• July 30, 2021

AFL 2021: Shiel de Essendon deal

Shiel spent an extended season on the sidelines this season.Credit:AFL Photos

His fondness for Shiel was evident when he brought him back to the side without a game in the VFL, even though he was out for so long, a decision that raised some eyebrows internally.

Rutten said the 175-game player had shown enough in training to win the national team, although he admitted it would be better for the career after his 13-elimination comeback against his former club, the Giants.

But many observers agree with Lloyd’s assessment that Shiel has to find a role that complements what already exists, and one source suggests that making tough decisions about the former Giant will be Rutten’s first big test.

Most see Merrett as elite in various areas, Stringer explosive and Parish an accumulator who works the lines well and has improved his stopping game, while McGrath is brilliant at transitioning and finding spaces. Langford is versatile, while the return of Jye Caldwell provides them with the inside medium they know they needed, having tried to secure Josh Dunkley from the Bulldogs last season.

That leaves Shiel, a player with outstanding gait and breakneck speed, but one who struggles to hit targets consistently or kick accurately when scoring opportunities arise. He finished second in the best and fairest of the Bombers and was an All-Australian in his senior year with the Giants.


His kicking efficiency in 2019 was 53.4 percent and 56.6 percent in 2020, and he ranked 40th in the top 50 midfielders for kicks within 50 in 2019 and improved slightly in 2020 to rank. in 34th place.

He creates opportunities, but he has kicked only 79 goals in his career, 15 in Essendon’s colors.

Sources who have watched him closely say the Bombers were aware of his shortcomings and used him primarily as a striker / winger who would push in front of stoppages, but were not confident that he would perform consistently as he couldn’t. Repeat the basics like putting pressure on your opponent and winning the contested ball at a high level every week.

Instead, he would try to immediately graduate from first gear to fourth gear and forget that second and third gear needed to be dialed in if he was ever going to get to fourth gear.

Shiel can’t play defense, but he also can’t be in center at the same time as Parish, so he’s probably more valuable if he can adapt to playing primarily as a high-midfielder sitting in front of a save where he can hit. step the ball and preoccupy defenders with his stride and long kick with his left foot, rather than playing as a permanent center.

In 2019 and 2020, Shiel averaged 80 percent of his time in midfield while spending just under 10 percent of his time as a forward and just over 10 percent on defense. You need to reduce your time in midfield from now on.

That will require leaving the ego on the hook to subsume individual glory for team needs, and it will also require Parish, Merrett and Stringer to rotate effectively so the midfield can remain high-octane.

Rutten understands, having been in Richmond, that a player who receives 40 touches, as Parish has done three times this year, is less likely to win prime ministerial titles than the Tigers model, where each midfielder plays their role. even if that means you win around 20. touches.

“Where do we want to go as a midfield group? [is] that we are not overly dependent on any one individual, ”Rutten said.

Shiel may be the one to make that happen.

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