In the event that we have more suitable trade ideas knocked back, I think we could do worse than consider players
that are not even close to stars but can play a valuable role in our team. There are 2 candidates that I think coupled
with Ports first pick could prove of some use. Today I will write about the first.
Candidate #1 Jasper Pittard
You wouldn't have thought it unless you have watched a lot of Port Adelaide this year but Pittard is number 1 in
the AFL in one glaring dimension of his game.
And no, I am not talking about clangers.
Pittard is the number 1 running bounce player in the competition by the length of the straight. His huge 79
bounces for the year is some 12 more than the next best (Chris Yarren). To put that into perspective, that 12
bounce gap between him and the next best is the sum total of the following so called "running players" put
together (Glesson, JMerrett, Winderlich and ZMerrett). Our best running bouncer is Colyer with a respectable
21 bounces (ranked 47 in the competition), with our next best Paul Chapman with just 12 (ranked 89).
Pittard is also number 1 for average bounces per game. Colyer is 19th from memory.
Bounces? So what? There is more to the game than bounces? Who gets picked up because they like to
In my view, people equate a player's speed to his 20 metre sprint time. I would argue that being fast doesn't
necessarily mean you play fast.
The fastest team in the competition in my view when it comes to ball movement is Port. It should be of no
surprise that they are ranked number 1 for bounces (averaging 15 per game). We rank second last for bounces (9).
Only the insipidly slow Demons who have modeled their whole game around chip kicks and slow plays have
used less running bounces.
But that was our game plan? Bomber wanted us to keep things simple, find the first target?
That game plan was in my view put in to play to match the limitations of our list. If we had more players that can
naturally run and carry (without forgetting about their defensive side in doing so) they would have been encouraged to bounce more often. Colyer is a good example. He was our best x-factor player towards the back
end of the year because he could move the ball so much more swiftly than any other player. I would argue that he desperately needs company.
So he can run and carry. Anything else?
Pittard is ranked 11th for rebound 50's which suggests that he can both read the ball off the oppositions foot to
create a turnover and also demands the ball through handball receives. Even though we already rank highly for
being able to create attack from defense, Pittard could have us even stronger in that department.
But personally I see him more as a wingman than a half-back. Whilst it isn't so easy to break into Port's midfield (especially when you offer the team so much down back), I think our midfield is easier to break into
considering the lack of mature, proven running players it has going through it. The players we have been playing
on the wing like Stanton are good types but they lack the explosive pace that this position demands or Gleeson
who would perhaps be best suited to a half back role until his body fills out.
What about his suspect kicking and poor decision making?
Pittard does have a habit of the odd disgusting turnover and "what were you thinking" moment.
But his kicking efficiency this year was a very respectable 73.7%. When you consider, on average, he bounces
the ball 1 time for every 4 kicks (it is much harder to be efficient at full pace than a chip kick behind the mark)
that is more than respectable. Again, as a wingman his turnovers wouldn't hurt nearly as much.
In summary, Pittard isn't a star and may never be one, but he has a dimension to his game that I would argue
is elite and very much required at Essendon. Losing Pittard would be fixable without denting Port's premiership
hopes but it would still be a loss because he plays the Port way so effectively.