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GWS: what could have been

Number8

Tiger Matchwinner
Oct 12, 2010
532
1,070
Melbourne
I've come to the view GWS's recruitment has been unfairly maligned.

The bigger issue for the club is its inability to hold onto good players and attract good established players.

I recently looked into the good players the club has lost. Imagine for a moment they had been able to keep their list intact.

Going into 2021, they'd look something like this:

B: Haynes, Davis, Plowman*
HB: Williams*, Taylor, Wilson*
C: Whitfield, Steele*, Shiel*
HF: Taranto, Riccardi, Kelly
F: Greene, Cameron*, Himmelberg
R: Lobb*, Ward, Treloar*
I: Smith*, Adams*, Coniglio, Finlayson
E: Tomlinson*, Hogan, Scully*

*Now at another club

And what about the also-rans?

The above team doesn't include the likes of Mumford, Boyd, Daniels, Ash, Perryman, Caldwell, Hopper, Patton, Townsend, Frost, Marchbank, Hoskin-Elliot, Bonar, Stewart, Setterfield, Bruce, Hombsch, de Boer, Corr, Tyson, Miles, Kennedy ...

For balance, let's take a quick look at the club's big draft misses:

2011
#10 Liam Sumner
2012
#2 Jonathan O'Rourke
#12 Kristian Jaksch
2014
#4 Jarrod Pickett
#7 Paul Ahern
#23 Patrick McKenna
2017
#11 Aiden Bonar

In terms of pure busts, that's it. Even then, some of these guys were hardly disastrous picks.

For further balance, let's look at some of their draft gold:

Sam Frost, 2011 rookie draft, pick #1
Zac Williams, 2012 rookie draft, pick #54
Jack Steele, 2014 national draft, pick #24
Jeremy Finlayson, 2014 national draft, pick #85
Matt de Boer, 2016 national draft, pick #58
Sam Taylor, 2017 national draft, pick #28

Looking closer at the 2011 national draft, notwithstanding their mega haul of picks, they smashed it out of the park.

1 GWS Jonathon Patton
2 GWS Stephen Coniglio
3 GWS Dom Tyson
4 GWS Will Hoskin-Elliott
5 GWS Matthew Buntine
7 GWS Nick Haynes
9 GWS Adam Tomlinson
10 GWS Liam Sumner
11 GWS Toby Greene
13 GWS Taylor Adams
14 GWS Devon Smith

Interesting, however, to note the bloke picked at #15, Brandon Ellis, has played more games than any of the other top 15 picks (192).

A further Richmond-related note: Jacob Townsend is the first and only of the inaugural GWS players to play in a flag (Tom Boyd, drafted later, won in 2016 with the Dogs).

In summary:

I know we have fun with the SOS-can't-recruit narrative but GWS's issue hasn't been recruiting, it's been hanging onto their players.
 
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eZyT

Tiger Legend
Jun 28, 2019
13,924
8,066
interesting Number 8.

Towner is an anomaly amongst their recruiting,

in that hes the only unfashionable junkyard dog they picked out of a hundred footballers.

(Toby Greene is a fashionable junkyard dog)

no coincidence he popped their cherry.

Perhaps the expansion, and the cherry picking (lets run with a theme here) of textbook talent,

enabled Richmond to not just pick unfashionabley,

but to have a *smile* annual unfashionability parade.


a story


I was the only unimportant person at a VIP GC SUNS war council in 2009,

and they were talking about cherry picking some real talent and leadership.

Trent Cotchin's face went up on the wall with all the powerpoint whistles and bells. It spiralled in from the side of the slide, and flashed and his jumper changed from black and yellow to red and yellow, and a little cherry dropped down from the top and landed plum on top of our captain's head.

I felt nauseas and angry and confused.

This notion is called wabi-sabi life, like the cherry blossom, it is beautiful because of its impermanence, not in spite of it, more exquisite for the inevitability of loss.

I recognised. and so I rested with it. I accepted it. I loved my vulnerability.

and I stood up and said, gently

'get *smile* you *smile*. you touch our skipper and ill *smile* burn Metricon down and Ill grind and coagulate the ashes into a papyrus and I'll wipe my hairy *smile* arse on it '

I don't know what was said in subsequent recruitment workshops, I didnt receive any further invitations.

if this post has raised any issues for you, lifeline 13 11 14.
 
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Number8

Tiger Matchwinner
Oct 12, 2010
532
1,070
Melbourne
Great story, @eZyT!

I remember well that awful time when GWS and GC were hogging all the top draft picks and we were in a hole. It just felt like we were cursed. At a time when we needed to regenerate at the draft, in Hardwick's first years, we simply had to 'make do'. If we'd lost the Cotch, too, during that period, well, I'm not sure we wouldn't have thought there was some sort of vendetta against us at AFL House.

Amazing how things have transpired.

Anyway ... for some reason, I always preferred the GC list build to that of GWS. It felt more organic and authentic.

Here's what I think it was: apart from Ablett, Harbrow and maybe Bock, who were high-quality, established players lured on big contracts, they didn't give out the sort of signals that were evident at GWS. That is, GWS was throwing money and gimmicks about (Izzy Folau, big play for Buddy, etc) that, I think, has set the tone for the whole 'Ferrari' narrative; all sheen and no substance.

Yes, I know GC did the Karmichael Hunt thing, but I suspect their hearts weren't in it.

In general, the types of players recruited to GC are solid citizens, and at the draft they've gone down a similar path. Think recruits like Ellis, Fraser, Barlow, McQualter, Miles, Rosa, Stanley, Rischitelli and Greenwood; and draftees like Swallow, O'Meara, Prestia, Rowell, Anderson and Saad. The likes of Lynch, May and Martin gave them good service before moving on.

Even though the Giants had a great 2019, I still reckon GC will win a flag before them.

As clubs, there is more substance about GC than GWS.
 
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antman

Tiger Legend
Nov 25, 2004
20,440
5,932
I always said GWS didn't have the culture to win a flag. They fluked getting to the GF when they got over the line against a horrible Collingwood.

A better culture would have retained some of these players.
 
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Jonesracing82

Tiger Champion
Sep 30, 2011
3,114
960
Another of thier issues is when the going got tough they have always left the heavy lifting for someone else, trouble is they all did it.
 
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Tigers of Old

Proud of our Club.
Jul 26, 2004
66,974
7,500
www.redbubble.com
The 2019 flag was so sweet because we beat the AFL's expansion team with all it's advantages.
To have sent them spiralling was a bonus.
I no longer have the pure hatred that I did for them.
 
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Number8

Tiger Matchwinner
Oct 12, 2010
532
1,070
Melbourne
Jeez Cameron appears to have escaped scrutiny here.
I wrote on a thread recently that I don't have many decent footy stories, and I really don't, but here is another little one.

I worked with Leon for a year or so when, I think, he was in his last days as a player. Or perhaps he'd just retired and was finding his way post-playing.

Anyway, he was cutting his teeth as a finished artist. By then, pretty much all finished art had moved off the desk and onto computers.

Leon was in our agency's studio, one of perhaps six or seven operators (as they were known) working on a computer. He wasn't directly employed by our agency, but by a mob called Show Ads who did all our agency's pre-press and film work.

My abiding memory of Leon was the slumped-back position he always sat in while at work, and the persistently vacant look on his face. Getting a conversation out of him was like pulling teeth.

To think he'd go on to be a senior coach, well, let's just say he's done very well for himself.
 
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Tenacious

Tiger Champion
May 19, 2008
4,192
1,259
The 2019 flag was so sweet because we beat the AFL's expansion team with all it's advantages.
To have sent them spiralling was a bonus.
I no longer have the pure hatred that I did for them.

Mine is a generally unpopular view in that I like GWS and want them to succeed - obviously just not at our expense.

I've always wanted two AFL teams to do well in Sydney as I reckon the AFL needs both - just as it needs two competitive and viable teams in WA, SA and Qld (and I'd love to see one in Tassie asap)

I communicate with various other sports nuts from around the world and apart from the game itself - the thing they find most difficult to comprehend is a national competition with 9 teams in one city. Hence my other fervent wish is for #lolNorf to be just the first Vic club to clear off.

Anyway if GWS were to make a GF against anyone bar us - I'll be rapt to see them win.
 
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TigerFlag2017

Tiger Legend
May 16, 2007
5,907
2,045
I always said GWS didn't have the culture to win a flag. They fluked getting to the GF when they got over the line against a horrible Collingwood.

A better culture would have retained some of these players.
Tough to develop a culture in homebush.

Phil Davis and Ward were brilliant recruits. Scully less so.

I'll be honest and say that @Number8 has changed my opinion on SOS's recruiting record. Although funny that he ended up dragging the dregs over to the blues. Is the real question - did SOS set out to screw the blues?
 
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eZyT

Tiger Legend
Jun 28, 2019
13,924
8,066
Tough to develop a culture in homebush.

Yeah i was thinking that.

In terms of attracting and retaining players,

GC suns have a great lifestyle. Affordable housing, great beaches, best climate in the world.

GWS is a real shithole. I was there recently and felt depressed for the residents. a shitbox on a mainroad, 5km from anything costs as much as a nice house 1 block from the beach on GC
 
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Brodders17

Tiger Legend
Mar 21, 2008
12,023
1,353
I've come to the view GWS's recruitment has been unfairly maligned.

The bigger issue for the club is its inability to hold onto good players and attract good established players.

I recently looked into the good players the club has lost. Imagine for a moment they had been able to keep their list intact.

Going into 2021, they'd look something like this:

B: Haynes, Davis, Plowman*
HB: Williams*, Taylor, Wilson*
C: Whitfield, Steele*, Shiel*
HF: Taranto, Riccardi, Kelly
F: Greene, Cameron*, Himmelberg
R: Lobb*, Ward, Treloar*
I: Smith*, Adams*, Coniglio, Finlayson
E: Tomlinson*, Hogan, Scully*

*Now at another club

And what about the also-rans?

The above team doesn't include the likes of Mumford, Boyd, Daniels, Ash, Perryman, Caldwell, Hopper, Patton, Townsend, Frost, Marchbank, Hoskin-Elliot, Bonar, Stewart, Setterfield, Bruce, Hombsch, de Boer, Corr, Tyson, Miles, Kennedy ...

For balance, let's take a quick look at the club's big draft misses:

2011
#10 Liam Sumner
2012
#2 Jonathan O'Rourke
#12 Kristian Jaksch
2014
#4 Jarrod Pickett
#7 Paul Ahern
#23 Patrick McKenna
2017
#11 Aiden Bonar

In terms of pure busts, that's it. Even then, some of these guys were hardly disastrous picks.

For further balance, let's look at some of their draft gold:

Sam Frost, 2011 rookie draft, pick #1
Zac Williams, 2012 rookie draft, pick #54
Jack Steele, 2014 national draft, pick #24
Jeremy Finlayson, 2014 national draft, pick #85
Matt de Boer, 2016 national draft, pick #58
Sam Taylor, 2017 national draft, pick #28

Looking closer at the 2011 national draft, notwithstanding their mega haul of picks, they smashed it out of the park.

1 GWS Jonathon Patton
2 GWS Stephen Coniglio
3 GWS Dom Tyson
4 GWS Will Hoskin-Elliott
5 GWS Matthew Buntine
7 GWS Nick Haynes
9 GWS Adam Tomlinson
10 GWS Liam Sumner
11 GWS Toby Greene
13 GWS Taylor Adams
14 GWS Devon Smith

Interesting, however, to note the bloke picked at #15, Brandon Ellis, has played more games than any of the other top 15 picks (192).

A further Richmond-related note: Jacob Townsend is the first and only of the inaugural GWS players to play in a flag (Tom Boyd, drafted later, won in 2016 with the Dogs).

In summary:

I know we have fun with the SOS-can't-recruit narrative but GWS's issue hasn't been recruiting, it's been hanging onto their players.
I reckon you are pretty generous. Starting with their 1st draft. The only 1 of their 1st 5 picks they would be happy with is Coniglio. Though in fairness it was a rotten draft.
2012 they had 5 picks in the top 14. they chose worse than we did in 2004. The 2nd best player they picked up was Corr. (That was the year they missed Vlastuin and Grundy. and MacRae and Wines.
2014 3 picks in the top 7. all duds.

Then how many of those listed in the 22 were only draft cos they received more draft picks for losing players?

Half the steals- Finlayson, Steele and Williams were academy players- so noone else could touch them.

The Giants have only been close to success (if you call 89 pts close) because they have been given soo many chances, and then SOS, when he went to Carlton, went and gave them more by trading for the duds he drafted in the 1st place.
 
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MD Jazz

Tiger Legend
Feb 3, 2017
5,744
2,718
The 2019 flag was so sweet because we beat the AFL's expansion team with all it's advantages.
To have sent them spiralling was a bonus.
I no longer have the pure hatred that I did for them.
Perceived advantages.

What the experience has shown is how difficult it is for the expansion teams to create a culture and provide some stability.

To me that comes back to the leaders. Not sure Cameron is the right man.
 
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Harry

Tiger Legend
Mar 2, 2003
21,123
4,229
feel for the new batch of kids forced to go there again this year. GWS have 5 picks inside 29
 
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seven

Super Tiger
Apr 20, 2004
21,852
4,444
For someone who use to live in Sydney north. Being a Westie from the West wasn’t cool. Not many ‘great places’ in the west. Use to avoid it as much as possible.
 

Sintiger

Tiger Legend
Aug 11, 2010
12,797
2,966
Camberwell
It's interesting of course and a great list of players lost but the reality is they could never have constructed a list that included all those players because they could never have paid them all under the salary cap. Which is why many (not all) left of course

The Suns are imo now the new GWS as they are stockpiling a very impressive array of young talent. In Rowell, Anderson, King and Rankine they have 4 potential superstars. Will they go the way of GWS ? I wouldn't bet against it
 
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CarnTheTiges

This is a REAL tiger
Mar 8, 2004
19,895
2,589
Victoria
It was as recent as the 2017 pre season that the media were getting ready to hand the flag to GWS before a ball had been bounced. Some were predicting 5 Premierships for them. I don’t feel all sorry that their now on a downward slide.
 
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TOT70

I'm just a suburban boy
Jul 27, 2004
9,160
1,442
Melbourne
Clubs that play in the AFL MUST be the biggest clubs in the country. Kids MUST grow up wanting to play for them. Supporters MUST want to buy tickets to watch them play. Viewers MUST want to watch their games on TV.

People have to be invested in the club for it to succeed. Only in these circumstances is the club a real success.

Footy belongs to the people, not to the marketing executives. Every time Richmond wins a flag, it gives genuine and heartfelt pleasure to hundreds of thousands of people. Every flag should be like this.

I feel sorry for stars who play for these soulless clubs. Nobody cares. They are not connected to a community.
 
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