How are everyone’s tips? As mediocre as mine?
What a fun weekend of football with surprises aplenty, both in results and individual performances.
Let’s get straight into it.
The Shinboner Patreon is up and running this year from March 1 to October 31. The $5 tier (and above) gets you early access to the weekly Notebook pieces on Monday morning, before they’re free to all from Monday night.
Overall there are four different tiers. It starts at $2.50 per month and goes up to $10 per month for all the benefits. A huge thank you to everyone who’s signed up so far, it’s allowing me the time to do so much more.
Adjusting to a tag
No-one won any prizes for predicting Mark O’Connor’s path straight to Lachie Neale on Friday night.
It was O’Connor’s first game of the season, with Geelong continuing on their path of attempting to neutralise Neale’s influence by any means possible.
Midfielders tend to struggle with a tag when they don’t allow for the interruption it causes to their game. Obviously there’ll be less open space than normal, the uncontested chains of play are harder to get involved in.
Neale’s game showed such a great understanding of how he could still be important for his team with his ability to accumulate taken away.
On face value the numbers are already impressive: 30 disposals, 11 clearances. Then after digging a little deeper, they become even better when you realise how Neale adjusted to O’Connor’s presence.
Of Neale’s 30 disposals, 21 were contested. You have to go all the way back to Round 17, 2019 for a game where he had a higher percentage of contested possessions to total disposals.
Neale’s maturity of assessing the situation and still finding ways to impact without a major part of his armoury should be a great lesson for up and coming midfielders all around the league.
For those who have missed any posts over the last few days, here are links to catch up with:
The balance in being ‘outside five’
The Bulldogs are far from the only team to do this on the mark, but they’re the most eye-catching with it so they’ll be guinea pigs for this section.
Teams are trending in this direction to counteract the stand rule, looking to restrict overlap run:
In theory it makes a lot of sense given how quickly run and carry can cut a retreating defence to pieces. Contain any overlap, give the ball handler fewer options, then play slows down.
However, I wonder whether it’s only suited to certain areas of the field or particular passages of play.
A number of times players have gone outside five when defending in transition or after a pack mark, but all it’s achieved is an easier disposal for whoever has the ball.
In dropping back a few metres, they’re not holding possession up at all and it’s actually counter-intuitive.
A perfect example came in the second quarter on Saturday night after a Tom Lynch mark:
It’s a lot for defenders to assess in a split second, with the potential of big consequences if they get it wrong either by standing on the mark or outside five.
Only the most well drilled and structured defensive units are going to succeed in this delicate balancing act.
A reminder about some of the Patreon benefits if you sign up:
- For those on the $7.50 Patreon tier (or above), there’s exclusive access to the Stat Suite page
- For those on the $10 Patreon tier, they have exclusive access to everything on the website, including the List Management suite
Minutes played by age in 2022
Is this section basically a blatant plug for the Patreon? Yes.
Am I interested in what these numbers are showing so far? Also yes.
$10 Patrons have access to the List Management suite, which up until this point had featured club-by-club minutes played by age in 2021.
Now we’re a month into 2022, there’s enough stability in numbers – albeit not fully there yet – to compare this year to last year, and see where the changes are.
Consider this section as a sneak peek of what’s behind the paywall. Not every team will be posted here, but a few standouts:
– Carlton’s transformation in one year
– Essendon’s profile doesn’t match my instinct at all, I thought they were a little younger
– Geelong’s splits by age are still hilarious for how different they are to everyone else