From The Notebook: Round 9

Nine rounds down, and already Melbourne have a two-game break inside the top two.

More to come on the Demons on Tuesday, but until then it’s time for another three-topic Notebook.

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The Shinboner Patreon continues to run until October 31 this year. While rounds are on a regular Friday-Sunday schedule, the $5+ tiers get 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 to do much more this season.

Here are all the details and how to sign up.

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Caleb Daniel’s value & Bulldogs contracts

I’ll do my best not to devolve into fake trades and keep this as a big picture topic around list management and priorities.

While watching Caleb Daniel roam around Marvel Stadium by himself during Friday night’s last quarter – 15 possessions for the term – I started wondering about his contract situation and how it plays into the Bulldogs’ long-term plans.

Daniel is an unrestricted free agent this year, meaning he falls outside the top 25 percent on the Bulldogs’ pay scale.

Daniel turns 26 in July, making this the contract for him. Reports suggest he is drawing closer to a deal to remain at the Bulldogs – which would be the right move for him given how their system maximises his strengths – although you’d imagine clubs have come knocking with a long-term lucrative deal on more coin than he currently earns.

The intriguing part for me comes with the Bulldogs’ current contract status across the list (which, spoiler alert, you can find on the list management page right here).

To add to Daniel, there’s reportedly a new deal on its way for Tim English, Bailey Dale is also an unrestricted free agent, plus Bailey Smith and Josh Dunkley out of contract.

Can the Bulldogs keep all five on the money they deserve?

There aren’t a heap of big-picture, urgent 1A priority items on 2023’s contract list which is what makes this year’s decisions so intriguing.

How the Bulldogs approach these five will tell us a lot about where they expect to be competing in the medium term.

At the moment, there are just six players on the books past 2023 – Lachie Hunter (2024), Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (2024), Aaron Naughton (2024), Marcus Bontempelli (2025), Adam Treloar (2025) and Jack Macrae (2027). It’s a fascinating spot.

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For those who have missed any posts over the last week or so, here are links to catch up with:

Sunday 15th: North’s Round 9 Review
Friday 13th: What To Watch For: Round 9
Tuesday 10th: North’s offensive woes explained
Monday 9th: From The Notebook: Round 8
Saturday 7th: North’s Round 8 Review

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Brisbane’s outperforming of expectations

Through nine rounds Brisbane are a whopping +122 on expected score, meaning they’ve outscored the average total of their scoring shots by more than 20 goals.

The next best in the league – pending Sunday matches which were unavailable at time of writing – is Sydney at +55.

For the Lions to be outperforming the average by so far, it naturally raises the question of when a regression to the mean is coming, and how severe it will be.

Obviously Brisbane won’t keep exceeding their expected score at this extreme rate, but in theory it’s simple enough to paint a picture where they stay above average.

If the average comes from, well, an average player – shouldn’t a collection of quality forwards continue to exceed that to some extent?

It’s a similar argument to West Coast’s brutal efficiency over the last few years. They consistently won games off fewer overall chances thanks to the skills of their forwards and the argument was, ‘eventually the worm will turn, they’ll miss these chances at a regulation rate’.

It took the bottom falling out of the entire team to bring things back to average, and barring something extraordinary that won’t be happening to Brisbane anytime soon.

Even without Joe Daniher and Dan McStay, Saturday night brought a total of 102 when the expected score was only 77. Banking wins while those two are out will be crucial for Brisbane’s top two hopes, and they started well against the Crows.

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If you’ve missed it, we’re at the part of 2022 where Patron-exclusive pages will start to have extra features added. A reminder:

  • For those on the $7.50 Patreon tier (or above), there’s exclusive access to the Stat Suite page, with rolling monthly stat rankings updated weekly
  • For those on the $10 Patreon tier, they have exclusive access to everything on the website, including the List Management suite – the next added feature will be about contracts and is only a couple of weeks away

Here are all the details and how to sign up.

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Revisiting pre-season tiers

It’s about that time to look back on pre-season thoughts to see what was on and off the mark.

Before Round 1, this is how I organised all 18 teams:

Tier 1: Melbourne, Brisbane
Tier 2: Port Adelaide, Western Bulldogs
Tier 3: Geelong, Richmond, Sydney, Carlton
Tier 4: Essendon, Fremantle, GWS, St Kilda
Tier 5: West Coast
Tier 6: Adelaide, Collingwood, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, North Melbourne

With Fremantle being the biggest miss, here’s my defence from the same pre-season piece:

“Fremantle are a team I desperately want to buy stock in given the talent across all lines, but there are too many unknowns to do so comfortably.”

It also turns out there’d be the complete collapse of anything regarding a defensive structure at Essendon, which was tough to predict.

I’d create a new tier for West Coast and North, but overall, not too bad I reckon. Updated, it’d look something like this:

Tier 1: Melbourne, Brisbane
Tier 2: Fremantle, Sydney
Tier 3: Carlton, Geelong, St Kilda
Tier 4: Richmond, Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide
Tier 5: GWS (accounting for what will surely be a new (interim) coach bounce)
Tier 6: Adelaide, Collingwood, Essendon, Gold Coast, Hawthorn
Tier 7: North Melbourne, West Coast

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