It’s hard enough to win one flag let alone going back-to-back. I experienced this first-hand in 2011 off the back of the 2010 Premiership, where we lost just 3 games throughout the year. Unfortunately, one of those games was the Grand Final.
Melbourne breaking a 57-year-old drought was great, but for all the diehard supporters who didn’t get to see it live (apart from those 2 muppets who snuck into the stadium) you have to feel a tad bad. The way the Dees played throughout 2021 makes them obvious flag favourites at $4.25 leading into the 2022 season, but as the old saying goes: if it bleeds you can kill it. Melbourne’s preseason has been practically faultless and if anything their squad has improved since last campaign. Who will beat them? Who knows.
Obvious contenders are the Preliminary Finalists Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, and Geelong Cats. The Brisbane Lions certainly have the ability but I think the big movers will be the Richmond Tigers and GWS Giants.
For the Bulldogs, who are fresh off a Grand Final appearance, will get a few back from injury and look very dangerous. Brisbane also has the quality in their ranks but have fallen short in recent times. Meanwhile, Geelong are older, so no wonder Chris Scott wants shorter games and seasons! Giants will miss their best player for the first 5 games but if they get through that 3-2, look out.
For me, the Demons can achieve one of the only things I didn’t do in footy and that’s go back-to-back. They are a quality outfit with the best spine in the game, rock solid defence and the most important thing: a coach who enjoys a beer and a punt.
2022 Wooden Spoon
I believe the fight to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon will be a hot contest. In fact, it might be more wide open than the race for 2022 Premiership glory. A few easy clubs to throw out there who have been staples for this in recent times are the Gold Coast Suns, Adelaide Crows and reigning spooners the Kangaroos.
Is this the year the Suns get some injury luck and a fair go from the public? Well, perhaps. That said, club imposed rebuilds at both the Crows and Kangas could see some young stars emerge to try and transform their fortunes.
There are two birds hovering with potential to slide fast in Hawthorn and the West Coast Eagles. But the major question will be just how far they slide? Injury, age, early form and coach pressure could all play a part. The Hawks are looking for a quick rebuild so youth and development are top of mind, potentially forcing some favourite sons to Box Hill.
But it’s the Eagles who are perhaps the most interesting. An old list carrying some long term injuries already, plus throw in some vaccination and travel drama, meaning old mate Adam Simpson could be feeling the WA heat fairly early on in the season.
If I was doing a reverse Grand Final, it’s surely Crows vs. Kangas. Tactically, Crows are a few years ahead but Kangas have better youth with more potential – albeit a bit inconsistent.
Tough call but another back-to-back for season 2022… Kangas!