The date of January 16, 2020 could haunt Collingwood and its fans for the next decade.
This was once the Magpies announced they had signed ruckman Brodie Grundy into some ridiculous seven-year, $7 million contract, linking him to the club before 2027, when he’ll be 33.
Grundy was coming off yet another notable year and very rightly exercised his right to shop around and sniff out the best bargain.
It was up into the Magpies to make sure they handled their cover distance and made a sensible choice. Grundy needed seven decades and also the Magpies needed five decades.
Having always missed out to players at the free agency market, Ned Guy — that the Magpies’ inexperienced listing manager — did not need to be viewed to let go of one of its celebrities.
Guy panicked… and blinked. Grundy was signed for lifetime.
The decrease of Grundy in 2020, the very first year because re-signing, is shocking. Clearly the exhaustion in the years of carrying the Magpies’ on-ball section is wearing on him. He appears more like 36 compared to 26 and was bettered by VFL-standard opposition on a weekly basis.
His data evaluations have seen him move from the very best ruckman in the contest to equivalent sixth and at a recent outing against Brisbane he managed only one clearance (a place he was able to control ), while Brisbane’s Oscar McInerney — a journeyman in every sense of this phrase — had nine.
The easy attempts of masking and leaping earth seem too much.
But even though this reduction had not occurred, the contract was a ridiculous one while Grundy had been dominating his own position.
Ruckmen in today’s sport don’t win you premierships. Ruckmen would be the most overrated position in the game using the least influence on the results.
There is a litany of cases within the last decade of premiership-winning ruckmen being a little cog in the team’s overall achievement. Names such as Ivan Soldo, Toby Nankervis, Scott Lycett, Nathan Vardy, Jordan Roughead and Ben McEvoy are solid citizens but nothing longer. They would be in their premiership group’s bottom six.
There is no better illustration than Grundy himself at the 2019 preliminary final against GWS, which the Magpies dropped. It was a match at which Grundy dominated his position.
Grundy’s numbers in that match were extraordinary. He won 73 hit-outs and ten clearances. He had 25 disposals and also the Magpies dominated the clearances 54 into 35.
If ruckmen were influential, Collingwood must have won by ten targets. Alas, all of the tap outs on the planet could not be converted into real match expectancy.
This brings me back to the reason the Magpies have blundered in handing such a massive contract.
The sporting expression Moneyball was made famous by Billy Beane along with also the Oakland As baseball franchise for extending your salary cap and player contract distance. It ought to be front of mind for each AFL listing manager.
AFL clubs just have a limited quantity of money to spread across their playing record and also require a very clear comprehension of exactly what regions of the playground they ought to concentrate on.
A dominant big man is well down the shopping list. Strong key forward, reliable important backs, line-breaking midfielders and X-factor little forward should sit beneath.
Collingwood now find themselves hamstrung, paying a participant whose skill is diminishing from the week at a position which won’t bring them closer to achievement. Grundy has basically taken the money the club wants desperately to locate a key forwards.
Is there a remedy? Yes, however, it takes that the team to be daring — something the record direction and training team have demonstrated little interest in being within the previous couple of seasons.
Could Collingwood hoodwink a different team to choose the Grundy contract and basically salary dump, to borrow an NBA term?
The Magpies are distressed to get a key forwards and have been for the better part of a decade. Jeremy Cameron stays an elite participant mad with his present predicament at GWS using their stagnant ball motion making his occupation of kicking objects near hopeless.
As a different player on a mega bargain, would they exchange positions and permit GWS to eventually have a dominant ruckman while the Magpies receive the last piece of this puzzle?
It are a courageous play and mostly unheard of at the AFL scene to ditch a player so fast after re-signing but it’s a normal occurrence in American game, where the AFL is constantly playing catch-up.
Three-hundred-game participant and pundit Kane Cornes summed it up : “Seven years and seven million for a ruckman who has had a heavy workload and is already banged up, what will he be like at the age of 34?”
It’s a reasonable question.