Parish and zerret are mids and will start there regardless of who returns next year.
That's a problem alot of people aren't seeing yet though.
Where do you play stanton ?
where do you play watson ?
and prolly a couple of others i'm missing. All are midfielders or want to play there. not all can fit in there.
who do you honestly think is gonna get first crack at starting mid next year ?
If zerrett and parish are in there great, but i'm betting unless injury restricts someone, they won't be starting mid and will spend less than 50 % gametime in there, until the dust settles from the old guys returning.
which does nothing for the forwardline IMO because again we would be trying to force midfielders to play up there, instead of finding forwards who can cover in the midfield for short bursts.
There's way too many essendon culture mistakes that have continued on this year, despite half the list gone from last year and new coaches, for me to say or feel confidence Zerrett and parish would be starting mids next year, above and beyond other "senior" players.
I just think parish and zerret both look like 2 of the best pure mids we have had in forever. They can both do everything and i have no problem with thrusting them right into the coal face with support and rotation from our senior players that they aren't getting this year. The more games these guys play together in the midfield the better as far as I'm concerned.
Right now my starting 22 is something like:
Bags Hartley Francis
Tippa Hurley ???
Zaha hepp Fanta
Luey parish zerrett
Lav JD colyer
Jobe hooker ???
Stanton, Langford, ????, ????
Obviously there are a few holes there and a few names that it will be controversial to leave out but I think it is going to be tricky to find the right balance between our bigger slower players and the younger quicker ones.
Hepp comes back as our number 1 big bodied mid. He, parish and zerret are going to get on famously.
I have no issue with jobe playing more forward than mid and I think he will be a real weapon as a second string mid who shares his work with Langford. This will sound laughable but I think jobe can be an asset as a crumbing forward who will create goals for others as well as take his own marks and create awkward match ups.
Stanton is going to love the lower rotations and having gut running support from zerret, parish, fanta and a rejevunated zaha. I really think Stanton could be set for a massive year next year and I think he'll slide pretty comfortably between a mid, half back, half forward role and he is going to be way down the list of people to tag. I really think he has plenty of good footy ahead of him and is being undersold around here.
I don't see colyer as a full time mid and don't think he has ever played that role but he, Fanta and lav will all swing between forward and on ball providing pace all over the ground. Lav is obviously a little different with his size and aerial ability but I still think he will fit in with these 2 in a rotation that will create awkward match ups for the opposition.
Where the uncertainty lies for me is how Myers, Hocking, bj, bird and howlett fit in. All are a bit one paced and Myers and Hocking in particular feel a bit one demensional.
Sure Myers may come back and absolutely demand a spot in the side ahead of Langford for example but I just don't have that much faith in his body and with parish and zerret really establishing their cred as inside/outside players im not sure there is too much room for him along side hepp and jobe.
I certainly have room for one self sacrificing, gut busting, defensive, contested ball animal but not 3 so Hocking/howlett/bird will have an interesting preseason. Bird is the zippiest, howlett the most polished and Hocking the biggest animal so all have something to offer. It will be really interesting to see what happens.
Bj is obviously the most flexible and least defensive player of this group. For mine the challenge for him is to accept being a role player for the greater good of the team and one who plays within himself a bit more, fewer attempts at 60m laser punts, more honoring tippa's run with a handball. Even so his leg speed is a worry for a team that will already have jobe, hepp, Stanton, and one of the defensive mids.
I've left the back flank open in that 22 and some would slot bj straight in their but I'm inclined to favor the extra run of Gleeson/pig/demps.
If you fill 3 of ???s with Hocking, bj, pig I think Myers misses and you play another young runner with a bit of toe. And that doesn't even take into account the possibility of playing an extra tall like brown.
What is clear though is that the best sides can play at serious pace and our 2012 - 2015 drip slow midfield will get absolutely cut to ribbons. Just keep that in mind when wondering whether pushing up parish and zerret is a priority.
It is going to be one of the most interesting preseasons in recent memory.