I want to start off by saying I am a Swans Tragic. I bleed Red and White! I have followed them since 1987 and have never faltered in my love for the club. I will follow them if they are on the bottom of the ladder, the top of the ladder or low and behold just treading water. However this doesn't mean I am not someone who doesn't live in the real world.
I understand that teams need to have time at the bottom of the ladder and if they are lucky they will have some time at the pinnacle. I must say we have been one lucky club. We have been at or near the top now for almost 20 years. However the issue is we have been wasteful in those years - particularly over the past 5 years and this is what concerns me.
Now you may think, what is this guy talking about, we have been in 2 Grand Finals in that time; but I ask you have we really been that good? Remember this... if you finish runner up you are just the first best loser and what do you really get for that? To play on the big stage, to have 7.4 million people (about how many people watched the 2016 Grand Final) watch you succumb to the pressure of playing on the big stage?
Now I digress and actually get to my point. The reason we haven't been that good is because we have no Plan B (no not the singer). If you look at the games we have lost over the past 5 years, every game has been because our midfield has been crushed. We get beat in hitouts (yes the ruckman is part of the midfield), clearances and most importantly effective disposals.
Our team has always been great at covering for each other and this has been because of our magnificent midfield. The issue is if they are having a bad day (more frequently this season), or have lots of pressure on them to perform (Grand Finals) the team falls apart. If they can't kick the ball (our team is ranked as one of the worst kicking efficiency teams over the past 5 years) to our forward 50 what is the point of having a superstar forward line.
If they can't push back and help our underperforming defence (yes we have some good defenders but what made them previously a great defence was their ability to have help from the midfielders), then opposition forwards are going to score very easily. I ask you, could the midfield be why our defence leaks so many goals now? Is the midfield the reason our forward line with 3 'gun' forwards and 2 good crumbers are unable to kick winning scores?
The issue is not so much the midfield failing our team, it is the fact our coaching staff (no not just Horse) are failing our players. I understand that it is a group of coaches and not just and I believe it starts with our conditioning coaches and goes all the way up to John Longmire.
They have built the game style for so long on a gut-busting, hard-running midfield that time and time again has dominated the opposition. The issue is that this no longer works as the be all and end all. Sure it works against teams that don't have strong midfields who can kick but against those teams that do we fail!
So you may ask, what is my answer? Well I don't know as I am just an arm chair critic, but what I can tell you is if Horse and his coaching team do not develop a PLAN B (that focuses on kicking efficiency as well as hard work) when PLAN A (get the midfield to work hard and do it) fails then we will struggle for quite some time to come.
So that is my opinion, but as I said I am only an arm chair critic.
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