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Footy media list management post-2023 season

This post started as a thread on Twitter, but I buggered up the threading halfway through so even if you saw it at the time you might have missed some of them.

Out: L. Matthews (retired), C. Ling (delisted), W. Carey (suspension)
In: J. Riewoldt, D. Hardwick, T. Hawkins

B. Taylor will be brought in front of the leadership group on a plastic chair to discuss his recent poor form. Not good enough from a senior player.

A. Hudson has had a recent role change and took it well, comes off the flanks and works hard, probably deserves a run through the guts after all this time

H. McLachlan gets a lot of possessions but doesn’t do enough with them, stat padding without hurt factor, needs to forget chasing kicks and concentrate on quality over quantity

K. Underwood is the whipping boy (girl?) of the club, fans always love to hate, but has quietly been improving with some understated humour, hierarchy persevering and getting results

G. Healy has been moved to a half back flank in his twilight years and has lost a yard or three, still has a decent floor of performance but he’s a footsoldier at best these days. Great for teaching the young bucks about pronunciation skills, though.

D. Brereton is another who could use a bit of direction on how to straighten up, runs some pretty strange patterns and his disposal can be very wayward at times. Needs to concentrate on getting back to basics and not lairising.

G. Whateley is probably overrated at this point, obviously a quality distributor but he can go missing for periods or even entire games, sometimes watching the scoreboard too much and might have his mind on other things

J. Brown is on serious coin and his one-wood is just massive, but he needs to round out his game by doing the one-percenters without the ball in hand. Okay, we get it Browny, the contest, sure mate. How about a bit of hard work in transition as well.

D. Pearce is a boom recruit, pick 1 and delivering on all the hype. Flanker role means she is too reliant on supply on the outside, however, and if they don’t look for her then she struggles to impact. Perhaps a move to the engine room might unlock full potential?

M. Howard is a classic clubman, doesn’t really have a differentiator but just does everything competently. Also very good at supporting teammates by having a nice fireside chat, especially those who have been a bit down.

D. Russell is another lightning rod type of player who draws a lot of hate from fans and opponents alike, but if you watch him closely he has actually been cutting out the low-percentage stuff in recent weeks and is focusing on effective disposals.

J. Brayshaw has a lot of runs on the board but could be accused of coasting at this point in his career, his output not really matching his reputation in recent campaigns.

L. Hodge came into the game a little while ago with a bang and obviously had an enormous skill base to work with, perhaps he has levelled off this year and needs to find another gear. Another flanker who needs to impact the game more in the corridor.

S. Jones is all class, just delivers year after year in a league where stars rise and fall. You might have thought she would drop off this late in her career but she powers on and is just about in career-best form at a point when others throw the towel in.

K. Loughnane has a lot of hype around her, and a certain part of the fan base thinks she’s the bees knees, but I don’t see it myself. Each to their own I guess, but I don’t see a significant trick in her bag, just another M. Howard roleplaying type not a genuine star.

N. Riewoldt has spent a season out of the game after a few decent campaigns, he had a long apprenticeship to work on his craft and gets the most out of himself. Tries really hard, no doubt. Having said that, is he hearing footsteps?

A. Papalia, now here is a true professional. Can’t fault his preparation, has had to battle against perceptions that he’s not a prime-time player but always does the job he is asked. Someone at committee level needs to show faith in him to take the next step.

A. Nicholson made a well-publicised transfer from a feeder club to one of the big four, has been given all the chances in front of the big sticks but fans are divided on whether he is worth the contract. Has time to put his stamp on a game, especially in finals.

T. Hawkins playing his first game today and is showing some excellent flashes in the L-plates, delivery inside 50 is a highlight and there’s a lot to work with there.

L. Darcy has had a controversy-filled career, infamous for clangers on- and off-field. Probably lucky to still be getting contracts, because his finest output dried up quite a few campaigns ago and he’s been living on past glories way too long – not that his best was ever elite.

L. Montagna is not rated particularly highly by the fans but he doesn’t do much wrong either, a solid contributor. You don’t notice him and then look at the stat sheet and think hmm, didn’t think he was in the play that much. Good to have a soldier like that on your team.

B. Zempilas came back for a testimonial match recently but highlighted why he was better off on the sidelines, flashy but not a whole lot of substance there. His clangers seem worse when delivered with such seeming confidence.

T. Lane was a big story many years ago when he took a big-money contract to shift clubs back in the days before that was de rigueur, a trailblazer in many respects but his best days are long gone. Worth a nostalgic hit every now and then.

J. Bennett is another one whose preparation is immaculate, no one studies film like him, but when the whips are cracking you wonder if he’s put in the traditional 10,000 hours to perfect his footy skills and commit them to muscle memory. More of an athlete than a footy natural.

N. Brown is your classic cream player, adds that unmistakeable touch of class to a side that is already very good but can go missing when the engine room is not feeding him. Probably spends too much time studying the form guide, stay away from John the Bookie old son.

C. Middlemas has been given more opportunity recently and is clearly a best 22 player. How high is his ceiling, though? Efficiency is his best trait, rarely makes mistakes, but you wonder if he has the big body to survive in the spine at a big club.

A. Lynch always looks like a player and he knows the patterns off by heart. However, you’re always worried watching the contest because he always gives you reason to think he’s carrying. On paper he’s a star, in person he S. T. Ruggles.

M. Richardson is a fan favourite verging on cult figure. Sometimes you wonder if the fans are laughing with him or at his on-field antics. When he straightens up he can be useful, but fans often cheer him on to take ridiculous shots from low-percentage areas.

B. Speed is from a non-Australian-rules background, and his technique can sometimes be a bit funky. Nevertheless he is a complete athlete, and his skills are as well-rounded as you will see. Doesn’t excite the crowd but gets the job done.

J. Dunstall has the advantage of a grounding in both on- and on-field parts of the industry, giving him a breadth of knowledge and respect. His best years might be behind him, but you always know what you’re going to get and it’s highly professional output.

G. Lyon has somehow gone through a high-profile career being continually under-rated, not by his coaches but never talked about among fans as one of the all-time greats. Probably deserves more credit when you look at his accomplishments, and still delivers.

B. Johnson, you won’t hear a bad word about him from anyone in the club, he’s a champion without question… but at the end of the season, has he delivered enough wins to deliver a flag? From a certain perspective he is a list clogger, a B-grader in disguise.

J. Lewis belies his reputation as a bit of a thug by running some pretty intelligent patterns if you are watching him off the ball. Has always been underappreciated compared to the big dogs, a bit of a G. Lyon type in that respect. Lacks star power but pleases his coach.

A. Holmes has been a breath of fresh air in recent seasons, and adds a fair bit of X-factor to a group that can sometimes get a bit samey in key positions. Coaches have pegged her as an outside mid, one wonders how far she could go at the coalface.

D. King has tried to carve out a niche for himself in the forward line as an attacking roleplayer weaving his way through traffic in the corridor, which may not be the best use of his talents as he is probably more suited to running on the outside in wide open spaces.

S. McInnes is another one who gets forgotten at a club which rests on its laurels, all very well to point to the trophy cabinet but that is VFL level and the fan base has one foot in the grave. Trade value has dropped off through no fault of his own, he’s a one-club player.

N. Jones has a reputation for longevity, though in this cut-throat caper he needs to develop an edge sharper than his Headblade. On exposed form, he’s bowling nude spinners in the slot and getting carted over midwicket. You can’t just accumulate in this league.

J. Kournelis has come through the new academy system, giving him an excellent grounding of techniques to play any sort of role. The question now is how high his ceiling is, as some younger players can get lost in the system and not take the next step.

N. Dal Santo is skilful (just ask him), has a few tickets and largely delivers on the ‘tude without joining the elite ranks. His recent venture into part-time coaching has been less than successful… at very least, he deserves some respect for putting his dick on the line.

M. Pavlich is a class above, such a complete player that the boffins named a stat after him. Can dominate in any position, so it seems a bit wasteful for coaches to leave him to go cold on the outside. Perhaps he’s happier there, though his ceiling is limitless.

W. Schofield is probably not going to win the Rising Star award, even though he should poll strongly and will probably have a longer career than others whose stars might burn brightly but fade earlier. A classic 200-game workhorse, running both ways up the wings.

R. Daniels is another new entrant with a high ceiling, though his go-home factor limited his draft position. Plays well on his home deck, nowhere when the team has to travel. Would be a star at a Melbourne-based club.

M. Soderstrom also largely goes missing when the team is interstate, and even when playing home games his output can tend to be a bit replacement-level. He must be fulfilling some hidden KPIs for the coach, as he seems the sort of flashy player Moneyball was devised to bypass.

D. Thomas has always been at his best when concentrating on quality over quantity, and the coaches have seen this by using him sparingly in his debut season. Like N. Brown, his association with dodgy bookies is to his detriment and limits his output.

N. Carmody is an old school operator running a second job during the week, a throwback to a bygone era. On one hand he has a well-rounded game, on the other his commitment to the big league can be questioned. Probably not going to escape the coach’s pigeon hole.

A. Cooney is as entertaining as anyone in the game, it’s his attitude that keeps him joining the ranks of the elite. Takes low-percentage shots that are amazing when they come off, at other times when his teammates are not on the same page he can commit embarrassing clangers.

S. Burgoyne has a glittering CV, and it has taken a while for him to get the credit he deserves. Perhaps he’s just not flashy enough to win the big individual awards, though you can often find him to be pivotal in big moments and his teams tend to win flags.

N. Buckley has been searching a long time for that elusive premiership, his career has been full of drama with glorious highs and some deep lows late in September. Is he enough of a team player to relax and just let his best game come out without trying to force it?

C. Johnson is a formidable teammate to have, though like most defenders rarely gets votes in the big awards. Sometimes it’s useful to be anonymous and just do the job every week no questions asked. Enormous respect behind the scenes and among hardcore fans.

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