Barney’s 2010 AFL Crystal Ball: West Coast and the Western Bulldogs

West Coast Eagles:

Some teams are good, not great, but just good. Sometimes they are great and shoot to the top of the ladder and win the odd premiership, but then they lose some skill and drop down in the top 8. The Eagles used to be like this. 2002, they finished 8th. 2003, they finished 7th. 2004, they finished 7th again. In 2005, the Eagles rose to 2nd and competed in the Grand Final but lost to the Swans by four points. In 2006, the Eagles were the minor premiers and the real premiers, defeating Sydney by a point. 2007, Judd was injured for most of it and Ben Cousins has his issues, but still they finished 3rd. With the loss of Cousins and Judd in 2008, the Eagles plummeted to 15th on the ladder, and suddenly were one of the weaker sides of the competition. But in 2009, the Eagles were insipid but showed some great form at times, and finished 11th. It’s time for the Eagles to climb back into the finals, and 2010 may be the year. The forward line has plenty of potential, Mark LeCras is one of the best small forwards in the game, Quentin Lynch will be returning back to the goalsquare, Ben McKinley showed promise in 2008 and 2009, while Ash Hansen knows he is on his last chance to perform as an AFL footballer. Josh Kennedy is holding out his end of the Chris Judd-deal, while Mitch Brown can play forward or back. The midfield still has plenty of class left over from those glory days of ’05 and ’06, with Daniel Kerr, Dean Cox, Andrew Embley, Adam Selwood, Mark Nicoski, Matthew Rosa and Shannon Hurn all set to spearhead another season, along with the help of youngsters Brad Ebert, Chris Masten, Luke Shuey, Matthew Priddis, Tom Swift and recruit Bradd Dalziell. The defence is the biggest worry. Darren Glass is solid, and always will be in his career and not just because of his last name, Brett Jones has experience and Beau Waters is one of the toughest players in the competition. Aside from those players, many of the Eagles’ youngsters still need to find their feet like Matthew Spangher, Beau Wilkes, Tim Houlihan and Scott Selwood. In the Ruck, Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui will form a dangerous partnership that is full of class and poise, and ability and skill. Brad Sheppard and Gerrick Weedon look likely prospects, and when you look at the young Eagles, the future is very bright indeed.

My prediction:

Leading goalkicker: Mark LeCras

Best and Fairest: Daniel Kerr

Western Bulldogs:

The Dogs of ’09 were the best Dogs outfit we have seen this decade, but 2010 may be the year for the tri-colours. With the addition of Barry Hall from the Swans, the Dogs now have a big target to aim for when blazing away inside 50, and with the Dogs known as a very attacking side, Hall should be expecting plenty of balls coming down his throat, something that didn’t happen at the Swans. If the ball is supplied to Big Bad Bustling Barry, he’ll be happy. But you just get the feeling that Hall will still have a bit of an explosion on the field next season, and we all know one Brisbane Lion recruit who hopes it won’t happen in a Bulldogs v Lions game. Those who will be crumbing Hall will be the likes of veterans Brad Johnson and Jason Akermanis, along with Daniel Giansiracusa, Robert Murphy, Mitch Hahn, Jarrad Grant, Josh Hill and Brennan Stack. The forward line is an array of talent and speed, so expect the Dogs to break the 100 mark in most games next season. The midfield can also kick goals too. Shaun Higgins is fast becoming the Bulldogs’ most effective player, while young Callan Ward will be a star in a couple of seasons. Daniel Cross and Matthew Boyd are hard workers and show immense amounts of poise, while Adam Cooney, Lindsay Gilbee, Ryan Griffen and Nathan Eagleton cover a lot of distance with their kicking and gut-running. Ben Hudson is performing well in the Ruck, while Ayce Cordy is still yet to play a game. The backline is strong, Brian Lake is the backbone of the team, while Ryan Hargrave and Jarrod Harbrow are a lot more important than outsiders think. Liam Picken was outstanding in his first year, while Dale Morris was productive as always. The Doggies will be taken seriously in 2010, as they should be, and what a fitting way to end Brad Johnson, Jason Akermanis and Nathan Eagleton’s careers by getting up on that premiership dais.

My prediction:

Leading goalkicker: Barry Hall

Best and Fairest: Adam Cooney

I know I’ve submitted work onto the Almanac before with a prediction of how I think 2010 will pan out, but after seeing the draft picks, this is how I think the sides will finish after Round 22:

1st Hawthorn

2nd Western Bulldogs

3rd Adelaide

4th Geelong

5th St Kilda

6th Sydney

7th Brisbane

8th Collingwood

9th North Melbourne

10th West Coast

11th Carlton

12th Melbourne

13th Richmond

14th Port Adelaide

15th Essendon

16th Fremantle

Grand Final:

Hawthorn vs. Western Bulldogs

Premiers:

Anyone’s guess.


To view Josh’s previews for the other sides, click on his name at the right of this page.

Comments

  1. Peter Schumacher says:

    Hi Josh,

    You are a game person trying to pick it from this far out. Best of luck!

    Regards

    Peter S

  2. How good will i look if i actually get it right? :)

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