Sat, Mar 11, 8:42am by Head Editor
As discussed in the first preview of 2017 on the top three teams from last season, there is a freshness about this time of year, as every footy supporter dares to dream of their day in the sun, including this writer.
Here’s the second column in our six-part series, with the teams that finished fourth to sixth last campaign.
The Cats have had six months to dwell over the poor start in last year’s Preliminary Final, the seven-goal to none first term that cost them a spot in the Grand Final.
Much was made of the incredible season of both the Brownlow medallist – Patrick Dangerfield and his skipper – Joel Selwood. The pair who came to be known as ‘Dangerwood’, carried the club to the penultimate weekend but they need some help this year if they are to go further.
Keep an eye out for Nakia Cockatoo this season, he’s been on fire over the summer, with his adducter and knee worries seemingly behind him.
Their draw is rated the sixth hardest in the league, having to play Hawthorn, Adelaide, Collingwood, GWS, Fremantle twice.
I can’t see the Cats challenging for a Premiership this season, but they’ll be a part of the finals action.
Ins: Zach Tuohy (Carlton), Aaron Black (North Melbourne)
Outs: Zac Bates (Delisted), Mitch Clark (Delisted), Cameron Delaney (Delisted), Padraig Lucey (Delisted), Tom Read (Delisted), Jock Cornell (Delisted), Shane Kersten (Fremantle), Billie Smedts (Carlton), Josh Caddy (Richmond), Jimmy Bartel (Retired), Corey Enright (Retired), Nathan Vardy (West Coast), Michael Luxford (Delisted)
Predicted finish after Round 23: 6th
Premiership Odds: $11
We Rate Them: $13
The Hawks will not enter this season as the reigning premiers for the first time since 2013 and the changes don’t end there, as the 2017 outfit is vastly different to the ones we are used to seeing in brown and gold.
The club made massive headlines during the trade period, being the most aggressive of all 18 clubs in a bid to keep their Premiership window open, out went four-time Premiership heroes and club favourites Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis, and in came a pair of younger replacements in Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara.
The Hawkers have the toughest draw of any side in the league, with eight (equal most in the league) six-day breaks and having to play Sydney, Adelaide and Geelong twice.
Jarryd Roughead will captain the club, but much more importantly, he is cancer-free, and ready to fire this season.
Hawthorn’s best 22 can still compete with anyone’s, they will definitely play finals, I have them just outside the top four.
Ins: Harry Morrison, Mitchell Lewis, Jaeger O’Meara (Gold Coast), Tom Mitchell (Sydney), Ricky Henderson (Adelaide), Ty Vickery (Richmond)
Outs: Angus Litherland, Matt Spangher, Alex Woodward, Bradley Hill (Fremantle), Jordan Lewis (Melbourne), Sam Mitchell (West Coast)
Predicted finish after Round 23: 5th
Premiership Odds: $13
We Rate Them: $10
The pride of South Australia can get off to an absolute flyer this season, when they meet only three finalists in the opening 10 rounds. A start that they could have only dreamed of last year, when they had the toughest draw of all, and still managed to miss the top four by percentage only.
This time around, they’ve been given the sixth-easiest draw, meeting only two top-eight sides (Hawthorn and Geelong) twice with five Friday night games — four of which are at the Adelaide Oval.
You still have to go and win the games, and the only area that they really need to improve on is the midfield. Their only two stars in this area of the field are ruckman Sam Jacobs and onballer Rory Sloane.
They need Richard Douglas to lift and if young draftee Jordan Gallucci can slot in and make an immediate impact, then the sky is the limit.
Their defence was unsung last season, they ranked second in the league in points allowed per game which is a testament to how good they were and we all know the club has no problem scoring, they scored more than any club last season.
I have the Crows as my bolter, well kind of, 6th into 4th.
Ins: Reilly O’Brien (upgraded from rookie list).
Outs: Nathan van Berlo (retired), Mitch Grigg (delisted), Ricky Henderson (delisted), Matthew Jaensch (retired), Luke Lowden (delisted), Jarryd Lyons (traded to GC Suns), Keenan Ramsay (delisted).
Predicted finish after Round 23: 4th
Premiership Odds: $9
We Rate Them: $9
Stay tuned as we continue our club by club previews on www.australiangambling.lv in the lead up to the AFL season.
AFL Premiership: (Sportsbet)
Greater Western Sydney $4.50
Western Bulldogs $5.50
West Coast $9
St Kilda $26
Port Adelaide $34
Gold Coast $41
North Melbourne $67
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