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What wins finals?


buck_nekkid
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Reflecting on what it takes to win finals:

  • Rock solid defence - every player has a defensive role
  • Contested ball and clearance wins
  • A game changer player who does some extraordinary things.
  • The ability to deliver inside 50 (against other rock solid defensive units)

I think we are not too far away on 1.When we ran hard both ways we looked OK, but this year our half forwards and some midfielders were routinely average at this, which cost us games.

I think we should be at the level on point 2, but we have to enhance clearance from contested ball wins.  Too often we are at the contest, but get done in the clearance.

 We have Petracca and some cameos for point 3, and would need to have one or two more super-classy players to tick this off.

Point 4 is still a serious concern.  We could have Dunstall and Lockett inside 50 and still be rubbish given how poor we delivered the ball in there.  It cost both Port and Brisbane the games last weekend, and we are no-where close.

Its not about Only making finals, its about winning them. 

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Winning finals, in general:

  • Pressure, pressure, pressure
  • Smart coach
  • Tried and true game plan
  • "win the 'key' moments" (according to coaches this week)
  • A balanced team that has top talent on every line.

Winning finals by demons:  we fall short on most of those.  We might be ok at some but 'ok' doesn't win finals.  Our team isn't balanced:  Most of our top talent is in the midfield.  We have a deficient 'spine'.  We have 3-4 players at the top AFL level, 2-3 next level players, 3-4 next level, 3 hi potential developing kids and then a lot of (too many) journeymen. 

Based on the first round of 2020 finals the top 4 teams were awesome with their pressure.  Two lost but they are in the GF.  To me we are a fair way off the pace of those teams in what I've identified required to win finals.

Edited by Lucifer's Hero
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1 hour ago, buck_nekkid said:

I think we should be at the level on point 2, but we have to enhance clearance from contested ball wins.  Too often we are at the contest, but get done in the clearance.

Clearances have really been a massive factor this year (as they always have been) and for a team that plays its game on contested ball, we just don't outlet the ball well enough into decent clearances. Countless times we seemed to overuse handball around contests which could be down to a range of factors:

- little confidence in kicking ability
- hesitation poor options forward of ball (leads, player positioning)

Either way I think these issues can be rectified with some more poise around the footy (positioning not just Oliver, Viney Trac running into each other) and having someone like Ben Brown/Weid to anchor the forward line structure and as a tall target. 

At the end of the day though, pressure is everything in building a sustainable brand of footy. Richmond overcame Port who were arguably the best all year beating them not only at the clearance, but also sustaining enough pressure to either regain the footy through mistakes or holding up ball movement. Once this team gets through their heads that they need to bring pressure and intensity every game from Rounds 1-23 and through finals, we're halfway there to being a successful side.

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Watching the games so far the main things that are common in the wins seem to be:

  • High defensive pressure around the football.
  • Winning contested footy.
  • Clean hands. 
  • Being able to score against a well set defence. 

Effectively, the story being told about how to win a final is: Pressure the opposition so much that the game becomes a scrap, then win the scrap, move the ball forward (any way that you can) and then win those ugly contests inside 50 to score. 

Look at a Richmond game. Everything is at high intensity around the ball, which makes the game ugly. The get the ball forward and use their combination of big forwards and very clean small forwards against well set defences to win difficult contests to score, or pressure the opposition enough that a kick forwards goes to their excellent defence, allowing them to get the ball forward to start the whole process again. It's a very simple plan. Pressure the ball, get it forward, pressure the ball, get it forward etc. They set up their whole team to defend, but their best players are forward of the ball. 

The type of game that wins finals is the type of game we played in 2018. Strong, contested slogs where territory is king. Gawn, Petracca, Oliver, Viney, Brayshaw ..... our best players are around the footy, so we should be using them to pin the opposition inside 50 and then using them again to kick goals from clearances and repeat entries.

We've definitely got it in us to play finals winning football, probably more so than any team outside the top bracket. We need a few tweaks to allow us to keep that intensity for longer, but we're not as far off as many believe.

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Double chance.

A good run with injuries.

Good form and momentum coming into finals (although not as important since the extra week was introduced).

A majority of the bad umpiring decisions to fall your way.

Well drilled. Defensive structures hold up front to back. Win clearances and contested ball. Good delivery I50. A dominant key forward to kick the goals.

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1 hour ago, Axis of Bob said:

Effectively, the story being told about how to win a final is: Pressure the opposition so much that the game becomes a scrap, then win the scrap, move the ball forward (any way that you can) and then win those ugly contests inside 50 to score. 

combine that with Bruce and BT = hell

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Experience at losing finals.

Richmond - three losses, no wins, a year out, then boom, premiership.

Geelong - three losses, two wins, a year out, then boom, premiership.

Colonwood - 50/50 in finals, and then 2 losses one win in 2009.  Premiership 2010.

Port Adelaide -  SIX losses, two wins, over three years, then premiership.

Sydney - six losses, three wins over seven years, then premiership.

West Coast - three elimination final losses in a row, then runner up, then premiership.

Bulldogs - eight losses and four wins over ten years, then premiership.

Essendon - five losses, three wins, and five losses two wins, ahead of each of their recentish premierships.

 

The only exceptions in recent history are Brisbane (Merger/Salary cap) and Hawthorn (freakshow / tanking draft pick jackpot)

Clearly, we got something wrong by winning two finals in our first return to action.

Also, Brisbane's 1w 3l is making them look ominous.  And put your house on Geelong with 6 wins 12 losses to build from.

 

What's the saying, to win, first you must know how to lose?

 

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It's pretty much all pressure and ability to withstand and move the ball through pressure.

Geelong and Richmond both have huge work rates that allow them to always have pressure on whilst not allowing space out the back. We made some decent progress there this season. Port press too high, Brisbane are just not there yet, although both sides are very good.

So get rid of blokes who can't or don't run. Get rid of blokes who aren't sure in their abilities to win or halve contest - you don't always have to win the ball in every circumstance but you can't lose them.

Then work out a system that organises your players to attack based on a scheme or philosophy.

Richmond just handball and kick forward and swarm. Simple (in attack) but devastatingly effective. They always have numbers on the outside pressuring in so any opposition turnover becomes

Geelong's defenders spread and their midfield has a huge work rate and ability to create space for short kicks. Players lead and replace in a pattern that looks far more like soccer than footy. Their backline aren't amazing kicks but the work rate and discipline is so good that everything flows.

The biggest challenge for us is to decide how much we want to be a kicking v handballing side, and how direct we want to play, and then proving our midfield group has the fitness, skills and discipline to pull it off. Richmond and Geelong play like well oiled machines largely unbothered by the opposition. We might have the talent but it's hard to believe we have the discipline or the coaching to instill that discipline.

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5 hours ago, bing181 said:

Experience.

This... no surprise that the two most experienced outfits navigated CoVID season and junior upstarts to make it to the Grand final.

in a season where teams couldn’t train, a decade playing together helps.

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10 hours ago, buck_nekkid said:

Reflecting on what it takes to win finals:

  • Rock solid defence - every player has a defensive role
  • Contested ball and clearance wins
  • A game changer player who does some extraordinary things.
  • The ability to deliver inside 50 (against other rock solid defensive units)

I think we are not too far away on 1.When we ran hard both ways we looked OK, but this year our half forwards and some midfielders were routinely average at this, which cost us games.

I think we should be at the level on point 2, but we have to enhance clearance from contested ball wins.  Too often we are at the contest, but get done in the clearance.

 We have Petracca and some cameos for point 3, and would need to have one or two more super-classy players to tick this off.

Point 4 is still a serious concern.  We could have Dunstall and Lockett inside 50 and still be rubbish given how poor we delivered the ball in there.  It cost both Port and Brisbane the games last weekend, and we are no-where close.

Its not about Only making finals, its about winning them. 

Watch rd 1 again vs West coast. I cant ever recall such a  poor defensive effort since the neeld days. We have too many one way runners, especially in the midfield 

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If you have a solid backline and an  AA ruckman  also 3 super competitive midfielders where 2 of them are powerhouses,

What are you missing?      A smart experience coach and there is someone out there.

 

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15 hours ago, Elegt said:

Watch rd 1 again vs West coast. I cant ever recall such a  poor defensive effort since the neeld days. We have too many one way runners, especially in the midfield 

Not the game to watch really as 7 mths ago 
Fairly  watch the last 6/7 games Where our defence was pretty good.

Nearer a game plan at end of season but still a lot of work And training needed for forward line and mids cohesion.

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