The second part of the six-part series comprises the five players the Collingwood Magpies, Essendon Bombers and Fremantle Dockers can least afford to lose in 2021, plus each side gets one honourable pre-draft mention.
Essendon coach John Worsfold says some so-called AFL experts sound like six-year-olds and should be embarrassed by their criticism of his club.
The Bombers have won just once in their past seven outings, prompting lashings from some pundits.
“I have read some comments from people that are pretty well-respected people in the footy industry and they sound like six-year-old kids,” Worsfold said after Saturday night’s 12-point loss to Richmond in Darwin.
“It’s a bit embarrassing to read what some people say.
“It’s a passionate game, I get that…but we’re going to stick the course and we’re going to be a very good team very quickly.
“I know people want quickly to be next week – that is not the way it works in the AFL.
“Too many clubs in the last 30 years have chopped and changed through buckling under pressure and are still trying to win another premiership.
“We are not going to be one of those clubs.”
Worsfold will depart as head coach after this season, with assistant Ben Rutten taking over.
Rutten and another assistant coach Blake Caracella are instructing a fresh game plan this season.
Worsfold said the changes had resulted in some short-term pain for long-term gain.
“What the players have learnt throughout the course of this year…is there with them going forward,” he said.
“If you wiped all that away, you would say ‘okay, we’re starting next year at exactly the same point’.
“And I can guarantee you that the group will start miles ahead going into next preseason.
“They don’t need to sit and listen to Blake Caracella explain terminology and match-type set-ups to them going into next year.
“They will know what it is from day one of preseason.”
History proved successful clubs “refused to buckle” to critics demanding instant results.
“I do understand that some people just want immediate results,” Worsfold said.
“But I haven’t seen a premiership team win by just saying let’s load up now and try and win next week.
“What I have seen is teams win premierships by saying ‘here is where we are working towards. And we’re going to stick at it, we’re not going to fold, we’re not going to be weak; we’re going to be strong and keep working towards it’.”