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Carl+Coll 2011

Carlton

Brief Summary:  Haven’t peaked yet, but about the same as last year.  Many players are on the verge of senior selection.  Talk of Mick Malthouse being the 2012 coach doesn’t help.

12 wins (one more than 2010) and 7th,           (actual at end of season = 14 1/2 wins and 5th  before the finals)

 

More Detail:   The Blues have put pressure on themselves with talk of 2 flags in the next 5 years.  But they have the team to make the top 4 – more likely next year than this one – and setting such plans is only bad if the team then crashes terribly a la Hawks several years ago.  Recruiting 2010 Pies VFL coach Gavin Grown is a plus.  The Blues were the most inconsistent team form-wise in 2010.  They had great wins against the Cats and Saints, but later lost badly to North and their Swans clash at Etihad was over at quarter time.  A positive is that the list is still developing and the coach loves what he sees from Warnock so far.  The concern is that they have a lot of niggly injuries. Apart from the official injury list, pleas see also the “underdone” guys below.  It makes for an interesting match committee meeting for round 1.

 

Definitely missing round 1 (from best 22):              Kreuzer, Jamison (susp), Ellard (susp)

May miss round 1 or be underdone (from best 22):          Henderson, Houlihan O’hAilpin Brock McLean, White (he limped off in the NAB challenge match 12 March); Armfield (disappeared early in the NAB challenge match 12 March and nothing mentioned)

Look for improvement from:           Murphy (correct) and Warnock (correct)

Don’t expect too much from:           Henderson – a promising player but has had yet another injury-plagued pre season (correct, but be patient Blues fans)

Likely to get a game R1:       Too hard to call with many on the fringe (but this is the one game where tipsters will know early enough when doing their tips on Thursday).

Duigan, Laidler, Curnow and Watson are all a chance.  Watson is the youngest of these and looks an outstanding prospect.  A ready made build for footy, so long as he has the endurance to run out a game. Also note that there are players soon coming back from injury and suspension, so the fringe players who are selected for round 1 will need to do well to keep their spots!

 

Keys for the club:      With Jacobs gone and Kreuzer still injured, Warnock is a critical player.  If he fulfils the potential the Blues see in him and Kreuzer returns to his best, top 4 may be a possibility!

Important Rounds:   They will be warm favourites to win their first 2 games, but then face some good tests from rounds 3 – 7 (Pies, Dons, Crows in Melbourne, Swans at SCG and Saints).  Following their round 8 bye, they face Cats, Dees and Port in Adelaide.  Then rounds 12 – 15 look easier.  But  rounds 3 – 11 will set up their year.

 

Post Season Review (added 04 Jan 2012)

The Blues slightly outperformed my expectations but were in the right range of wins.  The injuries were mainly limited to fringe players, but the killers were losing Jamison and Waite for extended periods.  Kreuzer came back well from serious injury, but then was injured in round 24 and missed the finals.  Duigan and Curnow were real “finds”, while Robinson and Yarran improved greatly from their 2010 form.

 

 

Collingwood

Brief Summary:  A chance for top spot once more, but expect tougher opposition for the flag in 2011.   16 wins and 1st.  (actual at end of season = 20 wins and 1st  before the finals)

 

 

More Detail:  The Pies have won more flags in October than any other club.  The 2010 flag was also won in October    October 2009, that is, when they recruited Darren Jolly.  Their recruiting has been excellent of late and they appear to have landed on their feet again with Andrew Krakouer.  Add in Tarrant as well as rookie elevations Blair and Keeffe to make the future look even brighter.  Yes, they did lose some experienced players last year (Anthony, Fraser, Lockyer, Medhurst, O’Bree and the unlucky Presti, but none played a finals’ game (with Presti being the only one considered).   To top things off, they backed up last year’s win with a NAB Cup vistory.

Now the bad news:  NAB Cup winners almost invariably have a flat spot of form during the season.  Last year the Dogs fell out of the blocks in round 1 and were soundly beaten by the Pies.

In 2009, Geelong was terrific until round 13 when they entered several weeks of ordinary form. The Saints, in 2008, lost 7 of 10 matches from rounds 3 – 12.  Going back earlier, the Blues had a couple of entire flat seasons following NAB Cup wins.

We live in the age of technology and the Pies’ method of locking the ball in the forward third of the ground will be dissected ad infinitum by opposing team strategists.  While many may attempt a direct copy, others may work of slight variations and / or ways to overcome this tactic.  Then there is the inevitable extra build-up teams employ when playing the reigning premiers.  2010 was a year relatively free of injuries.  This year, they have already ruled a line through Nathan Brown, while a few players have had injury interrupted pre seasons.  Read keys for the club a few lines below and this gives good reason to be cautious about any back to back flag predictions.

 

Definitely missing round 1 (from best 22):  Nathan Brown, Maxwell

May miss round 1 or be underdone (from best 22):  Dick, Didak, Reid

Look for improvement from:           Chris Dawes looks to have taken the next step (was flying early but then curtailed by injury)

Don’t expect too much from:           Dick (correct) and Didak (correct) have had injury interrupted pre seasons.  Don’t hope for too much from either player in the early rounds.

Likely to get a game R1:       Buckley and Keeffe would appear to be the best chances to break into the team the won the flag.  The absence of Nathan Brown (long term) and skipper Maxwell (hopefully, only short term) does make way for 2 new players.

 

Keys for the club:      Please refer to the write-up by our technical analyst Penny Dredfell under Analysis Hints / Grand Final Big Win a Sin.  This article mentions that, in the past 50 years,  19 teams have won a Grand Final by over 6 goals and only one (Hawks 88/89) have successfully defended their crown.  This is a big hurdle for the Pies to overcome.  Remember that the Hawks were very accustomed to Grand Final appearances in this era.  One Positive for them is that Nick Maxwell is an excellent captain and his leadership skills will be needed if they are to overcome this obstacle.

 

Important Rounds:   In 2010, the Pies finished with rounds 16 – 22 all at the MCG.  This year, they have 3 interstate trips in the final 7 rounds and rounds 19 to 21 have 2 consecutive 6 day breaks.

Post Season Review (added 04 Jan 2012)

The analysis here was excellent, especially warning that the flag was not a certainty (refer “Keys for the Club” above).  In the end, they had too many players with late season interruptions of one sort or another.  Shaw missed 8 weeks via suspension while Maxwell, Wellingham, Dawes, Didak, Beams and Reid had less than ideals preparations for the Grand Final. Andrew Krakouer was a great recruit and was Fasolo.  Dale Thomas also had his best year.