2021 Strategy

Ok, it feels a little bit late to be writing this now, but its become clear to me that there are a number of Blitzers who have very different views on what we should be trying to do with the 2021 season. So I thought I’d start this to discuss.

In my view, blitzers appear to be (roughly) breaking into three groups:

I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t see this as a development year. But there are a lot who still think winning, and possibly finishing in the eight is an absolute goal. Some features of this group are (not every member has every feature):

  • Get upset when we lose, even if we lose in a ‘good’ way.
  • Are upset we don’t have more small depth.
  • Those who want us to use all our options in the MSD to give us short-term cover.
  • Want us to develop a winning culture.
  • Want the best possible side selected each week.
  • Want us to finish as high on the ladder as possible.
  • Are looking for trade options and are willing to trade big for any perceived holes.
  • A view that implementing a winning culture requires winning games.
  • Think the coach should make moves to win the game, even if it moves away from the gameplan we’re trying to embed.

These Blitzers want the focus to be on a mix of implementing systems of play, developing youngsters, instilling a winning culture, and recruiting for the future.

  • Assume the rebuild will be 2-3 years, so don’t expect winning games should be the priority until around 2023.
  • Take a longer term view on drafting, recruitment and game day selections.
  • Are happy to sacrifice wins to prioritise embedding systems and developing kids.
  • Want to build a winning culture
  • Don’t believe this requires us to win games
  • Believe that older players can play a role for leadership, to help embed systems, and to help with creating a winning culture. But if that some who are role players will be sacrificed for kids development.
  • That wins in 2021 are not a goal, and in fact to the degree they worsen our draft position can hurt us.

I think this is the biggest group on Blitz on the draft/trade threads. Less so in the gameday/match review threads. I’m in this group.

This is a group spear-headed by @darkknightpheonix. Their focus is on developing at all costs, prioritising this over all other considerations. So if there is a younger player in the VFL, they should be played over any player close to the end. Even if the gap is huge.

The big discussion on this point was in the Hooker thread, where DKP argued that Hooker should be dropped so that Eyre or Bryan got game time. This would accelerate the development of the youngster, and let us know a bit about them.

Just to discuss this elephant in the room.

Both the second and third strategies could arguably be charged as being tanking. This isn’t correct, even for the develop at all costs basis. With neither of these approaches is the intention to go out and lose games. However, both of them are prioritising wins in later years (say 2023 or 2024) over 2021 performance.

It is absolutely an impact of adopting these strategies that we will finish lower and get better picks. But neither strategy is focussed on losing games.

So do people agree with these groups? Are people sitting in them, or fluctuating between them on and off gameday?




I’m somewhere between 1 and 2 but agree with strategy 4 also. It’s costing me a lot of money in broken ■■■■ around the house.

Winning culture starts young and shouldn’t be put on ice.

I’m in the group that knows we’ll lose, but halfway through the first quarter I’m doing my nut because I expect better, even though I shouldn’t.

It’s the hope that destroys us.

Also to be part of this group you have to be standing in your lounge room by the second quarter as opposed to sitting like a normal person.


Im 90% strat 2 with 10% strat 1 being on matchday i lose my ■■■■ at the senior players.


I want us to develop via winning. I’ll get upset when we lose (how can you watch your team lose and not be a little upset?) but recognise we are a developing team.

  • Are looking for trade options and are willing to trade big for any perceived holes - I agree if the deal is in our favour and matches our timeline. E.g. Brisbane and Neale.

  • I agree implementing a winning culture requires winning games.

Stargetgy 5: Blame the AFL / Umpires at all costs. It’s a league wide conspiracy against us.


Thanks Thurgood


start of year was in group 2 - rebuild

but given how we have performed moved to group 1. Develop while winning.

seeing our team put saints and north away was great.

imagine what confidence we get if we get in same situation against hawks 40 points up at half time and end up winning by 80.

Agree against the top teams the quality isn’t there esp with injuries, but if we have a day out and everything goes our way we are a sneaky chance to get a upset.

Pick our best side and try and win each week.
The kids that are good enough to play already are.

If we had a full list to choose from then there would be harder decisions to make.
Get a win for Draper

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Honestly I am not a believer that rebuilds need to take an insanely long time like a lot of people say.

Even the idea of a “mini rebuild” to me is only a mini rebuild because it occurs very quickly thanks to a highly efficient recruitment drive (i.e. Port) executed through 3-4 great picks and a couple of decent picks or trades.

By my estimations, we’ve already locked in 3 of them in Jones, Perkins and Cox. Every chance Reid and one of Caldwell or this year’s pick is another revelation. Add to that Draper and Bryan should be fighting for spots next year and the Daveys on the way.

Wright and Hind are our great (cheap) stopgaps whilst we look for their elite replacements. I don’t see why we can’t push for finals next year, even if we lose another final before we win one (I know…).

I think we should heavily focus development this year at the expense of winning - turf Zaha and Ambrose and play Cahill Zerk and Chungus at all costs and even look at Eyre Johnson and McBride if they give us half a reason to (which I’ll happily say doesn’t seem to have happened yet). But I don’t believe we need to accept we’ll be nowhere until 2023/4. We could be a lot closer to being around the mark than people think.

  1. Its 2.

Last night was a good indication that we are 1.5 - 2.5 years off it. We shouldn’t be trying to win at the expense of one iota of development.

Hey, we’re already winning, including some we didn’t think likely. Wanting anything more at this point is delusional and greedy. At the expense of development: stupid.


A key element in my view is that so far we’ve only beaten one team in the eight (who were pretty injury depleted) and been thrashed by several others. At this stage we’ve had an incredibly benign draw. Its not about getting good enough to get into the finals, its about getting good enough to be consistently top 4.

I think the gap between us and top 4 is still very big. And our depth in many areas is paper-thin. We need a lot more good players. Unfortunately, a number of teams being particularly rubbish (Carlton, Collingwood, GCS, St Kilda) who probably shouldn’t be is making our draft picks worse.


I’d like to do pretty much what we are doing now - exposing kids to the big league, giving them a crack in the guts at big moments, playing them where we think they’ll be playing in 2024

But… also keeping enough experience on every line to help them to learn


TBF the dropping of hooker was a suggestion I raised as an alternative to the popular opinion that it would simply be
in phillips
out wright

and that for team balance and development ala as to not have langford and cox rucking wright wouldn’t and shouldn’t be the automatic out.
which he wasn’t, ironically waterman got the ■■■.

Also tbf I did suggest ambrose as a replacement for hooker to offer a more well rounded game (more on defence as well as potentially or hopefully more on output).

so my theory isn’t develop youth at all costs, it’s develop multiple ways to play and potentially win at all costs.

And also my bryan suggestion was at a time we had no rucks available and for some reason it took 2 to 3 games for our supposed super duper awesome coaches to realise just cos peter wright is tall, he isn’t and never will be a full time ruckman.

So yes, context is always key, Development of how to win and how to use all the tools at your disposal is my mantra.
I did also say that once there was a dedicated ruckman back and if the kids were severely off then bring back hooker.

So yet again as usual on here what i say and what people interpret is severely misrepresented.

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I agree in part, but Carlton (particularly under Bolton) are proof you need to build a winning culture as well as obtain good picks to draft good talent/trade targets.

I reckon he did untold damage the way he 100% went for development. They do have talent but just don’t know how to win.

I think the balance we have right now is pretty perfect and it’s fair to say we’re it not for injuries/depth issues blokes like Zaka wouldn’t be getting a game.

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Would still desperalty want us to get a top 5 pick, really need more help in the midfield.


Just out of curiosity, do you still think it would have been better for team development if Hooker was dropped?

Who on earth suggested that?

Keeping Hooker would only stifle the development of a forward in reserves, of which there are none.


It really wouldn’t bother me if we lost every game for the rest of the year.

All I want to see is the effort and the game plan.

Don’t want to lose games on purpose but get games into the kids.

If Stewart is not the person we want as Fullback. Let Reid play the rest of the year.

If ideally we want Perkins to be a midfielder now that McGrath is out, let’s play him in the middle.

A early pick would be pretty great also.