In the lead up to the start of the AFL season next Saturday I'm going to post a 6-part AFL season preview, detailing my predicted ladder from the bottom upwards, and finishing with the individual awards.
Here's the first part; the teams from 18th to 16th:
Star player: Phil Davis has a big task on his hands as he leads the Giants defence in trying to stem the wave of opposition attacks. He had an impressive pre-season and as one of the club’s inaugural captains will be looked upon to provide some on-field leadership for this fledging club.
One to watch: Stephen Coniglio was long touted as a high draft pick before being selected at #2 in the 2011 draft, and will see a lot of action in the middle of the park for GWS this season. Blessed with good skills, excellent physical attributes and the ability to snare a few goals, he will provide sparkle on the oval for many years.
This season will be a success if… the GWS Giants manage to get 1 or more wins on the board and maintain the enthusiasm of their new fans in what will be a testing debut.
Star Player: Gary Ablett remains the game’s best midfielder, easily capable of racking up 30+ quality touches and a couple of goals per game. He can burst out of a pack with the ball, produce a dummy to sidestep an opponent & kick the miracle goal all within a matter of seconds. The former Cats player will go down as a future Legend of the game.
One to watch: The Suns forward line is still their main weakness, with the club lacking a focal point up forward. Tom Lynch managed to kick 15 goals in 13 games last season, and if the 199 cm forward can improve on that record next season whilst playing all 22 games they may have found their CHF for the next decade.
This season will be a success if… the Suns manage to limit the heavy losses to only a few games and remain competitive throughout the whole season. Anything more than 5 wins would be a great return.
One to watch: Luke Dahlhaus burst onto the scene late last year after starting the 2011 season on the Bulldog’s rookie list. The livewire forward has an electric burst of pace and a keen goal sense, as well as being capable of providing excellent defensive pressure inside the forward 50. Over the next couple of years he can become one of the competition’s most effective small forwards
This season will be a success if… the Bulldogs young guns cement their spots in their best 22 and transform the team. If everything goes right the Bulldogs are still capable of reaching the finals, but I think they’d be better suited to look for the future rather than sneaking into 7th or 8th.