Saints great Nick Dal Santo has revealed which teams he believes most need a win in round one on SEN.
5. St Kilda (vs Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium)
After finishing last season with just four wins, a loss to the wooden spoon-bound Suns on their own deck would paint a grim picture for St Kilda’s 2018 campaign
“This game is really important for the Saints for different reasons,” Dal Santo told SEN.
“I’ve had a look at their first six weeks. They’ve got the Suns at home, the Bombers at home, the Dockers away, the Hawks at home, the Dees at the MCG and the Crows at home.
“It’s not easy. It’d be nice to get one off the top to take a little bit of pressure off certain players and coaches.”
4. North Melbourne (vs Fremantle at Optus Stadium)
The Roos were thereabouts last year, narrowly missing finals despite featuring in the top eight throughout the season. A bit of a harsh call from Dal Santo here, as Fremantle are always tough to beat over there.
“They were right around the mark with two rounds to go last year, they bring in four prominent players from other clubs who will probably be the mix for their Round 1 best 22.
“They need to get off to a good start away from home, which is probably the perfect opportunity to go over there and travel when you haven’t come off the back of a previous game.
“This is a must-win. Got to get off to a good start for the Kangaroos.”
3. Adelaide (vs Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval)
After slipping from a grand final appearance in 2017 to all the way out of the eight last year, many experts are tipping the Crows to return to the September stage. If they can’t claim four points against the new-look Hawks in round one, questions will start getting asked about Don Pyke’s team.
“Off the back of last year, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Nothing went their way.
“If they can get off to a good start against the Hawks at Adelaide Oval, they might bounce right back this year.”
2. and 1. Essendon vs GWS at Sydney Showground Stadium
An interesting call from Dal Santo here. With both teams looking to make a push for the top four, a win is critical to prove they are ready to go to the next level.
“They’re both of equal importance. I think it’s really important for both teams from where I expect them to finish on the ladder.
“Maybe they’re finishing top four if everything goes right. Maybe they’re getting squeezed out of the eight if it all goes wrong so if you can get one up on an opposition who’s probably going to be in that category come the end of the year, I think they’re off to a good start.
“That’s a huge start.”