Thursday, 6 September 2007

Season in Review (Part 2)

HITS
Matthew Bate
Some questions remain, most centering around whether or not he can play as a true CHF, but he showed heart throughout the year and impressed up front kicking 19 goals in as many games. Definately a required player in years to come, but the question of where he will be most effective will be one of the most important for Bailey in the next couple of years.

Daniel Bell
Went from a fringe player to a key member of the defence. Was having a great season before being mowed down by Ben Johnson against Collingwood. In the absence of Nathan Brown next season he will be a crucial cog in an undersized backline.

Nathan Brown
Threw himself around across the last six weeks of the season like somebody who had nothing to lose, and then proved it by retiring after the last game. His skills may have been on the slide but there's nobody who could deny that he wasn't going 110% every time he went near the thing throughout the year. His kamikaze attack on the ball, and his opponents, will be sorely missed.

Lynden Dunn
Unbelievably couldn't get a game at times despite a promising debut season, but showed progress when he did play. Three goals against Fremantle first up was his attacking highlight, but also played a role as a tagger occasionally - most notably when he destroyed Chad Cornes in the second half of our narrow loss to Port Adelaide. An interesting year awaits in '08.

Simon Godfrey
A hundred games into his career, and unlikely to last much longer, but had a respectable season as a tagger. Played a couple of great games, and gave us more than we could possibly have imagined in the pre-season. Also provided a handy punching bag for the likes of Adam Goodes and Scott West throughout the year - he might not have the ball skills but he's obviously a master at annoying people.

Brad Green
Repeatedly talked about by fans when it comes to trade talk, Green had a great year in the midfield, and despite playing the least games of any of his eight AFL seasons rode high in our "Player of the Year" voting for most of the season. The highlight was undoubtedly 37 touches against the Crows, but in the shower of shit that was our season his output was more than respectable.

Nathan Jones
The New Next Big Thing (NNBT) enjoyed third place in the Rising Star award on the back of a sensational season that should see him run top 3 in the B&F in just his second season. Undoubtedly a star of the future, and brings a fury to our midfield that we need if we're any hope of bouncing straight back into the 8 next season. We we wait with interest to see how he will cope with the increased attention that he'll suffer next season.

James McDonald
Star. The most consistent performer in the side, and would be a worthy winner of his second B&F in a row. Never failed to have less than 15 disposals a game, and added two 10+ tackle games to the tally as well. One of the most important players on the list, and probably has two good seasons left in him.

Michael Newton
Ironically for a guy who probably would have been delisted if we'd had a good season the Juice has not only become a first team player but could also take home Mark of the Year. In a team where history has proven that when David Neitz is out we struggle to kick goals we hadn't developed a forward prospect who even moderately looked like replacing him - and we're not saying Newton will play 300 games but he certainly looks like a good goalkicking prospect. With ten games of experience behind him, and a few interesting cameos on the wing, it'll be interesting to see how Juice fits in to Bailey's plans for '08.

Ricky Petterd
Was showing some real class before his near-death experience against Carlton. Nine games into his career there's plenty to suggest that if he can stay clear of deadly scenarios on the field that he'll be a quality player in years to come.

Russell Robertson
Padded his figures with a couple of big bags, but despite playing his least games since 1999 he was a towering presence in our forward line and kicked goals in fourteen of fifteen games. No player is bigger than the club, but if he isn't signed up again then we've got every right to crack the sads.

Paul Wheatley
Still a chance to get the bullet at the end of the year, but reinvigorated his career with a series of slashing performances down back after Mark Riley took over. I'll be very disappointed if he's not retained for 2008. Won the Demonblog Marcus Seecamp Medal for defender of the season despite playing just 14 games.

Jeff White
With no support the big man battled valiantly throughout the year, and was the only player to manage all 22 games. Has a couple more years left in him but will prove a massive hole to fill once he goes.

MISSES
The Fans
An already thin group of supporters jumped off at a million miles the moment it became clear that our bad start to the season wasn't going to be followed with a slashing comeback like the year before. Low points included almost being outdrawn by Freo fans at the MCG, and seeing no more than 20,000 show for Neitz's 300th. Watch the teenyboppers and other assorted swine clamber back on board when we start winning again - presumed to be somewhere around 2011.

Nathan Carroll
I like the guy, and I'm not doubting his intensity but if he's a premiership full back then I'm Ian Turpie. We can't afford to play him against the likes of Matthew Pavlich every week. His disposal isn't bad for a key defender but he needs to be the second line defender rather than the leader of the pack.

Aaron Davey
Here's a controversial one. Kicked 24 goals in 18 games but seems to be treading water in his career. Has been a great player over the last four seasons, but other than a handful of excursions into the centre he has not progressed Got himself suspended in ridiculous fashion against Brisbane in what was his best game of the year, before his hamstring went bang for the third time in four years late on and his season ended prematurely. Isn't going anywhere - and I'm not suggesting he should - but 2008 stands as a massive make-or-break year for Flash.

Ryan Ferguson
Who knows what to think about him. With just 47 games in five years, and without a particuarly memorable one since Rd. 1, 2005 you'd expect that he would have been in trouble had we a better backline. Makeweight status in trades notwithstanding he'll survive due to the lack of available defensive quality.

Mark Jamar
Simply not good enough. Gives away free kicks, handballs into the back of people's heads when he gets them himself, kicks the ball in the wrong direction etc.. Needs to be cut adrift.

Chris Johnson
Showed promise here and there, but after three years and just 21 games his chances must be running out. Might not survive the scrutiny of a new coach.

Paul Johnson
Played 16 games, but is not the backup for White that we need. Better than Jamar but still not the sort of player that is going to lead us anywhere. Wins another year on the list due to a lack of competition but will be playing for his life next year. Tried as a key forward at times and showed signs of life but needs to kick straight and present better if he's going to get anywhere. Ended up at full back during the Carlton game, which could prove a frightening portent of things to come in 2008.

Brad Miller
You've read it all on here a million times. It's not a personal vendetta, he's just not the CHF we need right now. It's all well and good to be waiting for him to breakout but he's played 91 games now and there are no more than a handful of memorable ones amongst them. Despite his major benefactor, ND, having left I expect he'll get another year to prove himself. Has the look and physical attributes to be a star, now all he needs is the smarts.

Brent Moloney
Frustratingly injury prone in the last two seasons. Appears as a 'miss' only because we're all waiting to see him back in his 2005 form. The question is whether it's ever going to happen.

Byron Pickett
Disgraced his legacy in the first half of the season before rehabilitating himself somewhat towards the end of the year. The experiment barely cost us anything over the two years, so you can't call it a failure but after a great second half of the year last season we could have expected more of him this year.

Matthew Warnock
Despite our well documented backline fiascos he doesn't appear to have a future at the club. May be the first player with senior experience to be axed at the end of the year. Played a respectable game against Port Adelaide this year but was then dropped and not seen again.

Adem Yze
Dropped for the first time in years after some rubbish form, and then injured for the first time in years when he returned. Probably past his best but will get another season on the list to prove us wrong. Can still bob up and kick enigmatic goals from the MCG carpark but his days of running riot in the midfield are long gone.

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE

Neale Daniher
He's got to take some shit for the state of our KPP, and the time was right for him to move on, but can you really hold any animosity towards a guy who watched his carefully assembled squad collapse around him at a million miles an hour as the season went on. If you go to work tomorrow and they sit you in front of an Apple IIE you're going to struggle as well so cut the guy some slack. Best of luck in the future, unless you're coaching against us and then I hope you get porked.

Dean Bailey
Has a decent list at his disposal but must be smart with drafting and trading if we're going to have any chance of success in the next couple of years.

Mark Riley
Though the team looked lost at times under his leadership, and his record was feathered with two wins against the loveable losers from Carlton, he still earned himself a respectable coaching record. Was never going to get the senior job on a full time basis but will hopefully play a big support role in the brave new Bailey era.

Clint Bartram
With luck like his he may as well change his name to Lee Walker and be done with it already. After playing 22 in a row to open his career he gets injured in the last game of the season before a finals campaign (remember those?) only to return in round one the next year, have five touches and neck himself for the rest of the season. Showed a lot of promise in his first year, here's hoping that he's not subjected to a career of black death injury plagues.

Clint Bizzell
Couldn't get a game until our season was already destroyed, and was subsequently dropped for another five weeks immediately afterwards. Played like a man who had missed an entire season, but showed enough upon his return to think that he would have at least been a chance to stay on the list for one more year given the relative weakness of our defence. Retired, and we wish him the best for the future.

Jace Bode
Showed some talent in his brief cameo at the end of the season, but with the full squad back next year will struggle for a game. Look forward to seeing him develop.

Cameron Bruce
When he played he was good, not great. Highlight was a 35 touch, 2 goal game against North Melbourne but he never stood out. We may be harsh judges of the game, especially given that we're fatter than a house, but you have to expect more from somebody of his quality. It's a harsh NHNT, but reputation counts in this forum.

Simon Buckley
Played six games, didn't particuarly impress but didn't look awful either. Will be back next year to try and consolidate on what he started this season.

James Frawley
Nine games for four wins, which by my reckoning makes him the most successful players on our list this year. Showed glimpses of form but needs to bulk up if he's going to play as a key defender - also has a frighteningly complex kicking action which you can see going horribly wrong once the opposition start studying it.

Colin Garland
Two games and didn't do anything in either of them, but coincidentally they both happened to be interstate games in which barely any teammates fired a shot either. This one's a work in progress.

Ben Holland
Frustratingly enigmatic he alternated between being completely shit, and a useful member of the squad. Was playing his best football in a Melbourne jumper when that big goof Anthony Rocca sat on him and put him out of action. Is never going to win us a premiership, but in an era when we're struggling for key position players at either end of the field it won't hurt to keep him on the list for one more year. Highlight of the season was probably the Collingwood game where despite committing four quarters of assault on Rocca he got away with it and helped us win.

Travis Johnstone
I'd almost have been tempted to paint him as a "miss" if it wouldn't lead to my house being blown to pieces. Yes, he is silky and yes he does add a 'touch of class' to our side but there is no doubting he has peaked. His touches result in more turnovers than anyone gives him credit for, and despite being handicapped by the traditionally shit kick-in systems we deploy I still cringe every time he goes to kick the ball back in after a behind. I want to see him play for us and become the absolute superstar that he threatened to be a few years ago, but I'm afraid it's not going to happen. If we get the right offer - especially one involving a key position player - I say take it, even if it will lead to the biggest outpouring of shambolic grief since we traded Woewodin. There is NO PLACE FOR SENTIMENT IN FOOTBALL. Are we trying to win a flag or make friends?

Brock McLean
Nobbled by injury just a quarter into the season he showed flashes of brilliance upon his return, but needs to do more next year. With Jones improving at a rapid rate this year and presumably attracting more attention next season the path should clear a bit for Brock to run riot and show us what he's made of. For somebody touted as a future captain he did have a couple of brain explosions throughout the season but there's no doubt that he's 110% behind the club and will be an important part of it for years to come. 2008 promises to be an interesting one.

David Neitz
Physically struggling but still an imposing presence in our squad. Even if he has to be propped in a wheelchair in the goal square, and is only expected to stand up and charge out a couple of times a quarter we're better with him out there but you've got to question how much he's got left in him. Next year is certain, but whether he can make it the full 22 rounds (plus finals? Surely you jest?) is anybody's guess. Had his worst season goal tally since 2000, but if he can stay on the park he's still a valuable cog in the machine. The emergence of Newton will remove the burden somewhat next year, but we can't expect him to turn around and put 50 on the board without a series of remarkable medical breakthroughs.

Heath Neville
No idea. You tell me.

Jared Rivers
Plagued by injury, but looked good when he did play. Despite being a Rising Star award winner he's still criminally underrated by our fans, and his marking in the backline is a feature of his game when he plays. Another one who is primed for a massive 2008 if he stays fit.

Colin Sylvia
Showed a bit, but not what you'd expect from a #3 selection. You wouldn't be entirely adverse to trading him in the right offer came in, but what are you going to get for a high draft pick who has shown little more than glimpses of stardom in four years? Better to persist and hope that he has a breakout season next year. With over 50 games on the board it's time for him to really shine.

Daniel Ward
Skates perilously close to a miss. I've supported him in the past but I think it's time to move on now - having said that I didn't think he was awful this year, but somebody needs to make way for the draft picks and unfortunately for Wardy he doesn't seem to have a huge future, so he might be the one. If he does survive we'd like to see him try and top the ridiculous moustache that he sported in this year's profile picture.

Isaac Weetra
Took Philthy's number. Played as many games this year as his predecessor.

Matthew Whelan
Blighted by injury and played just five games. Another criminally underrated member of our defensive unit who we missed throughout the year. Will hopefully bounce back next season and play a vital role.

Top 5 Highlights of 2008
1. The final siren against Adelaide. One win felt like a Grand Final.
2. Juice Newton's award winning mark.
3. The comprehensive demolition job
4. Yze's goal from Row Z against Fremantle.
5. Robbo's rampage against the Pies, including a goal after the siren when he was having beer cans lobbed at him by bogans.

The lowlights..
1. The loss against North
2. The loss against Port
3. Losing to Richmond after two weeks of wins had started to restore self confidence
4. Brock necking himself in the first quarter of the first game
5. Seeing Daniher's final game snatched from us with six seconds left.

The Wishlist
A FB, CHB, CHF and a speedy midfielder. I'll take two of the four as long as they're both KPP.

Final report
I hate footy. Stay tuned for more throughout the offseason (this time I promise it will happen), and more of the same wrist slashing nihilism in '08.

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