Lid on 2018 - have we gone to soon? Nervously hanging out for Friday


#1

I think last nights game was the game that informs us how we proceed from here. I started writing this post with a view to plot our comeback into contention this year, now we know we need to rotate players in and out of the side more to keep them fresh enough to actually be competitive. But when I looked ahead, I didn’t see a good chance at a win before round 12 and I didn’t see a game we should win until round 15. Clunk … the sound of the lid going on.

We knew physically we were up against it with the build up to the Adelaide game, and the older and more physically oriented returning players were affected more than the rest, with Trav being both younger and a less bang and crash player. So rather than not knowing how the players will come up after the break, we now do know and will have to start managing Jobe and co. accordingly.

  1. With a 10 day break it is reasonable to think the returning players will come up OK, so my optimism is still relatively intact for the Collingwood game. But history says don’t get our hopes up too high.

  2. Hitting the wall against the Crows, followed by a break will probably makes the players more match hardened and more resilient going forward, but they will still need to be managed and it is this thought that has got me looking at the fixture. Unfortunately I came away thinking, we cannot expect to win more than 10 or 11 games this season and it may only be 8 or so (see fixture review below).

  3. It is time to experiment with managing the returning players so they don’t play “fried”, especially in the game against Melbourne 5 days after ANZAC day (that will be a very interesting selection dilemma).

Looking at the draw, it is looking much harder than it did to me at the at the start of the year, with road trips agains Freo, Giants, Swans and Suns on the agenda, one five and five 6 day breaks.

I am thinking, while usually being the eternal optimist, that we will be lucky to finish the year with over 10 wins. This means we may well be playing with a view towards 2018 sooner rather than later, with the senior players who may be in line for retirement taking on a mentoring / onfield / on training track coaching role, much like the top ups did last year. Looking at the fixture …

Round 5 Tuesday, April 25
ESS v COLL

We’re a chance - yes, a good one as it turns out.

Round 6 Sunday, April 30
ESS v MELB

Should be a good chance, but after a five day break, managing fatigue will probably mean a lot of changes which could destabilise our line up. (I will claim this one too).

Round 7 Sunday, May 07
FRE v ESS

Freo seem to have their mojo back and Subiaco is always a hard gig. (nearly got this one wrong).

Round 8 Saturday, May 13
ESS v GEEL

Trip back from Perth and a 6 day break before a big game against a top side, thanks Gill. (I might have got the top side bit wrong - certainly exceeded my expectations though).

Round 9 Sunday, May 21
ESS v WCE

Not looking an easy match, but should be a chance. (More than that as it turned out).

Round 10 Saturday, May 27
RICH v ESS

The Tigers are flying at the moment, hopefully this won’t continue, but looking difficult at this stage with a six day break.

Round 11 Saturday, June 03
GWS v ESS

At this stage I am thinking, Fark this fixture.

Round 12 Saturday, June 10
ESS v PORT

Really, really want this to b a good game for us. First good chance of a win and this is 10 rounds after our last win at this point. Still no gimme.

Round 13 BYE

We won’t lose this week.

Round 14 Friday, June 23
SYD v ESS

Lets hope their still not playing well, but Sydney in Sydney is not easy, and coming off the bye is not always good for form.

Round 15 Sunday, July 02
ESS v BL

At last one we should win (but I don’t like the should bit, that makes me worry).

Round 16 Saturday, July 08
COLL v ESS

We tend to do better in the non ANZAC matches, but still not over confident. A good chance though even with a six day break, but not too hectic before this.

Round 17 Friday, July 14
STK v ESS

Two six day breaks in a row and playing a side who will probably be similarly ranked, will be harder than it should be, and it wasn’t going to be easy.

Round 18 Saturday, July 22
ESS v NMFC

I’m hopeful for this one.

Round 19 Sunday, July 30
WB v ESS

We’ll give this one a crack, but the Bullies seem to do enough to win most of the time at the moment.

Round 20 Saturday, August 05
ESS v CARL

We better be up for this one. Should hit them pretty hard I would think, even with a six day break.

Round 21 Saturday, August 12
ESS v ADEL

I would think we will want to be on our game for this one, should do better, but not expecting to win.

Round 22 Saturday, August 19
GCFC v ESS

Gazza may be getting ready to pull the curtains, so I think GC will be up for this. A chance.

Round 23 Sunday, August 27
ESS v FRE

I would see us wanting to put on a show to try to win this one. A good chance.

So am I being too pessimistic? Or do we need to admit the “realists” (gloomers) have got it right. Still it can be a very enjoyable season looking at Zerrett, Pidget (McGrath), Raz, Walla, Green, Joey, Trav, Darcy, Franga, Ambruise, The Langford maybe Lav, Stewart, Mutch, McNeice, Begley and Conor flourish. Will be good seeing Hurls and Hooker (forward or back) gel better with the side, and see how Myers, TBC, Hartley and a number of others who I have neglected to mention go this year.

Roll on 2018, and we can start enjoying the preparation with some good wins along the way, but alas I fear, no finals in 2017.


#2

2-20 is my prediction


#3

6-8 wins tops this year


#4

6 day break is the worst excuse in the world for not winning. Seriously, it’s pathetic


#5

Yeah, not sure we really need to worry about finals for another couple of years.

If we get there in under 4 it will be a ■■■■■■■ miracle.


#6

So I take it you’ve got over the trauma that was our start to 2008?

Mon-Sun-Sat-Fri and by the end of that we’d popped a seasons worth of soft tissue injuries, and went on to lose the next seven matches.


#7

Am I over something 9 years ago? Yes

Its like we’re the only club to have a 6 day break or something…


#8

I appreciate the analysis, and it clearly took a long time to do it. Did you factor in the games that our competitors are playing, the breaks they have and the injuries they will have during the year. Did you factor in our injuries?
There are lots of variables. Its just too soon. I figured that we could win 12 games . Now its dependent on the come back kids getting into form, because thats spoiling the party right now. But if 2 or 3 players get somewhere near AA form and other clubs suffer some key injuries ( like Melbournes Gawn disaster) we can still win 12 , but th Carlton loss makes it 1 more game difficult and Anzac day is important as well.


#9

All I know is if by round 12 Jobe,Stanton,Buddha,Baggers etc are cooked.

There will be a massive decision to be made, like Freo- where we get 10 games into whoever on the list is to be developed to replace them.


#10

If we are waiting until round 12 then god help us


#11

Lol, 2018??? Think you want the lid off thread mate.


#12

If you didn’t notice we just came off a six day break and it didn’t go so well for us. Next year we should be better match conditioned and on a more level playing field.

I told you, my tendency is towards optimism. This is a lid on 2017 thread, I’m not committing to pessimism permanently. The Bulldogs have given optimists everywhere reason not to write off most “next season” optimism.


#13

I did have a peek at other teams fixtures, but a lot is based on what I perceive to be limitations of returning players ability to recover and likely struggle to get through the season in peak form, or at least in the immediate future.


#14

Good review, SCarey. I for one am looking forward to round 13 when we will be invincible.

From the sounds of the discussion here and in the latest review and preview threads that the Saga has cost us yet another season. That makes it five.

Thanks Vlad. Thanks, Gill.


#15

the reality is we’re going to be disjointed at best, simply due to lack of continuity.

The silver lining is there’s a solid handful of kids who’ve looked good enough to have a look at (Stewart, Francis, Mutch, McKenna, Begley…).

Manage the oldies & returning 12 by rotating the kids in their spots. Win win. In too many years past, we’ve basically only blooded kids when the year’s gone and they’ve all come in at once, to play in 10 floggings: great way to start a career.

I’m pretty pessimistic about this year but I’m optimistic about the next 2-3 years. Our best players are 24 and under.


#16

The lid on thread might have jumped the gun a bit.
A few weeks ago, Zerret said we were aiming to win the Premiership.
Cue the critics in the press who said he had no right to such aspirations.

4 weeks later the same pundits are saying this is the most open competition in memory. Any team can beat any team on any given week.

So whats it to be ? Can we dare to set our hopes high, or do we quit early again and say they are all cooked and we might as well tank and get the #1 draft pick again.


#17

I agree with the HAP alternative above. We can try to do a '93 Sheedy style tank, but they don’t come off that often.


#18

We did not tank last year. We had tankness thrust upon us,


#19

This time last year, the Bulldogs were 3 and 1 we are 2 and 2
Eddie Betts had kicked 13 goals , and we hadnt even played Adelaide yet
Now we have a whole forum full of chicken littles who were extolling the depth of our list
4 weeks ago.

Man, the saga has damaged us. I hope most of the players have self belief , because if they dont, maybe they had better focus on their super, leave the TVSC and go home asap after training finishes.


#20

Are there though? It seems more to me like the upbeat posters post more during good weeks, and the downbeat posters more during the down weeks. So blitz as an entity is kind of bipolar, but most individual posters are actually quite consistent.

And for the record, it wasn’t the saga that damaged me, it was the 2011 final.