strategies, zones, structures, where the game is heading and analysis.  

There have been some fantastic posts about tactics etc on different threads in the last few weeks., with some fantastic insights from posters such as A F, Engorged Onion, Pollyanna, Axis of Bob, George on the Outer, Big Red Fire Engine, Lucifer's Hero, Damo, Whispering jack and many others.

A really good example was the recent discussion about an excellent article Engorged Onion posted about the tactical evolution in the EPL (i had planned to contribute to that discussion, but thought i'd kick this thread off with post about it as i totally agree with EOs suggestion it is very relevant for goodwin's game plan and in fact the game more broadly).

Often those posts don't neatly fit into the threads they are posted in because they are bit tangential. I hope this thread can be a home or such posts.

I would love to hear from people like Dazzler and others with recent experience of playing senior football, or who are involved in coaching, junior footy or club footy. 

For the thread to stay on the main board it has to stay current and topical so footy nerds out there in Demonland please post any relevant comment, thought, link to interesting article or vision etc etc and help create a space to reflect on the tactical evolution of the game and  build the collective understanding of our great game. 

 

 

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Thanks for starting a stand alone thread @binman, I really enjoy this type of analysis. For a bit of context in how I view games, and my lens is slightly different from most I suspect, I'm a psyc

Really interesting topic, spurred me to start an account to add to the discussion. The earlier talk about pressure acts prompted me to have a bit of a deep dive into the stat during our games this yea

Lots of talk about who we move out of our team come the end of the year, this popping up today on SEN from our old assistant coach https://www.sen.com.au/news/2020/08/10/hed-certainly-be-an-asset-at

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Thanks for starting a stand alone thread @binman, I really enjoy this type of analysis.

For a bit of context in how I view games, and my lens is slightly different from most I suspect, I'm a psych by trade and have worked in a high performance space across a range of sports - this lens always colours what I write in my posts.

Beyond the oft announced commentary from Goodwin, from the media that we are a contested ball team, there are a range of nuances in the game plan that I feel fly under the radar. It's a lot to do with the personnel that Goodwin has brought in in the pre season, namely Burgess and Richardson.

  •  Fitness (Burgess) - it hasn't been on show this year due to the shortened format of our game, but in high stress games (read finals) capacity to execute when under pressure and fatigue will come to the fore...BUT not in one preseason. Over 2-3-4 is when we will reap the rewards
  • Age profile (Richardson/development/guidance) - this will also feed into our midfield and some forwards compliment hitting 25-29yo age bracket...which evidenced on experience profile is peak premiership winning time...so we are still 2 years or so away, or still 2 years of development phase.
  • Tactically - The High press/I50's - I still think it's a workable way of operating. It breaks down due to fatigue and poor structure at times, and this is something for the FD to work on... but there is enough evidence to suggest when it works it works... the question most rebut is, it's not sustainable... I'd feed this back into where we are developmentally. 
  • Success, Culture is built on relationships. There is a lot of love from Goodwin to the players and players to Goodwin. More importantly I want to see the players taking risks during a game. I've said it before on here but the ability to take risks (and this looks like a myriad of things for each individual)and 'practice' them in real games to have the evidence that you CAN execute when it counts...not just in training. The obvious example last week was for Oliver to finally finally start to accelerate out of the pack once he had the ball. We all know he is highly skilled at handballing, we all know he can get the ball. BUT for Clayton, it would have felt uncomfortable emotionally to test this out in a real life AFL game... yep he has subtle emotions too, it's uncomfortable to do a different behaviour. So I cant undersell how important for Clayton  it was to test this and ultimately be BOG... it bodes good things for the future.
  • Risk Taking also looks like Brayshaw on the wing.. playing to role..which sucks for some(him) emotionally, yet importantly contributes greatly to our structures around the ground. The risk is actually all about, what are you emotionally willing to have, in service of what matters. 
  • It also looks like Bennell building competence in getting tackled, having body on body and not seagulling the ball..but this will come..he of course is coming back with a lot of trauma (I assume) -that cannot be understated.
  • It also looks like Weiderman - backing himself to kick goals from 50m - he is such a beautiful kick..and he is also developing capacity to have his body knocked around. God knows I don't like it when my 4.5yo punches me when I'm not expecting it, so I wouldn't expect anyone to really really want to have to experience, even if they are competing professionally.

Essentially when I watch, I look for positive risk taking behaviour, whether it comes off or not... and Goodwin...like the best across a range of sports, keeps promoting it, empathically. 

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Good thread, Binman. You might be interested in some of the recent articles the ABC has written about tactics, by Cody Atkinson and Sean Lawson: https://www.abc.net.au/news/cody-atkinson/12422846?section=sport&nw=0. Some of the best footy analysis I've read in a while

The books 'Time and Space' and to a lesser extent 'Footballistics' by James Coventry are also great lockdown reads if you're interested in the recent evolution of the game, as are the videos on Youtube from FootyA2Z (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtT6czP8n-fM3SVMFV3AOIQ). I also recently stumbled across The Shinboner (https://theshinboner.com/), which is written by a North Melbourne fan but includes some pretty astute tactical analysis.

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2 hours ago, Engorged Onion said:

Thanks for starting a stand alone thread @binman, I really enjoy this type of analysis.

For a bit of context in how I view games, and my lens is slightly different from most I suspect, I'm a psych by trade and have worked in a high performance space across a range of sports - this lens always colours what I write in my posts . . .

 

Great input EO. 

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I'm in Bin (actual question in bold below). 

Also started a thread a few years back looking at Ajax and my suspicion that Goody and co. had an eye on them tactically and from an operational perspective. Was mocked. Whatever. I'll get over it one day. 

So the last match I attended live was in 2016 and I'm a complete ball-watcher on TV (get to the end of a game and I have no idea our centre-square attendance break-down for example or what's going on at the clearances).

Used to attend regularly throughout the 90s and as well as gaining a better overview of movement and space would often zone in on a particular player e.g. McLeod or Carey - and get a real appreciation for their brilliance and role. 

Suffice to say we've moved on from then and so my deep tactical understanding has elapsed. I don't watch the selective footage from the footy shows and most of what I pick up is on replays - but it's rare that I watch a whole match again nowadays. 

........................................................................................................................................................................

I should get the Telstra app or renew AFL Live for greater insight but I probably spend too much time caring already so likely won't. In that vein, here are a couple questions on contemporary tactics that I'm curious about. 

Probably the most frustrating thing watching modern football (and particularly Melbourne but not just Melbourne) is a) the number of bombs that go directly down a defender's throat, and b) team zones getting cut up in the opposite direction. 

The zone is now ubiquitous. Why is it that teams haven't switched back to a man-on-man defence if it suits their personnel or if they're getting done during a match? If feels like no team has even attempted it in eons. (I understand the balance with offence). 

Raised this recently and it's not disingenuous. We have defensive half-fowards now. Why not defensive KPFs? If it keeps going directly to a defender out of the centre-square (i.e. when 6 vs 6) why not get one of the forwards to stand where the defender is?

Lastly. I've noticed this year (from memory MFC v Richmond and Geelong) that the forward trap is less effective. Defenders used to hack it out due to pressure - goes straight to a stationed forward press player of the opposition. Repeat entry. Ongoing pressure. 

It seems that these hacks are more often randomly landing in the arms of a teammate now. Have teams adjusted somehow? Like by reducing the number of players at the defensive-50 contest and having more outlets stationed just beyond the arc?  

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Skuit said:

I'm in Bin (actual question in bold below). 

Also started a thread a few years back looking at Ajax and my suspicion that Goody and co. had an eye on them tactically and from an operational perspective. Was mocked. Whatever. I'll get over it one day. 

So the last match I attended live was in 2016 and I'm a complete ball-watcher on TV (get to the end of a game and I have no idea our centre-square attendance break-down for example or what's going on at the clearances).

Used to attend regularly throughout the 90s and as well as gaining a better overview of movement and space would often zone in on a particular player e.g. McLeod or Carey - and get a real appreciation for their brilliance and role. 

Suffice to say we've moved on from then and so my deep tactical understanding has elapsed. I don't watch the selective footage from the footy shows and most of what I pick up is on replays - but it's rare that I watch a whole match again nowadays. 

........................................................................................................................................................................

I should get the Telstra app or renew AFL Live for greater insight but I probably spend too much time caring already so likely won't. In that vein, here are a couple questions on contemporary tactics that I'm curious about. 

Probably the most frustrating thing watching modern football (and particularly Melbourne but not just Melbourne) is a) the number of bombs that go directly down a defender's throat, and b) team zones getting cut up in the opposite direction. 

The zone is now ubiquitous. Why is it that teams haven't switched back to a man-on-man defence if it suits their personnel or if they're getting done during a match? If feels like no team has even attempted it in eons. (I understand the balance with offence). 

Raised this recently and it's not disingenuous. We have defensive half-fowards now. Why not defensive KPFs? If it keeps going directly to a defender out of the centre-square (i.e. when 6 vs 6) why not get one of the forwards to stand where the defender is?

Lastly. I've noticed this year (from memory MFC v Richmond and Geelong) that the forward trap is less effective. Defenders used to hack it out due to pressure - goes straight to a stationed forward press player of the opposition. Repeat entry. Ongoing pressure. 

It seems that these hacks are more often randomly landing in the arms of a teammate now. Have teams adjusted somehow? Like by reducing the number of players at the defensive-50 contest and having more outlets stationed just beyond the arc?  

 

 

 

 

Excellent, excellent thread. Cheers @binman, @Engorged Onion et al. Skuit I remember you pointing this out and, although it got lost in the mire of life, when Ajax had the greatest season a Dutch club has ever had a couple of years ago my reaction was ‘bloody hope Goody was looking at that.’

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8 hours ago, Skuit said:

I'm in Bin (actual question in bold below). 

Also started a thread a few years back looking at Ajax and my suspicion that Goody and co. had an eye on them tactically and from an operational perspective. Was mocked. Whatever. I'll get over it one day. 

So the last match I attended live was in 2016 and I'm a complete ball-watcher on TV (get to the end of a game and I have no idea our centre-square attendance break-down for example or what's going on at the clearances).

Used to attend regularly throughout the 90s and as well as gaining a better overview of movement and space would often zone in on a particular player e.g. McLeod or Carey - and get a real appreciation for their brilliance and role. 

Suffice to say we've moved on from then and so my deep tactical understanding has elapsed. I don't watch the selective footage from the footy shows and most of what I pick up is on replays - but it's rare that I watch a whole match again nowadays. 

........................................................................................................................................................................

I should get the Telstra app or renew AFL Live for greater insight but I probably spend too much time caring already so likely won't. In that vein, here are a couple questions on contemporary tactics that I'm curious about. 

Probably the most frustrating thing watching modern football (and particularly Melbourne but not just Melbourne) is a) the number of bombs that go directly down a defender's throat, and b) team zones getting cut up in the opposite direction. 

The zone is now ubiquitous. Why is it that teams haven't switched back to a man-on-man defence if it suits their personnel or if they're getting done during a match? If feels like no team has even attempted it in eons. (I understand the balance with offence). 

Raised this recently and it's not disingenuous. We have defensive half-fowards now. Why not defensive KPFs? If it keeps going directly to a defender out of the centre-square (i.e. when 6 vs 6) why not get one of the forwards to stand where the defender is?

Lastly. I've noticed this year (from memory MFC v Richmond and Geelong) that the forward trap is less effective. Defenders used to hack it out due to pressure - goes straight to a stationed forward press player of the opposition. Repeat entry. Ongoing pressure. 

It seems that these hacks are more often randomly landing in the arms of a teammate now. Have teams adjusted somehow? Like by reducing the number of players at the defensive-50 contest and having more outlets stationed just beyond the 

Skuit, really interesting connection to Ajax. And timely.

I'm on phone at the moment but tommorow I planned to look at the pies demon game through the lens of the article in link to a post by EO in my OP.

If you haven't read the post or article (or the subsequent posts in that thread) I think you will find it interesting in terms of the connection between soccer tactics and those in the AFL from a philosophical perspective.

On the questions im no expert on tactics etc, though obviously interested. 

But my thoughts are:

(I'll have a shot at the first one and get to the others tommorow)

My assumption is that man on man (assuming you mean every player goes to a direct opponent) would create too many variables for coaches to utilise as a tactical weapon (as opposed to end if games when scores are close and time is running out).

In basketball when they go to man on man the players generally man up on like players (usually, but not always, players playin in the same position, e.g. guess on guard).

Would this  occur in the AFL? Probably  as how else would they be able to organise it?  But with players coming off the bench and so many fluid roles it would be confusing and very hard to get right

As a result and because of 18 opponent on the field (and  four on the bench) there would be mismatches all over the place. For example Brayshaw ends up on a much faster player. Or Hibberd on a tall. 

If you mean just in defence then they sometimes do go man on man  on key forwards, for example against the eagles when they might try and shut the two bigs and and a crumbed down. But even then they would look to clag up space and leading lanes by pushing extra  players back.

I don't know soccer, do they go man on man in top level soccer?

 

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Engorded Onion, fascinating post (you first one). You bring an interesting perspective with your interst and expertise in psychology.

Some reflections on your comments:

  • I think on field team chemistry is really important part of the equation and and psycology plays a big part in building it
  • Off field relationships are an important factor but i think on field there are other elements - trust, fitness, confidence in team mates playing their role and intuitive understanding of the game plan being just some
  • But maybe the mots important element in building on field team chemistry is time playing together 
  • Agree risk is a key things to consider - i am not as convinced as you that goody encourages risk, but i might be being unfair - the team at time this year seemed have been afraid of losing but perhaps that is on them not Goody
  • i'd love to see the defenders take more risk with their kicks leaving the defensive zone and i was pleased that he did so last night - lever in particular, who has been terrific, was less hesitant, went faster and took on some risky kicks
  • On the high press i'd day we have in fact made pretty big adjustment with that - my feeling is our zone is not nearly as aggressive as it was in the first half of 2018. We tend now to keep a goal keeper deep and concede very few goal out the back.
  • Our zone system appears very similar to that of the pies and the tigers, all team defence that looks to force opposition teams to kick down the line or risk a turnover switching or going to the corridor 
  • Langdon has been a very important recruit in this respect as he does so much running (i cant wait to watch games live to see his spread and that of his teammates)
  • It is often said our one wood is our contest ball, forward half, pressure game but i am starting to think that is a bit of furphy 
  • Of course it is key to goody's game plan but perhaps even more so is his defensive system - we have become aside that is very, very hard to score against. A trend that began from mid 2018 when goody adjusted the zone to a less aggressive model
  • Even last year, despite all of our injuries and how poorly we played we rarely got smashed and only Port have opened us up this year and that was result of not doing the running or applying the pressure on the ball carrier goody' defensive system demands
  • Look at how many teams playing us struggle moving the ball forward, particularly when we get on top  - i know the the roos and the crows are struggling but it is remarkable that even though both sides only managed one goals in the second half. 
  • But the most striking thing was just like the Hawks game at times the crows and roos simply could not work out how to get the ball forward - and when they inevitably turned it over or had to take risks, we sweated on it and hurt them on the rebound

 

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This is fascinating. I only came to the game about 15 years ago, when I came to Australia. In England, we used to see highlights in the early 80s but all I remember is feral crowds, mullets and biffo!

I taught myself the game through going to matches and soaking up media commentary (good and bad), but I’ve longed to see it on a deeper level, especially tactically. I’m a ball watcher, so don’t often see how the ground is being set up or how tactics have changed during a game (what I see on TV, is what I see during a live game, more or less) - this is mostly due to growing up with soccer, where you can pretty much see the relevant area of the game in front of you. Maybe this is why I prefer to watch the game from the centre wing, front of top tier on the Olympic Stand.

Long story short! I’m grateful for this tactical insight and look forward to delving a bit deeper into our great game.

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Tactical observation from last night:

Watching the player GPS on the AFL app, in the second half, I saw on occassions that we had a spare player inside our forward 50 when the ball was up on the wing or HBF.

It looked like North were opting to allow this to occur to give them an additional number at the stoppage, but we saw what happened in the last when we kept getting it out the back or to the switch and suddenly had a lot of space to drive forward.

I observed that our spare player forward on a couple of occasions was Petracca. My hypothesis is he rotated forward to rest, his midfield opponent didn't go with him. When we won the ball in the contest and moved it forward, he often played a role around the high half forward line getting the ball into the 50.

This has a couple of effects: a) an opponent had to move back to find him, creating an overlap, and b) because he left the 50 to win the ball at half forward, there was often a hole of space in the 50 left behind him helping us score. 

 

 

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My other observation was the ground covered by Pickett. I'd like to watch the replay, but on a number of occasions he made the first lead out of the 50 which opened space, but then had double backed and was back flying past the contest 30-50 m away seconds later.

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2 hours ago, binman said:

i'd love to see the defenders take more risk with their kicks leaving the defensive zone and i was pleased that he did so last night - lever in particular, who has been terrific, was less hesitant, went faster and took on some risky kicks

Binman, I feel I am really ordinary at seeing the big structural things (which is why I love this thread). And ill pass comment on your Lever quote.

On Lever, essentially a question to put to the ether is 'how long, or how much evidence does one need to have, when they're coming back from such a significant injury (on top of his junior knee reco) to really genuinely feel they are 'safe' and ok, and therefore act less hesitantly. 

He has really being building into it, since his return.We got to remember, it's his livelihood, he has a kid... he doesnt want to do it again...its bloody scary to front up weekly (4 days) rinse and repeat (considering how innocuous his last one looked)

Harley will be the same. 

On the notion of risky kicks. I look at risk as - what is your capacity to competently complete a task. 

Eg: If you can competently hit a kick x distance, long and flat... then the evidence is you can do it... thus its not a risk from a biomechanics perspective... so as spectators (coaches, parents) it's helpful not to get caught up in the outcome of the executed kick..but naturally we, coaches and the player does... and this then leads to either, willingness (and confidence) to do it again... or back away, play safe, be less daring and move away from [censored] up...which in turn moves away from game plan...

Believe me in that I know that Goodwin has been schooled in language that helps open up players to make errors and keep taking risks in service of being at their best. Naturally though, each 18yo comes into the system with 18 years of not wanting to upset, disappoint, get judged by making errors...so the tension for goodwin is to help them have those emotional experiences of making errors but still compel them to 'go for it' - whilst under immense public scrutiny.

On a side note, One of my pet hates is the language around confidence, or someone is a 'confidence player...'

Confidence is a feeling, and it ebbs and flows, dependent on tasks completed, and outcomes of said tasks... see Weid's goalkicking last night.

Confidence IS NOT the reason for him to be able to kick a ball through the goals (he already has the biomechanical capacity to do it)... but if he believes he NEEDS it first... then it's a problem. Confidence merely makes it easier...

On Weid, he will come good...if he can work through his own stuff around the need to feel good as he is running in to take his kicks...

Essentially, when he is playing in a Grand Final in 2021 in front of 100,000 30m out directly in front...how in the hell would you feel 'good' at that time... so it's a good thing for him to be aware of and work through.

But, what is sound, is biomechanically his ball drop and follow through is great. 

And that bodes well for his consistency.

Edited by Engorged Onion
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Never underestimate the impact of footy intelligent players, we have added Pickett, Bennell, Jacko, Weid in the mix recently and the ball is moving forward to space. Rivers and Sparrow buy into that style and we have six newish players to create a better version of see player, pass ball tactic.

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4 hours ago, 3183 Dee said:

This is fascinating. I only came to the game about 15 years ago, when I came to Australia. In England, we used to see highlights in the early 80s but all I remember is feral crowds, mullets and biffo!

I taught myself the game through going to matches and soaking up media commentary (good and bad), but I’ve longed to see it on a deeper level, especially tactically. I’m a ball watcher, so don’t often see how the ground is being set up or how tactics have changed during a game (what I see on TV, is what I see during a live game, more or less) - this is mostly due to growing up with soccer, where you can pretty much see the relevant area of the game in front of you. Maybe this is why I prefer to watch the game from the centre wing, front of top tier on the Olympic Stand.

Long story short! I’m grateful for this tactical insight and look forward to delving a bit deeper into our great game.

Great 3183. If you grew up watching soccer i suspect you have a intuitive understanding of the tactics in that game, which in turn gives you real insight into AFL tactics as my sense is that soccer and basketball  (in that order) have been the two most influential sports in terms of how AFL has evolved tactically. 

I started going to live VFL games as an 11 year old in 1978. By and large by myself back then as no one in my family was into footy and no one i knew barracked for the dees. I reckon going by myself mean that i watched fairly intently. 

Pretty much from that time i have always watched the game live from behind the goals and when at the g almost always from the top deck of the Ponsford stand.

I reckon this has influenced how i see the game it is always down the ground and when up high you can really get an appreciation of the running patterns, structures, who is working hard ahead or behind the ball, set ups and in the last 10-15 years zones.

For this reason, I have said for years i reckon the coaches would be better off sitting behind the goals.

Funnily enough i also follow the play and often do not even notice opposition players but from the Posnford stand you can't but help see all the movement etc. And of course live you are constantly looking up the ground to see what options there are and who is free.

But i am the first to say i'm no expert, just interested. And i've always hated how little info there is out there about tactics etc.

Years ago (maybe 20?), in the Sunday Age there was a regular article about tactics that i loved (i forget the writer's name - i think he is now the editor of the Footy record, Ashley something, but i could be wrong). In all the time i have followed footy that is just about the only regular mainstream media about the tactics of the game. 

Compare that to the states where the coverage of all the big national sports go includes in depth analysis across multiple media platforms in forensic detail and the fans seem to really deeply understand and love the tactical nuances and intricacies of the game. 

Dee man highlights above the excllent recent articles the ABC has written about tactics, by Cody Atkinson and Sean Lawson, which as Dee man notes are fantastic and like him some of the best about footy i have read. So perhaps things are shifting.

And maybe the fact that people in Melbourne can't watch live games might help shift the incredibly one dimension coverage of the game by 7 and fox (7 is way worse it must be said - roaming brian is their biggest innovation for the last 30 years). 

Edited by binman
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I was a mid/forward in suburban footy who got older and went to half back. It was the best thing that happened for me in terms of understanding the game.

We can't go back to man on man because you can easily expose it by putting numbers behind the ball, creating a 10 vs 10 defensively and a 2 vs 2 offensively.

Elite footballers are good enough that, when they have time and space, they will be able to hit open targets or forwards in one on one situations. Give any half decent forward an empty 50 with his opponent and a straight running kicker and they'll have a shot on goal 80% of the time. If you go one on one, and the opposition only leaves 2 people ahead of the ball, then any half decent clearance will probably end up in a score. On the other hand, a clearance to a 10 vs 10 contest the other side will almost definitely end up in a stoppage. So a game with even clearances will almost definitely result in a loss.

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On 8/9/2020 at 6:17 AM, Engorged Onion said:

Risk Taking also looks like Brayshaw on the wing.. playing to role..which sucks for some(him) emotionally, yet importantly contributes greatly to our structures around the ground. The risk is actually all about, what are you emotionally willing to have, in service of what matters

Is he willing to have it? By that I mean, does the emotional sucking for him mean he becomes a dissatisfied and ineffective footballer? Is he too selfish to make the sacrifice?

ive been thinking lately that B has to be played in the middle more, where he shines, or traded. Logic being there’s not much point having players in roles they aren’t suited for when we could have someone who is.

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4 hours ago, binman said:

Engorded Onion, fascinating post (you first one). You bring an interesting perspective with your interst and expertise in psychology.

Some reflections on your comments:

  • I think on field team chemistry is really important part of the equation and and psycology plays a big part in building it
  • Off field relationships are an important factor but i think on field there are other elements - trust, fitness, confidence in team mates playing their role and intuitive understanding of the game plan being just some
  • But maybe the mots important element in building on field team chemistry is time playing together 
  • Agree risk is a key things to consider - i am not as convinced as you that goody encourages risk, but i might be being unfair - the team at time this year seemed have been afraid of losing but perhaps that is on them not Goody
  • i'd love to see the defenders take more risk with their kicks leaving the defensive zone and i was pleased that he did so last night - lever in particular, who has been terrific, was less hesitant, went faster and took on some risky kicks
  • On the high press i'd day we have in fact made pretty big adjustment with that - my feeling is our zone is not nearly as aggressive as it was in the first half of 2018. We tend now to keep a goal keeper deep and concede very few goal out the back.
  • Our zone system appears very similar to that of the pies and the tigers, all team defence that looks to force opposition teams to kick down the line or risk a turnover switching or going to the corridor 
  • Langdon has been a very important recruit in this respect as he does so much running (i cant wait to watch games live to see his spread and that of his teammates)
  • It is often said our one wood is our contest ball, forward half, pressure game but i am starting to think that is a bit of furphy 
  • Of course it is key to goody's game plan but perhaps even more so is his defensive system - we have become aside that is very, very hard to score against. A trend that began from mid 2018 when goody adjusted the zone to a less aggressive model
  • Even last year, despite all of our injuries and how poorly we played we rarely got smashed and only Port have opened us up this year and that was result of not doing the running or applying the pressure on the ball carrier goody' defensive system demands
  • Look at how many teams playing us struggle moving the ball forward, particularly when we get on top  - i know the the roos and the crows are struggling but it is remarkable that even though both sides only managed one goals in the second half. 
  • But the most striking thing was just like the Hawks game at times the crows and roos simply could not work out how to get the ball forward - and when they inevitably turned it over or had to take risks, we sweated on it and hurt them on the rebound

 

If these are the obvious ones, and you feel they're furphies, in your opinion, what's our one wood @binman? Which essentially is, what is the 'game plan' that drives these things as an outcome?

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Also just want to thank Binman for the thread. Tactical changes shocked me when I came back to the game after 15 years overseas with my back turned. Felt as if finally someone got smart and drafted in a team of scientists to work out how to win. 

On Bennell’s performance against the Crows... There’s a fear there, totally justified, of what success will mean in terms of the impact on his body. With a family now, the stakes have risen.  No doubt as a young man, his talent meant he had few reasons to doubt himself. But now he does. That all adds up to a big burden and it will be interesting to see how he copes. For mine, I think it is essential that he just keeps playing games and sooner or later a better footballer will emerge than he would have been otherwise...

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The real issue that makes a zone so effective in AFL is the speed of the ball through the air, and the man on the mark. 

You can cover space because the ball generally travels relatively slowly through the air as well as from decision to kick (ie, a step or two, drop the ball, then swing the leg .... it takes time) and defenders are able to use this time to cover territory. So you don't need as many people to cover the ground against the medium/long pass and instead you can use these extra numbers where you need them .... to cover the long kick down the line. 

The other big issue is the man on the mark. In order to clear the man on the mark, you need to kick the ball in the air, which means that you don't need someone in your zone covering that spot behind them, or you can force the player to kick away from a particular area. You can see this as the kicks will either be long down the line, backwards, or 90 degrees. The most attacking kick is actually the one 45 degrees inboard, which opens up the play on to clear the opposition zone or a long switch to the opposite side away from the zone.

The aim of a team, defensively, is to force the opposition to kick the ball down the line because that's where your extra players will be. It's also the most likely to cause a stoppage (and a 50/50 chance of winning the footy back). They key to defending is to take away time and space, create stoppages and force the opposition to kick to contests (especially outnumbered ones down the line). 

 

The aim of a team, offensively, is to get the ball past the zone where you have a 1 on 1 or 2 on 2, giving you an excellent chance of scoring, or getting the ball forward before the opposition has time to set up the zone.

You can do the former by going around the zone (switching the ball), going over the zone (by a short kick and then play on, or handball to a runner, and the long kick from there being able to clear the zone) or by going through the zone (either a running link of handballs or a big mark down the line and quick play on).

You can do the latter by winning clearances (especially centre clearances) when the numbers are relatively even at each end, or by forcing turnovers (which mean that the opposition can't set up their zone in time).

The keys to attacking are winning the clearances and, as EO says, taking positive risks. This means often attacking quickly even when the odds are against you ..... just less against you than they usually are. Examples are carrying the football further, giving a forward handball, a quick play on, taking on the corridor when the opportunity is there (eg. go to one on ones) etc. 

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Great thread.

I feel as though I've noticed this year more teams leaving more players forward of the ball. Might be COVID/fitness related, but could equally be a tactical shift. Keep an extra player or two forward of the ball to ensure the opposition's zone has to stretch a little bit further.

I wonder whether @deanox's observation from last night's game is part of that.

It really does hinder our ability to appreciate the full extent of our improvement (or lack thereof) when we can only see what's shown on TV.

@Axis of Bob makes a number of insightful comments about zone defence. This year, more than last, I've noticed our players when manning the mark move around to cut off the 45-degree inboard kick. We leave the boundary option open. Couple that with the increased chemistry between our defenders, and the improved confidence and form of May/Lever, and we start to see how and why defensive zones work.

Risk taking is critical but when we're at our worst, we take poorly calculated risks at the wrong times: playing on when we shouldn't, going long when we shouldn't, etc.

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1 minute ago, titan_uranus said:

This year, more than last, I've noticed our players when manning the mark move around to cut off the 45-degree inboard kick. We leave the boundary option open.

There was an interesting post game interview one week with Mitch Hannan. He was saying (paraphrasing) that one of the things that the coaches really like about his game is how well he mans the mark.

You wouldn't have heard that 20 years ago!! 

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Just now, Axis of Bob said:

There was an interesting post game interview one week with Mitch Hannan. He was saying (paraphrasing) that one of the things that the coaches really like about his game is how well he mans the mark.

You wouldn't have heard that 20 years ago!! 

It's critical.

When we're poor, and we see drop off in effort across the board, we see players not doing these things right, and it extends into not putting taller defenders on the mark for set shots and/or not having taller defenders on the goal line for set shots.

They're all the sorts of things that the successful clubs are consistently better than us at.

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30 minutes ago, Engorged Onion said:

If these are the obvious ones, and you feel they're furphies, in your opinion, what's our one wood @binman? Which essentially is, what is the 'game plan' that drives these things as an outcome?

Furphies is perhaps the wrong word, as it suggest a trick.

i more mean that if you asked me a few months back what is the cornerstone of Goody's game plan was(the one wood) i would have said contest out, forward half footy and intense pressure on the ball carrier, indeed intense pressure all over the ground

But i am starting to reconsider this and thinking they are perhaps better thought of as the key elements of his philosophy about how footy needs to be played to win finals.  

And so i've been thinking that his game plan revolves around his defensive system and how attacks are both launched and defended. Which is one reason i really liked the Guardian article about the differing tactis of Man city and Liverpool you posted as it in mnay ways could be applied to the AFL.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, deanox said:

Tactical observation from last night:

Watching the player GPS on the AFL app, in the second half, I saw on occassions that we had a spare player inside our forward 50 when the ball was up on the wing or HBF.

It looked like North were opting to allow this to occur to give them an additional number at the stoppage, but we saw what happened in the last when we kept getting it out the back or to the switch and suddenly had a lot of space to drive forward.

I observed that our spare player forward on a couple of occasions was Petracca. My hypothesis is he rotated forward to rest, his midfield opponent didn't go with him. When we won the ball in the contest and moved it forward, he often played a role around the high half forward line getting the ball into the 50.

This has a couple of effects: a) an opponent had to move back to find him, creating an overlap, and b) because he left the 50 to win the ball at half forward, there was often a hole of space in the 50 left behind him helping us score. 

 

 

Ahh, i knew there was someone i missed in my list of posters who have made some insightful posts about tactics of late deanox.

Is the GPS on the AFL app displayed as the heat maps? I haven't really looked at them in any detail.

How do you use the heat maps (assuming that is what you are reffering to)?

 And is there other in game data, apps etc you look at?

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