Just days after Robert Hyde walked away from his part-time coaching role at Carlton’s VFL affiliate, the Northern Blues, Lovett has taken a stance on the selection criteria at the Scorpions despite its alignment with Melbourne which has seen up to 15 AFL-listed players play on any given day for the senior team.
Hyde walked away knowing that his position was severely compromised in that the VFL Blues have drifted into being a being a development squad for its senior team. Last week there was 18-Carlton listed players playing and Hyde only had the opportunity to see these players for 20 minutes during the week, compared to the VFL-listed players that train together during the week.
Lovett is in a similar predicament with the Melbourne-listed players but said he has a network around him that provides feedback from the Demons.
“They’re getting coached well. Most of the work these days is done through the week and through the training,” he said.
But the biggest difference between the Blues and the Scorpions is the selection criteria.
Lovett has no hesitation but to play Melbourne-listed players in the development squad, the VFL reserves, if they weren’t performing; a stance that doesn’t happen a lot at aligned VFL clubs.
“I think the most we’ve had is 15 (Melbourne-listed) in one week. Basically our selection criteria has been the same all year and it’s based on if you’re in good form, you get a game. The Melbourne guys know that and the Casey guys know that so there’s been times that some of the Melbourne guys have played in the development side because they haven’t been up to it,” Lovett said.
“It’s fairly clearly to both parties. If you’re form’s not there, well you’re playing in the development (league).”
“There’s a bit about development but I think it’s critical that you’re winning games of football while you’re developing. You want to win and each of these young fellas know how to win.”
“Each club’s got their own way to go about it. We’ve got a very clear picture for what Casey want and what Melbourne want so like all partnerships, you work together on it,” he said.
The VFL competition is unique because it is made up of stand alone VFL teams, stand alone AFL-based teams, aligned teams and partially aligned teams.
It is currently undergoing a restructure process that is likely to end up with a name change after 2014.
On yesterday’s damning result – where the Scorpions lost by 78-points to Werribee – Lovett admitted his team simply didn’t come to play. Yesterday’s loss was on the back of seven wins in a row.
“I just thought our intent and our competitveness was just down. We’re not a team half a dozen guys down, we want them to be all up and all working for each other,” Lovett said.
“We just had a down day and they can happen. Only time will tell whether it was just a down day. We’ve got Port next week.”
“This mob (Werribee) got done last week by Bendigo so I’m sure they would have been stinging all week,” he said.
Casey is in second spot on the VFL ladder behind Port Melbourne. Carlton’s VFL affiliate, the Northern Blues, are on the bottom with just the one win for the season.
Of course, Geelong and Collingwood, the two stand alone AFL-based teams also have a strong focus on developing players.
Geelong, perhaps, has the better model out of those two after recruiting some strong VFL bodies to go with its young, developing brigade. Troy Selwood and Dom Gleeson are among those.
Having a strong focus on developing players isn’t tanking. But the different motives that clubs have in this unique competition certainly impacts ladder positions at the end of the year.
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