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JamesH

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Joined February 2016

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Essendon fan, cricket fan. Not necessarily in that order.

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The Carey conundrum

Just over four months remain before the first ball of the 2019 World Cup and it is difficult to recall the Australian One Day International cricket team ever having so many question marks hanging over it leading into a major tournament.

Doesn’t that just say if we’d taken our chances we’d be in a strong position? You can’t account for dropping sitters.

Hazlewood fires in Ashes comeback

Days 3 and 4 will be second and third day pitches. Statistically, that’s the best time to bat (even if we have an ability to make it look otherwise). Root was going to bowl first for the same reason as the Aussies did.

Hazlewood fires in Ashes comeback

..Because their direction was changed by factors beyond their control? You’ve pretty much just hit on my point, Col.

It’s not intended as an insult and the board deserves credit for coming around to the right process eventually. It just appears that their initial focus was too narrow, perhaps as a result of feeling burned by the appointment of a rookie coach in Bolton. They wanted experience and they simply didn’t see Teague as a potential candidate for the job. He proved their initial thinking wrong.

Carlton have grown up by appointing Teague

“They went in thinking they wanted X but following the process due to fan and player pressure and the results Teague was achieving it was determined that Y was the best option.”

I don’t think that they reached Y by following the process at all, at least not their initial intended process. Judd’s comments indicate that their intent was to go out and hire an experienced coach. My impression (and again, just from the outside) is that they were forced to re-think their process due to changes in circumstance.

Carlton have grown up by appointing Teague

And if we batted first and collapsed we’d have handed England an opening, possibly without having enough time to fight back and win ourselves.

We don’t *need* to win it but we still *want* to win it. If we go 2-0 up then we’ve virtually won the Ashes. If we go into the third test 1-0 then England are very much alive. There’s still a lot of cricket to be played.

Hazlewood fires in Ashes comeback

Yep. I’d like to see Paine use Hazlewood in shorter bursts in the second dig. Give Siddle and Lyon the workload, with a view to resting Siddle at Leeds if we need to.

Hazlewood fires in Ashes comeback

The call was based on the fact that this is going to be a significantly shortened test. In order for a result, at least one side was going to have to get a sub-par first innings total. That supports the idea of sending the opposition in and trying to run through them, then using the best of the batting conditions to set up a match-winning lead.

The first part didn’t quite happen, although we could have kept England to around 200 if we’d fielded better.

Hazlewood fires in Ashes comeback

He’s always been susceptible to the ball coming into him. He tends to get caught on the crease and beaten by any appreciable movement. I’m not sure how much of his current slump is due to form and how much of it is just England using really smart plans to him.

Hazlewood fires in Ashes comeback

Just came back to this article and boy, there are a few comments here that have aged poorly!

Can Nathan Lyon reach 400 Test wickets?

Later in the piece the process certainly appeared to be more robust. Earlier on though, the board seemed determined to go for experience based on what happened with Bolton.
Judd’s exact quote (from 9 July) was:
“We want an experienced coach that can take us to the next level. (Teague) is getting some really good coaching experience now. He’s in effect coached his own team, but that’s not really the same as being an actual senior coach of a football team with the pressure that comes with that.”
The only logical conclusion for an outsider looking in is that the board initially wasn’t willing to entertain an inexperienced coach. Once they were pushed in that direction by fan/player support and wins on the board, they warmed to the idea and tailored the process accordingly.
That smells like the tail wagging the dog to me. Again though, just an outside perspective.

Carlton have grown up by appointing Teague

There’s every change he comes in for Siddle or Cummins to give one of them a rest. Which one it is might depend on the pitch.

Hazlewood fires in Ashes comeback

Not that I don’t think Teague is the right guy for the job – he seems to fit that calm, professional, modern coach prototype well – but it feels like the board lost control of the process to a point.

Judd was on Footy Classified not long ago saying that the club wasn’t going to rush into making a decision and they wanted an experienced coach. They clearly had their eye on the likes of Voss, Lyon and Scott. Fast forward a couple of months and, two weeks out from the end of the season, they appoint the least experienced candidate.

Again, not a bad call. I’ve been pretty vocal that I’m not a fan of re-appointing tried coaches when there are younger, more relatable coaches out there with a real hunger to prove themselves. I just think this is a case of getting the right result in spite of the board’s (initial) approach.

Carlton have grown up by appointing Teague

Agreed, the board should be looking at the young talent emerging at Port. They’re still an inconsistent side but I think their best in 2019 has been significantly better than their best was in 2018.

I also suspect that Pyke will be given the chance to turn things around. He took this side to a GF in 2017 and their woes since then have a bit to do with key players getting older and/or injured. If they give him some clear air to regenerate the list then he could well have the Crows back in the frame in the short term.

The AFL coaching massacre isn't done yet

I’m torn on this. On one hand, I can see the need for patience. Essendon had some pretty big problems when Woosha took the reins. Administratively, the club was a dumpster fire after the ASADA mess, with big changes in off-field personnel. On field, there were banned players to initially replace, and then reintegrate. Through all of that there was a new game plan to implement and some key players brought in from outside. That’s bound to eat up some time and involve setbacks.

On the other, I worry that the on-field Bombers are still making the same mistakes they’ve been making all decade. The structure at times looks non-existent (outside of a generally solid defensive unit) and ball movement under any sort of pressure is plain bad. How much of this is the head coach’s job to fix, how much should be put on the assistants and (at least in 2019) how much is an inevitable consequence of injuries is open to interpretation. Caracella has been recruited with an eye to addressing the ball movement issues, as he was credited with doing at Richmond.

The other question I have is just how committed Woosha is himself to being there for the long haul. There are persistent rumours floating around suggesting he’s planning on returning to Perth in the not-too-distant future. Hard to know if there’s any truth to it but even if there isn’t, I can still see the attraction of a younger coach with a point to prove, as opposed to an older head who reached the coaching summit 13 years ago.

I think the key in the short term is to avoid a knee-jerk reaction. Let Woosha and his coaching team finish the season with some clear air and then review the setup. There will already be three departures under him (two assistants and the fitness boss) so the potential effect of those changes needs to be weighed up in all of this.

Why John Worsfold is the man to coach Essendon to their next premiership

Clarke was a replacement for Leuey, who would have been handy right now.

They did have Luke Lavender on the rookie list as well but he retired in Feb due to injury. Counting him, there were four rucks at the club and three of them are now unavailable. They also missed out on the ruckman they were after in the mid-season draft because Sydney picked him first.

It’s not so much a case of not having enough rucks, since you can’t really plan for three ruckmen to go down. It’s more that they only had one senior listed ruckman, with two untried rookies and one mature-aged backup.

Are Essendon actually in a funk, or did we all just fall for the hype?

Cox should be an absolute shoe-in for an opening spot in this side! He averaged over 50 for eight consecutive Shield seasons.

Australia's unlucky XI from the 2000s golden era

Good points. Zaharakis has never looked himself since Nankervis crunched him in Dreamtime 2018. Z Clarke is an honest trier but he’s never going to be more than a plan C ruckman. I wouldn’t be surprised if the club looks at giving one of the younger rucks in the VFL a rookie spot in his place next season, on the basis that they might have more upside.

Zerk-Thatcher was close to a debut a while ago but got injured. Is he back to 100%? I wonder if Ridley will ask for a trade. He’s been unlucky not to get more games. Hartley just has to come back in against the Dockers. He was good against Adelaide and Port.

Someone (Wayne Carey?) said at the start of the year that Hurley was our most important player. I’m inclined to agree based on the last few games without him. He’s more comfortable as an intercept defender than a pure key defender, but the way he organises our backline is crucial to the slingshot style of footy the team likes to play.

I’d be pretty shocked if Woosha coaches the whole of 2020. He might not even go beyond this season the way things are going!

Are Essendon actually in a funk, or did we all just fall for the hype?

I’d go the other way. If you really want to play Hazlewood then bring him in for Siddle (not that I think Sids should be dropped). They are the control bowlers, while Pattinson and Starc are the all-out attack bowlers.

I wouldn’t play both Patto and Starc in the same side unless we were running out of options. Doing so puts a lot of pressure on Cummins and Lyon to bowl longer, containing spells, rather than really attacking the batsmen.

For Lords, alongside Cummins and Lyon I would go with (in order of preference) Patto and Sids, Patto and Hoff or Starc and Sids.

Lord's set to be a happy hunting ground again for Australia

I can’t deny how ridiculous the injuries are getting but they alone don’t explain conceding 21 consecutive goals. Decent sides are still able to execute their basic structures no matter who is out – even if they still get soundly beaten due to missing key players – because everyone in the club has these structures drilled into them. They know how to at least impede their opponents, regardless of whether or not they are struggling to score themselves.

Not for the first time this year, too many players during the Dogs game looked like they didn’t know where they should be (or simply weren’t willing to get there). That for me is the concern. I can handle losing by 10 goals because we’ve been utterly ravaged by injuries but I can’t handle just letting our opponents pile on goal after goal without any semblance of resistance.

It worries me that we don’t seem to have made any structural progress over the last couple of seasons. I’ve been willing to give the club some time due to changes in coaching staff and playing personnel, as well as injuries, but this is getting a bit silly. You don’t need to be in a club’s best 15 players to know where you should be and what your role is. Mason Redman and Paddy Ambrose made some of their more experienced teammates look inept on Saturday.

Are Essendon actually in a funk, or did we all just fall for the hype?

Yeah it was an odd decision. The first test finished on a Monday so they could have started the second on the Friday or Saturday that same week.

I suppose with the World Cup having just concluded they wanted to spread the first couple of tests out. Kind killed the buzz, although England are probably grateful that they can put Edgbaston far behind them before this match starts.

Lord's set to be a happy hunting ground again for Australia

Injuries/tiredness aside, the problem still seems to be a lack of structure to fall back on. When they’re put under pressure they rely too heavily on a few of their defenders – Hurley, Hooker, Saad and Ambrose in particular – to bail them out and repel attacks.

Now Hurley and Saad are out injured, Hooker is carrying a niggle and Gleeson is still finding his feet after a year out. Their most effective defenders at the moment are Ambrose and Redman, who have barely played 100 games between them. Hartley – who was dropped last week – would have just about been in third place. So the lack of pressure applied by Essendon forward of their defensive 50 has massively exposed an understrength backline and they are hemorrhaging goals.

The question is, how much of the lack of structure is a coaching issue and how much of it is the players not executing? If it’s the former then a coaching change (whether Woosha or some of his assistants) is the obvious answer. If it’s the latter then there is no quick fix. Some hard calls on a few players might have to be made.

Are Essendon actually in a funk, or did we all just fall for the hype?

Jettisoning Katich was criminal. Precisely why you don’t give a captain too much influence over selections. Clarke was a fantastic batsman and tactically shrewd, but he had (has) a massive ego.

The selection snubs of guys like Cox, Hodge and Siddons are up there too.

Travis Head obliterates all the nerves in his inaugural Ashes outing

He can be, but he’s clearly working on that and deserves credit for it. He barely played a loose shot in the whole test until his second innings dismissal.

Travis Head obliterates all the nerves in his inaugural Ashes outing

Let’s not go overboard. It isn’t as if Boof was clearly a better player. Test averages of 42 vs 45 and overall Waugh played against stronger opposition. Lehmann generally batted lower in the order, too.

Waugh averaged a 50+ score every 1.9 matches, Boof every 1.8 matches. Waugh made hundreds home and away vs South Africa, India, England and a world-beating West Indies side, while Lehmann made his against Sri Lanka (2), Bangladesh (2, both in that Top End series when Bangladesh were worse than a Shield side) and a post-decline West Indies.

In another era Lehmann might have played three times as many tests. He was just unlucky that we had a strong side in the mid 90s and Waugh was a significant part of that.

Travis Head obliterates all the nerves in his inaugural Ashes outing

No Parish, no Francis… 🙁

I don’t think they’ve got much choice but to persist with Clarke. They could replace him with a makeshift ruckman but what we’d gain around the ground we’d lose at the stoppages. At the very least Clarke was able to minimize the effectiveness of Ladhams and Ryder in the air, taking 5 marks to their 3 combined.

Clarke should have the edge over English in the actual ruck contests. Our clearance work will improve with Heppell and Myers back. If we can hold our own in that department then we’re a chance.

My AFL September predictions