It’s extraordinary to think that heading into the 2017 AFL season the Western Bulldogs will be the reigning premiers. They will run out Round 1 with the AFL emblem rightfully marked yellow signifying to the competition that they are to be hunted, ‘come and get us’.
It’s a remarkable turnaround considering their well-documented end to the 2014 season. Then club captain Ryan Griffen requested a trade to Greater Western Sydney, two days later, Brendan McCartney resigned as senior coach with club stalwarts Adam Cooney and Shaun Higgins also leaving the kennel.
Who would have thought that somewhere deep inside the inner sanctum of the football club someone whispered “It will only take two years.”
You have to go back to the Adelaide Crows premiership side of 1997 to find a team that two years previous to their premiership year had not participated in the finals. Even then the Adelaide Crows had only existed as a club for four years, it’s no mean feat.
With Luke Beveridge at the helm and many new faces on the list, including Caleb Daniel there would have been a lot of optimism at the club at the beginning of the 2015 season, just as there will be at every club this year.
It gives a lot of supporters hope that their club could be next, that they could make that significant improvement too. Of the 10 clubs to miss out on finals this year “it will only take…”
The Carlisle experiment gets lift off this season, the added depth of another key position player will allow Nick Riewoldt to be used even more freely with Membrey and Bruce maturing further. Add new recruits Jack Steele and Koby Stevens to their midfield depth and it will only take 5 years for premiership success.
It’s great that their expanding the AFL to China in season 2017, although I hope they know that the Chinese favourite colours are red and yellow? The Gold Coast Suns will end up as fan favourites instead! The Power’s list hasn’t changed too much and although they’d internally expect to be challenging for finals there’s no chance for premiership success in season 2017.
Addition of Jordan Lewis makes Melbourne’s midfield depth look quite impressive, add Jones, Vince, Viney, Oliver maybe even Petracca and it’s quite a decent engine room. Hogan is class and Watts did improve his consistency last year but they do need more key position players at either end. It may only be 23 Rounds and the Demons could finally be playing in a finals since 2006.
Where to begin for the black and white, Wells definitely isn’t the missing piece to the premiership puzzle with their midfield no doubt stocked with talent already. Moore is still young and White is far too inconsistent, Collingwood will have a different coach when they win their next premiership.
It’s fantastic to see that despite the turmoils on and off the field this year they were able to lure Josh Caddy and Dion Prestia to the club. They will both have an instant impact but it won’t lead to a premiership in two years’ time. Imagine if Alex Rance sustained a significant injury, who could the Tigers count on? Maybe finals could be on the cards again?
Is it Carlton or the Greater Western Sydney Reserves side? Yes, Greater Western Sydney will challenge this year but they may not win it, so if you’re the reserves side there’s definitely no chance you’re going to contend.
Gold Coast Suns
They just need to get some wins on the board first, it will take five years for consistent final appearances.
Fyfe back from injury, Neale to become a star of the competition if he isn’t already, Hill brothers to become the league’s “dash brothers”, McCarthy back from the wilderness, premiership defender in Hamling to slot straight in, it’s a no brainer that it will take Fremantle just the two years.
They finished one position below the Western Bulldogs in 2014, it’s incredible to sit back and look at the vastly different pictures painted over the last two years. If Tom Rockcliff had have moved on during this year’s trade period then the Lions would have been in a precariously similar situation to the Bulldogs at the end of that 2014 season too. It couldn’t happen again so soon could it?
Who knows, I don’t think Essendon fans really care and neither would I if I was in their shoes, now with a full side half the list effectively rejuvenated it could pay dividends in 4-5 years time. It won’t be two years but it will be sooner rather than later.