AFL Around the Corner
March 25, 2015
With the NAB Challenge done and dusted it’s definitely time to begin counting down the days till the 2015 AFL Premiership season kicks off on Thursday April 2. The Pre-season competition was merely an entree with the main course still to come, then we’ll finish with finals for dessert. The first course was nice with a few surprises, but has it at all hinted to what will arrive on the big plate? Brisbane Lions topped the NAB Challenge ladder and were the only unbeaten side after three games but does that mean a team which finished 15th last year is ready to make an assault on the top eight? It’s one of several questions, fans experts and even the 18 clubs themselves, mightn’t be able to answer until a couple of bites into the second course.
Off Season Recruits Ready to Roar
Brisbane should certainly be better than they were in 2014 after recruiting Premiership players Allen Christensen and Dayne Beams from Geelong and Collingwood respectively. The latter was one of Brisbane’s best in the pre-season fixtures and the pair have added quality in depth to an already strong Lions midfield. All-Australian defender James Frawley has fitted in at Hawthorn nicely. The former Melbourne midfielder’s form down back in pre -season has allowed Josh Gibson to go further up the field, adding more attacking flare to the double defending premiers game. Frawley could find himself tangling with the oppositions key talls alongside Brian Lake in 2015.
Swans Set to Bounce Back?
As expected 2014 Minor Premiers Sydney gave little away in the pre-season competition. After being beaten by Brisbane they bounced back with wins over Freemantle and the Giants, whilst leaving plenty in reserve for the serious stuff. Despite finishing first the Swans made a shocking start last season winning losing three of their first four games and you’d expect they’ll get off to a better beginning this year. And they’ll have point to prove after that Grand Final Humiliation to the Hawks. Highly rated academy prospect Isaac Heeney isn’t one who needs to restore wounded pride but he made his mark in the NAB Challenge. He’s just 18 but his eye-catching performances suggest he could add an extra element to the Bloods Premiership prospects Assault. The Swans saw Lance Franklin and Kieren Jack both injured in their final hit out, but Big Buddy’s head should be healed by round one and it’s expected Jack will also be over an abdomen injury by the time they take on rivals Geelong.
Carlton and Richmond Ready to Start the Season
Richmond and Carlton kick off the AFL season and both sides will believe they can deliver a winning start. Tigers captain Trent Cotchin was plagued by hamstring soreness for most of pre-season but it took just three quarters against North Melbourne to show he’ll be a key player once again for last year’s finalists. The 24-year-old finished with 20 possessions (14 contested) and eight clearances in and the Blues will be wary what impact the fully fit midfielder could have in the opener.
So waiter; bring us our dinner! We’re ready to tuck in and enjoy!