Coach - Adam Simpson
Points For – 4th
Points Against – 6th
Top 5 Best and Fairest
- Elliot Yeo
- Jack Redden
- Shannon Hurn
- Jamie Cripps
- Andrew Gaff
2018 Rising Star Noms
Tom Cole (Rnd 21)
Ins – Tom Hickey, Xavier O’neill, Luke Foley, Bailey Williams, Jarrod Cameron, Harry Edwards, Josh Smith,
Outs – Tarir Bayouk, Ryan Burrows, Callan England, Malcolm Karpenny, Mark LeCras, Scott Lycett, Eric Mackenzie, Tony Olango, Luke Partington
So this is part two in my special feature of teams I didn’t expect to make the eight but actually ended up playing in a grand final. Like Richmond before them, it is hard to work out exactly where their list is at and if they can produce the same again. List movement hasn’t been extreme and you would argue they have lost some depth but all in all they look pretty similar to last year.
The backline stacks up well. Jetta finally found some touch and gave some run and they have found a good one in Cole. They have McGovern and Barrass to cover talls and Hurn who can play tall but also sets up play with his kicking. They are a little more of an old fashioned backline and I worry a little for their key position depth but most weeks they get the job done.
The midfield stacks up with the best in the competition. Keeping Gaff last year was massive for them. Yeo and Redden had career best years alongside Sheed who came in and made a real impact. They can run with most teams and despite a mildly vanilla look about them, they get the job done especially at home.
The forward line is really all about Kennedy, he was great last year and gives them a focal point. Darling was good for most of the year as well (the GF… not so much). Liam Ryan and Willie Rioli also changed the look of them once the ball hit the ground and made them a much more dangerous unit. I still worry that they lack depth here as well and need to keep their best players on the ground to stay dangerous.
The ruck for much of the year is going to be Vardy, sort of dangerous with his fragility but they seem to be able to keep him on the field more than other teams have in the past. The risk of injury to him is largely the fact that then you have to play Tom Hickey and that leaves you vulnerable. Nicnat may come back this year but his knees have to be a concern with his size and style of play on top of two bung knees will have to limit his effectiveness. As far as the coach goes, he won a premiership, clearly doing something right. He hasn’t reinvented the wheel, he timed his run and had them playing good ball at the right time.
When I look at the list, I don’t see a contender, clearly they are but I don’t think it would take a lot to go wrong for them to take a dip as well. Their home ground advantage is as good as anyone in the AFL and with that, I don’t see them dropping out of the top four. I think they will finish between third and fourth.