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Post by Lee on Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:39 pm

Just to let everyone know that by tomorrow morning, our 'official launch' date, we'll have season previews for Norwood, West, Central and North.

They'll be followed soon after by previews for the other teams.

Each preview is detailed and has been written by a passionate supporter of each team.

We hope you enjoy them and have your say whether you agree or disagree.


Last edited by redandblack on Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Flag No.10 on Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:12 pm

WESTIES VERSION 2.012

How on Earth do you predict what Westies are going to serve up for us this year? At different times in 2011 we looked like the best side in the competition and the worst. And we ended up being neither.

The club’s line has been that the very good form of early 2011 was sabotaged by injuries and suspensions. But that doesn’t really explain why we were still so poor later in the year when most of those players returned. And a lack of depth to cover those players is more of an indictment than a justification.

The main losses from the 2011 squad, in terms of impact on games last year, are Morris, Silvester and Pettigrew. These aren’t insubstantial. Morris was our best player, Silvester was 3rd best in the B&F (and probably the best full back in the competition) and Pettigrew played 8 games as a versatile tall.

So our defence, universally regarded as our strength, has been weakened. Whether it can again be the team’s rock depends on several unknowns: Can Joel Tippett hold down a key defensive spot? Can Ryan Ferguson get through most of a season at or near his best? Can someone provide the rebound and relentless desperation that Morris did?

Ferguson is one of the bravest players seen at our club, but the physical cost of his courage might be that he is now best suited to a third tall defender’s role, and/or more time up forward. Assuming Tippett holds down full back or centre half-back that would leave Adam Hartlett or Tyson Slattery to fill the other key defensive spot, neither of whom are proven in those roles at this level. Morris’s role probably needs to be taken by Daniel Caire now. He has provided plenty of run out of defence previously, but now he would need to play the sort of quarter-back (apologies for the U.S. reference) role that McGuiness and McKenzie play for their clubs, not the strong marking aspect but playing off your opponent sometimes almost as a loose man, reading the play and repelling attacks. Ben Fisher could do the job with his strong marking but Caire’s dash might be more important.

Ruck and midfield is where I worry most. We have improved in the ruck, mainly in parallel with Ryan Willits’ own development, but we still struggle against the leading ruckmen in the competition. I was trying to remember the last time we could say we had the number #1 ruckman in the SANFL and I think it’s either when we (briefly) had Shaun Rehn, or else Mark Mickan. Could there possibly be a connection between this and our lack of success over the last few decades?

In the midfield, Schmidt and Ezard are as good as any and Birss, as an outside mid, is probably our highest possession getter. But after that, it gets a bit less certain. Crouch could be outstanding, but then again he hasn’t played at this level before, and if he gets some sort of niggling injury I can imagine Adelaide putting him up on the blocks for a while. Silverlock was very good with Bendigo before he broke his leg, but hasn’t returned to that form since, so it’s hard to know what he will bring us. Bricknell had a great patch late last year as a clearance player but he hasn’t sustained it for a whole season yet. MacReadie, Nat Caruso and Hill have their moments but all have lacked consistency, and all are still dealing with injuries that required surgery. So it’s a Forrest Gump of a midfield - we don’t know what we’re going to get.

Up forward we look in pretty good shape. Our marking options include Webb, Fisher, Still and Ferguson, and Beech is always likely to kick a goal if he gets hold of the footy within range. I really like Brad Fisher as a footballer and was surprised he wasn’t more influential last year. I expected him to tear the competition apart and still think he could. I saw Still play a bit in the VFL last year and while some have his card marked as a ‘mark and kick’ type he looked more than that to me, and appeared to be a very smart player. He’s had a bad run with injury though so he’ll need his luck to change. And we do need to get more goals from our mids and small forwards, but that will probably depend on the quality of our ball movement into the forward lines.

And that’s the biggest unknown in my opinion. What quality of football will we produce as a team? The dour, defensive stuff that we revert to when we lose confidence will again prove unsuccessful and will not endear the team to the fans. A season-long commitment to the braver, risk-taking, attacking style that we saw early in 2011 will make us a formidable team. It’s going to come down to what’s in the minds of the players, and no one really knows that.

Bottom line: I think it’s quite conceivable that we can be better than Glenelg, Sturt, North, Port and South. It’s probably less conceivable that we could be better than Centrals or the Eagles, and Norwood, despite their losses, remain a well-drilled unit. Therefore I hesitantly predict we will finish 4th.



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Post by Ben W on Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:40 pm

I have a nasty feeling that the Football Gods are not going to be kind to West Adelaide this season. I very much hope that I am wrong because despite being a South Adelaide Supporter I like nothing better than seeing Westies pants one of the top SANFL sides at Richmond when I can get there.

Westies Ins on face value appear to balance the outs, I suspect that several will make the cut and several will not, such is the life of a SANFL club when recruiting is undertaken.

What annoys the siht out of me about the WAFC is how they can play such good football one week then seemingly lose the plot and be a shadow of the previous weeks side the next week. Last year we saw Westies string several good wins together, and they looked awesome, then the wheels fell off and they drifted into the oblviion with lack of depth being given as the excuse for the problem.

Here is the rub, I supported very much the ideal of West getting Andy Collins as Senior Coach. I think he brought a lot to the club, picked it up, broke the cycle of wooden spoons and made it a competitive side. The trouble is I feel that Collins has taken the group as far as he can and now its going to be the job of another man to come in and lead Westies to Zion. I feel that Andy Collins problem is that his Coaching has been well and truly picked apart and the other sides have his number in terms of his zoning structure and the deficiencies in the side.

I can not understand why West have not recruited a ruckman, this is an area they get beaten in week in and week out and IMO should have been the first area addressed in recruiting. Modern football might have changed somewhat, but winning the tap and your players roving the ball around the pack and down the middle to your forwards still wins you SANFL games. West lose the tap, overuse the ball around the centre and the opposition pressure them to the mistake and the turnover. Collins seems to respond by playing the most defensive game possible and appears to think nothing of flooding back in the first half of the game. By favouring a game plan focused around defence, Collins seems to me to come up short in terms of using pace to outrun his opponents and to move the ball effectively down the middle. Watching West fumble the ball around the centre and out to the wing before yet another turnover suggests to me that its time for Collins to move on and to allow another man to come into the club, not unlike what happened when Phil Carman left Sturt and they then won the flag under another man the following year.

Very much hope I am wrong, would like nothing better than to see West giving the rest of the SANFL a hard time and clamping onto a top three spot. Sadly I think that wont be the case and Collins will be sacked before the season is out and replaced by Mark Mickan whose new game plan will take the club to the next level from where they are now in 2013.
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Post by Lee on Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:48 pm

Very interesting theory, Ben.

If Collin's game normal plan is defensive, what do you think of the style displayed in the first half of last season when West were close to the highest scoring side?

I think a lot of what you say is around the mark when West are playing poorly, but their poor form came immediately after beating North by 6 goals at Prospect and having to make 8 changes the next week.

Interesting point, though, about a ruckman and I agree that was one of our weaknesses at times last year.

As Flag No 9 says, which West will we see this year?
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Post by mypaspectiv on Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:26 pm

It continues to be frustrating (Ben W) when posters and supporters continue to speculate on the coach being sacked and replaced by Mark Mickan. It has been stated publicly by the club, and more importantly by Mark himself, that he has consciously chosen a different direction with his carreer into football management and not coaching. At 50 years of age, he wants to learn as much as he can with the Administration side of football to develop and enhance his carreer in this area due to the obvious volatility and short tenure of coaching (which he has witnessed first hand).

Although this maybe your opinion, and you're entitled to it, all this speculation does is to destabalise a club trying to prepare the best they can for the 2012 season.

We would all be better served to be supportive of the coach as he is working extremely hard during the pre-season to develop quicker movement of the ball and a game style similar to the first half of 2011. The players are enjoying it.

When the wheels fell off last season they simply ran out of depth and fell into the old trap of playing undermanned "save the game" football. The depth of the league list has improved by several IMO. Main departures Steve Morris & Jarrod Sylvester (big losses). BUT Ins: Joel Tippett, Michael Still, Taite Silverlock, Tyson Slattery, Nick Westoff (all had a taste of AFL environment), Dean Poynton as well as several other depth players. Then don't forget Chris Schmidt and Nat Caruso who both only played less than half a season in 2011, but when they did West won most games. Finally, Rory Laird will improve as a small defender (should become a regular) and Brad Crouch could be an X-factor, touted as one of the two best 17 year olds in Australia. Let's hope he lives up to it but he will have immense expectation on his head for a young man so we all should be patient.

Let's all get behind the boys in a positve way, negative stuff doesn't help the clubs we love and support.


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Post by Flag No.10 on Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:01 pm

I hear what you're saying mypaspective but I don't think you can expect that people only post positive stuff given our performances. After one flag in the last half a century I don't think it's unreasonable if some fans ask the club to give them something to be positive about.
As for the speculation, it was inevitable and will die down if we have a good year.
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Post by mypaspectiv on Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:58 pm

Unfortunately negativity is self perpetuating and no one individual or group can advance unless they take a positive approach regardless of the history or where they have come from. The past few years have seen a considerable improvement from the four years at the bottom of the ladder. Still a way to go but patience is a virtue as they say in the classics.
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Post by Flag No.10 on Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:06 pm

With our record I don't think any current West supporter could be accused of being impatient. I was tired in the 90s of being told in every annual report that this is when we need to stick together and be united. The message wears thin after a couple of decades.
I agree with your point about needing a positive approach to advance but I think that applies more to the playing and coaching group than supporters. Supporters react to what they're seeing on the field. I think we need to accept that we're going to attract criticism and negativity until we perform better. I'm sure the feedback to the players from the coach over the last couple of years hasn't been all positive.
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Post by CB10 on Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:30 pm

Red and Black very good writeup.
Ruck is a huge concern not doubt but our forward line last year was what really disappointed me. Webb has so much potential it's not funny but he just doesn't take a game apart when he should and never strings together a batch of good games.Bigmen take a while and I'm hoping this is his year.

Fisher showed glimpses in a pocket but we never had a really strong avenue of attack through centre half forward.M Still is a player whom I rate highly but I hope he has a work rate that sees him roam the forward lines consistently. One to provide a target and two to open up some holes for Webb or Fisher to lead into by drawing his defenders away.
All this is a mute point if we don't move the ball quickly enough.

I've watch West for years and even when we were crap, at times we played inspired footy. When I see the switching and chipping of the last few years I seriously consider going to the races instead.
We are a slow team in terms pace with MacCreadie, Caruso (Nat) Ezard, Schmidt, Birss and Silverlock but they are all ball winners and if Bricknell and Caire are able to break some lines and deliver the ball in swiftly then I think our results will improve no end.
We still need to be a hard tackling aggressive team and with Morris now gone Green has to take over the mantle and lead the way. Hartlett needs to be more controlled in this department but I for one like his game he just needs to string a few together.
Slattery has some size and pace and I'm hoping he will add that extra bit of run out of defence.
Silvester is a huge loss and I hope Tippett is at least able to break even against some of the bigger bodied players in the league.
Ben Fisher is now fully fit and his contribution cannot be overlooked.

Overall we are a competitive unit who could surprise many but being West we could disappoint also.
Andy Collins needs to put away the AFL coaching book of zones and switching and look at how Centrals and Port won all those SANFL premierships.
Contested footy, quick ball movement, use the corridor when possible and centre the ball.
I for one think this is going to be a very tight season with every team competitive,that 4th and 5th spot will be up for grabs.
My prediction... I'm hoping for a finals run but with Centrals, Norwood, Eagles playing solid footy and North my big improvers I guessing 5th with my fingers crossed. Being West it's a lucky dip!
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Post by Lee on Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:34 pm

Thanks for that, CB10, a really good write-up as well and I agree with what you're saying.

For the record, the original write-up is by Flag No 9 and I agree with you about its quality.
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Post by CB10 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:12 pm

My mistake, sorry Flag No.9 love your work.
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Post by scorpion on Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:35 pm

R/Black
With the new recruits we have From...... W.A....,P.Pirie,.....S.Heart......is there a
chance you could find out Weight....Height... and tell me how DEANE is going
the lad had ability but was Inj Prone PLEEEEASE Season Previews - Which West Adelaide? 1707509332
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Post by Strawb on Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:18 am

West need to focus on playing good hard attacking football. When West do they Hammer sides. Also need to stop the injuries and suspensions. When the wheels fall off junior players need to be counted it is nearly 30 years since a premiership at Richmond and it is not good enough.
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Post by Lee on Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:59 am

Good comments, Strawb.

Yes, Scorpion, I will do that.

Simon Dean is training very well, no injury problems in pre-season at all.
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Post by testy on Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:43 pm

mypaspectiv wrote:It continues to be frustrating (Ben W) when posters and supporters continue to speculate on the coach being sacked and replaced by Mark Mickan. It has been stated publicly by the club, and more importantly by Mark himself, that he has consciously chosen a different direction with his carreer into football management and not coaching. At 50 years of age, he wants to learn as much as he can with the Administration side of football to develop and enhance his carreer in this area due to the obvious volatility and short tenure of coaching (which he has witnessed first hand).

Although this maybe your opinion, and you're entitled to it, all this speculation does is to destabalise a club trying to prepare the best they can for the 2012 season.

We would all be better served to be supportive of the coach as he is working extremely hard during the pre-season to develop quicker movement of the ball and a game style similar to the first half of 2011. The players are enjoying it.

When the wheels fell off last season they simply ran out of depth and fell into the old trap of playing undermanned "save the game" football. The depth of the league list has improved by several IMO. Main departures Steve Morris & Jarrod Sylvester (big losses). BUT Ins: Joel Tippett, Michael Still, Taite Silverlock, Tyson Slattery, Nick Westoff (all had a taste of AFL environment), Dean Poynton as well as several other depth players. Then don't forget Chris Schmidt and Nat Caruso who both only played less than half a season in 2011, but when they did West won most games. Finally, Rory Laird will improve as a small defender (should become a regular) and Brad Crouch could be an X-factor, touted as one of the two best 17 year olds in Australia. Let's hope he lives up to it but he will have immense expectation on his head for a young man so we all should be patient.

Let's all get behind the boys in a positve way, negative stuff doesn't help the clubs we love and support.

Nothing I can add to this post, well said and agree with you 100%.
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Post by mr o on Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:07 pm

a good read, very imforative.
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Post by Sexy Sam on Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:49 pm

redandblack wrote:Very interesting theory, Ben.

If Collin's game normal plan is defensive, what do you think of the style displayed in the first half of last season when West were close to the highest scoring side?

I think a lot of what you say is around the mark when West are playing poorly, but their poor form came immediately after beating North by 6 goals at Prospect and having to make 8 changes the next week.

Interesting point, though, about a ruckman and I agree that was one of our weaknesses at times last year.

As Flag No 9 says, which West will we see this year?

If the ruck is such a weakness, and it is , why do we do bugger all practice to improve it. We instruct the rucks to hit it to a spot and we have no one there to get it. Basic football. We need to throw out the blackboard and get out on the track. Have seen about 10 minutes of ruck training in 3 years. Basic coaching I would have thought. affraid affraid affraid
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Post by mypaspectiv on Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:53 pm

Passionate West members & supporters may be interested to know that their AFL aligned players will be attending training this Thursday evening Feb 9 at 5.30pm followed by being presented to the members at 6pm in the licensed club main bar by the new Football Operations Manager, Mark Mickan, who will interview a few of them. Everyone welcome.
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Post by 85 Was A good Year on Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:43 pm

Maybe West can invite Mark Mickan to run Ruck & On-Ball Training night one night a week.

I'm sure he will be around the place as a very interested observer anyway Wink
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Post by Sexy Sam on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:26 pm

That would be too easy. West don't like to do the logical. Go Flaggies. What a Face What a Face What a Face
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Post by lachlan on Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:19 am

Fantastic preview Flags 09. I think if West players can stay injury free we do have dpeth in the squad.My major concern is in the midfield & ruck.I hope Nelson can step up. he deserve to be given a chance after some impressive form late in the ressies last yr.
Our Midfield laso needs to improve & players such as Crouch , Silverlock & Poynton add depth.

Players such as Schmidt, Fergie, Hartlett,& Fisher need to stay injury free as these guys have struggled in the past few yrs
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