Port Adelaide are a true unknown for season 2017, as per the story of their past three seasons. Many expected them to achieve great heights in 2015 and 2016 but lack of consistency and what seemed to be effort forced them to cash-in on a mediocre season.
They do regather Patrick Ryder after serving his 12 month ban, and they should expect him to be more of a target up forward rather than a pure ruck.
Other than Ryder and Angus Monfries, the Power won’t have too much of a different look next season. Expect Riley Bonner to get plenty of game time to inject youth into the side, as well as Brandon Ah Chee. If Hartlett can stay fit and recapture his best form then they are a chance.
Despite bringing in Dion Prestia and Josh Caddy, it is hard to see where the Tigers are going to improve for next year.
They now have an abundance of inside midfielders but will need to rely heavily on players such as Connor Menadue and Kamdyn McIntosh to provide that crucial outside run, especially with Deledio gone.
They need to blood their youth and give game time to the talented Ben Lennon, Jayden Short and Nathan Drummond – to showcase what’s there for the future.
The pre-season matches should give us more insight but there is more upside in other sides who finished above them.
The Saints are currently ticking all boxes possible which usually qualifies teams for the finals – as early as it is. For one, promising on-baller Kobe Stevens will struggle to get a game unless an injury strikes, which speaks volume of their depth, and two, with Carlisle and Brown coming into the side they have established a back six which will be as competitive as anyone.
Their forward line is quite young with Riewoldt now playing on a wing to free up Paddy McCartin and Tim Membrey, but there is enough scoring power there.
If there is one thing St Kilda got away with in 2016 it was injuries. The depth of their list hasn’t necessarily been tested just yet but if they stay fit, they’ll play finals.
The Swans will still be hurting from their Grand Final loss to the Bulldogs, and they’ll want to go one step further next season.
Ultimate success, however, will only happen for the Swans if George Hewitt, Tom Papley, James Rose and Harry Cunningham have reasonably big years as these are the next generation players who are in the best 22 already.
The loss of Mitchell doesn’t hurt them to the extent that it should, as it will allow Isaac Heeney to get more midfield time despite being preferred on a wing.
There were no additions in the trade period so the whole team will need to improve. They should play finals as they have a core group of leaders who perform week-in week-out – A fit Sam Reid will be highly beneficial.
West Coast are one of the teams people are suggesting will make way from the finals in 2017. At first glance it is a fair enough assumption to make, however in dissecting their list for next season, there is more improvement in it than what is being said.
The loss of Nic Naitanui hurts them but the Scott Lycett – Jonathon Giles combination should work well with one of them resting forward to give a chop out to Kennedy and Darling.
The Sam Mitchell addition is also very handy and it gives them some real depth in the midfield, with Mark Hutchings probably the unlucky subject.
No doubt they’ll challenge for the eight but a big factor they will rely on is playing away from home.
It is probably the biggest surprise we have put in the article, giving the Bulldogs a minimum of 10th for next season meaning there is a slim chance they won’t play finals. This is obviously unlikely, given they seem a better team with big inclusions.
Bob Murphy and Marcus Adams will substantiate their solid defence, while Stewart Crameri and Travis Cloke are automatic inclusions into the forward line.
These are huge additions to what was already a premiership side, but the Dogs won the premiership with no permanent key forward target, and played with a more youthful, mobile and agile defender in Josh Dunkley.
They are a finals team no doubt, but now they have pressure to uphold that fiery standard we saw in the Grand Final.
2016 finalists –
- Sydney (8th – 1st)
- Geelong (10th – 3rd)
- Hawthorn (12th – 5th)
- GWS (4th – 1st)
- Adelaide (10th – 4th)
- West Coast (12th – 5th)
- Western Bulldogs (10th – 2nd)
- North Melbourne (14th – 7th)
2016 non-finalists –
- St Kilda (13th – 5th)
- Port Adelaide (15th – 10th)
- Melbourne (14th – 7th)
- Collingwood (14th – 5th)
- Richmond (15th – 10th)
- Carlton (18th – 11th)
- Gold Coast (18th – 10th)
- Fremantle (14th – 6th)
- Brisbane (18th – 16th)
- Essendon (14th – 5th)