I really think our defence in 2020 is going to go to another level entirely and I am looking forward to seeing how this pans out.I'm looking forward to seeing the different dynamic in our premiership defence caused by guys missing out.
Our charmed injury run in 2017 meant we didn't really have anyone miss out but this year we have Rance, Stack, Graham, Stack, McIntosh and Ross who will all be burning.
When Rance went down, it forced others to step up primarily to be the interceptor. It is a key characteristic of our defence, and a number of our guys have now developed their ability to play that role. So teams can plan to try and take Rance out of that role, but others should seamlessly step in. It is the stuff of nightmares for opposition coaches, because interceptors rely on their ability to read the play and are comfortable leaving their man. So you have a plan to take out one by making them more accountable, and another just steps up.
Furthermore, in Rance's absence virtually every defender on the list looks to have developed their game, while a number of other players further up the ground have improved their defensive game:
- Soldo is one who now regularly drops back and takes intercept marks like Nank has been doing. Was superb in the GF
- Grimes took his intercepting to another level as well, becoming much less of a shutdown man on man defender than we had seen previously.
- Prestia's defensive work this season was out of sight, and you see the game of Pickett in the GF and his form in the VFL which suggests he is no defensive slouch either.
- Then you have Floss who has got to be one of the best contested marks for his size in a long time, and Houli who has a knack of getting in the right place at the right time.
Throw the ball use and hardness of Stack into that mix and with Rance coming in and it looks downright scary.