Hurdles for the Flag
As regular TipBetPro followers would know we have a player rank system that is calculated based on a number of factors including AFL Player Rankings (2 Year Long Term Form), Super Coach scores (Short term form) and experience. These player rankings have traditionally proved a strong guide to identify premiership contenders and pretenders well in advance. So we thought we’d take a look at the club by club break-down of the player rankings with a particular focus on the Top 8. The below tables outlines the number of players in each rank category for each team (with start of year totals in brackets) as at the conclusion of Round 16 (and with ladder sorted as at end of Round 16):
So what does this tell us? Well for this week we wanted to take a look at those we have most concerns with and the hurdles these sides have to overcome to take out the flag. North Melbourne: Hurdle: Not enough elite talent. The Kangaroos started the season as the most experienced side in the competition and whilst experience is highly valued by TipBetPro there does come a tipping point where players tend to decline and North have an increasing numbers of players past that tipping point. Sadly for the Roos that tipping point has become all too real and we now only have 1 Kangaroo in our Top 50 players (ruckman Todd Goldstein) which is not a recipe for premiership success. The Kangaroos do have an impressive 8 players ranked between 51 and 100 but a quick look at those 8 (Harvey, Waite, Cunnington, Swallow, Wells, Dal Santo, Higgins and Ziebell) shows that the majority of these players are going backwards and many are injury-prone. You can’t win a flag with only one elite player and the Roos don’t look like getting a 2nd anytime soon so this hurdle is very much real. Geelong: Hurdle: Too much reliance on Dangerfield and Selwood The Cats have two of the absolute superstars of the AFL on their list in Patrick Dangerfield (TipBetPro top ranked player by a fair margin) and Joel Selwood (ranked 7th). The problem for the Cats is they have no-one else ranked inside the Top 70 players (Tom Hawkins is 3rd – ranked 70) and many of those 2nd tier players are either out-of-form or past their best (Hawkins, Enright, Duncan, Bartel, Taylor, Guthrie and Caddy are the Cats other Top 100 ranked players). Two is better than one (and they are a pretty special two!) so we don’t have quite the concern on the Cats as the Roos and in addition there is a bit more up-side in their 2nd tier players. However it would be highly optimistic to expect that the Cats are capable of premiership success unless one of those 2nd tier players steps up be considered an elite player very soon! GWS: Hurdle: Not enough experience and top class depth The Giants are such an exciting side with a great mix of experienced stars and up and coming talent that are already fulfilling their potential. However, experience and proven performance becomes more and more crucial as we move into finals footy and with 11 players (highest of the Top 8) not currently considered Top 200 ranked players (and crucially with no finals experience) that might be a little too high to compete over a grueling finals series. The Giants hopes will rest with the likes of “3rd tier” players such as Zac Williams, Josh Kelly, Nick Haynes, Lachie Whitfield, Nathan Wilson and Rory Lobb standing up in finals. Our analysis would suggest that group is still one year away from having the experience and consistency of performance to be considered top class and that might cost the Giants a flag. So who do we like? Well we’ve changed our mind a few times this season already so take with a grain of salt … but let’s just say that as much as we like the Swans elite talent (Top 50 players) and the Eagles overall depth (Top 200 players) but it is so so hard to look past a side with no real weakness and that has won 3 on the trot!