Roughly a quarter of the way through the season and the landscaped has changed. Let’s then get a real grip on a revised set of predictions akin to the nipple cripple stylings of Grant Hackett flying Virgin.
Same method as pre-season but with the luxury of seeing five weeks of football to make amended judgements, we shall start from the bottom and work our way up to whose making the eight, who is on track for a double chance.
18. ESSENDON – 4 WINS.
They surprised the Demons, they’ll surprise/earn another three wins, bless their cotton socks.
17. BRISBANE – 4 WINS.
The lowly Lions, stuck in the bottom two, they’re getting as used to losing as the Germans in combat.
16. CARLTON – 6 WINS.
Nice job on the weekend but they’re still about the bigger picture. Brendan Bolton is their man and he’ll get them up and about eventually.
15. FREMANTLE – 7 WINS.
Very much like Harrold Holt, one minute they are top dog, in the highest office, next thing they can’t be sighted, completely off the map.
14. RICHMOND – 8 WINS.
At least it isn’t 9th. The Oarsome Foursome couldn’t go backwards faster than the Tigers.
13. ST KILDA – 9 WINS.
The Saints are alright, lot to like about what they’re building towards, a solid-ish year, great bunch of kids, worry about the backline a bit but.
12. PORT ADELAIDE – 9 WINS.
Got them as right as James Hird trusting Stephen Dank with sports science, ouch. They can’t be that bad, so much talent. Something is amiss.
11. COLLINGWOOD – 10 WINS.
Best summed up in three words: “yeah, but nah”.
10. GOLD COAST – 10 WINS.
Don’t be fooled, their run home isn’t super kind and it’s a race between the Suns playing Septmeber and East-West Link as to which we’ll see first.
9. MELBOURNE – 11 WINS.
Look at the Dees go, the chalets of the snowfields might be a little less crowded this year, pass the Chardonnay ol’ chap, Melbourne is playing marvellously.
8. SYDNEY – 13 WINS.
Like a breakaway group in the Tour de France. Always looks a great start but the peloton inevitably catches you.
7. GWS GIANTS – 14 WINS.
Get used to seeing a lot of orange. If you’re fructose intolerant or don’t fancy round, citrus fruits, think about a Melbourne Storm membership perhaps, they do present real value.
6. WESTERN BULLDOGS – 15 WINS.
The half back flanker stocks resemble the Greek cash reserves but their midfield is massively unheralded and undervalued, plus their coach has “it”.
5. WEST COAST – 15 WINS.
Just missing out on the double chance, some of their away form will nobble them in the end, they do travel like Ansett a bit unfortunately.
4. HAWTHORN – 15 WINS.
On one hand they’re not playing great footy and 15 wins is too high. On the other, they’ve scraped through games they should have lost and recorded wins besides. End of the day it is a numbers business. Wouldn’t win the grand final if it was played tomorrow but have five months to get right, they’ve got the credits in the bank – they’ll compile a mega season.
3. NORTH MELBOURNE – 16 WINS.
Tough draw in the second half of the year but North are seemingly up to it. Must stay in shape though, injuries would heavily impact their fortunes like few others up the top of the ladder. Good enough to make prelims in the last two seasons, the team to the eye looks to have improved, so the sky’s the limit.
2. ADELAIDE – 16 WINS.
Patrick who? Forward line close to league best, defence would certainly be up there and the midfield actually is playing better than last year which had Dangerfield in it. Stiff not be 5-0 and running away with league. Compare the Hawks-Eagles game to the Hawks-Crows game a mere three weeks later, they’re good.
1. GEELONG – 16 WINS.
Howzat? Almost lost to Essendon and they’ll take home the McClelland Trophy (did you know the minor premier actually gets silverware, did you?), how is that possible? Their draw would be harder if they had to partake in the Ammos third division. They have a very nice run home and look a shoe-in for 14 wins at a doddle and could win as many as 18. How even’s that fixturing supposed to be?