I thought I'd bring a few posts from the O'Meara thread where they quickly disappear over to here.
On Dodoro's trading:
You can't & should never try to equalise good performance & thats all Hawthorn does . Its not just those 3 clubs getting trades done anyway, as others have noted we chased Membrey & he went to the Saints, we chased Garlett & he chose Melbourne, we chased Judd he went to Carlton & we chased Cloke, Martin & god knows how many others who stayed. Look at Collingwood, they've secured 2 midfield stars from GSW & while they have ended up paying more than expected for Treloar, he was very good this year & will improve. They identified a need & have filled it. FFS even farkCarlton have traded in an AA defender in Docherty. Trading is something that has been steadily growing but we seem to be lagging behind. For 10 years here I have questioned Dodoro's ability to trade & nothing in that time has given me any reason to believe its improved. Maybe the difficult to deal with tag has some truth, maybe Dodoro does overrate our players, tries to lowball everyone or maybe he simply isn't an effective deal closer. It seems pretty clear to me that the best hope clubs have over the next decade will be to pry talent from GWS, GC & brissy who have been leaking for a few years. IF we don't have the people who can get that done I fear another era of mediocrity.
Of course a drug scandal and bottom rung finishes have nothing to do with it. Considering what we have been through and still the ability to secure someone like Luey is better than what you could hope for.
That would be absolutely fair enough if Dodoro hadn't been at the club for 20 years & even when we were regular finals winners he struggled to get decent trades done. Of course it would be easier had the saga not happened & we were a better team but at some point you have to question cause & effect - can he not trade well because we've been shyte or have we been shyte in some part because of his performance???
I'm actually not that disappointed about O'Meara. I've come to expect we will fail to land a high profile trade because we fail year after year. That's my point, its not a reaction to O'Meara or a hindsight call. I have been saying here for more than 10 years that Dodoro is simply not good enough at getting trades done. Its an evidence based analysis but of course most here can't see past their protective nature or look at it with objectivity. Absolutely some things have worked out for the better but can we really say its been good management? I'm struggling to think of our trade wins. In recent times its been more about trying to get value for talent leaving & before that it was a few recycled older players. McPhee is the only trade I can think of in the last 15 odd years where we got several years of good service. Am I missing someone?
The problem I have with our trading is it seems to me we are reactive in our approach.
Clubs that are good at this have players stitched up a long time before we're aware they are even on the table. Don't think for a second we even had a chance with O'Meara. I heard a long time ago Hawthorn had him. I'm sure we chatted to his management - every club would have. But Hawthorn would have had the ear of O'Meara himself. He knew he was going there months ago. Insiders say we offered him a good deal and he's thinking about it. That's a bit sad in itself. The club obviously thought he was considering us - he wasn't.
Same with Gunston, Frawley, Mitchell..... Swans with Franklin. Remember when the Cats flew over to speak to Boak. We thought we might be a chance with Judd - that deal was done long before we meet with him.
I feel like every year we put our hat in the ring when the player becomes available. Ala Marchbank at the moment. It worked with Luey last year, but it rarely does. We need to be better at playing a smarter, targeted game IMO.
Is Dodoro to blame for us not luring big name trade targets? I would suggest that players would look for the following in potential suitor clubs-
- Premierships - across all sports players chase the ultimate success. Too many examples to think of in the NBA for one, especially for top tier talent who have yet to win a title.
- Dollars - generally 2nd tier star players who are more concerned with cashing in on their window of opportunity - only one team can win each year, but a player can be financially (and statistically) successful without the wins to show for it.
- Relationships/mates - as we've seen with Hurley, and probably many other Essendon players throughout the history of the club.
- Location - some like the sun, some like a city... also the size of the market in the prospective city can increase advertising and promotional income for the player.
- Culture - Includes a combination of premierships and relationships, but also includes leadership and management of the club, and unlike the Bombers recent history, a lack of scandals.
- Facilities - Some players from the northern clubs have lamented the poor facilities of their clubs, and good facilities would certainly factor into the decision making of the player.
I'm sure there are some other factors to consider too (family and lifestyle spring to mind and maybe opportunity for a player who hasn't been able to play because he is behind an incumbent) but presently the Bombers wouldn't rate as highly as a club such as Hawthorn.
Looking at the last 20 years, we did see an influx of players when Essendon was looking a chance to win it all (Goddard, Chapman, Cooney, Gwilt spring to mind), and had what many considered to be good leadership and culture under Hird, Bomber, etc. Under Knights we were mostly a poorly performing team and not really a destination club, while in our earlier premiership window (99-01) we had a great list, but were hamstrung by salary cap issues and instead of trading players in to be able to keep winning were forced to trade players out.
When considering all of this I find it hard to blame one man for a lack of landing the big fish. Sure, it's easy to 'revise' history to suit one's own agenda, or make excuses for the clubs perceived failures, and maybe I am doing so, but to understand the 'problem' one needs to understand the circumstances around which it occurs.
Lastly, each year only one of the 18 teams wins the premiership. Similarly, if there is one big fish to be caught only one club can catch him. Although there are no prizes for coming second, that Essendon were in the mix for O'Meara and Judd for example, and because we are a big club with great fans, shows that we can still hold out hope for the next one.
I think it is a little unfair to say we haven't attracted players. Goddard was a huge win. Prismall was sought by multiple clubs. We got McKenna, Edwards and Leunberger to choose us. Most of those names are not great, but they were all contested and chose us. And frankly, outside of clubs at the very top how many do attract multiple "big fish"? The real problem is that getting to the top does appear to open the flood gates, and Geelong, Sydney and Hawthorn in particular have all benefited from this in recent times. Hawthorn particularly seem to have a long history of this, getting guys like Jacobs, Croad (return), Burgoyne, Gibson and Gunston at times they weren't seen as top of the heap. But they do seem the outlier.
Frankly, not many big fish go anywhere except the top sides, and so its understandable we've only got Goddard.
Where I think some questions can be asked is our ability to identify and target unproven players and bring them to Essendon. Although we do well out of state leagues, our record with AFL clubs is appalling. Someone listed in a thread our record with players coming in, and outside of Goddard and Gwilt the only other success since Wellman/Barnard is McPhee. Cupido, Alvey, Cole, Zantuck, Prismall, Edwards, Aylett, Heffernan (mark 2), and others have all failed, or we've got one season out of them (Alan, Camporeale, Murphy, Michael, Chapman). You look at other sides and although there are some terrible at it, there are a number who are pretty good. Again, Sydney and Hawthorn lead the pack, but St Kilda, Port, Collingwood and Bulldogs have got some good younsters very cheap.
We really need to improve in that area.