By Decentric 2 - 11 Apr 2021 11:01 AM
If you analyse the A L using specific football performance criteria, the league and Australian football has improved out of site since 2006.
If you dug up videos of the A L in 2006 and compared them to now, one would observe:
*In the four main moments of the game, in 2006 the ball would have been in the Defensive and Attacking Transitions a lot more than the present. The play was in transitional phases more, because of lack of team ability to keep the ball. Now when A L teams have possession they maintain possession for much longer periods of time. Teams in the AL struggled to maintain possession in 2006. This was an objective of the FFA NC.
* The handling speed of individual players has increased markedly. Handling speed means the ability of players to receive the ball and pass it on as quickly as possible. Increased handling speed is particularly apparent in the younger players just starting in the A L. Consequently, the speed of A L teams ball circulation has increased. These were aims of the KNVB /French/German/Spanish National Curriculum from FFA Tech Dept.
* More players perceive the A L as a viable career pathway than the older NSL, hence, they were much keener to play overseas prior to the inception A L.
* More young players are more two often two footed and can play on both sides of the body more proficiently than 2006 and prior. Think of two footedness and two sided players- Tim Cahill, Jamey Maclaren, Mark Milligan, Carl Valeri. There are many more young Aussie players with these attributes in present times. Another FFA NC objective.
* The naive tactical insights that Aussies had in Pim's tenure, and frustrated him, have improved immeasurably in the A L. There are not much closer distances between the lines in teams, and more ideal distancing within the lines too. Current players need less time and space to play the ball conformably and maintain possession than in the past - which has been another objective of the FFA NC.
There are clearly defined strategies for teams to play in Ball Possession, Pall Possession Opposition, Defensive Transition, Attacking Transition in the A L. Aussie players under the revamped curriculum, are as good as any overseas in terms of insight, communication and tactical acumen. Another FFA NC objective.
* To rate Australian players by which European clubs they played for, can be flawed as an indicator to determine success. In the era where Aussie played in more big clubs overseas from about 1991 to 2005, our supposed Eurostars did not have the same cohesion as our current national team Socceroo units, because they didn't qualify for any World Cups in this period. Tactically, national Socceroo teams were naive in the big moments of games.
* At the second last World Cup, Stan Collymore, stated how the English Football Association, were staggered with how well Australian National teams performed in international football, compered to the status of the leagues the individual Aussies played in.
They actually paid homage to the Aus system of Under 16s, Under 20s and Under 23s being used as a platform for development. The English FA boffins determined that the uniform game plans through the age groups, meant Aussie players were used to following a sequential game plan from Under 16 upwards. This has equated to punching above our weight.