It’s a mix of things, as always some within, some outside our control. We clearly got the more defensive plan wrong, squeezing the ground and slowing the ball movement didn’t work. However that’s leadership, you devise a well intentioned plan and you implement it, you give it enough time to work until you realise you have erred and you change the plan.
The injuries to Daniher and Fantasia have been disastrous. Green and Begley haven’t helped. Tippa has played plenty of games sore, it was so bad that Jackson got two games and on the weekend we were running with Smack and Brown. Good toilers, but toilers none the less. It’s obviously effected Stewart’s form and we all knew this early into his career he wasn’t ready for the number 1 role. No real surprise there.
The poor form of Hurley and the injuries to Ambrose and to some extent Gleeson has forced us to play Hooker in defence which has robbed us of all our forward weapons which lets face it was our shining light last year.
There have been positives over the last month. Our pressure has increased, our contested ball and clearance numbers have improved significantly to the point that we are now doubting the need for the big insider that we all thought we needed.
Worsfold, like Hird and Thompson before him want to run with the extra at the contest. It’s frustrating when the opposition out pressures our mids//backs like Richmond did. However when you have the overlap run of Mckenna, Saad, McGrath you can see why they want to play this way. It also gives us an easier defensive transition.
I enjoyed 2017 because we could finally throw off the yoke of the saga and we played some really good footy. But, we were flakey. The challenge for the rest of this year is to not only have a look at some younger players and I think we have seen some real positives with Langford, Ridley, Redman, Mutch and I’m sure Francis and Clarke will get a decent look. But more importantly we get an opportunity to produce a style of football that will hold up against the best sides. A game based on two way running, pressure, contested ball and a bit of Essendon flair. How much improved would we be with a fit and in form Daniher, Fantasia, Zac Merrett and Hurley they are our best 4 players.
It’s been a massively dissaponting year to date but their are some positives and we have a big opportunity to solidify a game style that will hold up when our squad is fit and in form. I don’t know perhaps it’s the Domain A 2007 pinot noir but I’m feeling fairly philosophical about it all.