I think there is a clear, sustainable direction we want to play but we are lacking the players to do it. It's making some pretty frustrating viewing at times but in the long run will have us competing with the best.
Lots of criticism comes from continually going backwards in defense but I think we are wanting to switch as often as possible to get past the press. At the moment it means guys like Gwilt are setting up attacks but when we have a full list to chose from there are some good users and quite a bit of pace off the half back line.
We're struggling here as well because the midfield just doesn't have the pre-seasons in them to gut run and get across. We go back to Gwilt to switch the play but only a few have actually got across and the slow movement means opposition cut us off too.
When it comes off we move the ball quite well through the middle or open side but it will take a while for it to click especially with the limited pre-season and selections. I think it's why guys like Gleeson are getting games ahead of others who perhaps have more talent but have lacked preparation/effort/fitness or whatever you want to call it (not saying I agree with that either, but Gleeson does keep running).
I would love to see Tippa through the middle but after watching him blow up in the Sydney game I think we are trying to slowly build his tank to allow him to put in the effort required. Not a shot at him either, just a first season player who probably can't run the 15-16kms a game required by a midfielder. As above we also require his speed off half back with the current list. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get some midfield minutes as the season goes on.
I think this is also why we keep Kelly in defense. He's a good user and smart player, he can take pressure and still make a good decision. We could put him in the middle but it would be stopping the development of a lot of our guys and also leave a gaping hole in defense. Next season we bring back Hurley and Hibberd who, at their best anyway, offer the same composure.
I also think we've quite clearly identified a lack of small forward or forward pressure in general so have had to play Orazio there when really we need his running in the middle. He's about the only guy who has great goal sense, works up and back and can crumb and apply pressure. Bags has also gone forward to offer forward pressure and play a shit down role on half backs because we are often slow to set up the zone and get rebounded on so quickly.
It might seem "dumb" but we've been severely hampered with the bans and have had to try and develop the squad for the the future. We could potentially get closer in games if we played Kelly in the middle, Bags continually in defense etc but it wouldn't necessarily hold us in a better place next season. Parish struggled on the weekend but really worked himself back into it. Zerrett was great but defensively Steven took control of the game. Zaharakis is learning how to handle a tag. Throw a three time premiership player in their and you start to stifle that development.
There have been some puzzling selections(Polky???), poor form for leaders, and I'd like to see some players moved for 5-10 minutes to limit damage, but all in all its a development year and Worsfold has the long term in mind. Extremely difficult to criticise at this stage with the role he was given through no fault of his own.