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Thread: Swans players and talent

  1. #1

    Swans players and talent

    I've recently been reading a book about Gary Ablett Snr - Playing God: The rise and fall of Gary Ablett by Garry Linell. It talks about how naturally talented Gary Ablett Senior was (and about his poor training habits). It got me to thinking about our list. Who are our most talented players? We tend not to get a lot of focus on individuals in this way and also, when we do, we tend to hear more about how hard working a player is and there attention to detail (a la ROK).

    The most obvious of our talented players is Buddy Franklin. I think Isaac Heeney is another. Conversely, players like Smooch, Reg and even Joey (despite his bloodlines and physique) seem to have achieved their success more by dint of hard work and discipline.

    The whole question leads me to a lot of quasi-philosophical ruminating about, what is 'talent'? In Gary Ablett's case it seemed to relate to his physical abilities: his strength, his speed, his ability to kick the ball a long way. But not only. In addition he was apparently (I say apparently because I didn't really follow footy when he was playing) an excellent reader of the ball, had excellent timing and these gave him the ability, in combination with his exceptional physical attributes, to take spectacular high marks. It seems he was also a pretty good kick (based only on his career ratio of goals to behinds - a very rough measure, I know - which was 1030:690 - which compares favourably with Buddy's 860:615 to date (but nowhere near Plugger's 1360:590 - which, to be fair was probably based on a much higher proportion of set shots)).

    Talent seems to be a measure of potential, which may not necessarily be realised. The best yardstick of talent seems to be where a player is drafted; the further a player gets into their career the less relevant the question seems to be - then it becomes a measure of the product of what the player has actually done with their talent. Even the drafting yardstick is fallible: Rampe was overlooked for years but surely you wouldn't say that he is not talented and has succeeded more in the vein of a player like Nick Maxwell (Collingwood) or Tom Harley (Geelong) in spite of his limited talent and due to his discipline, leadership etc. Other examples of the draft system not being a reliable measure of talent is the way that injuries or off-field issues can skew where a player is drafted. Also, increasing emphasis is now being placed on draftees' 'character' and ability to get the most out of themselves and fit in to the high pressure AFL environment.

    I guess the correlation between talent and potential explains why the other players that leap out at me as being talented are many of our younger players (mostly but not exclusively high draft picks) e.g. Florent, Hayward, Papley, Ling.

    I know this is all a bit abstract but I feel the need of something to chew over and debate while there isn't that much else going on. Hopefully there are others who feel the same way and who may be interested enough to join the conversation.

    - - - Updated - - -

    p.s. On the topic of footy books - can others recommend other good books about footy and footy players? I haven't read many. I did read In the Blood by Jim Mains, which I found interesting and illuminating but a bit lacking in depth and detail. I'm keen to read Roos' recently published autobiography. Playing God is pretty good - lots of detailed research and colour about Australian and footy history.

  2. #2
    Hey BS

    Talent ie being able to execute skill much more regularly then others. To be able to see what others canít and execute. To be able to do what the majority can not

    Buddy
    Papley
    Heeney
    Hayward
    Newman
    Rose
    Florentine
    Dawson

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Auntie.Gerald View Post
    Hey BS

    Talent ie being able to execute skill much more regularly then others. To be able to see what others canít and execute. To be able to do what the majority can not

    Buddy
    Papley
    Heeney
    Hayward
    Newman
    Rose
    Florentine
    Dawson
    Rose?

  4. #4
    Thanks AG and ORB. Appreciate the Quayle tip.

    Iím with you Bloods05, Rose?! Sure, heís talented in the way you have to be to make an AFL list, and maybe a bit more besides but I wouldnít be singling him out. Not sure Iíd be singling Dawson out either yet. His worth seems attributed in fair measure to his size and power rather than his skill per se.

    Iím thinking Nico will have something to say on this topic too.

  5. #5
    Oh ohhhh
    Iíve gone early

    Rose and Dawson are skilful......they have talent

    But they are still roughies to be true AFL snr players

    Rose unorthodox

    Dawson relaxed and cool

    James Rose - 2014 AFL Draft Prospect Highlights - YouTube


    2017 NEAFL MVP Contender - Jordan Dawson - YouTube

  6. #6
    Can Dawson become the next Gunston ?

    Or will the Swans try and make Gunston the next josh Kennedy ?

    Speaking of talent JG !

    Jack Gunston 2016 Highlight Reel - YouTube

  7. #7
    McVeigh for Brownlow RogueSwan's Avatar
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    Macca - talented as [email protected]#$ but it took hard work to become a great footballer. One of those that always seems to have more time and space than most other footballers. Judd had this ability and Heeney has it too.
    "Fortunately, this is the internet, so knowing nothing is no obstacle to having an opinion!." Beerman 18-07-2017

  8. #8
    Veterans List wolftone57's Avatar
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    Talent does not ensure a player will be a great AFL player. Trent Dennis-Lane had wonderful natural talent but couldn't concentrate on the defects in his game and work hard enough to be a great player.

    It takes more than pure talent. It takes hard work, dedication and a single mindedness that you are going to be as perfect as it gets plus pure talent. Buddy doesn't just get up on the day of the match, go out and kick 10 goals, 6 of them almost impossible, without the hard work. He practices those dribble kicks from the boundary to goal over and over again until they are perfect. Paps practices his pick up and snap from ervery angle, against the best the club has to give. Heens practices the low skimming passes for hours.

    What most fans don't see is the incredible amount of hard work that goes into being a great player no matter how much talent there is to begin with.

  9. #9
    Just wild about Harry
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolftone57 View Post
    Talent does not ensure a player will be a great AFL player. Trent Dennis-Lane had wonderful natural talent but couldn't concentrate on the defects in his game and work hard enough to be a great player.

    It takes more than pure talent. It takes hard work, dedication and a single mindedness that you are going to be as perfect as it gets plus pure talent. Buddy doesn't just get up on the day of the match, go out and kick 10 goals, 6 of them almost impossible, without the hard work. He practices those dribble kicks from the boundary to goal over and over again until they are perfect. Paps practices his pick up and snap from ervery angle, against the best the club has to give. Heens practices the low skimming passes for hours.

    What most fans don't see is the incredible amount of hard work that goes into being a great player no matter how much talent there is to begin with.
    Agree completely. I believe that a lot of the most talented footballers to ever play the game never played it beyond high school. I think that drive is just as (if not more) important. This is probably more of an observation around "success" then "talent", though.
    In '83, I wasnt the most talented player at my club, but I was one of three who got to sign some papers as a zone recruit. I didnt have as much talent as some of the other guys, but I would run through a brick wall to get what I wanted. Granted, it only got me so far, but if you combine that drive with a bit more talent and you have a winner.

  10. #10
    Veterans List Ludwig's Avatar
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    Something that I've been interested in for some time is measuring net rate of talent inflow to the club, particularly since our last premiership in 2012.

    My benchmark is that a top 8 club has to add 3 Top-25 players per year in order to maintain finals competitiveness. This will cover the typical rate of loss of Top-25 players due to retirements and trades. It also helps to be able to add 1 elite player every 2 to 3 years in order to have the top end talent to get to a premiership. Richmond won the premiership with 4 elite players and an average, but hard working dedicated supporting cast.

    I've been particularly impressed with the inflow of talents from the past 6 drafts. I've rated where I think the players stand with some projection into the future based on how they've performed so far. See table below. For the more recent drafts, it's a bit more guesswork than evidence based projection, as some will do better and some worse than my projections.

    I believe that we've been adding close to 4 Top-25 players per year, including a total of 3 elite players, during this 6 year period starting with the 2012, and this being just from the draft alone. Our talent intake is producing almost 1 more player per year than our senior team can absorb, which will likely see some senior players traded or forced into early retirement in the coming years. We are also likely to continue to trade toward youth and needs as we have with effectively swapping Tom Mitchell for Ollie Florent and Nankervis for Cameron. This also eases the salary cap pressure.

    The top talent at the club headlines with Beatson, Ireland and Harley. It's a great job and a consistent job for the past half dozen years. It ensures that we will be competitive and challenge for premierships for some time into the future.


    Swans Drafted players.png
    Last edited by Ludwig; 27th February 2018 at 06:34 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ludwig View Post
    Something that I've been interested in for some time is measuring net rate of talent inflow to the club, particularly since our last premiership in 2012.

    My benchmark is that a top 8 club has to add 3 Top-25 players per year in order to maintain finals competitiveness. This will cover the typical rate of loss of Top-25 players due to retirements and trades. It also helps to be able to add 1 elite player every 2 to 3 years in order to have the top end talent to get to a premiership. Richmond won the premiership with 4 elite players and an average, but hard working dedicated supporting cast.

    etc
    I'm more pessimistic about Maibaum and probably O'Riordan.
    Last edited by liz; 27th February 2018 at 07:19 PM. Reason: Please don't quote long posts in their entirety. It makes threads hard to read for those on phones or tablets

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattW View Post
    I'm more pessimistic about Maibaum and probably O'Riordan.
    Surely it's far too early to make a call on two players yet to debut - one is a second year KPD and the other a third year who has had to learn a new game (but has just earned himself an elevation to the senior list)?

    Bear in mind that Hewett, Newman, Aliir and Melican all spent two years in the NEAFL before they got their opportunities.

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