Mid-Year Assessment

It’s come to that time of the year where finals aspirations are being recalculated, and some teams are just playing out the year and going by the youth policy. Some players have proved their critics wrong in 2010, while some have failed to live up to the hype.

Most Improved Players:

Dale Thomas

Thomas has been a revelation for the Magpies, averaging 24.3 possessions and 3.3 tackles a game. He had a career-high 34 disposals against the Lions in Round 10, but his best game was against Hawthorn where he kicked three goals and accumulated 26 touches. He’s a key to Collingwood’s premiership hopes.

Richard Douglas

Douglas has been one of few shining lights in a bleak season for Adelaide, averaging 20.5 touches and 3.4 tackles a match. He’s been slightly inaccurate in front of goals, kicking 11.15, but he has been damaging at crucial times, especially against the Brisbane Lions in Round 9 where he collected 23 disposals, took four marks, laid eight tackles and kicked three goals. Had two games of 31 disposals after that best on ground display.

Setanta O’hAilpin

The fiery Irishman has relished the departure of Brendan Fevola, filling the gap left in the goalsquare. O’hAilpin has kicked 25.14, and averages 10.6 disposals and 3.5 marks a game. Most importantly, he provides plenty of opportunities to his little helpers, Chris Yarran, Eddie Betts and Jeff Garlett. His best game came against Collingwood in Round 6, where he collected 18 possessions and booted a career-high five goals.

Ryan Houlihan

Houlihan is having a terrific season up forward for Carlton, playing a defensive role in the forward line. Has averaged 18.6 touches a game, and has kicked an accurate 14.1 for the year. Was prolific against Melbourne in Round 11 with 18 disposals, five marks and a career-best four goals.

Sharrod Wellingham

After being offered up as trade-bait in the off-season, Wellingham’s moment came in Round 1 where he backed into the oncoming Barry Hall, copping an elbow to the head. This seemed to spark some fine form, as he’s averaged 21.5 touches and 3.4 tackles. He had a career-high 26 possessions on ANZAC Day against Essendon, as well as applying six tackles and booting two goals.

Ben Reid

The lanky Collingwood high draft pick has taken some time to find his feet, but he seems to have found his place in defence for the Magpies, instead of up forward where he was originally slated to have played his best football. Averages 14.2 disposals a game, with a best of 22 and nine marks against Melbourne in Round 12. He was awarded with the Round 12 Rising Star nomination for this performance.

Aaron Sandilands

The 211cm giant is realising that Fremantle’s premiership hopes centre on him. So it’s no surprise that the Dockers’ rise up the ladder has coincided with Sandilands’ sparkling form. He’s averaging 16.8 possessions, 4.2 marks but most importantly he is getting first touch on the ball at the stoppages, with 36.7 hitouts a game. His best game so far in 2010 came in Round 8 against Collingwood where he had 25 disposals, took four marks, kicked two goals and had a mammoth 43 hitouts.

Travis Varcoe

The number five for Geelong, who ‘just doesn’t know how good he is’, is having a great year, averaging 17.1 touches and 4.3 tackles a game. Has kicked 12.6, with a career-high of five against Essendon in Round 12. His best game came against Richmond in Round 6 with 24 touches and a goal.

James McDonald

The proud Melbourne skipper has lifted his game to another level in 2010, providing a perfect example for his younger teammates to follow. He’s averaged 23.2 possessions and laid 7.6 tackles a game. His best game came in Round 8 against the West Coast Eagles, collecting 31 touches, applying eight tackles and kicking a goal in the loss. His spirit and determination will be hard to replace when he retires.

Mark Jamar

Jamar’s promising finish to 2009 has seen him bring some confidence into this year, and he’s performed brilliantly as Melbourne’s number one Ruckman, averaging 29.4 hitouts a game and 12.8 disposals. He had a huge 36 hitouts in Round 2 against Collingwood, but his beautiful ruckwork has seen the likes of McDonald, Scully, Trengove and Moloney benefit. Embarrassed Darren Jolly and, in particular, Josh Fraser, with 25 possessions, eight marks, 33 hitouts and a goal against Collingwood in Round 12.

James Frawley

Frawley has had an outstanding season at Full Back for the Demons, performing admirably against likes of Jonathon Brown, Barry Hall and Josh Kennedy. In Round 3 against Adelaide, Frawley was let off the leash and collected 25 possessions while taking eight marks in the win. Has averaged 19.7 touches a game.

Daniel Wells

The much-maligned midfielder has had a career-best 2010 with a couple of match-winning performances. He is averaging 19.3 disposals, with a career-high 33 possessions in Round 3 against West Coast. He was also instrumental in the win against Hawthorn in Round 5, collecting 20 touches and booting three goals.

Lindsay Thomas

Is relishing his role up forward, playing every game, averaging 13 touches and 4.1 tackles. His past three weeks have been outstanding, netting 45 disposals, 14 marks, 15 tackles and kicking 14.13. His kicking at goal is a concern, with 5.5 against Fremantle in Round 10 and 7.5 against Carlton in Round 12. Played the complete game against Carlton, picking up 20 possessions, eight marks, eight tackles and seven goals. Love how he kicks the ball instead of handballing.

Justin Westhoff

The tall, lanky forward has become a rangy midfielder for Port Adelaide, and Westhoff is using his athleticism to advantage. After his strong debut season in 2007, he’s failed to hit those heights but a string of good games in the pre-season has seen him move into a midfield role where he has averaged 15.6 disposals. Has kicked 8.7, with a best of three against Essendon in Round 7. His 27 disposals and goal against West Coast in Round 2 where pivotal to victory.

Steven Salopek

The Power midfielder is having a great season, averaging 19.6 possessions a game. Has played every game, he was outstanding against the Brisbane Lions in Round 3 with 29 disposals, six marks and two goals. A shoulder injury sustained against the Sydney Swans in Round 12 may see him out of action for a few weeks.

Jack Riewoldt

Is no longer ‘Nick’s cousin’. Jack Riewoldt has becoming a goalkicking machine for Richmond, 45 majors up to Round 12 for the ‘worst team in VFL/AFL history’ according to the Herald Sun, he has been one of the few shining lights in a bleak 2010. Has kicked 45.25, and averages 12.8 disposals and 5.8 marks. His marking has improved out of sight, and is becoming one of the best contested marks in the game, enough to rival cousin Nick. His past five weeks have yielded 30 goals and 29 marks. Kicked 10.3 along with 19 possessions and nine marks against West Coast in Round 12, an amazing performance.

Sam Gilbert

Gilbert has been outstanding in defence, time and time again taking the mark off an opposition kick. He averages 24.8 disposals and 8.7 marks a game, his best game came in Round 3 against Collingwood where he racked up 32 possessions and took 20 marks, both career-high figures.

Heath Grundy

The solid backman, who kicked three goals on debut, has been a rock down in defence, rebounding the defensive 50 on numerous occasions and setting up the next attack. He averages 20 touches and 6.6 marks a game, his best performance was in Round 3 against Richmond. He accumulated a career-best 33 possessions and took 10 marks in the big win.

Shane Mumford

The former Cat has excelled in the Harbour City, forming a great partnership with Mark Seaby and Mike Pyke. Was rubbed out for two games for a harsh tackle on Gary Ablett, but apart from that his season has been great, averaging 12.9 touches, 4.8 tackles and 24.9 hitouts a game. He was brilliant in Round 11 against Essendon, racking up 15 touches, taking four marks, laying six tackles and winning 46 hitouts.

Ben McGlynn

Could have been the trade of the year if he hadn’t of sustained a quad injury that kept him out for seven weeks between Rounds 5 and 11. Surely would have earnt six Brownlow votes in Rounds 2 and 3, where he collected a total of 54 possessions, took 19 marks and kicked 8.6.

Nick Malceski

Best known for having the revolutionary LARS surgery on his ruptured ACL tendon in 2008, Malceski is starting to get back to his best form after that injury. He averages 22.6 disposals a game, and forms a fearsome running backline with Tadhg Kennelly and Rhyce Shaw. Played an outstanding game against Port Adelaide in Round 12 with 35 touches, 12 marks and a goal in the win.

Jarrad Grant

The first round draft pick from 2007 has taken a while to find his feet, but he seems to have a spot in the Bulldogs’ now. Averages 14.9 touches a game, and had a career-high 19 possessions and kicked two goals against North Melbourne in Round 9.

Biggest Disappointments:

Kurt Tippett

After a huge 2009, Tippett was being groomed as the next Tony Modra for the Crows, but so far his poor form has coincided with Adelaide slumping to 15th on the ladder. He’s kicked 17.15, which is still good, but he hasn’t imposed himself on games as expected. Kicked four goals against Richmond and Hawthorn in Round 7 and 12 respectively, but apart from that has failed to kick a bag.

Jason Porplyzia

The Porpoise has failed to show any sort of dangerous form so far in 2010, with just 13.10. Has failed to kick over three goals, and averages 12.6 touches a game.

Mitch Clark

After an outstanding 2009 season, Clark has dipped his colours so far this year, with just 13.7 touches and 14 hitouts a game. Performed against North Melbourne in Round 11 though, with 20 disposals, nine marks, eight hitouts and a goal.

Jack Anthony

Jack was coming off a career-best season of 50 goals, but has played just the four games in the Collingwood side, averaging nine touches and 3.2 marks a match. Has kicked 5.2, with a best of two against Melbourne in Round 2. Needs to lift, otherwise it’s off to the Gold Coast or Greater Western Sydney.

Leon Davis

Neon Leon has played 11 games for the year, but his contributions have been far from his best. Has averaged just 12.4 disposals a match, and has kicked 15.16 with a best of three goals against Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs in Round 4 and 11 respectively. Needs to lift for Collingwood to push for a Grand Final.

Mark Williams

The former Hawthorn sharpshooter made the switch to Windy Hill and quickly became Essendon’s most dangerous and experienced forward. Has failed to live up to expectations though, playing just four games and averaging 7.8 touches. Has kicked 5.0 in his handful of games, but four of those came against Carlton in Round 3.

Chris Mayne

Just a personal disappointment here, Mayne really came on in leaps and bounds late 2009 after coming back from an injury. The blonde forward has kicked 11.7 from his 11 matches, and averages 12.1 touches and 3.9 marks a game. Has failed to kick over two goals for the year, if Fremantle are to improve to real premiership contenders this year, this man needs to lift and show some of his freakish abilities that he teased us with late last year.

Matt Campbell

While his partner in crime is relishing up forward, Campbell is struggling when he gets a game with North Melbourne. Has played six games, averaged 11 touches but alarmingly, just 2.3 tackles a match. Has only kicked 1.4, with that goal coming from a double 50m penalty against the Western Bulldogs. Needs to lift if the Roos are to be in contention for a top eight spot in 2010.

Chad Cornes

Much like Mark McVeigh, he is getting old and his brother is much more damaging. Has played every game, 16.6 disposals, with a best of 28 against St Kilda in Round 5. Has kicked 4.0, but his bad games have really stunk. Collected just nine touches against Geelong in Round 4, and only a total of five against Hawthorn in Round 11. Retirement?

Daniel Motlop

This guy’s work ethic has been seriously questioned, he seems really disinterested in footy at the moment. Has played just the five games due to injury, and kicked 6.8, and averages 11.6 possessions a match. Kicked a season-best three goals against Essendon in Round 7.

Mitch Morton

The snapper of the Richmond forward line has played just six games so far in 2010 with a return of 6.8. Has averaged 10.8 possessions a match, when included back in the side in Round 11 against St Kilda he appeared to not understand the gamestyle. Collected 15 touches and booted three goals against the Western Bulldogs in Round 2.

Jake King

After improving his game in 2009, King has played just the five games in 2010. Much maligned by Richmond and opposition fans, the little tyro has averaged 13.2 touches and 3.2 tackles a match. His past two weeks against West Coast and St Kilda have been promising.

Justin Koschitzke

After Nick Riewoldt’s hamstring went, Koschitzke needed to step up and provide goals for St Kilda. He has failed at that, averaging 11.2 touches, 4.6 marks and kicking 11.10. Kicked a season-high three goals against Essendon in Round 8, but has failed to impose himself on games like he did in 2009.

Zac Dawson

After he was one of the most improved players in 2009, Dawson has struggled this year, playing 10 games and averaging 10.2 touches. Last year he appeared versatile and capable of beating his opponents one-on-one, not this year though.

Quinten Lynch

The big Q had played just six games this season, averaging 13.3 possessions and five marks a game. Has kicked 6.7, and we haven’t seen his big booming kicks yet, the best part of his game. Rumoured to have been linked to the Gold Coast.

Jason Akermanis

Probably shouldn’t have played on after 2009, as he has only brought controversy to the club so far this year. Has played nine games and only averaged 16.9 touches, three tackles and kicked just 2.7, the biggest disappointment about his game this year. Has been suspended by the Bulldogs after he wrote a column on homosexual footballers leading up to Round 9. If the Bulldogs are going to push for a premiership, they need this man to shut up and play well.

Games Of The Year:

Collingwood v Melbourne, Round 2

A week after Collingwood comprehensively defeated flag favourite the Western Bulldogs and the Demons were embarrassed against the Hawks, all signs pointed to a big Magpie win. Melbourne had other ideas though, surprising the Pies with a 4.5 to 2.5 first quarter, but the Magpies took the lead by half time. The Demons fought back to trail by five points at the last change, and a seesawing last quarter had everyone in Australia listening to the match on the edge of their seats. The Dees got out to a handy buffer late in the game, and it appeared over. But Collingwood replied with quick goals to Leon Davis and Jack Anthony, regaining the lead for the Pies by one point. The Dees went forward again, only for the ball to be rebounded back out, straight to youngster Rohan Bail of Melbourne though. With just under five seconds left, he kicked long to Ricky Petterd at the top of the goalsquare. Petterd took two grabs at the ball, but as Steele Sidebottom came crashing through the pair, Petterd fell backwards as the ball stayed in mid-air. He couldn’t grab it as the siren sounded, indicating a one point victory to Collingwood. Petterd smacked the ground in anger as Magpie players rejoiced in the victory, rushing to Sidebottom who made the important spoil. Petterd had kicked four goals, being Melbourne’s best player, while Scott Pendlebury was Collingwood’s best. This game had the best finish of the past 10 years.

Collingwood 12.14.86 defeated Melbourne 12.13.85 (MCG)

Fremantle v Geelong, Round 3

The early season surprises, Fremantle, came into this match with the same 2-0 win-loss record as the Cats, but Geelong were expected to have more class than the untrustworthy Docker outfit. The first quarter saw the Cats lead by four points, 4.4 to 3.6, but the Dockers took the lead by that margin at half time, 9.8 to 8.10. A commanding third quarter from Geelong saw them take the lead by 14 points at three quarter time though, and all signs pointed to a Geelong victory. The lead got out to 21 points as time-on approached in the last quarter, but Fremantle turned it on and snatched back the lead to win an absolute classic by seven points after Harry Taylor overstepped the mark in the goalsquare, a rushed behind and goal the result of that. Matthew Pavlich and Stephen Hill led the Dockers, while Gary Ablett was at his absolute best with 33 possessions and four goals. It will be very interesting to see who’ll get the three Brownlow medal votes in this match, Ablett or Pavlich, who had 26 touches, 16 contested, and kicked five goals.

Fremantle 18.17.125 defeated Geelong 17.16.118 (S)

St Kilda v Fremantle, Round 4

The Dockers were again involved in one of the matches of the season, this time against the other 2009 Grand Finalist, St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. The Saints, playing their first game without skipper Nick Riewoldt due to a hamstring injury, performed admirably against Fremantle. Trailing by just one point at quarter time, the Saints were then level at half time, 7.4 each. St Kilda grabbed a one point lead going into the last quarter, 12.7 to 12.6, and the last quarter was set to be a thriller. It disappointed in the final stages of the game with St Kilda running out 15 point victors after a 4.5 to 2.3 last quarter. Brendon Goddard was outstanding, kicking five goals and gathering 21 touches, while Matthew Pavlich rivaled that performance with five goals. Nick Dal Santo was best afield though with 35 touches and two goals.

St Kilda 16.12.108 defeated Fremantle 14.9.93 (ES)

Western Bulldogs v St Kilda, Round 6

A sluggish, scrappy game played out between two Preliminary finalists caught the attention of all of Australia on a Friday night. Coming off a shock loss to Port Adelaide over at AAMI Stadium, the Saints were trying to avoid a two-game losing streak while the Dogs were back on the winners list after a big victory over Adelaide. The Dogs led by a goal at quarter time, and improved on that to lead by 10 points at the main break. A high scoring third quarter in this game, which netted just 5.1 between the two teams saw the Bulldogs lead by 17 points, a seemingly matchwinning lead given the Saints had kicked only four goals for the game. Approaching the 18th minute of the last quarter, neither team had kicked a goal yet in the final stanza, but that changed when Stephen Milne got one, cutting the margin to nine points. Straight after that, David Armitage kicked his second goal to reduce it to three points. Then Sam Fisher did his best Paul Chapman impersonation, receiving a handball and snapping a high goal to give St Kilda the lead by just a handful of points with just over a minute remaining. The Saints played keepings off for the remainder of the game, pulling off one of the greatest steals in AFL history.

Western Bulldogs 6.10.46 defeated by St Kilda 7.7.49 (ES)

Melbourne v Western Bulldogs, Round 7

Under the bright Friday night lights at a sodden MCG, the Dees and Dogs paid tribute to breast cancer by getting fans to form a ‘Pink Lady’ in the middle of the field, and Melbourne substituted the red on their Guernsey with pink, while the umpires wore pink shirts. The Dogs jumped the Demons, leading by 14 points at quarter time, but this was reduced to eight at half time. A strong third quarter from Melbourne saw them trail by just three points at the last change, going into the final term with all the momentum. Goals to Matthew Bate and Danny Hughes saw Melbourne hit the front, leading by a matchwinning nine points late in the game. But, as the previous Friday night showed, it’s not over until the final siren sounds. Brian Lake went forward and converted a goal, before Ryan Griffen found the ball in space in the forward line, snapping towards the goalsquare for it to bounce through, giving the Dogs the lead and the game. Despite Tom Scully’s last quarter heroics, the Dogs had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, the complete opposite of the previous week.

Melbourne 9.12.66 defeated by Western Bulldogs 10.10.70 (MCG)

Essendon v Port Adelaide, Round 7

The next day, Essendon battled with Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium during the afternoon. The accurate Port led by five points at quarter time, before Essendon hit back to lead by a solitary point at half time, 7.3 to 7.2. A high scoring third quarter saw Essendon extend the lead to 12 points, but the Power would not stop trying, Robbie Gray, Daniel Motlop and Justin Westhoff goaling in the last quarter to snatch the lead and the win by just three points.

Essendon 16.10.106 defeated by Port Adelaide 17.7.109 (ES)

Richmond v Hawthorn, Round 8

A scrappy game at the MCG evolved into a tight, seesawing finish at the MCG. Hawthorn, with just one win from seven attempts, took on Richmond who were yet to win a game and were labeled the ‘worst team in VFL/AFL history’. Supporters of this shocking team must have been sniffing victory though as the Tigers led at quarter time by two points. The Hawks took the lead by seven at the main break, and this was extended to 11 points at the last change. A goal early in the last quarter to Jarryd Roughead saw the Hawks lead by 17 points, before Chris Newman and Cyril Rioli traded goals. Alex Rance and Angus Graham snagged majors, and the margin was just five points into the 16th minute. Rioli kicked back-to-back goals though, giving him four for the match, and the contest looked over with Hawthorn leading by 15 at the 23rd minute. Matt White goaled though, and a strong contested grab and goal to Jack Riewoldt saw the Tigers within three points. Shane Tuck had the ball inside 50, running towards goal, and had the chance to give Richmond the lead and the win. But coming from behind was the captain. Sam Mitchell grabbed him and tackled him to the ground, earning a free kick and a much needed Hawthorn victory by just a handful of points.

Richmond 13.8.86 defeated by Hawthorn 13.11.89 MCG

Melbourne v Port Adelaide, Round 9

Playing their first game for premiership points at TIO Stadium in Darwin, the Dees were coming off a disappointing loss, as were Port Adelaide. Melbourne got the early jump thanks to two Jack Watts goals, leading by 11 points at the first break. This was extended to 12 points at half time, and then to 33 points at the final change. A barnstorming final quarter by Port Adelaide saw them shoot right back into contention for this match though, with a goal to David Rodan at the 21st minute mark giving Port Adelaide the lead. Jamie Bennell booted his fourth however, regaining the lead, only to lose it through Cameron Hitchcock. A behind to Tom Logan saw the margin at six points at the 29th minute mark, before Brad Green goaled to draw scores level. The game extends into the 35th minute, where Melbourne force a rushed behind from a stoppage in the goalsquare. The siren sounds, indicating a Melbourne victory by just one point in a great game up in the Top End.

Melbourne 17.9.111 defeated Port Adelaide 16.14.110 TIO

Hawthorn v Sydney, Round 10

Sporting a new camouflaged jumper, the Hawks paid tribute to Kokoda against the Sydney Swans at the MCG. Inaccurate in the first half, they led by five points at half time, 4.12 to 4.7. This was extended to 10 points at three quarter time, and after Lance Franklin and Kieran Jack exchanged goals, the deficit for the Swans was 14 points at the 15th minute mark. An inspiring, four-bounce run from Dan Hannebery saw a long goal kicked, then Jesse White booted his third, and the margin was back to two points. A strong mark and goal to Carl Peterson, and Michael Osborne’s first goal were countered by majors to Henry Playfair and Adam Goodes, and scores were level at the 31st minute after a Rhyce Shaw behind. The Hawks kicked two behinds to regain the lead and eventually win by two points.

Hawthorn 10.19.79 defeated Sydney 11.11.77 (MCG)

North Melbourne v Brisbane, Round 11

After a shocking display against Fremantle, the Roos were the underdogs against the Brisbane Lions, who previously defeated Collingwood at the Gabba. The Roos blitzed the Lions at the start, leading by 34 points at quarter time, 7.5 to 2.1, then extending it to 36 at half time, 10.10 to 5.4. A goal to Lachlan Hansen during the third quarter saw the Roos out to a 44 point lead, and the Lions began their charge. 5.4 for the third quarter, Brisbane trailed by just 13 points at the final break. Mitch Clark and Daniel Rich goaled to open the final quarter, reducing the margin to just three points, before a contentious holding the ball free kick against Scott Thompson saw Amon Buchanan kick a goal to give the Lions the lead by five points and it appeared all over. The Roos won the ball forward, where Ben Cunnington won the hard ball and kicked the ball to an unmanned Levi Greenwood deep in the forward pocket. Hemmed in against the boundary line, Greenwood looked inboard before deciding to have the shot, 30m out on the tightest of angles. He wobbled the ball towards goal, and it went through. The Roos led once again, by just one point, and a free kick against Simon Black for a throw at the restart saw the Roos hold onto the ball right to the final siren.

North Melbourne 12.18.90 defeated Brisbane 13.11.89 (ES)

Sydney v Essendon, Round 11

An impossible game to tip went right down to the wire on a contrasting afternoon at the SCG. With a four game losing streak to their name, the Swans wanted to start fast, leading by seven points at quarter time. Scores were locked at half time, 7.5 each, and another quarter of football could not separate the two sides as they went into the final quarter deadlocked on 72. After a sunny afternoon, the SCG became dark and clouds hovered about. The rain fell hard, and the game turned from a fast-flowing match to a slog in the mud. Sydney adjusted to the conditions the best, winning by nine points in a great contest from start to finish.

Sydney 12.17.89 defeated Essendon 12.8.80 SCG

Melbourne v Collingwood, Round 12

You couldn’t get any better than the last time these two played. Or could you? With the Pies back on the winners list after victory over the Western Bulldogs, they were favourites against the Dees who were facing a two game losing streak. The Pies started well with the opening three goals, but the Dees fought back to trail by 12 points at quarter time. This was slashed to just one point at half time, 6.3 to the inaccurate Pies 5.10. The inaccuracy continued, this time spreading to the Melbourne camp as well, with both sides kicking a combined total of 2.14 for the third quarter as the Pies led by five points. A hectic final quarter saw both sides’ trade goals, with Melbourne hitting the front after a goal to Matthew Bate, before Tarkyn Lockyer marked and goaled, drawing scores level at the 25th minute mark. A slog ensued in the middle of the ground, with neither team able to break clear, before the final siren sounded, both sides locked on the same score.

Melbourne 11.10.76 drew with Collingwood 9.22.76 MCG

Brownlow Medal:

After 12 rounds, I’m guessing that the usual suspects would be up there for the Brownlow Medal at this time, like Gary Ablett, Luke Hodge, Chris Judd, Marc Murphy and Dane Swan. But a trio from the west may be the best chances at Fremantle getting their first Brownlow Medal in their history. Aaron Sandilands, Matthew Pavlich and Michael Barlow will all be in the top 10 by Round 12, perhaps even top 5. I’d love to see a Ruckman win the Brownlow, I’d love to see Pavlich take home the Charlie but it’d be outstanding to see Barlow, in just his first AFL season, win the most prestigious award in the competition. But, that being said, I can only think of two players who will win the medal.

Luke Hodge and Brendon Goddard.

Coleman Medal:

Despite Jonathon Brown and Nick Riewoldt looking the only two capable of winning this award after Round 2, both have fallen through injury, and a few players have come through to take their spot. Those players are Jack Riewoldt, leading the competition with 45 goals, James Podsiadly, AFL’s fairytale story, and Barry Hall, the biggest recruit of the year for the Bulldogs. But, it’s hard to go past this man’s recent form, there’s no reason why he can’t keep it up, and it’d be great to see the Coleman Medal go to one of the struggling sides of the competition.

Jack Riewoldt

My Predictions:

Brownlow Medal: Brendon Goddard and Luke Hodge

Coleman Medal: Jack Riewoldt

Rising Star Award: Dan Hannebery

Top Four: Geelong, St Kilda, Collingwood, Fremantle

Wooden Spoon: West Coast

Top 8: Geelong, St Kilda, Collingwood, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs, Carlton, Sydney, Essendon

Will Gary Go: Yes

Grand Finalists: Geelong and St Kilda

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Mid Season Assessment Assessment:

    – Most Improved section: I agree with the majority of these, but a couple, like Salopek and Westhoff in particular, have barely, if at all improved. Westhoff has been pathetic at times. And how can you not include Shane Tuck?

    – Best games of the year: A lot of tight games in that lot, but I disagree with you putting in matches just because they were close. Western Bulldogs vs St Kilda was a massive yawnfest. There were some good games that weren’t neccesarily close ones – for example Carlton Collingwood in round 6 and Richmond Port Adelaide in round 10.

    – Biggest disappointments: I don’t know how you can put Jake King in as a disappointment. It’s not like he had a reputation to build on. Agree Mitch Morton has really gone backwards though. I also think you’re being harsh on Chris Mayne, he’s improved his tackling output on last season despite averaging less goals.

    – Brownlow: No comment, it’s hard to tell at this stage

    – Coleman: Riewoldt!!!

    – My predictions: Fair enough, all of them are possible. I’d have Hawthorn in the 8 instead of Essendon though, but that’s just my opinion.

    Overall, a lengthy, compelling review Barney, provided some interesting insight.

  2. Thanks Adam, although you should be doing school work haha. So should I, I guess.

    Salopek’s played some great games this year, and I like the reinvention of Westhoff as a running wingman who can kick goals. Last year he appeared as if he didn’t belong in the side with Tredrea up and about kicking goals. He has tapered off a bit though.

    Richmond v Port Adelaide, a good game? Maybe for a Richmond supporter, although it was pretty…not entertaining, but a satisfying match. Carlton v Collingwood, I was going to put this one in but I actually forgot about it. My bad. As bad as St Kilda v Bulldogs was, it was still a great, titanic struggle between two powerful sides, even if it didn’t provide any highlights until late in the last quarter.

    King was actually getting a game last year, and playing well mind you, as much as Richmond supporters would hate to agree. And like I said, Chris Mayne was just a personal disappointment, he was my first pick in the forward line for Supercoach and I traded him out after 4 rounds, so he disappointed me.

    Would love to see Hodge or Goddard win the Brownlow, two blokes that just really deserve, not that Gary doesn’t, but still.

    Anyway, better be off to period 2.

  3. Thanks for the Barney’s Midseason Review Review review.

    Barney, I was at home. I have spares Friday periods 1+2, so I drove myself to school later haha.

    I don’t know how you can put Salopek in the most improved category since he is averaging 4 less disposals than last year. Westhoff hasn’t so much improved as had a change in role, which has caused an increase in his disposal count, rather than any actual improvement from him.

    King played 8 games last year, 2009 was his “disappointing” year. 2010 he’s been no worse, in fact maybe slightly better.

  4. Steve Healy says

    Josh very good report, and im grateful that you said Cornes picked up 5 possessions in round 11, because he did!

    Salopek has definitely improved, its a shame his injured himself, but i dont think westhoff has had that big an impact considering hes missed the last two games and has only kicked eight goals when his best footy was definitely in his debut year of 2007. Very tough on Mitch Clark, as hes battled an injury worry or two and hasnt really disappointed in any game hes played.

    I think Richard Douglas is THE most improved player in the AfL this season, but i think it would be fair to include Carlton trio Kade Simpson, Jordan Russell and Heath Scotland as well as maybe Andrew Walker.

    A bit harsh on Dawson, Mayne and Campbell, Campbell was just as bad in 2009.

    and why on earth isn’t Brad Green in the improvers?

  5. You make some fair points Steve.

    -I would have had Jordan Russell in my most improved if I did this report last year, while Kade Simpson and Heath Scotland have contributed nicely, but haven’t really taken their game to a whole new level. Neither with Walker, although he’s been handy. Except for last Friday night.

    -Like I said to Adam, Mayne was a personal disappointment.

    -Yes, I could have picked at least another 10 players to put into the list of improvers.

  6. 5: Why did you need to say that twice? (about Mayne)

  7. Because Steve pointed out that I was harsh towards Mayne.

  8. Oh, I missed out the “to”, I thought it was “Like I said Adam”

  9. Danielle says

    i agree, and i also love Dale when he DOES SOMETHING.
    Reid- lanky…LOL

    As for Jack, one of my teachers said the same thing you did, but i won’t skitz it at you b/c i already let it out on him when he said “Gold Coast would be stupid not to chase Anthony”

    i just hope Mick isn’t stupid enough to let him go, with Davis and Medders gettin old we need to hang onto him.

    Brownlow- Gibbs will be a good chance, i think he will score highly.

    Top job yet again. :)


  10. Danni,

    I would like to congratulate you on getting comment 9. It is a rare achievement for you, and it is even rarer for you to not notice/not comment on that.

  11. My differing of opinion:

    Brownlow Medal: James Kelly

    Coleman Medal: PODSIARR…PODSLIAD….PO- ah, heck: the jPOD!

    Rising Star Award: Dustin Martin

    Top 8: Geelong, Collingwood, St Kilda, Fremantle, Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs, Carlton, Essendon

    Will Gary Go: No, he will retire to pursue his long dreamed of acting career, only to realise he can’t act and no one wants to hire him, and will slink back into the AFL in two or three years’ time.

    Grand Finalists: Geelong and Hawthorn :-D

  12. Adam i did notice that i got number nine, i just didn’t say anything.
    My theory was that i wouldn’t need to b/c you guys would have noticed anyway and it looks like im right. :)


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