The AFL’s top 8 have thrown up a few surprises in 2015, so let’s take a peak into the crystal ball and see where they will end up next season.
Let’s get the good news story of the year out of the way first. Luke Beveridge is the coach of the year; what he has done has been remarkable.
The bad news is that for every team that rises fast, the following year they fall just as fast. History is littered with examples of this, the most recent being Adelaide from 2012 to 2013. One kick from a Grand Final to 11th place the following year.
The Bulldogs are going to be handed a much tougher draw and opposition coaches will have the entire off season to pick their gameplan apart and plot their downfall.
Young players will have a lot more emphasis placed on them and backing up a great year is extremely hard. As much as I would love to see them stay around the mark, sadly, it’s going to be much tougher.
Trade – Minimal. Hard to see them being active but they may go after an experienced player.
Draft – Heavily. Get the next batch of players into the system and move forward.
Score – 9/10
2016 prediction – 13th
This season hasn’t been as good as the previous two and next season will see them drop out of the top four. Ageing stars will have to be managed and turned over. It has been another great era for the Hawks, but it can’t go on forever.
Alistair Clarkson knows what the next step is and will need to take a step backward before you can maybe take another step forward. At the end of 2016 they will go through what Geelong are going through now. No man’s land.
Trade – Minimal. Some players may want to look elsewhere. If the Hawks have their eye on a player they will have to either use free agency which the AFL will seriously frown upon or use fringe players plus picks.
Draft – Minimal. They have the best recruiters in the business and finding gold has been their trademark. Later rounds is where they can find young long-term prospects.
Score – 7/10
2016 prediction – 7th
The other good news story of the year but also the sad news story of the year. How Scott Camporeale has managed to get this team to play the way they have after the tragedy of losing coach Phil Walsh has been unbelievable. It has people believing the unthinkable. Can the Crows win another flag?
Selling hope is the best thing a club can do and Adelaide have done that in spades in the last 12 months for different reasons. They have terrific batch of youngsters are coming through and improving at a good rate. They have very few retiring players. They will keep Paddy Dangerfield, Camporeale and John Worsfold.
10/10 for Worsfold who dropped everything and came when the club sent him an SOS. His presence can not be under estimated.
Trade – Moderate – Outside run is what they need and a few players who want to leave their clubs will end up at the Crows. The club has some currency in the market and will use them to get what they want.
Draft – Minimal – A few new young faces will be brought into the club and developed for the future.
Score – Phil Walsh 7/10, Scott Camporeale 8/10
2016 prediction – 5th
How much bigger can this bandwagon get? By the end of September 2016 it may be classed as a State or Territory by the federal government.
Damian Hardwick has achieved good things at a slow, methodical rate and everything he has put in place will deliver success. The club has a terrific blend of players and depth. They have talent all over the field and the future is starting to look bright financially after a long time in the wilderness.
They will be one of the challengers for the premiership.
Trade – Moderate. The club has brought in players who play roles within the team perfectly and expect that to continue, perhaps increase with further signings as they push for success.
Draft – minimal. They know what they want and will bring in young talent with an eye for the future.
Score – 8/10
2016 prediction – 1st
When your best player is almost 40 years of age you have a problem. Their leading forwards are the wrong side of 30 as well as their key defender and players aren’t developing at the rate Brad Scott or the football club would like.
The coach will be under enormous pressure if he doesn’t make the finals and there are some who think their future may lay elsewhere after this year. Scott came back angry after his lay off. He wasn’t happy with the way the club was heading and set about trying to fix it. He may need to get a whole lot angrier if he thinks he can go forward.
Trade – Moderate. North have currency in the player market and their needs may outweigh what they have to offer.
Draft – Heavily. There’s no point in delaying the inevitable. They need to draft youth and hope they can come again quickly.
Score – Brad Scott 4/10 Darren Crocker 2/10
2016 prediction – 14th
The big unknown in 2016 will see a drop down the ladder. Ross Lyon is a master at getting the best out his players and he needs to look at bringing in players to continue making the finals.
Too many ageing players will hold the club back and retirements will hurt in a big way. The team has too much elite talent in the midfield to drop away drastically but will need to find goal kickers and a big defender.
Trade – Heavily. The Dockers needs key position players to replace retiring ones.
Draft – minimal. Will only have late picks and best go for a few local youngsters
Score – 8/10
2016 prediction – 6th
A great 2015 will continue into 2016. They have good talent everywhere and great back up players to fill gaps. They need to look for quality back up defenders and finding them isn’t quite so easy.
Adam Simpson has done a fantastic job with his players and will challenge again but will need to tweak the game plan to stay ahead of the pack.
Trade – Moderate. They have currency for some players that they can use to bolster their defense.
Draft – Moderate. Their needs aren’t immediate but they do need to look at the future in all positions.
Score – 8/10
2016 prediction – 2nd
If the AFL overturn the trade ban the Swans will continue to be a major player come finals time. John Longmire is a little too defensive. He has a group of young players who have the ability to play damaging attacking football and he should let them off the leash.
To appease the AFL and move forward they may have to sacrifice Tippett so they can trade for what they need and that is replacing older defenders and if they can’t do that they will start falling down the ladder. Another club that could find itself in no mans land.
Trade – Minimal. The swans already have players identified and know how to get them to the club.
Draft – Moderate. The academy have again delivered and the Swans will pick up another star of the future as well as some good handy players.
Score – 5/10
2016 prediction – 3rd
So the ladder in order will look like this