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Centre Clearances - Considered Analysis Requested.



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19 minutes ago, Clint Bizkit said:

You both have too much time on your hands.

Night shift with a newborn may as well be utilised. ;)

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22 minutes ago, Clint Bizkit said:

You both have too much time on your hands.

 

18 minutes ago, A F said:

Night shift with a newborn may as well be utilised. ;)

I don't even have an excuse! Just my curious nature and an obsessive need to satisfy my curiosity once I latch on to it. I would have dwelled on it all day if I didn't have a look.

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3 hours ago, Webber said:

Brilliant work again, Nasher. Do you think the difference in Geelong game, given the directional tap superiority you quote, was Max facing less competitive opposing ruckman?  

I don't think so. In both games I think Max comprehensively out-tapped his opponent. Plenty of the taps seemed to go where they were directed by Max, they just went to a contested ball which we lost, or to a space that suited the Sydney mids (particularly Parker). 

Hickey's getting a lot of credit for his game, but I can't see anything to suggest he's actually any good as a ruckman. Maybe it's an unfair comparison against the best one in the game though.

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Good stuff all, apologies if I’ve missed it but the defence should get a bonus in their pay packet this week. According to the stats that matter we only conceded 1 behind from Sydney’s centre bounce dominance.

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On 5/9/2021 at 7:48 AM, ProperDee said:

Max is too predictable with his taps and the opposition read them easily now. If we win (say) 70% of centre hit outs per game there needs to be a systematic plan re direction of those. i.e. left, right, forward or back. It’s seems pretty much hit and hope now.

LJ is great at the centre bounces as he he a newbie therefore unpredictable to them opposition and often wins his own ball.  As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be against giving him the odd run in the middle not as the ruckman.  In fact, I think we have any number of players who could have a run through the midfield occasionally just to mix it up. Who knows, we might strike a golden combination.  Having said that, I feel a lot more comfortable with Viney in there.

My feeling at the ground was that we were far more likely to win the stoppage when LJ was in there rather than Max, but having analysed every centre stoppage, I think it's more a case of our mids gambling more when Max is in and being more defensive and diligent when LJ is in there.

Max's real asset IMO is his around the ground work. He's a good tap ruckman, but he's elite because what he does elsewhere. The last two weeks he hasn't done enough around the ground and his opponent has outdone him. I think he might be carrying something, because he doesn't quite seem there.

On 5/9/2021 at 8:32 AM, D4Life said:

In 2018 Max to Viney or Max to Brayshaw were the breakaway tap outs from the middle that stuck in my mind! He doesn’t seem to put it into Trac and Oliver chest that much!

I would like to see Max have two hit outs a quarter where he just smashes it 20-30 metres forward when we’re having a bad centre clearance patch, at least get some territory forward, and put Kossie in the middle a little more often when we’re struggling, just his speed and elusiveness would be good to throw into the mix!

This is predicated on Max being able to pick and choose when he wins taps under pressure. He and Hickey was a great ruck contest. They probably split the spoils from the centre bounce taps. Hickey got the cleaner taps to his mids though and probably marginally got Max on the outside too.

On 5/9/2021 at 8:59 AM, DeeZee said:

Adem Yze is the new midfield coach.

Playing devils advocate, is he all that he is cracked up to be?

I'd be measuring Yze by what we do around the ground stoppage wise and the work rate and coverage of our mids around the ground. It would be good to get more dominance in centre clearances though, given Oliver and Petracca's contested ability.

On 5/9/2021 at 9:00 AM, loges said:

It's also that we're starting our attack from the backline which gives the opposition time to set up their defence. . It's only a matter of time until we get punished for losing centre clearance.

Disagree. As long as our midfield transitions properly if we lose the clearance, we should have an outnumber behind the ball. Our defensive system is insanely good. Like Richmond level good.

 

On 5/9/2021 at 9:25 AM, Engorged Onion said:

Musings...

Perhaps it's an over correction. In the sense of, there seems to be an edict that it's 'ok' to lose a clearance. Thus it's psycholgically easier against bigger bodied mids to not go 'quite' as hard - as there is a fail safe outlet 40-60 away from the oppositions kick.

 @binman and @Axis of Bob have detailed how the midfielders now set up, with one spare at the back in a centre bounce/clearance situation. So that should we lose the clearance, we have a greater likelihood of intercepting the ball.At the same time we are honouring the much vaunted skills of Petracca, Oliver etc. 

Without Viney though - the pressure from him against strong bodied midfielders (Cunnington/Kennedy etc) is clearly not there - hence the clearance differential.

As @Clint Bizkitmentioned earlier today - if this is not rectified - Cripps will have a field day - and it's then about whether their forwards can capitalise. 

I am interested in the strategy of Oliver starting away from the ball and coming in at pace. Whilst that's a good option with a tag that he is finding difficult to shake - is it part of on ongoing strategy regardless of a tag?

Clarry is clearly fantastic in and up close distributing the ball out, so by starting further away - we lose that great ability of his. 

I didn't watch the game as I was at a 40th (and an AFL coach was there, who was seemingly far more interested in the game on his phone and updates than the dinner party convo) #humblebrag 

Anyway... by Clarry starting wide, I wanted to know who his direct opponent was - so in essence, what advantage did it give us, or what did we nullify for the Swans?

 

It was this mid starting wider of the contest (it wasn't always Oliver) who looked more likely to win the clearance and often did. It's the right strategy. The other mids have to be on though. You only need one player to be off and the rope a dope is on and a clean clearance against is almost guaranteed.

On 5/9/2021 at 9:49 AM, Webber said:

Max’s taps have great variety, which is a quality, mostly. We’ve all seen him put it beautifully down Oliver or Trac’s throat, but those instances have become less frequent. He’ll mostly now go the big forward thump, the ‘behind his head’ or the backhand-outside, but rarely now bring the ball to the feet and protect it with his size - almost like that plan is for lesser ruckman. But I reckon this might be a way to stop the rot.....bring it to the feet, and have a Jordon (he’s staggeringly calm, nuggety and mature for his 8 games!) or Harmes (in Viney’s absence) effectively kill it (if they can’t get it off to Oliver/Petracca). Thus we force a ball-up in ‘stoppage mode’, which we are clearly much better at. I suspect also that’s why the damage seems less when Dogga is rucking. He offers a physical presence with elite second efforts, but without the tap expansiveness, maybe it’s better at killing the ‘space’ for oppo players to nab the breakaway. 

We/Max actually did this quite a bit against Sydney, but as you say he does have a variety to his taps, so he tried all sorts of things. I think the centre clearance breakdown is mostly psychological rather than set ups or personnel. 

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On 5/9/2021 at 10:49 AM, titan_uranus said:

It’s not so much the 4-17 discrepancy that hurts us, it’s the manner of the 17 against. 

Far, far too many were cleared out the Sydney attacking side of the circle. So we’re conceding them in the most dangerous way possible. 

It’s not talent. We were 33-22 in all other stoppages. So IMO it’s strategy more than anything.

I’m convinced other teams are planning for us at a level we’ve never experienced before. I’m also convinced Viney being out is a huge loss. Jordon, Harmes and Jones (last week) aren’t close to his level and don’t apply defensive pressure on the opposition mids like Viney does. 

Disagree. Most of their clearances were on Sydney's defensive side of the ball up. This meant that many of their rushed clearances failed to penetrate our defensive 50.

On 5/9/2021 at 10:53 AM, Tony Tea said:

Just a thought.

When the Hawks were busy winning premierships Clarko said that winning the centre clearance numbers was overrated. Clarko learned his coaching craft under Choco.

And Hardwick under Choco and Clarko. There is definitely a precedence for the better sides giving up centre clearances and counter attacking, Geelong did this under Scott for years.

On 5/9/2021 at 11:03 AM, Lord Nev said:

It's not a new problem, we've been trending this way for a while.

MFC Centre Clearances

2018 - 1st
2019 - 2nd
2020 - 13th
2021 - 17th

Team v Opponent Averages

2018 - 1st
2019 - 3rd
2020 - 12th
2021 - 16th

Is it a big problem though? The majority of those clearances against are rushed clearances that we can either defend and neutralise or get on our terms and counter attack.

On 5/9/2021 at 11:08 AM, Lord Nev said:

Goody also said:

""That means you're sucking up a lot of territory, so it's an area of our game we have to get better. We'll look at that, learn and get better, but it's important to get that right, you give up a lot of territory and have to move the ball from your back half, and that's not how we want to play."

"It's an area we have to get better at. It's a big part of our game and lot of teams' games, so we have to get better at it."

 

The likes of Petracca have to get better defensively in centre clearances. Simple as that. Too much ball watching and gambling.

On 5/9/2021 at 11:11 AM, Webber said:

All of that’s true binman, but (and it’s a great position to be in - seeking to improve an already winning formula) as Goody pointed out, getting smashed in the centre clearances is effectively a free hit to the opposition. Squaring it up would be an excellent outcome.

It's a free hit if the clearances are clean and deep. If they're shallow, IMO, it plays into our hands. Just like we want teams to kick down the line to contests against us. We want rushed shallow clearances that our half backs and mids can push up to, swarm and release to outside players like Hunt, Langdon et al. Even in these situations we hold our defensive back 3 quite deep and as David King showed on First Crack last night, we actually hold our anchor defender way deeper than most other defences.

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1 hour ago, binman said:

His athleticism has gone up a level, as has his ball handling skills, particularly when the ball is on the deck.

There was a brilliant example in the Swans game (i can't remember if it was the second or last quarter - we were kicking to the Punt Road end, which is where I was sitting).

Max collected the ball off the ground right in the pocket, only a meter or so from their goal. From the distance i was watching it took me a sec to register that it was max, such was the way he smoothly picked it up, took some steps and delivered the ball by foot.  

The ball tic tacked up the ground and went out on our goal side of the wing. Max ran from the back pocket to take the ruck.

I think he got a free from the throw in (or if not grabbed it) and kicked a perfect pass to Harmes who somehow dropped it over the line on our HF. 

He then went to the next throw in and tapped it brilliantly to a moving Oliver who if memory serves got it to Salem who kicked it to brown 20 meters out.  

Incredible skills. Incredible work rate. And the key actor in a critical goal. 

All while looking not 100% fit.

And as occurs every week with how we play, after getting physically smashed in aerial contests and taking his turn tackling and being tackled. 

And again copping hits to the head from opposition players who know they can hit him with impunity.  

Max is a million miles away from being the problem.

He is the solution. 

 

At the risk of derailing the thread and turning it into a Max appreciation society. Remember this play very well particularly because the player he beat to the ball was Hickey who is 201cm compared to Max's 208cm. His agility and athleticism is off the scale for his height. I've never seen an AFL player even remotely like him. I saw his first game and thought they clearly had his height wrong because he is physically very well proportioned and too balanced as an athlete to be that height. No disrespect meant to Hickey but because of his body shape and loping running style he looks like he's the 208cm player and Max 189. Max is truly a freak of nature. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Abyssal said:

Start Oliver off the square.

Might exhaust him.

Off the square would leave our wing exposed.

If in the arc, again we are leaving a player free, that will have to be picked up by someone. 

It worked before the 666, but now can involve too much unnecessary running without an impact and be exposed.

Edited by kev martin
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2 hours ago, Nasher said:

The hard part about this is that your centre-square setup is at least in part determined by what your opponent does. For example at one point we lined up with Petracca at 2 o'clock, Jordon at 6 o'clock and Oliver at 9 o'clock, which was a unique setup that I only saw once. Each player was manned up by the opposing player. So who decides who's going to stand where - is it the Melbourne players, or the Sydney players? Neither midfield combination seemed prepared to say "you do you your thing and we'll do ours, let's see who wins"; nor did that happen in any other of the games I watched.

Agreed, they do.  And I don't have an answer.  

CBC have been a problem for us since 6-6-6 was introduced at the start of 2019.  We 've had plenty of experience since then on what individual teams and the comp as a whole are doing to win the clearances, regardless of whether we dominate the hitouts.  Yet the fix eludes us.

It makes no sense to me that we have the best ruckman and 2 of the best midfielders and we can't dominate the clearances.  Teams have often said:  "Let Melb win on the inside and we will beat them on the outside" so we are first to the ball but they run off with it. We should now be able to stop this as we an elite and a very good wingmen in Langdon and Brayshaw.  So I wonder if we are making the most of them at CB.  I haven't paid too much attention to them at CB but I think they move 'in their lane' rather head to the middle to stop the exit.  Just a random thought...

And I think our midfielders are still being sucked into the contest a bit ('old habits die hard' when under pressure).  A few times Parker held back and just waited for the ball to exit and moved it forward.

Now over to Max and the brainstrust to fix!

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Here is a thought:  17/4 against on Saturday but is it an outlier?

From the article about Viney (new thread):

"(Goodwin) was concerned by the 17-4 crunching his side took at centre-bounce clearances, but a deeper analysis shows this has not been an ongoing issue. The Demons were beaten in this key area four previous times, but only by three clearances at the most. Conversely, they have also outscored their opponents by 3.5 points per game from centre clearances, ranked fourth".

So, we are much more effective with our CBC than the opps.  Ranked 4th is pretty good for scoring.  Not saying CBC's aren't an issue just that it isn't costing us games.  Yet. 

Imagine how awesome we will be when we dominate the clearances especially vs the good teams or those that usually beat us in that regard.

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1 hour ago, Lucifer's Hero said:

Here is a thought:  17/4 against on Saturday but is it an outlier?

From the article about Viney (new thread):

"(Goodwin) was concerned by the 17-4 crunching his side took at centre-bounce clearances, but a deeper analysis shows this has not been an ongoing issue. The Demons were beaten in this key area four previous times, but only by three clearances at the most. Conversely, they have also outscored their opponents by 3.5 points per game from centre clearances, ranked fourth".

So, we are much more effective with our CBC than the opps.  Ranked 4th is pretty good for scoring.  Not saying CBC's aren't an issue just that it isn't costing us games.  Yet. 

Imagine how awesome we will be when we dominate the clearances especially vs the good teams or those that usually beat us in that regard.

Yes and no.

We're second last in the comp for average centre clearances and we're third last for centre clearances compared to our opponents: we average 2 fewer centre clearances than our opponents per game.

So being -13 in that stat is an outlier, but the general concept that we're weak in centre clearances is not.

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On 5/9/2021 at 11:44 AM, Nasher said:

So I've just wasted 2 hours of my life making notes on all the centre bounces and comparing the setups. I've never done this before so I dunno how useful it is.

1 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Oliver (far wing side), Petracca (offensive side), Pickett (defensive side)
Kennedy sprints in to the centre from the wing side and leaves Oliver to eat his dust. The tap is neutral - both ruckman get a piece of it. Kennedy blocks Oliver out of the contest initially. Mills and Oliver compete with the ball; ball falls to Kennedy; Mills blocks Oliver and Kennedy boots it away unopposed. No impact on the contest from Petracca or Gawn. Pickett is standing defensive side ready to block the escape, but the ball gets kicked over his head. Goal results from this clearance.

Eventual goal: Swans

2 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Oliver (far wing side), Petracca (defensive side), Jordon (offensive side)
Oliver continues to be professionally blocked by Kennedy. Jordon receives what I would call an illegal hold by Warner - no whistle, play on. Hickey jumps, Gawn stays on the ground and wins the tap, hitting it towards the wing side. Balls go to space, both ruckman scramble after it. Gawn wins, handballs it to nobody. Jordon wins it back, handball to Gawn, handball to Oliver, who gets immediately tackled. Handballs it to nobody again. Hickey picks up the loose ball and boots it out of there. 

Eventual goal: Swans

3 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Oliver (far wing side), Petracca (defensive side), Harmes (offensive side)
Kennedy not present in this contest. Gawn wins a tap forward. Harmes chases after the ball and gets friendly fire from Alex Neal-Bullen who slides for the ball and takes Harmes legs out. Both MFC players eat dirt while the Swans half-backs pick up the ball unopposed and clear it. This one should have been ours but for a MFC player error.

Eventual goal: Demons

4 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Oliver (far wing side), Harmes (defensive side), Petracca (offensive side)
Oliver blocked out of the contest by Mills initially. Gawn again stays down while Hickey jumps. Hickey misses it, Gawn taps down to space and chases it himself. Swans players are all ahead of their MFC opponents. Mills stops blocking Oliver at the last minute and chases the ball, gets there well before Oliver does. Handballs to space to Parker (Petracca's man - seemed to get caught ball watching) who wins the clearing kick.

Eventual goal: Demons

5 (Swans clearance). Jackson, Jordon (near wing side), Neal-Bullen (defensive side), Petracca (offensive side)
Vastly different setup this time - Petracca as the offensive midfielder starts a lot further away from the contest (he is initially out of frame) and Jordon is starting on the opposite side to where Oliver had been. Bounce favours opposing ruckman (Sinclair) who taps down to Kennedy (Jordon's man). Jordon immediately lays a tackle but it's ineffective; Kennedy handballs out to Parker (Petracca's man) who has bolts out with a clearing kick. 

Eventual goal: Demons

6 (Demons clearance). Gawn, Jordon (far side wing), Neal-Bullen (defensive side), Oliver (offensive side)
Similar setup to previously but Jordon has changed sides. Gawn taps to the advantage of Oliver who hits the contest at speed, handball to Neal-Bullen who gets the clearing kick. 

Eventual goal: Swans

7 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Petracca (far side wing), Harmes (defensive side), Oliver (offensive side)
Gawn wins the tap decisively and appears to be attempting to replicate the previous tap to space, but Oliver doesn't get there this time and the ball is gathered by some Swans mullet on the wing, who was opposing Langdon. Handball goes backwards to Warner who gets tackled, but handballs out to Cunningham who clears it through half back.

No eventuating goal; quarter time.

8. (Swans clearance) Gawn, Petracca (near side wing), Pickett (defensive side), Oliver (offensive side)
Terrible bounce; ruckman end up competing on the circle on our defensive side. Hickey jumps; Gawn doesn't (again), Hickey ends up jumping over Max and Max falls on his [censored]. Still manages to affect the tap, which falls to the ground. Kennedy is blocking Oliver out of the contest and Mills is blocking Petracca; Warner (Pickett's man) gathers the ball unopposed. Pickett attempts to smother but is ineffective.

Eventual goal: Demons

9 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Jordon (near side wing), Petracca (offensive side), Harmes (defensive side)
Gawn wins the tap and taps it to space on the offensive side. No MFC players in the vicinity, Mills pushes off Jordon and gets there first. Petracca was running in the wrong direction to receive this tap and Jordon was comprehensively outbodied by Mills.

Eventual goal: Demons

10 (Demons clearance). Jackson, Harmes (near side wing), Oliver (offensive side), Melksham (defensive side)
Hickey wins the tap but it goes to Harmes who beats a hold and and breaks a tackle, to run away with the ball and clear it. Unfortunately gets pinged for running too far before the kick. Unlucky because I thought he did everything right here. 

No eventuating goal; half time.

11 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Oliver (near side wing), Petracca (far side wing), Pickett (defensive side)
Obviously different setup here with no offensive side player, and all three mids very close by. Oliver and Petracca are both standing basically at the circle, Pickett only a couple of metres away. Gawn wins the tap and... taps to to the offensive side where there are no Melbourne players (or any players). Parker (on Oliver) is first to the ball, again, and handballs to Mills who clears.

Eventual goal: Swans

12 (Demons clearance). Gawn, Oliver (near side wing), Harmes [I think] (far side wing), Petracca (defensive side)
Same setup as before but different personnel. Telecast is still showing the replay of the goal as the bounce takes place so it's hard to see (onya channel 7). I think it's Harmes on the far side wing, but whoever it is has gone by the time they switch back to the play. It appears Gawn wins the tap. Oliver receives and tries a hurried kick but it's smothered and goes straight up in the air. Petracca gathers and boots it out (down the throat of Sydney's half back).

Eventual goal: Demons

13 (Demons clearance). Jackson, Jordon (near side wing), Petracca (far side wing), Oliver (defensive side)
Slightly different setup again. Players are all very close to the contest still but Petracca is at about 2 o'clock (on offensive side) on the circle instead of at 12 o'clock. I reckon if we'd lined up like this in #11 we would have won a clearance instead of Gawn tapping to nobody. Ball is thrown up instead of bounced, Hickey grabs it. It's a scrap with all players in close. Kennedy initially wins the ball, but Jordon is able to lay an effective enough tackle to draw a dud disposal. Petracca wins the ball, we handball it out. All the mids from this contest touch the ball on the way out, including Jackson. Jordon is the final recipient who delivers inside 50 from half forward, but unfortunately the kick is poor. This was the first clean clearance of the game to us though.

Eventual goal: Demons

14 (Demons clearance). Jackson, Harmes (near side wing), Petracca (far side wing), Oliver (defensive side)
Different setup again, with all the players very close to the contest still, but the wing-side mids now both on the offensive side of the circle - Petracca at 2 o'clock, Harmes at 5 o'clock. Jackson taps to himself and runs the ball out, and wins the clearing kick.

Eventual goal: Demons

15 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Oliver (near side wing), Harmes (offensive side), Melksham (defensive side)
Back to the earlier setup with the offensive player a fair way out of the contest. Oliver as the wing side mid is more defensive side (about 7 o'clock). Defensive side player has been in the same position every bounce. Gawn wins the tap and hits it to the advantage of Harmes, who runs in to the space and collects. He is tackled instantly by Hickey and the ball spills. Kennedy gathers, fumbles and taps it forward towards Florent who soccers it clear.

Eventual goal: Swans

16 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Oliver (near side wing), Jordon (far side wing), Petracca (defensive side)
No offensive side player again, players all very close to the contest, Oliver at 7 o'clock, Jordon at 12 o'clock. Tap goes towards Florent and Jordon, who gets the quick handball away to Parker who has peeled off Oliver and is running in to the space where there is no Melbourne player to be seen, and gets a long clearing kick to half forward. 

Eventual goal: Swans

17 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Melksham (far side wing - 12 o'clock), Petracca (offensive side), Oliver (defensive side)
Scrap contest, with most of the players ending up on top of each other. Ball spills out and is collected by Mills. Petracca attempts to interfere but is off balance and ends up spinning away from the contest. Clearing handball goes offensive side towards Parker, who had broken away from the pack and was meters in the clear. 

No eventuating goal, three quarter time.

18 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Harmes (near side wing), Petracca (offensive side), Oliver (defensive side)
No clear winner of the tap, ball goes to the defensive side where Oliver appears to be about to gather, but the ball bounces away and the ball is collected by Hickey, who handballs it to the charging Rowbottom who delivers inside 50.

Eventual goal: Swans

19 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Oliver (near side wing), Petracca (offensive side), Harmes (defensive side)
Gawn wins the tap, taps towards Petracca who has moved in ahead of his opponent, but the tap is too rich and goes over his and his opponents head. Contest falls Parker and Oliver; Parker clears the ball by kicking it out of the air while wresting Oliver. Can clearly see what we were trying to do here and there was a massive touch of luck in this clearance from Sydney.

Eventual goal: Demons

20 (no clearance). Jackson, Petracca (near side wing), Oliver (offensive side), Harmes (defensive side)
Seem to be settling back in to the earlier setups again now. Jackson wins the tap, and there's a ground level contest between Petracca and Rowbottom. They both overrun, Harmes and Jackson go for the same ball. A scrap ensues with no clearance and there's another ballup.

Eventual goal: Swans
21 (Swans clearance). Gawn, Petracca (near side wing), Harmes (offensive side) Oliver (defensive side/wing - 2 o'clock)
First contest where we didn't have a player directly on the defensive side of the circle. Gawn tap goes backwards in the direction of Petracca (basically stationary, still wrestling with Mills) and Oliver (been pushed out of it by Parker) - ball goes right in between the two of them and Parker hits it at pace and runs out.

Eventual goal: Demons
22 (Swans clearance). Jackson, Harmes (near side wing), Oliver (offensive side), Jordon (defensive side)
Hickey wins the tap, grabs the ball himself and boots it clear. No midfielders touch the ball.

No eventuating goal, game ends.

Thoughts:
I'm definitely no analyst - this is the first time in my life I've ever attempted to scrutinise our setups like this and often I found I had no idea what I was looking at really. But my general notes are:
- 3 of our 4 clearances came when Jackson was rucking - but none of them came from good taps, they were all because he involved himself in the midfielder's contest. Gawn does this too, but not as effecively.
- They sharked our taps from Gawn. This was a clear strategy.
- Sydney's mature midfield combo of Kennedy, Mills and Parker is brilliant. They pantsed our starting midfielders of Petracca, Oliver and Harmes/Jordon. They block for each other too - more than once I would see the player who has just dished the ball off immediately lay a block. I didn't see the Melbourne mids do this once.
- While they won a lot of clearances, very few of them resulted in goals. There were a lot of junk kicks out to the wing or kicks to half-forward where they were outnumbered. Overall despite the fact that they comprehensively beat us out of the middle, we still made it hard for them to score. 
- There was only one drawn contest in the middle. I'm not sure how that compares to normal but I expected more in such a fiercely contested game.

I'd love to sit down and do this for a game where Viney plays and see how it differs. I feel like I'll have a better idea of what I'm seeing and how it differs if I have more of a point of reference.

Love it mate. Haha, I hadn't read the thread when I wrote mine. I promise!

On 5/9/2021 at 12:24 PM, Jjrogan said:

Maybe just me, but I feel when we do get our hands on it, our centre mids do look for that extra handball to a player in space or trying to hit a player running a fraction more than the opposition. Some would it call it being cute and perhaps means we dont 'win' a clearance when we could. I'm generally ok with it, as others have suggested it's what you do with the clearance that ultimately matters.

What's not great is when they do get clear, our starting centre mids are below average kicks.  Not an urgent need, but another elite kick through our midfield would make us very damaging.  

Yep, this is certainly what happened the other night, particularly in that first quarter.

On 5/9/2021 at 1:01 PM, Kent said:

Agree completely Polly week off v Carlton or Adelaide 

He looked tired and hurt last night we need him fit and healthy for later in the season

Maybe ruck Daw and LJ for a couple of weeks Just a thought

I don't mind this idea, but there are question marks over Daw's ability to run out a game, so having a ruckman that doesn't get to all the contests and can't get it done around the ground is a recipe for disaster. I think they'll keep playing Max. The other out of the box idea could be playing McDonald as a permanent ruck in a few weeks time and giving Max a rest then. I wouldn't move Tom at the moment though as he's in career best form IMO.

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On 5/9/2021 at 3:48 PM, Lord Travis said:

Probably not that much. He’s been average the past two seasons, wins less clearances and contested possessions than both Oliver and Petracca. He’s not a match winner either, and gets overrated by the media. Carlton have other more damaging players to worry about. 

Walsh is comfortably their best midfielder this year. We need to make sure he has strong pressure applied all day, as his disposal is poor when pressured. If he’s allowed to run then he’ll break lines and do damage though.

I'd run Harmes with Walsh all day. Go to stoppages with him and then run with him around the ground. Harmes has the tank and the defensive side to go with Walsh and then hurt him going the other way.

Agree Cripps isn't having the same influence, but he usually plays well against us and is still a top 30 player.

On 5/9/2021 at 3:58 PM, Nasher said:

I've heard a few people say we've lacked a defensive sweeper - where would the defensive sweeper line up? I'm assuming you mean a player lining up at about half way towards the back of the square, but I'm not sure how you do that with 666. We had a player defensive side of the contest on all but one centre square bounce and they weren't getting drawn in to the contest, but they watched the ball sail over their heads a lot.

On Jackson - I think it's less that he's unpredictable with his taps, and more that he just doesn't win the tap. The only tap he won from the centre square went to himself. The rest of his impact in the centre square is because of his ground level work, which is exceptional, and better than Max, but he's got a way to go in terms of hitouts. It became clear to me why he isn't spending larger amounts of time in the ruck.

Yeah, we didn't lack a defensive sweeper. I'm not sure what people are watching. We always had a mid defensive side of the contest. Sometimes that was the wide mid, but most often that was the mid closest to our ruckman. Inside sliders that come off the back of the square don't really look to impact like they did across 2017-2019, because it leaves holes in your defence.

23 hours ago, Kit Walker said:

Richmond beat Geelong 18-12 in centre clearances, and lost by 63 points.

We haven't been great at them all year and are 8-0. I understand why Goodwin wants to improve them but they're frankly a bit overrated in importance.

Completely agree.

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21 hours ago, binman said:

Because 'winning' a clearance that under pressure you are forced to kick a mongrel, scrubby, shallow entry kick that gets picked off by a defender and goes straight down the other end is not actually winning.

But, say Oliver getting the ball in space, perhaps after a couple of quick high risk handballs (that when they breakdown often result in an opposition clearnce), at pace, with time to run a few steps and kick deep inside our 50? 

That's winning a clearnance.

I absolutely agree mate that we are placing a greater priority on winning the cleaner, better directed clearance, rather than rushed kick that lacks direction and is intercepted, but I think we're still failing to defend the centre stoppage properly. So there were too many times in the Sydney game and certainly too many in the North game, where our starting mids failed prevent an easy exit.

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6 hours ago, Nasher said:

I don't think so. In both games I think Max comprehensively out-tapped his opponent. Plenty of the taps seemed to go where they were directed by Max, they just went to a contested ball which we lost, or to a space that suited the Sydney mids (particularly Parker). 

Hickey's getting a lot of credit for his game, but I can't see anything to suggest he's actually any good as a ruckman. Maybe it's an unfair comparison against the best one in the game though.

And really its pretty rare a ruck, even one as good as Max gets the perfect tap to a moving player for a unpressured kick from the centre.

 

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My observations. 

In order to stop the Bees to a honey pot situation the coaches have clearly worked on spacing and at times our boys are just too far away. and the other player gets in first. 

other sides know Max and Jackson are going to dominate hit outs, so they're roving them rather than even trying to win, just trying to contest enough that they get a look. 

Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca are consistently trying to hit the bounces at speed and push through with momentum, which is great when it works, but if it doesn't it tends to leave us outnumbered. 

we're particularly bad in this space at the start of games. it works better when teams have tired 

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5 hours ago, A F said:

Is it a big problem though? The majority of those clearances against are rushed clearances that we can either defend and neutralise or get on our terms and counter attack.

It's not a problem while we're winning, but it has the potential to become a reason we lose if we don't balance it up a bit. We don't have to dominate, but would be helpful to at least break even. We can't take things for granted, should May, Lever or Salem get injured or lose form it all of a sudden could become a big problem.

 

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5 hours ago, Dee Zephyr said:

Good stuff all, apologies if I’ve missed it but the defence should get a bonus in their pay packet this week. According to the stats that matter we only conceded 1 behind from Sydney’s centre bounce dominance.

They definitely got at least one goal almost straight out of the middle. Sinclair's goal at the start of the fourth is an example.

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3 minutes ago, A F said:

I absolutely agree mate that we are placing a greater priority on winning the cleaner, better directed clearance, rather than rushed kick that lacks direction and is intercepted, but I think we're still failing to defend the centre stoppage properly. So there were too many times in the Sydney game and certainly too many in the North game, where our starting mids failed prevent an easy exit.

Fair call. Against the roos the lack of pressure was an issue.

And against the swans there is no doubt we missed viney.

But we looked a bit off, I agree. They have some good mids it must be said though

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17 minutes ago, binman said:

Fair call. Against the roos the lack of pressure was an issue.

And against the swans there is no doubt we missed viney.

But we looked a bit off, I agree. They have some good mids it must be said though

Petracca's man got three of the first 5 centre clearances of the game. He needs to defend better without the ball.

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3 minutes ago, A F said:

Petracca's man got three of the first 5 centre clearances of the game. He needs to defend better without the ball.

I'm not sure it's as simple as each player is 100% accountable for their opponent, as weird as that sounds, 

Petracca is our biggest offensive weapon hands down, and if you watch our clearences, he almost exclusively sets up in an attacking position, where others are more balanced, the structure allows for a player to cover if Petracca doesn't win the ball, but my contention, is the players are starting too far back to be able to do it effectively, if we don't win the ball the other side has an extra split second to clear it. 

I'm not concerned about the clearance issue personally, simply because i believe it's very easily solvable and Yze will be playing around with the set ups and will get it right. 

The Swans on the day probably did everything they set out to do and still couldn't win. they beat us in the middle, dominated inside 50's, made May and Lever accountable, and kept Fritsch and Kozzie quiet, the issue is in all honesty we're just a bloody good team. 

Genuinely if we get the Clearance side of our game going in the next two weeks i think we'll also beat the dogs and Lions and start 12-0 

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I think we can improve with one simple instruction :  you can’t handball to a teammate less than a meter away unless you’re getting tackled. 
 

We continue to overuse in close looking for perfect clearance -  therefore only handball if teammate spreading and more than one meter away.

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20 minutes ago, Patches O’houlihan said:

I'm not sure it's as simple as each player is 100% accountable for their opponent, as weird as that sounds, 

Petracca is our biggest offensive weapon hands down, and if you watch our clearences, he almost exclusively sets up in an attacking position, where others are more balanced, the structure allows for a player to cover if Petracca doesn't win the ball, but my contention, is the players are starting too far back to be able to do it effectively, if we don't win the ball the other side has an extra split second to clear it. 

I'm not concerned about the clearance issue personally, simply because i believe it's very easily solvable and Yze will be playing around with the set ups and will get it right. 

The Swans on the day probably did everything they set out to do and still couldn't win. they beat us in the middle, dominated inside 50's, made May and Lever accountable, and kept Fritsch and Kozzie quiet, the issue is in all honesty we're just a bloody good team. 

Genuinely if we get the Clearance side of our game going in the next two weeks i think we'll also beat the dogs and Lions and start 12-0 

Agree with most of this mate. The only thing I'd say is Petracca did his fair share of 'defensive mid' positioning at centre stoppages. 

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1 minute ago, A F said:

Agree with most of this mate. The only thing I'd say is Petracca did his fair share of 'defensive mid' positioning at centre stoppages. 

Against the Swans he may have, in all honesty i wasn't watching that closely. but previous weeks i've noticed he's the one who seems to line up in the more aggressive spot. but i think my point is, the whole midfield needs to be covering for each other so we can attack, although we probably would do just fine in pure one on ones 

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Very informative! This is something I often wonder about and I try (and usually fail) to figure out what our preferred structure is or at least see when changes are made if it isn't working. Especially when watching a replay as during a live game I'm usually too absorbed in the contest to notice much...or I tend to look more at what the forward or backline setup is doing. The TV commentary is rarely any help in this regard in terms of what teams are actually trying to do at a centre bounce. Admittedly it's sometimes hard to tell on the fly, but you'd think commentators watching the team over many years with the same diligence as our posters could produce similar analysis...

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  • Nasher changed the title to Centre Clearances - Considered Analysis Requested.

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