#35 Matt Guelfi - Welcome to the Midfield


Claremont would be my opinion. He’s from WA, not Tas, and the colours of the ball are pretty much Claremont.

And isn’t he from Claremont?

But apart from that, yeah, maybe Clarence.


And it’s a Burley football, which is a WA brand right…


Yep. You can argue we should have taken other players. But the logic of the selections is pretty clear.


It’s certainly what it looks like to me.

The list is screaming out for ball winners. We were right down the bottom of the league for clearances last year, we got spanked in a final largely cos we couldn’t get the contested ball, then we lost or got rid of no less than FOUR dedicated big-bodied mids over the off-season, plus another two (Kelly and Stanton) who could do the job at a pinch.

Blind freddy could see this, .

We trade in one legit big guy who could has the talent to pinch-hit in the middle if he gets fitter than he’s ever been in his career, and one guy who is a legit midfield prospect but who is tiny and will be giving up 10cm and 15kg to the opposition centre-square brutes. We then draft exactly ONE guy who is a moderately legit inside mid. With our last pick,. And mind you, we skipped him last year when he played entirely inside mid, and only drafted him this year when he was apparently used as a utility.

There’s only a couple of options I can see here. Either the club believes the stoppage situation is not a problem, in which case they’re blind or insane or incompetent, which I don’t think is the case. Or they believe that some of the guys we already have on our list can fill the gap (Clarke and Mutch who were drafted as mids, else Laverde/Langford/Begley/Redman/Ridley/Francis/whoever, who were all drafted as utility mid-sized forwards or defenders). And/or they hope Houlahan/our rookie can take some of the load going forward.

I believe that some clubs view the various draft camp jumping tests as indicative of potential not just for jumping, but also for first-step pace. Do we perhaps see Houlahan with this in mind?

I’m just bewildered about our thought processes, really. Dodoro said last year that in his mind third round picks and later are to fill need gaps (and he has pretty consistently drafted with this philosophy in mind). But this year ALL of our picks are 3rd round or later, we have a glaring screaming black hole in our list, and we pick two blokes who don’t fit a particular list need (we have enough mid-sized marking forwards to stock every undeveloped nation in the world ffs, and we draft ANOTHER one?) and only gesture towards a major list problem with the overall third last live pick in the draft.

I’ve had a suspicion that Dodoro just doesn’t like drafting this type of guy, for whatever reason. Perhaps he doesn’t rate them as important, perhaps he believes their skill set is easy to learn, i really don’t know. But it’s been driving me nuts for years. I thought we’d turned over a new leaf last year, but now we’re back to old habits. I swear, if Day/Parish/whoever is still on the board for our rookie pick and we take some skinny mid-sized utility flanker whose point of difference is his uncontested overhead marking, I may well eat my own head in frustration. I just don’t understand why we keep doing this sort of thing.


Agree HM. I thought for sure our draft position this year meant we could probably have a crack at 3 over age inside mids from state leagues and try and fill what was a glaring deficiency for us last year, before retirements etc made it a bigger problem. Don’t get it.


stanton, Kelly, Bird, Hocking and Howlett must have combined for about 3 clearances between them this year - and Watson was cooked. We didn’t lose their 2014 form, we lost a good back flanker, and a guy who’d lost all penetration in his kicking - and 4 VFL players.

I believe the club sees our issue more around turning the ball over in the immediate vicinity of the clearance, and our ability to create that turnover. We were poor at winning the clearance, we were terrible defensively around there, and we coughed it up pretty easily at times. Smith helps a little with A, helps a lot with B and C. Saad helps a little with B and a lot with C.

And I certainly see Begley and Langford as bona fide midfielders. Begley not just yet.


Poor at clearances? We were stone dead motherless last.


Watson led us for clearances per game and was 2nd for contested possessions per game this year. If he’s doing this while ‘cooked’ then that doesn’t say many good things about the rest of the list. And Bird was 6th on our clearances per game list, though from a low sample size.

I’d love to see Laverde/Langford/Begley/someone step up and be mids. But it’s a wish rather than a likelihood right now. We have a massive, game-losing hole in our centre-square, and to fill it we’re relying on the fwd-moving-into-the-midfield thing that hasn’t worked for ANYONE at the club since Hird as far as I can recall. It’s like betting your house on a pair of fives.


That actually depends on what you’re counting. On totals we were, but not on percentages. We played a low stoppage game comparatively.

Against Sydney in the final they were able to get it on their terms.

In the earlier game we were able to hang in there when it was on their terms, and then get it back on our terms and absolutely crush them for a quarter and a half. (and then we threw it away, but that was in the head, not the game style).

I believe that we believe our game style is better for September on the G, and we’re all in on it.


Fair chance we just didn’t rate any of the ‘inside mids’ at pick 50+ in the draft - hardly shocking that the talent may have dropped off by then. No point in drafting 2 Kade Klemkes and a Brendan Lee and hoping they become Josh Kennedy.

On the flip side - I too agree that it is the one area of our list that looks precarious if a few puzzle pieces fail to fit.


Watson was cooked, everyone could see it. He could still win the ball, because he’ll still be winning clearances in his sleep when he’s 80, but he turned it over too much. I reckon we’re happy to win a lower percentage overall if we can make sure the opposition don’t win quality clearances, and if we get quality clearances when we do. The clearance that’s won, but goes to the opposition at HB often ends up in a goal at the other end. That’s what we want to avoid from our perspective, and set up the other way.


Kind of depends whether we rate them as a chance to be that player at AFL level.

Day would have minimal exposed form in the role, just size and a basketball background and an improvement trend.

And Parish’s disposal may possibly be bad enough that we think he’s undraftable at this stage.

Conversely there may be an outside runner who we reckon is a good option.


I was just using those names as examples. Personally I believe Parish is worth a rookie spot - i don’t think he’s much more problematic than drew or Atley who went second round last year, for instance. And I’ve seen basically nothing of Day. But Dodoro will have his own ways of ranking things, and will know about candidates that I don’t, and I’m fine with that.

I just want to see the need addressed - or even acknowledged. By my count we are at least two inside midfield prospects down (hell, we’re a couple of outside midfield prospects down too, but I think that’s less urgent). In the meantime, we’re drowning in 187-191cm marking utilities at either end of the ground. A rookie list pick is a low-risk gamble. At some point we HAVE to bite the bullet and actually try to fix the hole.


For sure. If we rate them in the same ballpark then I can get on board with prioritising the guy who can naturally win it at stoppages and in traffic.

I don’t think that they rate it as being as critical need as you do though.


Sure we lost clearances, and overall we equalled them in contested possessions but we were totally anihilated by sydney in the air. They marked in their forward line, they intercept marked when we tried to kick it forward. The devastating loss was not caused only by sydneys clearance dominance.


There seems to be several jars of vegemite in that trophy cabinet


May be somewhat misleading stat since we were last by a long way on stoppages: less stoppages = less clearance opportunities.

We were in the top half for centre clearances per game, which might better reflect our abilities last year in terms of clearances.

Source: www.afl.com.au/stats


Looking at the stats, I have no idea what they mean!! I’ve added a Hitout/stoppage, clearance/stoppage and Clearance per hitout. Clearly centre bounces don;t count in stoppages, given clearances > stoppages.

Oh well, I’m obviously missing something, but I think it’s also obvious that we’re kind of mid table


It’s centre clearances + stoppages = clearances. They’re all “number won” stats.


Of course. I really should have seen that. That’s completely useless to me then, with the exception of clearance/hitout, which at least provides some sort of understanding of whether you’re getting it away when your ruckman gets hands on it.