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Blues no good, Cats finished: captains

Charles Happell

Charles Happell

Written on Thursday, 18 March 2010 14:20

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Carlton's decision to part company with trouble-prone full-forward Brendan Fevola - leaving it with a makeshift forward line in 2010 - has had a big influence on how the Blues are rated by the other 15 AFL club captains.

Only one of the 15 rival skippers reckoned a Fevola-less Carlton would reach the finals this season - a staggeringly low result given that the Blues saw September action last year and boast a midfield that is regarded as one of the competition's best, featuring as it does Chris Judd, Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs and others.

To add insult to the Blues' injury, Fevola was most favoured to win the Coleman Medal for leading goalkicker while wearing his new Brisbane jumper, with five votes.

While the Blues would be suffering from that major dent to their pride, and can expect a supporter backlash if they do struggle to kick goals in Fevola's absence and their form does live up (or down) to the captains' expectations, the news was not a lot rosier for Geelong.

The skippers reckon the Cats' era as an AFL's powerhouse is over, and that the 2010 Premiership will be fought over by the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda. In fact, one captain thought the Cats would slide so badly this year they'd miss the eight altogether.

The Saints and the Bulldogs were each nominated by six captains to reach the grand final and those two clubs, along with Collingwood, were a unanimous pick by a maximum 15 captains to reach the finals. Three figured the Cats would contest their fourth straight grand final. Twelve thought Hawthorn woud qualify for September but that meant three skippers thought the Hawks would repeat their lame 2009 season.

While there was very little support for Carlton's prospects, Essendon and Sydney were also given next to no chance of seeing September action, gaining only two votes apiece as likely finalists.

Among the more predictable results of the poll, however, had West Coast star Nic Naitanui and North Melbourne's midfielder Jack Ziebell as the emerging young stars of the game.

A total of 11 different players received a tip as a choice for this year's Brownlow Medal favourite while the Coleman Medal is expected to be fought out between Fevola, Lance Franklin and a rejuvenated Barry Hall.

The captains were asked five key questions on the season ahead, with the proviso their individual answers would be treated anonymously:

The full voting was:

Which seven other clubs do you think can make this year's top eight? (16 times seven selections)

Collingwood (15), St Kilda (15), Western Bulldogs (15), Brisbane Lions (14), Geelong Cats (14), Adelaide (13), Hawthorn (12), Port Adelaide (five), Essendon (two), North Melbourne (two), Sydney Swans (two), West Coast (two), Carlton (one), Fremantle (nil), Richmond (nil), Melbourne (nil).

Which other club is most likely to reach the Grand Final?

St Kilda (six), Western Bulldogs (six), Geelong Cats (three), Collingwood (one).

Who do you think will win the 2010 Brownlow Medal?

Gary Ablett, Geelong (three), Joel Selwood, Geelong (two), Nick Dal Santo, St K (two), Chris Judd, Carlton (two), Simon Black, Brisbane (one), Adam Goodes, Sydney (one), Barry Hall, WB (one), Brent Harvey, NM (one), Lenny Hayes, St K (one), Leigh Montagna, St K (one), Dane Swan, Collingwood (one).

Who do you think will win the 2010 Coleman Medal?

Brendan Fevola, Brisbane Lions (five), Barry Hall, Western Bulldogs (four), Lance Franklin, Hawthorn (four), Daniel Bradshaw, Sydney Swans (one), Jonathon Brown, Brisbane Lions (one), Nick Riewoldt, St Kilda (one).

Who do you think will win the 2010 NAB AFL Rising Star?

Nic Naitanui, West Coast (five), Jack Ziebell, North Melbourne (five), Jack Trengove, Melbourne (two), Ben Cunnington, North Melbourne (one), Dustin Martin, Richmond (one), Andrew Moore, Port Adelaide (one), Anthony Morabito, Fremantle (one).


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