Our best quality list for some time:
I’m not saying we have all the star power in place yet. But going towards 2019 an even list which plays as a team, beats a star studded list that doesn’t do as much hard work.
By my calculations we currently have 39 players who are up to AFL level with 2 more who are showing plenty and will be opening their account next year (Zerk and Draper) which would make 41 players on our list who would be respectable at an AFL level.
There are 3 first year players who need time to show something and only one player who I can’t see staying on our list next year (sorry Jerrett).
The point of this post is I think we have the best true depth we have had in my memory of our list, which goes back to the dark days of Des Tuddenham as captain coach.
There are no players who regularly get games who I don’t think deserve to play at AFL level. I like Colyer, and believe he could play at a high level still, but needs a good pre-season to get some touch, he is probably the most vulnerable as a whipping boy, but even he has been dropped to do some improving in the VFL.
Obviously we are going to need a couple more, at least, to go next year, besides Jerrett, but I don’t see the big turnover we have had in previous years. Although if push came to shove there are probably up to 9 players who could be under some pressure if Dodoro thought we could find some upgrades.
In terms of quality players in excess, there is quite a lot of depth in the 190 to 195cm defender department (Gleeson, Francis, Ridley, Hurley, Ambrose, Zerk-Thatcher) and combining those with the taller defenders, Hooker, Hartley and Brown there is only probably 5 or 6 places in the side for these 9 players, and that is including one in the Goddard role and another 1 or 2 as forwards (but only when players like Joe and Smack are out) with Brown being the only one in the group demanding a forward position at the moment. If you chuck Goddard and Dea in the medium to tall defender bracket, we have 11 quality players who can play as medium to KPD.
So Brown now being largely a forward isn’t a surprise, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Francis joined Stringer, Langford, Laverde and Begley in an elite big bodied midfield, forward rotation in years to come, with Fanta, Smith, Walla, Zaka and Zerrett also showing a similar versatility with their speedy midfield and small forward nouse. It is this newly realised midfield depth which is starting to shine through, and the fact it includes so many quality forwards makes it very special.
There are 3 players who are over 30 (Goddard, Bags, Leuenie) and 3 who turn 30 before or during next year (Hooker, TBC, Myers), and we won’t be letting any of the latter 3 go, and the older group all have some chance of staying on.
With the depth players, I would be happy to keep all of them, but depending on what is lighting up Disco’s eyes at the end of the year - that will determine how many we keep.
But the reason we let players go, at the end of 2018, won’t often be because they are not up to it.
It will be in almost all cases, a matter of making enough room for those who we can’t go past at trade and draft time.
I am making the assumption that after our glorious win last Friday that everyone is happy with the players who are in the current team from last week.
Below is a look at the 23 players who didn’t play last week.
Players outside the current team:
Injury List - are all players who were getting a game when fit until injured.
Developing Prospects not in side - plenty of upside
First years who need time to show something:
Decent depth players - AFL worthy
Time’s probably up