Made finals. Got experience. Learnt what the level is and will take that into the preseason. It is what we had to do, and that was achieved. Well done.
Strong core group. We do have a bunch of elite players. Won, or were in the running, for a series of awards. Well done to those individuals.
Development Surprises. Conor McKenna, the Marty Party, Ambruise, Jimmy Stewart, McGrath all exceeded my expectations. Well done.
Off-field. Made big profit. Great crowd numbers. Great membership numbers. I also feel that fan engagement went up again this year. Saga settlements done. Further TVSC improvements planned. Started the “Move back to the G” process. Excellent application for a Women’s team. Well done to the off-field team at EFC, and the fans who make the club strong.
Xavier. Got a world of time for this guy. Leading beautifully, excluding the twitter incident where he should have told the players to HTFU.
Crow. Extraordinary year from an injury perspective. We may not ever see that again.
Dodoro and Keane. Felt the recruits from last year all showed promise. I like what his team are doing.
Finals slaughter. In general, just really really poor.
Kick-ins. How farkin hard is it to have some sort of plan for kick-ins? The scenario is the same every time. Stand in box with ball… bring it back into the field of play. Surely surely surely we can come up with something better than kicking it to the same spot 90% of the time.
Selfish. I think we have a lot of selfish players. We have some very good individual talents, but few good team players. In particular, we really do need to learn to block / shepherd for each other. The number of times player x has the ball streaming down the field and player y just trots along beside them hoping for the ball while player x gets chased from behind is infuriating. In addition, the whole pointing and blaming others thing is ridiculous. You’re a team, you succeed or fail as a team.
Physically soft. We have no presence on the field. You don’t have to be big to have presence. You do have to have the right mindset. We have so very few players that play with aggression. We could learn something from rugby league here regarding taking the opportunity to hit to hurt when it arises, and learning to stick tackles.
Mentally soft. Honestly lads, as a group you are a basketcase. You do not have the footy smarts nor confidence to ice the clock. You do not have the ability to get yourselves up for games against sides you think are beneath you. You have not worked out how to put your foot on the throat of the opposition when in front. You have a habit of getting on a role and playing good footy when coming from behind after pretty much having to throw caution to the wind because whatever you tried so far hasn’t worked and you have nothing to lose. And stop playing for free kicks, instead learn to win the contest anyway.
Fair. Having just said stop playing for free kicks, what we need to do is learn to play within the rules as they are being umpired, as opposed to how they are written in the rule book. I swear we get pinged for incorrect disposal because we are trying to get a handball away, where if we just dropped the ball it would be play on. We need to learn how to scrag players without giving away frees. We need to learn how to reduce the impact of the opposition, and to hell with whether it is fair or not.
Midfield defence. Play a tagger. Defend as a team. I don’t know, but it’d be great if we could be within 10m or our opponents through the midfield while they happily chip their way from the D50 to the F50. And it’d be great if the bloke we knew was going to get 30 touches and 3 brownlow votes could have some chance of not getting those 30 touches and 3 votes.
Development. Felt we missed opportunities to put games into kids, and gave to many games to the senior statesmen.
The returning players. All of them were below par.
VFL. I think we undervalued the VFL finals series. Primarily by choosing to rest 3 players just in case they were needed for the AFL final. That is a dreadful error in judgement in my view.
Summary - I really enjoyed the year. It was an emotional roller-coaster of a ride, but for all the right footy related reasons. Looking forward to the trade / draft period and into pre-season next year. We need some freshening up in the coaches box, a bit of age demographic changes to the list, and some luck at the trade / draft table. But we’ll be in it in a big way next year.