AFL Rd 2 - Collingwood v Richmond
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 11: Dustin Martin of the Tigers looks on after the 2020 AFL Round 02 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Richmond Tigers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 11, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

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.

However, when Port Adelaide has lost, the big man has been well off his game.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 09: Charlie Dixon of the Power looks on during the AFL First Elimination Final match between Port Adelaide Power and West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval on September 9, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

In their losses to Brisbane, St. Kilda and Geelong, Dixon only managed a singular goal and two behinds.

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.

They are third in points scored and their forward line – which includes the likes of Eric Hipwood, Charlie Cameron and Cam Rayner – is very talented.

However, something that has haunted the Lions, especially against this week’s opponent, Richmond, is their goalkicking accuracy.

AFL Rd 1 - Hawthorn v Brisbane
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 22: Dayne Zorko and his Lions team mates look dejected after losing the round 1 AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Brisbane Lions at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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.

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.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 21: Chris Scott, coach of Geelong, at three quarter time during the round five AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Geelong Cats at Adelaide Oval on April 21, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

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.

AFL Rd 18 - North Melbourne v West Coast
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 17: Josh J. Kennedy of the Eagles is seen on the bench after he sustained an injury during the round 18 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the West Coast Eagles at Metricon Stadium on September 17, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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.

AFL Rd 4 - St Kilda v Richmond
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 27: Dan Butler of the Saints celebrates a goal during the 2020 AFL Round 04 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Richmond Tigers at Marvel Stadium on June 27, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

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.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 21: Bulldogs head coach Luke Beveridge talks to Bailey Smith during the round 5 AFL match between Western Bulldogs and Carlton at Marvel Stadium on April 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Yes, they did edge the Eagles during the season on the Gold Coast, but they were without Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo and Shannon Hurn.

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.

AFL Rd 6 - Collingwood v Hawthorn
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 10: Brody Mihocek of the Magpies kicks during the round 6 AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Hawthorn Hawks at GIANTS Stadium on July 10, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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.