we have a soft draw this year because we finished at the bottom last year. That isn't anything particularly groundbreaking. The rest of the year looks pretty similar to the early rounds. We should go 2/2 at least in the next 4 which would put us at 6-5 which isn't a bad staging area considering we only play 1 more top 4 team for the rest of the year.
It pretty hard to judge the draw based on last years ladder:
Right now you wouldn't complain about fronting up to Melbourne or Sydney, and Richmond are beset by injuries. Despite walloping Carlton, North have be diabolical. The Eagles are only just going.The flipside is that Port, Brisbane and the Crows are more formidable than their 2018 ladder positions would suggest. And Geelong are the form team of the comp.
At the moment we have the 4th best percentage and our defense is holding up. If we can keep our percentage healthy, 12 wins will probably get us into the 8.
Based on what I've seen so far, I reckon I can see 9 winnable games including this week against the Tigers. And that's with us losing to the Pies, Eagles and Port at home.
We've given ourselves a chance to play finals this season. With Blakely ready and Stephen Hill hopefully back later in the year, there's reasonable expectation that we haven't played our best footy yet.
My best 22 is based on current knowledge of the list, I have no idea about the new draftees but blokes like Lobb and Conca should slot straight into the 22. Cox is probably next KPP in due to his flexibility and McCarthy makes it over Tabener as I believe he is a better 3rd tall. Pretty tough on Tabs who has been in good nick but Lobb and Hogan take the 2 KPF slots with McCarthy being the obvious 3rd tall choice.
Sandilands and Ballantye get the nod for the first few rounds based purely on our history of selection. If Ballantyne is still in the side come round 22 it is because he is playing as a crumbing forward at the feet of actual FPFs and doing his job. Who knows, maybe this is the year that he gets boots that allow him to stay on his feet?
Sandilands keeps his spot for as long as he is fit with Mr.Darcy ready to take the mantle as soon as round 2 if needed. I like that he is being given time to develop, he is definitely going to be a keeper.
Backline should be fairly settled with only the addition of Conca who should slot in seamlessly with S.Hill, Cerra and Blakely floating through there when needed. Wilson has been a joy to watch and with Ryan continuing to develop our distribution should start to click as we get some cohesion between the line groups.
Our midfield is going to be fascinating to watch, I was highly critical of Lachie Neale in the game day threads for most of the year (along with a couple of posters) that he racks up disposals but has very limited hurt factor. Losing him when we did was probably a win for both parties, we got max trade value and he gets to go to Brisbane for......reasons? Cerra, Brayshaw, Banfield and Blakely are clearly our core moving forward with Fyfe, BHilly and SHilly hopefully providing a bit of protection. Walters should be played more forward IMO however it seems he will be used in the midfield more and more.
Let's not forget my main man Mundy who is like a fine wine, getting better with age. The coaching staff clearly tried to use him more forward last year until Fyfe went down. He had limited impact as a forward (as did most of our forwards) but once he was back in the guts showed how much of a majestic beast that he is. Keep him in the guts, let him play 60-70% game time but get him on for the crunch time.
The forward line looks like a jigsaw that has taken a while to find all the pieces. Matera has copped a bit of flak on here but I believe he has been played out of position. He showed at the Gold Coke that he could kick goals, he needs to be given a licence to hunt goals. He is good enough. Ballaz shouldn't be in the team for too long but he has been a good servant of the club.
The Twin Towers of Hogan and Lobb will be a mouth watering prospect. When I hear Lobb was on the way I immediately thought, "that soft bloke?". I maintain he is soft but GWS were always a better team with him in it so hopefully I am eating humble pie on that opinion by the end of 2019. Hogan should kick 40-50 goals. Even when Melbourne were at their shittest he was kicking goals so if he doesn't kick 40+ then the entire coaching staff needs to be punted.
I am expecting the club to be in the hunt for the bottom half of the 8 with a final finish expectation of between 8-12. I really want to see NO 100+point losses but really, the expectation should be a percentage of 90+.
I feel like this season may start off a bit like the 2012 season where the team takes a little while to get going due to personnel and game plan changes. Having brought in 3 new best 22 players who are all expected to play key roles there is bound to be some early season teething issues.
I have been a big supporter of Ross Lyon but this year needs to see us improving. I certainly am not in the camp of "finals or sacked" but there needs to be noticeable improvement shown. We have the Rolls Royce (Fyfe), the Lamborghini (Hogan), the Jeep Wrangler (Lobb) and the Mustangs (BHill/SHill) in the garage, it's time to give them the track to drive on.
Just looking back at my expectations for the season (Yes, I am that ****** who quotes himself) and it is interesting to see where we are at currently.
So we sit in 8th position and hold the following positions per category:
Percentage of 112.7 - Ranked 5th in the competition
Points For - Ranked 9th in the competition with 640
Points against - Ranked 3rd in the competition with 568
Biggest win for the year - 82 points V North Melbourne
Biggest lost for the year - 25 points V Richmond Tigers
So for mine, we are on track with my expectations for the year. Really hope we see the forward line delivery improve and get everything clicking into gear so that we are in the hunt for the 8 in the second half of the year.
We are clearly still working on our best forward line set up, personally I think we need an actual ruckman in the team (Darcy) with Lobb / Hogan / Taberner as the tall forward line. McCarthy can possibly play as roaming medium forward but I would start with these 3 with Darcy in and Lobb as relieving Ruck.
Mundy has been epic, the development of Cerra / Brayshaw has been poor but I am seeing some positives signs with Switkowski. Ballantyne should not be anywhere near our side as long as Switta and Matera are fit.
Cerra/Brayshaw are both 19 years old still. I think they're tracking quite nicely.
If we were gunning for the premiership, they are currently a liability to the team as they underperform, we could put older, fitter and more consistent players on the park instead of them and we would do better. But we are actively developing them, money in the bank for a whole decade of excellent footy from them.