The Think Tank: Who’s Set to Under-Achieve in 2015
December 12, 2014
While the Swans and Hawks are hot favourites to once again battle it out for the AFL premiership next year, just who’ll be down the bottom of the table trying to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon? Last place is the position every club wants to avoid but some seem to have a knack of ending up there. So instead of having a punt on who’ll win the flag why not put your money on a side you expect to fail. Here’s a trio of teams that one can assume will be somewhere near the wrong end of the ladder next year.
Saints Go marching In – To Successive Wooden Spoons?
Saint Kilda is at short odds to lift the spoon for a second year running; favourites with the bookies to go back to back. The side only managed 4 victories for the entire 2014 campaign even after an amazing start to the season which saw them win 3 of their first 5 games. But the victory song was only song once more as the Saints sunk to 16 losses in their next 17 matches.
The Saints will again rely on Riewoldt to lead from the front. Nick was the standout performer last season and refused to shirk responsibilities when times got tough. But at 32 he’s no spring chicken. Meanwhile Lenny Hayes retirement has left Riewoldt to spearhead a young team on his own. The Saints are in a rebuilding phase which began this year but is likely to continue without tangible results for the next season at least. St Kilda’s generation next know they’re in for a tough season, but just how harsh will it be?
Dees Desperate To Shake Cellar Dwellers Tag
The Mighty Melbourne Demons finished the regular season second in 2014…. Oh wait let me turn the paper the right way up! Still a 17th placed finish was enough for the Dees to avoid the wooden spoon for the fifth consecutive year. Melbourne only just managed the feat though after finishing above the Saints on percentages. But just 4 wins in that campaign hasn’t helped them shake the cellar dwellers tag. Paul Roos is a good coach and even better bloke but he’s likely to be in for another tough ride in 2015.
James Frawley’s departure to Hawthorn leaves a huge hole down back, which the top teams could majorly exploit. His experience and stability will be missed in the Dees Defence. While Mitch Clark’s move to Geelong also hurts the club, fans won’t begrudge the forward who hung his boots up while he battled depression, before he returns to the AFL arena next season.
Melbourne’s midfield looks competitive and should have plenty of run. But the Demons will need to work on what usually lets them down, Skill execution and options in front of goal. While confidence will also be a key, if it’s up Melbourne may be ok, but the more they lose the lower it will be and the lower the Dees will drop on the ladder.
GWS – Greater Western Sydney or Getting Wooden Spoon
So the heading is a little harsh, especially after Greater Western Sydney finished 16th last season, avoiding their first wooden spoon since they entered the competition in 2012. 6 victories in 2014 wasn’t a bad return for a club still fledgling. Sydney’s second side should be solid enough to remain off the bottom but at around $7 to finish at the tail of the field there is some value there. The Giants youthful roster could work either way, at some stages last season they showed they can mix it with the elite teams but a couple of heavy defeats also proved the young guns have plenty to learn. If GWS start slow it could be a very long season.
The Giants gave up a future star forward in Tom Boyd to bag Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen. He’ll add more bite to the midfield, while the acquisition of ex Brisbane Lion Joel Patfull will bolster the backline. The Giants are similar odds to make the finals as they are to finish last, in the end it will probably be neither.
Those are the teams top of the list to finish bottom of the table, but there’s no guarantee either of them will claim the coveted spoon. The Western Bulldogs and Brisbane may also be hovering down the bottom while Carlton could crash quickly if things unravel.