What's gone wrong


What I’ve noticed is a lot of people trying to narrow it down by finger pointing at either one thing or another, most often the coach or those assistants around him. In my opinion there may be some changes in in our coaching structure which would see improvements, but there’s also a bigger picture to it all which needs to be considered before we go down that path of blaming it all on the coach again.

The reality is that under 3 seperate coaching regimes we have had a core of players who simply cannot get the basics right when it comes to the defensive side of football. The tackle count is one thing but when you have a midfield filled with guys who chase kicks and have little consideration for what their opponents are doing then it creates all sorts of problems. If you stop tracking the ball and narrow in on the lack of ownership our players have for the defensive side of the game then you’ll see a whole host of problems in the way of poor communication between players, half hearted attempts of tracking opposition players, poor positioning and senior players all too content in blaming others. It’s been an issue under all of Hird, Bomber and now Woosha. This year we are even weaker around the around the ball and have attempted to implement a team defensive structure which is asking more of the players. When there isn’t 100% buy in, you’re left exposed. I don’t believe Woosha is without his shortcomings, particularly in his stubbornness on game day but for those who expect a coaching change will be an overnight fix to some of our major issues then you’re sorely wrong.

Furthermore we have a forwardline which compounds our midfield problems because they are failing to lock in in the forward half which what every team in the league is aiming to do. Despite what it looks like we are not a side that wants to launch everything off half back. We are failing to get the back to locked into our half of the ground and then we have forwards being sucked up too far whenever we do take possession. This is not by design.
I do feel for Walla who is down on form but all too often spends half his time running after other players opponents. What was a strength of ours last year is being starved of opportunities through repeat entries. Having an unfit Daniher, Hooker being thrown back and Fantasia out hasn’t helped our potency either.

In my opinion the big issues lie within having far too many of our established players, some who are big names who don’t do what is required defensively(perhaps have a sense of entitlement), have a side which is lacking in mongrel and on field leadership, have players severely out of form to the point of missing simple targets regularly, a lack of unity and belief which shines through in our inability to stop the bleeding, and players who are seemingly confused/not on the same page with one another out on the field.

What I do hope is that Woosha has now seen enough to know what he has got in front of him and is someone who is able to make the tough calls. We might need a restructure around him but for now he can start by rewarding form for those young players who are deserving and dropping those who aren’t buying in, big name or not. The penny has to drop at one point or another.


Yeah nah. I can agree with the media and disagree with them. I have free will to debate the topic at hand, rather than cast out someone’s opinion for an eternity because I disagree with them once on some issue.

I watched the Port game and it stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Our tackling was ■■■■ poor and we were very lucky to get away with it. It was a lack of reward for effort and endeavour. Was a huge red flag for me.

And do you disagree that not backing up statements doesn’t deserve criticism?


We aren’t laying tackles because the players don’t know what they are supposed to be doing defensively.

We are still covering just as many kms on the GPS as the other team, but we are running to the wrong spots

Coaching, not effort


On the km covering and running to the wrong spots, something I noticed on the weekend was that when we do win the ball, we don’t push forward to give the ball carrier options anywhere near as much as we did last year.

It’s as if they’ve been instructed not to do it, to stay in specific positions or maintain a structure, and we end up having to handball backwards or kick blindly to contests under pressure.

I’m wondering if the “defensive fix” we apparently made in the pre-season is responsible for this? The players seem to be taking field positions that have no relevance to what’s going in the game, and there’s no evidence of the more instinctive ball movement we had last year.

If this is the issue, I’m worried about whether the coaching box know how to fix something they intentionally implemented.


Exactly. Thats happening AND NOT BEING FIXED.


Whats more likely:

All our players listed are not good defensively. But other teams are and its just bad recruiting / selection / development
(Unlikely in my view)

Or the gameplan / education etc is not working / being understood or is poorly designed and easy to combat.
(More likely in my view rsp as we beat the top of ladder team twice this year)


So what you’re saying is “Winter is coming”?


Neeld & Harding have developed a defensive game plan that they “think” is replicating other sides. Woosha is just going along with them because strategy isn’t his strong suit, its been left to them and what they would have presented all sounds correct & probably is.

The general idea of the game plan would be sound.

What we are lacking is people who have been in it and know how to coach to do it effectively & how to coach to cope when other teams doing it to us.

That’s not Neeld. Or Skippy. Or Harvey. Or Corrigan… footy is a forward half game and our fwds coach is a nobody whose never played at highest level or even been involved with a successful AFL side.

What faith and trust do the players have in his message? Or Neelds?.. which is where it’s coming from both directly & through the line coaches under him.

And as we saw at the Dees, even when Neeld was a big part of the Pies game plan and was in and coaching their midfield… he could not bring that that to the Dees.

He was communicating it poorly on top of fact that it didn’t suit their list personnel wise and halted their natural instinctive free flowing footy. And his poor man management and people skills did not get the players onside with him either.

And the place turned to ■■■■

And that’s all happening with us. It’s a debacle


Isn’t this something similar to what happened at Fremantle?


Just sack them all and start again


Collapsed before ski season. That’s nice r



North were 16th, mind you.


I haven’t, but now that you’ve pointed it out it makes perfect sense. Just leave the least damaging players free to do whatever they want.


Spot on


I think you make a lot of sense there. Teams like Hawthorn and even Geelong got their premierships with the same team make up; mids who can run all day with some level of speed and endurance. Where they are different to Richmond and the Bulldogs is that their mids were a lot classier with their ball use. That’s why their success was more sustained.

I didn’t attend the Essendon v Melbourne game but went to the Richmond v Collingwood game instead (dragged there by the other half and some of her friends). What I couldn’t help but notice with both of those teams were they had good runners in the midfield; setting up in attack and spreading from contests while at the same time, zoning well and pressuring the ball carrier in defence.

We don’t need a gun midfielder like Josh Kelly. We need at least two more quick, athletic ‘good’ midfielders like Devon Smith who can run all day and tackle and pressure and then when we win the ball, spread. Our midfield will not progress while it is filled with one-paced players like Heppell/Goddard/Myers.


I suppose you would have to add Langford and Laverde to that list to be consistent.


Ex[quote=“chris_64, post:196, topic:12915”]
I suppose you would have to add Langford and Laverde to that list to be consistent.

Yes. Exactly right. The modern game cannot accommodate so many of them.


Greta analysis of the many problems confronting the side. Coaches need to read some of these posts.


Its unfortunate that a lot of the fast small players have been/are out. Green, Fanta, Trav Fridge, ( hopefully a new non fumbly version) Tippa ( sore)

The difficulty is that we are desperately short of big bodied mids who can cut it at the coal face.


They ‘announced’ what most of us knew with JD’s injury… won’t bat an eyelid when they announce Walla in the same boat. Honestly looked like he was on one leg last week… hard to watch. If you didn’t know better you would have sworn he was injured in Term 1 and was staying out there for the rest of the match to help with rotations and nothing else…