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Forward Structure



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I'm not necessarily sure that this is worthy of a new thread and I didn't post this in the changes thread as I think the ideal forward set up and structure is an interesting conversation to have, so move it or merge it if it makes sense to.

Goodwin is always talking about looking at ways to improve and whilst scoring has been our biggest issue over the last 3 games, its no secret that our structure forward of the ball is what he is going to be looking to mix up over the next few weeks in order to get the best result. Whilst its pretty clear we have been still generating opportunities in the forward half, taking advantage of these opportunities especially against Essendon and GWS has dropped off. Do we think the reason behind this is due to personnel being tired or just not generating enough good opportunities. Against Essendon we had 14 marks inside 50, which would indicate we probably should have scored higher. Against GWS players bellied the snap a lot in the last, but we also only had 10 marks inside 50. There was a a clear change of tactic in the last quarter against GWS, we stopped moving the ball through the small chip kick, but often found an outnumber through handball to run and carry. So I think its probably a combination of creating really good scoring opportunities and possibly personnel.

This thread is to look at what the possible forward lines people think could work best, especially due to a near on full list available for selection. 

McDonald, Fritsch, Pickett, Neal-Bullen, Spargo and Jackson with mids rotating through seems to be the current forward options that we have been running with.
Most people are suggesting that adding of one key forward, Brown or Weideman, at the expense of a mid (Sparrow most likely) is what they would think makes sense at the selection table. Melksham in for one of the smalls is also something I have seen suggested. 

But what is our ideal forward mix? Here is  where I am going to be a little bit controversial and suggest that there is a forward line we have yet to try or suggest that probably warrants being looked at before the season is out. I want to preface it with saying Luke Jackson has shown himself to be of AFL level, played a multiple good games and is getting his hands to the ball around stoppages quite nicely, but realistically gives us little as a forward. Dropping Jackson to try Weideman as the second ruck (like he is playing at VFL) is probably in Goodwins thought process, a forward half of 
McDonald, Fritsch, Brown, Weideman (2nd Ruck), Spargo, Pickett, Neal-Bullen with mids rotating through, could be the solution to our current scoring woes and could make our forward half a much more dangerous prospect. 

What is your ideal forward set up if you were coaching and why?

 

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I can't see us dropping Jackson as he offers so much as a second ruck. True that he's not exactly an imposing forward target yet but thanks to his insane movement, he is still dangerous when the ball hits the ground and kicks most of his goals out the back.

Brown has to come in and I think Melksham for Pickett this week. Brown stays deep, McDonald roams around half forward where he does his best work and Melksham adds some more polished delivery inside 50, which we are sorely lacking.

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I think there is nothing wrong with our forward line we just need Weeds or Brown in to stay Closer to goals making a contest and let Tmac do what home been doing up the ground and coming back 

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Question for those at the game - did any of our forwards hold position? Or were they all up the ground most of the time?

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The 14 marks inside 50s can be a misdirect. How deep were those marks? We’re they in the pocket? Who was marking them? Ie. Charlie Spargo yelling a screaming for the footy 45 out is as helpful as kicking it backwards…

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Luther said:

I can't see us dropping Jackson as he offers so much as a second ruck. True that he's not exactly an imposing forward target yet but thanks to his insane movement, he is still dangerous when the ball hits the ground and kicks most of his goals out the back.

Brown has to come in and I think Melksham for Pickett this week. Brown stays deep, McDonald roams around half forward where he does his best work and Melksham adds some more polished delivery inside 50, which we are sorely lacking.

How has Melksham been going for Casey? Hows his pressure been?

We rely so much on forwardline pressure to produce turnovers resulting in scoring opportunities. Kozzy gives you so much added pressure when he doesn't have the ball. Sure, he hasn't been good offensively the last few weeks but I was at the game on the weekend and his repeat defensive efforts to close in on the oppositions backs was still evident. I would worry about losing our fastest high energy small forward whom for the majority of the season has been a catalyst for our forward half success. Melksham has been slow underwhelming at best.

Edited by Yung Blood
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3 minutes ago, Clintosaurus said:

Question for those at the game - did any of our forwards hold position? Or were they all up the ground most of the time?

When you say hold position you mean a forward stay back deeper? These days that's probably the 50m mark. Very rare you ever get a deep position forward position on any team in 2021.

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24 minutes ago, rpfc said:

The 14 marks inside 50s can be a misdirect. How deep were those marks? We’re they in the pocket? Who was marking them? Ie. Charlie Spargo yelling a screaming for the footy 45 out is as helpful as kicking it backwards…

This is true, i50s can be a misdirect also. I'd say more often than not though a mark inside 50 is a good indicator of generating a scoring opportunity. In a similar sense intercept possession can be a misdirect depending on where in the ground we are intercepting. All stats are really dependent on situation for sure.  

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24 minutes ago, Yung Blood said:

When you say hold position you mean a forward stay back deeper? These days that's probably the 50m mark. Very rare you ever get a deep position forward position on any team in 2021.

Yeah around the 50. Hard to tell watching on TV.

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7 minutes ago, Clintosaurus said:

Yeah around the 50. Hard to tell watching on TV.

Yeah nope. Most of the time forward 50 was vacant when in oppositions forward half.

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I understand the smaller forward line is intended to chase and pressure the defenders to lock the ball into our F50 however, that hasn't happened for quite a few weeks. 
The ball comes out way too easily with the smaller forwards getting outnumbered and out-marked in our forward line. 

Whilst were a high pressure side, the tackling doesn't stick or are at the level of other clubs, therefore I would prioritise good ball movement/foot skills and contested marking skills to maximise our chances at shots on goal.

I'd rotate Jackson/Gawn going through the ruck, forward line and bench with Melksham/N-B to rotate through the middle and with Spargo/Picket/Fritsch as his kicking to a leading target skills are sublime.

I'd have Jackson in the Ruck and Gawn in the forward line when either Brown or Tmac are on the bench, but then we also have the option to stretch a backline with height on a dry deck.  
Ben Brown also then takes the best defender and makes backlines worry and double team him, he will open up Fritsch and Tmac as better targets, Pickett will have more influence on the game with him as a target.


Fritsch T.Mac Spargo
Jackson B.Brown Pickett

Bench: Melksham, Neal Bullen

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Clintosaurus said:

Question for those at the game - did any of our forwards hold position? Or were they all up the ground most of the time?

T-Mac, the only genuine tall, was roaming up the ground and back again but rarely stayed home (Punt Rd end not sure about the city).

Dogga played deep when not rucking but ineffective up forward.  Played a VG game up the ground imv.

We were devoid of talls on the rebound and rarely got first clearance out of the middle to bother the Giant's defence.

When we did get a few clearances or clean possession/connection from the middle,  we fluffed our entries inside most of the time.  Tracc the worst offender here.  Burnt the team on at least two occasions...possibly more.  Viney on at least one occasion off a wing & of course Hunt on at least three occasions.  Played well other than that and may well have pulled the trigger to not fluff those runs had we had a genuine tall target deep.  Everything changes when a running / breaking player spots a tall option deep.

Edited by Rusty Nails
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1 hour ago, Clintosaurus said:

Question for those at the game - did any of our forwards hold position? Or were they all up the ground most of the time?

We were deeper into our backline than I had noticed at any game in 2021. Quite often there was nobody from between our wing and half back line to our goals. I remarked on this a few times to my son on Saturday... on this occasion, we were out-coached. I am also one of those who think its a no-brainer to include Ben Brown from here on in!

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1 hour ago, Deemac said:

I think there is nothing wrong with our forward line we just need Weeds or Brown in to stay Closer to goals making a contest and let Tmac do what home been doing up the ground and coming back 

Problem with this is that neither Weid or Brown are renowned for their body work and contested marking. In fact i would go as far and say that is a major flaw in their game. If we do play them deep and stretch the oppositions defensive structure we inevitably create space in the forward line for our forwards to run and lead into - this a strength of both Brown & Weid. If we chip kick and move the ball slow, the defense floods back and we are often bombing into an outnumbered contest. We are also turnover kings when we try to put speed on the ball. It ultimately boils down to knowing when to go full pelt vs slow and deliberate and having the forward connection in the sense that the forwards are on the same page as the midfield so that they can adjust positioning and leading patterns. When we get it right, it looks beautiful and we have that seamless transition. 

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6 minutes ago, CYB said:

Problem with this is that neither Weid or Brown are renowned for their body work and contested marking. 

2016 to 2019 Ben Brown's contested mark totals were 49, 43, 36, 35, which were ranked 5th, 7th, 12th, 15th in the league. Not sure he is not renowned for it based on that. Would also argue North's decline are reflected in the slight drop off in numbers.

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I think we need to try things. The last couple of weeks have worried me that we are putting faith in Jackson who is not an out and out forward. The other thing is McDonald not taking as many forward 50 marks. He looked superb up the ground on the weekend.

Might be time to move Macca up to a wing, get him to be dangerous running back to goal. 
 

BB comes in, Max plays 90% forward and Dogga rucks. 

 

Not sure what is happening to Pickett, but needs some form. He is often too close to the marking forwards, needs separation to be dangerous.

 

All can be fixed.

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4 minutes ago, Clintosaurus said:

Would also argue North's decline are reflected in the slight drop off in numbers.

Possibly yes.  That would be also due to the retirement of Boomer and the falling away of Goldy's around the ground dominance as he aged IMV.

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Interesting that we started the season rotating our mids through the forward line but in the last few weeks they appear to be a lot less rotation. Having a set structure with ANB, Kozy, Spargo and designating Sparrow, Jordan and Harmes to primarily rotate through the forward line is actually taking away from our incredible depth in the midfield.

Our best forward set up probably consists of only having 1 designated small forward such as Pickett and having a bunch of players rotating through the centre. Our best forward set up probably also has us not playing 7 players behind the ball but having an extra mid.

My preferred lineup:

Brayshaw  B.Brown  Fritsch

Harmes Weideman Viney

TMac  Jordan  Langdon

Salem Petty Rivers

Hibberd May Lever

Gawn Petracca Oliver

Sparrow, Jackson, Bowey, Kozy 

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If you are going to play three crumbing forwards, then you need some big contested marking types for them to crumb to.

Crumbers become redundant when the talls are Fritsch, McDonald and Jackson, all of whom are leading forwards, and none of whom really crash packs or provide a strong aerial contest. 

With our current structure, we may as well play drop Spargo and Neal-Bullen and play Melksham and Vandenberg in their place. At least they are capable of providing a target inside forward 50.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Mad_Melbourne said:

I'm not necessarily sure that this is worthy of a new thread and I didn't post this in the changes thread as I think the ideal forward set up and structure is an interesting conversation to have, so move it or merge it if it makes sense to.

Goodwin is always talking about looking at ways to improve and whilst scoring has been our biggest issue over the last 3 games, its no secret that our structure forward of the ball is what he is going to be looking to mix up over the next few weeks in order to get the best result. Whilst its pretty clear we have been still generating opportunities in the forward half, taking advantage of these opportunities especially against Essendon and GWS has dropped off. Do we think the reason behind this is due to personnel being tired or just not generating enough good opportunities. Against Essendon we had 14 marks inside 50, which would indicate we probably should have scored higher. Against GWS players bellied the snap a lot in the last, but we also only had 10 marks inside 50. There was a a clear change of tactic in the last quarter against GWS, we stopped moving the ball through the small chip kick, but often found an outnumber through handball to run and carry. So I think its probably a combination of creating really good scoring opportunities and possibly personnel.

This thread is to look at what the possible forward lines people think could work best, especially due to a near on full list available for selection. 

McDonald, Fritsch, Pickett, Neal-Bullen, Spargo and Jackson with mids rotating through seems to be the current forward options that we have been running with.
Most people are suggesting that adding of one key forward, Brown or Weideman, at the expense of a mid (Sparrow most likely) is what they would think makes sense at the selection table. Melksham in for one of the smalls is also something I have seen suggested. 

But what is our ideal forward mix? Here is  where I am going to be a little bit controversial and suggest that there is a forward line we have yet to try or suggest that probably warrants being looked at before the season is out. I want to preface it with saying Luke Jackson has shown himself to be of AFL level, played a multiple good games and is getting his hands to the ball around stoppages quite nicely, but realistically gives us little as a forward. Dropping Jackson to try Weideman as the second ruck (like he is playing at VFL) is probably in Goodwins thought process, a forward half of 
McDonald, Fritsch, Brown, Weideman (2nd Ruck), Spargo, Pickett, Neal-Bullen with mids rotating through, could be the solution to our current scoring woes and could make our forward half a much more dangerous prospect. 

What is your ideal forward set up if you were coaching and why?

 

I also like the idea of giving Jacko a spell and bringing in both of Weid and Brown.

Weid plays as second ruck, gives away a little there but is a genuine forward threat when not following the ball. Exact opposite to LJ.

Brown stays at home from the square.

I mentioned during the week that I think we are taking away one of our great strengths (Max) by playing Jacko in the ruck so much. He’s agile and is involved, but he’s not a proper midfielder (yet). Give Gawn a big rucking game, maybe 80% and build some cohesion with the mids again, at least we know Gawn will win lots of taps.

I’d then like to see how a team contains all of Brown, Weid and T-Mac?

The extra big bodies create uncertainty with contests and the ball starts spilling to different spots, which allows our opportunistic smalls to get a better look in. At present they are starved because the opposition defenders are doing a Lever/May to us and marking everything.

 

Edited by BW511
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2 hours ago, rpfc said:

The 14 marks inside 50s can be a misdirect. How deep were those marks? We’re they in the pocket? Who was marking them? Ie. Charlie Spargo yelling a screaming for the footy 45 out is as helpful as kicking it backwards…

Medium smalls and in some cases smalls can still run into a hole on the lead RPFC ...and get hit up if those doing the delivering can hit a target, kick it out in front softly or to their favoured side.  There should be multiple go to options up forward.

The likes of Kozzie on the burst should be an option here on occasions but aren't.  Must not be training it?

But then those kicking in need to have confidence in these smaller kickers provided they're within distance.  Obviously they have no issues with Fritta here.

However as for some of the other smalls.. even if they are hit up most can't kick beyond about 35/40 meters.  And when they do on occasions, usually not accurately as it is beyond them.

Also small and medium options presenting will usually result in entries out wide to the boundary (flanks & pockets).   KFs (who play deep and lead etc) will usually see entries hitting the corridor area more often resulting in a better conversion rate.

Why you would not want to have at least one effective (or potentially effective ...everyone has bad days) key tall focul point playing the deep role for most of a match is perplexing.

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2 hours ago, Yung Blood said:

When you say hold position you mean a forward stay back deeper? These days that's probably the 50m mark. Very rare you ever get a deep position forward position on any team in 2021.

This is generally correct YB.  The centre bounces however are one of those times when they at least start deep though.

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2 hours ago, Clintosaurus said:

Question for those at the game - did any of our forwards hold position? Or were they all up the ground most of the time?

Your last sentence. obvious all game.

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I'm currently working on a personal side-project (which might one day become a book) where I'm going through all the classics of military theory and collecting the notes and quotes which may be of interest from a football perspective.  It has been a very interesting ride with a slightly surprisingly huge amount of content on cultivating behaviours, understanding the hearts of men, the nature of courage and panic, all that.

There's also, of course, an awful lot on using tactics to take the initiative in a battle or at campaign level.

In all of that, one thing I've never, ever come across is an endorsement of a tactic which allows your opponent to not have to worry about dealing with a counter-attack. Multiple authors have gone into quite angry rants about the psychological death that comes from having troops deployed in a strictly defensive posture. It is often described as the product of cowardice and (in various terms) groupthink on the part of officers and senior commanders who can only think in terms of simple risk and who are intimidated by the danger to their reputation if they attempt something bold and it fails.  Doing the same as everyone else incurs little reputational risk even when it does fail.

I think Australian football has very much fallen into that trap when it comes to pressing all the numbers back to defence and leaving a vacated forward line.

For this example the situation is precisely the same in football as in the military theory; having a force deployed in a way that can threaten multiple crucial enemy positions compels the enemy to protect ALL of the various positions that force might attack, thus forcing them to distribute both garrison forces to provide delaying strength as well as an 'observation' force at least as strong as your offensive force, ready to respond.

The analogy to football is pretty clear; if you have one or two forwards stay 'home' even when the ball is up the other end of the ground, the opposition then has to consider the full range of places those forwards might become a threat. Got a CHF in position? Are they going to lead out to provide a connection? In the corridor, on the wings? Are they going to lurk around the 50m line ready to provide a short lead marking target or to suddenly break towards goal to run onto the long bomb to space over their head? Even on that simple level of consideration, that one forward has just forced the opposition defence to actively consider about a hectare of the field as under threat. A second forward doesn't expand the range as much but it also makes planning that defence even more complicated.

Key is - your opponents MUST respond, or they would just be giving away goals every time you broke out of defence.

#letforwardsbeforwards !!!

 

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3 hours ago, Clintosaurus said:

Question for those at the game - did any of our forwards hold position? Or were they all up the ground most of the time?

No, Yes, respectively. 
  

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