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Christian Salem - Straight back to the backline or something different?


Vipercrunch

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I heard part of an interview on the weekend with someone from the Suns coaching group (it could have been Stuart Dew, but I missed the start).  He was asked about how the Suns wanted to use Jack Lukosius.  The response was that they wanted the best ball users in the front half/third of the ground.

It got me thinking about where we should play Salem when he returns.  The obvious answer is to plug him straight back into the backline and get on with it, but I wonder if he could be better used in the front half.

Reasons for shifting Salem to the front half:

  • Decent forward entries have been an ongoing and frustrating struggle of ours.  Spargo is very good at it, but it is still hit and miss with many others.  I reckon our forwards would love Salem delivering the ball to them.
  • Salem was so important in the backline because he is a great ball user and our backline was really lacking in this area.  Jake Bowey has now arrived on the scene and is a great ball user, as is Brayshaw who has slotted in back there to great affect this year while JJ stepped up on the wing.  Do we still need Salem back there?
  • Our backline has performed in Salem's absence.  We are still keeping the opposition's score low, and have rebounded well.

Reasons against shifting Salem to the front half:

  • Why change a premiership winning role?
  • If he was to play forward, you'd think it would be in the place of Spargo, Kozzy or Nibbler (ANB).  We hear all the time from the coaches that the main focus of those players is to put pressure of the ball coming out of our forwardline to create forward half turnovers.  Can he provide the forward half pressure required? 
  • Salem seems to get banged up a bit.  There is a theory (or perhaps myth) that players are somehow less likely to get hurt in collisions when they play as a backman than a forward. Supposedly backman need to be more mindful on where the opposition players are at all times, which lessens the possibility of collisions, where forwards are more focused on the ball so they get hit more often.  It was meant to be why playing Paddy McCartin as a backman was going to be safer for him.  We all know how that ended up....

I think the club needs to always look for areas to improve.  Just because something worked, doesn't mean it can't be improved on.

Edited by Vipercrunch
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5 minutes ago, Vipercrunch said:

I heard part of an interview on the weekend with someone from the Suns coaching group (it could have been Stuart Dew, but I missed the start).  He was asked about how the Suns wanted to use Jack Lukosius.  The response was that they wanted the best ball users in the front half/third of the ground.

It got me thinking about where we should play Salem when he returns.  The obvious answer is to plug him straight back into the backline and get on with it, but I wonder if he could be better used in the front half.

Reasons for shifting Salem to the front half:

  • Decent forward entries have been an ongoing and frustrating struggle of ours.  Spargo is very good at it, but it is still hit and miss with many others.  I reckon our forwards would love Salem delivering the ball to them.
  • Salem was so important in the backline because he is a great ball user and our backline was really lacking in this area.  Jake Bowey has now arrived on the scene and is a great ball user, as is Brayshaw who has slotted in back there to great affect this year while JJ stepped up on the wing.  Do we still need Salem back there?
  • Our backline has performed in Salem's absence.  We are still keeping the opposition's score low, and have rebounded well.

Reasons against shifting Salem to the front half:

  • Why change a premiership winning role?
  • If he was to play forward, you'd think it would be in the place of Spargo, Kozzy or Nibbler (ANB).  We hear all the time from the coaches that the main focus of those players is to put pressure of the ball coming out of our forwardline to create forward half turnovers.  Can he provide the forward half pressure required? 
  • Salem seems to get banged up a bit.  There is a theory (or perhaps myth) that players are somehow less likely to get hurt in collisions when they play as a backman than a forward. Supposedly backman need to be more mindful on where the opposition players are at all times, which lessens the possibility of collisions, where forwards are more focused on the ball so they get hit more often.  It was meant to be why playing Paddy McCartin as a backman was going to be safer for him.  We all know how that ended up....

I think the club needs to always look for areas to improve.  Just because something worked, doesn't mean it can't be improved on.

Are you suggesting Bowey can take Salem's place in the half backline?

I do like Bowey's use of the ball but at the same time I feel Salem is more damaging for our transitions to our forward half.

Can't make up my mind on this idea.

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Long term I think this could have merit, but most major changes like this require at least a summer or decent training block to implement. No point him coming back up forward, not really knowing his role and losing confidence. 

What he could do is actually play as a higher defender - so he gets more chances to deliver into the forward 50. Somewhere between the wing and half back? I know we've nearly got an attacking winger (Langdon) and defensive winger (Brayshaw or JJ) at the moment, and he doesn't need to fill their role, but have a licensee to run more freely forward to do that delivery. No idea what that means for the overall team set up, and if that would cost us too much defensively?? 

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For me, Salem has really made that half back position his own, he's still improving all the time in the role and is becoming one of the very best in the Business in terms of that half back general type player. 

he walks right back into that role, and Bowey stays as well. i'd say it's Hunt and Rivers fighting for their spots against Hibberd 

Edited by Dwight Schrute
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5 minutes ago, ElDiablo14 said:

Are you suggesting Bowey can take Salem's place in the half backline?

I do like Bowey's use of the ball but at the same time I feel Salem is more damaging for our transitions to our forward half.

Can't make up my mind on this idea.

Did Brayshaw step straight into Salems role, or did Bowey do Salem's role while someone else (Brayshaw/Hunt/others) cover Bowey's?  Good chance it was a mixture of all of that. We certainly haven't seemed to miss a beat, especially considering Salem wasn't the only premiership backline player missing. 

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2 minutes ago, Vipercrunch said:

Did Brayshaw step straight into Salems role, or did Bowey do Salem's role while someone else (Brayshaw/Hunt/others) cover Bowey's?  Good chance it was a mixture of all of that. We certainly haven't seemed to miss a beat, especially considering Salem wasn't the only premiership backline player missing. 

It appears to be a bit of a hybrid role, Brayshaw is definitely covering the defensive hole plugging elements of the role, and he's very good at that. but there also seems to be an effort to get the ball into Boweys hands where possible. 

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Love the idea of Salem up forward but as someone said earlier to shift him mid year could be a tricky proposition. 

He’s not quick but his tackling is excellent, when he tackles someone they go down hard!

Hypothetically if he was to return during a time where we lack some class up forward it could be worth a crack. 

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If Langdon keeps getting successfully tagged we might need to shift him back for a bit and put Bowey on the wing. Tagging a half back is almost impossible in a zone defence. If that happens, Salem would be needed down back to be the kicker to find a mark and release pressure.

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Brayshaw has become a backline weapon a la Hodge for Hawthorn and Bowey, Hunt have become runners whilst Salem has been injured.

I would play Salem on the wing instead of Jordan.

Yes Rivers form has been up and down but the pre-season was interupted by injury and has just been pitchforked back into side because our backline depth was tested this year.

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56 minutes ago, Dwight Schrute said:

For me, Salem has really made that half back position his own, he's still improving all the time in the role and is becoming one of the very best in the Business in terms of that half back general type player. 

he walks right back into that role, and Bowey stays as well. i'd say it's Hunt and Rivers fighting for their spots against Hibberd 

Is probably out most important cog in the back half.

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There is more to Salem's role at half back, than merely being a great kick. He is a whole lot tougher and stronger when tackling or body-to-body than most people realise (Hunt is the same). As well as initiating breath-taking 45 degree angle kicks or delivering into the corridor, he stops a lot of plays. 

He goes straight back to his half back role after a 2/3 or 3/4 game at Casey first. Rivers moves out for him.

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Right now Brayshaw is clearly playing the role as he acts as the pressure release kick on the HBF. 

Rivers and Bowey are sharing the 5th defender/rebounding role - with Hunt acting as resident lockdown defender. 

 

Brayshaw back to the wing

Jordan back to the HF/mid rotation

Bowey back to being the 5th defender

Rivers out 

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Comes straight back to the backline. Salem's quality decision making and delivery from half back/midfield are attacking weapons that should be retained for the benefit of the team. He is also an excellent one on one defender and, increasingly, a solid contested mark. Hard to pick who is to make way. Rivers, Hunt and Bowey have all performed well from half back.

I can see a backline comprising May, Lever, Petty and perhaps Smith as talls with Salem, Rivers, Bowey and Hunt as smalls (8). Eight places does not work unless any can be accommodated in the midfield which is already crowded with Gawn, Oliver, Petracca, Viney, Langdon, Brayshaw, ANB, Jordon and Sparrow (9). Together with a forward line with Fritsch, Brown, McDonald, Weideman, Spargo, Pickett and Jackson (7) there are 24 selections. Which 2 miss out?

I am glad it is not me to have to make the decision.  But how fortunate are we?

Edited by tiers
Fat fingers.
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3 minutes ago, Demonstone said:

He plays for the same team as Jordan, Wiedermann, Thomlinson and Bowie. 

And you call yourself a Melbourne fan.  :blink:

Just couldn't resist eh?

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