I just don’t get the Bulldogs.
I know most sides play it very fluid with player positions, and you can see anyone playing all over the field, but normally there’s some sort of a structure.
Look at Geelong – sure, they’ve got sixteen midfielders, but you know Tom Hawkins will play forward, Zac Smith will ruck and… you know what I mean, there’s some structure there.
The Dogs don’t really seem to have that.
They used to – back in the day you knew Matty Boyd and Ryan Griffin would play through the middle, you knew Bob Murphy would run off half back and you knew Will Minson would play in the ruck.
But then they changed what structure was, and what structure is now is strange and scary to me. It’ll happen to you.
Now, they’ve got 20 of the exact same players who can rotate through the midfield from the forward line or the back line, and then someone at full back and someone slightly smaller than the full back at centre half back.
Libba, McLean, Wallis, Lachie Hunter, The Bont, Bailey Dale, Liam Picken, Caleb Daniel, JJ, Suckling and a whole bunch of younger kids who are clones of the players listed above all play anywhere and everywhere.
They obviously made it work by virtue of winning the flag, but from a Supercoach standpoint it just confuses me. How can I trust Luke Dahlhaus to play the same role each week when there are like fifteen of him running around?
Can we trust any of them?
Yes. Yes we can.
JACK MACRAE: THE FACTS
Jack Macrae is the man we can trust to play in the midfield. It’s just where he plays. He doesn’t spend a huge amount of time forward, doesn’t spend a huge amount of time back. His 2017 heat map is a great big amorphous blob in the middle – and I love me great some big amorphous blobs.
|2017 100+ Scores||15|
|2017 Sub-80 scores||2|
|2017 Highs & Lows||High of 162, low of 61|
Jack Macrae is a pretty good footballer, which is always a good place to start in the scheme of things. Post bye last year, Macrae came home with 123, 70, 122, 81, 118, 124, 108, 100, 162, 61, 145 and 119 at an average of 111.
He averaged 27.5 touches a game last year at 77 per cent disposal efficiency, and 10.8 possessions of his possessions per game were contested. He also racked up 5.7 tackles a game, 3.5 intercepts and 2.8 centre clearances.
His average jumped 13 points last year from 94.1 to 107.4, and he is coming into his sixth season at 24 years old. With no serious injury history of note – he’s missed seven games in four years – he looks reliable to be out on the park pretty much every week.
He’ll play in the guts, because he’s not overly gifted at scoring goals or playing in defence – there won’t be the issue we’ll have with The Bont, which might see him forward for long stretches of time, or Dahlhaus, who might be in the same boat especially as Stringer has left.
What I’m banking on isn’t his ceiling increasing – we can already see his ceiling is huge – but him smoothing out the dips.
Pat of The Bad is actually where the positive is. Macrae’s bad games last year were a 61, a 70 and a few 80s. Improved fitness, a lack of a premiership hangover – which brought the dogs down last year – and natural progression should see those games become scores of 90.
The other part of The Bad is more worrying: he’s expensive. At 580k, there are plenty of tantalising options such as Merrett, Crouch, Zorko and Sloane at only 20k more, while you could shave 50k and bring in Cripps, Rockliff, Matt Crouch or a smokie like Whitfield.
The Doggies. Sorry Bulldogs fans, but your side makes me nervous. I’m not touching the Bont with a barge pole, and Dahlhaus needs to prove he’s the real deal for me to bring him in. Macrae is the only one I feel will be locked into that midfield role … but that doesn’t mean I’m sleeping easy on it.
The Dogs also don’t have a noted ruckman who can tap it down Macrae’s throat, and while that didn’t bother him too much last year, it could prove something which limits his growth – two of his lowest three scores came against sides with monster ruckmen.
In my side.
At time of writing he is in one per cent of sides, and with the upside he has – and the friendly round 12 bye – he is firmly ensconced at M5.
Will he stay there? We’ll see.
What do you think? Are you willing to entertain Macrae? Or are you more intrigued by other options?