It seems to me that the winds of change need to blow through the Adelaide Football Club playing group. But do the Crows have the appetite and courage for change?
The players look to be labouring, physically and mentally. The coaching and selection panel are too conservative and defensive. The result is a team of players who can’t get out of their own way, too afraid to try anything, overthinking everything. Afraid to take a risk. Every time they turn it over they just lose a bit more confidence. And we’ve lost our versatility because of stodgy selection policies.
None of our senior players have any improvement left in them. What you see is what you get from the likes of DMac, Jenkins, Tex, Sloane, Lynch, Betts etc. The club needs to have the nuts to call time on some in this group and inject youth, with a license to play on instinct. Get out of their way with stupid gameplans that make players overthink and second guess themselves. Pick a team that is structurally sound and versatile, and let them play.
We’ve been too heavy defensively all season. We can afford to lose two talls in that group – Hartigan and Kelly. I’d bring in Fog for Tom’s role and McHenry as a small defender (for now) in their place. I’d also bring in Scholl to rotate with Fog and Davis. Smith, Laird and Milera rotate through the mids.
We’ve been too one paced in the mids. We should only have two grunt players in that mix, Sloane and M Crouch (if fit). Gallucci is quick and runs in straight lines, bring him in. Chayce (after concussion) is quick and hard at it, play him in the middle where he belongs. B Crouch is an in/out player so he stays, but his role needs to change somewhat. Laird, Smith and Milera should be rotated through the middle so they can make an impact and shake it up. Hugh Greenwood can join this group, but rotate forward as well. Never more than two of Sloane, M Crouch and Greenwood in the middle. DMac and Atkins make way here.
Up forward, we need some points of difference. We are far too predictable and slow. 3 I50 tackles against a slow team tells you that. Jenkins has to go. Murphy has to lift offensively. Betts needs to be played deep, not high like he has been the last couple of weeks. Lynch needs to go. For those three, Himmelburg, Stengle and Davis come in. Tex needs to come out and play high where he can hit up and distribute.
McHenry. Talia. Laird
Smith. Keith. Fog
Gallucci. M Crouch. B Crouch
Davis. Tex. Stengle
Betts. Burg. Greenwood
Ruck: ROB (for now) Sloane Milera
Bench: Jones, Scholl, Knight (just), Murphy (just)
* Scholl allows Fog to go forward at times, rotating with Greenwood and Davis
* Our grunt players are M Crouch, Sloane and Greenwood (and a bit of Knight)
* Runners are Milera, Gooch, B Crouch, Smith, Laird and Jones.
* Our chop out defenders are Fog and Scholl
* Our small forwards are Betts, Stengle and Murphy (and a bit of Knight)
* Our marking forwards are Burg and Davis, with a bit of Fog and Tex (hitting up)
The team has holes. We need better versions of Knight and Murphy, and a better ruck. I’d rather Fog permanent forward but we need x factor in Davis. M Crouch on form is lucky and I’d consider CEY as an alternative. McHenry is better forward and replaces Murphy when Brown is fit. I’d seriously consider Hunter in ruck. But there are seven new faces from the North game, at the expense of DMac, Atkins, Lynch, Jenkins, Kelly, Hartigan and CEY. Noone could argue that those players don’t deserve to be dropped, both on form and on “seen enough, not going to improve” factor.
Of course, this is all fantasy. Our club doesn’t make seven changes. Our club doesn’t make objective assessments of team stalwarts. Our club doesn’t take risks. Our club fears failure and fails as a result. So we might see a forced change for Jones and maybe another “example” dropping. But we’ll stick to the structures, back the players to do better and go again. Thus providing no accountability. No tension for spots. No enthusiasm. And no success.