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AFL Season Preview

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Geelong

We had the Cats Top Four last year and they went on with the job. This year they have too much going for them to drop away. With the same intestinal fortitude they should cruise the top four in, and a top two spot is there for the taking. They have the best team on paper, and play extremely well as a unit. I really don't see them suffering any form of premiership hangover. Why? Their success had been steadily building over the years and I don't think they will be too keen to drop back into the pack just yet, and theey've been through the highs and lows. No value at opening premiership odds or final eight. But if at some stage they drift to $5+ or $1.20 for the Premiership, Top Eight respectively due to form then they are worth putting a few dollars on.

The Cats to finish in the top spot again.

 

 

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This year's Season Prediction highlights

We successfully selected top 4 teams West Coast and Port Adelaide to comfortably miss the eight - we were right there. We selected the Bulldogs to finish Top 4 when few rated them a chance, We had the Swans and Collingwood where they finished. We didn't have the Saints winning like every second other media outlet. They were miserable in the finals well we told you pre-season that.

Where we stuffed up...well first of all we will declare that we are Demons supporters and hence the inflated selection. And Freo well everyone got them wrong.

 

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Melbourne

Melbourne are the team most capable of reversing 07 results. At times they had up to 11 senior players out last year and those out were certainly not at the bottom end of their best 22. McLean, Neitz, Rivers and Bartram are all well within the top 6 players at the Club. That's their best mid, foward, back and new player all sitting most of the season out or being limited by injury in cameo appearances. There worst losses of 07 occured when the chances of a fourth finals appearance evaporated so you can excuse bad defeats agains the Roos, Lions, Swans and Port. So what I'm suggesting there was it was less about the depth and ability of this team but moreso the mental disposition of a battered team.

You just don't fluke three finals appearances in a row so I don't think you can question an underlying class of this outfit. If there was ever a good bet on a team getting back in the action its this one. How easily this is achieved however probably lies on one guy in particular. The Demons Brock McLean. He's as good a player as Melbourne has ever had and his health is paramount to their chances. His form slump at the end of last year can be directly attributed to the leg injuries suffered in Melbourne's horror first round last year. His fitness is a determinant on his gun output.

A healthy McLean teamed with Jones, McDonald, Sylvia, and Moloney feeding to the likes of Bruce, Green and Davey is a good one. Rivers and Wheatley will be welcome additions to a backline that looks sharper already with springy Bell, Petterd and Frawley who are likely to come on with another year under their belt. In a competition with very few powerful foward lines outside of Brisbane, Saints and the Swans... Neitz, Newton and Bate will create headaches.

At four dollars plus for the eight they are a steal. And if you are looking to make a dollar on the Premiership there will be worser plans than backing the Dees and then laying them when the price firms.

Fremantle

Fremantle were appauling last year and expect them to turn that around quickly this year. A team that boasts Pavlich in the foward line and Mcpharlin in the back line give them a big start on most teams. The stars don't end there with Bell and Carr performing as above average inside players, and Peake and Black make for excellent runners. A plethora of running tall types and Jeff Farmer who gets to start the season on the ground makes for a real menacing team. Mark Harvey's appointment of coach looks a good one, he seems well respected, and won't take any nonsense.

Freo should make the eight, how far they go I think depends on the health of there runners in Peake and Black. Injuries to these guys and it could be curtains for the Dockers quicker than one might expect. They carry pretty much all the speed for the side, and playing on a big ground week in week out takes it's toll.

Freo to be comfortably in the eight in 08.

 

Western Bulldogs

The Dogs were exposed in 2007 for their lack of height when much was expected of them. Internally and externally they look to have taken the right steps to alleviate this problem. The addition of Scott Welsh and Ben Hudson from Adelaide, and the improved health of Rob Murphy and the further development of Cameron Wright sees them fielding a much better balanced side on paper. As important an addition Ben Hudson is to the team, having Robert Murphy up and about could prove to be invaluable. Possessing an above average tall half-foward flanker that can link play, take an overhead mark and kick goals is golden. See if you can name more than five good ones in the competition? Ryan Okeefe, Andrew Embley, and perhaps Matthew Bate come to mind but it's pretty bare beyond that and each of those players are vitally important and seen as matchwinners for their respective teams. While his airy in Darwin captured a headline it will be his consistent output that will be a key driver for the Dogs towards Top 4 and get people talking. With all the ingredients, and valuable youthful experience expect the Dogs to really come on this year.

Ryan Griffen being let loose just adds to an already formidable midfield. Minson at Full Foward while on paper looks a little shaky, his enthusiasm and ability to bring the ball to the deck will be a team coup, and he goes ok in front of the big sticks. Call me crazy but I think the Dogs will fire and make the top four.

 

 

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