Recently for each club we published one reason why they had what it takes to win the 2020 flag.
Now we’re putting the shoe on the other foot, switching from optimist to pessimist, and giving a reason why each team CAN’T claim the premiership.
Port Adelaide – No Dixon, no Port
Charlie Dixon has been in spectacular form this year which has earned him a spot at centre-half forward in this year’s All-Australian team.
He has been influential for the South-Australian outfit, kicking 32 goals and being ranked first in contested marks.
The Geelong loss was particularly telling, with the 200cm forward only managing three disposals and two marks with no score at all.
And with the Cats coming up on Thursday for the Power, Dixon would be hoping to put on a better showing than he did against them last time out.
If other teams also choose to nullify him, then Ken Hinkley’s boys could be in strife.
Brisbane Lions – Goalkicking woes
The Lions have looked rampant on the offensive this year.
However, something that has haunted the Lions, especially against this week’s opponent, Richmond, is their goalkicking accuracy.
In last year’s qualifying final at The Gabba against the Tigers, Brisbane kicked eight goals and 17 behinds to go down by 47 points.
If the Lions had converted from their opportunities, then perhaps it could’ve been a different story.
The same thing happened this year against Richmond, with Chris Fagan’s boys kicking four goals and 17 points to once again cost them the game.
If this horrid display in front of goal happens this week, then the Lions would have to face either the Saints or the Dogs, both of which are dangerous underdogs that could spell the end for Brisbane.
Richmond – 2018 preliminary final
The Tigers have been unstoppable since their loss to the Power in round 11.
With all their stars back into the fray now, they are favourites to win the flag given their incredible record at The Gabba.
However, with this favouritism can come complacency the likes of which were on show in the 2018 preliminary final shock-loss to Collingwood.
In that game, Richmond came out smiling and laughing and left with their heads in their hands after being outplayed and outworked all over the ground.
Bigger than Texas 🇺🇸
Enjoy all of Mason Cox's highlights from Collingwood's huge preliminary final win. pic.twitter.com/N7iibt7inn
— AFL (@AFL) September 21, 2018
Although Damien Hardwick encouraged his players to enjoy the occasion and smile, many viewed their attitude before that game as cocky.
Last year’s premiership win very much remedied the heartbreak of the year before, however to retain the flag is an incredibly tough feat, and with the topsy-turvy year that 2020 has been, the Tigers cannot afford to lose focus.
Geelong – Finals bogey
The Cats have consistently played a pivotal role in the finals for the past decade and a half.
However, since their 2011 premiership, the Cats haven’t tasted victory on the last day of the season.
In fact, Chris Scott has won seven of the 18 finals that he has coached with Geelong, and four of those victories have been in the nine seasons since their premiership win.
To put it plainly, the Cats have underperformed in the finals.
Last year they were defeated by the Pies in week one, beat the Eagles in the semi-finals, then surrendered a four-goal half-time lead to the Tigers for a preliminary final exit.
And with Geelong’s ageing list, the window is almost shut for them to win a premiership before their stars of years gone by hang up the boots.
West Coast – Interstate travel
The Eagles’ last flag in 2018 was a sweet one, coming from behind to snatch the lead in the last two minutes and knock off the Pies.
Since then, the Perth outfit have not reached the heights of that year, and their 2020 finals are not looking the easiest either.
On Saturday night they will take on the Pies at Optus Stadium, however this will be their only game for the rest of the season in Perth.
Should they beat the Pies, they will play either Port Adelaide or Geelong away from home, which will be an incredibly tough ask.
The Eagles have a flawless record at Optus Stadium this year, winning all seven games there.
However, when forced to travel interstate, the Eagles have only won half their games, winning five of a possible ten.
So, playing interstate for the rest of finals presents a great danger for the Eagles, especially against quality opposition.
If Adam Simpson’s side want to win, then they must overcome their inability to consistently perform when travelling.
St. Kilda – No finals experience
The Saints are gearing up for a red-hot crack at this year’s finals after being absent from the business end of the competition for nine years.
But the fact of the matter remains that Brett Ratten’s side, as exciting as they have been throughout the home-and-away season, are inexperienced come finals.
Only Jarryn Geary remains from the Saints side that were in the finals mix, but as a collective unit, St. Kilda do not have ample knowledge of finals or how to win them.
Coming up against the in-form Bulldogs will be challenging, with Luke Beveridge’s side winning the competition in 2016 in a fashion the Saints can only hope to mirror.
Will the Saints put up a fight, if not win a final? Most likely yes.
Will they take out the flag with their lack of experience? Most would say no.
Western Bulldogs – Tough road ahead
The Bulldogs, as mentioned before, are in great stead coming into finals, winning three on the bounce and sneaking into the eight.
However, now they are here, most consider them to be nothing but a team making up the numbers.
Despite their stars being in top form, the question remains whether they can overcome the top sides.
And should they overcome the Saints, the Bulldogs will be playing one of Brisbane or Richmond in a semi-final the following week.
Although this is the same thing that people said in 2016 when the Dogs won the unlikeliest of premierships, Luke Beveridge’s boys haven’t been as good as they were back then.
In 2016, the Dogs finished in seventh on 60 points, only two wins off top spot and three wins clear of ninth place.
This year, they also finished seventh, but just one win clear of ninth and four wins off top spot.
The truth is the gap between the Dogs and the best is a lot bigger than it was when they won the flag, and will be the reason why they can’t win it this year.
Collingwood – Inability to kick a winning score
The Pies have regained most of their injured stars towards the back end of the season, but they will be up against it come Saturday night against the Eagles.
Although Jordan De Goey has come back into the side and done well for the most part, the reality is the Pies have a shortage of goals.
In season 2020, the Pies have only managed to score 965 points, the 13th worst point-scoring total in the competition and certainly not up to finals standards.
Brody Mihocek has scored 20 goals for the season topping the Pies’ goalkicking leaderboard, their next best is Jaidyn Stephenson on 13.
The Pies need a key forward who brings goals desperately, hence why they’re linked with Ben Brown and Jack Gunston amongst others.
But for 2020, despite all the magic Jordan De Goey could weave in finals, it is hard to see how on earth the Pies can put enough points on the board to overcome any of the top sides.