The midfield

So we finally landed an elite mid in trade period.

How does our midfield now stack up for talent, depth and structure against the comp’s leading midfield groups.

I’ve been playing around with a list that tries to compare a few. The list is in I guess you’d say a rotation/role order but really the order is a little scratchy and I don’t really know enough about opposition second string midfields to be sure of much.

Hepp - beams - Viney - redden - cotchin

Shiel - Treloar - Oliver - yeo - Martin

Zerret - sidebottom - Brayshaw - shuey - prestia

Smith - Adams - Jones - sheed - Lambert

Zaha - Phillips - salem - gaff - Edwards

McGrath - mayne - jkh - jetta - ?

Langford - Pendlebury - lewis - ? - caddy

Parish - Josh Thomas - fritch - masten - ?

Myers - sier - harmes - hutchins - grigg

Stringer - de goey - petraca - ? - ?

Fanta/tippa - Stephenson - Spargo - cripps - higgins

It certainly feels like we are at least competing for depth even if we are probably a top liner or two short compared to the pies. If langford, parish or McGrath elevate their game a couple of levels the perception of our midfield will change rapidly I suspect.

Anyway, discuss…


this is a strange best 22 ivan


I believe in Skippy

I still reckon any game we lose, blitz will still be all like “We have no midfield, we haven’t had one for 15 years FFS.”

Some memes never die.


Looking at that, Melbourne’s is very, very strong with the first 4, in #2, #7, #10 and #13 with #4 as a tagger, but #24 rarely plays and #6 plays off the back flank. #5 plays very few minutes mid as does #31 and #3 plays mainly backline.

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Nice idea. For the Dons, the way I see the midfield tiers/rotations are:

C - Heppell. RR - Shiel. R - Merrett

W - Zaharakis. W - McGrath

C2 - Langford(Myers). RR2 - Parish. R2 - Smith

W2/PinchHitter - Redman/Stringer/Raz

It’s certainly good enough to compete with any midfield in the comp. The addition of Shiel changes the dynamic significantly.

I think you can refer to wings, but the rest are either offensive mids or defensive mids, not rovers, ruck-rovers or centremen.

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I’d have to disagree with you there. While the positions aren’t stuck to like the ‘traditional’ days, when you have a look at most midfields they consist of a very similar mix. Of course there is heavy rotations and they won’t always set up the stoppage with 1 C, 1RR, 1R but I see it as a guide to display the midfield dynamics.

Take the Pies for example, if you compare their mids with ours, there is a somewhat of a pattern that can be seen.

C - Pendles. RR - Beams. R - Sidebottom

W - Phillips. W - Mayne

C2 - Sier. RR2 - Adams. R2 - Treloar

W2/PinchHitter - Thomas/DeGoey/Stephenson

The legend is basically something like:
C = Big-contested midfielder-usually handballs
RR = Dynamic-inside/outside mid
R = More outside-accumulator-handball receiver-kicker

There are only 3 mids at the centre stoppage at 1 time so often I look for the balance of players playing these 3 roles in order to try work out the best mix to consistently win the clearance and work it forward effectively. (The ruckman also has a fair say in this!)

Thats not to say a certain player can’t play all 3 roles because there are plenty that do but obviously most players have certain strengths/weaknesses.

It doesn’t matter who you have on paper, good midfields are well coached and play to a system which they have bought into.

We have the cattle, now we need the plan and the intent to win a premiership.


I kind of think of the modern midfield structure like this:

  1. big bodied player whose role is as the primary ball winner or a blocker for our preferred trap recipient. He might also set up defensively to block the exit or deny access to the ball for a key opposition mid - hepp/Myers/Lang/parish

  2. A burst player who looks to win the ball and break away from congestion - shiel/parish/stringer/McGrath/Zaha/zerret/Smith

  3. Distributer, feed the ball back to him to spread the ball by foot.- zerret/hepp/Lang/ shiel

  4. Link man, run run run, present, ahead of the ball. -Zaha/McGrath/Smith/Guelfi/Fanta/tippa

  5. Link man, run run run, present, be the first option away from defender/congestion - Zaha/McGrath/Smith/guelfi/Fanta/tippa - hepp/Lang

The number of the different types of role player would vary (2 blockers for instance) and obviously roles aren’t quite as black and white as this with guys having different skill sets that may even spread across multiple roles.


I would have thought pies first choice RR is treloar

Yeah it’s a fair call. They are pretty heavily stacked with A-grade mids through there that can play a variety of roles. He did get injured as I came back into Melb this year so maybe he’s a bit out of sight out of mind.

Beams and Sidey had huge years and I reckon Adams is still generally underrated as a mid. I see Treloar as slightly more of an outside runner and outnumber player.

Just to be accurate: 15 years of mediocrity.

Covers all bases.



We’re almost there - a good back up ruckman and another good midfielder.

Watch us burn up the turf, we will be swatting the other teams like flies.

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All fine on paper but they were worked out by Pies and WCE for having too many slow, stodgy types and not enough run and class. If you look at Richmond, WCE, Pies they only really have 2 or 3 clearance specialist types, the rest of their rotations in there can either go forward or do some damage on the outside.

You wouldn’t be too worried if Viney, Oliver, 2018-model Lewis or Jones kick inside 50.

Once upon a time they probably hoped Melksham would be able to play inside and outside but he’s a dedicated forward now.

Yep, Parish/Langers/McGrath’s midfield development next year is super important for us, Laverde the same although I think it will be largely in the VFL.

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