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Did anyone else think that the midfield didn't miss Gawn that much?  Really Clarry, Petracca, Brayshaw are going to get enough of it, irrespective of ruck dominance.  It almost looked like a weight off their shoulders not worrying about having to run off shoulder for planned tapwork from Gawn - it looked more unpredictable and tbh that worked well.

The games that we have lost - have all been because our midfield has been predictable (and that includes Gawn's tapwork) and been able to be shut down.  In this game, Norf dominated the hitouts (Goldy had 25) yet we had parity or better in clearances - and this is probably the first time our midfield has had to shark in about two years.

I don't know - maybe its food for thought, but are we better team when we have this different look? Is it a look or shape that we can use to be more dynamic in our games going forward? Max is 28 - is Jacko our next Grundy (and the succession plan?).  I personally love the idea of a roving ruckman like Jacko who can get his own groundball and has great decision making and hands like he does - a couple of times he was able to take that wider handball and clear the contest to relieve pressure (some of those inside midfields could take a note lol). Let's give Max a rest again and pair Jacko up against Grundy - master v apprentice!

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Altona-demon said:

The games that we have lost - have all been because our midfield has been predictable (and that includes Gawn's tapwork) and been able to be shut down.  In this game, Norf dominated the hitouts (Goldy had 25) yet we had parity or better in clearances - and this is probably the first time our midfield has had to shark in about two years.

No, we didn't.  

The last quarter evened it up, but for the first three quarters they smashed us in contested possies, clearances and disposals.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a team without Max.

And what Max brings to the side is more than just ruck work.  His positioning, influence etc are all things that someone like a Tom Mac can't even get close to.

What got us over the line last night was our connection all over the ground, not midfield dominance. 

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3 minutes ago, Wiseblood said:

No, we didn't.  

The last quarter evened it up, but for the first three quarters they smashed us in contested possies, clearances and disposals.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a team without Max.

And what Max brings to the side is more than just ruck work.  His positioning, influence etc are all things that someone like a Tom Mac can't even get close to.

What got us over the line last night was our connection all over the ground, not midfield dominance. 

Take your point about the last quarter really hamming up the entire game's stats.

I guess my post really was wanting to understand what Demonland posters make of the relative importance of Gawn's major strength (hitouts to advantage) - although I agree he has other benefits as well (he's captain for a reason).  This is especially the case given in previous games we have dominated this statistic, but not the one that matters.  It's a sample size of 1, but where we didn't dominate hitouts and the centre contest - we still got the chocolates, and honestly never looked like not getting them, and if we were more accurate it should have been 100+. 

Obviously some of that is a product of Norf injuries, weird system etc, but also when we look at the relevant strengths of Jackson rucking, say a year from now, they appear to be different players offering different things. Just wonder if life without Gawn (and with Jackson) will be such a bad thing after all?

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Really dumbfounded by some of these calls that we play better without Gawn. Cockiness and the arrogance to think we are better off without our 2nd best player who's potentially on his way to his 4th All Australian.

If Gawn is fit, he plays. Its pretty simple.

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Jackson looked good, however, he is currently way more valuable as forward that halves contests and plays second ruck to give Max a rest.

I think you're massively underrating Gawn's value around the ground. His ability to drift and intercept in defence and provide a get-out kick down the line when we're exiting our 50 is crucial.

North was young and fatigued and we moved the ball with relative ease from our backline. This is not the case most weeks, particularly against the top sides who are far more disciplined executing their press (i.e Richmond).

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I think you are forgetting that we were playing a bottom 4 team without their 2 best midfielders. 

 We only had 7 hit outs and it wasn’t until the last quarter that we evened up the clearances a bit. 

A top 4 opposition team with a class midfield would be a different prospect without Max. 

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Probably first time in weeks that the opponents midfield we not hanging of the backs of our mids.

Makes the opponents job easier if you know your going to lose the tap and trying to shark or nullify 

 

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26 minutes ago, Demonland said:

I think you are forgetting that we were playing a bottom 4 team without their 2 best midfielders. 

 We only had 7 hit outs and it wasn’t until the last quarter that we evened up the clearances a bit. 

A top 4 opposition team with a class midfield would be a different prospect without Max. 

Seems there is no faith in Preuss.

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All valid comments, and reflective of his strong performances over a number of years now.  I'm still intrigued about what people think life without Gawn might look like, and whether we should start planning for that now.  It's clear there is no faith in Preuss as per Old Dee's comments.  Rucking is super physical - when is a ruckman's peak? How many more years do we have Max for? What is the succession plan?  Is this week (and maybe the Pies game) a potential to understand that a bit better?  Maybe sooner than we may have liked, but still the same - if, and its a big if, Jacko can remain fit - he could be a very very good footballer. 

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If our mids can continue to collect the ball at speed as Clarry, and Trac have been doing, it makes Max’s dominance more impactful...

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Wait until we’re missing him when we play a team that has an actual midfield. He’s a brilliant ruckman but also does some of his best work around the ground. 

Edited by Ethan Tremblay
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Fox Footy posted a stat before the game that during 2008 we were one of the highest clearance teams in the competition in 2008 during Gawn's absence. From memory, I think McDonald and Pedersen played ruck a lot during that period and both of them (particularly Pedersen) gave us a lot more flexibility in the midfield. I don't think that, nor last night's performance, is enough to suggest that we can start planning for life without him. But it does suggest that we can be competitive without him in the middle and that we should be willing to experiment with him in different positions during the match to maximise his strengths in a range of ways, depending on the game situation.

My takeaways are that:

  • Gawn is an elite ruckman but needs to maximise his weapons in the ruck a bit more by being less predictable in where he is hitting it. Otherwise, opposition mids (like Brisbane a few weeks back) are able to read our set plays with ease and win clearances even after Gawn has won the hit out and hit it directly to a Melbourne player (I think the discrepancy between us winning first possession and clearance is quite wide).
  • We can afford to play Gawn forward or back (or on the bench) at more centre bounces and not be hurt by this. Gawn is an elite contested mark and is a danger to the opposition wherever he is. He can also create a favourable mismatch for us, regardless of where he is on the ground. If we can get to the point where Jackson/McDonald/Weideman can hold their own in the ruck and Gawn can be resting behind play or in the goal square, that will make the opposition nervous and makes us a bit more unpredictable at centre bounces.
  • We have elite mids that can get the ball inside 50 regardless of our ruckman. Especially when we are having inside 50 connection issues in game, playing Gawn as a tall forward completely changes our look up forward and means we have multiple threatening options. Either the opposition will double team him or he'll take Weideman/Jackson's opponent. Plus, he's often targeted by the opposition, allowing us to draw free kicks in a dangerous area.
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3 minutes ago, Dee man said:

Fox Footy posted a stat before the game that during 2008 we were one of the highest clearance teams in the competition in 2008 during Gawn's absence. From memory, I think McDonald and Pedersen played ruck a lot during that period and both of them (particularly Pedersen) gave us a lot more flexibility in the midfield. I don't think that, nor last night's performance, is enough to suggest that we can start planning for life without him. But it does suggest that we can be competitive without him in the middle and that we should be willing to experiment with him in different positions during the match to maximise his strengths in a range of ways, depending on the game situation.

My takeaways are that:

  • Gawn is an elite ruckman but needs to maximise his weapons in the ruck a bit more by being less predictable in where he is hitting it. Otherwise, opposition mids (like Brisbane a few weeks back) are able to read our set plays with ease and win clearances even after Gawn has won the hit out and hit it directly to a Melbourne player (I think the discrepancy between us winning first possession and clearance is quite wide).
  • We can afford to play Gawn forward or back (or on the bench) at more centre bounces and not be hurt by this. Gawn is an elite contested mark and is a danger to the opposition wherever he is. He can also create a favourable mismatch for us, regardless of where he is on the ground. If we can get to the point where Jackson/McDonald/Weideman can hold their own in the ruck and Gawn can be resting behind play or in the goal square, that will make the opposition nervous and makes us a bit more unpredictable at centre bounces.
  • We have elite mids that can get the ball inside 50 regardless of our ruckman. Especially when we are having inside 50 connection issues in game, playing Gawn as a tall forward completely changes our look up forward and means we have multiple threatening options. Either the opposition will double team him or he'll take Weideman/Jackson's opponent. Plus, he's often targeted by the opposition, allowing us to draw free kicks in a dangerous area.

Good post and like the ‘takeaways’, I take it you mean 2018 though. 

Edited by Ethan Tremblay
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4 minutes ago, Dee man said:

Fox Footy posted a stat before the game that during 2008 we were one of the highest clearance teams in the competition in 2008 during Gawn's absence. From memory, I think McDonald and Pedersen played ruck a lot during that period and both of them (particularly Pedersen) gave us a lot more flexibility in the midfield. I don't think that, nor last night's performance, is enough to suggest that we can start planning for life without him. But it does suggest that we can be competitive without him in the middle and that we should be willing to experiment with him in different positions during the match to maximise his strengths in a range of ways, depending on the game situation.

My takeaways are that:

  • Gawn is an elite ruckman but needs to maximise his weapons in the ruck a bit more by being less predictable in where he is hitting it. Otherwise, opposition mids (like Brisbane a few weeks back) are able to read our set plays with ease and win clearances even after Gawn has won the hit out and hit it directly to a Melbourne player (I think the discrepancy between us winning first possession and clearance is quite wide).
  • We can afford to play Gawn forward or back (or on the bench) at more centre bounces and not be hurt by this. Gawn is an elite contested mark and is a danger to the opposition wherever he is. He can also create a favourable mismatch for us, regardless of where he is on the ground. If we can get to the point where Jackson/McDonald/Weideman can hold their own in the ruck and Gawn can be resting behind play or in the goal square, that will make the opposition nervous and makes us a bit more unpredictable at centre bounces.
  • We have elite mids that can get the ball inside 50 regardless of our ruckman. Especially when we are having inside 50 connection issues in game, playing Gawn as a tall forward completely changes our look up forward and means we have multiple threatening options. Either the opposition will double team him or he'll take Weideman/Jackson's opponent. Plus, he's often targeted by the opposition, allowing us to draw free kicks in a dangerous area.

It was actually 2017. He suffered a bad hamstring injury and missed 9 games. We had some good clearance stats and won 5 and lost 4 while he was out.  It was a 12-10 season which I'm sure you all remember. Of the 4 games we lost - Round 4 v Freo by 2 points; Round 5 v Richmond by 13 points; Round 7 v Hawthorn by 3 points and Round 9 v North Melbourne by 14 points. I'd argue had Gawn played we win at least two of those and comfortably make the 8. I guess stats tell you whatever you want them to.

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We can demote Maxy from the captaincy for sure !! 

Give it to Melksham. He's got a 100% win strike rate as captain !!!

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YES, we certainly need to make far more efficient use of Max's dominance but to say we are a better team without him is a huge stretch of the imagination.   Presumably rhetorical questions to stimulate this discussion.

IMO if we used his dominance even 50% better we would be near unbeatable.   That is a challenge for Max, the midfielders both inside and outside, and the coaching panel.

Hopefully even without him our midfield will have gained confidence and belief after the most recent game (whatever day that was?).

JV7 is still a big asset  but needs (like many) to learn a second thing to his bow - a pressure half forward could be a great asset.

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One of the best signs from the last couple of games has been our mids at ball ups being in motion when they take the ball, rather than flat footed as they seemed to have been playing previously.

This is probably an evolution that comes with growing confidence in teammates, structures and coaching, but its been evident against Crows and Kangas.

If we can bring that into games with the top teams (who've managed to stymie our midfield movement and connection) we're a chance to play finals.

Edited by PaulRB
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My takeaway from the last few weeks isn’t that we don’t need Max, it’s 2 things:

1. That when Jackson is there he offers something different. As he builds his aerobic capacity he’ll be able to be more dynamic for longer, and that will make us more diverse. His agility is set to terrify over the coming years. 

2. That when Oliver and Petracca run from stoppage with ball in hand instead of hand passing it 2 metres the shape of our midfield spread is MUCH better. Previously we all operated in a phone box and opposition sides pushed us in closer and closer. If we can run forward more regularly Max’s hitouts become significantly more important. He’s been getting it to the right spots, but the team was too one dimensional with the second and third touch (short backward or lateral hand pass).

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On 8/10/2020 at 12:55 PM, Altona-demon said:

All valid comments, and reflective of his strong performances over a number of years now.  I'm still intrigued about what people think life without Gawn might look like, and whether we should start planning for that now.  It's clear there is no faith in Preuss as per Old Dee's comments.  Rucking is super physical - when is a ruckman's peak? How many more years do we have Max for? What is the succession plan?  Is this week (and maybe the Pies game) a potential to understand that a bit better?  Maybe sooner than we may have liked, but still the same - if, and its a big if, Jacko can remain fit - he could be a very very good footballer. 

I think its a touch too early to plan for life after Max yet  - ruckmen often are still playing their best footy in their early 30s and at 28 he has many good years left in him...Id say 5 more seasons after this one at least, and by that stage Jackson will have done his 80+ game apprenticeship

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