Way too much doom and gloom today.
What this year has shown - and the past 15 in fact - is that we can defend and score pretty well most of the time.
The problem is and has been for 15 years, the midfield.
I don’t buy this “loser culture”, etc. type mentality.
Go and put in 2 A Grade midfielders in our side and we 3-4 more games for the year, have a bigger % and finish in the Top 4.
Our improvement - or regression - next season will depend 95% on how much we improve our midfield given Watson was still, yesterday, our best inside mid.
And I don’t mean further improvement - although welcome - in the likes of Parish or Zac Merrett or McGrath. They are “smaller bodied” mids. We need midfield bulls, like Jobe once was, and what the likes of Martin, Ollie Wines, Jay Viney, etc. are.
If Liberatore could get his head right he would be the ideal pick up, rather than Stringer. Not that Stringer wouldn’t improve us as a HF but a firing Liberatore would improve us way, way more as big bodied mid.
Begley would be ideal to develop into that role if he has the tank because he has the perfect build - and competitive instincts as one. Ditto Laverde. Ditto McKenna (if we can hang on to him).
And, by the way, Lnagford is not a big bodied mid no matter how much he dreams of being one - he struggles to run 4 quarters out as one at VFL level. At AFL level he was completely spent at half time in both the diabolical Swans-Brisbane losses and left us effectively 1 player short for much of the last quarter in each. It’s why Myers got brought back.
We don’t need to improve our forward line as such with the talent already there. We need to get a midfield that supplies way more than 32 times in a game and, in doing so, gives the backline the breather it deserves. Noting that I’m not convinced that Harltey as a very tall KP defender is the answer. We should certainly be looking at “cheap” options for that role like Jackson Trengove or Rory Thompson who both at least have some physical presence.
We need bigger bodied, contested ball players all over the ground (that’s why Begley is such a welcome inclusion) and most particularly in the middle.
It’s not “culture” problem, but a recruiting and player developer challenge we have.