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It's the top 6 / bottom 6 that win you the flag

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Apologies if others think this belongs in one of the various trade / drafting threads - merge with them if you think that's where this belongs - just didn't want to put their a derail those threads.

With the discussion regard trading up for Reid v 2-3 kids v targeting an established player it has made me ponder this question.  Is it your stars that get you over the line in September?  Or is it the so called bottom 6 - i.e. if they are stronger than your opponent, that will come to the fore in finals.  You regularly hear the argument for both by different people at different stages.

Obviously it's unlikely to be a straight forward answer - arguably our top 6 in recent years (for the first time in my lifetime)  are as good as any other team's top 6... but none of them are key forwards and most currently start in the centre square.   Equally some players might be seen by most as being a bottom 6 player in a team - but internally they may be rated much higher because their unheralded work and sacrifices enables the stars to be at their best.  As much as he frustrates me at times, arguably ANB is such a player for us.

It's hard to know what the right price to place on a player such as Reid.  It's rare for the number pick to go on to be the best player in their draft - but on average they tend to have longest careers which indicates they're more bankable than anyone else.  I look at the other contenders and they all have a 18-20yo gun midfielder that we don't have - Pies (Daicos), Lions (Ashcroft), Port (JHF).  Reid seems to be able to do it all and has the swagger that the best players have - so part of me wants us to give up what it takes (eg 3 first rounders +) to get him.

On the other hand, even if there is no more trading, we are currently in position to get one of Sanders / Curtin / O'Sullivan - who arguably could bring more of a point of difference to our midfield/team - and potentially a player like Windsor who would add the outside run and carry that we so desire.  We would then still have our picks for next year too.  How is it possible to rate Reid so highly that we would prefer him over 3 likely best 22 players for the next 5-10years (and some could become top 5 players).  But it's also possible that Sanders wants to head home to Tassie in future or he becomes serviceable rather than a star and similar could be said for Curtin.

Interested in others thoughts

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I'd go top end talent. If we can get that gamebreaker/gamechanger like Trac or Clarry with Reid, go hard for it.

We have, I'd argue, 25 or so players that are AFL quality and we therefore have a strong bottom 6. 

The more we turn over the list and replace those guys that we have question marks over (Harmes, Dunstan, Grundy), and replace them with McAdam, Reid etc, the stronger our bottom 6 will become.

And draft picks are just that. Draft picks. If we had to give up 3 picks and we got another Clarry or Trac, what would you say? The punt is worth it.

Edited by Binmans PA
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Well, Carlton have had an outstanding top 6 for most of the last 20 years...

I think a lot of it comes down to how well you can use them. Both St Kilda and Sydney offer case studies in having a really elite top group and then having a system that mitigates weaknesses as you reach the tail of your best 22.

Richmond also managed to combine a small elite contingent with a bulk of really hard working players who ensured that not too much ground was lost when the elite needed to rest. Then they all switch mode when Martin et al are all refreshed on the scene.

There's a beautiful expression I picked up from my study of historical strategists (not an exact recollection but close);

"If every time there are eight cats to be caught the grenadiers are sent for, their power will quickly be dissipated."

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32 minutes ago, rpfc said:

Top 6.

End thread/

I will have a look around and see what other threads I can close off.

If you look properly you’ll be busy for weeks. 

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1 minute ago, rpfc said:

Well it’s a good thing I was having a larf then, Steve…

Staring Ed Helms GIF by The Office

As was I. 
Oh My God Wow GIF

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24 minutes ago, DubDee said:

football is a system game more than ever. you can have Gary Ablett out there but if 3-4 links in the chain don’t spread or pressure at the right time you won’t win games

Wouldn't matter with our game plan.
He'd have to jump on top of 10players heads every time the ball come in.

And if your 6 guns aren't firing you aint winning a flag.

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As always, it’s neither one or the other. It’s both. 

You don’t need the best top 6 in the league, but if your top 6 aren’t quality you will struggle. That seems fairly obvious. 

IMO, you also need a competitive bottom 6. The stars can’t do everything and having a week bottom 6 can break down scoring chains, zones, pressure, etc.

Our issue IMO is that our bottom 6 isn’t good enough - in other words, we have poor depth. 

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18 minutes ago, titan_uranus said:

Our issue IMO is that our bottom 6 isn’t good enough - in other words, we have poor depth. 

Our depth in the forward line was exhausted to a point where the last alternate wasn't considered (Schache) 

And we had to play a clearly unfit T-Mac as our only KPF

T-Mac,  Smith and Chandler don't play if JVR, Petty & Melksham were available.  And if Brown was fit he might have forced JVR out

Hindsight tells us that Brown ended up being unavailable but that wasn't being said at the start of the season

Melksham coming good wasn't foretold either but nonetheless, we ran out of depth players in the forward line

By contrast, the backline mostly stated put and we were only missing Brayshaw out of the midfield during the finals (Oliver missed a fair chunk of the season but we managed to cover for him) 

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Id say bottom 6,

2021 have a look at T-Mac, Brown, Harmes, Rivers, Bowie and Sparrrow.

They had fantastic years, and some were in their first year or two of AFL footy.  and have a look at the output of our bottom 6 now, its a big difference.

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Here’s a theory in support of the middle six…

All of the contenders have a very good top six.

The bottom six don’t really contribute much. That’s why they’re the bottom six. 

So the real difference is made by the middle six.

Note: I’ve left out the other players of the 23 because they don’t add up to six.


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