Preview Season 2022 - Us and Them

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Dogs_r_barking

Premiers 2016
Mar 2, 2007
11,025
10,907
Bellarine Peninsular
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Western Bulldogs
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Melb Victory
So the Dees reckon they are fitter than last preseason, as they had already started training. Bont, Marra and a few others have started early as will.

What do we expect to see from Bont this year? Second in the Brownlow, runner up in a Grand Final, even runner up for goal of the year. I don’t think Bont likes coming second.
 

TiAn_

Premiership Player
Sep 19, 2006
4,954
12,437
Melbourne
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Western Bulldogs
We need different mid structures that don't have Libba so that we are more versatile when things aren't going our way (like in the Granny). Problem is if you haven't got Libba in the guts where does he go?

We could do a lot worse than having him spending more time forward. He's a goal kicker.
 

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Sentinel

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 15, 2012
5,416
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Melbourne
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Fixtures been released, floating after round 9. We're apparently the 'primetime kings' with 6 of 9 matches being primetime Wednesday, Thursday or Friday night games (plus one Saturday night game). It wasn't mentioned that of our 7 twilight/night games, 5 are as the away side, as usual.


Double ups against Melbourne, GWS, Hawthorn, Sydney and Geelong which means a tough draw as you would expect for a 2nd place side.
 

X_box_X

King of September
Mar 15, 2001
21,050
27,424
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Chelsea
Gees tough start to the season. Melb, Sydney, Carlton, Richmond in the first four. We struggled against all four this year.
 

X_box_X

King of September
Mar 15, 2001
21,050
27,424
DogLands
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Chelsea
Double up fixtures against Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong, GWS, Hawthorn. fu** that's tough
 

Sentinel

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 15, 2012
5,416
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Melbourne
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11 games at Marvel (including an away game there against Collingwood :rolleyes:), 2 at the MCG (we don't play there after round 4), 2 in Ballarat, 1 at each of SCG, Gabba, Tassie, Western Sydney, Adelaide Oval, Optus, and the customary trip down to Geelong.

No Geelong games for any of the bigger Vic clubs, only us, North, St Kilda and Melbourne get dragged down plus 5 interstate sides.
 

Libbaaaa

All Australian
Jun 1, 2021
763
1,685
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Only 2 games at the G and none after round 4 is the most disappointing for me. One trip to Perth and Adelaide is good plus our home games later in the year v. Melbourne and Geelong are a decent chance of being Friday or Saturday night games.
 

Sentinel

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 15, 2012
5,416
15,850
Melbourne
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Only 2 games at the G and none after round 4 is the most disappointing for me. One trip to Perth and Adelaide is good plus our home games later in the year v. Melbourne and Geelong are a decent chance of being Friday or Saturday night games.
Yet we'll be forced to play any home finals there, whilst Geelong no doubt get to play down at Kardinia Park for theirs.
 

The Inbetweener

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 25, 2011
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Footscray
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Pretty rough draw. Playing all of Port, Richmond, Brisbane and Eagles on their home decks isn’t great. If any of those were at Marvel we’d start clear favourites.

Most of our home games for the teams we only play once are against either other Marvel teams or lower ranked teams.
 

Libbaaaa

All Australian
Jun 1, 2021
763
1,685
AFL Club
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Our record at the AO v. Port is pretty good, although they'll come out breathing fire against us in that one. Eagles away is not what it used to be. Minimal travel in the last 6 rounds is good too, although the logic of playing Hawthorn twice in last 8 rounds is so stupid.
 

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Outback Footy

Club Legend
Mar 5, 2015
1,405
1,688
West of Woop Woop
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
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Marconi, Arsenal, GreenEdge
Every team has weaknesses, I feel like ours are more glaring than most and you've called them out - ruck and KPD depth. I think we could ideally have more competition at small forward and wing but that's picking nits. The flip side of that is it's been a pretty good list build aside from the two obvious areas, and if English had developed as a solo ruck, Collins/Cordy/Young had stepped up as a second KPD or even if Naughton hadn't turned out to be more valuable at KPF those would've looked a lot better so it's difficult to blame list management too much. Our midfield group is comfortably in the top few in the comp (and probably the best for depth). We have some excellent talent at half back, Dale and Williams took a step up last year and we've got some developing stars in the forward line (Naughton, JUH, Weightman).

The issue is that while we can cover most of the time for the KPD issue in open play - our defensive numbers were generally excellent last year - the ruck was exposed often. It's an enormous weakness from centre that you can't hide because of 6-6-6. Then the lack of a quality second KPD/another good one-on-one defender can also come into play because if the ball is coming in quick from the ruck we're exposed down back as there's only so much you can do and there's minimal help from the midfield.

The feeling of inevitability during periods of the Essendon game when they were walking it out of there consistently was difficult to take, Hawthorn towelled us up in a similar way for periods, and this culminated in the GF which was brutal to watch. The last few minutes of the third quarter was, well, I'm not sure of the words. The problem is we're relying on natural improvement from English and/or Sweet - I'm not a fan of English in there, Martin can't do much across a season at this stage, and Sweet has barely been played. If I'm being kind, it's a puzzling decision to go in with only those three for next year so we'll see what happens. Good rucks aren't readily available, but an injury to any of those three (which would have to be expected) leaves us woefully thin.

I can't see us missing finals without multiple injuries to key players, there aren't enough good teams in the comp for that to happen. My guess is we finish around 3-6 depending on health/fitness, are still exposed in those key areas in some big games but in others we'll be able to overcome it.

As for them:
  • Melbourne obvious threats, but they'd need a charmed run with injury again. Any two of their top five or six players missing for any stretch of the season and they'll come back to the pack (as most teams would).
  • I personally think Port and Geelong will drop slightly - maybe not out of finals, but to the bottom half of the eight.
  • Brisbane have quality in every line so would expect them to contend for top four again, and Richmond might jump back up for a last hurrah for their premiership core.
  • GWS with a good injury run are dark horses for me, would not surprise me to see them top four.
  • Sydney will slide for me before then establishing as a finals team for the following 3-4 years.
  • Potential bolters would be Freo, Carlton, Saints but all have significant question marks.
Given a good injury run I'd expect us to be in a group with Melbourne, Brisbane, GWS and possibly Richmond competing for top four.
Good summary, but Id have to add the cats as top 4 potential, the Kardinia Park factor is simply too strong, they rarely lose there (with good reason, its a unique place to play and nobody else really knows how). With KP gifting them 7-8 games a year they are instantly very close to the number of wins needed for top 4.

Having said that they are not a finals threat away from KP. Theyre more like a stocking filler than a threat
 

threenewpadlocks

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 10, 2012
11,882
16,269
Melbourne
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Who we play twice is genuinely tough. 4 of the 5 teams we play twice are among the 7 teams other than us most likely to play finals (Richmond replacing Essendon from last year), and any general benefit financially from blockbuster games we get on prime time TV gets outweighed by the fact we never get to play the big Melbourne clubs twice, and we inevitably rarely host Collingwood or Richmond in a home game. We'd now have hosted Collingwood only 6 times in 13 seasons excluding 2020/21 since 2008 (despite 11 home games from 15/16/17 other clubs in that time) and Richmond 6 times in last 11 seasons since 2010.

Plus we have a 5 day break after round 7, though we're not the only team and it's tough to avoid with Anzac scheduling etc.
 

Roogal

Club Legend
Dec 7, 2016
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Dust has settled on Season 2021 and we have our new draftees.

After a good season this year that ultimately ended in disappointment in the Grand Final, these are, for me, the questions looking ahead:


1. Can we contend again?

Simple answer to this is yes.

The majority of the team are in their prime and we spent most of 2021 in the top 2 before a form slump saw us slip out of Top 4 right when we didn’t want to.

Of players that were potential first 22, we have lost Lipinski (talented but a fringe player) and Wood (very good defender and club legend but probably the right call to retire)


2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of our team?

Midfield - obviously a big strength. Nothing at all wrong our midfield. Top quality.

Defence - Our half backs (Daniel, Dale, Duryea) are top notch, and we also have other options to play there like Johannisen, Richards.

Alex Keath is a gun key defender, but it’s our second defenders that are a cause for concern.

Cordy is a reasonable defender but can have his days when he is very well beaten.

I have Gardiner a level below Cordy - he can be solid, but I’m a log way from sold on him.

Losing Easton - although probably the right call from him - also means one less option for a 2nd defender.

I don’t confess to having seen a lot of Tim O’Brien, but he seems a good pick up and replacement for Easton.

We also saw Schache play in defence at times late in the year and do pretty well, so maybe Keath as the number one defender and O’Brien and Schache as the second and third?

Forward Line - Not worried about it as long as they stay healthy. Naughton is great, Weightman is a an excellent small forward, and hopefully we get Bruce back in reasonable time. There’s also supporting acts like Hannan, Jamarra, Treloar, JJ and English that contribute well up forward.

Ruck - For me it’s the weakness and a glaring one. I like Stef Martin and think he did well this year but he is 36 and injury prone as we saw this year.

Sweet did well this year in his limited games, but is young and would need to step up significantly.

English is a good player for mine - he cops it on here, but I’d prefer to have him in the side. His ruck work leaves a lot to be desired though - he gets dominated by the likes of Gawn, Nic Nat, Goldstein and Grundy

We also drafted Sam Darcy, but not sure putting this sort of expectation on him in his first year is warranted.

The good news is that our midfield are so good they still manage to win clearances without having us having a dominant ruck.

Do we keep backing our midfield to get it done, or do we need one of our rucks to step up?


3. The other teams. Who are the other contenders?

The very nature of the competition means that while the other good sides this year (Melbourne, Port, Brisbane, Geelong) are likely to be good again in 2022, there is usually a bolter that comes from outside the 8 to challenge.

Melbourne themselves won the flag this year after being average in 2020z


Adelaide - A long way off it. Rebuilding.

Brisbane - Think they’ll be good again, but their finals record is suspect. Maybe they can make good next year after a couple of year’s of disappointment?

Carlton - I don’t really rate them, but with a new coach and with a lot of heat on in them in recent years, they could be the bolter I mentioned above. But i think they’re just not up to it.

Collingwood - Could be a chance to be a bolter with the new coach as a bounce, but I doubt it.

Essendon - If I had to pick a bolter right now, I’d choose them, Richmond or West Coast.

Fremantle - Nope. Not good enough. Need more time.

Geelong - It will be the same old for them. Good home and away, no good in finals.

Gold Coast - Will be sh*t, yet again. They have serious problems.

GWS - For me they are the hardest side to predict. I’m leaning towards thinking they had their chance in 2016-19.

But they made finals this year and won one, so they have to be a chance.

Not having Greene for 6 matches will be costly though.

Hawthorn - List not good enough. New coach but highly unlikely for finals.

Melbourne - I only see them not being a contender if they have injuries and/or a premiership hangover.

Whilst they undoubtedly overwhelmed us in the GF, we were one of only four sides to beat them this year.

Norf - Nope. Long way off it.

Port Adelaide - I think they are a good side, their PF effort against us notwithstanding. But they’ve been similar to Geelong the past few year (minus an average player age of 200 million) in that they just can’t get it done in the finals.

But they have the quality to at least finish top 4 again.

Richmond - Very much a chance to be a bolter, and very much a chance their window has closed.

What if Dusty returns to his best? If he does then they should easy be back amongst it.

Sydney Swans - Was very impressed with them this year and they were unlucky in the finals.

Probably have them in bottom half of the 8.

West Coast Eagles - Was disappointed with them this season, after our cracking match against them in Round 2, I was certain they’d be a contender this year, but they were well disappointing.

But they have shown before they can bounce back, and with hone ground advantage, plus Kennedy, Darling, Nic Nat and Shuey, think they‘re a good chance to be a threat.




So in summary:

1. I think there’s every reason to think we’ll be a contender.

2. I have some concerns over our 2nd and 3rd defenders.

3. I’m mainly concerned about our rucks, and hope that one of the players mentioned in my summary can become a consistent and good ruckman.

4. I think Melbourne, Brisbane and Port will still be good nest year, and a potential new threat/challenger could come from about 6-7 different sides.


Feel free to argue my points or add your own! :)
I think that your summary is reasonable based upon how teams finished up in 2021. Although as teams have cleared out some dead wood and will be concentrating on lessons learned from this season, along with new draftees and trades, then of course you are looking at a whole different ball game again for 2022. Although Saint Kilda never fail to over-promise at the start of every season, win a couple of early rounds to get their supporters all excited and under-deliver by falling in a heap after a few rounds into the season. That's their schtick - that's just how Saint Kilda roll. Then of course there is a reason why Melbourne are called the Demons … After all they did put their supporters through 57 years of Hell :devil: and it will be interesting to see if they have indeed vanquished their demons and can follow up season 2021. The Dees certainly went into this year's season and GF focussed and riding a huge wave of sentiment and emotion, backed by overwhelming support and good will from across the AFL community.

The Dees do have a good young team but other younger teams are improving too and will come up behind them. I suspect that Richmond are in decline and are about to enter a re-building period. The cracks were definitely there for all to see with the Tigers in the second half of the 2021 season. I agree with your thoughts that North are at least another two to three years away from being in finals contention again. That said, in North Melbourne's defence, nobody thought that they would win a single game this year, but they improved in leaps and bounds as the season progressed by sharply closing their losing margins, actually winning four games and only getting pipped at the post in three other games. For North Melbourne it potentially could have been seven wins and 28 points on the ladder. Nobody predicted that at the start of 2021, and they could potentially be a real force to be reckoned with by 2023/24.

Of course this thread is about the Western Bulldogs. As an outside observer but friend of the team, it can't have escaped any Bulldogs supporter's notice that the team did fall in a bit of a slump at the end of the H&A rounds this year slipping very quickly from top to sixth on the ladder at the bloody wrong end of the season. This set the Dogs up for a much more difficult finals campaign of survival facing the weekly prospect of elimination, no home finals and not getting the extra week of rest that Melbourne enjoyed. The Bulldogs cannot afford to collapse at the business end of the home and away rounds, particularly when often there is only eight points separating the sixth from the twelfth positioned teams on the ladder toward the close of the home and away season. In my estimation, the Bulldogs were very lucky this year that they didn't blow it. That said, they did redeem themselves in the finals. But the position that they put themselves in made it a harder Finals campaign than what it should have been for them, and I simply think that they ran out of gas by the GF. Of course it becomes much easier if the team can finish in the top two or three positions because then you are guaranteed home finals rather than being forced to travel (as the Bulldogs had to do in both 2016 and 2021) and of course you aren't facing immediate elimination in every round of the finals.

If the Dogs can finish the 2022 season in the top three then yes anything is possible.
 
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NBates

Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 4, 2007
7,573
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We have to wait until round 22, but finally FINALLY we get to play GWS at Marvel (what's a bet they change it to Canberra or Hobart or sommit).
 

Leon

Norm Smith Medallist
Jan 13, 2004
7,270
10,309
Bound for Germany 2006!
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FULL FIXTURE

Our home games in BOLD

Round 1 - Melbourne vs. Western Bulldogs, Wednesday 16 March 7.10pm, MCG

Round 2 - Western Bulldogs vs. Carlton, Thursday 24 March 7.20pm, Marvel Stadium

Round 3 - Western Bulldogs vs. Sydney Swans, Thursday March 31 7.20pm, Marvel Stadium


Round 4 - Richmond vs. Western Bulldogs, Saturday 9 April 7.20pm, MCG

Round 5 - North Melbourne vs. Western Bulldogs, Friday 15 April 4.20pm, Marvel Stadium

Round 6 - Western Bulldogs vs. Adelaide Crows, Saturday 23 April 1.45pm, MARS Stadium

Round 7 - Western Bulldogs vs. Essendon, Sunday May 1 3.20pm, Marvel Stadium


Round 8 - Port Adelaide vs. Western Bulldogs, Friday May 6 7.00pm, Adelaide Oval

Round 9 - Western Bulldogs vs. Collingwood, Friday May 13 7.50pm, Marvel Stadium

Round 10 - Western Bulldogs vs. Gold Coast Suns, May 20-22 Date/Time TBC, MARS Stadium


Round 11 - West Coast Eagles vs. Western Bulldogs, May 27-29 Date/Time TBC, Optus Stadium

Round 12 - Western Bulldogs vs. Geelong, June 3-5 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

ROUND 13 - BYE

Round 14 - GWS Giants vs. Western Bulldogs, June 16-19 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

Round 15 - Western Bulldogs vs. Hawthorn, June 23-26 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

Round 16 - Brisbane Lions vs. Western Bulldogs, June 30-July 3 Date/Time TBC, GABBA

Round 17 - Sydney Swans vs. Western Bulldogs, July 7-10 Date/Time TBC, SCG

Round 18 - Western Bulldogs vs. St Kilda, July 15-17 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

Round 19 - Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne, July 22-24 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium


Round 20 - Geelong vs. Western Bulldogs, July 29-31 Date/Time TBC, GMHBA Stadium

Round 21 - Western Bulldogs vs. Fremantle, August 5-7 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

Round 22 - Western Bulldogs vs. GWS Giants, August 12-14 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium


Round 23 - Hawthorn vs. Western Bulldogs, August 19-21 Date/Time TBC, UTAS Stadium
 

ScragCity

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 7, 2015
12,664
28,153
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
FULL FIXTURE

Our home games in BOLD

Round 1 - Melbourne vs. Western Bulldogs, Wednesday 16 March 7.10pm, MCG

Round 2 - Western Bulldogs vs. Carlton, Thursday 24 March 7.20pm, Marvel Stadium

Round 3 - Western Bulldogs vs. Sydney Swans, Thursday March 31 7.20pm, Marvel Stadium


Round 4 - Richmond vs. Western Bulldogs, Saturday 9 April 7.20pm, MCG

Round 5 - North Melbourne vs. Western Bulldogs, Friday 15 April 4.20pm, Marvel Stadium

Round 6 - Western Bulldogs vs. Adelaide Crows, Saturday 23 April 1.45pm, MARS Stadium

Round 7 - Western Bulldogs vs. Essendon, Sunday May 1 3.20pm, Marvel Stadium


Round 8 - Port Adelaide vs. Western Bulldogs, Friday May 6 7.00pm, Adelaide Oval

Round 9 - Western Bulldogs vs. Collingwood, Friday May 13 7.50pm, Marvel Stadium

Round 10 - Western Bulldogs vs. Gold Coast Suns, May 20-22 Date/Time TBC, MARS Stadium


Round 11 - West Coast Eagles vs. Western Bulldogs, May 27-29 Date/Time TBC, Optus Stadium

Round 12 - Western Bulldogs vs. Geelong, June 3-5 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

ROUND 13 - BYE

Round 14 - GWS Giants vs. Western Bulldogs, June 16-19 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

Round 15 - Western Bulldogs vs. Hawthorn, June 23-26 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

Round 16 - Brisbane Lions vs. Western Bulldogs, June 30-July 3 Date/Time TBC, GABBA

Round 17 - Sydney Swans vs. Western Bulldogs, July 7-10 Date/Time TBC, SCG

Round 18 - Western Bulldogs vs. St Kilda, July 15-17 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

Round 19 - Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne, July 22-24 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium


Round 20 - Geelong vs. Western Bulldogs, July 29-31 Date/Time TBC, GMHBA Stadium

Round 21 - Western Bulldogs vs. Fremantle, August 5-7 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium

Round 22 - Western Bulldogs vs. GWS Giants, August 12-14 Date/Time TBC, Marvel Stadium


Round 23 - Hawthorn vs. Western Bulldogs, August 19-21 Date/Time TBC, UTAS Stadium

I have us winning 12 games from that fixture. Not great, not terrible. Should sneak into 8th and win the flag.
 

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