I wonder, when we pitched it to Jake to come to Essendon, did we say, " we will help you develop into a big body midfielder to add an extra dimension to your game, but its going to involve a massive amount of work, building a tank and learning stoppage craft" ? Because that’s the project we started in 2018 and the transition was expected to take up to 3 years.
Jake trained with the midfield group in the preseason, and the club was extremely pleased with his stoppage work. Video emerged of Jake bursting out of packs at stoppages just bumping and brushing aside other players to clear the ball. It was awesome. But come the season, he was needed more as a forward.
I am presuming that that project will continue, that we still have plans to turn him into a “midfield bull”. I hope we don’t just say. Yeh nah, Jakey is of much more use to the team as a full time forward and pigeonhole him down around the goal square.
As has been pointed out, Shiel is not a “midfield bull” and with 3 successive 1st round picks gone we now have to rely on the playing group we have in order to develop players for that role.
For me the 29 disposals 9 clearances and 16 contested from the Richmond game is a tantalising taste of one possible future for Jake. IMO its worth persisting with the project even when Shiel comes on line in 2019.