2018 Predictions

Discussion in 'ORFFU' started by DamoH, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. DamoH

    DamoH Well-Known Member

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    After a brief hiatus last year (what you didn’t notice?), everyone’s favourite predictions are back for season 2018.

    An increased workload means that instead of producing inaccurate detailed team by team analysis, I’m limited to producing inaccurate hot-takes about each line-up this year.

    2017 showed just how quickly things can change in FU land, with the Premiers and Minor Premiers both being cellar-dwellers not too long ago. So who is coming from the wings to shake up the comp in 2018?

    Nobody.

    I’m thinking it’s a business as usual season, with last year’s heavy-hitters all still favourites to be there again in August.

    Three separate groups should emerge by the end of the season – a top 4, a middle 7 fighting for the remaining spots in the finals, and a bottom 7 who are building/rebuilding for future seasons.

    So with that in mind, let’s start with the Big 4:

    The Contenders (in no particular order) – Southern Cross, Nuytsland, Serengeti and Christmas Island

    Southern Cross – But for a serious spate of injuries/suspensions in the first round of the finals last year, we could very easily be referring to Southern Cross Sandgropers, 2017 Minor Premiers and Premiers. The second highest scoring team from 2017 was coming home with a wet sail, and at their best would have pushed all the other finalists.

    But that’s all history now.

    EE sat on his hands during trade period, which as one of the most trade-happy coaches in the FU must have been hard. But there was really no need to tweak anything. The 2nd best defence, 4th best midfield and 6th best forward line aren’t needing attention.

    The scary thing for other sides is that there’s still improvement in this team – their two premier mids in Fyfe and Duckwood were down from their best in 2017, while Smith and Stringer should improve following the move to Windy Hill.

    The FU flag might just be heading West for the first time, which as a proud Sandgroper should make EE happy. Although, I just realised as it’s actually in Africa, it would be coming East, as all the good things in this country generally do.


    Nuytsland – I love this team. Each line has young, interesting players, who happen to be damn good at the Supercoach thingy. (There’s also a nice Smugglers/Vikings rivalry brewing, outside of the obvious mascot enmity, with 2 of our 3 games being in the highest scoring all-time list, thanks @fresh ).

    The forward line is a great example – Heeney, Greene, Petracca, McLean. Look at your forward line and tell me you wouldn’t swap for that in a heart-beat.

    The quality just continues from there:

    Tom Mitchell, Matt Crouch, Luke Shuey and Jack Viney as a starting midfield – average 104 points at only an average age of 24yrs 9 months.

    One of the best rucks in the comp in Grundy, some quality ball users in defence.

    These guys will be contenders for a long-time.


    Serengeti – The reigning champs certainly didn’t rest on their laurels, being involved in nine separate trades in the off-season, which saw spuds like Scott Pendlebury and Jeremy Cameron head to Africa.

    It’s not out of the question that the Buffaloes starting midfield of Danger, Pendles, Merrett and Kelly average 480 between them, which when added to a solid, but not spectacular defence (although this might be Kade Kolo’s year) and a spectacularly big forward line (Cameron, Dixon, Daniher and Brown, no pressure forwards for the Buffaloes this season) makes back-to-back a real possibility.

    There’s a weakness in the rucks, where they are giving up at least 20 points to the other contenders, but hey, that’s only one out of fifteen positions, and they generally beat you in the other 14.


    Christmas IslandThis team caught fire towards the end of last season, being the third highest scoring team in the regular season post byes. They then proceeded to knock out the minor premiers and reigning premiers in the finals, before falling at the last hurdle in the Grannie.

    And that was all done with the statistically worst forward line in the comp.

    Keen to address that weakness the coach recruited two of the top 6 forwards (by total points) from 2017 in Robbie Gray and Justin Westhoff. That duo, when added to one of the best midfield/ruck set-ups in the FU means that the Smugglers are capable of beating anyone on their day.

    However, there’s a lack of depth when compared to the other Big 4, which means they are the most likely of the contenders to slip from the top of the table.

    @eagle_eyed @bryzza @wrightbrendan
     
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  2. DamoH

    DamoH Well-Known Member

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    The “in with a shout” seven (again, in no particular order) - King Island, Ararat, Groote Eylandt, Staghorn Flat, Pakenham, Korumburra, Pearcedale


    King Island Every year I predict that the team with the 2nd best name (maybe 3rd now that we have the Gisborne Liam Jones’) will have a downhill slide because of their age. And yep, this year is similar in that they’re still pretty old (Tylo brought in Goddard, Picken and Vince, average age 32.25 (admittedly for next to nothing), and it’s hard to see anyone but Goddard playing more than a depth role) but I’m actually more bullish on their chances this year than any other season.

    A weak line in the midfield has been significantly bolstered through the additions of Trent Cotchin and Goddard, while they have kept the league’s best forward line together.

    11 defensive eligible players mean it’s unlikely there’ll be doughnuts down back, but outside of Rance they won’t cause too many headaches for opposing coaches.

    And of course a lot rests on the FU’s number one pick, NicNat. Getting back to a 105 average shoots these guys into contention, not only for his premium ruck scoring, but also as it allows Smith to swing onto the interchange, where the Monarchs struggled last year (ranked dead last in the comp).

    Ararat – The FU’s most winningest team that ever won just keeps on doing what they do – nabbing early draft picks (just don’t mention that trade) and loading up on top young talent, all the while maintaining one of the best starting XVs in the comp.

    There’s obviously a desire for flexibility in the Grampians, with 8 of the list being F/M, including superstars Wingard and Dahlhaus.

    The midfield is one 100+ averager short of being able to compete with the top 4 contenders, but with a fit Maxy Gawn back on deck, it’s a squad that you dismiss at your peril.

    Groote Eylandt – “Only” a prelim loss and finishing 5th by points scored in a down year for the 2-time champs. Luckily for them, and unluckily for the rest of us, it’s pretty easy to see a bounce back and I think they are the most likely of this seven to nab a top 4 spot.

    A fully fit Cripps slides into a star-studded midfield of the Bont, the Magnificent and the HanneberyTM. Houli and Riewoldt (from the 2017 premiers, in case you missed it) have been added at either end of the ground, and will lead those “good enough” lines.

    Like last year, there will be plenty of half-point games in the ruck, but 14.5 Cudas will beat most 15 man teams.

    Staghorn Flat – One of the big movers in the trade period, completing 8 trades and bringing in 4 new faces who add depth to the squad and one, in Matthew Lobbe, who doesn’t.

    Rocky is the superstar in the midfield, but with a new role could be easily be overtaken by Coniglio and Whitfield by season’s end. The Hill brothers and Zaha are the honest understudies, while Weller’s season will be very interesting to watch.

    A huge forward line in Lobb, Lynch (the Northern one) and Roughead is one of the best in the comp, while a ho-hum defensive line (apart from Salem) is not.

    And that’s a pretty fair summary of where the Bulls are at the moment – for every positive there’s an equal negative that nets it out. So mid-table again it is.

    Pakenham – Starting the year one player down obviously isn’t ideal, with the only consolation being that as it’s Kurt Tippett, the Parasites are used to having him unavailable. His height won’t be missed up front, with another giant FU forward line (Buddy, Hogan, Hipwood and Schache) in the offing. Unfortunately for DD they won’t be the highest scorers though.

    Is there a 100+ mid amongst Sidebum, Gaff, Newnes or Sinclair? Probably not unfortunately.

    Which leaves a decent amount of the scoring up to the backline – I’d expect Simpson and JJ to improve on their 2017 numbers, but they’ll have too much to do to challenge to other squads reviewed so far.

    And did Bellchambers really average 92 last year? Granted it was off 13 games, but that’s top ten ruck numbers.

    Korumburra – Rory Sloane had a five round average after round 6 last year of 143.4. And that didn’t include his two best scores of the season of 177 and 169. In defence Docherty was the highest scorer last year, in the rucks Goldstein not too long ago was the highest scorer overall, while up front Menegola is the highest priced forward in the game. And there’s the greatest supercoacher of all time in GAJ tucked in at M2. With heavy-hitters like that on each line the Flies should rack up plenty of wins.

    However…

    Docherty is obviously out for the year, and in Goldy, Preuss, Darcy and Cox there’s plenty of capital tied up in big men.

    Menegola leads an exciting, relatively deep forward line, but I suspect he’s the big victim of GAJ’s (who is ironically at the Blowflies) return, so would be doing well to average in triple figures this year.

    All told, there’s a lot to like about this rebuild, but with a returning Docherty and some extra silk from trading out one or two big men, the smart money would be on a 2019 appearance in the top four, rather than this year. Not a team you’d like to meet in an elimination final though.

    Pearcedale – I’m in danger of rating these boys too highly, given they remain the only team the Smugglers haven’t beaten, but there is a lot to like about this squad.

    Rather than trying to pick the highest scoring Swannies mid, as the rest of us do in our SC teams, TTT decided to recruit another one in JPK, to supplement Parker. Recently, Parker averages 99 in odd years and 110 in even ones, so with the addition of JPK there should be a significant improvement from 2017’s 14th best midfield.

    A break-out year from Charlie Curnow is on the cards, and would be super-fun to watch, while down-back Burton is great to watch now.

    Dawson Simpson may just be the luckiest auto-pick since the original draft, while fellow Orangeman (I’m sure that’s the only usage of that term), Heath Shaw is threatening to return to his best given the Giants’ issues down-back.

    So they will be in the hunt to make the 8, but they’re guaranteed to beat the Smugglers, and I know that’s what every team really cares about in the FU.

    @Tylo @insider @YAD69 @tyze1 @ddsaints @Mick @TigersTooTough

     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  3. DamoH

    DamoH Well-Known Member

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    The builders/rebuilders – (no particular order) Blanchetown, Hughenden, Gisborne, Coolgardie, Eden, Banchang, Cow Bay

    Hard to review a lot of these teams given the high proportion of rookies/developing players. As we’ve seen from recent seasons though, some canny trading and quick natural improvement and the 8 isn’t that far away.

    Blanchetown – as the first proper contender in the FU to blow it up and start again, it will be very interesting to track the Bunyips’ next couple of seasons. Marty pushed the detonator in the trade period, jettisoning superstars in Pendles, Gray and Ziebell for a focus on quality youth, which in Fogarty, Bonar and Barrett, he nailed.

    With one of the best defenders in the game in Laird and Jacobs in the ruck, there are a couple of pillars to build around. But I wonder if Sauce will be there when the Bunyips next play finals?

    Hughenden – a quiet trade period for the boys from Qld, preferring to focus on the draft to squirrel away some top-end talent. Can’t argue with any of the Rayner, Allison, Brayshaw or Spargo picks, who all add depth to what is already a top 8 midfield which includes Oliver, Shiel and Ward.

    With 2 of the league’s best young defenders in Yeo and Mills and a perfectly adequate forward line the Pdawgs are one of the best chances of this group to push for the 8 this year. A playing ruckman would be nice though.

    Gisborne Another of the teams taking the draft, rather than trade, approach to building their list, and it’s starting to pay off.

    Billings is one of the best forwards in the game, and has been nurtured and invested in by Gisborne despite the numerous trade offers (I should know, I’ve made plenty of them).

    The “Gisborne Gun” in Lachie Neale should be impacted by Fyfe’s return to premium numbers, but is still good enough to feel cheated by not having this team named after him.

    And on Liam Jones, with 13 (yep, 13) defence eligible players, the teams’ mascot might just struggle to be in their top ten defenders this year, let alone the starting line-up.



    Coolgardie The Commish tried to tank and rebuild, but we wouldn’t let him, forcing the Prospectors to play finals in 2017. However, it should be a minor hiccup on their desire to slide down the ladder, which started with the trade in mid-season 2017 that went a long way to crowning the Buffaloes premiers.

    As with a lot of these building teams, it is a bit of a punt, given the unreliable nature of rookies, as to when they might jump up the ladder, but the Prospectors' prospects are shinier than most given they start with Jaeger and Wines in the midfield. I’m picking 2022 for their next finals appearance.

    Eden another of the big movers in the off-season, taking a record 6 new faces in the draft as well as being involved in 6 trades. The Mummy trade (even with the gentlemanly part-reversal) obviously hurts, as does Trengove’s losing of ruck status, which leaves Eden with three 2nd or 3rd strings rucks who are relying on injuries to get a game.

    Unfortunately Williams’ injury puts even more pressure on a young defence but Motlop’s late addition to the forward line strengthens further the Whaler’s best line.

    Unfortunately, in the mids, where the high-scoring happens, it’s hard to see anyone other than Nathan Jones averaging over 90, which means it’s likely going to be a long season on the south coast.

    Banchang – geez he trains them hard in the off-season does Chop. Possibly not the smartest tactic in that it has resulted to injuries to five starters before a ball has been kicked in anger, but I’m sure our man in Siam has his reasons.

    Unfortunately, even the contenders couldn’t cope with an injury list like that, so the first half of the season could be pretty grim for last year’s wooden-spooners.

    There should be some light at the end of the tunnel, with decent scorers at D1, M1 and F1 in Hanley, Adams and “2-metre” Peter respectively, but if I was Chop (and as he describes another tropical night on the beers when I’m wrangling 2 kids under 3 on a cold Canberra night, I regularly wish it were so) I’d thing about cashing in Hanley and anyone else over 30 to accelerate the rebuild.

    Cow Bay Hottest of hot takes for all the predictions to finish – the Crocs will play finals before any of the other builders/rebuilders (apart from possibly Hughenden).

    The ultimate slow builders have put together a list that has top-shelf quality on the three major lines. There’s also some depth developing, which is partly due to the 28 man list expansion, but primarily due to all those early draft picks eventually adding up.

    Finals are a bridge too far this year, but I’m predicting a rapid rise in the next two years for the team with the lowest winning record in FU history.

    @martyg @Batfink @Tomster @JPK @HOLKY @choppers @fresh
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  4. JPK

    JPK Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry mate. Great work, but I had to add the edits.... :p:p:p
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  5. eagle_eyed

    eagle_eyed Training the house down!

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    Great write up mate; I’m hopeful I can keep my best team on the park when it matters this season.

    This is so true; I’m still struggling to not scratch the itch. Surely there’s a cream for this?

    Lol! Well done mate but I think you’ll find the planet slopes down from West to East :rolleyes: and it’s pretty tough pushing shit uphill, rolling it down is a totally different story :p
     
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  6. tyze1

    tyze1 Well-Known Member

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    @DamoH on Staghorn Flat

    bringing in 4 new faces who add depth to the squad and one, in Matthew Lobbe, who doesn’t.

    Mark my words - When, not if Kruezer goes down - Lobbe will be the man!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  7. DamoH

    DamoH Well-Known Member

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    Sorry mate -it’s libel to suggest these half-assed opinions are EEs. He’s far better than this.
     
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  8. HOLKY

    HOLKY Moderator

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    Good write-up, I seem to trade myself into corners. I need to work on that :oops:
     
  9. JPK

    JPK Moderator Staff Member

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    2022??? @DamoH really???

    As soon as Buckley gets the arse at Collingwood, and my players get games, we'll see some improve. (So yeah, maybe 2022 is a fair prediction)
     
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