Giants are poised to strike

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ARE THE Demons genuine contenders for a top finish in 2018? GEOFF HARRIS reviews the season ahead and tips a top two finish for the long-suffering Demons fans:

  1. GWS: The Giants’ time is here. Incredible depth of talent. Have had a couple of tastes of finals footy, and the disappointment it can bring. Most of the Giants are coming into their prime.
  2. Melbourne: Have assembled a terrific list that is ready to kick on. Heartbreak of missing out on finals at the death last year should drive the Demons a long way this season.
  3. Western Bulldogs: Luke Beveridge is the next best coach to Alistair Clarkson and will have the Bulldogs back on track after last year’s premiership ‘hangover’, in which they still won 11 games.
  4. Sydney: Always thereabouts and keep unearthing outstanding young talent. Just can’t afford to get behind the eight-ball again early in the season.
  5. Essendon: Provided the Bombers play Joe Daniher as a centre-half-forward rather than near the goal square they could give it a shake. Perhaps need to unearth another quality midfielder.
  6. Port Adelaide: So much depends on Charlie Dickson, but if he fires consistently they will be in the hunt. Recruits, especially Jack Watts, may just top the Power off.
  7. Adelaide: Big question mark over the Crows, especially captain Taylor Walker, after last year’s grand final failure. Coach Don Pyke has a lot to work with but perhaps needs to be more daring.
  8. Hawthorn: Have the best coach of the era and the essence of a good list. Perhaps the complete rebuild will take another year, but advanced enough already to climb back into the eight.
  9. Richmond: Terrific achievement last year, but too much to believe they can have as good a run with injuries and maintain the hunger to repeat. Back to ninth, Tigers.
  10. Geelong: Bringing home now injury-prone 33-year-old old favourite son Gary Ablett is not the recipe to overcome the shortcomings exposed in finals in recent years.
  11. West Coast: Have a gun at either end in Kennedy and McGovern, but there’s something missing at the Eagles – and it repeatedly shows up away from home.
  12. Carlton: Excellent youth could take the Blues a long way this year. Perhaps a bit early to play finals, but maybe eight to 10 wins if injuries are kind to them.
  13. St Kilda: Lack class and consistency. Need to start getting big things from Paddy McCartin, defence needs to hold up under pressure, and second-tier midfielders have to step up.
  14. North Melbourne: Took a couple of steps back to go forward and, like Carlton, youth could take the Kangaroos places, but likely to take time. Big test for Brad Scott to make it happen.
  15. Brisbane: After the horror years, an abundance of talent now – especially in key positions. Luke Hodge a handy “general” in the short term, but ultimately Lions will have to stand on their own feet.
  16. Collingwood: High-risk season for Magpies. Any success depends heavily on Mason Cox taking marks and kicking goals and the Darcy Moore experiment working in defence. Hard to see.
  17. Gold Coast: Suns have the excitement of a new coach with excellent credentials but, while there is plenty of talent on the list, they’re starting from too far back to do too much soon.
  18. Fremantle: Too reliant on Nat Fyfe having a season like he did in 2015. Aaron Sandilands and Michael Johnson getting on and not enough emerging talent. Huge challenge for Ross Lyon.

Premiers: GWS

Will 2018 be the year of the Giants? Pic:Matt King/Getty Images
Will 2018 be the year of the Giants? Pic:Matt King/Getty Images

Brownlow Medal: Josh Kelly (GWS)

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Author: Geoff Harris

Motor racing – of all sorts – and Australian Football are the sporting passions, even obsessions, of GEOFF HARRIS, the journo known to family, friends and Sun News-Pictorial, Herald Sun and sportshounds.com.au colleagues as Harry.

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