Some perspective - yep, this is bad

Just thought I would put some thoughts down given that a week is a long but also an incredibly short time in football.

Let me start by saying that in my 25 seasons of following the Bombers this is definitely (given the context) the bottom of the barrel. Let’s go through the post-1993 phases to see why our travails this season are so jarring.

Phase 1: 1994-98, The learning years
We spent the first part of this a little too self-happy. Youngsters who had unbelievably won a premiership in the first try expected it to happen each season. Yes, major injuries to Hird, Bewick, and Long played a role but despite the coaching staff’s experience, it was a hard sell. 1996 (losing 2 finals by a point each) was an inkling of what should have been. And then, the ’98 marshmallow game was the absolute pits.

Phase 2: 1999-01, The peak
Everything came together. New ideas in the coaching staff under Sheeds. The infusion of skilled AND tough players (Solly, the Johnsons, Barnard, Heff, Cara, Blumfield), the blooming of our core in Lloyd and Lucas and the resurgence of veterans like Hird, Mercuri, Barnes, Fletch and Longy. We should have could have won 3 in a row but had to settle for 1. As the siren sounded on the ’01 grand final (and the aged gentleman sitting in front of me quietly removed his shirt to reveal a Fitzroy jumper under it) there were only two routes we could take. Surgically remake the list or top up and go around again. We unfortunately chose the latter.

Phase 3: 2002-07, The inevitable decline
This is when our decline truly started. The kick off was the salary cap debacle leading to Heff, Cara, Blumfield, and Moorcroft leaving. Sheeds, in all his wisdom thought that we were but a few top ups away from contending. Remember Mark Alvey? Mal Michael? The return of Fish? I do feel that towards the end Sheeds knew it was time to go back to the kids but it was too late.

Phase 4: 2008-2010, The depths of mediocrity
Knights and his “brutal running” regime were never going to work out. Yes, every now and then we pulled out a brilliant win but the misses in recruiting, trading, and developing bit us again and again. That said, towards the end of Knights’ tenure one did feel that the kids were ready for development, the spine was in decent shape, and what was missing was a better coaching group.

Phase 5: 2011-2015, The lost generation
Not much to say here as it is still so raw. Maybe an optimist would say that the generation isn’t truly lost. A pessimist would say that Jobe should have captained a premiership, Stants should have played in a Grand Final. Fletch should have had a much more successful end to his career. Should have. Would have. Could have.

Phase 6: 2016-Now, The false dawn(?)
Finally, this brings me to now. Once I got over the shock of the ban, I was actually really excited by the ’16 season. How often does one go into a season with ZERO expectations? How often do kids get games in them as a big group surrounded by experienced pros? How often does one have the luxury of a dozen ready-made players waiting to join your side in the next season? And then comes 2017 and we make the finals and Dodoro does his thing at the trade/draft table. That should have set us up for a massive 2018. Yet… Our coaching is one-dimensional. Players’ talent is not being utilized. We make the same mistakes again and again (kicking sideways, hand-balling aimlessly under pressure) not just in the same game but game after game. Yes, we have a hole in our mid-field but our defence and attack are as good as any. But that is no good now that the confidence is shot.

I fear this season is lost and it is the most disappointing one in my years as a Bomber fan. This could so easily have been avoided or at least fixed. There is no external pressure. There are no major talent issues. This is a self-inflicted wound.


Things are never as bad as they seem and never as good as they seem.


You almost have to wonder how Knights might have gone with decent recruiting/trading…


In Nights Out Kneeld

I remember one of my posts in the 16/17 off season saying I was ■■■■ scared we’d take all these lessons thrust upon us by the footballing Gods in 2016 regarding youth and rebuilding and throw them in the toilet by returning to our “slightly a over mediocre” players and not continue to take our medicine, as we’d failed to do for the previous decade and as the universe was trying to compel us to do.

We’ve done exactly that.


But, yep, it’s bad.
This is the best list we’ve had in a decade.
I mean…really friggin’ easily.
At least a decade.

Not the best team, obviously.
Good teams…win. But the best list.

And we’re playing like a bottom four team.


Yep. Essendon, too big to bottom out.

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This season is most certainly lost.

In fact we need to sacrifice this season so we are 1 step ahead for next year. It’s time to put this season away, Forget about finals and focus predominantly on 2019.

I do not want us to bottom out, or tank, or deliberately lose, or focus on draft picks.

We must put together this f*cking game plan. Work at this game plan. Practice this game plan. Perform this game plan.

It’s time to play the players who will perform this game plan in 2019. Any player who will be delisted. Put a line through them, they’re done.

The players need to play together, under the game plan with no fear of losing. Attack the game.

If we put the right steps in place for preparing for 2019, imo we can win the Premiership. But there needs to be more pain in this season.

1999 was the most disappointing season bar nothing…

I don’t think the season is lost yet… last year we did get to a stage where we were 2 or 3 wins behind our losses, I think we were 4-6 at one stage? We are on the verge though.


There’s two levels to that.
And the first level is that I have no ■■■■■■■ idea what our gameplan is supposed to be.
I knew what it was last year, and it worked okay.
But the added defence that we were told would be incorporated this year?
Have not seen it once.
Not for five friggin’ minutes.

Or, dear god, I hope I haven’t.

But you’re writing off this year for a better next year.
The problem I have with that is…what in the hell makes you think this game plan is worth persisting with?
Melbourne smash it!
Melbourne are ■■■■!

You want to write off this year so we can get better at a predictable and easily destroyed game plan next year?

But…you know…fine.
Might be wrong.
Might be a good idea.
Let’s go with the idea that it is a good idea.


This is NOT a new thing.
This goes back to FARKING Crowley.
■■■■ Crowley.
Sure, if you were going to let him do the one thing he was good at, tag, and let our younger players have a decent crack…you know, I can see the benefit.

But we did not do that.
At all.
We played him as a farking forward pocket so he could get to I don’t care how many games for NO FARKING REASON.

And it’s still happening today.


I wonder (guessing) if the club felt it had/has a “sense of duty” to those saga players that they had to allow them to come back and play senior football, given what had happened to their careers. We can see how you would have gone the rebuild, play more kids, but… we would have had to say bye bye to a number of players. And whether those players would have then turned around and sought additional compo from the club for shortened careers. Just speculating, but I feel the ramifications of the saga are still there and restricted by what we feel we could do.


We were 6-8 after the Brisbane loss. We were never more than 2 losses behind, which is why this weekend is critical IMO. 2-5 and I think the season is well and truly lost.

The return of the saga is really starting to ■■■■ me.

Hird was…decided to resign…because blaming the saga for our 100 point loss against St Kilda had nothing to do with that, and blaming that was pathetic.

That’s a long, long, long time ago.
But fine.
If it’s still too close, let’s get some clear air.


I don’t think it’s that bad. We have a lot of talent that is really under performing. A third of our best 22 have been AA and are butchering the ball. Beside Hurley no one is playing as a top 10 player in there position. The players can turn this around with a better frame of mind and execution.
A better game plan may put us in a better position but the fault is with the players. If they play well who will beat us? When is the last time we have played well and lost?

So after we sacrifice this season, and get into the finals and lose again, will you bemoan the fact that only 2 of the players had never played in a final before ?

To throw in the towel, when the list is this good would set us back 2 years , not one.

I don’t think we are going to give up now. Lets look at it again after the bye.

If you said that to me, as a coach, I’d hand over the reigns.

If anyone said, ‘You objectively have some of the best payers in the league’, any league, ‘but…’

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If by some miracle we make the finals (which is pretty much laughable), we will be smashed once again in the first final.

We end up going into next season like we do every other year; lukewarm. Mediocre. Average.

Then what?
We do the same thing the following year.

We are no chance to make the finals. Statistically we might be a chance. The players simply are not good enough. It’s time to
Make a hard decision, because we have not been bold. We have not rolled the dice on our future. We stroll along hoping something, someday something will change.

The season is not lost yet. We are 3 games from top and a looonnngggg season to go. Swans started 5 zip last year so everyone take a deep breath.

Once we are over half way through the season at least, we should have a better idea of where we are at. At that point, we see if the season is gone, then start the future planning. But not from now FFS!


How many finals games had the Swans won in the previous five years?
Edit: And I completely agree about knowing where we are after the bye. Just a shame, you know…

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I think what has left everyone confused is the regression in the form of the playing group.

Disposal efficiency has dropped off, accuracy in front of goal has dropped, what was touted to be a quick side has been found wanting for pace. The emphasis of defense has failed to materialize. Kicking to and fro across the backline indicates players are not confident in attacking.

I know people are dark on Neeld but I would have thought that any tactic brought in by a coach would have to meet with the approval of others before it was instituted.

If we lose this weekend you can pretty much say that the club forgets finals and goes back into a development phase. But why…why have we gone backwards? That’s the million dollar question.