Season 2018 - Essendon


Fair enough but all training reports have him in the midfield group.
If he is to spend almost all his time forward then our coaches are doing it wrong.

One of the biggest improvements last year ( apart from Joe’s kicking etc) was that the forwards worked as a group - creating space, dropping deep, crossing flanks etc.
Hence our efficiency up front.
Stringer may end up with little mid field time if his aerobic levels are a bust, but with no little or no training as part of the forwards to date, not starting him a mid risks buggering up the forward structure.


It’s the area I feel the most shakey about also. Trying to put a positive spin on it, Gleeks and Ambrose showed a steep upward improvement, Harts had a hopefully unusually crappy year and can only improve, Saad brings rebound and speed - no one is going to outrun us, especially with Oirish in there also, Hurley is just about a lock to put in a great year, Bags may be slowing, but we have others to slot in, and Brown makes a good intercept tall defender. On top of that, we have some exciting prospects in Zerk & Ridley.


That’s presuming he gets to us. I’m still skeptical.


While I am optimistic about 2018 I think we still have some weaknesses that worry me. The backline and midfield are areas of concern for me. The 3 players picked up will most certainly strengthen the side, but for us to be true contenders we need a big lift from our younger players who have been in the system long enough. Like Langford, Lav, and Harts

I think Langford or Lav need to become a solid inside mid that can consistently either win the ball or clear a path for our quick small mids. I hopeful but certainly not sold that either can turn into the player we need.

Parish, Zerret, MCG, Smith, all great players and can win inside ball but big bodies they are not.
Heppel is not an inside mid.
Myers is a fringe player.
Goddard - plays very well as an inside mid, but age means probably not very often anymore
Stringer - I have no doubt he can play cameos through the middle, but he is not a 70 percent mid yet, and has a lot of work to do to become this player.

As for the backline we are one key defender short. Harts needs to improve big time here. Ambros is good for Revolt types but not bigger taller players like your Ben Browns. etc.

Brown, Hurley, and Francis are all intercept players not true lock down types. (Hurley can be, but is far to valuable in the role he is playing to change)

Also I think our ruck department is serviceable without been great. Bellys best is great but he lacks consistency. Leuy doesn’t do much around the ground. Smack is Smack.

Last year we where lucky and had very few injury’s. This year we have improved the list no doubt but there are still some holes.

Its possible for us to make the top 4 with a good run of injuries, and if the likes of Langford, Lav and Harts have breakout seasons. If not we will finish from 5th to 9th. Just slightly better then middle of the road.


Won’t get him for less than next year’s first and second round.
In fact, I demand we offer that and reserve the right to say I never wanted him.


I agree with some of that but to say Heppell is not an inside mid is showing a very short memory.

And to say Goddard is very good as an inside mid is really stretching things. He was solid there at the start of 2017 but he’s played very little inside mid across his whole career


In regards to Heppel, he is great in traffic, reads the spill of the ball from a pack as good as any player in the comp. This makes him kind of a inside mid. But he is not an inside bottom of the pack extractor (watson/kenedy Fyfe), never has been.

I know Goddard has played very little inside, because his kicking etc is such a weapon he has not been used there much. But he proved last year he can be an inside mid if required.


All true although Kelly and McGrath were both part of our starting 6 and important parts of the backline last year so there will be an adjustment to not having those guys there. Hopefully that adjustment happens before the season starts.


This post will come across a bit harsh but it is a reality.

If Laverde and Langford don’t come on this year, can we begin to look at the next bunch of recruits such as Mutch Clarke etc?

I really want Essendon to break the habit of keeping list cloggers like Jackson Merrett or David Myers on the list for 6+ years without having any decent output and hoping they will eventually come on when we could easily be developing other players or looking for players in the state leagues, indigenous zones (Tippa) or Delisted Free Agents.


I expect him to feature on the inside in every forward half stoppage. Not a true midfielder to be sure.


Does anyone know where I could find a tabulation of inside 50s conceded?


Definitely harsh

Wayyyy to early to considering them list cloggers at 21yrs old. They have both been in and out of team as young players who understandably are going to be inconsistent.

Lang been redeployed into a new role he’d never played before and increasing playing weight plenty. LAV had some very unlucky injuries.

Both would be primed to impact over next few years as physically ready to go and make good on their obvious footballing talent.


So, last year we finished the season in 7th. In my summary, here are reasons we may go up or down:


  • Time together/learning roles: This team hasn’t had a lot of time together, last year was really the first year. So we should get some improvements there. And some (such as Hooker) were learning a new role. McKenna, Ambrose, Raz, Parish, Hartley were in their second or so seasons learning their roles (at AFL level anyway). In other words, there is a lot of scope for improvement.
  • Saga players: Generally, the SAGA players were worse off than their best. Some of them hugely so. If players like Hurley, Heppell and Hooker can improve further, and Colyer, Myers, Belly can find their better form, then that is a considerable edge.
  • Recruits: Obviously the upside of bringing in SSS is enormous. Only Port Adelaide of the top 8 can say they had a similar boost added.
  • Forward Line: We’ve got the best forward line, and when you can be as damaging as us you’re a chance anywhere anytime.
  • Draftees: We took high picks in 2015 and 2016. Hopefully more of them start having an impact.


  • Lost & Ageing Players: Watson and Kelly had impacts across a lot of games last year, and will be missed. Bags and Goddard were very important, and are in an age bracket where decline can start.
  • Defence: It is weak defensively at the moment. Hurley & Hartley were generally beaten 1 on 1, Bags is old, Goddard can’t defend, Gleeson is usually beaten 1 on 1. We’ve lost Kelly and McGrath (to midfield) who were our better defenders, and added Saad who is an offensive weapon but “ok” at defence. We desperately need another intercept marker (who can out mark their opponent unlike Gleeson), and probably another shut down defender. Hopefully Ridley or Francis can help with the first, and maybe Dea is backup on the second. But it is a concern. Hartley and Hurley finding their best form would help immeasurably.
  • Midfield: For all the talk, it is awfully unproven. @samwoods posted a top 7 above, of which 3 were unproven in there, only one is elite, and Parish is barely out of the unproven category. It also ignores the midfield is really about 9 these days. We are incredibly dependent on guys like Stringer, McGrath, Smith, Parish, Colyer, Langford, Laverde, Walla, Raz, Begley, Myers becoming factors for us in 2018. And we probably need that of 4-5 of them. That’s a lot of uncertainty/hope!
  • Uncertain Development: There is no certainty that Smith and Stringer will get over their injury and/or off-field issues. We also have a lot of need for youngsters to step up, which may not happen.

I tend to be optimistic, but so much depends on the kids and fringe players lifting. I think we can go top 4, but I wouldn’t put us amongst the favourites for the flag.


Stringer is going to be important. Imagine coming up against Geelong’s midfield. McGrath takes Ablett, Zerret takes Selwood, Stringer takes Dangerfield.


Stringer Smith McGrath. And one of Laverde/Langford are key to being any real threat.

We simply have to win more clearances at stoppages, hence the big bodies of Stringer/Langford and Laverde are crucial.

We have the outside game to go with anyone.


Is Laverde training for any sort of role at stoppages? Even 10% of his time?
From what i’ve seen he hasn’t played any time at all at stoppages in AFL or VFL even when he has been fit.


Good point, guess I’m letting some of my wishful thinking get in the way.


And what about Begley??


David Myers has been a first choice player for 4 different senior coaches. The only reason he hasn’t played 150+ games is bad luck with injuries and every time he’s had a decent run at it he’s contributed well. Calling him a career list clogger is very, very harsh.


Yes, well maybe the regular training guys will know for sure who else is getting a go in there.