Home > AFL > AFL Season Preview Pt. 4- The Window is Open

AFL Season Preview Pt. 4- The Window is Open

Welcome to the last of my AFL Season Previews- it’s time to get stuck into the Top 4. These are the sides who I believe are going to absolutely smash it this year. All the talk from clubs these days is about the “Premiership Window”, and for these Top 4 sides, it is well and truly open. The only question that remains to be asked is this: Who is going to jump through and find the Premiership Cup in the other side?

 

4th – Western Bulldogs (Premiership odds @ TAB Sportsbet $9)

Clubs seem to be giving themselves and their fans very clear expectations this year, and for the Bulldogs, it is quite simple – play in a Grand Final. If they don’t, heads will roll. After 3 successive preliminary final losses, the time is now for the Dogs, and this may be the best chance they have had in that time. After all the experience they have gained in big games, they are well and truly set for a huge tilt at the flag.

 

Dreamteam Buys- Daniel Giansiracusa, Brian Lake, Adam Cooney and Daniel Cross are sure to do well for you, whilst youngster Zeph Skinner has pushed his claims for a senior spot with an outstanding pre-season. Barry Hall could be a unique pick for your forward line, especially if he bags a couple of goals each game and isn’t bashing his opposition. Patrick Veszpremi is also set for more game time since moving down from the Swans.

 

 

3rd – St Kilda Saints ($6.50)

If Lenny Hayes’ kick late in last year’s first grand final had bounced and rolled straight on, rather than turning right as sharply as a Muttiah Muralitharan off-spinner, Saints fans may have had a very different summer. Instead of celebrating their 2nd premiership, they have been rocked by a naked photo scandal which has taken on a life of its own and exploded to proportions not seen in the AFL for a long time. Despite this, the Saints look primed to have at least one more crack at claiming that elusive first premiership since 1966, and with that “us against them” mentality, you would be a fool to write them off this early.

 

Dreamteam Buys- Take your pick out of Nick Dal Santo, Lenny Hayes, Sam Gilbert, Brendan Goddard and Leigh Montagna. They are all going to rack up some big numbers. Nick Riewoldt is significantly underpriced due to his injury last season, and is a must for your forwards.

 

 

2nd – Collingwood Magpies ($3)

I am probably the only person not picking the Pies to win the flag, but going back-to-back isn’t as easy as it sounds. It hasn’t been done since the great Brisbane Lions side did the “Three-peat” in 2001-2003, and Collingwood hasn’t won 2 in a row since 1935-36. Don’t get me wrong, they have an absolutely sensational side, and a coach that will be out to prove a point in his last season with the club no matter what the result come September. To win a flag, everything has to go right, and having already lost Nathan Brown for the season indicates that lady luck may not be wearing black and white in 2011.

 

Dreamteam Buys- The Magpies have the most star studded midfield in the game, with Players Association MVP Dane Swan leading the way from Scott Pendlebury, Alan Didak, Steele Sidebottom, Dane Beames and Dale Thomas. For a bit of value, jump on the Andrew Krakouer bandwagon. After being delisted by Richmond and spending some time in jail, Krakouer came back with a bang last season, winning the Best & Fairest in the WAFL and leading Swan Districts to the premiership with a 35 possession, 4 goal, best on ground performance in the Grand Final, including the winning goal with under a minute to go. He’s an absolute bargain.

 

 

1st – Hawthorn Hawks ($7)

A massive call, I know, but one that I am quite happy to stand behind. When the Hawks hunted down the Cats in 2008 to steal the flag, it was well ahead of even their own schedule. The mother of all premiership hangovers struck them down in ’09 and the early parts of 2010 (admittedly, there were numerous injuries which affected this), but late last season their charge to the finals showed their true class. Jeff Kennett’s plans from pre-2007 to win at least 2 premierships before 2012 look like a distinct possibility, given they can keep all the cattle on the paddock.

 

Dreamteam Buys- The twin towers up front, Lance Franklin & Jarryd Roughead, will be extremely tough to stop when on song, whilst superstars Luke Hodge, Cyril Rioli and Sam Mitchell will post big numbers continuously throughout the season. In terms of the rookies, mature age recruit Paul Puopolo is a chance of filling the void left by Campbell Brown. If he gets a game, could be one for your bench.

 

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Well, there we go! Do you think I’m mad for putting the Hawks at No. 1? Don’t think the Saints are going to play well this year? I’m happy for you to agree or disagree with me, so leave a comment below to have your say.

 

If you missed the other parts of the Season Preview, here they are:

Pt. 1- No Need for Tanking

Pt. 2- On the Cusp

Pt. 3- Not Since ’97

 

I’ll be back throughout the year with my thoughts on various issues, so keep an eye out on the site.

Good luck to your side this season!

 

The Phantom

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