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Thread: Swans' age profile

  1. #1
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    Swans' age profile

    Here is a thread on bigfooty discussing which clubs are most in trouble 'age-wise': Which team is in most trouble age wise - 2018 edition | BigFooty AFL Forum. The author (a Swans' fan) has nominated the Swans as among the most in danger and respondents to the accompanying poll have voted us third in terms of most problematic age profile (with 12.8% behind Geelong (35.2%) and West Coast (15.8%)).

    Personally I disagree with this. While we have the equal most players aged 29 and over on our list (7, equal with Hawthorn) we are well advanced in our succession planning for most of these positions and, in my opinion, only in the case of Buddy, Joey and Reg (in that order) will experience a clear net loss compared to their replacement if they can't play. Buddy is irreplaceable and will certainly be a massive loss when he loses form or fitness. Joey is peerless at what he does but has years left in him, I would think, and we have numerous other players that play a similar role just not quite as well (Hewett is coming along beautifully - but who's next? Dawson?). Reg is coming towards the end but currently playing at career-best levels and we have Melican being groomed to replace him with Aliir, AJ, Maibaum in the wings (and it remains to be seen of what becomes of players like McCartin, Pink and Amartey all of whom have the height to play KPD even if that is not what they currently do).

    Conversely a lot of our best players are relatively young (Hanners, Parks, Ramps, Heeney, Lloyd) and we have also gotten games, sometimes many games, into a lot of even younger players (Hayward, Florent, Papley, Mills, Jones, Hewett, Aliir etc.) with Dawson, Ling et. al. to follow. And we have numerous other young players who offer depth and who have games in them as well as years: Cunningham, Robinson, Marsh, Foote, Fox etc etc.

    So, personally, I feel like our age profile is close to perfect. You need a few olders leaders, which we have, we have the bulk of the team in their prime and the next generation well under development with lots of youngsters and budding project players too. So I would put us at the opposite end of this list to RUNVS and bigfooty posters (since when have they had a trusted opinion anyway?!). What do others think? Is anyone concerned?

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    I think a better yardstick for this is something like players finishing top 10 in B&F aged 26 and under (or similar). At the time of our B&F (and still currently) I think we had 7 of the top 10 finishers in the Bob Skilton medal aged 26 and under, with Hanners being the eldest of these. Hanners turns 27 next month. Parker, Lloyd, Hewett, Jones, Papley and Heeney were the others. We're in great shape!

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    Clubs have to think about the age profile of their lists constantly (and this was touched upon by Beatson in the interviews with him on the Swans' website leading up to the draft).

    But I don't see the point of supporters getting too hung up on this unless a list has become extremely unbalanced, and especially not supporters of clubs who are highly competitive onfield and in contention for a premiership. The logical conclusion of the OP's position in that thread is that the club should be trying to find replacements now for anyone who is over 29, so that they're not hit too hard when those players retire. If the older players are mediocre role-players, maybe there's some merit in that, but not when they're the best players in your team. Otherwise you just pre-empt their inevitable departures by a few years, trying to make the team less dependent on them while they are still playing wonderful football.

    I'd prefer just to enjoy the exploits (onfield!) of every player in the team while we're still privileged to be able to enjoy them, and worry about the future when it comes. When I first started following football, and Plugger was my favourite player, I did start to dread the day he would retire. The process was somewhat repeated with Kelly, Dunkley, and all the other players who seemed critical to the team's success. But, guess what, they retired, the sun still came up the next season, and the team remained largely competitive albeit with some fluctuations while the next generation made their way.

    The only time I've allowed myself similar thoughts in recent seasons was while Goodsey remained such a great player as he hit the big 30. I wasn't so much worried about how the team would survive without him, as rueing the day, ahead of time, when we'd no longer have the joy of watching him play. But, guess what. By the time he departed the game, we had someone else of a similar ilk to thrill and entertain us. That's not to say he was replaced and forgotten, but clubs and supporters do move on pretty quickly.

    We may or may not have someone else to entertain us in the same way when Buddy hangs up his boots. But I don't see the point in fretting about that now. I'm just going to enjoy watching him for - hopefully - the next five years (and maybe beyond!)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodspirit View Post
    Here is a thread on bigfooty discussing which clubs are most in trouble 'age-wise': Which team is in most trouble age wise - 2018 edition | BigFooty AFL Forum. The author (a Swans' fan) has nominated the Swans as among the most in danger and respondents to the accompanying poll have voted us third in terms of most problematic age profile (with 12.8% behind Geelong (35.2%) and West Coast (15.8%)).

    Personally I disagree with this. While we have the equal most players aged 29 and over on our list (7, equal with Hawthorn) we are well advanced in our succession planning for most of these positions and, in my opinion, only in the case of Buddy, Joey and Reg (in that order) will experience a clear net loss compared to their replacement if they can't play. Buddy is irreplaceable and will certainly be a massive loss when he loses form or fitness. Joey is peerless at what he does but has years left in him, I would think, and we have numerous other players that play a similar role just not quite as well (Hewett is coming along beautifully - but who's next? Dawson?). Reg is coming towards the end but currently playing at career-best levels and we have Melican being groomed to replace him with Aliir, AJ, Maibaum in the wings (and it remains to be seen of what becomes of players like McCartin, Pink and Amartey all of whom have the height to play KPD even if that is not what they currently do).

    Conversely a lot of our best players are relatively young (Hanners, Parks, Ramps, Heeney, Lloyd) and we have also gotten games, sometimes many games, into a lot of even younger players (Hayward, Florent, Papley, Mills, Jones, Hewett, Aliir etc.) with Dawson, Ling et. al. to follow. And we have numerous other young players who offer depth and who have games in them as well as years: Cunningham, Robinson, Marsh, Foote, Fox etc etc.

    So, personally, I feel like our age profile is close to perfect. You need a few olders leaders, which we have, we have the bulk of the team in their prime and the next generation well under development with lots of youngsters and budding project players too. So I would put us at the opposite end of this list to RUNVS and bigfooty posters (since when have they had a trusted opinion anyway?!). What do others think? Is anyone concerned?

    I see nothing wrong with our age profile. By the time Buddy is about to retire Blakey will be ready to go.

  5. #5
    The way they do age profile is BS. If McVeigh had retired, we'd be significantly younger.

    They really need to compare the ages of the top 5 highest paid players.
    Saying that, we wouldn't do too well with tippoff and buddy in there.!

  6. #6
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    Average age, median age, % over x age, etc, etc. Lies, damned lies and statistics goes the famous saying.

    Worry about age profiles if most of your best players are within a season or two of retirement and you don't have young replacements. Depth is also a factor, we had little in 2016 & 2017 but have developed it beautifully to head into this season well placed.

    So many of our important players are still relatively young with only a handful over 30 and to be honest none of those are past it yet, in fact some having outstanding years. Although somewhat untried, the replacements look to be very capable but we'll see I suppose.

    Those types of threads on BF are full of posters with limited knowledge who desperately want to predict the downfall of the best teams. Hawthorns drop has delighted most posters it seems and Swans and Geelong are other very successful "empires" they wish and hope to see fall hence the tendency to post about ageing lists but Us and Geelong have been defying gravity for a long time and will still be in the mix this year, and next you'd think.

    I'm very happy with our list and our list management, bring on 2018!

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