Home > AFL > AFL Season Preview Pt. 3- Not Since ’97

AFL Season Preview Pt. 3- Not Since ’97

Pt. 3 of my AFL Season Preview is here, and we’ve finally hit the Top 8! In 1997, the Adelaide Crows won the premiership from 5th place. This has been the only time a team has won the flag from outside the Top 4. Don’t try and tell these sides that however, because as they will say, anything can happen come September. These are the four teams that I think will be playing finals footy, but may just be an outside chance to be Premiers in 2011.

 

8th – Fremantle Dockers (Premiership odds @ TAB Sportsbet- $15)

After a fairytale 2010, its time to see if the Dockers can back it up again this time around. After falling one game short of their first grand final appearance in 2006, it took 4 seasons before they finished in the top half of the ladder again. Very hard to beat over in Perth, a lot will depend on their ability to claim big scalps on the road this season.

 

Dreamteam Buys– Easy. The biggest man to ever play AFL football. Standing at 211cm, Aaron Sandilands is a colossus in the ruck, claiming hit-outs at will. The new substitute rule will see him spend more time up forward this season, so expect some more gargantuan scores from him. Matthew Pavlich is a proven good buy, and Michael Barlow showed last season how damaging he can be, if his broken leg fully recovers. The latter won’t be back for a while though, so hold off on getting him in your side.

 

 

7th – Carlton Blues ($15)

The Blues players are in no doubt as to what is expected of them this year – win a finals match. They came oh-so-close against Sydney last season, but another first week exit in September this year would be a definite failure, and a likely result would be Coach Brett Ratten heading out the door. With the talent at their disposal, they are more than capable of causing some damage in the finals.

 

Dreamteam Buys- How can you go past the reigning Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd? If you’re looking for someone else, Marc Murphy, Kade Simpson and Bryce Gibbs are sure to rack up huge scores, but like Judd, come at a high price. If you need a cheaper option, Lachie Henderson seems to have settled into his role up forward, whilst Levi Casboult is a star of the future.

 

 

6th – Geelong Cats ($8.50)

It was a disastrous end to what was in fact a very good season for the Cats, losing the preliminary final by 41 points to a very slick Collingwood line-up. But were it not for Gary Ablett, the margain would probably been closer to 70. Unfortunately for Geelong they don’t have little Gazza, nor dual premiership coach Mark Thompson this time around, and with the premiership stars ageing, they won’t be the irresistible force they once were. They will still be a very good side, but the glut of teams vying for the top spots may well see them outside the top 4 for the first time since 2006.

 

Dreamteam Buys- At just 21 years of age, Joel Selwood is a genuine star of the game, and future captain of the Geelong Football Club. More time in the midfield will see Steve Johnson rack up big scores, along with Paul Chapman. Youngster Mitch Duncan showed a lot of class last season, and rookie Billie Smedts is very highly rated.

 

 

5th – Sydney Swans ($31)

As the premiership odds show, people are again underestimating the Swans, but be warned – do so at your own peril. In 2005, they were rated by many so-called “experts” from south of the border as wooden spoon favourites. 26 weeks later, they had their first premiership in 72 years. A change of coach and rejuvenation of what was thought to be an ageing squad leaves the Swans in an exciting position to go further than their 5 point loss in the second week of finals in 2010.

 

Dreamteam Buys- Adam Goodes hasn’t won 2 Brownlows for nothing. Able to play up front and in the midfield, there are not many players more valuable to their team than Goodes to the Swans. 2010 Best & Fairest Kieren Jack will undoubtedly post career best numbers, and speedsters Gary Rohan and Lewis Jetta have had sensational pre-seasons, and look in great shape for the season ahead. Daniel Bradshaw looked like a great addition for Sydney last year when fit, and if he can stay on the field again this time around, he will kick plenty of goals.

 

 

—-

 

That’s it for Pt. 3- are any of these your sides? Do you see them scraping into the Top 8, or are they destined to go on even further?  Do you agree with me, or are they all just smoke and mirrors? We’re not far away from the AFL season now, so leave a comment below and let your voice be heard!

If you missed my previous entries, here they are:

Pt. 1- No Need for Tanking

Pt. 2- On the Cusp

I’ll be back again tomorrow with my final preview for the year- the Top 4.

 

The Phantom

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