Every team enters a new season with varying levels of pressure internally and externally.
In 2018 there are a number of teams that will expect to win the flag or their campaign will be considered to be a failure. Alternatively there a some that simply must make the finals to demonstrate improvement and these often are the teams who’s coaches are under the most pressure.
At the other end of the scale there are some teams that no one really expects to contend or do much at all, and as the tigers of 2017 proved, this can be a fruitful position to be in.
Pressure Gauge 2018
1. Sydney – the heat will be on in NSW in 2018. After coming home with a wet sail (ignoring that shipwreck against Geelong) internally and externally Sydney is regarded as the best team in it. They are one of the most experienced and professional outfits and their inability to add another flag in this era is a major underachievement. The pressure is on for a Sydney flag in 2018.
2. GWS – after failing in the last two prelims, the most talented team in the competition will internally expect to take the next step and make the big dance. Externally the pressure is intense, however, perhaps many observers are expecting a grand final appearance instead of a premiership.
3. Melbourne – Melbourne should have made the finals this year and were rightfully bitterly dissapointed that they didn’t. This team is stocked with high draft picks, talent and now Jake Lever. The blowtorch will be on the dees next year and a finals spot is the absolute minimum.
4. Adelaide – blew a golden change with an embarrassing grand final performance. Internally they’ll be determined to go one better. Externally many will expect Adelaide to contend, though Chances don’t come around too often and perhaps the crows have missed theirs.
5. Port – any team that recruits in the manner that the power did invites pressure and scrutiny. This team is talented and balanced and many internally and externally will expect a top 4 finish to justify their off season.
6. Richmond – calling Richmond’s flag a surprise should take nothing away from it, though it’s yrue. Few predicted the Tigers triumph and few are predicting them to emulate their success. The lack of pressure can work to their advantage but the tigers will be keen to prove they aren’t a flash in the pan.
7. Essendon – similar to port, the dons have targeted talent this off season and internally will expect to at least win one final. This is a team that is never afraid to talk the talk but rarely can walk it. Externally, there’s a consensus that the bombers have ignored their glaring deficiencies in the midfield and while they should be good, won’t threaten for the flag.
8. Geelong – any team that boasts three of the top 10 players in the competition will be expected to do well. Geelong are top 4 fixtures but have failed to make it count. They will be expected to be thereabouts next season, though few externally will expect a cats flag.
9. St Kilda – will they make it under richo? Can they take the step into the 8? How will losing nick and Leigh impact? This is a team with many question marks and they could not answer them this year. There’s talent in the saints line up no doubt and internally they’ll expect to improve and make the 8. Externally many expect the saints to be thereabouts in the 8th spot logjam, though it’s hard to see who they displace.
10. Gold Coast – next season will be a challenge with the commonwealth games situation. However, if this team isn’t competitive there will be grave fears externally for their long term viability. It’s nearing the time that the suns must do or die. Yes they’re young and inexperienced, they should be much further ahead and they can’t afford to be cellar dwellers for the next 5 or so years.
11. Collingwood – Collingwood don’t miss the finals 5 years in a row. But they most likely will. It’s hard to see where the sudden improvement will come from regardless of how good the midfield is. Internally the pressure on this team will probably rank 1st but externally many are not expecting a whole lot from the pies next season
12. Western Bulldogs – suddenly their flag seems a long time ago. The failure of this season has almost erased the memory of it and few are predicting the bulldogs to bounce back and challenge again. But they are talented and they’ve reached the summit so the dogs will be dissapointed if another season goes to waste.
13. Hawthorn – after a sustained period of success I’d argue the expectation of many is for hawthorn to fall away and spend some time at the bottom. Perhaps this is the case but this team is too proud for that. Internally they will believe and expect to make the finals or even challenge for the flag, and perhaps with a lack of external pressure they can surprise.
14. West Coast – many are expecting the eagles to drop off this season as they rejuvenate their list. There won’t be a heap of pressure but they’d sure like to make Perth stadium a fortress.
15. North Melbourne – The pride of this team is admirable and perhaps enviable. Many are expecting the Roos to take home the spoon but internally they’ll be desperate and believe that they are better than that. Perhaps this is another team that can’t afford to remain uncompetitive and that pressure will always remain.
16. Fremantle – an interesting case. Last season proved the one before the was not an aberration. Freo have free reign now, a top 8 finish isn’t expected, though it’s not out of the question. They should enjoy a relatively pressure free season.
17. Carlton – cleaned out their list and the air is fresh at ikon Park. They’re young, talented and moving up but no one inside or out are expecting much from the blues next year.
18. Brisbane – similar to Carlton. Young and improving but 2018 is not expected to be fruitful. Such a lack of pressure can work wonders and I won’t be suprised to see the lions begin to chalk up the wins.
Posted by BuffDog