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WHERE IT CAN ALL GO WRONG - THE WARTS AND ALL ANALYSIS OF EACH TEAM'S PROSPECTS [PART 3] by George on the Outer

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George on the Outer concludes his "warts and all" analysis of each team's prospects for 2017

WHERE IT CAN ALL GO WRONG - THE WARTS AND ALL ANALYSIS OF EACH TEAM'S PROSPECTS [PART 3]

 The final group of six clubs;

Hawthorn

Finally for all football fans the rot has finally set in at Hawthorn.  Winning 6 games by less than 10 points in the past season got them into finals, but it probably won’t happen again in 2017.  Then to top it off they have dispatched their top 2 players in their B & F, and invested heavily in themarginal Tom Mitchell and an eternally injured O’Meara to replace them.  (Not to mention Ty Vickery, who was recruited because….?) We now know that O’Meara won’t be available until Easter, so that plan is working well to date.  But even if these 2 are equal in every way to Mitchell and Lewis, then the Hawks can only tread water.  With Hodge, Burgoyne and Gibson all on the wrong side of 30, the Hawks are still competitive, but they are no longer the unbeatables.
 
Port Adelaide

If this team was a horse, the stewards would be out with the swab every time they make an appearance.  They still have 17 players from their 2014 preliminary final side playing, but given back then they couldn’t take the next step, it is likely that those players were never good enough.  And now it is 3 years later and we have seen a slow drop down the ladder.  With next to zero trading done in the past 2 years and unable to convince others to take on Hartlett and his huge contract, Port will be much the same as last year, and the year before.  
 
Western Bulldogs 

When the team ethos is running into brick walls, there comes a time when the wall just doesn’t give way, like it did for them in 2016.  Yes, they are the 2016 champions after coming from nowhere, but Hawthorn in 2008 did exactly the same.  The following year the carnage cost the Hawks a place in the finals, and the Bulldogs luck in 2016 that got them through, has a habit of running out eventually.  For a team that lost 1/3 of their games in the H & A season, and with Murphy, Boyd and Morris well into their 30’s, the future may not be a bright as they currently think.

GWS Giants

The AFL’s love child has been brought up on a diet of high draft picks and AFL inspired salary cap generosity.  While they made it to a preliminary final this year, the rest of the competition is hoping they will choke again when they get to the big stage.  Injuries are what is needed, particularly to their big man in Mumford.  We saw what happened in 2016 to Freoand WCE when Sandilands and Natinui went down (we really don’t want anyone injured, but we sure as hell don’t want this made up team winning a GF). Perhaps new recruit Delidio can bring some of the Richmond mentality to the group? Or maybe Steve Johnson can find a new way to de-rail their progress. 
 
Adelaide

After a stinker for them with the death of their coach in 2015, they continued to perform on-field under new management in 2016 despite of this big drawback.  

Trouble was, the team from the City of Churches forgot to do any trades or improve their draft picks to entice the talent needed to take that next step.  After all holding your breath until you get what you want always works for Nick Xenophon….or maybe they just couldn’t get anyone to move to the place! Rory Sloane is unfortunately a one man band in the middle, and the lack of talent around him was good enough for him to get noticed often by the umpires in Brownlow voting. 

Emotion and an “us against those nasty people from the east” mentality probably won’t cut it for the coming season.

Carlton

Now the “forgotten” team of the AFL, their success of previous years was based on cheque-book recruiting.  It has taken them years to realise good players are now drafted and with no change to this recruiting method, there seems little chance of them putting together a half-decent side.  During the off-season Bryce Gibbs wanted out, so he will be filled with enthusiasm to have to pull on the navy blue jumper during the year.  Their recruiting team set about filling the holes with further GWS bottom of the barrel rejects and discards, unlike other clubs who enticed more reasonable prospects to make the leap.  The loss of Tuohy leaves their already fragile backline further exposed and without Walker in 2017, the forward line is even more vacant.  

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