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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.

Macca, your Essendon trade scenario is:

Give: Saad, Daniher, pick 6
Get: Witherden, pick 7, pick 19 (now 17)

So basically lose Saad and Daniher for 17 and Witherden, while going back a spot with their first pick? I think something might be missing there…

What you club needs from the AFL trade period: Part 1

When did Gold Coast get offered pick 10 for Martin? Carlton offered them a second rounder.

What you club needs from the AFL trade period: Part 1

Same old Tassie, mate. Some nice starts but ultimately a sub-par score on a good batting wicket. A couple of guys like McDermott and Doran need to start converting neat little innings into big knocks (although to be fair McDermott’s 70-odd in the first dig was a decent first-up effort).

Eight early takes from the Sheffield Shield

Only one or two of the guys you named (Ugle-Hagan and maybe Campbell) are likely to go before picks 6-8, assuming that’s what Essendon ends up with. And neither of Essendon’s two NGA boys will go top 10, which means the Bombers should be able to grab two late-first to late-second round talents with low picks (even if they go into deficit for 2021).

What on earth is going on, Essendon?

I think they still do rate him high, Darren, simply because he’s a quality player.

The comments were probably driven purely by a desire to defend the club. When everyone is sinking the boot in it’s pretty natural to want to air your side of the story. I agree it would have been better to wait until after the trade period before making allegations that cast doubt on Saad’s character, though. Not that any of this is likely to put Carlton off or lower his value in their eyes.

What on earth is going on, Essendon?

I’m not as doom and gloom about this as you are, Chuck. Some ordinary governance has no doubt contributed to the current issues but I’m also concerned that the tail has been wagging the dog for a while. The management has tiptoed around the players and treated them with kid gloves since the saga – understandable for a time, but it’s gone on too long.

By some accounts, Saad’s final decision to leave was made when Rutten wouldn’t rule out using him for lockdown roles in 2021. Apparently Saad even point blank refused to man Charlie Cameron during the Brisbane game, in front of the other players. It’s hard to know exactly how much truth is in all of the comments floating around but if that’s even close to the mark it’s a pretty poor look. Then you’ve got Hooker allegedly kicking up a stink because Rutten didn’t give a farewell game to Bellchambers, who could barely run.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Saad and Hooker and I’ll be sad to see one or both of them go. But if a player isn’t willing to publicly toe the line (even if behind closed doors they have reservations) and is possibly even openly defying the coach, it’s probably best that they find a new home.

I was happy to hear the recent words from Brasher and Dan Richardson, regarding the hard line approach Rutten and the club want to take. If it gets a few noses out of joint then so be it. You can’t fix cultural issues gently. I don’t think Merrett will leave, though. I strongly suspect Rutten sees him as the next captain, given he’s one of the few players I can definitively say has an elite work ethic and is willing to get grumpy with his teammates.

The only reason McGrath, Langford and Ridley haven’t re-signed is because the club is waiting on the AFL to confirm cap space for 2021. All three have verbally committed to the club. They are the least of Essendon’s concerns right now.

As for key position players in the draft, the Bombers will get Brand (defender) and Eyre (forward) through their NGA, to go with Harrison Jones last year and the developing BZT. That gives them a bit more flexibility as to who they pick up with their multiple first round picks. They might still want more depth in those areas but they don’t necessarily have to prioritise them if there are other, better options at their early picks.

What on earth is going on, Essendon?

From what I read, two first rounders were never on offer. Sydney offered pick 9 (from the proposed Papley trade) and their second rounder. Which would make this a loss of a second round pick.

AFL Trades: Adam Saad's decision spells disaster for Essendon

If he was fit enough to run out the game then sure. But the bloke was on one leg. It’s all well and good to farewell a stalwart but he needs to be able to run.

Season in review: Time for Essendon to face facts

Merrett should absolutely still be vice captain, and captain in 2021 if Heppell has any more setbacks in the preseason.

There are a few gaps in the list that need filling – in particular a big young mid, a rebounding backman and another key forward to replace Joe – but the biggest issues definitely seem to be off the field. They need to give Rutten plenty of support and toughen up on the players, some of whom look like they are cruising to me.

Season in review: Time for Essendon to face facts

Just because it obviously hasn’t been said enough yet, there was never an offer of two first round picks on the table for Joe. Sydney offered pick 9 (from a potential Carlton trade for Paley) and a second round selection.

Season in review: Time for Essendon to face facts

Do you ever say “we need to tag [player]” when playing Essendon?

The fact that you’re not worrying about him only highlights the point I’m making. What he does warrants attention, whether or not you personally give it to him.

Zach who?

Late reply, I know, but I don’t think I’ve read something I disagreed with so strongly on this site… O.o

Zach who?

If you’re picking a squad of 40 then you clearly need to pick more than 6-7 mids though. And the ones you’ve listed are all inside mids. None would play on the wing.

Zach who?

Well if you cherry pick one stat in isolation then of course it’s meaningless. You have to give context to them by putting them together in a logical way.

If you rank highly in effective disposals and score involvements then it suggests that yeah, your inside 50s are creating opportunities.

None of that is about ‘racking up big numbers’.

Zach who?

He certainly has more support than Merrett!

Zach who?

No offence, but that’s just a copout.

Merrett’s influence on games is limited by a lack of support. He can’t get the clearances, deliver the ball into the forward line and kick the goals too.

Outside of freaks like Martin and Danger, the players who make an impact in better sides do so because they aren’t playing a lone hand. How much recognition would Gaff or Guthrie have got playing in the 2020 Essendon team? Very little, I suspect.

Zach who?

I suspect he would be better off at the Blues for that very reason. I don’t think the Bombers would be smart to trade him though. Of him, Shiel and Parish he’s comfortably the better player. I’d sooner bite the bullet and trade Shiel at a loss.

McGrath is a little different because I think he’ll settle on an inside role. He plays bigger than he is in the clinches. He needs support though.

I said at the time that Setterfield would be a more sensible target than Shiel, and I still think that was the case, even before you factor in that we would have also saved two first round picks. The club got greedy chasing instant improvement and it hasn’t worked. Now they’ll have to be patient anyway if they land someone like Brodie.

Zach who?

Yeah, I can’t deny that it’s harder to shine in an poorly performed side. Some of his teammates really looked like they had put the cue in the rack towards the end of the season.

In fact, no one other than Luke Ryan made it into the side from a bottom 8 club. I actually found this pretty staggering. Last year there were 8 AA players from teams in that section of the ladder. Maybe this year it was a product of a shorter season with fewer opportunities to get noticed?

Zach who?

🤢
Apparently your mob is going to recruit so many opposition players that they’ll be almost unrecognisable in 2021. Gotta love the media machine.

Zach who?

Tough to say. Merrett is currently superior but McGrath could be anything.

Ideally they would be playing different roles, with McGrath inside and Merrett outside. Unfortunately Zach has been called on too often this year to play in the guts because of a lack of clearance specialists.

Zach who?

Thanks Doc. I really wanted a season average for metres covered per game but couldn’t find one. Not necessarily convinced Gaff covers significantly more ground but yeah, he probably is a bit quicker.

The Guthrie and Macrae wing selections over Menegola defy logic.

Zach who?

Naughton played as a defender in 2018, so 2019 is the only prior season on which you can draw a meaningful comparison. And on a cursory glance at their 2019 stats, Naughton edged McKay that year. Also kicked a bag of 5 vs Richmond, which – together with his ability below his knees – got everyone pretty excited.

Whether or not he can find consistency is another matter. McKay’s progression looks a lot more linear so far.

2020's actual 22 under 22

Don’t disagree there, Liam. All good talents.

If you’re still getting good value from Fyfe in a couple of years (and who knows, maybe even Mundy since he is apparently indestructible) then you’ll have an exceptional midfield.

2020's actual 22 under 22

The Rooster. That’s not the question though. On 2020 performance, McKay deserves it more than Naughton.

2020's actual 22 under 22

This isn’t toooooooo far off what I had. I went:

Baker over Day (although I’ve barely seen Day play)
Bowes over Ballard
Clark over Coffield
Powell-Pepper over McKay
Bolton over Perryman

It’s been a tough season to judge some of these guys though.

2020's actual 22 under 22