Tinker, Taylor, Forward, Why?


Written by Nicholas Carbines (@AFLplus) on 13 April 2017   

Harry Taylor has spent the first three rounds of the 2017 AFL season lost on the Geelong forward line. Despite negative comments regarding the move from commentators and fans, Geelong coach, Chris Scott, refuses to swallow his pride and send Taylor back where he belongs. This quote, taken from Chris Scott on Fox Footy, indicates there is no change of heart on the horizon.

“What’s best for Harry may well be just to play as a key defender, but it may well be that what’s best for the team is for him to play forward. So in that scenario, Harry wants to play forward because he is….the quintessential team man.”

Let’s get one thing straight. There’s no way Harry Taylor ‘wants’ to play on the forward line. There’s also no way – in a perfect world - any of Geelong’s coaching staff think that’s the best position for Taylor to play. But this is not a perfect world anymore, at least, not for two-time all-Australian defender, Harry Taylor. Here’s why.

Geelong has identified that it is too tall in its backline. Harry Taylor stands at 195cm. Tom Lonergan (197cm), Lachie Henderson (196cm), Andrew Mackie (193cm), Jake Kolodjashnij (193cm) and newcomer Tom Stewart (190cm). Chris Scott wants to get games into Kolodjashnij and Stewart, and having them learn their trade from Lonergan and Mackie is essential to their development. Taylor has more promise on a forward line than those two veterans, so he has been re-positioned to alleviate the height issue. Harry Taylor is out of a full-time position in defence.

Conveniently, at the other end of the ground, Scott has been searching for a second tall forward to compliment Tom Hawkins. This experiment has been bubbling since Geelong traded James Podsiadly to Adelaide at the end of 2013. Scott had tried every player he could get his hands on. The failures include Nathan Vardy, Mitch Clark, Shane Kersten, Josh Walker and Mitch Brown. Scott now believes he can solve these two structural issues, (height in defence and a second tall forward), with one positional change; moving Taylor forward. It’s here’s where Taylor should be getting nervous, because we all know what happened to each one of those second-string forwards in the end.

As Taylor continues to flounder up forward, it feels like Chris Scott has handed Taylor a grenade and swallowed the pin. It gets even less promising for Taylor when you look at the form of Lincoln McCarthy. The young fellow is a star in the making and is drawing forward opportunities away from Taylor. He kicks equally well on both feet (unlike Taylor) and also knows a thing or two about the forward craft. Just when you think it can’t get worse for Big Harry, one should also mention Father Time. Harry turns 31 in June. (There’s also Aaron Black waiting in the wings as well, but I digress…)

Stats that Matter

When one examines the facts, and by that I mean statistics, Chris Scott has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to keeping Harry Taylor down forward.

The following table indicates averages per game. 2017 consists of only the first 3 rounds of the 2017 season. Harry Taylor played 24 games in 2016. Career Games as of 12/04/17: 207

 

Kicks

H’balls

Marks

*CP

*UP

Turnovers

Disposals

Disposal

Efficiency

2017

3.7

7.7

3.7

3.3

7.7

3

11.30

71%

2016

8.5

6.2

6.3

4.8

10.0

2

14.60

87%

Career

Averages

8.76

7.29

6.3

5.86

10.19

1.3

16.00

82.4%

(*CP – Contested Possessions *UP – Uncontested Possessions)

In the first 3 games of the 2017 season, Harry Taylor has played a total of 335 minutes of football:

5 hours, 35 minutes on-field time

4 hours, 22 minutes on the forward line.

1 hour, 13 minutes in defence.

At the end of Round 3, 2017, Taylor’s possessions totalled 34. (11 kicks, 23 handballs). Of these possessions, 23 were uncontested and he turned the ball over 9 times. In his 4 hours and 22 minutes in Geelong’s forward line, Taylor has managed 17 possessions and kicked 0 goals, 1 behind. Geelong has won all three games and kicked 55 goals, 23 behinds.

Respect

The Geelong Football Club has been questioned recently on how it treats its favourite sons. We have said goodbye to many of late, prematurely at times, but this latest strategy seems nasty. Chris Scott is slowly destroying a champion’s legacy. He is dirtying the waters and staining the memories of a two-time all-Australian backman who has ‘done the job’ on every great forward of his day. Chris Scott needs to put the club champion back in defence, and let him play out his days with the dignity he deserves.


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