Well since everyone enjoyed the first one, I thought I wouldn’t leave you hanging for too long. My last review, part 1, looked at the "top tier players", the ones I regard as key, irreplaceable, untradeable.
This report will go into detail the role of our mid tier players, those that are crucial in a premiership winning side.
There's a saying that “every top side has elite players”, and this is mostly true for the teams that finish in the top 8. You can go through the each of those sides and most have 3-to-4 A grader, elite players. The sides that really contend, get the most out of their mid tier players.
This is one area where the Swans have made strong improvements in 2017.
Mid tier players
George Hewett finished 5th in the best and fairest showed significant improvement. No one will say he can’t kick, but he should be getting more of the ball, and next year he needs to get more than 22-23 possessions. This will come, and it will be a great sight. Very critical player for the Swans going forward.
The form of Dean Towers had to be seen to be believed. I have the full eggs benedict on my face after this season; I couldn’t believe he was offered another deal. It shows that sometimes (even my best) judgments can be premature. One of the few players in the semi-final against Geelong that genuinely beat his man. Looking forward to him next season as he works on becoming even more consistent.
Our defence is always one that is talked about, but everyone always forgets the unsung heroes. Is it any wonder we struggled against Hawthorn once Jake Lloyd was out? Is it any wonder we struggled against Adelaide once Lewis Melican wasn’t fit enough to play?
It is an area we are blessed with, but we do need to help these players become better. The challenge for us as a club, is turning these solid players into elite, or A grader players. Jake Lloyd, severely underrated by the AFL, is getting there, but the others have a massive pre-season ahead of them.
It will be interesting to see who from our reserves can provide a role next year. I was disappointed Shaun Edwards didn’t stay on, but I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
The way we are going to improve as a club, is to get some quality coming through our NEAFL system. If I were to nominate one player to step up, it would be Jack Maibuam. Although he looks like a Heath Grundy clone, don’t expect him to play a lot of games in 2018. The odd game here and there will help him, and the club, develop.
As a side note - I know I’ll have a million questions on this - Allir Allir needs a big season in 2018. He wasn’t right this year, and looked half-fit for most of it. Rushed back before he was ready, and clearly struggling after an injury interrupted pre-season, he needs to make massive strides this year.
The club can do him a favour and work out what position he is, but a good injury-free pre-season will go a long way. I'm not sold him as a defender - I personally see him as a tall wingman/FWD, so it will be interesting to see what happens with him in 2018.
Overall though, we have had a great year from our role players. They need to keep improving year on year, and overall they showed great, positive signs in 2017. I'm looking forward to watching them and seeing their improvement in 2018 and beyond.
Stay tuned for part 3 which will focus on list management heading towards the upcoming draft.
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