AFL Wooden Spoon Contenders

Nik Hatzi identifies the three teams with a good shout for the AFL Spoon.

Fri, 20 Jan, 12:00 AM

Brisbane Lions

The Lions enter the 2017 season off the back of a dreadful 2016 campaign. Tied with the lowly Essendon Bombers on 12 points last season, the Lions faced a rash of injuries and were extremely poor on the defensive end. The Lions conceded 2,872 points last season with the next closest team conceding 2,356. That is an astronomical difference and one that needs to be repaired if the Lions are ever going to compete.

The youth on this roster has potential, but just like GWS, they need some more playing time and experience to truly be contenders. Lets face it, it’s always hard bringing in a new coach and Chris Fagan has his work cut out for him. The façade of Club Captain Tom Rockliff being shopped around by the club and then eventually remaining with the Struggling Queensland based outfit goes to show a real lack of leadership from the upper echelons of the club.

Brisbane may have dodged the bullet last year but may not be so lucky this year.

Carlton Blues

Carlton is another club in flux and has the Lions to thank as to why they probably won’t land the wooden spoon this season. Carlton doesn’t have much promise in the short term and similar to the Lions are rebuiding their roster which currently has a slew of young raw prospects.

We’re expecting the Lions to be an atrocity this season so all the Blues need to do to evade that Spoon is play with a structure that makes them hard to break down. If they can play semi smart footy they should be able to nab a couple of results and keep themselves out of the 18th spot on the ladder.

Carlton needs to recognise that their biggest weakness is that offence. Their forward line has proven to be thin and inconsistent without a clear number one option. Carlton’s goal should be to beat the Lions and nothing more this season.

Richmond Tigers

It wouldn't be much fun if we didn’t include a roughie on this list. For me, Richmond is that roughie for this season. The Tigers have taken some backwards steps after plateauing in recent years.

Deledio’s departure will be sorely felt by the club aiming to realign themselves as contenders. The Club’s major acquisition, Dion Prestia from the Gold Coast, has big shoes to fill.

Now don’t get me wrong, Prestia is a quality young player especially when he works in and around the contested balls and clearances. However, replacing someone of Deledio’s talent isn’t easy. Even at the top of his game, I don’t think Prestia could have an immediate impact. With Prestia coming off an injury hampered 2016 campaign, it will be that extra bit tougher for the Tigers to build together as a unit.

Reading the tealeaves, it looks as though if Richmond don’t acclimatise to footy without Deledio and ease Prestia into their line-up they could be in for a rough run.

Whatever your flavour for the upcoming season we should be seeing a battle between teams who know they’ll be in the dogfight to avoid the Wooden Spoon and those who are in for a rude shock come September.

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