Myles Stedman


With the season now over for all but two teams, it’s time to start reflecting on 2015, and assessing how the off-season must be attacked.

Here is part two of our series of the major question confronting each team ahead of next season. Today, Essendon, Geelong and Gold Coast are in the firing line.

ESSENDON BOMBERS: What does this list lack?

On paper, the Bombers’ list is nothing to be sneezed at. They have a great backline, a solid midfield and a developing forward line featuring future superstar Joe Daniher.

Add into the fold the Brownlow medalist of 2012, Jobe Watson, and the Bombers look like a team that should at least be contending to make the finals, perhaps soon approaching a premiership push.

Instead they finished a woeful 15th, three spots off the bottom of the ladder.

With the drugs saga unfortunately still weighting over the players’ heads, they still somewhat have an excuse, but excuses in professional sport mean little. Athletes in the 21st century face adversity daily.

So what is it exactly that this team lacks?

John Worsfold is widely tipped to be appointed head coach, which is a positive move. An experienced coach with no previous ties to the club or the drugs scandal.

However, the most obvious gap in the list is another good key position forward to take some of the load of young Joe Daniher.

Unfortunately, there are few key position players in free agency, meaning they will have to look for something on the trade table – possibly when looking to move on Jake Carlisle or Jake Melksham.

They could also do with some extra speed through the midfield, especially with Brent Stanton possibly on his way out.

Adelaide’s Brodie Martin and West Coast’s Scott Selwood are two options, but again, this will likely be assessed at the trade table.

With the bonus of a high draft pick this year, Essendon has plenty of avenues in which to address its problems. The Bombers will certainly be an interesting team to watch next year.

GEELONG CATS: How close are they?

Just a few days ago, the worst kept secret in the AFL rung true: Patrick Dangerfield will be returning to his hometown of Geelong to play for the Cats.

Whilst this acquisition is likely to catapult Geelong back into the finals after one season out of the eight, this team is still is fair way off a premiership.

In fact, it may take a season to work out exactly how close the Cats are to winning their 10th premiership.

Apart from Dangerfield, Carlton swingman Lachie Henderson has also made known his wish to move to Geelong, which will add some depth to the Cats’ key position stocks.

Geelong will also go to the draft with a high draft pick, which will allow them to add some more talented youth to the side.

What Geelong need to focus on most is finding an identity for this new-look team and work out where the weak spots still are.

GOLD COAST SUNS: What went wrong?

Despite missing Gary Ablett for a decent part of the year, the Gold Coast Suns looked like a shadow of the team that could’ve played finals last year.

Their defence was woeful, despite the addition of Nick Malceski, their attack not much better, despite three strong key forwards and they finished just two spots off the bottom of the table.

Obviously sacking Guy McKenna can be pointed to as a reason for failure, but mail from inside the club suggests he wasn’t getting on with the players anyway.

What’s more, Rodney Eade is a proven coach who has competed in many a finals series and is no slouch of a gaffer.

To add insult to injury, the super talented Charlie Dixon and Harley Bennell have both played their last games for the Gold Coast.

Despite their high draft pick this year, the Suns will surely look to add some more experience to their young team, most probably in the way of a key defender secured in a trade for Dixon or Bennell.

They do not lack midfield talent, but ‘Rocket’ Eade needs to work on their forward 50 entry strategies so they can best utilise their (now two) twin towers, Tom Lynch and Sam Day.

Another interesting one to watch for next season. It’s back to the drawing board for the Queensland based team. Hopefully next year we will see some more 2014 style football, as opposed to last season’s form.

Click here to view The major question confronting each AFL team: Part one