Midfield dilemma


#1

So I’ve been thinking about the midfield and how it is the most settled part of the team. The dilemma, as I see it, is that we have a bunch of young mids that have barely seen any action, two or more years into their careers (Browne, KAV, NOB) and now added to that list automatically are Aylett and Edwards, plus the younger players in Hams, Gleeson and Ashby. All these guys have the potential to be or are midfield players. There is only so much that they can show by playing at the VFL level (and even if you do show something it can mean nothing at the next level i.e. Jetta.) basically if the club doesn’t start to really play these guys this year and for sustained periods, I think it will have some negative effects in the coming years. I get that they need to “earn” their spots in the team but I feel like that scenario in itself is a bit of a catch 22. I just hope bomber plays the kids more this year than hird did in the past few. It is especially frustrating seeing other teams with first year players given the opportunity to come in and play, and play well too, when essendon seems to lock theirs up the VFL to “develop” yet when they finally debut, it leaves me wondering what it is exactly they were developing. Hmmmm


#2

Could be worse, we could be in a situation where we have no midfield, and the kids have to play before they are ready.

I do agree though, there are some kids that we’d really like to see if they are up to it, who just don’t get a chance. It will be interesting to see how Bomber handles that this year.


#3

Don't stress. If they are good enough, they'll get in the side.


#4

Our midfield is well sorted, IMO.

Going old school, our RR, R and C are Watson, Hocking and Stanton.

Throw in Zaharakis, Heppell (handy), even Goddard or Myers. and we're okay.

Merrett, Kav!, Melksham looks ready, we have others to pick up the slack.  We're good.

 

I would have liked another kamikaze mid in the draft to cover Hocking, but we didn't get one. 

Maybe next year.


#5

One only have one problem, our ruck stocks


#6

Might see a kid or two step up whilst Melk serves out his suspension.


#7

So I've been thinking about the midfield and how it is the most settled part of the team. The dilemma, as I see it, is that we have a bunch of young mids that have barely seen any action, two or more years into their careers (Browne, KAV, NOB) and now added to that list automatically are Aylett and Edwards, plus the younger players in Hams, Gleeson and Ashby. All these guys have the potential to be or are midfield players. There is only so much that they can show by playing at the VFL level (and even if you do show something it can mean nothing at the next level i.e. Jetta.) basically if the club doesn't start to really play these guys this year and for sustained periods, I think it will have some negative effects in the coming years. I get that they need to "earn" their spots in the team but I feel like that scenario in itself is a bit of a catch 22. I just hope bomber plays the kids more this year than hird did in the past few. It is especially frustrating seeing other teams with first year players given the opportunity to come in and play, and play well too, when essendon seems to lock theirs up the VFL to "develop" yet when they finally debut, it leaves me wondering what it is exactly they were developing. Hmmmm

I don't buy this. Those young players will just have to keep working harder to break into the side and hold a spot. Competitive is good for the team and a great way to see which players will crack and who will break into the 22.


#8

Can't say I'm all that worried about it.


#9

So I've been thinking about the midfield and how it is the most settled part of the team. The dilemma, as I see it, is that we have a bunch of young mids that have barely seen any action, two or more years into their careers (Browne, KAV, NOB) and now added to that list automatically are Aylett and Edwards, plus the younger players in Hams, Gleeson and Ashby. All these guys have the potential to be or are midfield players. There is only so much that they can show by playing at the VFL level (and even if you do show something it can mean nothing at the next level i.e. Jetta.) basically if the club doesn't start to really play these guys this year and for sustained periods, I think it will have some negative effects in the coming years. I get that they need to "earn" their spots in the team but I feel like that scenario in itself is a bit of a catch 22. I just hope bomber plays the kids more this year than hird did in the past few. It is especially frustrating seeing other teams with first year players given the opportunity to come in and play, and play well too, when essendon seems to lock theirs up the VFL to "develop" yet when they finally debut, it leaves me wondering what it is exactly they were developing. Hmmmm

 

Nope, no, definitely not.

 

We aren't developing.  Bugger the future.  We play the side that will give us the best chance of winning it all.  If that means resting niggling injuries, then fine.  If there are a bunch of kids that we can cycle through the last spot, then fine.

 

But when everyone's fit, then the best 22 take the field, and if we lose a couple of kids because they aren't getting opportunities, then so be it.


#10

Be interesting to hear what Ants and JBomber have to say on this topic !


#11

As I think HM has written a few times, we have one quality clearance mid in Jobe and if he's out we struggle. Hoping Heppell can do the job but remember it's only his third year. Let's hope Jobe can keep it up but another one would be handy. And it's not just physique, it involves footy smarts too, otherwise Myers would fill the void. Not sure any of the kids slot in, but here's hoping. Maybe Melks? Not really sure.


#12

It's not a problem at all. One of two things:

 

1. We don't have to play players who aren't 100% without losing too much like Howlett with his shoulder or Stanton with his shoulder blade the year before last.

2. When players get properly injured we are bringing in kids who are desperate and ready as opposed to kids who ain't good enough and ain't ready. Wait till a star goes down. Then you won't be worrying.


#13

So I've been thinking about the midfield and how it is the most settled part of the team. The dilemma, as I see it, is that we have a bunch of young mids that have barely seen any action, two or more years into their careers (Browne, KAV, NOB) and now added to that list automatically are Aylett and Edwards, plus the younger players in Hams, Gleeson and Ashby. All these guys have the potential to be or are midfield players. There is only so much that they can show by playing at the VFL level (and even if you do show something it can mean nothing at the next level i.e. Jetta.) basically if the club doesn't start to really play these guys this year and for sustained periods, I think it will have some negative effects in the coming years. I get that they need to "earn" their spots in the team but I feel like that scenario in itself is a bit of a catch 22. I just hope bomber plays the kids more this year than hird did in the past few. It is especially frustrating seeing other teams with first year players given the opportunity to come in and play, and play well too, when essendon seems to lock theirs up the VFL to "develop" yet when they finally debut, it leaves me wondering what it is exactly they were developing. Hmmmm

I get why you might think these kids are not getting opportunities but I think its more to do with quality than quantity of players & where the team was at.  Look at Merrett, came from nowhere last year & played a dozen or so games.  He earn't that spot, lost it & then regained it through form.  Kav had his chances but didn't take them & Browne was injured.  NOB looked like stepping up in 2012 but from what I saw seemed to plateau at VFL level & with Kommer stepping stright in, NOB wasn't good enough. Hams got a taste & although he earnt respect for courage he didn't have much impact.  Not every kid can become an insta-star like Heppel but there were opportunities last year.  I just don't think much quality was breaking down the door especially when you consider the side was challenging for top 4 for 3/4 of the year.  Ideally with Watson, Stanton & Goddard getting older we'd love to have another Hepp or have somebody like Myers at elite level (perfect age to take over as midfeidl leader) but again this is about the quality of players not so much lack of planning. 


#14

"Smokey" Hams will start to step up this year. If the others don't extract the digit, he will go straight past them.

 

Watch him.


#15

Hawthorn’s midfield of the 80’s - Tuck, Greene, Condon, Loveridge, Pritchard etc.

All played around 50 games in the magoos before consolidating a senior spot. It didn’t seem to hurt them.


#16

As I think HM has written a few times, we have one quality clearance mid in Jobe and if he's out we struggle. Hoping Heppell can do the job but remember it's only his third year. Let's hope Jobe can keep it up but another one would be handy. And it's not just physique, it involves footy smarts too, otherwise Myers would fill the void. Not sure any of the kids slot in, but here's hoping. Maybe Melks? Not really sure.

As far as I'm concerned, Melksham is Watson's new understudy. He proved that last year, and will only get better.
Myers is not far off it either, and Heppell is Heppell.
I think we are in the best position to cover Watson now, since... Ever.

#17

 

As I think HM has written a few times, we have one quality clearance mid in Jobe and if he's out we struggle. Hoping Heppell can do the job but remember it's only his third year. Let's hope Jobe can keep it up but another one would be handy. And it's not just physique, it involves footy smarts too, otherwise Myers would fill the void. Not sure any of the kids slot in, but here's hoping. Maybe Melks? Not really sure.

As far as I'm concerned, Melksham is Watson's new understudy. He proved that last year, and will only get better.
Myers is not far off it either, and Heppell is Heppell.
I think we are in the best position to cover Watson now, since... Ever.

 

Maybe you're right. Of the 3 understudies mentioned only Hepps has the in close reflexes and vision at this stage, now he needs the body. I like Myers and Melks brushing off tackles and kicking the ball long and direct but I'm not sure about them in close.


#18

 

 

As I think HM has written a few times, we have one quality clearance mid in Jobe and if he's out we struggle. Hoping Heppell can do the job but remember it's only his third year. Let's hope Jobe can keep it up but another one would be handy. And it's not just physique, it involves footy smarts too, otherwise Myers would fill the void. Not sure any of the kids slot in, but here's hoping. Maybe Melks? Not really sure.

As far as I'm concerned, Melksham is Watson's new understudy. He proved that last year, and will only get better.
Myers is not far off it either, and Heppell is Heppell.
I think we are in the best position to cover Watson now, since... Ever.

 

Maybe you're right. Of the 3 understudies mentioned only Hepps has the in close reflexes and vision at this stage, now he needs the body. I like Myers and Melks brushing off tackles and kicking the ball long and direct but I'm not sure about them in close.

 

I reckon Melk needs to continue playing with audacity, and take the game on, not many other players we have will try some of the things he does, and when you look back to Carlton Game 1, was very much more than useful, in my opinion.


#19

 

 

 

As I think HM has written a few times, we have one quality clearance mid in Jobe and if he's out we struggle. Hoping Heppell can do the job but remember it's only his third year. Let's hope Jobe can keep it up but another one would be handy. And it's not just physique, it involves footy smarts too, otherwise Myers would fill the void. Not sure any of the kids slot in, but here's hoping. Maybe Melks? Not really sure.

As far as I'm concerned, Melksham is Watson's new understudy. He proved that last year, and will only get better.
Myers is not far off it either, and Heppell is Heppell.
I think we are in the best position to cover Watson now, since... Ever.

 

Maybe you're right. Of the 3 understudies mentioned only Hepps has the in close reflexes and vision at this stage, now he needs the body. I like Myers and Melks brushing off tackles and kicking the ball long and direct but I'm not sure about them in close.

 

I reckon Melk needs to continue playing with audacity, and take the game on, not many other players we have will try some of the things he does, and when you look back to Carlton Game 1, was very much more than useful, in my opinion.

 

I think Melk could go past Zaka & become our 2nd best mid under 25 by the end of 2014.  He took massive steps last year. 


#20

If the VFL team is managed properly, then the major risk from not promoting the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year midfielders is not that they stagnate, but that they leave for more opportunity.

What I mean is that the game plan and player roles in the VFL side should be organised such that the apprenticeships served by these players prepare them to step up into the seniors if and when the opportunity arises. Teams like Collingwood and Geelong always seem to be able to bring in no-named young-ish players for their more seasoned team mates, with only a small drop in output and sometimes an improvement. I strongly suspect that they achieve this by focusing their development program and their VFL sides on this outcome.

If we can do the same and NO’B/KAV!/Browne/etc go up a level while performing their midfield roles, and if we also have a minimal injury year, then they might attract offers from other clubs. Aside from that danger, I would be happy for them to get 22 full games developing in the VFL.