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TomC

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Joined July 2011

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I think the first lesson is that you can’t build a successful team – let alone a successful club – through draft concessions alone.

2019 AFL season preview: Gold Coast Suns

Weller’s kicking did seem to deteriorate a bit last year. Possibly taking kicks under more pressure at the Suns than he was at the Dockers.

I can’t say I agree that the Suns have the players to push into the middle of the ladder, even if everything goes right. But everything won’t go right in any case.

2019 AFL season preview: Gold Coast Suns

It’s possible they’re trying to do just that. They were prepared to pay a premium to get Weller.

But the first step is to convince players worth the cost to come to the Suns in the first place, and I suspect they’re falling down at that point before they can even consider trading away those early picks more often.

2019 AFL season preview: Gold Coast Suns

The problem is that every player is a flight risk for the Suns. If they picked a player they didn’t rate as highly as King they might only slightly reduce the risk.

2019 AFL season preview: Gold Coast Suns

It doesn’t feel like there’s much to say. It’s hard to believe things have been allowed to get this bad.

If they can finish anywhere other than last that’ll be an accomplishment.

The bleakest thought of all is that even the very talented young players they have are strong chances to want to shift to other clubs in future years.

2019 AFL season preview: Gold Coast Suns

I don’t listen to SEN anymore, but they have to fill an awful lot of hours with the opinions of a handful of commentators. Presumably in that time they say any number of stupid things.

Sorry, West Coast fans: Lyon says you won't be going back-to-back

I think the writer makes a reasonable point; premiers should get to start the following season with a high profile fixture. It’s in the commercial interests of the league as well as the club itself. Most reigning premiers in recent years have started the season in their home city against a big name opponent.

But then the league has to balance so many competing interests in designing the fixture it’s impossible to say what would have to be sacrificed in order to accommodate a better game for the Eagles. Nor do we know what the clubs – including West Coast – told the league to prioritise.

My suspicion is that the first thing the Eagles wanted in 2019 was more Friday night home games. So they get three this year, as opposed to none last year. Probably they deserve more than that, but time zone issues do make Friday night games in Perth tricky – Fremantle hardly ever host games in that timeslot.

I’m pretty sure if the WCE administration could make a straight up choice between an extra Friday night home game and a better round one fixture they’d take Friday night every time. Sponsors would love Friday nights.

On the plus side, the one time the Eagles have to make the longest road trip in footy between Perth and SE Qld it’s at the very start of the year before it can be a significant disruption.

All in all, it seems like a minor complaint. One small thing to add to the mountain of extra difficulties non-Victorian teams have to deal with.

The Round 1 fixture the AFL got wrong

I’ve been thinking we’re about a 15% chance to play finals, so pretty close.

I’m also pretty confident about the backline, and nervous about the forwardline. I think we’ll need Cameron and Rayner to make significant contributions on the scoreboard.

The end of an era

Great response. Thanks Joel.

Why I changed my mind on AFLW expansion

That’s a good point about futureproofing the code, Paul, and it probably reinforces Joel’s argument about how increasing participation should be the primary concern of the AFLW.

But I differ from Joel is how that can best be done.

Why I changed my mind on AFLW expansion

Maximus, this line from the article…

‘This means doing everything possible to increase the size of the talent pool, even if that means sacrificing some playing standard right now.’

…suggested to me that Joel saw a decline in the standard of the competition as a necessary cost.

I don’t see how it’s possible that increasing the number of teams will increases interest levels by more than the impact on quality. Unless every single prospective female footballer refuses to participate in the AFLW unless the club they support is represented, the proportionate increase in the talent pool will always be less than the number of clubs being added.

Why I changed my mind on AFLW expansion

Joel has an excellent knowledge of womens footy, but the basis for his argument seems to be a bit thin.
I don’t think AFL clubs really do have national development pathways. I think traditionally this role has been filled by local clubs. AFL clubs have scouting networks, and obviously these are focused on male junior footy.
I’m sure there are a few young women who don’t get seriously involved with the sport until their AFL team is represented, but this surely can’t have the impact it would need to outweigh the dilution of the standard.
I’d suggest that the standard of play continuing at a disappointing level, and dampening the general enthusiasm for the league, is much more likely to discourage girls from seriously focusing on the sport. After all, it’s surely the early wave of public interest and support that’s encouraging the current growth in numbers. This seems like the most important thing to protect.

Why I changed my mind on AFLW expansion

I don’t agree with head to head in most circumstances, I almost never agree with it for a competition running over several months, and it seems just plain barmy in a national competition where certain teams only play each other once.

The AFL is ready for a ten-team finals series

Most really deep emotional connections with teams are entrenched into a supporter’s identity. They have something to do with family or place and go back so far it’s hard for a fan to remember a time when they didn’t support that team.

The Aleague is not quite old enough to have that type of connection. Most fans are first generation supporters who made a conscious decision to support a certain club, and are capable of reassessing that decision.

So ‘supporting your team no matter what’ – which is a meaningless cliche anyway; there’s always some kind of line – doesn’t apply in the same way.

Whatever happened to supporting your team no matter what?

I think the improvement in competitiveness of the middle of the ladder has made the current finals series work as well as it can. If we expand the finalists and potentially include weaker teams, we run the risk of going back a few years when we had participants that simply weren’t competitive, and consequently meaningless, dull finals.

The AFL is ready for a ten-team finals series

Sadly, I think the career-defining years have gone for Ryan Bastinac. He has been rookie listed for the final year of his contract and is surely just waiting out time now.

The player who could be set for a career-defining season at your AFL club (part one)

That’s a bit rough. He inherited a terrible side and took them to their first finals appearance.

He didn’t win many friends along the way though.

My 2019 AFL top eight predictions

I tend to agree with the big direct kicker theory. I think it will be the precision kickers from the backline that will lose out.

Things might start to even up when the scoring team starts to defend kick ins from deeper, allowing the clearing team more space to try and set up a real attack rather than just bombing to a 50-50.

It seems as though the AFL believe this change will lead to an increase in scoring. That seems unlikely. Making it easier to clear from defence would surely decrease scoring, if anything.

Five big questions for the AFL in 2019

John Kosmina has an appalling track record of treatment of the officials from his days as a coach. Possibly the worst in the A-league.

‘Respect has to be earned’ is a terrible cliche – particularly as it applies to referees who have a terribly difficult job – but if Kosmina believes it, he should ask himself whether or not he has earned respect for his opinion on treatment of the referees. I’d suggest he has fallen well short.

The problem goes beyond Rudan and Kosmina. John Aloisi’s petulant post match interview on Friday where every question was spun into some sort of tenuous gripe about the officiating serves no purpose other than to make him feel slightly better about his inadequacies as a coach. And that’s hardly the only example.

I think the coaches of the Aleague should be able to participate in the public discussion about the standard of refereeing, and it is an important discussion. But rarely at the moment do they have anything useful to say, and mostly they resort to childish whinging that can only erode confidence and damage goodwill. So unless they change something the discussion is better off without them.

So they should shut up. And if they refuse to do so voluntarily they should be made to shut up. It’s time to ban Aleague coaches from discussing the refereeing in public. At all. They can restrict their tantrums to the dressing room if they think it serves a purpose. If they want to provide feedback to the league, they can do that privately.

What chance do A-League referees have after Kosmina’s ridiculous comments?

I think it’s true that the quality has gotten noticeably better this year. A great example are the Phoenix, who’ve been super to watch the last two weeks, particularly in their first halves.

What has happened to Sydney FC?

Flak.

Fremantle Dockers 2019 season preview, best 22 and predicted finish

Exactly. There’s no basis for it.

Fremantle Dockers 2019 season preview, best 22 and predicted finish

My recollection is that his move to the backline happened before his shoulder injury.

It’s really not the point though. Expecting Fremantle not to suffer from the less of a proven midfielder because there are less proven midfielders available is a mistake.

Fremantle Dockers 2019 season preview, best 22 and predicted finish

I think if everything goes right they could finish in that mid-level 8th to 12th bracket. I think most likely they win a narrow majority of their home games, one or two away, and finish well outside the finals with eight or nine wins.

The loss of Neale makes an uncontested-heavy midfield even more unbalanced. David Mundy turns 34 next season so there’s another major ball winner whose output might not be sustainable. It’s all well and good to say that Cerra, Langdon and Brayshaw can step up, but that’s likely to take time. I’m not sure where the idea of Blakely as a potential ‘contested ball-winning beast’ has come from, but last year Lyon seemed keen to play him off half back primarily. He’s still young and evolving, but I just don’t think he’s the sort of player the writer thinks he is.

That said, I do like the addition of Conca as an inside midfielder. But he’s hardly a sure thing and once again it’ll take good luck and good management not to lose still more ground in contested situations.

That in turn feeds into the question of how much impact Hogan and Lobb are really going to have in the short term. These guys will change the entire forwardline structure and the team won’t instantly figure out how to play to them.

They were a long way behind the top 12 teams in 2018, admittedly with significant injuries. My suspicion is they’ll have trouble pushing much further up the ladder without other teams making mistakes.

They deserve credit for capitalising on their injuries to develop some of their younger players. But youngsters rarely develop in a straight line, and anyone expecting Cerra, Langdon, Ryan and Banfield to improve or even maintain their output in a healthy team is likely to disappointed.

Fremantle Dockers 2019 season preview, best 22 and predicted finish

10-14th seems about right for the Lions, but depending on how the ladder works out I reckon they’d be a lot happier with 10th than 14th. The most important thing this year is to break out of the bottom tier of the ladder and get their win loss record close to parity. Enthusiasm can only be sustained so long when you’re losing most games.

I very much agree that McStay is the player the Lions most need to improve. McStay is capable of having a big impact but struggles to stay engaged for an entire game. Most of their developing key forwards are a fair way from being contributors at senior level, so there aren’t a lot of obvious alternatives.

First 22 looks pretty much bang on, even if I’m not sure about Lyons. It’s a pretty well researched writeup.

Brisbane Lions 2019 season preview, best 22 and predicted finish