“If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, why do we keep score?”
By The Football Tragic
I’m quoting the great Vince Lombardi in the headline here, a genius of football in the United States and extremely quotable. This stemmed from my sister in law who indicated that it didn’t matter that Essendon lost on Saturday night, after all it was just a game, it gave me something to run with. Yet another huge week in footy has transpired and once again, we are left with a barrage of questions, fewer answers and much ado about nothing that may just be something. The Holy Boot turned 30 on Tuesday, happy birthday to him, hopefully he had an enjoyable day – given Richmond have the bye on the weekend, he should get a week of enjoyment of his special day. As I told ‘The Boot’, 30 is just a state of mind, of course that is unless you are an AFL player, in which it’s a one year performance based contract. Regardless though, pull out the Deep Heat, get the liniment oil and smelling salts under the nose and let’s have a look at the Burning Issues of the week that lit up my twitter account;
‘Coaching is nothing more than eliminating mistakes before you get fired.’ – Lou Holtz
Lou Holtz, for those in the dark was a US Collegiate football coach who had a career that spanned from 1969 to 2004 and accumulated a win/loss record of 249 – 137 – 7 over his 35 career, which included tenures at The College of William & Mary, North Carolina State, University of Arkansas, University of Minnesota, Notre Dame and the University of South Carolina. Holtz is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and is one of only 66 Head Coaches in the history of collegiate football to record 200 wins, needless to say, he knows his stuff.
Now, it’s reported that Neil Craig, the now former Adelaide coach walked away from his role with the Crows, but regardless of how you spin it, Craig walked before pushed and in the eyes of Grant Thomas, that push actually came about. Unfortunately for Craig, the listless performance of the Crows against the Saints on Friday night sealed his fate and from there on in, it was apparent all weekend that Craig wouldn’t be in the big seat against the Power in the Showdown. Although reported widely in the media that Honest Neil was true to his word, it’s a disappointing end to the coaching career of one of the games gentlemen.
Craig took over the Crows in 2004 in not to dissimilar circumstances that arose from his departure, replacing Gary Ayres in round 13. Over the course of the last 7 years within the top job, Craig held a 92-74 record (55% success rate), taking the Crows to consecutive finals appearances from 2005 to 2009 including Preliminary Final berths in 2005 and 2006. Admittedly, his last two years in the job have resulted in his dismissal with his last 38 games producing a 13 – 25 record. The final 38 games of Craig’s tenure can’t be mistaken, however it is important to note that over the same period of time, the following coaching records are evident;
- Mick Malthouse: 102 – 66 – 1 (60% record – 1 Premiership – 5 Finals – 2 Preliminary Finals)
- John Worsfold: 95 – 86 (52% record – 1 Premiership – 4 Finals – 2 Grand Final Appearances)
- Alastair Clarkson (Since 2005): 77 – 70 – 1 (52% record – 1 Premiership – 2 Finals)
- Rodney Eade (Since 2005): 84 – 66 – 2 (55% record – 4 Finals – 3 Preliminary Finals)
- Paul Roos (Finish 2010): 89 – 65 – 2 (57% record – 1 Premiership – 6 Finals – 2 Grand Final Appearances)
Furthermore, if you remove Craig’s 2011 record, you look at a figure of 88 – 62, which equates to a better win/loss ratio than that of Paul Roos, who many credit with being one of the games great modern era coaches, albeit without the Premiership Roos won, and that is where Craig’s woes start and end. When it comes down to it, regardless of losing McLeod, Edwards, Goodwin, Burton and Hentschel at the end of 2010, he simply didn’t have the elusive flag to have his record hang on and to the same end, it’s why the pressure has been focused on Rodney Eade throughout 2011.
Craig is a polished media performer, lover of the polo shirt, intelligent and affable figure. His background at the AFL and State level of football, combined with his fitness and sports science and demonstrated transferrable skills in previous roles with Australian Cycling Federation, Olympic Games and the South Australian Institute of Sport lead me to think he won’t be lost to the game, he is far too valuable an asset for other Clubs not to explore.
‘Of the Seven Deadly Sins, only envy is no fun at all’ – Joseph Epstein
Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve received various tweets and facebook messages from supporters of 16 other clubs harping on about Chris Judd and his value. I’m an unabashed Collingwood fan, however I marvel each and every week that I observe Chris Judd play, either in person or on the idiot box. As far as I’m concerned, Judd is in the best half dozen players I’ve observed play the game – a list that includes Carey, Buckley, Hird, Lockett and Williams – and I’d give the left, even the right one, to have him in a Collingwood jumper. However, the debate isn’t about my best players list, it has been about whether or not Judd is as good as he’s made out to be. One of the only areas I’ve agreed upon, and it is but an opinion, is that he has a reasonably good with umpires- but by the same token, as a ball player, midfielder and clearance machine, he’s far more susceptible to the awarding of free kicks – yet I often query how long he is awarded to dispose of the ball in comparison to his football colleagues.
People have described Judd to me as “a ball burner”, “poor field kick”, “inefficient disposer”, “poor overhead mark” and “unaccountable” in a defensive sense. Then ‘On the Couch’ on Monday, Gerard Healy almost had me fall off the couch when he queried Judd’s hands. Prior to Monday, I was of the belief there was a query over his foot skills, not his hands. When I posed the question of why so much dislike for the Juddster, I was advised of his Round 6 2010 performance in a 9 goal ‘flogging’ in which he had 38 disposals and apparently travelled at just above 50% efficiency and was awarded 3 Brownlow votes. I was told that in 2005/06 he was exposed by Adam Goodes, in 2007/08/09 by Bartel and Ablett and then in 2010/11 he was bettered by Pendlebury, Swan and Thomas. Personally, I couldn’t recall Collingwood doing such a smashing job on Judd over the past two years that he had no impact on a contest, but I accepted the opinions of others. Topping off the list, one follower advised me that he’d take Pendlebury, Goodes or Ablett over Judd which was countered with the same follower’s observation that he is a player that drags his team up into matches and takes the attention of others. Needless to say, I was a little bewildered and thought to look into the matter further.
First off, in 2011 Chris Judd has appeared in all of Carlton’s 17 games played, he has amassed 468 disposals, of which 246 have been contested possessions. Add an additional 116 tackles, 113 clearances, 79 inside 50’s and has committed a miserly 45 clangers. On those figures alone, Judd has averages 27.5 disposals per game of which 14.5 are contested, he is laying 6.8 tackles, 6.64 clearances, 4.6 entrances into the forward 50 and 2.6 clangers. Importantly to the debate at hand, he is travelling at 66.2% in overall efficiency, that’s to say that on average, 18 of his 27.5 disposals are hitting the target and/or directly benefiting his Carlton team, given that 14.5 of his disposals are contested possessions, which is 53% of the ball he wins, it’s a pretty impressive return.
For further reference, I took it a year back and looked at 2010 where he secured his second Brownlow despite missing the first three games of the year, but played the remaining 20 games. In the same stats brackets he picked up 539 possessions of which 279 were contested, laid 105 tackles, 45 clearances, 110 inside 50’s and a further 55 clangers. On those figures, his 2010 year resulted in 26.9 possessions per game of which 13.9 were contested, laid 5.2 tackles, 2.2 clearances, 5.5 inside 50’s and 3.2 clangers per game – the important stat once again, his disposal efficiency averaged for the year at 65% (51% is contested) and using the same analogy when weighing his contested ball and clearances to efficiency, it’s a great return again. But people, statistically, Judd’s year in 2011 is tracking better than his 2010 where everyone was bewildered he picked up a second Brownlow. Just as importantly, Judd will lay more tackles in 2011 and yet his clearance work in 2010 is far below that of the current year.
Comparatively, because the following players were mentioned, here is how some of those players stack up in 2011;
Pendlebury: 16 games, 454 disposals, 197 contested, 98 tackles, 75 clearances, 74 inside 50’s, 31 clangers; AVERAGE 28.4 disposals, 12.3 contested, 6.1 tackles, 4.7 clearances, 4.6 inside 50’s, 1.9 clangers at 79% efficiency (Contested possession equates to 43% of disposals)
Thomas: 15 games, 375 disposals, 140 contested, 58 tackles, 53 clearances, 66 insides 50’s, 47 clangers; AVERAGE: 25 disposals, 9.3 contested, 3.9 tackles, 3.5 clearances, 4.4 inside 50’s, 3.1 clangers at 74% efficiency (Contested possession equates to 37% of disposals)
Bartel: 16 games, 348 disposals, 150 contested, 67 tackles, 41 clearances, 68 insides 50’s, 44 clangers; AVERAGE 21.75 disposals, 9.4 contested, 4.2 tackles, 2.6 clearances, 4.25 insides 50’s, 2.75 clangers at 74.9% efficiency (Contested possession equates to 43% of disposals)
Swan: 15 games, 456 disposals, 194 contested, 46 tackles, 89 clearances, 76 inside 50’s, 49 clangers; AVERAGE 30.4 disposals, 12.9 contested, 3.1 tackles, 5.9 clearances, 5.1 inside 50’s, 3.3 clangers at 68% efficiency (Contested possession equates to 43% of disposals)
Ablett: 15 games, 433 disposals, 217 contested, 88 tackles, 93 clearances, 75 inside 50’s, 40 clangers; AVERAGE 28.9 disposals, 14.5 contested, 5.8 tackles, 6.2 clearances, 5 inside 50’s, 2.7 clangers at 65.8% efficiency (Contested possession equates to 50.1% of disposals)
Fundamentally, Judd secures more contested possession than all the above mentioned and in 2011 is behind only Ablett, Kennedy, Priddis, and O’Keefe in terms of contested possession averages and of those players, only Ablett averages more touches. Ultimately, contested possession has an effect on your efficiency and Judd is elite, regardless of how one spins it and presently, Judd’s contested possession to uncontested possession exceeds that of little Gazza. The above doesn’t consider goals and accountability, but it should settle the debate that Judd’s disposal, when in consideration to others, isn’t nearly as bad as what people would like to believe. And finally, to settle a point, that Round 6 game in 2010 against the Pies, he tracked at 67.57% for his disposal efficiency, had 37 touches (21 contested), had his season high 6 clearances and took the ball inside 50 an amazing 10 times of the 48 times Carlton entered the forward 50 – not a terrible game at all.
So maybe everyone should check some stats before they make ‘Judd-gements’.
‘Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat’ – Unknown
The near on 18 month saga involving Andrew Lovett has come to an end and the debate in the media has switched from his legal battles to that of his AFL redemption. It’s important to note that regardless of the outcome of the case, there was more than one party involved in the matter and the young lady involved needs consideration and support in light of the outcome. However, in the eyes of the judicial system and rightfully, so should be the case for the general public, Andrew Lovett is an innocent man.
As mentioned, the debate has been about where Lovett will resume his AFL career, with public opinion pretty much indicating that he’s a monty to be playing elite level football in 2012. A general consensus has him at GWS in 2012 under the tutelage of his former mentor, Kevin Sheedy. I for one am not so sure. I’ve seen Lovett play a few games this year in the NFL for Fitzroy Stars and without dominating, he’s not lost his pace or general fitness base, but my thoughts aren’t based around his capacity to play, they are unfortunately around the stigma of his past that will surround him. As a newly formed entity, the GWS need to portray a certain image and more importantly, with a list that will encompass 80% of its players under 19 years of age, securing elite young players is imperative. I pose that thought, how happy would you be as a parent of an aspiring draftee knowing that Andrew Lovett may be on the list at GWS? It’s not the easy sell that GC Suns were to begin with and this COULD provide another issue that GWS really don’t need to encounter.
Personally, I am of the opinion that Lovett will be on a senior list at a Club that believes they are on the precipice of a premiership. Geelong displayed interest prior to his trade to St.Kilda, Fremantle and West Coast could benefit immensely from his speed on the quick deck of Paterson Stadium, Carlton could well utilise a line breaking defender/midfielder and imagine Hawthorn using the speed of Lovett and Isaac Smith off their wings. It’s a given, in my eyes that Lovett, even at 29 years of age by the start of the 2012 season has at least a couple of good years left in him, his body essentially will be rested from his two years sabbatical. The AFL is full of redemption stories – including the recent Krakouer and Cousins returns to the game, but GWS may not be the ideal fit for Lovett for the betterment of the Club’s short term future.
As the cliché goes, a week is a long time in footy and without any doubt whatsoever, the twitter and facebook world will throw me more curly debates, but the Anthony Banick unfulfilled potential question will not be addressed!
- The Football Tragic
These thoughts and opinions are those of the author and are not necessarily aligned with those of Nick Maxwell or the people at nickmaxwell.com.au
Comment posted by Boot on 2011-07-29 02:49:01
Hahaha- Last i heard anthony banick was fullfilling his potential-as a lawn bowls vic champion! True story. Tall-poppy syndrome with judd-perhaps not the purest kicking action but as you pointed out, converted possession skews the efficieny percentages.
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