The Roar
The Roar

Tim O'Hare

Roar Rookie

Joined October 2018

4.8k

Views

6

Published

33

Comments

AFL enthusiast who had the bad luck of being born in Brisbane. My fondest sporting memories were the Lions' three Premierships in a row.

Published

Comments

I don’t know why people are suddenly giving Grant Birchall shit. During the season, commentators kept saying that he revolutionised Brisbane’s backline. Also, does he really need to up his game? He was probably due to retire by now anyway so I feel anything he gives us now is a bonus. Conversely, a player like Dan McStay could struggle to hold his spot this year with the recruitment of Joe Daniher. Also, guys on the outer like Rhys Mathieson are probably at the end of their career if they don’t step up.

Who needs to up their game in 2021?

At the start of the post, it says ‘Ten free agents in 2021 will really dominate headlines in the upcoming season’. Like it or not, Cripps upcoming free-agency is already making headlines. He’s one of the elite players of the game and he’s a free-agent, so of course he’s on this list. I’m not saying Cripps will go, but, it will definitely be a talking point until either he re-signs or requests a trade.

The fact that Cripps is a club captain is secondary. Being a club captain doesn’t automatically mean you’ll stay at your club. Luke Ball was a captain at St. Kilda but finished his career at Collingwood, Luke Hodge captained Hawthorn but later joined Brisbane, Jack Trengrove finished his career at Port Adelaide after captianing Melbourne, Gary Ablett Jr, Tom Lynch and Steven May were all club captains at Gold Coast, Tom Rockliff and Dayne Beams captained Brisbane. When a club isn’t performing, often it can be the captain who is made accountable. Also, often (but not always) a club captain has some trade value and it can be necessary to push them out in order to allow the club to rebuild.

Comparing Cripps’ situation with Bontempelli’s is comparing apples and oranges. Cripps is a West Australian drafted to a Victorian club, Bontempelli is a Victorian drafted to a Victorian club – there is no go home factor with Bontempelli. Cripps plays for a club that has been starved of success and has had three coaches in relatively short career while Bontempelli joined the Bulldogs right before they turned a corner and he won a Premiership in his third year. Bontempelli is not as hungry as Cripps for Premiership success and his team is successful, having played finals the last two years. Bontempelli is not likely to leave to chase Premiership success.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Cripps and Carlton (I actually think Cripps is a better player than Bontempelli which might be why there is more interest in his free-agency) but I think it’s in both the club and player’s interests to see how things go this season. If Carlton play finals, there is every incentive for the club to throw the kitchen sink at Cripps and I can’t see why he would want to leave then after all the work he has put to get the club to that point. However, if Carlton miss finals again (which will mean eight seasons of missing finals), there are no more excuses. On paper, they have a good list but, if that list isn’t taking them to where they want to be, then it might be time for an overhaul and Cripps would have the most trade capital. Cripps in turn, might not want the pressure of carrying and underperforming team and might opt to go to a successful club like West Coast where he can be one of a number of contributors to team success.

The ten free agents to watch in 2021

Matt Crouch to Essendon? ‘Hi, I’d like a trade from Adelaide who are divided and dysfunctional to Essendon who are divided and dysfunctional.’ Get real, why would he go to Essendon? If I was a player, the last club I would wanna go to is Essendon. They are in complete denial of where they are and, until last year when they finally let Joe Daniher go, they were trading like a club in their Premiership window instead of one in need of a rebuild.

As a Lions fan, I’m kinda glad you didn’t include Hugh McCluggage on this list though I expect there will be interest in him from other clubs, the longer he takes to make up his mind. By the way, what have you got against the Lions? You haven’t mentioned them once in this article. Surely, they are a player in some of these cases. They went after Jamie Elliot at the end of 2019 and he even toured the Brisbane facilities before opting to re-sign with Collingwood. Whether Brisbane still has interest in Jamie Elliot, I’m not sure, but I do think it is worth mentioning. Also, Brisbane were interested in Rory Laird (I believe at the same time they went after Jamie Elliot). Just how serious those talks were, I’m not sure but personally I think an athletic half-back like Laird could be what Brisbane needs now that they have hopefully filled the vacuum in their forward line with the recruitment of Daniher.

The ten free agents to watch in 2021

I agree. All of that makes logical sense. But hindsight is 20/20. I think Collingwood’s focus has been solely on winning the Premiership for the last couple of years and now they have to have a change of direction because they have salary cap issues and their current list isn’t getting them there. I also think that successful clubs like Richmond can manage complex characters like Dustin Martin but, when there is a change of direction, sometimes you gotta cut the troubled players with mercurial talents loose. Again, I don’t think Collingwood handled it well but it’s better to own up to a mistake and try to fix it than live with that mistake and let it destroy your club

Nathan Buckley's position may no longer be tenable

Stephenson’s career has been uneven. Huge first year, followed by a second year that would have been good had it not been for the suspension due to gambling. This year has been disappointing. Maybe the club was too hasty in giving him a fat contract extension but that’s the nature of this business. Exciting young talents cop a lot of outside attention and speculation can be a distraction for a club’s onfield antics, especially when they were contending for finals. I think the attitude of Collingwood in recent years has been to spend big to get to a Premiership and they haven’t worried about the consequences until now when they have hit a wall

Nathan Buckley's position may no longer be tenable

Ya dreaming, mate. Cameron Rayner just re-signed at the Lions. He’s not going anywhere. Also, Brisbane are reluctant to pay part of Witherden’s salary. Haha, why would Brisbane trade two quality recent draft pick ups for a fourth round draft pick? Are you, by any chance, a West Coast supporter?

Witherden's dilemma

Yes, potentially a good opportunity at West Coast. Difficulty is, I think that clubs expect results from the players they trade for while they are a lot more patient with draftees. This is an important decision for Witherden which could make or break his career

Witherden's dilemma

Thanks mate. It’s unusual territory for the Lions to have surplus quality players. Part of that is just a reality of transforming so rapidly from a Bottom Four side to a Top Four side. But, personally, I am worried about becoming too good too quickly. I don’t wanna be like GWS where we come close and then have an exodus of generational talent

Witherden's dilemma

Agree, there are parallels with the Wright situation. I think the difference is in the polarity. My understanding is that Peter Wright was on very good money at the Suns yet he didn’t play a single senior game in 2020. Player wages are not publicly disclosed but my guess is that Witherden’s salary at Brisbane would be on the upper end of modest and he did play some senior footy in a shortened season and there does appear to be a path back into the senior side. Wright’s position was becoming untenable. He was getting good money but not getting on the park and, as a key position player, he was competing with Ben King for the number one forward spot.

Witherden's dilemma

Agreed. It does happen to a lot of players. Mind you, the odd variable is that neither of the two teams Witherden is choosing between are in his home state. The other thing is that he is still contracted so he is not being forced out the door.

Witherden's dilemma

Thanks Tom. I agree with you except I would add the amendment ‘his career is best served BEING AT the club’. That club could be his current club, potentially.

Witherden's dilemma

‘Harris Andrews’ minor hamstring injury the only blip on their injury record over the past two years.’ I wouldn’t even say that is a talking point. Players get injured. It’s the reality of any season, particularly a compressed one. Chronic injury would be a problem. Harris Andrews got injured and some speculated that his season was over. He then returned ahead of schedule and had a huge impact against Richmond. If anything, that is another feather in the cap of the medical team

The endless possibilities of Joe Daniher at Brisbane

Bryce Gibbs will not be on Adelaide’s list next year. The question is whether another club picks him up or if he moves on with the next stage of his life.

Bryce Gibbs going back to Carlton makes sense, but will it happen?

Rebuilding sides don’t necessarily pick the Best 22. They focus on getting games into youngsters and developing them.

Bryce Gibbs going back to Carlton makes sense, but will it happen?

Wouldn’t call Jarrod Berry underrated. He is seen as an emerging star of the game and rated as a future leader. I would say he is properly rated. The general consensus on him is wait and see how he develops.

Your team's most underrated player

Agreed. I wanted Connor Rozee in 2018 and I reckon Brisbane would have taken him if they hadnt traded their first round pick for Lachie Neale (which is completely justifiable as a player of Neale’s calibre only comes to your club once in a generation). I also like Xavier Duursma (a Brisbane supporter) and Zak Butters. I would have also liked to have gotten Jarrod Cameron that year. Glad we got Devon Robertson the following year

Why Gold Coast are now a finals contender

Take it a week at a time. Gold Coast are a young side, they will make mistakes. As a Brisbane fan, I see rebuilds as two steps forward, one step back. Expect the Suns to cause some upsets, then be caught out by wiser sides and have to rethink their game style, then possibly win again. Bare in mind that there young talent hasn’t fully settled in yet. Ben King has yet to play a season, Izaak Rankine is yet to debut, and Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson have played three games. Gold Coast will at separate times impress and disappoint. It is easy to see parallels with Brisbane, but I think Lachie Neale coming to Brisbane was a major part of their rise. Rowell may one day be as good as Neale but, right now, he is only a novice. Difference with Brisbane is that Neale was already a veteran in the prime of his career and he walked in and made an impact. Brisbane already had Zorko who is a great leader and was their best player. Zorko was getting tagged each week but, when Neale came in, that freed up Zorko. I dont think the recruits Greenwood and Ellis are as good as Neale and I dont think Gold Coast have a player with the level of experience and x-factor as Dayne Zorko so I think it will be a few years off. Just about every Premiership team has at least one club legend who is finally experiencing success in the twilight of their career. Gold Coast is too new a team to have that player.

Why Gold Coast are now a finals contender

Where is Akermanis? As a Queenslander who was first introduced to AFL in 2001, Akermanis was the most recognisable AFL identity in the state. I feel like people often undervalue him because of his off-field controversies but, at the peak of his career, he was the best player in the game and he was quintessential to the Lions’ Premiership success.

AFL top 100: Brisbane's champions

How is Dayne Zorko not there for the Lions? He is a four-time Best and Fairest winner at the club. Your lists are based on potential, not current performance. Hipwood could be great, but that is all speculative. The players that are absolutely crucial to the Lions’ finals campaign are Dayne Zorko, Lachie Neale, Harris Andrews, Stefan Martin and Daniel Rich.

Each club's state of affairs before the AFL restart: Part 1

Also, Stefan Martin finishing 7th in the Best and Fairest is no small feat considering the team were second on the ladder. I would say Martin is still playing well and has not dropped off.

The ten players your team can least afford to lose: Brisbane Lions

Since when were Brisbane average? They finished 2nd last year. What you should say is that they are a well-rounded team.

The ten players your team can least afford to lose: Brisbane Lions

Why would Brisbane go after McGovern when they have Harris Andrews? Brisbane need a dominant key forward. Maybe Hipwood is that player and I definitely think he has potential. I see no reason why the Lions would trade him given that they have put so much work developing him through the academy, and remember, quality homegrown players are hard to find in Queensland. If you find one, it is worth hanging onto them.

What I would like is another key forward to support Hipwood. Dan McStay and Oscar McInerney have their moments but, to win a Premiership, I feel the Lions need a stronger forward line. People forget that Alastair Lynch and Jonathan Brown played together. During their Premiership dynasty, the Lions’ forward line featured an experienced forward (Lynch) and an emergenging one (Brown). So I really think the Lions need to go after an experienced forward. Jeremy Cameron would be ideal, Tom Hawkins maybe or Joe Danniher could be an option. But, thinking realistically, I would like to see the Lions go after Adelaide’s Tom Lynch. I think a trade with the Crows could suit both clubs. Adelaide are rebuilding and need to move on some senior players, while the Lions are in the Premiership window and need to recruit experience.

The one player each AFL club should poach

You might be right but pretty safe tips. No smokeys who could take the competition by storm. What about James Worpel, Hugh McCluggage, Sam Walsh, Marlion Pickett? Or what about and old gun having a last hurrah like Joel Selwood or Scott Pendlebury?

Who’s contending for the Brownlow in 2020?

This seems more like wishful thinking than a credible analysis. I am open to the idea of Port Adelaide rising up the ladder, but I don’t think you have really made the case beyond the fact that they may have greater goal conversion.

Port Adelaide must be considered a 2020 AFL premiership threat

Good article. When you say that Daniel Rich was the first Brisbane Lions rising star winner, do you exclude Chris Scott (who won it as a Brisbane Bear)?

Also, I am a little surprised by your Team of the Decade. Rohan Bewick, seriously? I know that the idea is to get the best team, not the best individual players, but surely there are plenty of better players that can play a utility role. Rohan Bewick wasn’t in the Best 22 when Brisbane were a Bottom 4 side, he hardly deserves to be in the Team of the Decade. Why not replace him with Hugh McCluggage?

The decade that was: Brisbane Lions