For many football fans, the success of Brendon Goddard’s move to Essendon will depend on how possessions he gets and the number of goals he kicks.
Goddard, the veteran of 208 games, was the biggest name to move clubs during the off season, as he looked for a longer contract and more time in the midfield.
For the Bombers it was about getting someone who could provide leadership and support to Jobe Watson in the midfield and off field.
While it seems easy to judge someone individually on whether a move is success, it’s already showing that Goddard’s impact is much greater.
Immediately, Goddard impressed coaches and team mates with his professionalism and dedication at the club’s Colorado trip.
Once back at the club and into pre-season, he took team mates under his wing and started to use his voice at training by taking on a leadership role.
By the time he was officially inducted into the leadership group, he had made a massive impact on his team mates.
Already with massive pressure on him in perform on the field, he was thrown in the deep end as the club faces the drug saga.
In trying to protect the players who are impacted on this, Goddard has faced more than his fair share of media conferences. At a time when he could be angry for the situation he now finds himself in, he has instead provided much needed support to his team mates.
For Goddard his move to the Bombers was always about being part of the team and playing the role which was needed.
He will never be a player settled in one role, but this is what makes him so great.
One thing he wanted was to be given more midfield time than he had at the Saints, which is already the case.
While Goddard is playing in the midfield, it has opened the door for other players to step up in new roles.
Before this year Ben Howlett was a key cog in the two or three midfielders who backed up Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson.
Come round one he found himself spending time in the forward line, a surprise considering he had only kicked 21 goals in his first three seasons. Howlett kicked four goals in the opening round and now has seven for the season.
In round two, it was Dyson Heppell and Watson who spent considerable time in the forward line.
As well as allowing Watson to spend more time forward, Goddard has taken away some of the pressure from him. For the last two years, it’s been the case of ‘no Watson, no Essendon’. Against the Dockers Watson was well held, but it didn’t matter as Goddard stepped up and took control.
Brent Stanton is another who has relished the arrival of Goddard, as it means there’s less pressure on him. The result, as well as more possessions, is that his defensive side of his game seems to have finally clicked.
For Saints fans still angry about Goddard’s departure, they wouldn’t have wanted to look at his game against the Dockers, as he finally looks like he was hitting his straps just in time for a clash with his old side.
After only having 14 possessions in round one and 30 possessions against the hapless Melbourne in round two, his match against Fremantle in round three was a reason for supporters to smile.
With skipper Watson well held and veteran defender Dustin Fletcher subbed off, it was Goddard who led the fight back and ultimately played a major role in winning the match.
His 26 possessions was a team high, but it was also a team high 13 contested possessions which was the most pleasing. Often criticised by footy fans for receiving a lot of easy outside ball, Goddard was in everything as his team put behind them the week from hell.
While Goddard’s impact on the stats sheet and scoreboard is only just starting to show, his arrival has been more than beneficial in a number of ways.
The success of his time at the Bombers will be the part his plays in the development of the team and other players, and ultimately if he can get a much wanted premiership.