Season 2017 in the rearview mirror

With the season done and dusted. My positives were:

McGrath ripping it up and winning RS. Going to be a champion.
Begley’s quarter of brilliance. What a start.
JD marks and being in the hunt for coleman… bring on another 10 years of that please
Watson coming back for one last lap. Sad to see him go. True champion, forever loved.
Seeing Hurley step back and str8 into AA. Beast Mode still got another couple of notches
Fanta and Walla giving teams heart attacks!
Merrett stepping up and showing his class. Gun.
Putting some distance between us and the saga
A short injury list most of the season, a novel but lovely situation
Making finals
Posting a profit

Overall I’d give the season a 7.5/10. Still lots of work to do imho but the core young group has a bucket load of talent and the club appears to be flying off field. Everything is set to really get back to the top if we make the right choices from here.


I would give the season a generous 4

A few positives but not a lot

A ton of negatives.

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Good: We made finals.
Bad: We played finals.


My positives…

Finally beating Collingwood twice in a season.
The win in the season opener against Hawthorn was awesome.
The continued development of Fantasia and Joe Daniher.
The successful move of Tippa into the forward line. Even though he tired late in the season, it was a positive overall.
James Stewart was a big surprise. Really didn’t think he’d be anything more than a depth player.
McKenna was a big tick. I didn’t think he’d be this valuable.
Gleeson has improved too. I think he should be able to take James Kelly’s spot in the back six rather than slide Goddard back. I think in a way, Kelly stunted Gleeson’s development but made him realise what he needs to do to warrant a spot in our back six.
It may not directly help our senior team, but Langford’s form in the VFL late in the season will hopefully give him a platform to build on going into pre-season and into next season.
Sam Draper looks promising. He’s still a long way away but he’s exactly what you want to see from a rookie list player.
The win against Geelong was probably the first time I honestly thought this team was looking like a finals team.
Even though we lost to the Swans, I felt we matched them for all but 2 minutes and thought we’d turned the corner. But the last two minutes and the last 20 minutes against the Bulldogs proved we just aren’t mentally up to the challenge.

I thought we’d finish 11th or 12th. Somewhere around there. Funnily enough, we were 1 win and percentage above that spot so there isn’t much between 7th and 11th. I give us a 7 out of 10 purely based on that we exceeded my expectations.
The game style was good, but the defensive side of things is still a work in progress and honestly, I think we’re hamstrung with the midfield talent we’ve been harbouring for the past decade. We just can’t seem to strike the balance between attack and defence.

I don’t see us making the 8 next season unless we make some gutsy changes. We won’t get enough improvement from our current youngsters and we won’t have as good a draw. For us to make it, we’ll actually need to be ruthless when we play the bottom 8 teams and get that percentage boost we traditionally don’t take advantage of. And we cannot farking lose to two of the bottom four teams!


At the start of the season i would’ve given making finals an A+. however when we came out and destroyed some top 8 sides and actually looked like a cohesive side, i elevated expectations. since some total out of nowhere collapses like vs brisbane. i’d say we’re a 4-5/10. missed opportunity to build the side after some older players past the zenith showed the game had gone by them

made the same decisions and mistakes across the whole season, similar to 09, similar to 11, to 14 etc etc.

Ended up with the same results.
I’ve cut worsfold some slack after the season, and admit the juggling act of re introducing the 12 was hard.

However he has done nothing to change the course of what this club is, at present, and if he can’t do it next year, he never will.

I’d give the season a 5 and that’s generous.

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Spasmodic to say the least.

Had a pretty good run in the middle of the season but through a combination of fatigue and our game plan being worked out we stumbled to the line.
Highlights were beating the Filth twice, round 1 over the Hawks and smashing the Eagles, Power and Aints. Lowlights were snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against the Swans, being mauled by the Crows twice and losing to absolute garbage like Brisbane, Freo and Fark Carlton.
Probably a 4/10 at best

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Up until about 5pm yesterday I would have said it was a solid pass. After that, I’d say more like a terminating pass.

I rate it about the same as I rated 2009.

Our best footy was superb, but…

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A 4 for me also. I think we all expected and hoped for more improvement with getting our suspended players back and with improvement from our young guns.

Even though last year was a disaster, there were credible performances by blokes like Hartley and other brought in last year. Unfortunately he and they have not only not progressed as they should have, they seem to have gone backwards. And the returning players by and large did not perform to their expected standard.

Then we have the intransigence in the match day tactics, and the capitulations to teams we should have beat.

This is a year of what could have been. EFC gets a “should try harder” on their school report.

Given where we came from and the carryover baggage, this year was at least an 8


The transformation of the forward line alone warrants a solid 10/10 in my mind.

Steady progress was made in the midfield though I was very disappointed that Langford was given such limited opportunities. Tbell surprised me though I still doubt him as a long term consistent solution. Draper showed incredible and encouraging progress. Hepp will be better for the run - 6/10

Ambrose showed enough in his handful of games to make me hopeful for his future progress and Hurley and Hartley can likewise improve on what were solid albeit patchy years. Conor arrived and gleeson consolidated but we need to find two more small mediums defenders, one to release McGrath and one to replace bags/kelly. Overall I blame the midfield more for our defensive problems than I do the actual back 6 - 7/10

So 7.66/10. I’m knocking some off for the second quarter on Saturday and the Brisbane performance. 6.5/10 feels about right. Plenty of room for improvement but some undeniably strong progress. This is a super important offseason though in terms of addressing our midfield. Do that successfully and i do think we can quickly propel ourselves up the ladder given some of the weapons we have in the fwd line.


For what its worth…

2017 team stat rankings

Disposals. Total 1st - Average per game 4th
Kicks. 1 - 3
Handballs. 5 - 7
Disposal efficiency. 4 - 4

Hitouts. 15 - 15
Clearances.15th - 18th
Contest poss. 9th - 13th

Goals. 4 - 4
Goal accuracy. 12 - 12
Inside 50s. 10 - 12
Efficiency insd 50. 1- 1

Marks. 1 - 2
Contested marks. 6 - 6
Marks inside 50. 7 - 9

Intercepts. 5 - 7
Rebound into 50. 3 - 3

Tackles. 14 - 14
Tackles in 50. 13 - 15

Frees for. 12 - 13
Frees agnst. 7 - 10

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I’m sorry but I find this unreasonably harsh.

I think this thread really needs to wait a week. People need to get over the bitterness of yesterdays game. In a season that we won more games than we lost you are trying to tell me that there are more negatives than positives?

You have your right to your opinion but lets not be melodramatic.


Like I said in the other thread when people say “but we finished last and we to 7th this year”, no, last year was the outlier and exception to the rule where we were forced to play with ring ins. In 2012 we finished just outside the 8 after falling apart in June, in 2013/14 we finished around 7th-8th and in 2015 we were on until WADA appealed. This list has generally been around 7th-8th. We were not a true wooden spoon side, we had most our list missing.

I’ll start with the positives. We can literally thank out forwardline for most/any joy this year. Daniher is obviously a gun, Hooker I thought worked up forward for the most part, Fantasia is a star on his day, Tippa was mostly good apart from going quiet in the second half of the year and Stewart ended up finding his niche as a quality 3rd/4th forward. You can probably throw in Begley looking like he has something to work with and will fight for a spot with Green who whilst personally was average the team benefits from his presence imo.

Looking through the rest of the list for positives, Hurley was AA although we need to keep him far away from anything defensive, my god he was destroyed like a witches hat numeorous times and he needs to work on his “kick long to the flank” for every kick in thing he has going. Zach Merrett obviously our best in the middle, Parish was good in parts but lets be honest he had a down season, hopefully next year he shows his best parts for entire games. Gleeson impressed me from where I thought he was early in the year and McKenna definitely proved me wrong in cementing his spot. McGrath obviously the shining spot down back. Goddard and Baguley were passable and treaded water, both gave their all, but we’re stuck with the “he won’t improve us but can’t get rid of them” conundrum. Basically both are holes that are waiting to be fixed when they retire and I can’t see who does. So basically our forwardline was the only positive with maybe a few other players looking good in parts.

On the negatives, I can’t see how anyone would rate our season above a 7 or 8 at best. We had a soft, soft draw. Yeah we lost to those sh*t teams anyway but next year we’ll be getting lots more interstate trips that will be unwinnable for this fragile group. Trust me the draw we got this year was easy, next year we’ll be 6 day trips, bad Sunday games and going to play Freo over there. We made the finals off the back of scraping through on other teams falling over and it being a remarkably even season. We basically were handed the chance to blood kids this year and yet decided to blood games into the returning/older players that were horrendous. Howlett, Myers, Hocking, Stanton, Kelly, Goddard etc represent games that could have benefited next year for a kid but instead we played them…just cause. “But the kids didn’t earn it” I hear some say, FCK OFF. Mutch was great all year, Langford got dropped after one bad game after being great for most the year in the VFL, what a great message that sends to a kid. Meanwhile Howlett stunk it up with 12 touch nothing games and got games week after week. It took Begley all year to get the last 3 weeks. He could have had an extra 10 games. I’d rather play kids who might improve off only a little form than play older plebs who give nothing and don’t perform regardless. At least the kids MIGHT improve us. I like both Langford and Lav but we know less about them now than we did last year.

Our midfield is a shambles. Zerrett aside I don’t trust any of them to have a good game when we need them too. Heppell had about 3 really good games and the rest were mostly average. He’s laconic, seemed slower in both pace and smarts and got caught a lot throughout the year. I’m hoping it’s just this year otherwise I’d send him back to the HBF because he lacks presence in any shape or form. Zaharakis is good but he won’t be there when the going gets tough.Watson was mostly horrible no matter how much nostalgia we try and give it and pump up his average performances. Giving Myers 3 years was a shambolic decision and even more so when we look at how bad he is after year 1, he’d seriously be the most average player getting 22 games you’ll likely see. Poor foot skills, can’t handball and average contested ball winning skills at best. At best…I literally can’t think of any other semi decent midfielder. People say Langford will never be a midfielder but give him a year before we write him off, rather him than fcking Howlett or Myers.

Backline leaks goals like a sieve, in a throwback to the Knights era which you can either thank the midfield or backline for, it’s like what came first the chicken or the egg. Either way, we’re fcked. Ambrose is OK but I’m not sure we can carry both him and Hartley playing the restrictive roles, Harts needs to add some marking to his game or something. We need to find replacements for Kelly, Goddard, Bags and Jobe minimum in a year. McNiece looks ok but who knows if he’ll ever return. Bellchambers is typical good one week and caca the next 4. Luey literally can’t do anything other than win a hitout. Sooner we get Draper in the better.

When I think of the year I rate on where we’re going and how the list has progressed. I’m seeing more holes now than I did in 2014. Yes we won more games than we lost but from what we could have done, it’s a fail. I’d rather us have finished 12th and pumped games into kids. If I’m coach, next year our midfield looks like: Zerrett/McGrath/Parish with Zaka and Mutch getting game time. Hopefully get Rockliff and pray Heppell improves. I’m not saying it’s hopeless I’m just saying the year overall was a fail probably, there’s only so many Daniher/Faz/Tippa/Zerrett highlights you can watch before you start thinking about who’ll replace the Kelly or Goddard for starters. We need to draft midfielders and hit the free agency hard.



6 or 7 is about right.

4 is way unders for a season where a lot went right. Getting a dog up Collingwood on Anzac Day, ending Geelong’s streak over us, kick-starting Hawthorn’s rot, competing for the finals, competing for the coleman, competing for the brownlow, getting three AAAs, getting the RS with a number 1 pick (+ not blowing the number one pick!), finally having speed, finally having a forward line, Conor becoming best 22, Gleeson becoming best 22, farking carlton in the final minutes after they thought it in the bag, exposing Port and Eagles as flat-trackers, doing well with our bargain pick-ups (Green and Stewart), posting a mega profit, clean PR for the whole year, no long-term injuries to affect next years pre-season.


I’m pretty sure those that drove back to Melbourne can still see Sydney in the rear view mirror.


To be honest i had us at a 4 before yesterdays game. We win that and it goes up to a 6.5

To be honest as angry( angry is too nice a word for it) as i was yesterday, it still wasnt the angriest i have been this season

After yesterdays game i just felt sort of dead inside


Between this and the game review thread there are a lot of people judging the year by one game and failing to take into account where we started the year as the great unknown. Firstly like everyone it was disappointing to lose the way we did, but as some have said it should set the bar for these guys. Sydney are a hardened football team that are on a roll but will not necessarily win the premiership although will take some beating. You have to beat them as they don’t have too many off days. Having said that they were 0-6 when injuries bit them hard. They also have 3-4x more finals experience than us so it is to be expected that we would struggle.

I am not a rose coloured glasses to say we don’t have gaps. We clearly do but there are a lot of people wanting to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Blitz keeps on talking about what a basket case Richmond are and they have been for a long time but a year ago when we were laughing at their lack of players after their stars who had heard of Butler, Castagna etc . We don’t need world beaters we need our stars who we are developing in Merrett, Daniher, Fantasia, Hurley, McGrath and Parish. We need to make sure these guys remain or become A grade. They then need to consistently produce. We then need our role players that can be counted on to stand up on a consistent basis bringing in consistent effort. Langford, Laverde, Ambrose, Hartley, Gleeson Green Stewart , McKenna etc. The development side is where I get most worried. There are good players in these guys and the coaching needs to ensure these guys are developed. There is legitimate concern about that, which people are raising and next year will be a bigger test.

The guys complaining about this year and wanting to finish 12th with more games in the younger guys - I understand but the club was in a very difficult bind. They owed it to the 12 to bring as many back as possible. Apart from perhaps the Myers 3 years - and I am sure we are going to hear many Blitz comments on Hurley and Hooker being on 5 year contracts next year - the club wanted to do the right thing by the players football community and the supporters. No one knew exactly how the returning players would play. Belly has been up and down but his best was better than anything he produced before. Colyer was great early and fell away and Hep very much up and down. Hooker was a success in a new position and Hurley despite a different game style was AA. I think the club will cull hard at year end and we are already seeing the changes with Watson, Stanton, Kelly going - Howlett Hocking so the demographic will change significantly next year. We will be down to 6 players from the saga. Also the club wanted as much on field success as possible - look at the membership numbers - they wanted to reward the supporters with as much on filed success as possible and give the retuning guys many for only one year a chance to play finals. I can fully understand that motivation. Can you imagine this place of we won only 8 games?

Having said that next year is critical for the club. The club does need to get much more hard nosed and be aggressive at the trading table. For people to say this year wasn’t a success are not tacking into account the starting point. SOme people are comparing we are back to 2013-14 but you can’t compare. In those years we don’t have a functional forward line and had a mature list. We still relied on Fletch and lost a final because of his injury. The midfield was stronger because Watson, Goddard Stanton were are their peak but had no dep[th and was one paced. Our midfield is still a weak point but that isn’t the midfield now. We exit 2017 with our best players still having a number of great years of football ahead of them. Yes we have weaknesses we will get a harder draw but you don’t know how that really works until the year plays out. We should all be disappointed with yesterday but look forward. The club hasn’t renewed Woosha yet reflecting that next year is the first real year he can be assesses as next year will really be the first year it will be his team. Next year for me is first real clear year out of the saga lets assess where we are then.