I don’t usually do this for the Bombers due to my natural sense of pessimism but this year I feel different and also have time on my hands…
Coach – John Worsfold
Points For – 3rd
Points Against – 12th
Top 5 Best and Fairest
- Joe Daniher
- Brendon Goddard
- Dyson Heppell
- Zach Merrett
- David Zaharakis
2017 Rising Star Noms
Andrew McGrath (Rnd 4)
Ins – Adam Saad, Jake Stringer, Devon Smith, Luke Lavendar, Jordan Houlahan, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Matt Guelfi, Trent Mynott
Outs – Jobe Watson, James Kelly, Yestin Eades, Brent Stanton, Heath Hocking, Ben Howlett, Caig Bird, Alex Morgan
I know there was a lot of talk that last year was a new start but for me, this year is year one. This is the year when the list is being shaped and the excuses run out.
The backline stats surprised me last year. They are not the 12th best backline in the competition. They are however a backline that was too often left with too much work to do. When the midfield was being beaten, they didn’t tie the ball up and often let teams get a run on. Hurley was outstanding and continues to get the job done, Hartley was down last year and will be interesting with the KP mix between him, Brown and Ambrose to see who gets the starting positions. This year with Irish and Saad running off half back, they will be quick down there and unpredictable.
How the midfield lines up is going to be a bit of a mystery. It is essentially being rebuilt after just not being good enough against the strong teams last year. They were out muscled and couldn’t match the stronger clearance teams. Stringer spending time through the middle will help and I think Langford and Laverde will see time there as well. McGrath is not a big body but his vision and quick hands will certainly make a difference. I think the biggest difference will come from Smith who reminds me of Tom Mitchell. I think he could lead the way inside. Heppell looks to have bulked up as well and we tend to forget just how good he was. Zach Merrett brings speed and quality as well. There is a lot of potential in the middle and should definitely improve on last year.
The forward line is a genuine chance to be the best in the competition by the end of the season. Joe Daniher has only just started to show how good he is, his upside is enormous. Stewart and Hooker should improve on last year and the Bombers should show more chemistry up forward as they work together. Stringer when he is not in the middle is a wrecking ball and then they have absolute high quality small forward in Walla and Orazio.
Last year started with Leunberger as the preferred but as Bellchambers found his feet, that changed. Bellchambers gives greater flexibility and always looks dangerous when he drifts forward.
We have seen the last couple of seasons, the importance of clever trading to fill gaps in your list and the difference that makes, with team structures now just as important as team chemistry it is much easier for players to slot in and make a difference from day one. There was enough shown last year to suggest the bones of a very good team. They have added enough to that as well as the natural development of existing players to suggest things should be better this year. I am tipping top four for the Bombers this year.