List build - where are we? Where are we going next (Part 1)

Gday all

As many of you realise, I’ve had a year off this joint. This may well have been discussed in various trade week threads, but there doesn’t seem to be anything going at present, if a mod wants to roll it together into another thread, feel free.

I’m of the opinion there is a silver lining out of last year’s forced failure. We’ve been kicked down to the bottom of the ladder, we’ve gotten a good kid or four, and we can look up from here.
We’ve got a new coach who hasn’t really had a chance to work out his best side yet.
We also know Kelly, Watson, Stanton & Goddard - still 4 quality performers - are probably going to be done in the next year, or three.
The absolute worst case scenario is do what St Kilda & Freo did under Rosco - build heavily around a certain generation, and go over the cliff with them.
To me, this all points toward there being good sense in not going flat-chat right now, rather taking another year to appraise the ‘big picture’ view of the list build. ie put the emphasis on the best side we can build post Watson/Goddard (say, 2019), and treat it as a happy bonus if they’re still around and producing at that point. This doesn’t necessarily mean wholesale deviations from putting our best 22 on the park, either.

ie just make sure we keep a healthy balance of development and putting out competitive performances.

With that said.

Would it be in our best interests to clear out some of that tier of mid career, middle-of-the-road guys? (Hocking, Mitch Brown, Howlett, Dea, Myers, Jackson Merrett, Bird). If we’re going flat knacker this year, they’re all too close to the best 22 to cut; but taking a medium term view, they’re probably not there in 2019, and they’re the sorts of ‘good average’ guys that you can replace, given a few years’ development. Also might free up a bit of cap space along the way, and hopefully get some improvement to our draft picks.

I kinda like all of those guys in their own right, but collectively, if they’re playing much VFL this year, I don’t think we can really justify keeping them around.



I think the worry with clearing those, to copy you, middle of the road guys, is we’ll probably need them if players like Francis and Laverde keep going down. Do we have another Gumbleton or Myers situation with them or will they come good eventually?

With Lav it seems to be a lot of impact injuries. Francis just seems to be trying to get fit, maybe a little too fast? both can play I have no doubt about it. But you need some insurance for those types of a players.

Whether that means brown plays about 5-10 games a year for the next 3? I don’t know.

One thing I think has to happen is we need to do away with the delist and re-rookie of players. Yes it might work with Smack for this year, but every other fkg player it doesn’t.

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Francis and Laverde are both out injured now, and those dudes are…
I think Essendon of past years has kept guys for depth - it hasn’t done a heap to cover in the short term and it sets you back a bit in the long term. We have to tilt the balance, get rid of these experienced back-ups, and blood kids when there’s injuries - at least this year and next.

In a couple years, we should be aiming to be competing at the pointy end. That’s when we need experienced cover.
But, for now, this year and next, let’s keep pushing up the kids.

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■■■■ to that.

Play our best lineup until or unless we get to the point where we can’t possibly win the flag this year.

Force the kids to earn their spots


It’s a good question. Can this list in its current state win a flag? Will Watson/Goddard/Stanton/Kelly still be valuable when Francis/Parish/McGrath start to hopefully become stars?

IMO there’s no reason why Essendon can’t push top 4 this year with a good run with injuries.

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We can’t win the flag this year.

And if you reckon Mitch Brown or Heath Hocking have a big say in that, well, I can only say I don’t agree in the slightest.

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I think we need to look at bringing in a KPP each of the next couple of years. Got to be mobile though.

And a ruckman.

Our small and mid-size forwards are pretty young.

But we’d have to allow for departures of Watson, Stanton, Goddard, Baguley, J Merrett, Bird, Hooker, Brown, Howlett and Hocking over the next 3-4 years.

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Ruck’s a really big gap going forward. Not sure I’m all that confident on any of the 4 we’ve got being there in another 2-3 years. Probably makes sense to try and pinch a cheap trade or FA, rather than spend 5 years developing them. Which is where keeping as much salary cap space as we can is imperative.

Bottom line is I think we need to be proactive rather than reactive - how often have Essendon been 2nd to the party for a trade deal and not quite had enough chips to deal?

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I’m partial to pinching someone else’s rookie or backup.

Just see how many of them are running around, and among the league’s most successful.

For starters, Jacobs, Martin, Smith, Stanley, McEvoy, Nankervis, Mumford, Hickey, Sinclair.


Yes, we can win the flag. Our side is the most primed and balanced it has been since 2000.

We have players that are the end of their careers playing the best footy that we will get out of them( Watson, Goddard, Kelly), some guns in their prime (Hurley, Hooker, Heppel) some stunning young quality (Fantasia, Tippa, Zerret, McGrath) and depth that is beyond what we even had in 2000.

The only limitations are the fact that we have had a team that hasn’t played as much together and if we get hit by injuries.

We play the best side and bring the kids in if they are part of the best side just like McGrath did in Round 1. Everyone has to earn their spot with the occasional player blooded and it means everyone is as competitive as it can get.

The AFL world knows that we are good enough on paper, but nobody (not even us) know what the year can deliver. We will all have a better idea by Round 10.

And we don’t know what the likes of Bellchambers, Myers, Hocking and Howlett that we all know are quality on their day can deliver.

We got for it. Lid isn’t off but it’s not far from being off.


I won’t target players for delisting at round 1, as it isn’t appropriate.

I do expect out trade / draft season to turn over at least 5 main list spots. That would bring in 1 FA, 1 rookie upgrade and 3 draftees.

Expect us to go hard at a top level trade or free agency target. We haven’t traded future picks to date, but with our salary cap space, it may be the year.

This is how it could look in 2019

Dea (26) Hurley (29) Francis (22)
Mcgrath (20) Hartley (26) Gleeson (25)
Colyer (28) Myers (30) Zaharakis (29)
Langford (22) Hooker (31) Fantasia (24)
Parish (22) Daniher (25) Tippa (28)

Luenberg (30), Heppel (27) Z.Merrett (24)

Laverde (23), Ambrose (27), Green (26)

Long (23), Bellchambers (30) Mckenna (23), Morgan (22), Redman (22), Bird (30), Mckernan (29), Brown (29), Bagley (32), Begley (20), Ridley (20), Mutch (20), Clark (21), McNiece (28), James Stewart (24)

Probably Gone
Watson, Hocking, Goddard, Howlett, J.Merret, Stanton, Kelly

Is there enough talent there to win one with the experienced core of Hooker, Hurley, Heppell, Colyer, Zaharakis, Luenberg/TBC. If we feel there is we should we should be looking to add some more 23-26 year olds over the next few seasons. If we don’t then we are building around the Merret, Parish, Francis, Fantasia, Daniher, Langford, Laverde, McGrath generation.

Probably get a better gauge at the end of this year.


Pretty much agree with all of OP. Also personally really worried about hanging onto Watson Stanton Goddard Kelly too long. I was really worried about trying to get too much out of these guys pre-pre-season and now we beat a pretty average Hawthorn and I think everyone looks like heroes. It’s a long season, and I’d be spending a lot of it putting work into our young group.

I’m not ruling out winning the flag until it becomes clear that we can’t

From what I saw sitting up in the stands on Saturday we have a very, very balanced squad with all the keys to winning football matches.

We have a strong, deep, midfield that can match it with anyone.
We have a great mix of talls and smalls up forward who can take marks, win the ball at ground level, and hold the ball in
We have a strong and experienced backline
We have a great mix of inside power and outside pace
We have good ball users on all lines

Plus, we have plenty of depth:

I would have picked all of Leuenberger, Bellchambers, Brown, Francis, Stewart, Bird, Hocking, Howlett and Laverde ahead of some of the crap that Hawthorn rolled out.

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ITS possible there could be up to 8 or 9 list changes, though it will probably be around 6.

Like to hit the draft hard in 2017. Should aim to pick 5 players in the ND.

You can expect the expected to happen, … provided the unexpected doesn’t happen.


Soooo early to be talking about this…
No way there will be 8 or 9 list changes this year. I reckon 4, maybe 5 max.
I think Kelly would be the only retirement. If I had to predict, I would say Jerret and Redman would be the delistings and Bird and maybe someone else may ask for a trade due to a lack of opportunities. Someone else may become an obvious delisting during the course of the year. (Which has just started!)

One thing is certain. We will delist and re-rookie some list clogger.


Thread muted for 6 months… at least.

Redman has been on the list for 16 months and you want to delist him already? Anyway, he signed an extension last year until the end of 2019.

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