Coach – Chris Scott
Points For – 4th
Points Against – 1st
Top 5 Best and Fairest
- Mark Blicavs
- Patrick Dangerfield
- Tim Kelly
- Tom Hawkins
- Joel Selwood
2018 Rising Star Noms
Jack Henry (Round 7)
Ins – Luke Dahlhaus, Nathan Kreuger, Gary Rohan, Jordan Clark, Ben Jarvis, Jacob Kennedy, Darcy Fort, Jake Tarca, Oscar Brownless, Tom Atkins
Outs – Aaron Black, Stewart Crameri, Ryan Gardner, Cory Gregson, Matthew Hayball, George Horlin-Smith, Timm House, Lincoln McCarthy, Daniel Menzel, Jordan Murdoch, Jackson Thorlow
The Cats have gone back to the trade table again in it’s efforts to stay in touch. Feels a little like an aging beauty queen who thinks that regular botox injections will hold back the aging process. Something just didn’t work last year, they have quality players all over the field but seem to lack depth.
The backline performed well last year, they look thin down there but Stewart has come along really well and I though Kolodjashnij looked better last year as well. Blicavs had an awesome year and they get good drive from half back through Tuohy. The question mark back here feels like their ability to run out of the backline.
The midfield has a good top five, Dangerfield, Selwood, Ablett, Kelly and Duncan would match just about any other team in the competition. This is where the question of depth comes in though as well as their willingness to run both ways. I don’t think of any of the top five as players who work hard defensively. The drop off then is pretty strong as well, Scott Selwood, Cockatoo and forwards running through the middle. They can’t afford an injury and need serious minutes from their best players.
They chased Dahlhaus last year to help them tidy up the lack of defensive pressure in their forward line and he may do that, but he has downside as well. His lack of discipline will be and interesting challenge for Scott. Hawkins had a great year last year and they will be hoping he can bring his best again. They need Ratugolea to get his body right as he looked exciting last year before his injury. I still think they have issues with depth here as well and are very reliant on Hawkins.
The rucks are a serious concern. Last year it felt like they couldn’t get one of them to stand up and it impacted their midfield and cost them against teams with a quality ruck. It will be interesting to see if one of their rucks puts their hand up this year. If Smith could find his best then they are a much better team because I think Buzza and Stanley don’t feel like first rucks. The coach I am still not sold on, he has his contract extension but I think over the next couple of seasons, we will get a feel of how good he is as he needs to regenerate his list as they need greater lift from their younger players.
All of that being said, they had the best performed back line last year and fourth best attack. There is clearly some talent there and their best players are as good as anyone. It is their second and third tier of players that hold them back from being a challenger. I think they are clearly a top eight team still but it wouldn’t take a huge amount of bad luck for that to change. I think this year they are a 6-8 sort of team.