Disclaimer: I’m a West Coast Eagles fan, so figure that into your assessments when considering my objectivity. However, for the purposes of this prediction, I’m calling that the Eagles will be the best performed of all the expansion teams.
This season keeps throwing up surprises.
There is a lot of congestion on the AFL ladder, and with six teams sitting on four wins and three losses, percentage could play an important role in deciding who finishes where come September.
Round 7 featured only two games with a margin of under three goals separating the two teams, which would be of some concern for the AFL as there was a difference in ability that was evident in quite a few of them.
The Power didn’t show up early and it showed on the scoreboard. Captain Ollie Wines and recruit Scott Lycett were on the end of Ken Hinkley’s frustration at quarter-time. The Power responded through former captain Travis Boak, who kicked the first goal of the contest for his team, but the game was all but over by that point. The Magpies cruised to a comfortable victory, with the Power showing some spirit after quarter-time.
Magpies team lifter: Jack Crisp
Power team lifter: Justin Westhoff
It was a game that the Demons needed to win to take a bit of pressure off coach Simon Goodwin and for the morale of the Melbourne players as well as their fans. That’s exactly what transpired – the Demons almost willed themselves to a tight win by under a goal. What caught my eye was Alastair Clarkson’s strange post-match comments on how poor Melbourne were even though the Hawks lost the contest. It just defied logic.
Demons team lifter: James Harmes
Hawks team lifter: Jack Gunston
It was always going to be a tough assignment for the Saints to keep up their early season form with the players they’re missing through injury and other reasons, and that proved to be the case on the road against the Giants. To make matters worse, they lost to GWS comprehensively. Greater Western Sydney, on the hand, would be over the moon with the way they copped without injured trio Phil Davis, Josh Kelly and Lachie Whitfield.
Giants team lifter: Jeremy Cameron
Saints team lifter: Rowan Marshall
The Lions appear likely to feature in September, although it’s still early days. This game looked like it would be a one-sided contest at quarter-time, but to Sydney’s credit they fought the game out. Hugh McCluggage performed well – he has to be one of the most underrated players in the competition. He helped lift Brisbane, and his solid performance was a contributing factor in the Lions getting over the line.
Lions team lifter: Hugh McCluggage
Swans team lifter: Tom Papley
The Tigers were completely outplayed by the Bulldogs – it was difficult to find any positives for Richmond in a game they would have viewed as being winnable beforehand. The Tigers were forced to play without their three leaders and it clearly showed – there was a lack of leadership on the field. Aaron Naughton helped lift the Bulldogs to a victory in what was probably a must-win game for them to keep their finals hopes alive.
Bulldogs team lifter: Aaron Naughton
Tigers team lifter: Kane Lambert
The Eagles would have believed that they could have won the game by more than ten goals and would have viewed the second half as a potential percentage booster. The Suns showed great spirit in the second half and their performance is a template for how they should play for the remainder of the season as far as endeavour is concerned.
Eagles team lifter: Jack Darling
Suns team lifter: Anthony Miles
The Blues looked unprepared and their lack of endeavour was unacceptable. Meanwhile, the Kangaroos were full of energy. The game was all but over at quarter-time, with the Kangaroos appearing to outplay the Blues, and it looked as if Brad Scott outcoached Brendon Bolton at least as far as the first quarter was concerned.
Blues team lifter: Sam Walsh
Kangaroos team lifter: Ben Cunnington
The Cats players simply play their role for the team – they don’t try and do anything exceptional, they just keep on executing the game plan put in place by Chris Scott and his assistant coaches. The Bombers, on the other hand, are inconsistent and aren’t playing their roles effectively.
Cats team lifter: Sam Menegola
Bombers team lifter: Zach Merrett
This game was a big disappointment as far as a spectacle was concerned. There was a total of just three goals in the first half between the two sides. It was a contest for the footy purest but not for someone looking to be converted to watching footy as a spectacle.
Crows team lifer: Brad Crouch
Dockers team lifter: Luke Ryan