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It's the Culture


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1 hour ago, Lord Nev said:

Seriously? Read the first post in this thread again, you know the one that blames our "culture" for a failed year.

 

We were still very close to getting through to a prelim and granny, so yes - we're clearly still a good team with good players and a good gameplan - but something was off 10-20% - pick a number... I've made the point that what was off was the summation of lots of small cultural things. 

I also never said it dissipated in its entirety. My word was 'slipped'. 

Further I never claimed it was the sole reason for our success in 21. I said a number of times you need heaps of things to go right. 

Hilariously hypocritical of you to bemoan the 'kick it long' types when you're incapable of any sort of nuance, either in debate or in your evaluation of footy.

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Culture is important. So too is a decent, second tall forward. 

Following a premiership side has been a new experience for all of us and I'm sure we've all learned a lot from it as well. I thought we would go B2B but now I have more understanding of how hard thay can be. But just because we didn't win it all this year does not mean that we need to throw out the program and start again completely. We tweak some things and go again. That's what successful teams look like. It's not 'all or nothing'. We will be competing for a few years and, only when this team starts to wane will be able to judge our success properly. If we get to this position again (reigning premiers) it will be interesting to see how, next time, we all deal with the expectation that comes with scaling the mountain. Same goes for the players and coaches.

Go Dees

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2 hours ago, Sir Why You Little said:

Our problems were structural, not cultural 

We were in every game, bar 1

We needed a Key Forward and it was not available 

Never agreed with you more.

BBB cooked, Weid NQR, ANB missed a bit too often, Gawn lost his radar (God I missed those 50m goals he was kicking every week at the start of the season), Trac launching Scuds, Melksham honest but not a Jamie Elliot, only Fritsch and Pickett had decent seasons.

Also Salem didn't seem fit and he was a huge part of '21, Bowey was off for a chunk and we had alot more injuries than '21 that affected our running power.

No one lost the desire to put pressure on but we weren't getting there in time.

I have faith we will be active at the trade table, massive thanks to the team for another season where I am super proud of the club.

The only culture I'm worried about is the MFCSS.

 

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Guess what guys, we weren’t good enough this year. Which was pretty evident from the bye onwards. Why? I’m sure it’s a number of factors, but that’s for our paid experts to sort out. However, I would suggest that the Melksham May incident would never have happened last year. What does that say about our culture this year?

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1 hour ago, fr_ap said:

We were still very close to getting through to a prelim and granny, so yes - we're clearly still a good team with good players and a good gameplan - but something was off 10-20% - pick a number... I've made the point that what was off was the summation of lots of small cultural things. 

I also never said it dissipated in its entirety. My word was 'slipped'. 

Further I never claimed it was the sole reason for our success in 21. I said a number of times you need heaps of things to go right. 

Hilariously hypocritical of you to bemoan the 'kick it long' types when you're incapable of any sort of nuance, either in debate or in your evaluation of footy.

You literally titled the thread "It's the culture".

But ok.

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I agree with the OP that there were issues with how we viewed ourselves and the opposition as the year progressed. Drop offs in pressure ratings, the May/Melksham incident and some of the messaging coming out of the playing group would indicate this.

I'd also add that other posters have added a much needed perspective that injuries/fitness played a big part in why we fell over this year. That's not necessarily on the players I believe. We have changed fitness coaches and what Selwyn Griffith implemented this year needs a look at because us getting overrun so many times is a definite cause for concern. I don't think it comes down to 'not wanting it enough' as that is just cliched and stale.

The other issue is clearly forward fifty connection. BBB might indeed be at the end of the road, but how we played him this year did him no favours. We need Tomald back in the forward fifty opening up leading lanes for him. If he can't make it back, trial JVR or throw Petty up there as an experiment. Either way, being forced to bomb kick it into pockets to either get a mark or a stoppage failed spectacularly once the finals came around.

The last issue is that we have overcorrected on game style. I get defensive mindsets. I really do. But I was dead set screaming at the TV for us to play on at times. Too many times we stopped, propped and hoped we'd hit the perfect lead up target instead of playing more instinctive football and hoping that our contested ground players would win the one on one (and that their teammates would help make space for them).

It's probably some combination of part A, part B and something we haven't even thought of yet. Judging on what has been produced post 2014, I have confidence the coaching group will be up to fixing it.

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9 hours ago, fr_ap said:

Since our ejection on Friday night I've been reflecting on our season and where it might have gone wrong. Or in particular, why this year never quite felt right. 

All teams have question marks on whether they have what it takes to get to the top. Supporters and the media focus largely on whether the playing group is talented enough, whether the coaching/gameplan can succeed and whether the off field administration is enabling success. These are no doubt important. 

For us though, none of these 3 elements have changed materially from last year. We know the team is good enough, we know the coaching group was good enough (notwithstanding tactics need to change) and we are stable off field. 

What has changed and I think why I felt 'uncomfortable' with a lot of the seasons successes - is the culture. This is what stitched it all together last year and in this sport in particular, with the largest ground and freeform positioning, is a crucial element to executing a defensive-minded gameplan. 

Bit by bit, week by week, I think our leaders (players and coaches) have let it slip, with a trail of markers going back to the end of last year:

- Gawn declaring at our premiership celebration that we'd salute in 2022 - I'm sure this was designed to be bold, but it imbued from the start a disrespect to our opposition and to some degree, embedded some underlying complacency

- the Carlton pre season game, conceding 8 50m penalties and clearly lacking some discipline and respect for our opponents and the umpires

- consistent selection of players who were underdone, out of form or blatantly injured, reducing accountability, reducing trust in the FD to be impartial, and denying our youth and second stringers of chances to grow. Not very selfless or trusting from our FD decision makers. 

- May/Melksham incident, notable not for it's drunkenness or timing but for what was said by May to Melksham, implying a clique of 'premiership heroes' to the exclusion of all others, and again a sense of entitlement stemming from achieving success last year

- coaching refusal to change structure or gameplan in the face of pretty compelling evidence that it was being dismantled

- clear on field selfishness in front of goals - Fritsch the poster boy but it arguably most damaging from players like Trac who repeatedly attempts to kick goals with 3 oppo players on top of him rather than using his gifts to release someone to space as he did more often last year

- clear drop off in accountability to team defense standards in guarding space appropriately or sitting at the defensive side of a contest. The selflessness that was such a hallmark is now difficult to see in this regard.

- clear drop off in willingness to work hard at the little things off the ball - they spoke about being the best teammates they could be last year. Being 3rd last in pressure implies they weren't very good teammates to each other this year at all.

- Continued poor discipline in both our finals, conceding 50m penalties to Sydney at crucial times and again against Brisbane, with the leadership group repeatedly at fault and a litany of downfield free kicks as we repeatedly dumped players after kicking

-players openly arguing, pointing and expressing frustration with each other on field, including the leaders

-Langdons poorly worded 'duck dinner' comment - I'm sure not wholly intended to be disrespectful but again a marker of an underlying arrogance in the teams evaluation of its opponents

-Consistently going ahead early in all our losses - indicating again our pure footy ability was clearly good enough - only to be overrun. I think fitness wasn't the issue. I think it was the teams mindset to run for each other, trust their teammate to win a contest and a collective belief in the system and team defense. 

-Gawn spoke about last year how their cultural change started with the removal of the 'little quips' around the club - not bringing each other down for fun. I'm sure I'm not alone in noticing that from about a 1/3 of the way through the year, the Gus and Gawny episodes took a bit of a turn...the quips of teammates returned in subtle doses in exchange for a laugh. By the last few episodes of the year I no longer enjoyed the show - arrogant, backslapping banter often at the expense of their guest or the team's lesser lights. 

- Gawn has a guest spot on Nova's breakfast show once a week. The hosts questioned Max a number of times about our form during the 2nd half of the year. It's a breakfast show and I don't expect it to be serious, but near the end of the year Max kept referring to our ladder position as his defense. "Well, we're still second so we must be doing something right". There was a clear denial of the trends within our game (at least to the extent he would admit it externally), again implying a level of disrespect for the opposition. Jonathan Brown more than once accused Max of living in the past. Brown is hardly a beacon of morality or good judgement, but I think he was on the mark. 

 

I'll stop here to avoid making this any longer - I'm sure others can add their own observations to this list. 

I've no doubt some of you will say I'm being pedantic, particularly on the final two points on how Gawn has presented in the media - but I just can't shake the sense that the selflessness, humility, and team unity that we had in 2021 has been pretty significantly eroded.

I think this is encapsulated by our two finals games. We were deers in headlights when both Sydney and Brisbane cranked up the pressure. We clearly weren't running for each other. Uninspired and selfish can look a lot like being gassed. 

It was pretty alarming to see this team, our amazing, contested, tough, 'built for finals' team start playing hot potato and putting teammates under pressure with errant or 30cm hospital handballs. I think this reflected that the playing group to some degree lost the trust & faith they once had in one another. 

If I am unfortunately right, it won't be an easy fix from here.

Culture is the hardest and last thing to get right, and it's the easiest and first thing you get wrong. 

Looking forward to the offseason moves and all of that - but my eye will be watching for the return of some of the cultural markers we had in 2021. Or at least, the non recurrence of the markers of 2022. 

I was thinking about this too and even going back to post-GF and Pert requesting out first game be against the Dogs so we could unfurl the flag in front of them.

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17 hours ago, Mach5 said:

After all was said and done, more was said than done.

Mach the FD should post that at the training facilities above every entrance for the next pre-season...just with the year in front of it. A little reminder of what could have been this season.

 

13 hours ago, Colin B. Flaubert said:

The last issue is that we have overcorrected on game style. I get defensive mindsets. I really do. But I was dead set screaming at the TV for us to play on at times. Too many times we stopped, propped and hoped we'd hit the perfect lead up target instead of playing more instinctive football and hoping that our contested ground players would win the one on one (and that their teammates would help make space for them).

Yes the stopping and propping crept in very early in the season CBF and slowly got worse.

If you watched the Pies against Freo there is very little of that.  They just roll onto their preferred and instinctively seek out the next target without even looking/blinking.  They just trust.  I guess the trust issue plays a big part as their targets are presenting so well and so often.

When they get the ball they're also very confident that they'll maintain the chains and even if they don't the defenders will have their backs.  So they run in support from HB all the way into 50.  And wow do they run...for the whole fricken match.  Incredible running.  Something we didn't see enough of from our blokes this season aside from the likes of ANB and Lingers and reasonable running in first halfs that unfortunately dropped away in second halfs.

They also do the little one percenters so well.  Shepards etc to assist the ball carrier.  And pressure is generally off the charts.  Again we lacked that side, particularly inside 50. (SELFLESS ACTS!)

They have some insane runners as well that give second/third effort to support and get on the end of the chain.

I reckon they'll make the GF and play off against the Cats.  They're marginally ahead of the Swans.

We did the above very well in 2021 but dropped off in many of these aspects this season unfortunately.

We were still very good in defence and at the contest.  Not so good at what we did after that with ball in hand though and the delivery into F50, nor the craft / finish inside once it got there.

We also over used handball at times, inviting more pressure instead of taking the direct option, particularly at center and stoppage bounces.

In addition the explosive drive out of and away from stoppage from the likes of Clarry, Tracc & LJ weren't near the level/numbers i believe we saw in 2021 for whatever reason?  This playes a huge role in our ability to transition and score in my view and was sadly not as evident or if it was, just not as explosive this season.

Need to address some of the above prior to 2023 or we'll all be sitting here again at the end of 2023 asking similar questions.

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12 hours ago, daisycutter said:

i'd say climate change is likely more the problem

followed by lingering colonialism

With Queen Elizabeth's passing, I'm sure that what I like to call the Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett demographic of our support base are well and truly down in the dumps. The knock on effect may have been greater than we know.

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22 hours ago, fr_ap said:

- Continued poor discipline in both our finals, conceding 50m penalties to Sydney at crucial times and again against Brisbane, with the leadership group repeatedly at fault and a litany of downfield free kicks as we repeatedly dumped players after kicking

I hope Jake Lever has a good think about how his sulking re the decision against him with a few minutes to go handed Brisbane the game when we were surging. What could have happened if the free kick had been taken from the original spot? The shot is missed, we have possession again, May kicks it straight down the middle, we score again and suddenly there's a single kick in it again. Lever is supposed to be a "leader", but what a terrible example he set for our younger players.

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I don't think I've seen it in this thread, but I wonder how much did the Entrecôte incident effect the rest of our year? There's no denying that there is some fractures amongst the playing group, so I wonder if this was put to bed in round 12 or if it did simmer away in the background.

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2 minutes ago, At the break of Gawn said:

I don't think I've seen it in this thread, but I wonder how much did the Entrecôte incident effect the rest of our year? There's no denying that there is some fractures amongst the playing group, so I wonder if this was put to bed in round 12 or if it did simmer away in the background.

I believe our year was already negatively “affected” to some degree or the Entrecôte incident would not have occurred. And I’m positive it had lingering effects for the rest of the year.

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This is all part of the journey. We’ve got a window of 3-5 years with this group and there is always setbacks along the way even with the dynasties we’ve seen. Complacency, diminishing hunger and culture challenges are always in store for good teams aiming to become great teams. Let’s not pretend that the great teams of the past were immune to these sorts of things. 

This is the moment for opportunity and it will be exciting to see how our group responds and grows from these challenges. 
 

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There's no doubt Goodwin and co will be talking to the players about humility, respect and buy in over summer. We were off by about 5% in a more than one area this year and it cost us a flag. I still think we are the best team in the comp but that gets you a top 4 finish, the 5% then gets you the Flag. It's a lot to do with culture so I agree with the opening post. I'm pretty confident in the club atm to be able to tweak things and get us back to the top because we're way too good to not be winning finals. Plus we need to win one at the G, we don't want to admit that to our non Demon friends but we know it to be true!

 

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On 9/11/2022 at 11:25 AM, fr_ap said:

Since our ejection on Friday night I've been reflecting on our season and where it might have gone wrong. Or in particular, why this year never quite felt right. 

All teams have question marks on whether they have what it takes to get to the top. Supporters and the media focus largely on whether the playing group is talented enough, whether the coaching/gameplan can succeed and whether the off field administration is enabling success. These are no doubt important. 

For us though, none of these 3 elements have changed materially from last year. We know the team is good enough, we know the coaching group was good enough (notwithstanding tactics need to change) and we are stable off field. 

What has changed and I think why I felt 'uncomfortable' with a lot of the seasons successes - is the culture. This is what stitched it all together last year and in this sport in particular, with the largest ground and freeform positioning, is a crucial element to executing a defensive-minded gameplan. 

Bit by bit, week by week, I think our leaders (players and coaches) have let it slip, with a trail of markers going back to the end of last year:

- Gawn declaring at our premiership celebration that we'd salute in 2022 - I'm sure this was designed to be bold, but it imbued from the start a disrespect to our opposition and to some degree, embedded some underlying complacency

- the Carlton pre season game, conceding 8 50m penalties and clearly lacking some discipline and respect for our opponents and the umpires

- consistent selection of players who were underdone, out of form or blatantly injured, reducing accountability, reducing trust in the FD to be impartial, and denying our youth and second stringers of chances to grow. Not very selfless or trusting from our FD decision makers. 

- May/Melksham incident, notable not for it's drunkenness or timing but for what was said by May to Melksham, implying a clique of 'premiership heroes' to the exclusion of all others, and again a sense of entitlement stemming from achieving success last year

- coaching refusal to change structure or gameplan in the face of pretty compelling evidence that it was being dismantled

- clear on field selfishness in front of goals - Fritsch the poster boy but it arguably most damaging from players like Trac who repeatedly attempts to kick goals with 3 oppo players on top of him rather than using his gifts to release someone to space as he did more often last year

- clear drop off in accountability to team defense standards in guarding space appropriately or sitting at the defensive side of a contest. The selflessness that was such a hallmark is now difficult to see in this regard.

- clear drop off in willingness to work hard at the little things off the ball - they spoke about being the best teammates they could be last year. Being 3rd last in pressure implies they weren't very good teammates to each other this year at all.

- Continued poor discipline in both our finals, conceding 50m penalties to Sydney at crucial times and again against Brisbane, with the leadership group repeatedly at fault and a litany of downfield free kicks as we repeatedly dumped players after kicking

-players openly arguing, pointing and expressing frustration with each other on field, including the leaders

-Langdons poorly worded 'duck dinner' comment - I'm sure not wholly intended to be disrespectful but again a marker of an underlying arrogance in the teams evaluation of its opponents

-Consistently going ahead early in all our losses - indicating again our pure footy ability was clearly good enough - only to be overrun. I think fitness wasn't the issue. I think it was the teams mindset to run for each other, trust their teammate to win a contest and a collective belief in the system and team defense. 

-Gawn spoke about last year how their cultural change started with the removal of the 'little quips' around the club - not bringing each other down for fun. I'm sure I'm not alone in noticing that from about a 1/3 of the way through the year, the Gus and Gawny episodes took a bit of a turn...the quips of teammates returned in subtle doses in exchange for a laugh. By the last few episodes of the year I no longer enjoyed the show - arrogant, backslapping banter often at the expense of their guest or the team's lesser lights. 

- Gawn has a guest spot on Nova's breakfast show once a week. The hosts questioned Max a number of times about our form during the 2nd half of the year. It's a breakfast show and I don't expect it to be serious, but near the end of the year Max kept referring to our ladder position as his defense. "Well, we're still second so we must be doing something right". There was a clear denial of the trends within our game (at least to the extent he would admit it externally), again implying a level of disrespect for the opposition. Jonathan Brown more than once accused Max of living in the past. Brown is hardly a beacon of morality or good judgement, but I think he was on the mark. 

 

I'll stop here to avoid making this any longer - I'm sure others can add their own observations to this list. 

I've no doubt some of you will say I'm being pedantic, particularly on the final two points on how Gawn has presented in the media - but I just can't shake the sense that the selflessness, humility, and team unity that we had in 2021 has been pretty significantly eroded.

I think this is encapsulated by our two finals games. We were deers in headlights when both Sydney and Brisbane cranked up the pressure. We clearly weren't running for each other. Uninspired and selfish can look a lot like being gassed. 

It was pretty alarming to see this team, our amazing, contested, tough, 'built for finals' team start playing hot potato and putting teammates under pressure with errant or 30cm hospital handballs. I think this reflected that the playing group to some degree lost the trust & faith they once had in one another. 

If I am unfortunately right, it won't be an easy fix from here.

Culture is the hardest and last thing to get right, and it's the easiest and first thing you get wrong. 

Looking forward to the offseason moves and all of that - but my eye will be watching for the return of some of the cultural markers we had in 2021. Or at least, the non recurrence of the markers of 2022. 

Such a great post.

I was really disturbed watching Steven May getting more and more abusive with his team mates on Friday night as things went pear shaped. Really poor behaviour and leadership.

Might be back to the bathwater again.

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5 hours ago, Colin B. Flaubert said:

With Queen Elizabeth's passing, I'm sure that what I like to call the Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett demographic of our support base are well and truly down in the dumps. The knock on effect may have been greater than we know.

  1. That's a bit rich coming from Colin B. Flaubert.
  2. You Googled my cousin's name?
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4 hours ago, Neil Crompton said:

I believe our year was already negatively “affected” to some degree or the Entrecôte incident would not have occurred. And I’m positive it had lingering effects for the rest of the year.

We will never know but it was a bad look, reflecting a lack of discipline in regard to alcohol consumption and attitude. May is a fantastic player but his aggressive argument and banter is a problem. One of those things that if the team is winning it gets forgotten about but when things are not going so well looks bad.  It must rankle with some players as it did with Melksham. Again May probably gets away with it a lot of the time because he is such a great player. I also suspect that Lever is a calming influence. But it looks bad and can only generate doubt about team spirit and it’s impact on others. Most of the time May generates his aggression towards his opponent as he did against Franklin but bad mouthing teammates is the other side of the coin. It needs to stop before it all ends badly. Off the field, the mix with alcohol is particularly dangerous.

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23 hours ago, AmDamDemon said:

Culture is important. So too is a decent, second tall forward. 

Following a premiership side has been a new experience for all of us and I'm sure we've all learned a lot from it as well. I thought we would go B2B but now I have more understanding of how hard thay can be. But just because we didn't win it all this year does not mean that we need to throw out the program and start again completely. We tweak some things and go again. That's what successful teams look like. It's not 'all or nothing'. We will be competing for a few years and, only when this team starts to wane will be able to judge our success properly. If we get to this position again (reigning premiers) it will be interesting to see how, next time, we all deal with the expectation that comes with scaling the mountain. Same goes for the players and coaches.

Go Dees

Said the same thing to a bloke at work today.

But that doesn't stop me thinking as a club we got sucked into drinking the bathwater again.
Cause that's in our culture.
As is losing games when we're favourites.

And from Premiers to out in straight sets is a Melbourne thing to do.

I'm just thankful now that Fritta kicked those 2 in a minute during the 3rd in the granny last year.
We were so close to a GF choke it wasn't funny.

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2 hours ago, TRIGON said:
  1. That's a bit rich coming from Colin B. Flaubert.
  2. You Googled my cousin's name?

1) I'm guessing you aren't a fan of TISM.
2) By chance, how old is your cousin? And was he able to pierce the fourth wall between fiction and living reality?
 

 

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12 hours ago, DEE fence said:

I think Black Adder is the answer to this thread

Indeed. General Melchett has much to contribute to the culture debate. In fact, I think Glen Bartlett and the club doctor had something close to this very discussion after Goody questioned Gus' concussion diagnosis.
 

 

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    TRAINING: Friday 13th January 2023

    REDLEGS23'S TRAINING REPORT Got to training about 9:50 & headed off by 11:30. Rehab / Light Drills: • Jed Adams • Kyah Farris-White • Will Varrall • I think i spotted Joel Smith, but could be wrong. The above doing light drills. Andy Moniz-Wakefield & Trent Burgoyne doing seperate laps / runs for the whole session. James Harmes, Angus Brayshaw & Steven May all started with the main group but then progressed to light duties / laps for the remainder of th

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Training Reports

    TRAINING: Wednesday 11th January 2023

    WAYNE WUSSELL'S TRAINING REPORT Haven’t noticed Oliver, Petracca and Hunter, just about everyone else accounted for. Petracca here! J Smith striding out in rehab. BB taking lots of shots on goal after session marking in goal square v Stafford Younger players tending to float short passes to leading forward (D Smith, 33, 39, KF-S) while Petracca, Viney, Kossie, ANB shoot hard and low bullets Harmes, Verall, & Adams doing agility, ball handling JVR stand out in te

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Training Reports
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