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Forward Line & Backup Ruck Issues Going into 2024 and beyond ...


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On 28/01/2024 at 12:20, whatwhat say what said:

spurious headline; if yr in the finals yr in flag contention

Indeed.

'One of the key questions heading into 2024 is whether Melbourne can score more to get back to flag contention? 🤔 👉'

As you say making finals is kinda key to winning a flag.

And i'd add that that the only time we need to score more is in the Grand Final.

I'll admit i had tuned out by then, but i thought the Pies won the flag.  By CODE sports' logic, I must be wrong because the Lions were the second highest scoring team in the AFL last season. 

But i guess i see their point - over 24 rounds of home and away footy, the Pies scored a whopping 63 points more point than us (and we scored 91 points more than we did in our 2021 premiership season!). 

And i wonder what they have to say about the Crows who were highest scoring team in the AFL last season - and missed the finals ('One of the key questions heading into 2024 is whether the crows' opponents can score less to get back to flag contention? 🤔 👉')

Edited by binman
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I find myself not really bothered by the whole discussion regarding our ruck and forward structures.

As far as the forward structures are concerned, I really do not see us performing a badly as last season.  We had a raft of injuries to a number of key forwards that kept them out of the side and the players we had there for a majority of the season were relatively inexperienced. Add to that sub-standard delivery into our forward 50 and poor conversion rate when the forwards did actually get the ball. We traded in a couple of options and we have a bit of flexibility and variety to plug and play into the forward mix to see what is the best setup.

I am one of those that do not write off any players stepping up and performing at some stage during the season.

Any improvement on the performance last season is a bonus as far as I am concerned.

With the ruck situation, again, I will look at how they set up and how the perform in the season. This is where the coaches show their value and work out the setup and game plan for stoppages. At the center bounces we have Max as a tap ruck that, in the past, has not consistently found a man. This has lead to our mids being a very good reactionary team. Hunt down the ball, nail the player with the ball and turn it over. Where max is of great value is around the ground as a critical link. So often he is hit up as a target, he marks and feeds off via hand or foot to initiate attacks.

So I am not so much concerned about the actual ruck work. We need to find someone to do the running to position as Max does. Not an easy thing to find.

It is a very different list to last year and I think we will se a different team, setup and style of play.

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Losing a ruck isn't the end of the world. It's been years since Gawn dominated stoppages and most AFL rucks just try to compete. If Gawn goes down, all we'll need is a body to compete and we won't lost much around the ball. 

Where we would miss Max is his marking ability around the ground. Our kick outs are basically kick it long to him on the flank. His around the ground and intercept marking is elite. Filling that hole would be an issue that requires one of our KPF to become Nick Reiwoldt and work all the way up the ground. Or, we change our kick out strategy and stop kicking high and long. Shock horror!

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You have completed misread my posts (as you are prone to do). The inference was we should have looked for a mature aged ruckman & hadn’t done that. My point was they would have done their due diligence on whoever was available & in the end Fullerton  was the best available (in the club’s opinion ).

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7 hours ago, whatwhat say what said:

sadly no

 

one of the things that's concerning me out of the training reports is mcadam's fitness being miles off

Had the same problem at Adelaide by all reports I hope he takes his chances now at the DEES

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's 4 weeks to the opening game.  I'm definitely not writing off McAdam recovering over that period.  JVR, Fritsch and McAdam can form a competitive set along with ANB, Spargo, Chandler, Laurie and Billings.  Tholstrup may even get a debut.  And there's Schache too.

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Goody's going to be earning his money trying to solve the forward line issue for the first couple of games. He did extremely well in adapting after Fritta went down last year but this is absolutely next level.

I would be very surprised if T Mac and McAdam are available if they have confirmed calf issue strains.

The remaining forwards such as JVR, Fritta, Spargo, Chandler, Schache, Billings and ANB are all going to have to pick up the slack and play at their highest possible level if we're some sort of chance to beat Sydney. And the mids are going to have to make their lives easier compared to last year's finals.

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3 hours ago, picket fence said:

T.Mac is cooked, almost cremated AND was training with defence where he just looked O.K. It must be Shache's time now surely!

I'm not a Schache fan as you know picket but if it is his time at least he'll have an opportunity to state his case and cement a spot because there is certainly one there for a tall forward who can help in the ruck.  You'd think it's last chance saloon.

I was critical of his one year contract extension but it's now proving to be an astute bit of planning. Kudos to the FD.

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This is definitely not a pot shot at either of our premiership heroes, but the on-going injury issues to Ben Brown and TMac have really hurt us from a list spot/salary perspective. I do wonder if the coaches and list managers had any discussions with either of retiring early to free up a spot?

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5 minutes ago, DistrACTION Jackson said:

This is definitely not a pot shot at either of our premiership heroes, but the on-going injury issues to Ben Brown and TMac have really hurt us from a list spot/salary perspective. I do wonder if the coaches and list managers had any discussions with either of retiring early to free up a spot?

The way we're going, we're going to need both T-Mac & Brown to help out in the seniors (for 5 or 6 games each - at least) 

When they present themselves as fit of course.  But both will probably be able to play at some stage during the season

But contracts are contracts and having a few veteran players who are past their best and still contracted is going to be an ongoing issue that needs to be managed

Across all the clubs, not just our club

If they weren't contracted we might have been able to make a play for an experienced key forward

But that's in an ideal world and the football world is now way different with the longer contracts and even average players getting an extra year or 2

Something has to give at the tail-end of those contracts.  And we're seeing that being enacted

And it's not necessarily poor list management either.  10 years ago it would have been but not these days (in my view) 

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Ouch. Wouldn't it be nice to have a fit (clean) Joel Smith right about now.

If we start the first few games without the players mentioned above its not a terrible forward set up IMO. But we're certainly going to be short. I've put some ideas below.

 

F:       Chandler   Fritsch    (Schache/Clayton/Jefferson/Kolt/Tomlinson)

HF:     ANB          JVR         Billings or Spargo (replaced by Koz R1)

 

Regardless we're definitely going to need Trac rolling through the forward line more to start the season by the looks of it.

Edited by Young Blood
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40 minutes ago, Macca said:

The way we're going, we're going to need both T-Mac & Brown to help out in the seniors (for 5 or 6 games each - at least) 

When they present themselves as fit of course.  But both will probably be able to play at some stage during the season

But contracts are contracts and having a few veteran players who are past their best and still contracted is going to be an ongoing issue that needs to be managed

Across all the clubs, not just our club

If they weren't contracted we might have been able to make a play for an experienced key forward

But that's in an ideal world and the football world is now way different with the longer contracts and even average players getting an extra year or 2

Something has to give at the tail-end of those contracts.  And we're seeing that being enacted

And it's not necessarily poor list management either.  10 years ago it would have been but not these days (in my view) 

I 100% agree with you and have no issues with the contracts, just making an observation.

I imagine neither will be offered contracts past this year, which will free up a decent amount of cap space to chase a ready made key forward. The club just has to do it while we have some sort of window.

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11 minutes ago, Young Blood said:

Ouch. Wouldn't it be nice to have a fit (clean) Joel Smith right about now.

If we start the first few games without the players mentioned above its not a terrible forward set up IMO. But we're certainly going to be short. I've put some ideas below.

 

F:       Chandler   Fritsch    (Schache/Clayton/Jefferson/Kolt/Tomlinson)

HF:     ANB          JVR         Billings or Spargo (replaced by Koz R1)

 

Regardless we're definitely going to need Trac rolling through the forward line more to start the season by the looks of it.

I'd probably go with:

HF: ANB              Schache                Billings

F:   Chandler       JVR                        Fritsch

With Spargo also going through and Trac & Sparrow also resting down there.

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24 minutes ago, DistrACTION Jackson said:

I 100% agree with you and have no issues with the contracts, just making an observation.

I imagine neither will be offered contracts past this year, which will free up a decent amount of cap space to chase a ready made key forward. The club just has to do it while we have some sort of window.

John Longmire would be grinning like a Cheshire Cat right now

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30 minutes ago, DistrACTION Jackson said:

I'd probably go with:

HF: ANB              Schache                Billings

F:   Chandler       JVR                        Fritsch

With Spargo also going through and Trac & Sparrow also resting down there.

As bad as it must sound to alot of posters, this is Schache's chance to make an impact at the club.

I hope for his sake and the club's Shaq has gained some confidence during pre season and takes this chance that has been put in front of him.

He's not going to get a better run at it than this, 26-27 years old, its his chance to shine.

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12 minutes ago, Macca said:

John Longmire would be grinning like a Cheshire Cat right now

Maybe he's thinking about Callum Mills' Mad Monday shoulder injury, Buddy Franklin and Paddy McCartin retiring and the fact that we belted them with a depleted forward line up there in the last round last year.

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2 minutes ago, YesitwasaWin4theAges said:

As bad as it must sound to alot of posters, this is Schache's chance to make an impact at the club.

I hope for his sake and the club's Shaq has gained some confidence during pre season and takes this chance that has been put in front of him.

He's not going to get a better run at it than this, 26-27 years old, its his chance to shine.

Agreed. There is no reason why Schache can't play at a level good enough to hold down a ruck/forward position in the side. He's 199cm and has great skills. If he has increased his physicality, as Picket Fence and other posters have pointed out, then he is a massive chance to find a spot in our side.

I'll be heading the the Richmond practice match next weekend, so will definitely keep an eye on him.

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17 minutes ago, YesitwasaWin4theAges said:

As bad as it must sound to alot of posters, this is Schache's chance to make an impact at the club.

I know some were critical of re-signing him, but given the question marks over some of the others long-term fitness, glad he's still on the books given what has occurred.

Definitely Last Chance Saloon him - but could be integral early in the season (if he can perform etc)

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Anyone remember the day Schache kicked 3 goals in the last quarter against Hawthorn in 2019, as the Dogs came back from 30 points down at 3 qtr time to get the win?

He kicked 4 goals for the day and was hailed the hero in that win.

In the last 3 games of the home and away that year he kicked a total of 8 goals to help the Dogs sneak into the finals.

Schache also played some good footy in late 2021, some as a defender including the win over us.

He's clearly a confidence player and seems to lose it at the drop of a hat.

I can't see how he's not a regular in the opening month. If you dislike or can't stand him as a player, you better get used to him.

 

Edited by Bring-Back-Powell
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21 minutes ago, old55 said:

Maybe he's thinking about Callum Mills' Mad Monday shoulder injury, Buddy Franklin and Paddy McCartin retiring and the fact that we belted them with a depleted forward line up there in the last round last year.

All that is true but it's not ideal to have a decimated forward line ... and let's hope that it's only short term 

That includes Petty, T-Mac & McAdam being available sooner rather than later

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