Backline - missing ingredient

Was asking myself the question today, do we have enough players with genuine instincts to be ruthless and naturally aggressive. Particularly our backline:

2000 premiership backline

B: Johnson* Fletcher *Hardwick
HB: *Solomon *Wallis Wellman

2022 backline

B: Hind Stewart Kelly
HB: Heppell Ridley Laverde

  • naturally aggressive

We arguably had 4 out of 6 in 2000 who were genuinely tough and were not only great, skilful instinctive defenders, but made opposition forward lines fear them. Our backline is developing and improving, it has some nice and skilful players no doubt, but can you win a premiership without an injection of more natural aggression?

Sheedy was always great in getting the recruiters to get the balance right, and have enough mungrels in the team to help the rest of the players stand tall. Other than Sammy Draper, I’m not sure we have many on our list?


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‘The Mungrels’ would be a great name for a band.

I reckon we have recruited a couple in the last year or so, but only really Kelly is in the backline. I reckon Francis could add something there, if he goes back. Voss I reckon will be a beauty in terms of physical attack.
But 22 years is a while ago. Footy has changed a lot and has a lot less mongreltude these days…


Yay, my photo has made it to avatar status!


Do you want to be the first to tell our core defenders that they aren’t tough enough? Good luck with that.

I’d say Kelly, Lav and Hind are aggressive, as is the seventh defender Redman.

But cinnamon.
The missing ingredient is cinnamon.


All AFL players are tough, that’s obvious. Aggressive is something completely different.

Would you say that Tom Lynch and 2MP are equally aggressive? To stand under packs 30 times a game they are clearly both tough. But 2MP is developing aggression in his game to become a better forward.

To be honest I don’t think there is much advantage to being aggressive these days anyway. Back in 2000 it was very effective.


Talk about shifting the goalposts. You started out talking bout our defensive unit, and end up mentioning a couple of forwards.

Voss has enough mongrel for the entire team


Little point our defenders whacking oppo forwards these days like back in the day. Even if they’re from FC, Collingkwood, Tiges or Hawks … cameras everywhere. A lazy run through a pack of forwards as a reminder is nowadays considered dangerous.

But no, me thinks our defence has enough mongrel and basic aggression. Stewart, Lav and Redders don’t take backward steps. Kelly might add to our armoury. And with Big Sammy lurking about and Guelfi or even Smith wandering down and in range … nah, we’ll hold our own. Guelfi loves a bit of aggro and I’m glad he’s still part of the squad.

And then of course there’s Voss !! Look out everyone not in a red and black guernsey.

Laverde has enough of what I think your alluding too.

“Mongrel” in my mind can kind of be attributed to being hard to cover up a lack of talent in other areas of your game.

Modern football to me as an observer looks so damn skilful, moves so fast and is pretty organised.

I’m not sure “mongrel” is at the top of anyones list anymore as a key attribute?

The best defense in the comp is Melbournes, by a country mile it is sensational. I don’t see the “mongrel” there. Maybe in May because he is such a big unit?

I think our defense is building in the right direction.

May is a tough bugger, hes got plenty of mongrel.

Yeah May’s borderline dirty.
Pig goes pretty hard, but wouldn’t say he’s Johnno/Wally level.
Not many of the others.
What they are is very switched, flexible and very co-ordinated.