We should be above Carlton, GC, Saints and l reckon we can go above Freo and WB as well. Crows are a tricky one as l have no idea where they will finish. reckon we can also finish above Port depending on the wins we have.
Agree, IMO our mature age recruits ie. Lachie Neale, Marcus Adams, Jarryd Lyons and to a lesser extent Lincoln McCarthy will have a large bearing on our rate of improvement in 2019, others in that mid tier age group that need to stay healthy, in form and/or step up are Daniel McStay, Allen Christensen, Charlie Cameron, Tom Cutler, Darcy Gardiner and Lewy Taylor.
Also our 1st 22 midfield is starting to take shape with-
Inside mids- Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons, Jarrod Berry. Balanced mids- Hugh McCluggage, Dayne Zorko. Outside mids/wing- Tom Cutler, Lewy Taylor. Fwd/back with rotating stints in the midfield- Cameron Rayner, Charlie Cameron, Zac Bailey, Allen Christensen.
Mid Depth- Rhys Mathieson, Ryan Bastinac, Ryan Lester, Ben Keays, Mitch Robinson, Brandon Starcevich. + not expecting too much from 1st year guys Ely Smith, Tom Berry, Tom Joyce, and Connor McFadyen.
Ladder predictor, I had us finishing 7th and then going on a run to win the flag but I'm a glass half full sort of guy.
Interesting round 1 team write up by Mike Whiting, his bench is packed with experience.
TEAM EXPLAINED: After having a relatively settled outfit in 2018, the addition of some off-season recruits should ensure genuine competition for spots. While Chris Fagan wants more speed in his backline, no-one is jumping out of the pack to provide that just yet, although Zac Bailey's inclusion on the bench is designed to fill that need. Josh Walker finished 2018 strongly and can play as a back-up ruck to Stefan Martin, although Marcus Adams has been lured for a reason and will have designs on that spot. Lachie Neale comes in to replace departed Dayne Beams, while Lincoln McCarthy's inclusion is very much dependent on his fitness. Rhys Mathieson and Allen Christensen are desperately unlucky to miss out and could easily force their way in.
PRE-SEASON BATTLE: The contest between Marcus Adams and Josh Walker to fill the second key defender's position alongside Harris Andrews is fascinating. Walker had a terrific finish to last season, but Adams has been brought in on a multi-year deal for a reason – Brisbane rates him. Walker has the advantage of being able to back-up ruck, and Oscar McInerney could also fill that void if Adams is chosen. Walker has been a slow starter in his past couple of seasons and any repeat in 2019 would see his spot go to the former Bulldog. - Michael Whiting
B: Darcy Gardiner, Harris Andrews, Nick Robertson
HB: Luke Hodge, Josh Walker, Alex Witherden
C: Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry, Tom Cutler
HF: Lewy Taylor, Dan McStay, Lincoln McCarthy
F: Charlie Cameron, Eric Hipwood, Cam Rayner
Foll: Stefan Martin, Lachie Neale, Dayne Zorko
I/C: Jarryd Lyons, Daniel Rich, Mitch Robinson, Zac Bailey
Defender depth: Marcus Adams, Noah Answerth, Allen Christensen, Cedric Cox, Matt Eagles, Mitch Hinge, James Madden, Jack Payne, Sam Skinner
Forward depth: Connor Ballenden, Tom Berry, Tom Fullarton, Connor McFadyen, Toby Wooller
Midfield depth: Jacob Allison, Ryan Bastinac, Tom Joyce, Ben Keays, Ryan Lester, Corey Lyons, Rhys Mathieson, Ely Smith, Brandon Starcevich
Had a slightly down year but we've seen how good he can be in the past. When up and going he is a very important player for us. As you said he was very good at the end of the year and I expect him to pick up from where he left off.
May have suffered the same issue guys returning from ACLs have - when you miss 12 months of footy (in his case more like 18 months) it can take at least another season to really get going again (confidence in body etc)