Tag: joe daniher

2019 AFL Draft club review: Essendon Bombers

AFTER a trade period that saw Essendon largely retain most of its list despite the likes of Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia linked to other clubs, the Bombers headed into the draft to just fill some holes and improve their mid-table finish to a top four hopeful. Fans were keen to see at least one tall taken, as well as a potential goalkicking forward, but most importantly a big-bodied inside midfielder. Whilst the Bombers managed to achieve the first two aims, in the National AFL Draft, fans were concerned that they had not picked up the third. Then a day later, a mature-ager in Mitch Hibberd was selected to provide immediate support in the area.

ESSENDON:

National Draft:
30. Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | 196cm | 78kg | Key Position Utility
38. Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 202cm | 87kg | Ruck
56. Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) 179cm | 78kg | Small Forward
63. Lachlan Johnson (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) 176cm | 74kg | Small Utility

Rookie Draft:
10. Mitchell Hibberd (Williamstown) | 191cm | 90kg | Inside Midfielder

It was rumoured from the outset that the Bombers were keen on Harrison Jones, a key position utility with high upside, and, conveniently a Bombers supporter. The 196cm tall has played back, forward and even in the ruck, with a sub-three second 20m sprint and an elite endurance base. While only standing at 78kg and viewed as a long-term prospect, the Bombers were confident enough to select him with Pick 30 – trading up to secure the talented tall. Essendon then doubled up on high potential big men with the selection of athletic star, Nick Bryan. While Bryan’s year was not as consistent as some would have hoped given his start, he showed during the finals series what he was capable of, picking up plenty of touches in the NAB League Finals Series and clunking the contested marks that he was not earlier in the season. Still a lot of room to build into his body, Bryan is worth the selection based on his upside, even if some might have considered it a bit of a reach on the night. With the premiership ruck considered in the top few rucks this year, it was too hard to pass up for Essendon who were in dire need of a quality back-up to Tom Bellchambers as Sam Draper continues to show great signs but unfortunately injured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Essendon met its small forward need at Pick 56 when it pounced on Dandenong Stingrays’ excitement machine, Ned Cahill. The 179cm forward has shown he is capable of playing through the midfield, but is much more damaging around goals with a good endurance base and ability to apply defensive pressure to the opposition. Whilst his best weapons are his offensive ones close to goal, Cahill can make opposition defenders nervous with his implied pressure and quick footsteps helped by his nimble movement. Along with Cahill, Next Generation Academy member Lachlan Johnson was picked up in what was an unusual set of circumstances. Tied to the Brisbane Lions through the father-son ruling thanks to his 300-game father Chris, the Lions had nominated him as a rookie prospect. It did mean any selection in the National Draft would trump the Lions’ offer and it was somewhat ironic that the Bombers chose to do so. Earlier, Essendon bid on Brisbane Academy prospect Keidean Coleman, but that bid was matched by the Lions.

In their only selection of the 2019 Rookie Draft, Essendon picked up Hibberd, in what was a blessing for Bombers fans. They wanted a big-bodied inside midfielder who could come in and play a role, and given Hibberd’s experience at AFL level, that is exactly what they got with the selection. The Williamstown midfielder needed just one year in the state league system before showing clubs he was more than capable of earning a second chance, this time with the red and black.

Overall, Essendon drafted for long-term, before grabbing Hibberd who could immediately fill a role in the midfield from early in the season. Do not expect many of the others to see too many games next year, with Jones and Bryan having to add size to their frame and develop their games further, while Johnson is coming off an ACL injury. Cahill is some chance throughout the season, but will be another who is more likely to impact in a couple of years.

Is Brodie now the best of the 2012 bunch?

AS with any draft, there are going to be players that go on to have long and successful AFL careers, and those that unfortunately do not. The 2012 National Draft for instance has now seen two players reach 100 games in Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines (112 games) and the Western Bulldogs’ Jack Macrae (104 games), with Sam Mayes, Nick Vlastuin, Joe Daniher, Lachie Whitfield and Jake Stringer all expected to reach their century milestone in the coming weeks. However, if one was to re-draft the 2012 edition today, it is the player selected with pick 18 that may well prove to be the best of the lot, in Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy.

Grundy was drafted from Sturt with the Magpies’ first selection in the 2012 National Draft, and after playing just the seven games in his debut 2013 season, has steadily improved his performances each year, having now played 87 games with the Magpies.

At 202 centimetres, Grundy was the tallest player drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft and like most tall players, has taken a little while to reach his full potential. But what is exciting for Collingwood fans, is that Grundy has seemingly now reached elite status as a ruck-cum-midfielder, and all at the age of just 24. 

In 2017, despite Collingwood’s disappointing 13th place finish, Grundy enjoyed a career-best season, playing in all bar two of the Magpies’ fixtures, due only to a suspension incurred from a tackle on North Melbourne’s Ben Brown in Round 20. Numbers wise, he averaged 18.4 disposals per game at 66 per cent efficiency, with 35.7 hit outs, four clearances and a SuperCoach average of 97.2 points per game.

But it is Grundy’s 2018 output which has seen him go to a whole new level, with a disposal average of 22.4 at 74 per cent efficiency, with 35.4 hitouts, 6.2 clearances and a massive jump in his SuperCoach average to an elite 128.4 points per game.

After a slow start in the Pies opening round loss to Hawthorn, with just 12 disposals and 28 hit outs, in each of his last four games Grundy has collected at least 20 touches, 30 hit outs and has named been in Collingwood’s best players on three occasions.  His performances against Carlton in Round 3 and Adelaide in Round 4 are likely to attract Brownlow votes at season’s end.

Grundy currently ranks fourth in the league for hit outs, 11th in clearances, and is the only ruck to rank inside the top 70 for disposals. 

Barring injury, Grundy should have the best part of a decade left at the top level, and could well rank as one of the best rucks in modern football. It is putting a lot of expectation to say this, but what he has shown in his career to date, particularly this season shows he has developed his body enough to impact on a whole game and attract midfielder like stats while playing a crucial role in the ruck for the Magpies.

If Grundy is able to maintain this form over a number of years, he may well be seen as the best value pick in the 2012 draft, despite the worthy efforts of some of the players drafted before him. Ultimately time will tell on that one, but as a football fan, I look forward to seeing Grundy’s progress in the weeks and years to come as he is not only exciting to watch, but that he is able to deliver in his role for the team. 

Team Building 101: From Tiger Turmoil to Tiger Time

REIGNING premier Richmond has historically been poor at team-building and drafting. From the mid-2000s until the mid-2010s, Richmond’s record of drafting players was horrific. Richmond supporters who are “twenty-something” or older, will remember the constant “trolling” by opposition supporters through this period.

The most infamous draft decision, being the selection of Richard Tambling at pick three, in front of the future Hall of Famer Lance Franklin. The forward from Western Australia, turned into the greatest athlete the game has seen, and was selected pick four by Hawthorn, one selection after the now-delisted Tambling. This however, was one of many errors that Richmond made at the time. They simply could not get anything right at the list management level. But now that has changed.

A NEW ERA OF DRAFTING

As soon as the cup is held aloft on the podium of the Grand Final, all other football departments immediately turn their attention to the winning clubs’ list. These football departments run the microscope over the winning clubs’ list to see what lessons they can learn, so that they can be on that stage as soon as possible. 

But this was Richmond. The club who are terrible at drafting! Or were they?

The fact is that Richmond’s football department absolutely nailed every draftee and trade over the past three seasons. Richmond had their fair share of first round draft selections, however this premiership was won on the back of being aggressive at the trade table and finding talent outside the first round of the draft. 

Here is a breakdown of Richmond’s premiership winning side, using the draft pick cost in selecting them or trading for them as the key.

FIRST ROUND PICKS.

Jack Riewoldt (Pick 13 – 2006), Trent Cotchin (Pick 2 – 2007), Alex Rance (Pick 18 – 2007), Dustin Martin (Pick 3 – 2009), Brandon Ellis (Pick 15 – 2011), Nick Vlasutin (Pick 9 – 2012), Daniel Rioli (Pick 15, 2015), Dion Prestia (2016 – Traded In for Pick 6).

Richmond drafted their “Big 4”, Riewoldt/Cotchin/Rance/Martin, across three drafts (2006, 2007 and 2009). The “Big 4” were undeniably crucial in the Premiership winning side. Dustin Martin, the Norm Smith Medallist and Brownlow Medallist in 2017 was selected at pick three, and the Demons who had picks one and two in the draft (Tom Scully and Jack Trengove) would be heartbroken as neither of their draftees are still at the club. Richmond’s ability to draft well in the first round in the past 10 years set up the spine for their Premiership, and for success in the years to come.

SECOND ROUND PICKS.

Shane Edwards (2006 – Pick 26), Kamdyn McIntosh (2012 – Pick 31), Josh Caddy (2016 – Traded In for Pick 20).

Only three of Richmond’s premiership players cost Richmond a second round draft pick. Shane Edwards, a 200-gamer and one of the games best handballers, has had a terrific career. A fan favourite and widely loved by his teammates, Edwards is one of the games most underrated footballers. He is a terrific decision maker, and although he is not a prolific ball winner, he is a beautiful kick of the ball. Caddy, a first round draft pick in 2007, was traded to Richmond after never finding his feet at Geelong. Caddy was traded in the same year his best mate, Dion Prestia was traded to the Tigers for their first round pick. 

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH (Rounds 3 onwards or Rookie selections).

David Astbury (2009 – Pick 35), Dylan Grimes (2009 – Rookie Draft), Bachar Houli (2010 – Rookie Draft), Kane Lambert (2014 – Rookie Draft), Dan Butler (2014 – Pick 67), Nathan Broad (2015 – Pick 67), Jacob Townsend (2015 – Traded In for Pick 70), Toby Nankervis (2016 – Traded In for Pick 46), Jack Graham (2016 – Pick 53)

Nine of Richmond’s 22 premiership players cost the Tigers a third round draft pick or less. That’s an incredible 41 per cent of their Grand Final side. The players listed above were not just making up the numbers either. Astbury and Grimes form the pillars of Richmond’s defence that allow Rance to play off his opponent. Houli and Lambert both had huge final series, with the former unlucky not to win the Norm Smith Medal. Nankervis had an incredible year that placed him in the top five ruckman in the league, while Graham and Townsend had remarkable rises to stardom in a short period of time. Graham kicked three goals in the AFL Grand Final while Townsend kicked 11 goals in two weeks at the end of the Home and Away season before taking that form into the finals where he kicked another five goals over three matches. 

STRONG AND BOLD

Richmond’s list managers nailed the 2015 and 2016 drafts. They selected Broad in the fourth round, and traded their fifth pick to GWS for Townsend who had a remarkable end to the year. However, it was their bold moves in 2016  that was the difference between winning the Grand Final and being stuck in relative mediocrity. 

At the end of the season, Richmond had picks 6, 42, 60, 78 to work with. The media believed that Richmond were going backwards and that they needed to trade their star players out for more picks to start a rebuild. Deledio, Rance and Riewoldt all would apparently not be a part of Richmond’s next premiership, and that Richmond should trade them while they had value. Richmond had other ideas. They traded Deledio, whose body had been wrecked by injury, for future draft picks, and lost Restricted Free Agent (RFA) Tyrone Vickery, for which they received a pick at the end of the first round.

Richmond had in essence lost Deledio and Vickery and had gained Dion Prestia, Shai Bolton, Josh Caddy, Toby Nankervis and Jack Graham. Remarkably, four of those five were premiership players within 12 months time. 

MODEL OF SUCCESS

Richmond have proven that huge rebuilds are not required if you have elite top end talent. It is crucial however, that elite talent must be there. As good as Richmond’s drafting and trading was over the past two years, they knew they had four elite players under the age of 30, that they could build their team around. Other clubs at the conclusion of 2016 who had elite talent but poor depth, such as Essendon, Port Adelaide and Melbourne, have copied Richmond’s aggressive trading model and are primed for their shot at the premiership in the coming seasons.

Melbourne looked to free agency to solidify their defence poaching promising defender, Jake Lever, from the Crows. However, I worry that Melbourne’s elite talent isn’t quite at the level of other clubs. Melbourne do have a terrific young midfield and one of the games best young forwards in Jesse Hogan and will rely heavily on them performing if they are to contend this season. 

Essendon used their selections to bring in pace and a bit of “X-Factor” in Adam Saad, Devon Smith and Jake Stringer while holding onto their early draft selections. Essendon now are extremely damaging on the counter attack, and have a terrific mix of young talent and experienced leaders. Essendon’s forward line of Joe Daniher, Stringer and Smith will put opposition defences under pressure and set them up for a big season.

Port Adelaide rolled the dice, losing some of their experienced depth players to bring in three mercurial players in Steven Motlop, Tom Rockliff and Jack Watts. Port Adelaide’s best 22 on paper is terrific, but must remain healthy. Their depth is now poor, but as Richmond showed last year, that depth can stand up if there is competition for places and the chance at a premiership.

On the other hand, sides like Carlton are in a different phase of the premiership rebuild. They lost their best midfielder in Bryce Gibbs but went to the draft with three picks inside the top 30 to add to their current bank of young stars in Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow. Carlton are in the process of building that platform of elite blue-chip players like Richmond were in the late 2000’s. Although a “ten year plan” would sound like a nightmare for many Blues fans, Cripps has the potential to be as damaging as Dustin Martin, but not for another five years. As good as Cripps is, it takes a long time for players to reach their full potential. Carlton has a rich history of success and could be tempted to sell the farm prematurely to have a shot at the premiership. However, I think Carlton have learned valuable lessons from their mistakes over the last decade and are committed to a proper rebuild this time. Carlton fans should be excited but patient and trust the job that Stephen Silvagni is doing.  A premiership is surely worth it.

B:

5 Brandon Ellis

2011 – Round 1

Pick 15

18 Alex Rance

2007 – Round 1

Pick 18

2 Dylan Grimes

2009 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

HB:

14 Bachar Houli

PRESEASON 

Rookie Draftee (Essendon)

12 David Astbury

2009 – Round 3

Pick 35

1 Nick Vlastuin

2012 – Round 1

Pick 9

C:

33 Kamdyn McIntosh

2012 – Round 2

Pick 31

9 Trent Cotchin

2007 – Round 1

Pick 2

21 Jacob Townsend

2015 – TRADE 

Pick 70

HF:

23 Kane Lambert

2014 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

4 Dustin Martin

2009 – Round 1

Pick 3

22 Josh Caddy

2016 – TRADE

Pick 20

F:

40 Dan Butler

2014 – Round 4

Pick 67

8 Jack Riewoldt

2006 – Round 1

Pick 13

17 Daniel Rioli

2015 – Round 1

Pick 15

Foll:

25 Toby Nankervis

2016 – TRADE

Pick 46

3 Dion Prestia

2016 – TRADE

Pick 6

6 Shaun Grigg

2010 – TRADE

Andrew Collins 

Int:

10 Shane Edwards

2006 – Round 2

Pick 26

34 Jack Graham

2016 – Round 3

Pick 53

35 Nathan Broad

2015 – Round 5

Pick 67

 

46 Jason Castagna

2014 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

 

Key:

GOLD – Round 1

GREY – Round 2

BLUE – Round 3,4,5 or PS

2015 Draft Profile: Josh Schache

bfgnprofiles

Josh Schache
Murray Bushrangers
Height:
199 cm
Weight: 96 kg
Position: Key forward
Strengths: Marking, endurance, good at ground level for his size.
Weaknesses: Speed
First year impact: May play 10-15 games
Player comparison: Tom Lynch (Gold Coast)

Kicking: Above average
Marking: Elite
Speed: Poor
Endurance: Above average

Schache is one of two players being thrown around as a potential number one pick and is clearly the best key forward prospect in this year’s draft. He has a number of attributes which will have recruiters licking their lips and has few weaknesses.

From the moment Schache burst onto the scene, just days after his sixteenth birthday, kicking four goals in his second TAC Cup game for the Bushrangers, it was clear that he was going to be an excellent prospect. His marking has been his biggest strength throughout his junior career, pulling down two contested marks on this day against bigger and stronger opponents, while his endurance and ability to pick up the ball cleanly below his knees were qualities that stood out as being better than the rest of the key forward pack.

His marking is fantastic, as he uses his massive arms to reach up and take the ball at its highest point. This makes it near on impossible for a defender to spoil the ball or stop him from marking the ball without impeding him, as fellow top prospect Aaron Francis found out at the national championships. His ability to continually reach higher than his opponent more than cancels out his lack of speed while he is very good at positioning his 96 kg frame in a way that protects the drop of the ball and allows him to take marks with relative ease.

Part of what makes Schache a good forward is that when he gets an opportunity to kick a goal he almost always delivers. He has a really relaxed set shot goal kicking style and as a result he tends to kick goals than he misses. Even from an angle or from distance his uncomplicated action tends to get the job done.

One of my early knocks on Schache was that he was lazy and had a poor workrate, which didn’t make sense considering his excellent endurance. However I’ve come to realise that he was not lazy but being the number one target, and a very good one at that, tended to get the ball kicked to him first time without needing to extend himself on multiple leads. Now he has shown an ability to outrun his opponent, working hard inside 50 to burn off his opponent.

While he is able to continue running, Schache is not very fast. He is quite slow off the mark and if it wasn’t for his big frame he would struggle against most defenders. He also has quite a large turning circle, indicating that his agility is not quite up to scratch. This could be because of his size and perhaps it isn’t a massive problem considering other big bodied forwards in the AFL don’t tend to have top level speed but it does stand out as his most glaring weakness.

Schache is very good at ground level for his size. It is rare to see such a big man with the ability to pick up half volleys off his bootlaces and fire out handballs all in one fluent motion but Schache can do that. He also has quite good vision and decision making skills. Many big forwards are quite selfish and would wheel around and kick for goal but Schache tends to look for a better option and has the foot skills to hit his targets. While it isn’t a strength of his, he is a neat enough kick to get by and it certainly isn’t a weakness by AFL standards.

Schache has proved this year to be the best key forward in the draft and has silenced doubters with his performances over the year. He is likely to land at a club looking for youth and particularly talls and as a result he could have a Joe Daniher like impact, getting a handful of games in his first year and likely making a reasonable fist of it as a centre half forward or full forward.

2015 Draft Profile: Sam Weideman

bfgnprofiles

Sam Weideman
Eastern Ranges
Height: 196 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Position: Key forward
Strengths: Overhead marking, one on one contests, high ceiling, strength
Weaknesses: High risk, struggles to make a consistent impact, poor set shot kick, average athlete
Player comparison: Joe Daniher
First year projection: Long-term prospect

Kicking: Average
Marking: Elite
Endurance: Below average
Speed: Average

Sam Weideman was rated as a top 10 prospect before going down with an injury earlier this year, which was based on his performances in his bottom-age year. While Weideman’s a raw prospect, he has the body, clean hands and potential to be a very good prospect.

Weideman is a really big unit already. He looks taller than 196 centimetres and his 91 kilogram frame allows him to out-body just about any player. He put that to the test against the Northern Blues earlier in the year. His first quarter yielded five marks (several of those were contested) and two goals against Carlton listed fullback Matthew Watson.

Many fans were salivating over that performance, as he rag-dolled Watson. However, after quarter-time he struggled to make an impact. That has been Weideman’s biggest issue – consistency.

He does not have the tank to run up to the wing and provide a link up target when he’s not finding the ball deep in the forward line. He occasionally chops out in the ruck, but he doesn’t have the motor to be a mobile around the ground threat.

Weideman has an outstanding marking ability, which gives him the chance to mark absolutely anything. His leap is fairly good for a big man and his wingspan is very long, so anything in the air is either getting marked by him, or coming down front and centre for the crumbers.

Statistically Weideman is one of the best contested marks in the draft. Last year he averaged 1.3 contested marks per game in the TAC Cup. That might not seem like much, but it actually accounted for close to 40 per cent of his marks. And remember, he was just 17 then and skinnier.

Despite not being a good runner per say, Weideman has got a little bit of speed over 20 metres, and he communicates well with his other forwards to get blocks so he can lead out into space. On the lead, he is an excellent mark and will always go for the overhead instead of opting for a chest mark.

Weideman may be able to mark the footy well but one of his weaknesses is his set shot goal kicking. In the TAC Cup in 2014, he kicked 19 goals and 15 behinds. Disappointingly, he also had six games where he failed to kick a goal and four games with just one goal. This year in round seven of the TAC Cup, Weideman played his best game kicking five goals and taking four contested marks against Dandenong. However crucially as Weideman was looking to put some good form on the board before the under 18 championships he re-aggravated an ankle stress fracture ruling him out for most of the season.

Key forwards of Weideman’s type have often struggled coming into the AFL. Joe Daniher was an excellent mark and dominated small opponents at TAC Cup level however his set shot goal kicking has been found out at AFL level. Whilst it is an issue, ultimately it is a work in progress and something Weideman will continue to work on when he reaches an AFL club at the end of the year.

Despite these issues, it’s the manner in which Weideman plays and the enormous upside he has that will intrigue recruiters. In spurts, he looks like a star. A great development team will help Weideman immensely, but it is absolutely pivotal to his growth he heads to the right club. He will have plenty of the spotlight on him due to his famous name and obvious talent, but he’s going to be a guy that won’t impact immediately and will take plenty of time to come on.

With a plethora of talented key position players in first round contention this year with Josh Schache, Jacob Weitering, Kieran Collins, Harry McKay and Ryan Burton it will likely take the pressure off Weideman allowing him to develop freely over time.

No doubt Weideman has the potential at best to be a top 10 key forward in the league. However his injury and lack of consistency may result in clubs overlooking him as an early first round pick, there is no doubt he is good enough to get drafted, it is just dependent on each individual clubs’ views on his potential as to where he will finish up at on draft night.