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  1. #1
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    A list of interminable issues

    There were times in last nights game where you knew what would happen with the same predictability that night follows day. We all knew 5 minutes into last night what the outcome would be. We have had issues since 2017 that reoccur tme and time again. I had to close my eyes on numerous occasions when Richmond sent a long ball into their 50 as I just knew there would be a pack mark, largely uncontested, from one of their talls. Hell we were 30 seconds away from seeing Chol kick a bag and we've seen similar players do this to us in the past.

    So, what issues are you just sick of seeing from us? What issues have you seen for years that just don't seem to be getting addressed? I'll get the ball rolling:

    1) No forward line structure/organisation: We don't ever seem to have a cohesive plan up forward. It always looks like we are just bombing it in there to a pack of players. The only game we have looked remotely organised was against north but I think that game said more about them than us. We barely see any sense of opposing lead patterns, blocks (we saw one last night from Gowers) or sensible positioning. We also have a lot of bit-part players in there. Wallis was a mid, Naughton was a defender (not saying he can't play forward, he obviously can, but it shows how desperate we are down there that we had to try one of our best defenders as a forward), Gowers is not AFL quality. We're crying out for natural forwards but even when we recruit some (Bruce, Lloyd) we seem to run into the same problems that these guys didn't really have at their previous clubs.

    2) Goal kicking inaccuracy: Don't really need to add much more. Its horrendous and players we bring in from other clubs seem to get worse. Ok Bruce was never a great kick at goal at the saints but he's gotten worse with us. He shanks so many basic shots. The Bont is a marvellous field kick (usually) yet can't nail a standard set shot. At some point you wonder what he would be like if he played for another club. What is it about our club that leads to such shocking goal kicking? The saints have fixed their woes and I'm sure Roughead has had a hand in that. Someone who I thought we should have targeted. This is another issue to come.

    3a) Forward half marking contests - all up none down: Either everyone goes up for the mark or noone does. One would think this is fairly simple to address yet here we are years later watching it over and over again. How many times have you seen 4 of our players go up for the same mark leaving no-one to rove the crumbs. It feels as though 9/10 kicks into our forward 50 sees this happen. It would help our forward problems if we could get this right. We see it all the time that as soon as the ball hits the ground, it's coming straight out as we have no-one at ground level to provide a contest.

    3b) Forward half marking contests - all down none up: We also have the opposite to the above where no-one will go for the mark. This typically happens at the 'hot zone' 10m in front of the goal square. For whatever reason no-one will go for the mark and the oppostions biggest player, typically the ruckman, just takes this easy uncontested mark. I can't get my head around how many times i see this happen. What is going on in the forward line that consistently leads to this? Is the ball kicked to the wrong spot that many times? Or are our forwards just not communicating?

    4) Foot skills: We all know this one. We would have to be one of the worst teams when it comes to skill by foot. We're elite with the handball but woeful by foot. Why is this? Some players come into the club and you think "wow they look clean by foot" yet they then deteriorate over time. Again you wonder if they played for another club would this happen? Think Richards, Dale, Bont, Bailey Smith, Suckling etc. It might be the incredibly taxing style of game we play that leads to fatigue and also the fact that we play a contested style where there are few players who find space.

    5) Taxing gameplan We have to be 100% on for us to win. Our gameplan is built on 100% intensity to outwork our opponent at the coalface. We seem to be quite vanilla here with no point of difference. Either we crack in and muscle the ball forward (think Macrae style) or we fall over meekly. I actually think we've got some unique talent on our list that isn't being utilised to it's best potential. The Bont is a classic example. He should be used like Dusty is at Richmond, but no, we seem to use him the same as any other inside mid, jumping in the coal face for a handball out. He just never seems to have space anymore and I think this is as much gameplan related as it is his own performance. We just have so many numbers around the ball that it's nearly impossible for our mids to find space. What happens is a junk airball to our forwards who have little chance of getting anything going. What irks me more is that when we have found space, we are lethal. Think Essendon last year and north this year. Ok yes the opposition had a large say in allowing us to have that much space but I would think if we put in a fair bit of effort to try create that space for ouselves it would help immensely. We shoot ourselves in the foot here. Are we making an effort at all to help the likes of Bont and Smith get space the same way Richmond does for Dusty?
    The other side to this is getting hurt on the spread. If we aren't first to the ball we are often killed on the spread. It feels as though we are structured around assuming we win the ball so that when we don't, we aren't in a position to stop the spread from the opposition and they just get the ball away too easily with handballs over our players' heads.

    6) Lack of pace: This is fairly eveident but could also be a symptom of point 5 above. Most elite teams have points of difference but we seem to be fairly type A. We have too many plodders who will crack in and not enough guys who can actually burst out of a pack to create space. I did mention above that I feel we have players who can do this, but it's not enough, especially when we're relying on these same guys to win the ball themselves. You can't have the likes of Smith and Bont winning the ball and bursting out of the pack all the same. We need more players with genuine pace to gain some separation. Last night we looked horrendously off the pace. I get that we've had a packed schedule but Richmond were coming off 1 day less break and made us look like an EJ Whitten Legends team.

    7) Effort for goals: Which other team appears to work as hard for a goal than us? We just seem to have to run a marathon in order to kick a goal, yet the opposition will get cheapie after cheapie out the back with relative ease. Another symptom perhaps of our game style but it seems like so much effort for each of our goals compared to when watching other teams. And the goals don't appear to come from systematic play. It always seems so scrappy (see point 1 re forward line cohesion).

    8) Plan B, or lack thereof: We've all spoken about it. If our style isn't working we are doomed. It appears our plan A is numbers around the ball, work the handball to the man in space (rarely happens) and drive forward (to an inept forwad line). The numbers around the ball come from having numbers behind the ball. What we've seen in most of our losses is that when teams pressure our numbers around the ball, or, they deny us possession and suck our numbers from behind the ball up the field, we are stuffed. We have no answer. And we've seen a fairly poor response from the coaches box. Simply swapping Bont with a forward isn't going to cut it. We just don't seem to have an answer. We also don't ever seem to strategise around our opponents' weaknesses. It seems to be we play our way and if it works great. If it doesn't we'll simply try harder next time.

    9) Defensive half marking contests: As hopeless as we are at marking the hot spot kick in our own forward 50, we're just as inept at defending it in our defensive 50. Every time a sky or long ball is kicked into our 50, the opposition is odds on to take a pack mark with little resistance from our defenders. It's well known we can make a dud tall dude look like Wayne Carey let alone a decent player like Lynch. I'm getting nightmares in thinking what tall, lanky but talented Max King could do to us in the future. Why are we so bad at defending the long high ball? We seem to get caught out ball watching and horribly out of position when the ball comes in. As stated above, I have to close my eyes when the long and high ball is kicked in.

    10) Defenders caught out the back: This one is easy. We've seen it time and again in our losses. Although it only happened a couple times last night, there were still issues with our setup allowing far too much space to Richmonds forwards. There was one point, from a turnover, where Cordy was at least 25m in front of his opponent who himself was about 40m out from goal. Cordy was all by himself so i have no idea what value there is in guarding empty space whilst an opponent is all by himself in the forward 50. This particular play resulted in a goal not surprisingly as the ball was kicked over Cordy's head to the richmond player all by himself. But this happens all too often. Again, we seem to rely on a certain defensive setup but all too often teams exploit this setup and we get royally screwed.

    11) Allowing short chips up the ground: Last night was not the first time we've seen it. Teams simply deny us possession by using small kicks up the ground. They'll work from a kick-in all the way to 60m out from goal doing this. And each time the opposing player taking the short mark is 10m in front of our guy. This must simply be workrate or again a symptom of our gameplan where we push numbers behind the ball meaning we're on the back foot when an opposing player makes a lead. But the opposition will get the ball 60m out with ease then provide a long high ball into forward 50 where point 9 rears its ugly head.

    12) Coaching panel: Ok this is essentially what the thread is about but what on earth are our coaches doing if these reccuring issues are not getting solved? What are we working on each preseason when we have seen very little change? A few have mentioned that our coaching staff needs a shakeup and I agree. We need fresh ideas as using the same plan for 5 years clearly isn't cutting it anymore. Teams have figured us out.

    I would like to think this list is complete but I'm sure i've missed some that others can provide!

  2. #2
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Rocca has done wonders with Casbault - having him as our goal kicking coach would make us a 2-3 goal per week better side.
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  4. #3
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    I really like your point about the taxing gameplan bulldogsthru&thru and the impact on someone like Bont being asked to also be a contested ball animal. It's like we are turning our Rolls Royce into a tractor. I mentioned elsewhere that when we play him forward, he is just another of the gang rather than clearing space for him.

    Actually your post was so good it was depressing, especially on the issue of skills going backwards and our unerring ability to transform good kicks into bad!
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  6. #4
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bulldogsthru&thru View Post
    There were times in last nights game where you knew what would happen with the same predictability that night follows day. We all knew 5 minutes into last night what the outcome would be

    etc
    Brilliant observations.

    Collingwood used the formula revealed by Port during the preseason game. The Carlton and Richmond games were direct copies. Saints similar.

    put a couple of strong overhead marks 25 m out directly in front of goal. Direct forward play through that point. Result will be early goal and all Dogs defence will all run to that point to spoil. Opposition smalls stay down and get easy goals.

    Panic will set in and the excessive handball game will operate between half forward and half back. This will lead to turnovers and Dogs players caught out of position. Any wide receiver will be able to run up the middle.

    If the Dogs midfielders manage to kick the ball into the forward 50 it will be a ‘bomb’ and the forwards will spoil each other so position some defenders in space and the ball will be cleared easily.

    Expected result: 40 - 50 point win.

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  8. #5
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Danjul View Post
    Brilliant observations.

    Collingwood used the formula revealed by Port during the preseason game. The Carlton and Richmond games were direct copies. Saints similar.

    put a couple of strong overhead marks 25 m out directly in front of goal. Direct forward play through that point. Result will be early goal and all Dogs defence will all run to that point to spoil. Opposition smalls stay down and get easy goals.

    Panic will set in and the excessive handball game will operate between half forward and half back. This will lead to turnovers and Dogs players caught out of position. Any wide receiver will be able to run up the middle.

    If the Dogs midfielders manage to kick the ball into the forward 50 it will be a ‘bomb’ and the forwards will spoil each other so position some defenders in space and the ball will be cleared easily.

    Expected result: 40 - 50 point win.
    You mean the team we play this week was the original team to expose us? Oh boy

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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    So.

    Whether I agree or disagree with each point (or whether anyone does) is kind of irrelevant right now. But I think everyone would agree that when we lose it is on the back of leaking goals and being unable to convert possession chains into scores.

    Given the long list of issues you have identified, there is (realistically) only going to be ONE (maybe TWO) of these "interminable" issues that the coaches could reasonable 'fix' during the season.

    Which one/two would you pick and why?
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    So.

    Whether I agree or disagree with each point (or whether anyone does) is kind of irrelevant right now. But I think everyone would agree that when we lose it is on the back of leaking goals and being unable to convert possession chains into scores.

    Given the long list of issues you have identified, there is (realistically) only going to be ONE (maybe TWO) of these "interminable" issues that the coaches could reasonable 'fix' during the season.

    Which one/two would you pick and why?
    To fix during the season leaves out 2, 4, 5 (and by extension 7), 6 and 12.

    For mine, 3 and 9 should (at least to the untrained eye) be the easiest to fix. It's obviously going to come down to communication and 'connectedness' as Bevo put it but knowing who should be going for the mark/spoil and who should be staying down to gather the crumbs is fairly fundamental, especially in the forward line. It's also about knowing where to position oneself for the crumbs. I rarely see one of our player square to the marking contest. They're typically behind the pack if they're not going up for it themselves. Now again, this could be a symptom of a problem further up the field in that the ball is coming inside 50 in a manic way. Now point 1 can also play apart here in that if we get some organisation and structure going up forward, it might help issue 3. The way Bruce and Schache played against north is a good example. North helped play a part in that yeah, but we rarely see out forward line working like that.

  11. #8
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    So.

    Whether I agree or disagree with each point (or whether anyone does) is kind of irrelevant right now. But I think everyone would agree that when we lose it is on the back of leaking goals and being unable to convert possession chains into scores.

    Given the long list of issues you have identified, there is (realistically) only going to be ONE (maybe TWO) of these "interminable" issues that the coaches could reasonable 'fix' during the season.

    Which one/two would you pick and why?
    Also I think whether you or anyone else agrees/disagrees IS relevant. Perhaps the issues I've listed aren't as problematic as I think. Afterall these are just my observations from sitting on a couch watching the games on TV. It'd be good to hear other perspectives.

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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    I don't have a lot of time to go into all your points, but there are a few areas I don't agree with, and may take a little time to address some of those due to work.

    One area is marking inside 50. In 2019, we were the number one in the AFL for marks inside 50. This year we sit about average, but we do have the number one contested mark missing for most of the season. I get your point, too many going up for the mark at the same time is annoying.
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    I don't have a lot of time to go into all your points, but there are a few areas I don't agree with, and may take a little time to address some of those due to work.

    One area is marking inside 50. In 2019, we were the number one in the AFL for marks inside 50. This year we sit about average, but we do have the number one contested mark missing for most of the season. I get your point, too many going up for the mark at the same time is annoying.
    Thanks. I missed all of 2019 so I suppose my points are based on 2017, 2018 and this season. What do you think was the difference for 2019 to be so effective? Simply Naughtons presence?

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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bulldogsthru&thru View Post
    Thanks. I missed all of 2019 so I suppose my points are based on 2017, 2018 and this season. What do you think was the difference for 2019 to be so effective? Simply Naughtons presence?
    I think Naughton made a big difference to the figures in 2019
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Loss of Naughton shouldn’t be sneezed at
    Just starting to get some form going
    I agree entirely with our game seeming to rely on 100% intensity and dare I say it
    “Cracking in”

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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    I don't have a lot of time to go into all your points, but there are a few areas I don't agree with, and may take a little time to address some of those due to work.

    One area is marking inside 50. In 2019, we were the number one in the AFL for marks inside 50. This year we sit about average, but we do have the number one contested mark missing for most of the season. I get your point, too many going up for the mark at the same time is annoying.
    We added Bruce who was rated with that F50 marking ability and now is nowhere near as effective
    Losing Naughton and adding Bruce shouldn't have made that much of a difference between 2019 and 2020 but it has
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    I don't have a lot of time to go into all your points, but there are a few areas I don't agree with, and may take a little time to address some of those due to work.

    One area is marking inside 50. In 2019, we were the number one in the AFL for marks inside 50. This year we sit about average, but we do have the number one contested mark missing for most of the season. I get your point, too many going up for the mark at the same time is annoying.
    Agreed, marks inside 50 is well down the list of issues. We generate a reasonable number of marks inside 50 most weeks, capitalising on them is another matter entirely. Last night it was 11 v 12. I have more concerns with being able to generate goals from sources other than marks.

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  20. #15
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    Re: A list of interminable issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bulldogsthru&thru View Post
    You mean the team we play this week was the original team to expose us? Oh boy
    I do. I commented on it here at the time. Replies dismissed it as irrelevant because it was a practice match. But in the second half they stormed over us by doing exactly that. The longer it went the worse it got. Obviously Port wasn’t the only team to analyse our game plan and find a weakness.
    Last edited by Danjul; 30-07-2020 at 05:09 PM.

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