Well there it is for another season, and all with a round remaining.
The top eight has been decided and in the midst of finals’ preparation, the bottom 10 left to ponder what might have been, what went wrong, and some probably just preferring to forget the season that was.
Our focus is now firmly fixed on the finals. Could we have an all Western Australia grand final? Could it be a replay of last year? Can Richmond finally make some September noise? Or could the Crows or Dogs be the wildcard which does some serious damage?
But what about those ‘other’ 10? Who was the most disappointing? Who exceeded expectations? Who is just treading water again like they were last season?
Let’s start at the bottom and the Brisbane Lions. Three wins (four less than last season) and 18 losses, seven of those by more than 10 goals, and another three 50-point defeats. A definite slide for the Lions, and it’s hard to see a way up at the moment.
Carlton. The once proud Blues were a bit of a rabble this season. Four wins and 17 losses, and eight of those by 10 goals, plus one monster loss of 138 points to Hawthorn. Finding bright spots in a dark season is difficult, but there is some upside for the Blues with a fresh start and expected clean out before next year.
The Gold Coast Suns. Losing Gary Ablett Jnr for all but six games of the season is going to hurt big time, but the Suns were still disappointing regardless.
Just four wins and draw, and 16 losses – six of those by more than 50 points – was not really acceptable for a club expected to be pushing hard into the finals in this their fifth season in the competition. It was certainly not satisfactory after a 10-win season in 2014.
Essendon … what can you say? The basket case of 2015. James Hird is now gone and hopefully this will signal a new beginning in 2016. It’s been a rough ride for all involved, particularly for those faithful members.
Only five wins in 2015, seven and a draw less than last season’s finish. Put it behind you Bomber fans.
I wonder if Paul Roos is still wondering what he has gotten himself into with the Demons? It was still a struggle and probably will continue to be one next season, but there were some positive signs in 2015 from Melbourne.
Six wins including successes over the Dogs, Cats, Pies, and Tigers – all teams that finished above them on the ladder. Definite pass mark I think.
St Kilda. Let’s face it, after winning the wooden spoon in 2014, the only way was up. The Saints have taken a few steps up the ladder, their highlight being a 19-goal win over Essendon in Round 14 and some more competitive performances against some of the better teams.
There is a big leap to the next rung of teams, with Collingwood having won 10 games in 2015. With a win over Essendon next weekend they will finish 11-11 and with the same record they had in 2014.
The Pies won many of the games they should have won in 2015, but it was their performances against the good teams which showed their quality.
They had a 3-point loss to Port, a 5-point loss to Richmond, a 7-point loss to Fremantle, a loss by 10 to Hawthorn, and an 11-point loss to the Swans. The future appears reasonable.
Age can weary them and injuries weren’t too kind either, but the Cats have had a killer slide from third with a 17-5 record in 2014, to missing the finals for the first time since 2006 this season.
There were some good performances. Beating Sydney by five goals, Port, Richmond and the Bulldogs, but sadly there were too many poor ones, and of their nine defeats, not one was by under 10 points. The Cats are among the big losers in 2015.
The GWS Giants have a pass mark for 2015. Their expectations and aspirations were adjusted I’m sure during the season when they were sitting inside the eight, an there will be disappointment from players, officials and their fans that they missed out on the finals. However 11 wins – including that memorable one against Hawthorn – cements 2015 as a good season for the AFL’s newest club.
Then there’s Port Adelaide. To me Port are the big winner – or loser if you prefer – when it comes to being the disappointment of 2015.
After last season Port were a kick away from knocking Hawthorn out and entering the grand final, so much was expected of them in 2015. I personally felt they were top four material, and even when they were faltering early on, I still felt they could figure prominently.
But alas as the season wore on, so too did the disappointment. With five losses by 10 points or less, Port have ended up the unlucky ones, just on the outside looking in.
For each of these 10 teams, the message is the same: ‘Let’s put that behind us. We’ll get better next year – we have to.’