With teams gradually dropping away from the finals race, I thought I’d have a look at what each team list needs. Whether it be midfielders, forwards, defenders, rucks or even new coaches, most teams have something on their shopping lists for the off-season.
Some lists are just longer than others!
ESSENDON 18.14 (122) def ST KILDA 11.13 (79)
What do the Bombers need?
The Bombers are a tough one. They have a decent squad with handy players in most positions that simply need time and matches. With players like Merrett, Heppell, Parish, McGrath and Daniher, they have the core of a really good team once these players get fit and add enough experience. However I would suggest that if they don’t make finals in 2019 they will be shopping for a new coach!
What do the Saints need?
Like the Bombers, the Saints’ list is not that bad. I know, I know, call me crazy, but pound for pound, this is a decent squad!
They could certainly use a gun midfielder to add some leadership and experience to their midfield but their list is not terrible. Midfielders like Ross, Newnes, Steven, Billings, Steele and Gresham are not elite but they are handy, while Webster, Carlisle, Webster, Bruce and McCartin are decent key talls. So why are they playing so poorly?
Surely the blame lies with the coach! When you compare the Saints’ list and their pre-2018 form with that of other clubs they are clearly under-performing this season. Sure, they lost a lot of experience when Roo retired but their structure is non-existent.
Let’s see what happens come seasons end!
Seb Ross (StK) 152 – He’s not consistent but Ross sure knows how to raise the ceiling when he has a big game. Playing against the undermanned Bombers, Ross again led from the front, with 43 disposals at 86% DE, 7 marks and 9 inside 50s. Only 5 clangers and a low 9 contested possessions prevented an even larger score. You get the feeling that Ross could be an uber premium if the Saints ever find their mojo (or a system that works).
Jack Steven (StK) 73 – At the start of the season Jack Steven was embarrassed by the media calling him an A-Grade talent and perhaps he was right. He does some nice stuff but he goes missing too often to really be a fantasy gun ever again. In 20 matches he has only raised the bat on 9 occasions for an average of 92 and he seems destined to be nothing more than a handy player.
HAWTHORN 10.11 (71) def GEELONG 8.12 (60)
What do the Hawks need?
Clearly Hawthorn needs to learn some humility. After only a single season out of the top 8 they are again looking to play finals without bothering to reload with high draft picks. They don’t really have a recognized key defender or true tall forward and they are a little weak in the midfield department behind Tom “leather poisoning” Mitchell but they refuse to admit to these flaws.
What do the Cast need?
Well this one is simple. The Cats are so weak in the midfield department that they lost the centre clearances to the Hawks on Saturday. They need to find some real stars to join battlers like Joel Selwood, Dangerfield, Ablett, Duncan and Scott Selwood in the midfield if they want to have a chance at September glory.
And failing that, they might want to sort out who their best ruckman is and play him every week. Chris Scott excels at shattering the confidence of his big men.
Patrick Dangerfield (Gee) 160 – This is Paddy’s highest score for the season and he is now starting to look like his 2017 self with a 5 round average of 138.6ppg (from scores of 158, 126, 117, 132 and 160). Finally he is becoming relevant in captaincy selections! This week he gathered 40 possessions, with a massive 26 contested possessions, 9 clearances and 2 contested marks. Don’t expect him to slow down now as the Cats need to build a large percentage in their final two matches to try and make the top 8.
Mitch Duncan (Gee) 72 – A few adventurous coaches jumped on Mitch Duncan as something different and it didn’t pan out this week as he rewarded them with his lowest score for the season. Duncan seemed to spend a lot of time outside the contest on Saturday with his 24 disposals running at just 66% DE despite only recording 4 contested possessions. He also managed to pump out an impressive, equal match-high 7 clangers. Let’s hope the easier match-ups with Fremantle and Gold Coast will allow him to return to form.
RICHMOND 19.11 (125) def GOLD COAST 7.9 (51)
What do Richmond need?
I have written Richmond down for the 2018 flag in thick, black ink so the Tiges obviously don’t need much! Their VFL team is also performing well so they have depth. If I was a Richmond fan my only concern would be with the forward line. To be more specific, what happens if Jack Riewoldt gets injured? He turns 30 in October this year so if they can get their hands on a key tall, they will be ready to rock a 3-peat.
I hear a fellow named Tom Lynch may be free!
What do the Gold Coast need?
Pass! You need to be a genius to work that mess out. They appear to have decent young midfielders and even decent talls at the Suns but they all want to leave. Maybe the Gold Coast president need to kidnap close family members of each player and hold them ransom to stop the players from leaving?
Jack Riewoldt (Ric) 219 – 10 goals for Jack against the hapless Suns amounted to the highest Supercoach score for the season. Well 10 goals plus 26 possessions, 14 marks (3 contested) and 12 marks inside 50! I would hate to have been facing a Supercoach with Riewoldt in their team this week to make a Supercoach Prelim final! So many scores like this against the Suns and Blues in recent weeks make you wonder if we should trade in everyone facing them in the next fortnight!
Dustin Martin (Ric) 91 – I know Cotchin was worse (48 points!) but no serious Supercoaches have Cotchin in their teams! Martin was meant to be building up to something special this week but he just zipped around without a lot of intensity just gathering easy touches. From 28 possessions, he only recorded 3 clangers but he only recorded a single mark and 2 tackles. Perhaps the Tigers are turning their attention to September and not bothering to really grind the small fish?
And who can blame them?
WEST COAST 9.8 (62) def PORT ADELAIDE 9.4 (58)
What do the Eagles need?
Like the Tigers, it’s hard to ciriticize the West Coast list. We all wrote them off with the retirement of Mitchell and the Perm but they simply got better. They need some magic medicine to keep their guns fit and it seems likely they need to replace Gaff on a wing in 2019 but otherwise they can sit tight this trade period.
What do Port Adelaide need?
Sorry for the Wizard of Oz throwback but the Power only need a heart. This list is pretty damned good but they underperform like the 2000 South African cricket team. The only difference was Hanse was paid to lose whereas the Power appear to lose just for fun. If I had to select one thing for the Power, I would say they simply need to get more time into some of the young guns at the club and get their fitness staff sort out the injury issues they struggle with every season.
Feel free to correct me, Port fans!
Scott Lycett (WC) 125 – It tells you a lot about this game that Lycett top scored! Apart from Ryan’s ‘kind of’ hanger, there were few highlights in this match and the tall players from the Eagles really got on top after Ryder and Dixon went down with injury. Lycett finished with 40 hit-outs (12 to advantage), 19 disposals and 5 marks (2 contested) and was instrumental in a few of the plays late in the match that helped the Eagles take the honors.
Jack Darling (WC) 39 – Imagine how all of those coaches feel who traded Darling in when he was dominating? At one stage he was averaging 111ppg and cost over $550k while now he is only $406k and averaging 91ppg! Ouch! This week he only recorded 8 touches, 4 marks and didn’t kick a single goal. Remind me: How did Port lose this one again?
COLLINGWOOD 14.20 (104) def BRISBANE 11.7 (73)
What do the Pies need?
This is an easy one! The Pies need talls and a new fitness department! With Darcy Moore possibly leaving and with so few talls anyway, they are too reliant on Cox as their key forward and on Howe and Langdon to play against big gorillas from opposing teams. But there is no point trading in or drafting talls if they can’t keep them fit. Now that Bucks has got the Pies playing great footy finally, he now needs to work out how to keep them on the field if he wants to go deep into September.
What do the Lions need?
To be honest, the Lions only need time. They have a good list of talls and mids who finally seem happy living in Brisbane and now just need to give them time to develop. Many media tools stuck the boot into Rayner last week but he looks a player as do McCluggage, Berry, Hipworth, Andrews, etc. They are looking dangerous now but wait for 2019 and 2020 when they push up the ladder.
Soon the Lions will be a dominant force again.
Brodie Grundy (Col) 121 – This was Grundy’s toughest match-up in weeks. He defeated Stef Martin in hit-outs 35-24 (9-7 in hit-outs to advantage) but he only managed 13 possessions compared with Stef’s 18. Where Grundy earned most of his SC points was in clearances (7) and contested possessions (10) although this score did appear to flatter him slightly. Brodie really appears to be the flavour of the month at the moment so let’s all just bask in his lovely scores.
Dayne Zorko (Bri) 66 – After a brilliant run of form the Magician finally ran out of tricks as Levi Greenwood held him to just the 14 disposals. To his credit he recorded 7 tackles and 6 clearances to show he was putting the effort in but unfortunately the Zorko has never managed well with a tagger. Don’t panic though. He has the Gold Coast next week who are bleeding points!
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 15.16 (106) def ADELAIDE 13.14 (92)
What do the Giants need?
Exactly the same thing as Collingwood: A fit team. They have the cattle on the park to win a premiership but that cattle is too often in the barn. If they could trade for any player, surely they would appreciate another ruckman to free Lobb up to play ruck-forward while Patton is recovering from his knee reconstruction.
What do the Crows need?
Like the Giants, the Crows are struggling to sort out injuries, particularly soft tissue injuries in 2018. Surely this can only get better in 2019 and the Crows should join the top 8 without trading anyone in or out. That said, the Crows are in need of another midfielder. Crouch, Sloane and Gibbs are a strong core but they drop away quickly from there, especially with Brad Crouch out for the season.
It will be interesting to see what the Crows do in with their fitness department and training in the pre-season.
Rory Lobb (GWS) 150 – With Dawson Simpson out injured, Lobb returned to the sole ruck role in which he racks up the Supercoach points. Normally he isn’t the best exponent of ruck craft but tapped 14 of his 40 hit-outs to advantage, as well as muscling in with 15 possessions (10 contested) without a single clanger. He also recorded 8 tackles, took 2 contested marks and kicked 1 goal. As long as he can avoid injury he should tonne up next week against Sydney although Gawn may prove a tough match-up for him in Round 23.
Tex Walker (Ade) 32 – Am I harsh in saying that I find Tex a bit hit-and-miss as the Crows’ captain? He can’t play well every week simply because he is captain, but when the battle is at its fiercest he goes missing too often while simultaneously expecting so much from his teammates. This week in a match that the Crows had to win he had just 6 possessions, 4 marks and 1 goal. Time for Rory to take over as captain perhaps?
WESTERN BULLDOGS 13.14 (92) def NORTH MELBOURNE 12.13 (85)
What do the Doggies need?
The Western Bulldogs are an interesting one. Nothing raises expectations like winning a premiership, but perhaps they won before they were really ready, a bit like the Hawks in 2008. They have talented talls like Boyd, Schache, Roughead and Gowers and they have talented mids like Bontempelli, Macrae and McLean so they don’t need for much except time to get games into the inexperienced bunch. Really the only area they are devoid of talent is in the ruck. To me Roughead and Boyd are not really ruckmen and they need a recognized ruckman but Beveridge seems to disagree with me.
Time will tell, but Bevo seems to know what he’s doing!
What do North need?
I thought the Roos would finish in the bottom four this season so what would I know? If I was to hazard a guess, the marketing department at Arden Street would be desperate to become relevant! The football department may need another elite mid or defender but more importantly they need to be seen as a destination club.
Nothing sells memberships like key signings.
I’m just not sure Polec counts as a key signing!
Lachie Hunter (WB) 155 – The Doggies ran rampant in the second half and Lachie was one of three Doggies with 40 disposals or more (44 for Hunter). He also had 10 contested possessions, 8 marks, 1 goal assist and only 2 clangers. With Carlton coming up next week, it is tempting to select him for M9 in the Supercoach prelim.
Shaun Higgins (WB) 79 – This is why he has a list named after him! He plays good footy for weeks then misses a week for surgery in the first week of Supercoach finals and returns with 79 points in the second round of SC finals. Higgins is a talented player but you just can’t trust him!
SYDNEY 13.9 (87) def MELBOURNE 10.18 (78)
What do the Swans need?
Call me bitter but the Swans need a time machine. They have lost so many talented players as a result of the Tippett and Franklin signings that they have imbalanced their list. By tying up so much money in two contracts and subsequently losing their COLA, they have been forced to play so many debutants and inexperienced kids to cover holes in their list. You wonder what might have been for Sydney if they had not signed Tippett or Franklin and they had kept players like Mumford and Tom Mitchell?
Right now though, they need to get games in to their kids and they need key talls to support the ageing Buddy, Grundy and Smith.
What to the Demons need?
Like Port Adelaide, they need to find a heart or soul or backbone: Whatever it is that other clubs use to drag themselves across the line. Even though their backline is a bit inexperienced, they have talent galore in their list and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be locking down a top 4 berth.
I know: How about a kicking coach?
Clayton Oliver (Mel) 121 – To be quite honest, Oliver came out of nowhere to top score for this match. I would love to see a statistic on how many points he scores after quarter- and half-time in every match. This week he gathered 27 disposals, an impressive 12 tackles but an unimpressive 2 behinds. I know I keep banging on about Oliver but he is going to be a SC beast when he decides to turn up before quarter-time every week.
Alex Johnson – This just sucks! Poor Alex Johnson didn’t even last a quarter in his second AFL match since 2012 before his knee went again. Let’s just hope the poor guy recovers again and doesn’t get too depressed with his 6th reconstruction.
Sometimes this game just sucks!
FREMANTLE 15.11 (101) def CARLTON 10.12 (72)
What do the Dockers need?
You know what? I barely ever watch the Dockers! From my limited viewing time, they have a lot of great kids coming through and simply have to get games in to these kids. Fyfe and Neale are young enough to still be guns when these kids reach their third to fifth seasons so Ross will just pump games into them. In the off-season they will select another high draft pick and they should politely show Sandi and Johnson the door now to accelerate the development of the young guns.
What do the Blues need?
Nope, I am not going to attempt this one! They have dead-set guns like Cripps and Docherty but a ridiculous lack of depth on the list. I do not envy Bolton trying to work out who will be good enough to persist with in each position. If my opinion means anything – which it doesn’t – I would be moving trading Kreuzer and anyone else with value to load up on high draft picks.
Let’s face it, Murphy and Kreuzer will not be around when the Blues are in contention again!
Lachie Neale (Fre) 134 – This was meant to be a chance for Fremantle to pump out a big win but the Dockers didn’t get the memo until half-time. I guess they are a long way behind in the West!
Lachie Neale did help himself to 34 disposals, 18 contested possessions, 10 clearances, 1 goal but strangely only 1 tackle. That makes 5 straight tonnes for Lachie who has turned out as a shrewd selection in the absence of Fyfe.
Caleb Marchbank (Car) 29 – How on earth did Marchbank only record 8 disposals from 100% time on ground. I know he’s not Supercoach-relevant but how on Earth do you only score 29 points from 100+ minutes? Just remember this score in early 2019 when he’s in vogue during the preseason again and slap yourself in the face!
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