Adelaide Crows (6-7, 11th)
What’s gone right: Despite the countless injuries, the Crows had a good start to the season following their Grand Final loss last season. Beating the reigning premiers in round 2, the Crows were able to get out to a 5-2 record in Round 7. The good start didn’t last however.
What’s gone wrong: The Crows have lost five out of their last six games and a lot of fans would be blaming injuries. A lot of Adelaide’s top-tier talent has missed chunks of the season, and although captain Tex Walker has made it back into the side, the Crows have not and cannot find their footing.
Best and fairest: Matt Crouch. Although he missed four games in the first half of the season, the competition his teammates are providing hasn’t been too much to handle. Adelaide are lacking in a consistent performers and in the games Crouch has played he’s averaged just under 30 disposals.
Season prediction: 11-11. The Crows have five of their next nine games at home and two of their away games against Carlton and Brisbane. Unfortunately, their record going into the bye wasn’t good enough and has put them in a position where they will need to blow the expectations out of the water to make it into the top eight.
Fremantle Dockers (6-7, 12th)
What’s gone right: Nat Fyfe has returned to his Brownlow-winning form. The Dockers field a young team every week and the dominance Fyfe brings is key in helping the team pick up some wins.
What’s gone wrong: The Dockers have remained stagnant this season, with the exact same record this time last year, Ross Lyon would have liked to see some improvement in the win-loss column this season.
Best and fairest: Nat Fyfe. Although the Dockers have had some surprising talent show they can be superstars in this league, no one has been able to show they’re more valuable to the team than Fyfe. When he’s clicking the whole team starts to play better. His value to the team cannot be doubted.
Season prediction: 11-11. Playing six of their last nine games at Optus stadium, the Dockers have an opportunity to have a much better second half of the season than they did last year when they only won two of their last nine games.
Geelong Cats (8-5, 5th)
What’s gone right: There’s no such thing as too much star-power. After signing Gary Ablett in the off season, a lot of fans began to doubt whether there was enough ball to go around for such a star-studded midfield. The doubt has quickly faded as each of their superstars has been shining and the Cats sit in a good position at fifth on the ladder.
What’s gone wrong: They enter the bye following a loss to the reigning premiers. After such a good run winning five of six games, the Cats looked to enter the bye on a hot-streak. Unfortunately the were stopped in their tracks as the Tigers who beat them one week before the bye. The Cats need to wait a week before making up for the loss.
Best and fairest: With such a star-studded midfield, it’s always going to be difficult to choose the Cats’ best and fairest. At the midway point of the season, it’s got to be the always reliable Joel Selwood. Playing in all 13 games, Selwood has averaged over 27 disposals and has had 70% disposal efficiency.
Season prediction: The Cats will only get better as coach Crhis Scott has more time with the stacked squad. The Cats will be looking for a top four finish in order to receive that all important double chance. They will end with a season record of 15-7.
Richmond Tigers (10-3, 1st)
What’s gone right: The Tigers have come out and played their brand of football week in, week out. They have the league’s best record and league’s best percentage heading into their bye round.
What’s gone wrong: They suffered a 47-point loss to arguably their biggest threat this season. The game wasn’t played at the MCG, but the Tigers lost to West Coast who have come out this season to show they’re playing for a premiership. The Tigers won’t be able to play for redemption in the regular season.
Best and fairest: There aren’t too many standouts for the Tigers this season, every player plays their role so well and the machine moves so fluently it’s hard to choose who their clear best and fairest is. Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin and Alex Rance will be thereabouts as usual, although they could face some stiff competition from Josh Caddy, who’s impressed in the forward line so far this season, booting 28 goals.
Season prediction: Seven of their last nine games will be played in Melbourne. As history tells us, the Tigers play really well in Melbourne. Barring any speech from Damien Hardwick telling his team to take it easy until finals, the Tigers will comfortably win most of their games. They will finish inside the top two with a record of 18-4.
St Kilda Saints (2-10-1, 16th)
What’s gone right: Apart from the last quarter against the Suns, not much has gone right for the Saints at all. Winning an abysmal two games, the Saints sit 16th on the ladder and Alan Richardson has been facing rumours of being fired for as long as the season’s been going.
What’s gone wrong: Plain and simple, St Kilda have lost too many games. Coming off of an 11-11 season last year, the Saints needed to be looking at a step up at this point of their rebuild. Unfortunately with no real presence up forward and no superstar in the midfield, the Saints have only been able to truly put up a fight against three teams.
Best and fairest: The Saints are lacking a superstar, however Jack Steven is an extremely good talent and has been St Kilda’s most valuable asset this season. Averaging 27 disposals with an efficiency of 70%, Steven has been a bright spot in a team struggling this season.
Season prediction: The Saints will continue to struggle after they return from the bye. Sitting at 16th, it’s hard to say they’ll pick up a win against any of the future opponents other than Carlton. They’ll end with a record of 3-18-1.
Sydney Swans (10-3, 3rd)
What’s gone right: The Swans have taken care of the teams they needed to. With a difficult schedule coming up following the bye, the Swans now have the confidence and momentum needed to take on the league’s best teams. The Swans have had a slew of players propel themselves into All-Australian contention and their stars from years past have been able to keep their form.
What’s gone wrong: Not too much has gone wrong for the Swans, their big stars have suffered some injuries which may come back to bite them, but as for now they’ve dealt with them well and have a ‘next man up’ mentality that never seems to fail them.
Best and fairest: The Swans have multiple candidates at each position for this award. As of this point in the season, it’s hard to look past Jake Lloyd’s efforts. Averaging 27 disposals a game with a disposal efficiency of 80%, the Swans are never upset when the ball is with this man. Coming off the half back line, he’s a player every team would want on their list.
Season prediction: As previously mentioned, the Swans have a tough schedule ahead. With only four games at home, the Swans play only two games where their opponent sits outside the top 10. Nonetheless, the Swans aren’t strangers to tough games and will definitely be able to pull out their fair share of wins. They will end with a 16-6 record and finish in the top four.