#10 Aaron Francis - back at training


Yeah only a SANFL club.

No concerns about the AFL clubs going after him, done nothing to get a decent contract offer out of them and as top 4 worthy clubs he isn’t going to be lured by opportunity either as he not up to any thing more than reserves footy at present. Would not be breaking into their senior teams.


What is the definition of a steak knife in football terms? Is Francis one yet?


OR wait for it…

LAWN BOWLS; he certainly has the right physique for lawn bowls.


Below are some stats in relation to what he produced in his first year with us where he played primarily as a defender before being moved all over the place.

In the lead up to his debut against Brisbane he averaged elite intercept numbers over a seven game period and that’s off the back of a poor fitness base. Sky is the limit for this guy once he gets it all together.

**But since coming into the VFL line-up, he’s averaged 14 disposals at 77 per cent efficiency, three rebound 50s, seven marks, eight intercept possessions and three score involvements. Of that seven-mark average, four of them are intercept marks.

If he were to replicate that intercept mark average number at AFL level, it would be a league-high."

2016 Season
1 Played in VFL trial against Footscray.
2 Played in VFL trial against Richmond.
3 Hamstring.
4 Calf.
5 Hamstring.
6 Calf.
7 Calf.
8 Calf.
9 VFL Bombers debut after overcoming calf complaint. Modest stats but showed glimpses. -
10 VFL Impressed with the way he controlled the back half – especially in the air. -
11 Bye.
12 VFL Injured early after just three touches of the leather. Had a rough trot. -
13 VFL Showed why he was a top pick after moving forward. Three goals – including one beauty from pocket. -
14 VFL Bye. -
15 VFL Could debut this week after a strong effort – six contested marks, 10 cont. poss. -
16 VFL Didn’t see much of the footy but what he did had a touch of class. Six kicks. -
17 VFL Kid showed glimpses without dominating. Four rebound 50s and 12 contested possessions. -
18 Bris Looked like he’d been playing at this level for years. Intercepted well then went forward. Big tick. 7
19 Adel Back to earth after a promising debut the previous week. 2
20 Geel Kid kicked one goal but shown how it’s done by Taylor. All good experience. 2
21 Calf.
22 Calf.
23 VFL Couldn’t get into the game at all in what has been a real learning year. -


The other big issue Francis faces is just breaking into the side.

Imo he’s best suited to being the 3rd kpd and Hurley is so far Infront of him in that spot it might just be difficult for him to even see himself cracking into the team. He doesn’t have Hartley’s height, which most accept is needed down back, and he’s never going to have the tank of Ambrose. Whose spot would he take? At this point midfield is a fantasy without significant endurance gains and with hooker/stringer/Stewart and jd forward there isn’t room for him there either. Moving hooker back might just about be the only way to open a spot for him as a forward. Maybe re-tasking Hurley as no,1 defender would open space for Francis but that doesn’t sound likely to happen in the short term from training reports.

The kid has a selection mountain to climb even if he gets everything else right. Not surprising he may drop his head a bit now and then.


Wouldn’t he be in competition with Gleeson?

That’s the role I see him competing for.

He’s not a lock down defender.


Agree, but you cant let it impact your work. Any other employer would expect you to be focused as soon as you are back to work.


Maybe but gleeson does have the versatility to play tallish and small and has the tank to follow someone up the ground. I think the worry with Francis at senior level is that his opponent will run off him and exploit him up the ground. He’s got a long way to go before he can match those guys stride for stride like Gleeson can


Francis would have Gleeson covered on talls. I would be much less stressed seeing Francis on a big player on the last line of defence.

The tank is the obvious question mark but you could argue that Gleeson has be given five seasons to work up his strength and conditioning also.


Sure. I can’t see him keeping Gleeson out of the side this year though


Good post.

I dont think he’s even first in line. Mitch Brown would be my first in line if Hurley went down.

Plus there is Ridley and zerk-thatcher who are also developing for back roles as well.


I agree, i cant see it happening either.

I think it should though.

My biggest concern with Gleeson is that he still doesn’t impose himself on games yet.

Last season he averaged only 16 possessions and that was in a side that saw lots of the ball in the defensive half.

He has shown an ability to drift in and take marks but does little when directly opposed to somebody or when the ball is at ground level.

He really needs to get his hands on the ball a lot more.


Agree with WOB. If the currency we shelled out for him were lower, ie pick 30 the thread would be markedly calmer. We paid pick 6 so we expect a little more certainty that those higher picks. You’d also expect a pick 6 to put in at training for farrks sake.


Perhaps, he’s not a designated distributer though. Last year we looked to get the ball into Hurley’s hands at every opportunity. Zerret and bj often drift down as designated kickers. Gleeson seems to play primarily a defensive role and sets up behind the ball when we transition unless he’s immediately drawn into the play. I was really happy with his progress last year and think he still has another level or two to find


I guess that’s where I see the problem with him.

His man on man defense is not great and he doesn’t get his hands on it enough to make an impact offensively.

I agree the role is still Gleesons but if I’m looking at it from a club perspective its that role that I think we need an upgrade in.


He was behind only Hurley for intercept possessions last year. As long as he is doing that im not too worried about wracking up cheapies down back.


I suggested this to the club when Sheed’s came back to the club from GWS.

I thought if anyone could give it a push he might be able to. Heard nothing since. It really works I don’t know why the club hasn’t shown any interest in it. Its not as if most AFL clubs are into all sorts of alternatives like Yoga, Tai chi, Qui gong etc.


Agree. Ideally he’s a Gleeson upgrade, but Gleeson is pretty good these days


Yep, I think it’s a big season for Gleeson this year.

He will be 24 before the years out and approaching 100 games.

I think he needs to take the next step and become a great player.

At the moment there are far more questions than answers.


TBH I think that’s nonsense.
He improved throughout the year, and there’s absolutely no question he’s best 22 now.
Questions, seriously?
Of course it would be nice if he continued to improve, but I have few doubts about his abilities now.