I have watched both games over the past two weeks, and attended the Geelong game in person last week. Whilst it is only JLT and everyone wants to tell you that it means f##k all, the signs are far from encouraging in my opinion.
Being at the game last week, I noticed the following:
No Hooker looks to be a worry. Massively undersized vs the likes of Ratagulea and Hawkins. Ambrose and Hurley looked like midgets next to those guys.
Lack of overall intensity at the ball and tackling pressure. A handful of players have a crack at every contest (Bags, Walla, Smith).
Young up and coming mids found wanting. Very disappointed with Parish, Langford, Guelfi in JLT 1 and 2. All look a bit lost out there.
Turnovers, foot skills. Enough said. Only Francis & Walla showing that they can hit the difficult kicks.
No forward system. This has been an issue for us over several years, after 2 preseasons games, i don’t see any signs this has improved.
It was clearly being treated as nothing more than glorified training and a vehicle to get guys some miles in the legs. Whether this attitude pays off or not remains to be seen. Mind you I think their hands were tied somewhat given the quality players we had with interrupted pre-seasons.
Hooker didn’t play at all. The game time percentages told a tale as well for that group. I’d much rather us have a flawless pre-season and hit the ground running and be super sharp for Round 1, but who knows, if we start the season 4-0 then nobody will remember the JLT will they?
We looked like a rabble. Maybe that’s the way we want to play.
Looking at quite a few other teams, their defence looks like a well oiled machine from the time they gain possession to when they get the ball into their forward half.
The only thing that beats that system is massive pressure, first from the forwards, from the mids then from the defenders. We tend to flood back and try to turn the ball over at half back and its last chance hotel back there. I have yet to see the new “team defence” conspicuously in action.
Going the other way, we try to get the ball into the corridor as soon as possible. Sometimes even with the risky kick up the guts from full back. Chaining the ball down the wings with spread. Nah. We don’t do that very often and when we come up against teams that do it very well, like Collingwood, and Richmond we come unstuck.
I think we have to mix it up and chain down the wings more because teams are wise to our corridor preference and set up to stop it.
We have to adapt to having a weakened defence this year. TBH, Hurls and Hooker are probably past their best AA form.
I am worried about the game plan. If we do not bring massive pressure, other teams will turn us over . In 2019, the footy field will be a battlefield with 80+ tackles a game being regular thing.
Long answer is yes.
I don’t think we should have to put up with statements like we need time to gel and learn the new game plan etc… They’ve had all summer to do that?
We have an extremely tough first part of the season and if we don’t learn the new game plan quickly we will be in the same situation as last year at 2-8.
I’m confident we are a top 6 team. But I don’t want to beatop 6 team skill wise by round 23 and be sitting at 10th position.