Some concerns about the mighty Bombers

Good afternoon,

After the most recent exoneration of the players by the AFL, I was expecting the side to finish somewhere around mid table but with a good chance of playing finals footy again this year. Those hopes appear to be slowly but surely evaporating.

After the disappointing Matthew Knights coaching era, James Hird, then Mark Thompson and now James again implemented a more structured defensive game plan to attempt to stop the avalanche of goals especially by the stronger opposition teams. To be fair this has in the main been effective, possibly also because it suits the most talented section of our team, which is the defence. Fletcher, Hurley, Hooker, Baguley, Hibberd are especially good at locking down, intercept marking and pretty efficient by foot.

Sadly that is where the positives mostly stop.

The injection of the experience of Cooney, McKernan, Gwilt and Giles over the trade period (partly a defensive measure if the drugs saga decision went against us I suspect) gave us a little more bench strength while some of the kids develop. Apart from Adam Cooney (has played well but a little fragile), the others haven't really been given an extended chance to make an impact. First year player Kyle Langford has showed great promise in a couple games already and Jayden Laverde is close to senior selection as well.

Some individuals are having decent seasons, the likes of Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett, Travis Colyer and Marty Gleeson have done their reputations no harm so far. Apart from the odd shocker, Joe Daniher is starting to look like the player we all expect him to be. And Jobe Watson and Brent Stanton have been most consistent if not as dynamic or impactful than in previous seasons. Likewise Brendon Goddard's excellent form so far has been let down by too many unforced disposal errors. Honorary mentions to Will Hams and Patrick Ambrose who both always seem to give 100%.

Injuries have played a part in our average start - Zaharakis, Chapman, Carlisle, Hocking, Kommer, Myers, Dempsey, Winderlich, Fletcher (he is now 40 yo come on!) to name a few. The biggest loss has been David Myers, yet to play a game in 2015. His penetration kicking has been sorely missed in trying to break the lines.

OK, so who is not going well. I' afraid it is the usual whipping boys - Tom Bellchambers is not impacting the game at the centre bounces or around the ground or up forward as much as he should for his size and talent; Jake Melksham and Ben Howlett have a break out games every three or four then go missing for a month; and when he is in the side Chapman seems to have lost the edge he had even last year and can look pretty slow when in space and while attempting to evade in one on ones.

Is there a solution? I think there is. It will be tough and it might not save us in 2015 but changes to game plan and personnel are required.

Shaun Edwards, Elliot Kavanagh and Ariel Sternberg (depending upon Rookie elevation status) need to be given a bigger chance in the senior side to see if they can hold down a permanent spot. Kavanagh as a mid fielder with genuine pace, Edwards as an elusive goal kicking small to medium sized forward and Sternberg as another swingman forward or back and my best bet to replace Fletcher when and if he finally retires. Sternberg did well in 2014 and was stiff to miss selection early this year (to Gwilt) which didn't seem like an investment in the future to me. Also skill levels across the board by hand, by foot and especially in front of goal needs to improve and the list management guys need to focus on bringing execution skills to the list, not just guys who can nail the beep test at the draft combine…

No sense in bringing in new players, if we don't have a game plan or a method of spreading quickly and getting the ball forward to better options. Too often we kick the ball on the head of the little guys and at the feet of the big blokes. It is frustrating for the fans and it must upset the players as well.

I haven't given up on season 2015 yet but I hope we can turn it around this coming weekend against the Cats.

Bye for now, BomberBoy