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Is our offense a problem?



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There's a lot of talk in the media about our supposedly struggling forward line and ability to score, one of the latest examples is this discussion between Tim Watson and Garry Lyon (https://www.sen.com.au/news/2022/07/04/the-only-major-concern-lingering-for-melbourne-ahead-of-finals/).  And I, as much as the next MFC supoorter, would love to see us kick more goals from more traditional methods (lead and mark or contested marks by big key forwards), but I also suspected that this was just more of the media having selective memory about what we did in 2021.  The numbers speak for themselves.

image.png.104062f78acc584d040c0980418ba803.png

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Vipercrunch said:

There's a lot of talk in the media about our supposedly struggling forward line and ability to score, one of the latest examples is this discussion between Tim Watson and Garry Lyon (https://www.sen.com.au/news/2022/07/04/the-only-major-concern-lingering-for-melbourne-ahead-of-finals/).  And I, as much as the next MFC supoorter, would love to see us kick more goals from more traditional methods (lead and mark or contested marks by big key forwards), but I also suspected that this was just more of the media having selective memory about what we did in 2021.  The numbers speak for themselves.

image.png.104062f78acc584d040c0980418ba803.png

 

 

Great post, thanks 

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Our forward line performance is dependent on our pressure further up the ground more so than forward line personnel IMO. You could see vs Brisbane that when the defence and midfield is humming, the forward line takes care of itself. I think the forward line issues are an easy target for media pundits, but I reckon it will straighten out as our training loads drop and the boys bring more and more pressure on game day. Not an issue for mine.

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38 minutes ago, Vipercrunch said:

There's a lot of talk in the media about our supposedly struggling forward line and ability to score, one of the latest examples is this discussion between Tim Watson and Garry Lyon (https://www.sen.com.au/news/2022/07/04/the-only-major-concern-lingering-for-melbourne-ahead-of-finals/).  And I, as much as the next MFC supoorter, would love to see us kick more goals from more traditional methods (lead and mark or contested marks by big key forwards), but I also suspected that this was just more of the media having selective memory about what we did in 2021.  The numbers speak for themselves.

image.png.104062f78acc584d040c0980418ba803.png

 

 

Sorry, you find the Dees offensive or you are worried about the Dees offence.

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Whilst all the stats look great, it’s always hard to marry two years up. Have we played better or worse teams this year to last etc 

To me they feel similar because like last year we dominated inside 50’s and our conversion was avg to poor quite often. 
For me I don’t think our connection to our forwards is great, but I’ve also thought we have been too tall all year. 
BBB and Fritta should be our talls with Max and Dogga also chiming in. With another tall we are to easy to rebound against.

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Posted (edited)

Just saw this thread.

Coincidentally just posted this in the VR thread:

 

It's interesting you mention Curnow and McKay, because I actually think they represent a systemic weakness for the blues. 

By that I mean, the blues fortunes are completely linked to how well those two are going. Limit their impact and the blues have few other scoring options (their small forwards are pretty good, but seem to have dropped off a bit) - as we saw in their loss to the saints on the weekend. 

This creates a significant systemic problem, one the dees and freo are well placed to exploit - stop those two and you stop the blues. 

Our strength is our defensive system, which as has been proven is all but impossible to disrupt. 

The blues two strengths are their ability to win clearances and their gun forwards.

The former is hard to disrupt, unless, like the dees, you have an even better midfield. 

But the latter is relatively easy to disrupt if you apply all team pressure on the last kick inside 50 and have a first class defensive system that uses sophisticated defensive zoning - like the dees and freo.

The dogs face a similar issue with their reliance on Naughton - again as demonstrated on the weekend.

Everyone sees the blues forward line as being the ants pants. And it has become  fashionable to bag ours. Apparently our connection is terrible.

Well you'd expect to see that supposed gap between the two forward lines reflected in the scoring shot/inside 50 ratio.

Yeah, nah.

The AFL average for that measure is 43.4%

Carlton, with the forward line to die for apparently, is 9th in the AFL, scoring 43.5% of the time when entering their 50.

The dees, with the supposedly dysfunctional forward line, is 8th in the AFL at 43.6%

If you use the shots at goal measure instead, the gap between us and the blues is even greater.

The blues have a shot at goal 46.8% of times they enter their 50 (below the afl average of 47.3 and 12th on that table). 

The dees have a shot at goal 47.7% of times they enter their 50 (10th and above the AFL average).

The blues goals to inside 50 is below the AFL average (23), but better than ours, albeit not by a huge margin (22.8 to 21.9) - and the gap is probably explained by our method (ie so many kicks to the pocket).

This delusion about our forward line was brilliantly demonstrated straight after the lions win.

As I was leaving the ground, I was listening to the abc post match wrap. Not sure who it was, but he said words to the effect that, yes the dees were  impressive, but he is really concerned about our forward line (Brown down on form, poor 'connection', low contested marks inside 50 yada yada).

Our score to inside 50 for that match was something like 67% - 20% more than the AFL average. Against the team that coming into the match was on top of the ladder.

The dees might have 99 problems (96 of which are related to Bartlett) - but the forward line ain't one.

I think the cats have been smart how they use Cameron to avoid the issue Carlton and the Dogs (and arguably also the lions) face. And Hawkins has slimmed down and gets up the ground more than he did.

It's no coincidence they top the inside 50 scoring ratio table, scoring 46% of the time they go inside 50.

Stats from this excellent site: https://www.wheeloratings.com/afl_stats_team.html

 

 

Edited by binman
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The problem is it's either feast or famine - there's no grey.  Our forward line is either amazing or it doesnt work at all (See the Queen's Birthday game).  Both types of conversion are an issue; inside 50>marks and set shots>goals.  

There was that nightmare moment in the Q3 of the grand final, Bont had kicked that goal and we were  5.10 and I thought 'we've been horribly inaccurate all year and it's about to bite us'.  Thank god the tide turned.  

 

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Great post @Vipercrunch!  

It's a strange year with North and WCE performances skewing the points for a bit as well.

As others have said, our scoring tends to rely heavily on solid defence and manic pressure around the ball.  This style is exhausting but we've shown we can bring this in big games (eg in finals last year) and that we still have it (Bris two weeks ago).

Having said that, there are some tactical moves that teams have made to curb our strengths - particularly our use of May, Langdon etc.  Scott is seen by many as a great tactician and Geelong have clearly set themselves for this game (resting Selwood, De Konig last week).  I think Thursday night will be a good indication as to whether well coached teams can will cause us trouble.

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I think our our goal scoring finals series last year is lingering long in the memories of pundits ... They want us to do that again, which would be fun, but I'd rather we did it in finals this year rather than now.

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Whilst I do have concerns about our forward structure - one positive about it is we are a bit like a Hydra - have many heads, cut one off and it wont necessarily kill us. 

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At first sight it is in that we don't have the star power marking forward. However we are scoring 90 plus on most wins. The lack of a star forward means that their is not one person the opposition has to focus upon to cut our scoring down. Our goals are spread across  anything up to 10 players. We are a system orientated team. Yes if someone emerges who can be a major weapon, we will take him, but if not we shouldn't despair

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Through the great 50's and 60's era we never had a truly great key forward, but a good spread of goal kickers. We never won a brownlow or actually polled great votes because we had too many good players that robbed each other such as Barassi  or Dixon. etc. 

Team trumps stars. Although now we do have the stars now.

 

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1 minute ago, Harrisonrules said:

Through the great 50's and 60's era we never had a truly great key forward, but a good spread of goal kickers. We never won a brownlow or actually polled great votes because we had too many good players that robbed each other such as Barassi  or Dixon. etc. 

Team trumps stars. Although now we do have the stars now.

 

yes, but it's the goals:points ratio that is most concerning

i'd hate to lose a gf with significant more shots on goal than the opposition

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I dont think its a big issue we can still turn on a burst of goals when needed better than any other side....Adelaide were hanging around most of the match last week until 3 quick ones in about 5 minutes in the last quarter finished it off as a contest for good.

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Posted (edited)

Just watched Goody's presser. 

Was asked about our forward line.

All but scoffed at the suggestion we were struggling up forward, noting we have had 60 shots at goal in the last two weeks, including 35 against one of the best teams in the AFL (was actually 36).

'Our forward half is operating at a very high level' 

From 5.31:

https://www.melbournefc.com.au/video/1166179/rd-17-media-conference-simon-goodwin?videoId=1166179&modal=true&type=video&publishFrom=1657064517001

Edited by binman
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It's all about loading.

All genuine forwards have been on a special loading regime which started in Rnd 1 & ends after round 23.

Mark my words, all forwards will increase their output by 20% to 30% from that first final onwards.

Get with the times you lot!

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2 hours ago, roy11 said:

Whilst I do have concerns about our forward structure - one positive about it is we are a bit like a Hydra - have many heads, cut one off and it wont necessarily kill us. 

You are underselling hydras here 😂

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Remarkably, last year when we started the season missing a number of forwards and were all anxious about even getting off to a respectable start that would keep us in the running for finals, we averaged more than 90 points a game for the first half of the season.

From Round 13 to 19 (incl.) we had a serious drop off to only about 70 points per game and this was of course when we lost three games and drew against Hawthorn.

Then, of course, it all clicked and we thumped our way to glory, averaging 107 points per game and pushing even higher in finals - just shy of 120.

Meanwhile, in all three losses this season we failed to break double-figure goals, despite this season overall being higher scoring for us.

I think the problem is that when our whole-ground domination and harassment falters or when our opponents have the steadiness to cope with it, we are missing a bit of ability to get a goal against the flow here and there, courtesy of a forward who can just make it happen even when the system isn't going smoothly.

We are in the absolute top group for inside-50s, but other teams around us are turning that into one goal a game (Bulldogs, Cats) or even two goals a game (Tigers, Lions) more than us, and the common factor in all these teams is that they have at least one forward who, sometimes, it doesn't even matter how good the kick coming in is.

The story is told that our top 4 contested marks players are not forwards; Gawn (3rd overall), then Petty (37th) May (47th) and Jackson (54th). It is Sam Weideman who leads or forward line contested marking.

It's another reason I like the thought of keeping Serious Sam out there even when Gawn & Jackson are in, so that between them they\ stars can spend more time up forward being a tall target while Weideman takes some shin-beatings in the ruck.

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