#10 Aaron Francis - “Hurley, except he’s a better mark”


We can analyse, hypothosize, all we like.

The whole deal with him is fitness.

He reaches the level- we get the player.

If not, he will become a legend in a lesser league like many others.



More football talent than a most of our list. But less aerobic fitness than most of our list.

The only reason he is playing VFL is fitness.

Part of the reason he’s been moved forward (skill set aside) is he’d be a liability in defence. Opposition would just run him ragged and they’d play through his man all the time.

Only way he will achieve a level of fitness that can cope at AFL level is via pushing himself to his limits in training all of the time. Which may have been difficult given family issues weighing him down.

It may still be if Stringer going into guts is a success, and Hooker ever goes back he ends up our 3rd fwd next to JD & Stew.


I don’t think that’s the reason.
I’d say it had all to do with opportunity. In 2016 we seen Ambrose and Hartley lock down any chance Francis would get at Defender role, when Hurley and Hooker returned. We had no idea if Worsfold would utilise Hooker as a forward or Defender.

Francis was moved forward because that’s where the team needed him to start playing, because Daniher was our only real Key forward option, other than Brown. Plus small snippets we seen of Francis playing forward in the VFL was extremely promising.

Look back 12 months and many people had Francis as our full forward for the future.


Opportunity partially but it was definitely in the clubs thought process , IIRC one of the coaches mentioned they had him forward as playing in defence would leave team exposed.

If he is out of gas forward doesn’t hurt, if out of gas in defence will cost the team goals both through his own man but inability to get across and help out others.


Last preseason, I was all about the “Francis as a key forward” option. I was wrong, as were the club.
He needs to play as a defender. I don’t care if it’s a key defensive role, a rebounding halfback, or a combination of both. But needs to play defense, and be settled into that position. He should be focussing on dominating the VFL before we push him into the AFL. There is no such thing as a ‘liability’ in the VFL.

I know many people on the forum think that if a player isn’t playing AFL, then they are failing as a player. I don’t agree. Our VFL team has always been more about development, than winning games. Francis needs to continue developing in the VFL, then earn a spot in the AFL side. Just like everyone else.

He has 2 more years to prove himself, I won’t be jumping up and down panicking if he doesn’t play 22 games next season.


I don’t think Hurley has ever played a purely defensive role. I think everyone who is saying that “Hurley needs to be more defensive” is saying that he needs to get back to 2015 Hurley. He still setup a lot of attack and he averaged 21 possessions which is a lot for a defender, but he was brilliant at stopping his opponent.

If Hurley goes back to the 2015 model, where he does a good job of stopping one of the oppositions best 2 talls and he still averages around 20 possessions a game, we’ll be far better off than we were this year. It will also make it much easier to select the other defenders, because Ambrose and Hartley can battle it out to play as the main defensive tall and Francis, Ridley and even Gleeson can fight to play that 3rd tall role.

If Hurley is still the 2017 version then it makes things much more difficult with stopping the opposition’s best 2 talls. We’d nearly have to think about moving Hooker back in that scenario and I really don’t think we should be doing that.


I think Hurley was fine defensively throughout the middle part of the year when he was in that real purple patch. He struggled a bit more in the latter half of the year because he was expected to provide more rebound because no one else stepped up enough to take the pressure off him.

Hurley is being marked very harshly in my opinion for doing exactly what the coach wanted of him. And on top of that he was carrying an injury for the second half of the year.

If he can get more assistance down there and the midfielders can put pressure on further up the ground then Hurley will be in full beast mode and be an All Australian lock for the next three years.


Hurley has always struggled on the real big forwards, I don’t think by him putting on a bit of muscle is going to help him. It’s just about getting match ups right.

Hurley is more than capable on matching up on most Key talls - I would just have him staying away from the following

Hawkins, Sinclair, Jenkins, Lynch, B Brown, Patton, Dixon, Kennedy.

But he matches up well on anyone else including

Riewoltd, Cameron, Roughead, Hogan, Darling etc etc


I agree, and it suits us better if he’s not playing on the deeper forward because of his rebounding ability.

Hooker was the perfect compliment in that regard because he could take the gorillas and control the air while allowing Hurley to play his natural game.

I’m not sold on Hartley due to his inability to beat his opponent or set up attacks. He has the weapons to do it though so next year is a big year for him.



The only thing I worry about Hooker going back is his lack of speed, he has slowed right down, even more so than before - he would only really suit playing on someone like Hawkins or Jenkins I reckon.

Give me his 40+ goals forward every day of the week.

More midfield pressure and Hartley will thrive.


Send Franga to that gym in Richmond that changed Jobe!


Yeah the game has changed so much that I do have my concerns about hooker going back.

I stated in another thread that Joey, Hooker, Stewart and Stringer is to tall so either Hooker has to go back or Stewart sits it out. I don’t like either of those options so I’m curious what Woosha is going to do next year.

I think we struggle to put enough pressure on in our forward 50 and having four talls won’t help with that.

It’s a real head scratcher for Woosha but having too many quality players to fit in is a good problem to have.


That’s why it’s important that Stringer gets fit enough to play at least 50 % (ideally about 70%) midfield. It solves a lot of problems for us


Yeah, I’m confident he will.

I still have concerns about how many talls we take in at either end of the ground.

A lot will depend on how they fix the midfield though I guess. If we can win enough clearances and apply enough pressure through the middle then that should help both forward and back.


Fletcher invented the modern 3rd tall position .


Keep it simple, put him in the middle for centre bounces, see ball get ball.


This seems to be the common wisdom on here but I must admit I don’t get it.

If stringer can play as a mid then why can’t he play as a small / general fwd? It’s not an athleticism issue so someone explain to me how stringer being 192cm vs 182cm makes any difference?

3 talls worked all last year…


Because Stringer won’t be strictly playing in midfield.

I included Laverde as a tall because in my opinion he plays more like a tall than a small and doesn’t put nearly enough pressure on.

We have a clear weakness in our ability to put pressure on the opposition and set up our zones.

If the coaching panel can find a way that can reduce teams scoring against us while maintaining the talls in our side then good luck to them. If they can’t then we need include more players that can apply pressure and that’s generally smaller, faster guys.


I agree with you on Laverde. The athleticism he had when we drafted him is almost non-existent. Hope he gets his body right.

But having Stringer in the front 6 is no different than having Green in my opinion provided he brings the right attitude.


I don’t think it matters what attitude he brings. His primary role while forward will be to create havoc not defend.

I would prefer another defensive small like Walla who creates chances through pressure.

The opposition moved the ball far to easily against us and that wasn’t all down to our plodding midfield.

The tall guys we have are of the top shelf so I don’t think we need so many. In my opinion it’s a small ball game and that’s only going to get more pronounced.

The AFL are creating so many rules to speed the game up and we need to be ahead of the game.