The Crows have made the final of the NAB Cup in storming fashion. Wins over Carlton and Collingwood, knocking off Port in the dying seconds and smacking Brisbane around some.

They’ve got a home game against a rampant, top 4 side to prove themselves and, coupled with their rather easy home and away draw, to jump into finals contention. Of course, their opponent won’t make it easy…

West Coast
And the Eagles have been understated as well. Admittedly they’ve been both lucky – with opponents all forced to play in Perth – but nevertheless they have still shown strength against finals contenders as well as their local rivals. March on 2012.

Port Adelaide
Another impressive win from the Power. They’re getting performances out across the board, and against a strong Fremantle line-up, no less. 2012 could see surprise improvement from Port.

If only we actually remembered NAB Cup games. What a thriller.

Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt
The result went one way, but the story is definitely the rugby converts. On a day where the teams’ respective superstars didn’t play, the stars of the show turned out to be two guys who’ve only been playing this game for a year.

Izzy in particular has found a niche playing as a hulking, marking full-forward – and will only really be hamstrung by a lack of delivery in 2012 by the looks of things.


The concern for the Pies isn’t their NAB Cup form overall. The output has come from expected sources in both Swan and Pendlebury. There are two problems, being the exposure of their captain by the Adelaide forward line and the lack of performance from the vaunted next generation of Collingwood players.

The former is the problem of the immediate, as a lot of coaches will have seen how one of the best loose back-men was completely exposed one-on-one. However, the latter is problem for the future, with Collingwood’s younger brigade struggling throughout the NAB Cup.

Supporters can rant on about how it’s the NAB Cup all they like, and I’ll almost certainly never judge Carlton on pre-season form following past results.

However, to not score a single point in a half against a bottom-four contender, especially when you are looking for form to start the season strongly, is not the way to do it.

Dead last at the end of the NAB Cup, with three losses to low-end 2011 sides.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Melbourne haven’t beaten the Hawks since 2006.

Gold Coast
Yet another fourth-quarter loss. Yet what’s more concerning is how much poorer they look without Ablett. If he were to go down…

There’s an air of deja vu about Fremantle right now. Not of Fremantle itself, but of one Ross Lyon. Ross arrived at St Kilda in 2007 and the Saints were average in the NAB Cup.

They came out and fired early but fell away, missing the eight. Freo have started the same path. Whether it will lead them to a similar point is the big question