The Roar
The Roar

Jay Croucher


Joined March 2014










Having L.A. over Portland is fair. But Lillard is obviously better than any Laker and I think that the supporting pieces – Henderson, Leonard, McCollum, Aminu – might be a bit better than people expect.

What kind of stat-line are you hoping to get out of Kobe this year, Ryan?

Interesting that you group Denver in there with those two – I was actually thinking about bumping them ahead of Minnesota. I think the Nuggets have a fair bit more talent than L.A. or Portland. Faried, Gallinari and Chandler are all decent, Mudiay and Nurkic are super talented, and they’ve got guys like Foye, Nelson and Arthur who are pros that won’t embarrass themselves. They won 30 games last year and I’m not sure they got any worse. I think the loss of Lawson is offset by the loss of Lawson in the locker room, a healthy, rejuvenated Gallo, a new coach who Faried doesn’t hate, improvements from Nurkic and Harris, and the arrival of Mudiay.

2015-16 NBA preview: Western Conference Part 1, the cellar-dwellers

I’m also very interested in how they keep it together with all these huge extensions kicking in. They’ve got that core though in Wilson, Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor. An elite QB and secondary is a good place to start any roster. The offensive line needs help though, and they really need a wide-out, although we’ll see how Jimmy Graham goes.

And yep the disturbance was in La Paz. Scary stuff. Hid in a bank behind an ATM for half an hour while the protest passed. Wild place. Good times.

Appreciation of Boom: Learning to love the Seahawks

Ha get involved Ryan! A phenomenal sport. Nuance to die for.

Appreciation of Boom: Learning to love the Seahawks

Sounds amazing BennO. Regrets, I’ve got a few. The only NFL game I’ve been to in person was Giants v Redskins in December last year in Jersey. Odell Beckham scored 3 touchdowns and racked up 140+ yards so that was impressive, but the atmosphere was definitely lacking considering it was a meaningless game between two mediocre teams. Still though, an experience, and we snuck into seats at midfield in the front row at ground level at half time, pretty incredible. NFL players are quite the viewing spectacle when you’re just 10 metres behind them.

Appreciation of Boom: Learning to love the Seahawks

One interesting stat that I found but couldn’t squeeze into the article: Freo have the fourth lowest average winning margin of any team in the competition. Only Essendon, Carlton and Port Adelaide win their games by less. By comparison, Hawthorn and West Coast unsurprisingly are a clear top two in that stat. Speaks to exactly how much Freo grinds out their wins.

Purple Daze: Figuring out Freo's confusing 2015 season

Excellent stuff Ryan. Hard to disagree with any of it. Ball use has been the real killer the past two years. As Buckley has noted, I think the endeavor has slipped after the team saw no reward for its significant effort in all those honourable losses, which is understandable with a young team. The Pies just don’t have the skill levels to compensate for supreme defensive effort though, and that’s been telling in the past month, the Sydney game aside.

I think the list looks very solid right now but the glaring weakness is the lack of an expert ball user out of defensive 50 – someone of the Shannon Hurn or Bob Murphy mould. Toovey, Brown and Frost are all bad kicks, Williams is meh and Maynard has been comical in his handful of appearances. This should have been Langdon’s role but he’s been absolutely deplorable – an almost impressive melange of terrible decision making and awful execution.

Interested on your thoughts in regards to the forward line… I don’t think Cloke, Reid and Moore can all play down there, just seems far too tall and plodding in the modern age. That showed against Richmond – when the ball hit the deck the Tigers streamed out of defensive 50 with ease. Personally I would move Reid back to centre half back – I think Frost is agile enough to take the third forward, a smaller type.

The curious case of Collingwood's collapses

Speaking primarily to aesthetics in that dichotomy.

The mini revolution: Hawthorn’s forward line is football’s future

A few comments…

1. While I appreciate the fact that West Coast’s list is largely similar to the team that won finals in 2011 and 2012, this 2015 incarnation feels like a new team to me. There hasn’t been significant turnover in terms of raw numbers, but look at the players that have left: Daniel Kerr, Dean Cox, Darren Glass, Andrew Embley, Beau Waters (to a lesser extent, Quinten Lynch and Adam Selwood, plus Eric Mackenzie was a big part of those sides and obviously hasn’t played this season) those guys were the heart of those 11/12 teams. There’s also a new coach and new playing style – the team has been totally revamped.

2. No disrespect intended to Fremantle. They’re fine. They’re a virtual lock for a top two spot, and they’re well positioned to mount a flag challenge. It’s just that over the past three months their form hasn’t stacked up to West Coast and Hawthorn, that’s a reality. But the AFL is fluid, and your form in round 18 doesn’t necessarily dictate whether or not you’re going to win the flag. We’ll have a better idea about Freo after the derby.

3. An oversight of mine neglecting to mention ’06 West Coast as a team that won a final interstate en route to a flag, I was just considering teams that finished outside the top 2 (the Eagles finished on top that season).

Grand final preview? The stakes of West Coast vs Hawthorn

Cheers guys, appreciate it. Swan has certainly been one of the more, if not the most, idiosyncratic stars of his generation. Hopefully he plays beyond his current contract, especially given that Collingwood looks relatively close to contention.

Average Joe, extraordinary Dane: Swan’s 250

I may have written this article one week too early.

Is Trent Cotchin a superstar?

I would go… 1. A Most Violent Year 2. Two Days, One Night 3. Under the Skin 4. Force Majeure 5. Gone Girl 6. Whiplash

The best since Carey: Gary Ablett Jr in perspective

It’s a fair call Jax. Inevitably in waxing lyrical about the greats, I will talk in superlatives. Suffice to say, Carey was not actually ‘impossible’ to beat, much like all four of Tom Cruise’s Missions were not Impossible given that each was in fact accomplished. Jako was definitely Carey’s kryptonite, which I think says more about the brilliance of the West Coast CHB than it does about Carey’s shortcomings. Appreciate the feedback Jax, always good to be held to high standards.

The best since Carey: Gary Ablett Jr in perspective

Not only is it incredible that they won Marty, but I think that the 2011 Geelong team was actually the best Geelong team of that era. That 2011 Collingwood team was quietly one of the most dominant teams we’ve ever seen (I think their percentage was over 180 heading into the final round) and they only lost three times that season – all to Geelong.

The best since Carey: Gary Ablett Jr in perspective

I can definitely sympathise with criticisms about Babel and 21 Grams in regards to over-seriousness, although they resonated with me. I really like Birdman, but the problem for me is that I think Norton is the best thing about it. When he gets marginalised in the film’s second half, my interest was marginalised with it.

I feel like dream sequences in film and TV are like blind kicks into the corridor – potentially brilliant (American Beauty, The Big Lebowski) but also fraught with peril (The Sopranos, for me). Didn’t work for me in Birdman.

I often enjoy when films veer off into ridiculousness in their final act, so long as it’s consistent with the film’s message. I thought The Departed worked well like that. Gone Girl works for me on the same level, and I think the insanity encapsulates the film’s message… that men and women do incredibly evil, malicious things to each other, but these evils aren’t irrevocable – they can be endured.

Anyway, Gary Ablett Jr. – good football player.

The best since Carey: Gary Ablett Jr in perspective

Have to disagree Cam. Yet to find someone coherently explain the ending of Birdman without resorting to the paranormal, something totally incongruous to what is a fundamentally human, grounded story of relevance lost. I will take Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros over Birdman every day of the week.

And I ride with Ben Affleck.

The best since Carey: Gary Ablett Jr in perspective

Cheers Tony. I always try to work in references to my namesake wherever possible. I agree… much like Bryant, I think James is a character to appreciate and respect more than unconditionally love and support.

The Control Freak: LeBron James as the American Dream

Feels like a classic Richmond letdown game where West Coast jump to a five goal lead, Richmond claw it all the way back and Matt Priddis kicks a goal from a stoppage with 48 seconds left to win the game. The Richmond Tigers, championing misery since 1980.

Friday Night Forecast: Forward line efficiency

Agree 100% about Curry, Astro, and I refute the popular idea that LeBron was so much more valuable than him in this series. The Cavs had a league worst offensive efficiency during the Finals with LeBron running the show, surely Curry elevates that purely with his gravity on offence.

Amazing that the draft is only a week away, this truly is a 12 month league.

A testament to a real NBA team: Applauding Golden State’s triumph

I don’t entirely disagree, and there’s a viable argument (that I’m not going to make) that LeBron had an average series, given his inefficiency and aversion to defence. LeBron didn’t shoot poorly every game though. He shot 18-38 (47.4%) in Game 1 and 15-34 in Game 5 (44.1%), his two best games.

I’m not sure a player can have that great of an offensive workload and retain efficiency though, given fatigue, especially at 30. The killer for James is that his jump-shot was just broken all playoffs, and to score he had to keep barreling violently to the rim time and time again.

I disagree that TT/Mozgov were the 2 best bigs in the series overall. In spite of his early struggles, Draymond Green was still the best big in the series for me, and certainly the most influential. His ability to play the 5 changed the series, and his dynamism on offence to break down the defence rolling off the pick and roll effectively ended the Cavs. If you swap Mozgov or Thompson for Draymond, I think the Cavs might even win the series, especially given how it would destroy Golden State’s identity.

A testament to a real NBA team: Applauding Golden State’s triumph

The jump-shooting argument is just incorrect, with scientific data to undermine it:

Over the last 150 playoff series, the team that attempts more three point shots wins 57% of the time, the team that makes more wins 67% of the time. The idea that three pointers don’t go down as often in the playoffs compared to two pointers is a fallacy, with just a 0.4% difference – twos are just as volatile.

You win by having a transcendent skill. Whether it’s posting up like Duncan or Hakeem, or jacking threes like Curry, if you’re transcendent at it and have an edge on the league, you will win.

Also, the Warriors were only 7th in three point attempt rate this season, it’s not like they were exclusively a jump-shooting team – they got to the rim plenty too. It also helped that they had the best defence in the league.

A testament to a real NBA team: Applauding Golden State’s triumph

As the article states Astro, LeBron did ‘everything humanly possible’ for his team. Necessity is the mother of invention, and LeBron did what the Cavs needed him to. The dichotomy is not between the selfless Warriors and the selfish LeBron, but simply of one whole greater than its parts versus one exceptionally great part.

If Irving and Love were out there, maybe the Cavs would have been every bit as much of a team as the Warriors… although the regular season suggested they had nothing approximating Golden State’s two-way cohesion. That’s largely irrelevant though, because we can only pass judgment on what we actually saw, which is of one team beating one man. That’s not a qualitative denigration of LeBron, just an observation of fact. Some people enjoy the story of one man’s superhuman abilities overcoming the collective, I guess I’m just a basketball communist though.

A testament to a real NBA team: Applauding Golden State’s triumph

Ha. I’m so glad we can finally end that hopeless, antiquated discourse, not least because it was already ended by the 2011 Mavericks. A further nail in the coffin of ‘old school’.

A testament to a real NBA team: Applauding Golden State’s triumph

Maybe not Professor, but virtually every team catches a series of significant breaks (sometime literal breaks, in the case of injuries) on the way to the Finals. LeBron’s Heat in 2011 had Rondo dislocate his elbow, effectively ending a dangerous series, in 2012 they benefited from the #1 seed losing in the first round after Rose’s ACL… the Lakers in 2009 beating Houston without T-Mac, and in 2010 beating the Celtics in Game 7 after Perkins did his knee (he was good back then).

The Warriors were fortunate to dodge the Spurs, Clippers, a healthy Thunder and Kyrie + Love, but their luck wasn’t disproportionate to history. The Pelicans were one of the best eight seeds we’ve ever seen, the series against Memphis turned before Allen got hurt (their defensive strategy AGAINST Allen specifically turned the series) and they played the #2 seed in the WCF, a team with the MVP runner-up. And they still had to beat LeBron James.

A testament to a real NBA team: Applauding Golden State’s triumph

Phenomenal stuff, Ryan. Borderline revolutionary. Agree 100% on North and their backs… for an All Australian defender, Scott Thompson does seem to get beaten a lot in one on ones. Being at that North-Collingwood game, what struck me most though is that when the Pies starting dominating the centre clearances and stoppages in the third term, North had no individual midfield force to step up and stem the tide.

So often we see players like Selwood, Mitchell or Fyfe stop an opposition run by effectively saying ‘No. It’s my turn to get the ball’. North don’t have the A-grade elite midfielder capable of doing that. Cunnington, Ziebell and Swallow (who missed the Pies game) are all very good, but against triumvirates of Pendlebury/Swan/Sidebottom, Fyfe/Mundy/Hill, etc they don’t seem to stack up in terms of sheer game-changing class.

Flawed contender: North Melbourne need backs to move forward

No question Brian. For all the talk about LeBron’s greatness and Curry’s shocker, the real story in his series might be that somehow Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov are outplaying Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut.

A Cavalier success: LeBron James and iso-ball