Adelaide were exposed in the grand final. Their response will define 2018

Ryan Buckland Columnist

By Ryan Buckland, Ryan Buckland is a Roar Expert

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    For the second year in a row, the best team of the season fell at the final hurdle. For the Adelaide Crows, the manner of the defeat could define it for a decade. Or it could be a minor footnote in a storied premiership.

    Almost overnight, the Adelaide Crows have earned the unwelcome title of fourth longest active premiership drought in the AFL. It has been 20 years since the Crows last won the biggest game of the year, their historic back-to-back premiership now a clear generation ago.

    They’ve had a plethora of opportunities since then. A dozen finals campaigns have come and gone, with just one of them bringing more than one win. That was last year’s run, which ended the moment captain Taylor Walker adopted the team’s quirky (not a complement) power stance during the national anthem.

    Taylor Walker Adelaide Crows AFL Grand Final 2017 tall

    AAP Image/Julian Smith

    Right up to that point – and it wasn’t Tex’s stance that killed them, although it didn’t help – Adelaide looked and felt like a premier. They were the stand out team in a year where there was no real stand out team in a traditional sense. The Crows finished on 15 wins and one draw, the fewest wins for a minor premier since 1997 (coincidentally, the year Adelaide won their first premiership).

    What made the Crows so good, and so different, was the way the club decimated their peers. Adelaide had a net margin of 30.8 points per game against the teams ranked second to seventh; just one other club had a positive differential (Essendon, +1 points per game). It came to the fore in the Crows’ finals campaign: shellackings of both GWS and Geelong – particularly the latter.

    Under the hood, Adelaide was powered by a refined offence-first scheme centred on fast counter attack to a well structured forward line. Their depth chart is stacked with rangy outside midfielders and what we’d traditionally call half back flankers, all drilled on the angles to run and kick, and the space to be in to enable the quick counter.

    Bryce Gibbs Adelaide Crows tall

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    The Crows defended deep in their back 50, spending their energy on building counter attacks rather than zoning through the middle of the ground. They pressed as hard as anyone once they had the ball in their forward 50, on the relatively rare occasion that an entry didn’t lead to a score. Adelaide conceded 3.7 per cent more inside 50s per minute of opposition possession in 2017, the worst rate in the league.

    That is a matter of style, not causal relevance, which is all a lot of the AFL statistics we are granted access to can tell us. Here’s another: in wins, Adelaide executed 6.8 disposals per minute of possession last season, the fewest in the league which hints at their need for speed. In losses? That cratered to 9.3, the most in the league, and the biggest differential by some way.

    In equal parts, it hints at the strength and weakness at the heart of Adelaide’s system. The system that was exposed by Richmond on grand final day.

    Kick in the guts
    The newest left-hand side contributor Adrian Polykandrites‘ debut column as an AFL expert got me so fired up to watch the first quarter of last year’s grand final that I did exactly that. His boxing analogy was entirely appropriate, and encapsulates the game as well as any other analysis I’ve seen.

    Simply, Richmond executed a defensive strategy that proved to be Adelaide’s kryptonite throughout their 2017 run. It was numbers around the ball, and a zoning scheme that dared the Crows to kick down the line rather than to the leading targets on right angles they favour.

    Tigers’ coach Damien Hardwick learned this was the path to victory the hard way. Adelaide minced Richmond by 84 points in Round 6 – after which the doubters popped their heads briefly above the trenches – earning 112 more uncontested possessions and beating the Tigers at the contest by enough of a margin to take full toll. It was relentless, like a samurai slicing its way through an army of meat-headed invaders from the west.

    Richmond did the opposite of what they did that day in the grand final. When the ball was in tight, it was numbers and quick hands. When it was in space, it was a kick-busting zone in the middle of the ground. When it was in Richmond’s forward 50, it was an extra mid-sized defender off the centre square at all costs, chopping off the counter attack. The results speak for themselves.

    Playing the Crows this way cuts off their most potent weapon, in both attack and defence: quick ball movement. It was the question mark coming into the season, and emerged in the worst way during the biggest game of the season.

    What was most shocking is the manner in which Adelaide wilted, given how well it almost always performed against the best teams of last year. That +30 point differential against 2017’s finalists is no joke, and in the main it was built on that slingshotting counter attacking style. The grand final was not the first example of this. Indeed, it shows up crystal clear looking at the data.

    I’ve introduced the tackle rate statistic previously. It combines the number of tackles a team executes and the time their opponent has possession of the ball, standardised to a 50 minute rate (reflecting the average time in possession of a team).

    Adelaide’s opponents had a tackle rate of 68.2 on the season, ranked eighth. In the grand final, Richmond laid 74 tackles per 50 minutes of possession. We can combine the tackle rate statistic with the ball movement pace statistic, and compare that to Adelaide’s wins and losses.

    When both statistics were above Adelaide’s season average (i.e. their opponents tackled at a higher rate, and Adelaide had more disposals per minute of possession than their season average), Adelaide was 2-1-5 – five of their seven losses (including the grand final), and their lone draw, came when both conditions were met.

    Taken together, the season-long success and failure in the moment should have given Don Pyke and his off field crew some pause over the off season. Adelaide were not one dimensional – they still chased and tackled, hard pressed when the ball entered their forward half, and won more than their fair share of stoppages across the ground – but it is clear their best way of playing is vulnerable to teams that plan well and execute even better.

    Few teams will muster the ferocity Richmond powered itself with on grand final day on a Sunday afternoon in May. But for Adelaide, and the other band of high probability finalists, ensuring it has enough tools in its box to take all that comes in August and September.

    The middle
    For Adelaide, this starts in the middle of the ground. This time last year we all thought Adelaide’s weakest spot was its midfield group; plenty of flankers, a bit of pace, but light on the stereotypical ‘ballwinners’ that catch the eye and get the gaudy numbers.

    The club has Rory Sloane, and at least one of the Crouch brothers would come on, but otherwise it looked a little thin. A preseason ACL tear to Cam Ellis-Yolman was met with more than the usual gusto.

    Sloane went nuclear, Brad Crouch played more games than he’s every played before, Matt Crouch made the All Australian team (partially on account of Sloane’s work once he was tagged into oblivion), and the outside flankers developed a penchant for pinch hit contested ball winning they’d never really shown us before. Rory Laird took another ten steps towards the middle of the ground from his starting position as a back pocket, and suddenly the depth Adelaide was missing materialised in a matter of weeks.

    To this group Adelaide has added a 29-year-old, never injured, extremely positionally versatile Bryce Gibbs. Slotting Gibbs into the line up will see him join a centre bounce crew of Sam Jacobs, Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch – relegating Brad Crouch to the bench in all likelihood, given Adelaide’s other structures forward and back – affords a top tier group that rivals any in the league. Most teams can throw out a starting quartet with two or three studs, but few have four like the Crows.

    Gibbs’ arrival does more than give it a little boost at centre bounces. He can play that core role, or shift to the outside and play as a link man, or shift behind the play and run laterally as a half back, or in a pinch play on the half forward line as a threatening forward flanker. He’s potentially the key to a line up flexibility that has escaped the well-drilled Crows in the club’s recent run.

    Adelaide’s high profile recruit played in his traditional centre position against Fremantle in the club’s JLT Series game against Fremantle. He had 28 touches and seven clearances, in just 75 per cent of a shorter game time.

    Bryce Gibbs Adelaide Crows tall

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    There is no guarantee Gibbs plays through the middle all the time. The Crows will miss the influence of the long-kicking Brodie Smith in the defensive midfield zone, a position Gibbs could take up without much fuss. He could form a fascinating midfield-half back platoon rotation with Laird.

    Shoring up the midfield will prove a useful off season activity, given there is some minor disruption at both pointy ends of the ground. The loss of Jake Lever is the loss of upside rather than an enormous downside, given he was largely a spare man defender, and the Crows have an abundance of tall defensive options. Charlie Cameron’s departure is more important, given he added a pacey line-breaking element to a forward line that is otherwise run by structural rules and regulations.

    Adelaide have plenty of options here. Wayne Milera, Adelaide’s first pick in the 2015 draft, looked a lock for the spot until the rookie listed Lachlan Murphy burst onto the AFL stage in the Crows’ preseason game. Murphy’s straight line pace and quick trigger would be a useful asset if it could be harnessed regularly.

    Bringing it all together
    Last year Adelaide was not expected to contend for a premiership. The depth question was real, and the likes of Sydney, GWS, Geelong, and the Western Bulldogs were the fashionable choices for the flag. It didn’t take long for that veneer to fade. This year, Adelaide sits atop the premiership markets with the perennially favourite Swans.

    Fundamentally, all we’ve done today is nitpick Adelaide’s ability to respond when their system is challenged. Otherwise, they look sound in every way. This will be Pyke’s third year in charge of the Crows, with 49 games under his belt as the senior coach. He knows his team. And perhaps more importantly, his team knows itself, the core having been assembled five years ago.

    It enters 2018 with the second oldest and third most experienced list in the league; just two years ago the club was 13th in games played and eighth for average age. Cycles move quickly in the modern AFL.

    Bryce Gibbs

    (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    The Crows have a chance to start the year on a very strong note; games against Richmond and Sydney (home and away respectively) pocket a first seven weeks that includes games against St Kilda, Collingwood, Gold Coast and Carlton. A first up Friday night date against Essendon looks like the match of the round from here. Starting the year with five wins from seven tries looks not just possible, but likely. Anything more and the Crows would be set up for a second straight top-four finish.

    Like all of last year’s top four, Adelaide holds genuine and realistic premiership ambitions. The weight of 20 years of waiting sits on the shoulders of a team built to beat the best.

    But, Richmond showed Adelaide is vulnerable. Their system can be broken. Adelaide has the means to respond; the Crows’ biggest question heading into season 2018 is choosing how to respond.

    Ryan Buckland
    Ryan Buckland

    As an economist, Ryan seeks to fix the world's economic troubles one graph at a time. As a sports fan, he's always looking one or two layers beneath the surface to search for meaning, on and off the field. You can follow Ryan here.

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    The Crowd Says (155)

    • Roar Pro

      March 8th 2018 @ 6:29am
      anon said | March 8th 2018 @ 6:29am | ! Report

      Grand Final day Adelaide were punished with an away game when they should have been rewarded with a home game, while Richmond were awarded with a home game when they should have been punished with an away game.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 8th 2018 @ 8:19am
        Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Adl players should of realised what was happening and adjusted. A bit of possession footy wouldn’t have hurt. Crows could’ve been five goals up by twenty min mark of second quarter, but instead butchered it so badly that once Richmond got a sniff it was all over red rover
        We all know the rules and contracts in place and if your good enough you will win no matter that its at the MCG.

        • Roar Rookie

          March 8th 2018 @ 9:10am
          Pedro The Fisherman said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          All true Mattician but Adelaide had to play away despite having finished top of the minor round whilst Richmond got an undeserved home grand final.
          What are the statsitics on wins at Home v wins Away?

          • March 8th 2018 @ 9:29am
            truetigerfan said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

            ‘All true . . . ‘, yet you still can’t/won’t accept it! Grow up!

            • March 8th 2018 @ 11:01am
              Harsh Truth Harry said | March 8th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

              Accept this truetiger. a number will live in Rochmonds tragic history for the rest of your existence, that number is………..37! 37 years! Shouldve been kicked out before 2017!

              • March 8th 2018 @ 11:58am
                Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

                Who else should be kicked out?

              • March 8th 2018 @ 12:44pm
                truetigerfan said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                Listen here bloke, Essendon are a rabble. How long will you be in the football wilderness denying you have problems, bloke? Current reigning premiers, the Tiges! But this is a new season, bloke. We’ll best your mob again, nothing surer, bloke!

            • March 8th 2018 @ 12:17pm
              interstater said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

              That’s the first time I’ve heard a Victorian even admit these facts are true. A step in the right direction for the league.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 3:32pm
                BigAl said | March 8th 2018 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

                Was thinking the same thing. Sooner or later the AFL will have to confront the issue of GFs becoming predictable borefests !

                In trying to attract new fans, the amount of interest the AFL is garnering from AFLX… etc. is about a zillionth of the interest it is losing because of dud grand finals.

          • Roar Rookie

            March 8th 2018 @ 9:33am
            Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

            Seen it with wce aswell but to me it’s not an issue

            • March 8th 2018 @ 5:02pm
              truetigerfan said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

              Kudos to you, 6by6.

          • March 8th 2018 @ 10:46am
            Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

            The statistics show that venue need not be a barrier to a non-Victorian team winning a Grand Final.

            Ground capacity statistics show that no venue in the country comes close to the MCG as far as capability to host a Grand Final is concerned.

            • March 8th 2018 @ 12:06pm
              sammy said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

              The MCG will host the GF for some time to come as per the contract, but the umpires on the day have to be selected from states that do not have teams represented in the Grand final. Ie no good having 3 victorian umpires umpiring a victorian team v a SA team as it always leaves it open for the state bias to come into play. This competition can never have integrity as the draw is so compromised anyway with games that are set in stone and where they are played so the GF being locked into the MCG is just an extension of that

              • Roar Rookie

                March 8th 2018 @ 12:14pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

                Does a Vic umpire who goes for Carlton really want Richmond to win?

              • March 8th 2018 @ 3:14pm
                Knoxy said | March 8th 2018 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

                This might come as a bit of a shock to you, but most Victorians care more about cross town rivalries than they do about the SA teams.

                I’m a Pies supporter and I would’ve preffered Adelaide to win. Personally I don’t really care about the Adelaide clubs.

            • March 8th 2018 @ 12:18pm
              sammy said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

              You have to go back a bit further to state of origin. SA and Victoria hated each other and there is a tribe mentality that still exists. So whilst an umpire who is a carlton fan probably does not like Richmond, Richmond is still a Vic team against an SA team. But the very fact that such a possible bias could come into play should dictate neutral state umpires

              • Roar Rookie

                March 8th 2018 @ 12:27pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

                That hatred existed between wa and Vic to and in none of the best 6 gf wce have played in would I say there has been an umpire bias

              • March 8th 2018 @ 12:53pm
                Jon boy said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                Matti gee wizz what about Baldy Cameron he used to crucify the Eagles ,did he do a GF ?

              • Roar Rookie

                March 8th 2018 @ 1:06pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

                And dons fans would say that about margetts jonboy, every supporter has a beef with an umpire claiming unfair advantage

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:31pm
                13th Man said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

                Freo say it about Margetts and hes west australian. In the end i dont really think it matters. Just pick the best Umps.

            • Roar Pro

              March 8th 2018 @ 12:23pm
              anon said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

              The AFL would be very proud of you for defending their commercial interests and greed.

              But you have to remember that first and foremost this is a legitimate sports league.

              Without a draw that is somewhat equitable and fair to all teams, then what you have is WWE.

              In professional wrestling, storylines are created in order to generate the most interest (ie money) from viewers and spectators.

              The AFL similarly goes out of it’s way to create narratives that maximise earnings.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 8th 2018 @ 12:49pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                Read any player survey and they all want to play the gf at the MCG.
                And when wce have won a gf it has been because they were the better team, and taking the cup across the nullabor is oh so sweet.
                Ppl scream its just a soulless corporation with no tradition, but the one tradition in place ppl sook over.

            • March 8th 2018 @ 5:24pm
              tim said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

              take out the mcc members and the victorian afl members and you have approx 55000 seats left. Adelaide, Perth and Sydney can all squeeze that number in.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 5:29pm
                Macca said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

                So you don’t expect AFL members to get GF tickets at grounds other than the MCG? That will put quite a dent in AFL revenue.

                And don’t the other grounds have members that would expect tickets?

              • March 8th 2018 @ 5:58pm
                Jon boy said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

                100% tim

              • March 9th 2018 @ 8:07am
                Reservoir Animal said | March 9th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

                Except every ground has its own members and other deals for AFL members.

                Put it this way- Currently 70K of the GF seats go to people other than club members- such as AFL members, ground members, corporates, media and the like. And those people will always get first dibs regardless of where the game is held. That means that even if you play the game at a 70K ground (and Adel/Perth/Syd don’t come close to that figure), you won’t fit a single club member in.

                Why don’t other cities just build 100K stadiums? Why do they always want something for nothing?

            • March 8th 2018 @ 5:54pm
              Johnno said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

              It is which one you think is more important – $’s or having a fair competition. I for one don’t agree with attendance being the yardstick for how well the AFL is going……fixing the fixtures so to get bigger crowds panders to a few teams and gives then a greater advantage.

              And I am very sure on….Fremantle or West Coast could not do what Richmond did in 2017…..the distance factor alone would put paid to that.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 6:22pm
                Jon boy said | March 8th 2018 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

                Right there johnno but they do not understand flying 5000 k every fortnight has any impact .If that is the case try sharing it around ….another dream !

              • Roar Rookie

                March 9th 2018 @ 2:26pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 9th 2018 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

                Finish 3rd and win a premiership? Not sure freo could but wce could thats been proven 😉

          • March 8th 2018 @ 2:53pm
            Harsh Truth Harry said | March 8th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

            Carlton should be kicked out for administrative and on field incompetence past 22 years.

            Here’s a free memo true (37 years) Tiger. Our football club doesn’t go 37 years without a flag bloke! we don’t stand for it.

            • March 8th 2018 @ 3:30pm
              Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

              “Carlton should be kicked out for administrative and on field incompetence past 22 years.”

              Then Essendon should be too. And Collingwood.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 3:34pm
                Harsh Truth Harry said | March 8th 2018 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

                Ive worked you out Reservoir! You barrack for The Suns! No wonder you don’t own up to it bloke! hahahhaha

        • March 8th 2018 @ 12:20pm
          interstater said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

          Yes, we all know the rules. That doesn’t mean it’s fair.

          And yes a good enough interstate team will win. They need to be a few-goal better side than their Victorian opposition to win a GF (home ground advantage is statistically modelled to be around 2-3 goals)

          • March 8th 2018 @ 12:39pm
            Jon boy said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

            FAIR-It can only be fair when we have a AFL competition. The sooner we get out of the VFL the better Even if the GF is played in Melbourne at least make the Melbourne teams travel interstate 11 -12 times a year like other states, then you can guarantee there will not be any VIctorian teams in the Grand Final. ……..Why not have a real AFL…..?? to scared ??

            • March 8th 2018 @ 12:56pm
              Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              “at least make the Melbourne teams travel interstate 11 -12 times a year”

              You forget that Melbourne teams don’t have fortressed home grounds like West Coast and others. Many of their “home” games actually involve no home ground advantage at all and an opponent whose players came to the ground on a short bus ride.

              Sorta makes up for their lack of travel.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:00pm
                sammy said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                except when an interstate team has to travel to your ground – no short bus trip or equal share of supporters

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:03pm
                Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                Which is a minority of the time.

                Hawthorn, Collingwood, Richmond, Melbourne, and to a lesser extent Essendon and Carlton all know the MCG well enough that there is no home ground advantage when they meet there. A similar situation exists at Etihad.

                I wonder where West Coast would finish on the ladder if half their home games were against fellow Perth teams.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:11pm
                Jon boy said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

                ‘ Sortta ‘ What Rubbish,you just don’t get it ,we need a real AFL .

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:14pm
                sammy said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                what, you mean that they don’t have to travel for 3-5 hours on a plane there and back every second week – that would be fantastic and much better for their long term health

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:18pm
                Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                It would also mean bye-bye to fortress Subiaco and all the advantages (including umpiring bias) that come with it.

                Being in a two-team town helps West Coast, rather than hinders them.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:19pm
                interstater said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                The larger the home ground advantage is…

                – the closer interstate teams would be to 11W 11L, because it’d be so easy to win at home and so hard to win away

                – Victorian teams would be close to 5W 5L from their games vs interstate clubs, then

                – the better Victorian sides would win more of the “neutral games” so can be, say 15W 7L (and weaker Victorian sides could be 7W 15L)

                Travel would only play a further part if it has a cumulative affect on athlete’s bodies over the season. Not sure if that’s true.

          • March 8th 2018 @ 12:45pm
            truetigerfan said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

            Last year you needed to be a 9 goal better team then. Yeah?

            • March 8th 2018 @ 1:00pm
              interstater said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              No, there is always variance in results. Adelaide needed to be a 2-3 goal better team for the game to be a genuine 50/50 chance. On the day they were a ~6 goals worse team.

              • March 11th 2018 @ 11:48am
                Philby said | March 11th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

                Keep the lame excuses going, Interstater. That will ensure you don’t address the REAL problem, and so others can get past you again in 2018.

      • March 8th 2018 @ 9:24am
        Really? said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        I mean, really?

        This argument is absolutely rubbish. The grand final is held at the MCG, everyone knows it. Adelaide was not “punished”, they knew exactly what would occur when the started the season, and they know exactly whats going to happen this season should they make it.

        • March 8th 2018 @ 12:25pm
          interstater said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

          We knew playing the match at the MCG was going to be an advantage to Richmond.

          What people gripe about is this:
          Given two evenly matched teams, one Victorian and one interstate, it is easier for Victorian team to win the Grand Final than the interstate team.

          • Roar Rookie

            March 8th 2018 @ 12:37pm
            Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

            Geelong, north, saints, hawks ,essendon and collingwood may argue that point.

            • March 8th 2018 @ 1:03pm
              interstater said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

              Why it that?
              Hawthorn and Collingwood have the MCG as their home ground.
              Geelong & co, while not as advantaged, still don’t have to travel and will have way more fans there than interstate teams.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 8th 2018 @ 1:08pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

                All have lost gf to non Victorian clubs. 92,94,97,98,01,02,03,12

            • March 8th 2018 @ 4:09pm
              Jack Russell said | March 8th 2018 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

              Not sure your point. No-one’s saying it’s a guaranteed win to the Victorian team, just that it gives them an advantage.
              I can’t see how it’s possible to argue anything else. You might dispute the extent of the advantage, but you can’t deny that it exists.

              Not that it matters, but it does mean that an interstate team has to be better to win a flag than a Victorian team.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 8th 2018 @ 4:49pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

                The better team on the day wins no matter the venue.

          • March 8th 2018 @ 7:25pm
            Tomo said | March 8th 2018 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

            But we heard all year how much better Adelaide was, the best team in the comp, they’ll just win, etc etc Playing at the G didn’t see to affect them in the first 1/4, and in Adelaide’s entire history, they’ve played 15 finals at the G, winning seven, inc two premierships, and losing eight.

            Playing the G didn’t affect the result, what affected the result was the underestimation of just how good the Tigers were. Richmond was simply too good on the day. Now, everyone has lost their minds trying to explain what happened and blaming the ground, rather than taking a long hard look at the mental fragility of the Crows on the day.

      • March 8th 2018 @ 9:28am
        mattyb said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        Is there any other sport in the world where the side finishing 4th get a home GF against the side that finish 1st?
        Or the year before when the side that finished 7th gets a home town GF against the side side that finish 1st?
        Or a sport where members of another sport get 1/4 of the tickets to the game?

        If we must keep having a GF so MCC members can attend we need to at least start playing the Grand Final over two legs,home and away.

        • March 8th 2018 @ 10:47am
          Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          “If we must keep having a GF so MCC members can attend”

          Every venue has ground members. That’s a ridiculous comment.

          • March 8th 2018 @ 11:08am
            mattyb said | March 8th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            RA,we cant keep having this farcical situation where lower placed sides are getting an enormous advantage over the side that finishes 1st in the championship game.
            It’s time to consider playing the deciding game over two legs if we must. Seems like that solution would keep everyone happy.

            • March 8th 2018 @ 11:57am
              Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

              It won’t keep GilMac happy. His priority is getting Coldplay to come to a night Grand Final every year so he can look good in the USA and make a bit more money.

              Getting Coldplay to come every year will be hard enough. Imagine having to do it twice each year.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 3:24pm
                Harsh Truth Harry said | March 8th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

                Come on bloke! Coldplay made Meatloaf look like a rissole! Just put Cold Chisel out there every year! Sign them up for the next ten!

            • March 8th 2018 @ 12:08pm
              sammy said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

              I am hearing you Mattyb

            • March 8th 2018 @ 5:17pm
              Macca said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

              Matthew I have asked this previously but as usual you didn’t answer, how do you fit a two leg GF into the Schedule and how do you organise a two leg GF in the week between the prelim’s and the first leg?

              A supplementary question – why do you keep banging on about something that can not change for 20 years?

              • March 8th 2018 @ 6:11pm
                Jon boy said | March 8th 2018 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

                Macca in regard to your supplementary question…Everyone knows the GF is locked in for another 20 years .All people are saying it would be a dream if it could change! No different than you banging on, and dreaming Carlton might improve one day.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 7:20pm
                Macca said | March 8th 2018 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

                Jon Boy – my dream is possible, yours isn’t . You may as well talk about not paying any tax.

          • Roar Pro

            March 8th 2018 @ 12:26pm
            anon said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

            The AFL just has to be tough instead of letting themselves be dictated to by archaic cricket clubs or ground members.

            Tell these grounds that if they want to host the biggest single-day sporting event of the year in Australia then cricket club and ground members have to buy tickets just like everyone else.

            Problem solved. Cricket won’t pay the bills only AFL will.

            • March 8th 2018 @ 12:39pm
              Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

              Boy, to be a lawyer if that day ever came. Ch-ching!

              Ground members are just that- people who pay for the right to attend events at a certain ground.

              The real solution to this problem would be for every city to build a 100K stadium. But then, we all know how small-minded the people in this country’s smaller cities are.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:04pm
                sammy said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                or build / use another stadium in Victoria (eg Ikon Park) to play games from so that teams can use it and Etihad as the home ground venues during the home and away with the MCG being used as a rolling neutral venue by all teams each week so that come the finals, the MCG is a neutral venue in terms of playing as all teams would have had a roughly even crack at using it. That way the MCG can stay forever as the home of the GF and no team has the advantage of it being a true home ground for the big dance

              • Roar Rookie

                March 8th 2018 @ 1:11pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

                Or do as wce are doing and have a training ground built to exact dimension of MCG.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:27pm
                13th Man said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

                Freo have done the same thing. In the end its just another oval with goal posts at either end. Good sides find a way.

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:10pm
                Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                Sammy, they tried that years ago. Remember Waverley Park?

              • March 8th 2018 @ 1:16pm
                sammy said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

                That was then and the AFL is a very different comp now and having a waverley mark 2 would be a real option to overcoming the problem of the MCG being used as a dedicated home ground by teams

          • March 8th 2018 @ 5:26pm
            tim said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

            adelaide oval doesn’t.

            • Roar Guru

              March 8th 2018 @ 9:41pm
              Cat said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

              Adelaide oval most certainly does have ground members

      • March 8th 2018 @ 1:25pm
        13th Man said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

        Seriously??? The GF’s always been at the G and always should be. Interstate sides know what theyve got to do and it only makes the achievement better when they manage it.

        • Roar Pro

          March 8th 2018 @ 2:12pm
          anon said | March 8th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

          VFL Grand Finals being at the MCG was fair enough.

          AFL Grand Finals at the MCG is due to Victorian bias.

          Right now it’s still an expanded VFL competition

          • Roar Rookie

            March 8th 2018 @ 2:43pm
            Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

            Besides Perth and adl( even then capacity is hugely reduced) were else can it be played? If gws make a gf as the higher ranked side do we send the gf to spotless? Or GC at metricon , the gabba or etihad or kardinya pk? The MCG is the logical stadium to host it simple as that

            • Roar Pro

              March 8th 2018 @ 3:53pm
              anon said | March 8th 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

              Having system in place that is unfair to 4 out of 18 teams rather than 8 out of 18 is surely preferable?

              • March 8th 2018 @ 5:18pm
                mattyb said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

                This is not about Vic,SA,WA.
                The league will not expand like it needs to in northern Australia while we are running a Victorian centric competition. NSW and Qld simply won’t buy it.
                The Vic clubs simply have no right to such an enormous advantage in a national competition.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 8th 2018 @ 10:54pm
                Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

                The way the game grows is successful teams not via a token gf. Now correct me if I’m wrong but the NRL grandy is always played in Sydney? The NRL aren’t going to move it to qld or melb let alone Perth. As a wa who supports wce I have zero problem with it being held at the G.

              • March 9th 2018 @ 9:06am
                Macca said | March 9th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

                This advantage you talk of – what is it?

                To me the “home ground advantage” is predominantly having the majority of the crowd on your side (especially for a side like the Bulldogs who don’t play a lot of games at the MCG) – do you really believe that if last year GF was in Adelaide Richmond supporters wouldn’t have been in the majority? Or if the Doggies had to travel to Sydney their supporters wouldn’t have outnumbered the Swans for their first GF in decades? What was the ratio of supporters at the prelim against GWS?

                As for NSW & Qld not buying the product – I find it very hard to believe that after teams from both states have one multiple premierships this century that the “cure” for bad attendances is simply shifting the Grand Final.

              • Roar Guru

                March 8th 2018 @ 9:44pm
                Cat said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:44pm | ! Report

                You really hav an issue understanding correlation and causation matty. AFL not expanding to Northern Australia has nothing to do with where the GF is played. NTsimply could not support a full time AFL club, same issue Tassie has.

      • March 9th 2018 @ 5:59pm
        Eddy Jay said | March 9th 2018 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

        Gosh, how many times are we going to hear this rubbish. Every team knows the Grand Final is played at the MCG and will be until 2038. IT’S NOT GOING TO CHANGE!

      • March 10th 2018 @ 10:14am
        Don Freo said | March 10th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        Punished? For what?

        • Roar Rookie

          March 10th 2018 @ 12:10pm
          Mattician6x6 said | March 10th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          Don you remember wce 1990 final series, made it extremely close to a gf, travelled 6 weeks in a row, ansett strike forced greater travelling distance.
          Were a excellent team so were able to produce.

          • March 10th 2018 @ 3:48pm
            Don Freo said | March 10th 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report


            I would have thought getting to a GF after winning a semi or a prelim would be a reward, not a punishment. Most footy fans see a GF as reward for a season’s work.

    • March 8th 2018 @ 8:42am
      Tim said | March 8th 2018 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Leading up to the GF the Crows had one close game all year, against hawthorn in round 4 or 6. The Sydney game was close on the scoreboard but the Crows had the yips in front of goal and could have easily won by 40 points.

      What the Crows need is some real close games where they have to dig in to the last minute. Even losing some, winning some would be good too.

      • March 8th 2018 @ 2:23pm
        Nathan Hook said | March 8th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

        Did you not see the DRAW they also had with Collingwood in round 19?

        I would consider that a close game.

        • March 8th 2018 @ 5:28pm
          tim said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

          a 50 point drubbing in the 1st half, then a 50 pt drubbing the other way in the 2nd half, hardly.

          • March 8th 2018 @ 7:57pm
            Nathan Hook said | March 8th 2018 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

            Result was a draw, that’s a close game, can’t get any closer actually.

            Doesn’t matter who one what half or quarter.

            And in this game, they had to dig in until the last play of the game to get the draw

    • March 8th 2018 @ 9:29am
      Rex said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      considering adelaides game plan is so easily stifled, as per your assessment, id be surprised if the crows win a game this year!!

      • March 8th 2018 @ 10:22am
        truetigerfan said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        Rex . . . please! Re-read the article. The author at no stage says Adelaide’s game plan is ‘easily’ stifled. If it were that easy all teams would do it. Fact is most sides can’t implement the strategies to successfully achieve this end. Don’t be so precious!

        • March 8th 2018 @ 12:11pm
          sammy said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          I read that Richmond had adopted a strategy in recruiting a few years back and that was to specifically target players who were very strong middle distance runners. If that is the case, it has worked perfectly for their game plan as it enables them to press all over the ground and then run off as they did so well in the second half of last year. The crows did not bring the required work ethic to the contest in the GF and were outworked by the tigers on the day

      • Columnist

        March 8th 2018 @ 10:47am
        Ryan Buckland said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

        Yeah per the below, the reason Adelaide was so good was their system was so – hard- to stop. These are just words on a page. Actually implementing and executing something that can stop the Crows’ counterattacking system is really hard.

    • March 8th 2018 @ 9:44am
      Greg Falk said | March 8th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      Time for Grand finals to be played on neutral territory. We have two fantastic ovals – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. The AFL needs to use them – they always seem to get caught with their collective ‘bums’ out of the ground waiting for someone to kick them into action. The AFL needs to become proactive and more fully utilise the Sydney venue.

      • Roar Guru

        March 8th 2018 @ 10:31am
        Cat said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

        While I agree ultimately the GF should move between suitable stadiums (won’t happen until current contract runs out), the SCG is not suitable. An event that draws 100k is not going to be moved to a ground with a 46k capacity. It would also be logistically impossible to not decide the GF venue until the week before the game so the whole idea of the ‘home team’ or a neutral location doesn’t work.

        • March 8th 2018 @ 10:40am
          mattyb said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          Seems to be possible for a prelim final.

          • March 8th 2018 @ 10:48am
            Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

            That’s because a prelim final is not a grand final.

          • Roar Guru

            March 8th 2018 @ 10:50am
            AdelaideDocker said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

            Yeah, nah. Very much different to a GF.

            You have a million and one more things to organise for a GF. The Parade, the commercial requirements, the broadcasting requirements, the flying thousands of fans into a city, the organising of corporate things.

            It just seems to be a insurmountable task, not to mention a massive one.

        • Roar Guru

          March 8th 2018 @ 10:44am
          AdelaideDocker said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          Yup, there’s a whole range of logistical issues surrounding moving the Grand Final. I understand in a perfect world we’d be sharing it, but no other stadium has the capacity.

          Also interesting that Greg mentions Sydney + Melbourne, and not Perth or Adelaide which are both better stadiums and a higher capacity?

      • March 8th 2018 @ 10:45am
        Reservoir Animal said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        What if they schedule the GF for a particular venue and then one of that venue’s co-tenants reaches the GF? How neutral is that?

      • March 8th 2018 @ 12:16pm
        JustAnotherVoiceOnTheInternet said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        The SCG is the absolute worst ground to play Aussie Rules in the country, it is the size of a postage stamp. What a terrible suggestion.

        • March 10th 2018 @ 10:19am
          Don Freo said | March 10th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          This is crazy! Why pick up on anon’s deviant agenda?

          The article is far more interesting.

      • March 8th 2018 @ 1:12pm
        steve said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

        I don’t think the neutral ground is the issue, but a neutral crowd. I tried as a long time Crows member to get tickets but 70,000+ tigers fans had them all so I missed out on the ridiculous 15K tickets allocated to the club members.The AFL needs to give the Clubs at least 35k tickets each if not more. Ticketing is majorly biased toward Victoria hence the advantage.

        • March 8th 2018 @ 1:19pm
          Jon boy said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          Common Sense steve,which is what should happen ,Greed… and will not make change for fairness.

        • Roar Guru

          March 8th 2018 @ 3:47pm
          Cat said | March 8th 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

          How is it biased? Every club, regardless of where they are based is allocated THE EXACT SAME NUMBER of tickets.

          Should more tickets go to competing clubs? Sure, but that is a separate issue.

        • March 8th 2018 @ 5:45pm
          tim said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

          Adelaide gold members get priority. If you paid an extra $100+ on top of your membership you would get the right to buy the $100+ gf ticket.

      • March 8th 2018 @ 1:36pm
        13th Man said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        The grounds in Perth and Adelaide are better than the one in Sydney mate.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 8th 2018 @ 10:28am
      Lamby said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      Great analysis Ryan (as usual).

      I have thought about this game a lot (and I am still not over it). But here are my thoughts on why we lost:
      – Richmond learnt from the rnd 2 loss and changed their game plan.
      – Richmond lost that game on turn-overs. They got punished by Adelaide at every turn-over.
      – Richmond developed a game to restrict turn-overs AND restrict the damage done in the event of a turn-over.
      – Richmond did this by changing the tempo of the game depending on where the ball was to ensure they had numbers where the ball was going to be.

      – Everyone talks about the manic pressure in their forward line. This stops the ball coming out quickly but it is only 1/2 of the story.
      – What not many people have focused on is how Richmond slowed the ball down from defense and take a VERY low risk approach from dangerous positions on the field. From deep in defense they continually held the ball up (if there were no obvious options) and kicked to a big pack on the boundary line. So they start again from a throw in on the wing – but it gives the defense time to man up and fill the holes so that a turn-over cannot hurt them.
      – Richmond got better at this as the year went on – the players learnt their roles and Hardwick found the players to fit the system. And as the year went on they learnt to convert once they got the ball themselves.

      The big question now is how do the Crows combat this? Pyke is a very good tactical coach – he developed the Weagles Web. So what can a team do?:
      – Stop punching the ball. The random balls is what Richmond is expecting. The Richmond forwards are not trying to mark most of the time – they set up for a punch away from the pack. You don’t need big forwards when the opposition backs are putting the ball exactly where you have set up.
      – Get fitter to get more numbers round the contest (yes, pretty obvious).
      – ??? I am out of ideas. I am sure a lot of thought by a lot of coaches has gone into this and someone will counter it. They ALWAYS do.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 8th 2018 @ 10:54am
        Mattician6x6 said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        I would add adl need to be more adaptable to the situation. I found this also with my boys on 2015, a great game plan to get there but when it became unstuck in the gf the players were so regimented they were not adaptable.
        When the game is on adl terms they are a rolls Royce but without adaptability when a game/tempo isbeing controlled by opposition they look like a lada niki

      • March 8th 2018 @ 12:20pm
        Liam said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

        Step 1: ignore Riewoldt and Townsend.

        Last season, Riewoldt had, in my opinion, his best year to date. Not statistically, by any means, but by playing his role and sacrificing his own, natural game, he ensured the ball fell in the right positions to be pounced on by the smalls. A good key forward draws men to them as much as they draw the ball; Riewoldt did this every single match, not only to his key defender but to the next player, so when he either deliberately overran the ball, tapped it to the nearest small that was clear, or knocked it into the clearest bit of dangerous space in the corridor. In their forward line, it allowed them to outnumber their opponents, and to get the ball moving where they wanted soonest, chaos ball working for them.

        You want to beat this, put someone – the Rampe’s, the McGovern’s, the Barrass’s of the world; an intercept defender over a lockdown – on Riewoldt when he’s forward, and someone to go with him when he ranges; chuck another interceptor on Townsend if you’ve got one. Play one extra deep, and ignore the false leads, going to mark the ball when it comes rather than punching or following the man.

        They don’t want to mark the thing. They’ll take it if it happens, but the ground ball, the chaos ball works for them far more than it does a well ordered defense.

        Step 2: move the ball

        You need to get going quickly, but you must run the ball rather than looking to kick it. This is the most fragile component, as they tackle well and their numbers will be right in front, but a good side can do it. Get the ball to the wing or the centre of the ground, and then seek to find space, move the ball to one on ones and play on, which leads to…

        Step 3: Keep the ball away from Rance.

        You NEED to go around Rance. He’ll blunt every aerial ball, either by marking it or by punching it. He’s as much offensive pivot as defensive blunt, so if you successfully avoid getting the ball into his area, you’ve gone a long way towards beating the Tigers.

        You do this by dragging him up the ground with false leads, then kicking in behind him; you do this by moving the ball to where he is not, always. If you have to go near him, run the thing; rely on speed to get around him.

        Not saying this is foolproof, but this is how I’d try.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 8th 2018 @ 12:20pm
        Lamby said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

        – Stop punching the ball.

        Let me clarify that a bit more: Richmond kick the ball long and highish into the forward line to about where Riewoldt is. They KNOW that the opposition will have their key backman on him AS WELL as at least one ‘3rd man up’ to punch. The Tigers deliberately set up to get extra players in the positions where a punched ball will land. Look at Lever – he punches the ball to almost the exact same positions. And Adelaide (and other teams) have committed 2, 3 or 4 players to the flying pack – leaving them outnumbered on the ground.

        What do you do instead? Who knows 🙂 Maybe try to palm the ball? Don’t commit extra numbers to the pack? Man up in the forward line? Punch to different spots? Try to mark the ball so the ball lands closer to the pack?

        • Columnist

          March 8th 2018 @ 3:34pm
          Cameron Rose said | March 8th 2018 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

          Brilliant discussion guys. Just a pity it took me 20 minutes to scroll down to it, having to wade through all the Grand Final venue nonsense.

          The problem with one of the points above is that Townsend wants to play on an interceptor, to try and tag them out of it.

          Lamby makes a great point about the boundary line, Richmond used it perfectly through the finals series, pressuring the ball out towards it when in trouble, getting away from it when in control.

          • March 8th 2018 @ 5:52pm
            tim said | March 8th 2018 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

            yeah they blocked middle of the ground nullifying Lynch’s role and Rance gave Walker a bath in the 1st half.

            Still as good as Richmond were, I reckon Adelaide were flat on the day, so no amount of game analysis is going to prove anything much.

    • March 8th 2018 @ 10:39am
      Harsh Truth Harry said | March 8th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

      Ryan, your article is very interesting but what you gloss over is a big fact. Don Pyke sat in his hands during the grand final like a kangaroo in Big Harry’s LED Lightforce spotlight. He was found out on the biggest stage of all. He sat there and no one I have heard in here can tell me ONE single move he made during that grand final as it was quickly being handed to Richmond. Let’s face it folks, Richmond hadn’t won a grannie in 37 years!!!! My son was born in 1980 and hadn’t seen them win one until 2017 and he is a grown man with kids himself! WHat a disgrace! But I digress. The only reason Rochmond got away with finally winning one was one main bloke, Don Pyke! Fair dinkum blokes, the SA government should have launched an inquisition into that! Pyke failed on the biggest stage of all and cost the Crows that flag. Now, this year they will be up against Woosha’s Bombers so it seems their opportunity has now passed. Disgraceful Pyke!

      • Roar Guru

        March 8th 2018 @ 11:45am
        Col from Brissie said | March 8th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        Remind us how many moves Woosha made in the Elimination final against Sydney.

        • March 8th 2018 @ 12:15pm
          Birdman said | March 8th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

          true at least the Crows looked likely in the first quarter, while the Dons were toast a few mins in.

          Woosha’s no gun game day coach

        • March 8th 2018 @ 2:57pm
          Harsh Truth Harry said | March 8th 2018 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

          Woosha made at least 40 moves that I can see on the replay. Fact is Cat, 2017 was just about binding the mish mash team Woosha was handed together, to make the finals shows he is a step ahead of Clarkson now as a coaching genius. 2018-2019 we go back to back and sit undisputed with 18 flags, 2 ahead of our nearest rivals. As for your Cats? They aren’t even up with the big blokes of the comp and let’s not forget your rabble went longer than Richmond without a flag!!!!! disgraceful Cat! 43 years!

          • March 8th 2018 @ 4:03pm
            truetigerfan said | March 8th 2018 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

            40 moves, hey? And not one of them helped. You got flogged!

            • Roar Guru

              March 8th 2018 @ 4:58pm
              Col from Brissie said | March 8th 2018 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

              There’s only 18 positions on the ground and Woosha made 40 moves. Smacks of desperation to me and it seems none of them worked. I would have thought his best move would have been to ring you Harry for your advice.

              • March 9th 2018 @ 8:07am
                Harsh Truth Harry said | March 9th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

                well Col your coach Michael Bolton can only coach defensive, he has no plan B bloke!

              • March 9th 2018 @ 9:30am
                Macca said | March 9th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

                You certainly are an expert in defensive Harry!

            • March 8th 2018 @ 4:59pm
              Harsh Truth Harry said | March 8th 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

              I have one number for you truetiger – 37 years.

      • March 8th 2018 @ 1:22pm
        Marc said | March 8th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

        I think Don is big on the “system” being adaptable enough to the point he doesn’t need to make big sweeping moves, ala the Malcolm Blight days. I think it was the Sydney semi-final we lost in 2016 also were we seemed reluctant to make any huge moves and kept trying to play “our game” which was being made difficult by the smaller SCG ground (it’s an issue at Geelong’s ground too with their ability to squeeze the play into the corners of the ground).

        Part of it is because he has huge belief into what they’re doing, but also because they spend so much time prepping the gameplan that they don’t want to make huge sweeping changes. There’s also lots of small things that go in within that are changed but aren’t hugely noticeable as something like sending Sloane to full-forward etc.

    , , , ,