Ins – Finn Callaghan, Leek Aleer, Josh Fahey, Cooper Hamilton,
Outs – Matt Buntine, Jeremy Finlayson, Tom Hutchesson, Shane Mumford, Sam Reid, Nick Shipley
GWS after almost scaling the heights and playing in a grand final have worked their way into no mans land. Not good enough to challenge and not bad enough to bottom out. It is a tough place to be for a club that no one cares about.
The backline is middling. Taylor is coming off a good year and they have Davis for hardness and Hayne who is a quality intercepting backman although not much of a stopper. Whitfield is one of the best kicking half backs in the competition.
The midfield reads like it should be one of the better ones in the competition but it just isnt. They dont work hard enough defensively but look like kings when they have the ball. The Kelly contract looks like a monster now, Coniglio has gone backwards like few I can remember. Green and Taranto are absolute guns.
The forward line is shambolic. I am not sure how Riccardi isnt getting a game. Hogan looks like a reasonable pick up but he isnt going to rip many games apart. Himmelberg doesnt feel like he has come on. It comes down to Greene as their game winner and he gets it done as well as anyone. They need him to have another stellar season and stay on the park.
Preuss and Flynn are a pretty handy ruck combo for a team that struggled for a long time to find an effective ruck. I think they will both play together a lot. I dont know who Cameron has pictures of, I dont know how he still has the role their, his game plan doesnt seem to work and their are others out there doing more with less.
I dont like the shape of their list. They of course benefitted last year from Collingwoods demise and have some more talent coming in but I dont have faith they will get the best out of them. I think they will finish middle of the table somewhere. They look like a team in the 8-10 range.
It’s widely acknowledged that Leon had a great year last year rebuilding on the run and still making finals and finishing 6th. I do have to say though with a guy like Buckley sitting on the sidelines surely the AFL would be tempted to put him in the position to give some profile to a club that is severely lacking in that department. Clarkson to Gold Coast and Buckley to the Giants would be pretty cool I think and something the AFL would love.
For the talent on their list they are serial under performers. There are a couple of bona fide stars running around, or will be once Greene serves his suspension. I wonder how they will kick enough goals to be competitive. They added Hogan but lost Lobb, who could also be thrown into the ruck on the forward line, so there is no net gain there. Himmelberg is serviceable at best. Coniglio is a shadow of his former self, credit for that goes to the coach who threw him under the bus. Whitfield supplies the class out wide, but who do they have besides Taranto to provide the drive inside? Their ruck division looks like it is one of the weakest in the league, so the midfield will be under extra pressure around the packs, just to break even. The defence will be under increased pressure as a direct result and Davis is looking a bit fragile these days. They will struggle and won’t make the finals.
3 wins each, against each other, and no other wins, would go close to doing it.
The tricky bit will be the percentage.
So it could go down to the wire in the last Round.
Which, given the potential Draft Pick reward ranges from 1 to 9, should make for a more exciting & relevant finish than those Clubs are usually involved in.
I can see the AFL both dreading & becoming erect at such a scenario.