Season a lot clearer, despite Power outage
WITH the halfway mark of the home and away season almost on us, it's timely to recap just what we've learned so far.
Port Adelaide won't win the premiership.
Clearly the Power's impressive form in last season's finals series was a mirage. It has won only 10 of its past 23 matches, including five of 11 this season. Port started the season as a $5.50 chance for the flag, but has drifted to $26.
North Melbourne won't either.
Like its fellow beaten 2014 preliminary finalists, the Roos are reeling at 5-6. The list is long in the tooth and now at long odds ($29) to win the flag.
Fremantle does have its best chance to claim a maiden premiership.
That is despite this mini mid-season form slump, and injuries to key defenders Michael Johnson and Zac Dawson. Aging bookends Matthew Pavlich and Luke McPharlin aren't finished yet.
Dockers midfielder Nat Fyfe will win his first Brownlow Medal.
Barring any mishaps that lead to a serious injury or suspension. Right now, he's unbackable at $1.80.
Mark Blicavs was a handy steeplechaser - almost Olympic standard - but he's also a damn good footballer.
At 198cm, he has taken 'big midfielder' to a whole new level, sitting second at Geelong for contested disposals and contested marks, and third for clearances and tackles. Incredible story.
Damien Hardwick will be coaching Richmond next year.
'Dimma' looked headed for the Tiger scrapheap after his side slumped to a 2-4 start - and even lost to Melbourne. But the Tigers have won their last four, and beat Fremantle in Perth.
West Coast is the real deal.
The Eagles' season looked over before it began with key backmen Eric McKenzie and Mitch Brown going down with knee injuries. But young Eagles Elliot Yeo, Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey and Chris Masten are all flying in the midfield.
Steve Silvagni has the hardest task in footy.
SOS had some tough jobs at fullback for Carlton, minding Tony Lockett, Jason Dunstall and Gary Ablett, but it doesn't compare to the challenge of reshaping Carlton's playing list as the new list manager. No doubt he has already locked in talented son Jack for a spot, however.
The anti-Adam Goodes sentiment is more serious than we thought.
Escalated by the controversial war dance a fortnight earlier, a plea by North midfielder Jack Ziebell for Roos fans not to boo the Swans champion at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night fell on deaf ears.
Adam Saad was the best addition to the Gold Coast defence over the off-season.
While All-Australian halfback Nick Malceski has struggled with form and injury, the VFL product has flourished with his run and carry. His 46 bounces are almost half the club's total of 95 this season.
St Kilda fans can rest easy about the future.
The Saints on track with David Armitage and Jack Steven leading a new midfield brigade and Nick Riewoldt ready to hand over forward responsibilities to Josh Bruce and eventually Paddy McCartin.
The ponytail and/or bun has become an unfortunate fashion trend.
Think Masten, Brodie Grundy, Cam McCarthy and, the worst of the lot, Michael Hurley. The look was not lost on Hall of Famer Neil Roberts, who said: "We played at a time when men wore felt hats ... and a pony-tail was on a horse."