Midfield dilemma


#21

Top clubs develop kids for years and see them leave for oppurtunity else where. It is what happens. Being concernered about it pointless. Be impressed with recruiting and hope it continues.


#22

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.

Heppell is 4th year now.

 

Surely what he did last year proved he's already a quality clearance mid.  If he improves further he'll challenge Watson for importance to the team.


#23

Melksham excites me. What a last half of the year he had. Hard as Selwood. Maybe harder.

Both he and Heppell (and Zaka too) need to push into the best mids in the comp. I think they can.

Then we are seriously looking at flags.


#24

Melksham excites me. What a last half of the year he had. Hard as Selwood. Maybe harder.

Both he and Heppell (and Zaka too) need to push into the best mids in comp. I think they can.

Then we are seriously looking at flags.

I'm excited about Melksham, too. As much as anyone, if he can continue with his late season form we are on our way. 


#25

I think one of the disappointments last year was that none of the younger mids outside the team seemed to put much pressure on those inside the best 22 (this was obviously offset by the continuing development of Myers, Heppell and Melksham). I think like Kommer and Merrett, if guys push enough they’ll have chances and then its for them to prove themselves. By my recall, none of them showed consistent high level performances in the VFL, it was mostly about promise and good signs. Nobody knocking the door down.
I think if they do knock hard enough on the door, the opportunities will be there.


#26

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

There inlies a problem that most dont' seem to get or see. A midfield that's settled, that's best finish has been 8th for how many years now, with the same core players in the midfield, is a bigger problem than most are willing to acknowledge. Sure there are other reasons as to why we've finished mid table for so long, and yes for periods of seasons said midfield has looked good, However when a season is made from merely a decent patch of form, over a seasons form, then it'll count.

 

the problem the youngsters outside of the best 22 are facing atm is, we still have guys ahead of them in the pecking order, who we have no idea if they can carry us for a whole season, while also improving us as a side.

Melk and Myers come to mind, then you have Heppell developing his game, to which he could be anything. You still have hope that Zaka might make it as a mid. and so on and so on.

 

However Like i've said before, at any one time there's 5 midfield spots. 3 of those spots are taken up by 3 players who spend most, if not all of the game in the midfield.

That leaves you pretty much 2 spots for the majority of games to rotate other designated midfielders and as well the other fringe midfielders that you rotate through the middle, to give guys a breather.

 

 

IMO there's a real problem at the club, with both supporters and coaches thinking. It's so rigid and restricted, that it hinders them from actually seeing the problems we have, while also limiting  there abilities to see and be open to new possibilities.

 

Case in point, how many people would be willing to follow Hawthorns lead, and move their best midfield cleareance player out of the midfield for the majority of the season, so that as a team other players could get valuable mdifield time, and as a team you could improve beyond relying prodominately on one player, like we have ?

 

Alas I know we won't do that, and our midfield will be Watson, Stanton, Hocking, Howlett and someone else, for the majority of the season, and then people will sit back at the end of the season and wonder why nothing has probably changed.


#27

 

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

There inlies a problem that most dont' seem to get or see. A midfield that's settled, that's best finish has been 8th for how many years now, with the same core players in the midfield, is a bigger problem than most are willing to acknowledge. Sure there are other reasons as to why we've finished mid table for so long, and yes for periods of seasons said midfield has looked good, However when a season is made from merely a decent patch of form, over a seasons form, then it'll count.

 

the problem the youngsters outside of the best 22 are facing atm is, we still have guys ahead of them in the pecking order, who we have no idea if they can carry us for a whole season, while also improving us as a side.

Melk and Myers come to mind, then you have Heppell developing his game, to which he could be anything. You still have hope that Zaka might make it as a mid. and so on and so on.

 

However Like i've said before, at any one time there's 5 midfield spots. 3 of those spots are taken up by 3 players who spend most, if not all of the game in the midfield.

That leaves you pretty much 2 spots for the majority of games to rotate other designated midfielders and as well the other fringe midfielders that you rotate through the middle, to give guys a breather.

 

 

IMO there's a real problem at the club, with both supporters and coaches thinking. It's so rigid and restricted, that it hinders them from actually seeing the problems we have, while also limiting  there abilities to see and be open to new possibilities.

 

Case in point, how many people would be willing to follow Hawthorns lead, and move their best midfield cleareance player out of the midfield for the majority of the season, so that as a team other players could get valuable mdifield time, and as a team you could improve beyond relying prodominately on one player, like we have ?

 

Alas I know we won't do that, and our midfield will be Watson, Stanton, Hocking, Howlett and someone else, for the majority of the season, and then people will sit back at the end of the season and wonder why nothing has probably changed.

 

Good topic that is generating some very good points. Now a few points of my own.

1. When it is called a competition, it means there is competition within the team not just team against team. This is healthy for the club, the more competition there is for spots, the better players will perform … or else. 

2. Serving an apprenticeship in the VFL. Gary O'Donnell played 90 or so games of VFL before he made his debut and Roger Merrett  perhaps even more, and it didn't appear to hamper their career development at all. A reasonable case could be made that it enhanced their games. 

3. We have a new coach for this season and we have no idea at this stage how he is going to approach things. He might throw a couple of kids in at the deep end, however l doubt it. The point made above about putting the team on the field that gives us the best chance of winning is the most salient point for mine.   


#28

I think Darkknightphoenix that if you can’t see the improvement that has been in the midfield then you’re blind. I think the drivers of last years final third collapse (the off-field issues) is very different to the previous year’s (key injuries) from the year before that (not enough quality there). Compared to three years ago, Goddard, Heppell, Myers and Melksham all add considerably to that unit. If - and I concede it may be a big if - Winders and Chapman can stay mostly fit their ability to assist will again strengthen it a lot.
For mine the big issue is the point of this thread - to what degree are the next guys putting on or will put on pressure. If they can start pushing Howlett out of the team and threaten the position of say Myers or Melksham, that’s great. If they don’t, we will still be suspect to injuries and have concerns over the longer term replacements for Jobe, Goddard and Stants.


#29

Not too many slow carnts in there at the same time please.


#30

I’m not concerned at all. Like Ants said, if they are playing top VFL football consistently then there will be opportunity for them. Still one or two young highly damaging outside players short of being an elite midfield group, but that could easily come from breakout years from just a couple of Colyer, Kavanagh, Merrett X2 or Browne.

Watson, Heppell, Melksham, Hocking, Myers, Goddard, Stanton, Zaharakis plus B-grade level breakout years from Colyer & Kavanagh is elite IMO.


#31

 

 

Case in point, how many people would be willing to follow Hawthorns lead, and move their best midfield cleareance player out of the midfield for the majority of the season, so that as a team other players could get valuable mdifield time, and as a team you could improve beyond relying prodominately on one player, like we have ?

 

Alas I know we won't do that, and our midfield will be Watson, Stanton, Hocking, Howlett and someone else, for the majority of the season, and then people will sit back at the end of the season and wonder why nothing has probably changed.

 

Oh for fu....

 

Apples for apples, here:

They moved out (part of the time... he still led their clearances) Mitchell when he turned 30.

 

Watson is 28.

 

Last year saw Heppell thrown into the middle full time, Melksham went right up the rotation, and Goddard played a bit through there & was a handy-ish acquisition.

Yes, Watson/Stanton/Hocking were still the main three.

Hawthorn have had Mitchell/Sewell/Lewis/Hodge as their main guys for 8 years straight, and still are.

 

After 10+ years of having to throw everyone bar the 2s' full-forward  in there at some point, we didn't. We only made 2 or 3 changes. And, guess what, it started to work... we were much more consistent, much more disciplined, and much more even down the list. So I can see why *some people* want it all changed forthwith.

 

Over the next 2-3 years we need to move past Watson/Goddard/Stants, which we are already starting (with Heppell/Myers/Howlett) and with further plans in place (Kav!/Browne/Hams etc).

We're in a lot less of a hole there than just about anyone.

 

I know *some people*, cough, would like us to make 9 changes every week but also stop making so many changes; to be more consistent but also stop doing the same thing; but if you look at the total list situation, we're in a very good spot.

For the first time in a long, long time: the coaches are in control of introducing/moving/rotating players when they're good & ready, not forced by the injury gods.


#32

I really hate it when your midfield is too good.


#33

Melk last season was superb. I reckon he can be the next big thing at essendon.


#34

Seems to be more of an issue of spectator desire than an real list management concern. These kids were sold over the off seasons lile draft days are movie trailers and we’re getting impatient to see the block buster footballers weve been promised.

Quality list development is not a matter of displaying all the kids at afl level so the fans can pick which band wagons they want tickets for.


#35

What midfield dilemma?


#36

Seems to be more of an issue of spectator desire than an real list management concern. These kids were sold over the off seasons lile draft days are movie trailers and we're getting impatient to see the block buster footballers weve been promised.
Quality list development is not a matter of displaying all the kids at afl level so the fans can pick which band wagons they want tickets for.

Real fans have Myki passes so they can hop on and off bandwagons as the wind changes.


#37

You can’t make roaches with mykis!


#38

For the first time since I've been following the club, which is since the mid-80s, our midfield is the strongest part of the team. We are well set for the next few years in the middle of the ground, and have a real chance to push deep into the finals, and maybe even snag a Premiership. I do wonder about the depth of class coming through though. Heppell will be exceptional, Zaka and Melk very good, but we need to find a couple of more if we are going to enjoy sustained success into the last part of this decade. Watson, Goddard and Stanton could leave a huge hole in a couple of years. In particular we need a couple of classy outside ball users. Hopefully Zac Merrett will be one of those players. Gold Coast will have O'Meara, Martin (supposedly better than O'Meara!), Bennell, Swallow, Prestia, Lonergan and probably a few others running through the middle. That is scary!


#39

They are getting an opportunity, in the VFL…

Get 25 quality touches consistently and you will be given a shot…

Just like what happened with Leroy last year, pity he didn’t take his chance when he got it.


#40

Hoping this season they do for Kav what they did for Melksham. Give him some full consecutive games to build confidence and actually experience AFL football, even if he's not an immediate hit - which he most likely wouldn't be. He's clearly got potential and after two seasons in the VFL he's not going to develop much if he remains there. To be clear, using him so sparingly over the past two seasons has been very canny in my opinion - they avoided any recurrence of the injuries that he suffered in his junior career, and also rounded out some of his game: he put up some really impressive tackle numbers this season and looks primed to be a very handy two-way midfielder. Class, smarts, skills, and now a defensive side to his game. 2014 is the time for him to take a step up. He should be the one in for Melksham to begin with and I'd like to see him replace Howlett by finals.

 

That said, the "dilemma" is overstated. We've got plenty of young mids who are looking very good. Also, Hawthorn and Geelong's method of keeping players in the VFL for two or three years then unleashing them seems to be pretty effective. Should be seeing that with Mitch Hallahan this year.