The Roar
The Roar

Tim O'Hare

Roar Rookie

Joined October 2018

4.8k

Views

6

Published

43

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

In terms of players from that Grand Final that have gone into coaching, there have been some pretty good assistants too. Nigel Lappin (Geelong), Craig McCrae (Brisbane, Collingwood, Richmond), Blake Caracella (Geelong, Richmond, Essendon) and Luke Power (Carlton) come to mind.

Revisiting the Brisbane Lions' improbable 2001 premiership ahead of another Dons showdown

You correctly identify that Richmond have overcome a lot of adversity to get where they are. The challenge will be whether they can once again respond.

Is this a watershed moment for the Richmond era?

Lions fan. Yes, Brisbane won the last two games (one in 2020 and one in 2019) against the Western Bulldogs but both were at the Gabba. When they played in early 2019 in Ballarat, the Bulldogs won and, before that, I think it had been a while since the Lions got up against the Dogs. I’m not content with Brisbane’s side of the ledger just yet, need a few more wins before we let the Doggies have one.

Belief in Ballarat can fix lazy Lions

North Melbourne are in good hands with David Noble but that doesn’t mean that they will win the wooden spoon. The wooden spoon doesn’t spell disaster, it’s a sign of a developing team. It’s often forgotten that the Lions won the wooden spoon in Chris Fagan’s first year as coach (2017). Put simply, there are teething processes as a club opts to play the kids, unite behind a game plan and embrace team culture. It’s a case of sometimes you’ve got to destroy the structures in order toe rebuild them. I think you are right that the Kangaroos will be competitive soon but I think it’s wishful thinking to expect them to avoid the wooden spoon. Adelaide had a similar trajectory of playing hopelessly in early 2020 and then turned a corner later in the season but it wasn’t enough for them to avoid the wooden spoon although they now seem to be a much stronger team. I see a similar trajectory for North Melbourne.

Why North Melbourne will not win the 2021 wooden spoon

Article feels too brief and finished just when I was getting interested

How do coaching trees work in the AFL?

Well, I was just listing the tall defenders we do have. Adams isn’t necessarily in our 22 but my point is I’m not sure if there’s any more need for McStay in our backline than there is in our forward line. There are two forwards ahead of him while there are about four or five defenders that are in the side before him.

The order of merit: Brisbane Lions 2021 season

I’d be happy if McInerney is able to maintain his form from last year. Last year he went from player at the edge of our Best 22 to our number one ruckman and fourth in our Best and Fairest. It’d be great if he kept improving but, honestly, you couldn’t ask for much more

The order of merit: Brisbane Lions 2021 season

I keep hearing about McStay in defence but we’ve already got Marcus Adams, Harris Andrews, Grant Birchall, Darcy Gardiner and Ryan Lester as our defensive talls. Maybe McStay could take over from Birchall but there is already competition there with Jack Payne on the ascendancy.

The order of merit: Brisbane Lions 2021 season

I think absolutely Daniher and Hipwood will be playing in the same forward line. Hipwood re-signed at the end of the season and he is integral to the club’s plans. The one under pressure is McStay who lost is out of contract at season’s end. Unclear if McStay will hold his spot in the team with the arrival of Joe Daniher and the development of Tom Fullarton.

The order of merit: Brisbane Lions 2021 season

I would just about put Chris Fagan in the ‘No matter what, they’re safe’ category. He has turned the club around, created one of the strongest club cultures in the competition, has young players constantly resigning, has attracted star players from other clubs (Charlie Cameron, Luke Hodge, Lachie Neale, Grant Birchall, Joe Daniher) and has improved every year going from 18th to 15th to a semi-final to a preliminary final. Sure, if the Lions bomb out next year and get the wooden spoon, questions would be asked about Chris Fagan’s coaching but that would be the case with any Top Four team from the previous team.

I mean, you would hope that a coach like Damien Hardwick has built enough goodwill that the Richmond hierarchy wouldn’t sack him if the team fell apart, but that’s a pretty extreme hypothetical and such a drastic turnaround would surely warrant investigation. Even though Fagan hasn’t got the Premierships like Clarkson, Hardwick, Scott, and Simpson, he has remade the Lions at a faster rate than was thought possible and the culture seems to be at an upward trajectory. I know you are saying he’s 99.9% safe, but I would apply that same logic to all the coaches in the untouchable category. As I alluded to, the bigger the fall the greater the questions.

I think the biggest thing hanging over Fagan’s head is how the team performs in big games, but he partially answered that with Brisbane’s win over Richmond in the first week of finals. My concern is that this Brisbane team could be like GWS where they have a lot of upside but never quite fulfill their potential. Thing is, that will only really be proven with hindsight. As far as coaching appointments go, the board is mainly concerned with whether Brisbane looks competitive each year and are signing new members. The fact that they did one better in 2020 than they did in 2019 and have now added Joe Daniher in the off-season means there is every confidence that Brisbane is on an upward trajectory. Granted, in two or three years time, if Brisbane hasn’t won a premiership or they have regressed then Fagan could come under pressure but, once again, it’s hard to deal in hypotheticals. As it stands, I would say he is as safe (if not safer) than any of those coaches you put in your ultra safe category.

The coach I would question in ‘No matter what, they’re safe’ is Chris Scott. He actually does seem to be the manifestation of that coach who, in hindsight, underachieved. He won a Premiership in his first year in 2011 (just how much that was his or a product of a super team that had won in 2007 and 2009) and has taken Geelong to consistent finals. Each year his team looks competitive and there is surely goodwill in the organization. But sooner or later, the question will be asked, when’s he gonna get them another Premiership? He’s in his tenth year and it’s not like they haven’t had the list or the opportunities. I’m not saying he’s sacked but I think Geelong would be less willing to tolerate a minor regression (say they finish 5-8th) than Brisbane.

How secure is every AFL coach?

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