Fri, Mar 17, 9:38am by Head Editor
In the fourth of our six club by club previews, we look at Port Adelaide and Melbourne who each finished two wins out of the finals on 10 wins last season, and Collingwood, who were a game back with nine wins.
After falling just three points shy of a Grand Final berth in 2014, the last two seasons have been a massive disappointment for the Port Adelaide Football Club.
They finished 9th in 2015 with 12 wins and 10th in 2016 with 10 wins, so it seems they are on the slide, and looking at their list, I must say that I agree.
During the trade period, the but according to the Power’s hierarchy, that was by design, and it did allow them to hold onto their draft picks.
Those draft picks yielded them an exciting forward prospect with pick 16 in Todd Marshall and a big-bodied on-baller Sam Powell-Pepper with number 18.
The latter will be expected to give star midfielder Robbie Gray a hand as soon as possible. Gray had a brilliant 2016, averaging 26 touches per game, 13 of which were contested and six clearances.
He didn’t have much help though and the $1.45 for them to miss the eight looks safe. On a positive note, their draw is rated as the fourth easiest, having to play only two finalists from last season twice in Adelaide and West Coast.
Outs: Jay Schulz (Delisted), Paul Stewart (Delisted), John Butcher (Delisted), Kane Mitchell (Delisted), Sam Colquhoun (Delisted), Alipate Carlile (Retired), Cameron O’Shea (Delisted)
Predicted finish after Round 23: 14th
Premiership Odds $34: Our Odds: $34
Of all the 18 clubs, there haven’t been too many that have been greeted with more optimism than the Demons this pre-season. It’s been 11 long years since they were last involved in a finals match but finally, it seems at least, their time has come.
Paul Roos took the Dees from 17th to 13th and then 13th to 10th in his three years in charge, now he hands the reins over to Simon Goodwin who has every chance of breaking their finals drought.
This writer backed them at $2.25 a fortnight ago to make the eight and now they are into $2.10. Which I’d still be taking.
In the midfield, they already had a pair of A-graders, in All-Australian ruckman Max Gawn, as well as hard-nosed midfielder, Jack Viney and they’ve added the silky Michael Hibberd from Essendon and four-time Hawthorn premiership player, Jordan Lewis.
I’ve got them finished eighth, the same position that their draw is rated, of last season’s finalists, they only play Adelaide and North Melbourne twice.
Ins: Mitchell Hannan, Dion Johnstone, Michael Hibberd (Essendon), Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn), Pat McKenna (GWS)
Outs: Jack Grimes, Chris Dawes, Matt Jones, Max King, Viv Michie, Ben Newton, Dean Terlich, Lynden Dunn (Collingwood)
Predicted finish after Round 23: 8th
Premiership Odds $23: Our Odds: $18
When you are the biggest club in the land, and you miss the finals for three years in a row, you simply cannot afford to make it a fourth.
There is no issue in the Pies midfield, with Adam Treloar and Scott Pendlebury two of the top on-ballers in the league, and now they’ve added ex-Kangaroo Daniel Wells to a midfield that bats deep.
Their defence though, is a major concern, key defender Nathan Brown is now a Saint and Jack Frost didn’t deliver on what he promised last season. Ben Reid is also very injury prone.
As always with the Pies, there is plenty of hype but I can’t see this squad playing finals, which means it’s goodbye to one of their favourite sons, coach Nathan Buckley.
The $1.53 for the Pies to miss the eight looks safe.
Ins: Daniel Wells (North Melbourne), Chris Mayne (Fremantle), Will Hoskin-Elliott (GWS Giants), Lynden Dunn (Melbourne)
Outs: Brent Macaffer (Retired), Dane Swan (Retired), Alan Toovey (Retired), Tim Golds (Delisted), Matthew Goodyear (Delisted), Darrean Wyatt (Delisted), Nathan Brown (St Kilda), Jarrod Witts (Gold Coast), Travis Cloke (Western Bulldogs), Jack Frost (Brisbane), Marley Williams (North Melbourne), Corey Gault (Retired)
Predicted finish after Round 23: 15th
Premiership Odds $34: Our Odds: $41
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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