Tag Archives: AFL 2011

Ready to Fire – Essendon

Over the next few weeks Dyson Baker will take a look at how every club has fared this year, exactly where every club is at in terms of development and of course how far away each club is from Premiership success. Today, he looks at Essendon

Currently: 8th, 6 wins, 7 losses & 1 draw, 107.5%

Welcome Sir James.

Essendon fans were singing from the roof tops when the Bombers announced the return of two of their favourite sons. James Hird & Mark “Bomber” Thompson together took the weight of fans expectations into the 2011 Season. The Bombers got off to a flying start with a big win against 2010 Preliminary finalist the Western Bulldogs. Things were looking bright and Talk Back stations around the state were full of Bombers fans wanting to praise their side. After a close loss to the Sydney Swans in round 2, the Bombers then put St Kilda to the sword with a 52 point win.

A draw with rivals Carlton and a 30 point loss on ANZAC day to the Magpies, and the Bombers fans still had high hopes for success in 2011. A home game followed against the Suns and the Bombers managed 15 first quarter goals and won by 131 points. Kyle Reimers booted 8 goals bursting onto the scene as the next big thing for the Bombers. In the next fortnight Essendon had wins over West Coast and Brisbane to cement them in the Top 8.

2011 “Dreamtime at the ‘G” turned into more of a nightmare for the Bombers though, with the 21 point loss starting a string of 5 games where Essendon failed to register a win. Melbourne and North Melbourne, both below the Bombers on the ladder, managed wins by 40 and 21 points respectively while the Bombers couldn’t get over Fremantle at Subiaco or Hawthorn at the MCG.

Hird was suddenly in the firing line as the Bombers quickly slid down the ladder finding themselves on the edge of the Top 8. With 13 individual goal kickers though, Essendon came to play last week and finally got a win up against the top of the table Cats, hanging on in the dying seconds to record a 4 point win.

Prediction: 8th, 8 wins, 13 losses & 1 draw, 99.2%

Going Forward: It’s been a Roller Coaster ride for Bombers fans in 2011 and it’s set to continue that way for a few years. Essendon have a young line up, thought to have been primed for a push at the Top 4, however the young side has struggled to close out sides late in games. In 2011 Essendon will set up an away Elimination Final against Sydney, which they have a chance of winning, any further than that we will see.

A young side with potential, give the Bombers a couple of years and expect them to be regular attendants to September action. Their young brigade have shown talent beyond expectation, in particular Dyson Heppell, who as a first year player has announced himself with standout performances aplenty shortening with the bookies as favourite for the NAB rising star award.

If the Bombers can pick up a true key Half Forward along with a couple of running Backmen who can play a Quarterback type role, they would be set for the years to come. With GWS offering up quality young players the Bombers possibly need to look at dishing off Hille, Ryder or Bellchambers in order to pick up some younger talent while these players still have value within the Market. Tall timber is not hard to come by in the Essendon line up, something that GWS coach Kevin Sheedy will be searching for come their inception in 2012, so expect the Giants to go after Tom Bellchambers with Hille and Ryder more or less hands off as Bombers.

Premiership Window: 2013-2016



Hot Pies – Collingwood

Over the next few weeks Dyson Baker will take a look at how every club has fared this year, exactly where every club is at in terms of development and of course how far away each club is from Premiership success. Today, he looks at Collingwood

Currently: 2nd, 12 Wins &  1 loss, 170%

Collingwood has gone from strength to strength in season 2011 and the 2010 AFL Premiers have continued to breed success, losing only one game so far this year.
The reigning Premiers got off to a flying start with convincing wins over Port Adelaide and North Melbourne, both at Etihad Stadium. The Pies then won their next four beating Carlton, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs in that stretch before falling to the Cats by 3 points in front of 81,000 people in round 8.

Since then the Magpies have only once been truly tested, in round 14 when they narrowly got over the Swans by 6 points at Stadium Australia. They have since beaten fellow Top 4 opponents by 40 points (West Coast) and 45 points (Hawthorn) respectively. On the run home the Magpies may be tested on a few occasions, in two weeks’ time when they take on a rampaging Carlton outfit followed a fortnight later by the “in form” Bombers. Then in round 24 they will look to make amends on their round 8 loss as they take on Geelong on what is sure to be a finals preview.

The Pies travel more in the last 9 weeks than in first 15, with matches at Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast), Paterson’s stadium (Fremantle) and AAMI Stadium (Port Adelaide). You would expect Collingwood to win most of their remaining games although I would think that the Cats will be too good in Round 24.

Prediction: 1st, 20 Wins & 2 Losses, 160.7%

Going Forward: It’s hard to go past the Magpies as flag favourites for season 2011, they haven’t missed a beat and have kept a reasonably healthy list to this point in the season. Any deficiency that was going to be a problem from last season has been quickly fixed and the Pies look to be cruising along. Looking ahead to next season, they will need to start investing in small forwards, both Davis and Didak have played for most of their careers in the forward half and they aren’t getting any younger as they both stare down the barrel of 30. With Cloke finding form of recent months, the need for a key forward has gone out the window. Their centre line is as potent as ever, the only thing that the Pies lack is a secondary ruckman. With Darren Jolly missing  most of the season, in fact only managing 5 games this year, Cameron Wood has been found out as a first rate ruckman, he doesn’t have the ability to play first ruck and with Fraser gone and Jolly spending time on the sidelines, it will become a weakness in the Collingwood Midfield.

In conclusion, expect big things from the Pies, whether they will hear the calls of their fans and manage 2 or even 3 in a row is yet to be determined but from a list management point of view, the Pies have done everything right to call themselves contenders, for this year, and probably the next 2 years.

Premiership Window: 2009-2013

Next up… Essendon!


The Next Step – Brisbane

Over the next few weeks Dyson Baker will take a look at how every club has fared this year, exactly where every club is at in terms of development and of course how far away each club is from Premiership success.

Brisbane Lions

Currently: 15th, 2 wins & 11 losses, 77.1%

At the end of the 2009 season the Lions were flying high, coming of a Semi-Final finish to the year, Brisbane was full of confidence, so to their coach. Michael Voss became the most active man in trade week picking up 5 mature players including Carlton Full-forward Brendan Fevola, an experiment that went horribly wrong.

Fast forward to 2011 and the coach has admitted his mistake quite clearly. Voss has injected youth into the Lions line up demonstrating the air of change that Brisbane has begun a rebuild stage of their cycle. As their ladder position suggests, Brisbane have found wins hard to come by so far this season, with only the 2 wins over North Melbourne and Adelaide.

The Lions went down in their first game at home to the Dockers by 2 points and more importantly lost their skipper, Jonathon Brown, with a facial fracture and Brent Staker with a severe knee injury. They then travelled to Melbourne to take on the Bulldogs who handed them a 78 point loss. The next five weeks were positive without a win for the Lions, narrow losses to Melbourne, St Kilda and Gold Coast pleasing coach Michael Voss in terms of the effort from his younger brigade. Rounds 9 and 10 saw the return of key Forward Jonathon Brown and the Lions return to the winners list with a tight victory against North Melbourne, followed by a hard fought win over the Crows.

After big losses to the Swans and Carlton in consecutive weeks, the Lions showed against both Richmond and Fremantle that finishing games has been an issue, dropping both games after holding the lead late in the game. However with a couple of winnable games coming up in the next month, the Lions have the opportunity to boost their position. With Mitch Clark proving his worth up forward for the lions and their Ruck combination a fierce duo in training the lions are showing many positive signs.

Prediction: 14th, 6 wins & 16 losses, 81.1%

Going Forward: The Brisbane Lions are heading on the right track and should be in finals within the next 2 years. Michael Voss will need to show the Brisbane faithful success in order to keep his position beyond the end of 2012. Redden, Rockliff and Rich have shown that the future of the Lions midfield is safe. Brisbane will need to top up in the coming years and as Brown ages, they will be in need of a second key Forward and also a centre half back with marking ability who can give Full-back Daniel Merrett a chop out.

Over the next 3 years expect, Brown, Black and Power to call the end on stellar careers, not far behind them Lions recruits Maguire, Raines, and Buchannan. Brisbane must continue to focus as they have done on younger players, in order to develop a list that will be sustainable with success for years to come, they have the talent in their core group of young players but need to nurture that in to ensure they become quality AFL footballers.

Premiership Window: 2015-2020


Glory and fame returns to Windy Hill.

Yes, it’s only March and round one hasn’t been completed, however this afternoon at Etihad Stadium, one of the most successful football clubs of all time awoke from a decade-long slumber. Continue reading