Western Bulldogs

Brief Summary:  Flag.  Their time has come!  14 wins and 3rd.  From there, undefeated in the finals to break a long drought.  Well, a Grand Final appearance, at least.  (actual at end of season = 9 wins and 10th)


More Detail:   Our technical analyst, Penny Dredfell, has noted the following:  clubs which have a long premiership drought can win a NAB Cup prior to making their way to a Grand Final.  For example, the Cats won the NAB Cup in 2006;  and, although they had a Darren Crocker of of 2006 regular season, they surprised by excelling in 2007 and taking the flag.  The Saints won the NAB Cup in 2006 and progressed to a Grand Final the following year.  While the Dogs NAB Cup win may have flattened them a bit early in 2010, it will give them impetus for more trophies this year.

Following on from Penny’s comments, the positives for the Dogs are an improving list.  Their recruits Sherman, Veszpremi, Djerkurra, Wallis, Liberatore and Skinner have all looked promising.  No doubt they have recruited for immediate success.  They do, however, lose Everitt, Johnson, Harbrow, Eagleton and Acker.  It should be noted that the Dogs were just about done come finals time last year.  Cooney, Higgins and Cross were all incapacitated.  Now Higgins is up and running while Cooney has missed a bit of the pre season but looks okay for round 1. OF more concern is that Hargrave and Lake have been injured for some weeks.  Grant, Picken and Ward look to have taken the next step.  Their draw is a mixture.  The teams they play twice in 2011 (compared to 2010) is a plus.  They play the Suns, Freo and Eagles twice in 2011 compared to Pies, Roos, Lions* and Crows in 2010.  *They lost to the Lions at the Gabba in 2010. But see news about their 6 day breaks below!  They do catch the Crows when Adelaide have had 2 x 6 day breaks and the Dees when Melbourne have had 3 x 6 day breaks.  Provided that they have a healthy list come September, they should be as well placed as anyone to take the flag (refer also to Collingwood preview to assess their problems). 


Definitely missing round 1 (from best 22):              Hargrave

May miss round 1 or be underdone (from best 22):          Giansiracusa, Gilbee, Griffen, Lake, Veszpremi, Sherman


Look for improvement from:           Grant (incorrect and a HUGE disappointment), Picken (incorrect, although honest), Ward (as above) (correct, but now gone to GWS), Josh Hill is starring in NAB games (incorrect and traded)

Don’t expect too much from:           Brian Lake (especially early).  He has had 3 separate injury problems. (correct)

Likely to get a game R1:                   Josh Hill, Veszpremi (subject to minor injury concern), Liberatore, Skinner, Sherman and Wallis are all on the fringe but may just miss out


Keys for the club:                 

Important Rounds:               The Dogs have 2 periods of games where they face consecutive 6 day breaks against quality opposition.  In round 5 they travel to play Freo, then 6 days later play the Pies.  And after another short 6 day break, they face Sydney in Canberra.  Rounds 10,11 and 12 seems them play Hawks, Cats and Saints.  At least these games are all in Melbourne.

Post Season Review (added 27 Jan 2012)

The analysis here was way off.  I still like Penny Dredfell’s trend analysis, but it is an inexact science.  Lots of things went wrong for the Dogs and it all ended with the departure of Rodney Eade.  Cooney struggled for fitness and form, Gilbee and Grant had shockers, Hargrave’s delayed start to the season was further delayed. Rucks Hudson and Minson were in and out of the team, while Cordy wasn’t quite ready to step up. Lake never got going.  Most of the youngsters to show promise (Liberatore, Dalhaus, Tutt, Wallis) were patchy in the form.