No doubt the most common discussion amongst Essendon fans has been on the 12 players missing due to the CAS finding and obviously our hearts are with the other 22 guys either at other clubs, coaching or retired. There are many views on should all 12 comeback, would that be good for list management, salary cap and future success?…and who is important to retain and who is ok to get possible draft picks or open up spots for new draftees.? I haven’t commented too much on this as my personal view is everyone has a right to their opinion and most are coming from a place where they would love club success. I do want to state where I stand and why and I hope it comes across well. First of all I believe the salary cap is an ok spot to retain the 12 but we are clarifying more each day around AFL rules on compensation and cap.
I personally want though EVERY ONE OF THE 12 BACK wearing the Red Sash in 2017. This is not so much a list management decision for me but my club that I have followed for 35 years showing the spirit and character I think is required at this point of time to honour these 12 men. Common sense says every player has a choice and not all 12 coming back is guaranteed but I LOVE that the club is hell bent to have them all back and that is their priority over anything else. Dodoro said on SEN” There is not one person at the Essendon Football Club who doesn’t want all players(12) back” Best way you can truly move on is have a time to heal, re-gather and then have a common passion as a united group to succeed. From what I hear Worsfold has been instrumental in providing a clear exciting direction for these guys. I don’t think there will ever be a time on day one of a pre-season you will see 45 men with a resilient determination than this group in November 2016.
2017 for me will likely have the strongest playing list at Essendon since 2001 I would suggest. We have genuinely found 5 quality players already this year with the likes of Fantasia, Parish, Tippa. Langford & Leuenberger …not to mention we have Francis and Laverde still to come having injuries. No doubt a big weakness of ours in recent years was guys being able to break the lines with genuine speed so we can’t under estimate how big Tippa, Fantasia and Parish growth is for us….especially with overnight news of Colyer remaining and Zach Merrett becoming a star.
You need a deep midfield of about 10 players rotating through your team like the Hawks have shown so in 2017 our midfield could be Watson, Zaharakis, Myers, Heppell, Z. Merrett, Parish, Laverde, Colyer, Hocking & Fantasia. Now if that doesn’t get you excited not much will. It allows smart older Midfield players to setup in other parts of the ground to help fill gaps like Goddard, Stanton etc. Down back it gets even better, Hibberd, Hurley, Tippa, Gleeson, Baguley and Hartley. This setup allows what I think the club to do a strategic move to boost the forward setup. Francis is a very good forward as well as back and I know before CAS they were thinking of him as a forward…no doubt marking and reading the play is his strength. So now you can setup a forward line of Daniher, Francis, Hooker, Redman. If anything we are probably 1-2 smart small forwards short but hoping Eades can come on to fill one of those spots. We will have a low draft pick next year so will be interesting if they target a trade or kid.
I hope though you can see this list is building far better than I think externally many understand. The key ingredient in all this coming together though is having most of those 12 boys coming back. Talks are going very well as backed up by Dodoro yesterday morning…in fact he said he would be surprised if not all 12 came back . What those boys coming back gives the whole playing group, coaches and staff is a very strong passionate edge to have success and show a few that this club and playing group is proud and no doubt now VERY driven. Part of me wants Sept to hurry up to begin the process but saying that I am having fun watching our kids take the game on and improving week by week.
In what was said in media to be a miserable year for EFC, I can see information from club on 12, Colyer, Hocking signing already and our kids taking the next step to be far from that. There is a storm brewing folks