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I know there is always a lot of talk about trades and improving the list at this time of year. But I believe that the path to our next premiership can be from internal improvement by a small number of our key players. The coaching, the list construction and our depth is not the major issue. While I think a better winger and forwards will improve our side at the margin, really what we need is our best young players to take the next step.

The 5 key improvements we need to have are:

1.       Oliver’s disposal

Clarry is obviously one of our best players, but I don’t think we will never win a flag unless he improves his disposal. He so prolific at winning the ball (top 5 for total possessions in the AFL but top for Clangers), and turnovers are what kill you in modern football. When Oliver gets possession all the other Melbourne players are working hard into space, so we are out of position defensively if he turns it over. Clarry is the source of our greatest strength and our greatest weakness, so our destiny is heavily tied to his disposal.

2.       Petracca improves his consistency

Trac was great this year and he has now learnt how to win the ball consistently. The next step for him is to improve the consistency of his kicking. We will be almost impossible to beat if Oliver and Petracca have high disposal efficiency.

3.       Jackson needs to transition from talented kid to star player

Jacko moves like a gazelle and is well skilled. At the moment I describe his game as being similar to Bontempelli, Blicavs and Mitch Clark, but he currently also possesses all of the flaws of those players and just glimpses of the best bits. If he can improve his marking, to be able to catch the ball at the highest point, it won’t take long before he is a top 5 player in the competition.

4.       Weideman takes another step

Sam took a major step forward with his marking this year. He also improved in bringing the ball to ground when he was out of position. But he needs to do this every week. And he needs to improve his goal kicking because his set shot technique is good.

5.       Fritsch transforms from dead fish to deadeye

Has there ever been a player who has been talked up more as a great kick to miss so often? Fritsch will always be just an ordinary forward pressure player, so he needs to capitalise better when he gets his chances in front of goal.

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I know there is always a lot of talk about trades and improving the list at this time of year. But I believe that the path to our next premiership can be from internal improvement by a small number of

We must be the greatest off season "improvers" in the history of sport.

Oliver definitely has an issue with his disposal. How does a player lead the league in contested possessions, pressure acts and clearances and finish so far off winning the best and fairest? The reaso

Totally agree with your notion that the team we have now can go all the way. Obviously there is a lot of improvement required, but this should be expected in an AFL environment.  I see that there are several issues for us to work on: 

fitness - burgess will hopefully take them to another level next season (changing to 16min quarters didn’t help). We looked a lot better this year to previous seasons and another preseason to our younger players will help immensely.

Strength - coupled with the above (fitness) I see that certain players look like they have skinny arms for the roles they are playing - Weid, Lever, Gawn, and to a lesser extent fritsch, melksham both McDonald’s, Oliver. These players need more strength in their positions to be able to wrestle/rag doll/move their opponents. 
 

kicking - nail on the head getting fritsch to be a dead eye 🍆.  However it is across the board that our players need to kick better and have different options to be able to draw upon when in different situations, i.e. a low bullet when kicking on the 45 to the corridor  

Footy smarts - this has been touched on in other threads, but we have the best ruckman and the best midfielders, but we don’t have the best clearance rates or scores from clearances..... if this clicks then our inside f50’s skyrocket and we can set up defensively (the wall) to get repeat entries. 
I think we also need to pressure opposition kick outs more, teams walk it to the wing to easily for my liking.
To achieve this we might need to recruit new assistant coaches. Our current crop are relatively inexperienced (Plapp, Chaplin), would like to see Rawlings back in the fold and possibly a Brad Green/Adam Yze. 
 

I think we made some good in roads in a very difficult season. Any changes list wise will be to the 25-44 player range. A another forward would be great, but I liked the side with Weid and Jackson. 

We are still a young side.  It’s not doom and gloom yet.

 

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I’ll add another trait that needs to improve across the board. The doggies showed it against Freo when the game was in the balance. Pressure!!!

We currently lack a desire and hunger for the contest, we don’t pressure, tackle, harass, smother nearly enough. Particularly when the game is going against us. It’s one of the basic fundamentals and something that can actually get you INTO games when you’re not quite there. Bizarrely we actually have players that should be serving us well in this category; Viney, Brayshaw, Oliver, Petracca, AvB, and Harmes are all names immediately you’d think are going to do all those things. I’m sure I’m missing others. 

I just think back to the sealer against Essendon and it was Rivers, who actually said after the game he’s not the biggest tackler, who laid the important tackle in the middle to set the goal up. 

Elite pressure wins you matches and it’s also critical to finals footy. 

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The tackling is definitely an issue and more generally we make quite a few mistakes or ineffectual efforts when we are in that close physical zone as defenders.  Throwing ourselves at players we should be impeding, over-committing to tackles, or simply chasing to where the opponent is instead of moving to intercept.

This is definitely something that can be coached, so, add to the shopping list 'tackling and pressure coach'.  On the principle of send a thief to catch a thief, someone like Sam Mitchell might be an interesting person to approach as a specialist consultant.

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Disagree with the point on Oliver. His disposal is fine. He needs to work on continuing to accelerate from the contest and hit the scoreboard more. 

Judd, Dangerfield, Dusty etc all of them are very hit and miss by foot, but all of them the best players in the game. Petracca is also prone to regular turnovers. Look at his turn over stats.

I agree with the rest though, although I think we could address the Weideman problem by getting him stronger support (ie a Ben Brown) to take the best defender away from him, so he can continue to develop.

I think Fritsch needs to play at half forward with Melksham on the other flank. They should be used as ball users going inside and occasionally floating back inside 50 to mark themselves. But they should be connection players. This will hopefully take some of the pressure of Fritsch having to be the main man to hit the scoreboard up forward. Getting goals from a Brown, Kozzie, Jackson etc will also release this pressure.

 

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13 minutes ago, A F said:

Disagree with the point on Oliver. His disposal is fine. He needs to work on continuing to accelerate from the contest and hit the scoreboard more. 

 

Agree on the inconsistent kicking of contested mids, although there’s certainly plenty of room for improvement. 
 

The bigger problem is Oliver has games, or probably more correctly first halves where he’s just making life more difficult for his teammates by going backwards with 1m handballs that don’t release them in to space. His quick hands can be such a weapon but are too often a liability. 

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16 minutes ago, DeeSpencer said:

Agree on the inconsistent kicking of contested mids, although there’s certainly plenty of room for improvement. 
 

The bigger problem is Oliver has games, or probably more correctly first halves where he’s just making life more difficult for his teammates by going backwards with 1m handballs that don’t release them in to space. His quick hands can be such a weapon but are too often a liability. 

I recall during the Sydney game the commentators spoke about how Petracca had fallen into old habits of passing the ball to others rather than taking responsibility himself. I think this attitude is something Oliver needs to change as well, he too often will look to give off quickly and a lot of the time he’s in the best position. While he’s not a bull like Trac he does actually have a good burst of speed off his first 2-3 steps and I feel like he has the ability to split the contest. The best thing we can do is give him a license to back himself rather than give the ball off. 

I noticed that when Trac started doing that he’d generally then get the ball to the outside rather than continuing the “phone box footy” style. 

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42 minutes ago, DeeSpencer said:

Agree on the inconsistent kicking of contested mids, although there’s certainly plenty of room for improvement. 
 

The bigger problem is Oliver has games, or probably more correctly first halves where he’s just making life more difficult for his teammates by going backwards with 1m handballs that don’t release them in to space. His quick hands can be such a weapon but are too often a liability. 

Sure, all players can improve their game, but I'd argue if you get more separation at contests and spread properly from them, Oliver's hands become a weapon. That weapon can't be used if our mids fail to spread. I think there's a bit of everyone at fault here, including the midfield coach at stoppage set ups.

Merrett and Oliver in the same side would be utterly devastating. Add Petracca or a stopper like Harmes and Viney, and it's a really well balanced midfield.

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1 hour ago, A F said:

Disagree with the point on Oliver. His disposal is fine. He needs to work on continuing to accelerate from the contest and hit the scoreboard more. 

Judd, Dangerfield, Dusty etc all of them are very hit and miss by foot, but all of them the best players in the game. Petracca is also prone to regular turnovers. Look at his turn over stats.

I agree with the rest though, although I think we could address the Weideman problem by getting him stronger support (ie a Ben Brown) to take the best defender away from him, so he can continue to develop.

I think Fritsch needs to play at half forward with Melksham on the other flank. They should be used as ball users going inside and occasionally floating back inside 50 to mark themselves. But they should be connection players. This will hopefully take some of the pressure of Fritsch having to be the main man to hit the scoreboard up forward. Getting goals from a Brown, Kozzie, Jackson etc will also release this pressure.

 

Oliver definitely has an issue with his disposal. How does a player lead the league in contested possessions, pressure acts and clearances and finish so far off winning the best and fairest? The reason is he turns it over too often. 
 

 

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9 minutes ago, Fat Tony said:

Oliver definitely has an issue with his disposal. How does a player lead the league in contested possessions, pressure acts and clearances and finish so far off winning the best and fairest? The reason is he turns it over too often. 
 

 

That tweet leaves out his elite ground ball gets too.

As for clangers, he had the most in the comp, one more than Dusty and 9 more than Petracca. Dusty and Petracca played forward and Oliver spent the entire season in the guts, where turn overs will be a bigger thing.

Essentially, the best mids are usually the biggest turnover merchants because they're in the hot stuff and getting it so often.

I think there are a lot of Melbourne supporters who rate Oliver, but I'm staggered there are so many who continually rate him so harshly, yet he continues to improve his game and is now an elite player across multiple areas of our game.

Take Oliver out of our midfield and we're [censored].

I reckon it's a case of MFC supporters not realising quite how extraordinary Oliver is. I've said it many times before, but he's the best player I've ever seen at Melbourne in my 33 years.

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the list isn't even close to what is required for  a premiership and incremental improvement by a few players won't change that .The top half of the list is fine but we fall away too quickly .We have little in the way of draft picks so the only way to bridge the gap is via the trade period .A couple of trades to fix the pace issue will see us on the way .

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9 minutes ago, kallangurdemon said:

the list isn't even close to what is required for  a premiership and incremental improvement by a few players won't change that .The top half of the list is fine but we fall away too quickly .We have little in the way of draft picks so the only way to bridge the gap is via the trade period .A couple of trades to fix the pace issue will see us on the way .

Polec and Saad would fix this problem. Add a bit more pace in our forwardline and another marking target and I think things can turn quickly, provided we get the stoppage set ups right. Looking forward to seeing who we bring in to coach the midfield.

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20 minutes ago, A F said:

Polec and Saad would fix this problem. Add a bit more pace in our forwardline and another marking target and I think things can turn quickly, provided we get the stoppage set ups right. Looking forward to seeing who we bring in to coach the midfield.

Better outside players would help. Sure. But we can’t jump from middle rung to contenders unless our inside midfielders tidy things up. This is a fundamental issue holding us back and it’s wishful thinking that just improving the bit pieces will be the fix. 

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11 minutes ago, Fat Tony said:

Better outside players would help. Sure. But we can’t jump from middle rung to contenders unless our inside midfielders tidy things up. This is a fundamental issue holding us back and it’s wishful thinking that just improving the bit pieces will be the fix. 

Our ball use is directly impacted, IMV, by our stoppage set ups. They don't give our mids separation and instead make us predictable, leading too often, to rushed ball use that doesn't suit anyone.

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Bit harsh expecting Trac to improve. He is the second best player in the AFL this year. If his kicking was off at times it was because he was constantly tackled whilst kicking 

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I agree with the OP's general argument. Every year we look to trades and the draft as the way to fix our problems.

IMO, and this is something I've said before, the single biggest change we could make to our performance would be to find a proper tall forward to supplement Weideman. On our current list that would be TMac. If it's not TMac, it's unlikely to be Brown or Jackson given neither of them are a true stay at home marking forward. Maybe it could be Petty. Whoever it is, if someone was good enough to demand opposition attention it would give us a different dynamic forward of centre and relieve some of the significant pressure on Weideman to be the one to lead, create marking contests, haul in marks, and kick goals.

If we had had half of our 2018 TMac this year we'd have won more games and made finals, I'm confident.

Other than that, I agree with those who say Oliver's improvement doesn't need to be his kicking but, instead, needs to be the way he exits stoppages. Reduced frequency of in-close handpasses and increased running clear of tacklers makes him, and us, much better.

Also agree with Fritsch. If he can work on his set shot goal kicking and become accurate, that will make a significant difference.

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oliver's the best midfielder i've ever seen at melbourne

in my opinion, if he improves his kicking, and starts to kick goals regularly, he'll elevate to being talked being amongst the best midfielders the competition has going around 

however, i'll take five other team improvements over it:

1. defensive transitioning - we are slow to push back when we lose possession
2. decision making - too often our players either make the wrong choice or make basic errors by foot and hand
3. execution under pressure - so many of our players choke
4. consistency - how many times this year did we lament going to sleep for great periods of time?
5. discipline - we gave away dumb free kicks all too often

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13 hours ago, whatwhatsaywhat said:

oliver's the best midfielder i've ever seen at melbourne

in my opinion, if he improves his kicking, and starts to kick goals regularly, he'll elevate to being talked being amongst the best midfielders the competition has going around 

however, i'll take five other team improvements over it:

1. defensive transitioning - we are slow to push back when we lose possession
2. decision making - too often our players either make the wrong choice or make basic errors by foot and hand
3. execution under pressure - so many of our players choke
4. consistency - how many times this year did we lament going to sleep for great periods of time?
5. discipline - we gave away dumb free kicks all too often

Yep. We went on and on about how bad the umpiring was and at times it was terrible but our discipline was shocking as well at crucial points. 

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Guys like Melksham need to get fairdinkum.

I was disgusted with his effort this year. Ditto Harmes.

Another preseason into the young guys in Jackson, Pickett, Rivers, Sparrow, Jordan , Spargo, Baker,Weideman and Fritsch should see plenty of improvement.

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Improvement in the list:

  • Petty, Nieshke, Jordan all come on.
  • First year players get better.  Second stringers either step up to the role or step off.
  • Bennell to owe us 50K in effort to deliver his talent to the game.
  • If KK is right, he is our other winger (I doubt this, I think he wont play another game).

Improvement in the game

  • Lots of tweaks by goody to the game style, so time can only help cement roles.

Improvement in the skills and role playing:

  • Better coaching of the basics in context.  Guys need to have deep trust that as they play their roles, others will too.  When it their turn to go, they just go.  At the moment there is too much fumbling and almost second guessing, like there is no trust who has to go when.  New assistant coach roster

Greater consistency

  • Time, trust and effort in preparation.  Mental side as much as physical

 

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Improvements from within. ABSOLUTELY. 

Happens at every club so the bar keeps rising. 
 

Our contested footy is our main go. But our skills generally let us down. 

Every player can get better from Trac down to Jordan.  As a club though there are crucial areas to get it right. 
 

INTENSITY- bring it every week 

Consistency- 100% for 4 quarters

Discipline  - on and off the field

STRATEGY (pay attention Simon) With and without the footy - and perhaps a plan B

Footy IQ 

Skills - transition of the footy by foot 

Decision making (Clarry - you’re a star but your attendance in this class is needed)
 

Effective entries inside 50 to create goals 

Pace - run run run  (we saw what Langdon brought in 2020) 

Tackling - effective tackling and pressure 

Physical strength and conditioning - though Burgo did a great job in 2020.

Goal kicking accuracy (yes Bailey Fritsch - I’m looking at you)
 

that’s a good dozen things to start to work on !!!! 

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