Where is your club on the premiership clock?
Where is your club on the premiership clock?

Premiership clock: Is your club ready to strike?

Is your club close to a premiership or still some time away?

It's the question all footy fans ask themselves as they look towards a new AFL season.

Draft and trade periods can help a team catapult into the premiership window.

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Where is your club on the premiership clock?
Where is your club on the premiership clock?

Sometimes that trajectory can surprise us all and come faster than almost anyone expected - the Western Bulldogs of 2016 and Richmond a year later are the two most recent examples.

But for others, the build is slow and patience is required, not only at board level but by fans alike.

As we look ahead to the 2020 season, we take a look at every club and assess where they might sit ahead of their next campaign.

 

Has Tom Lynch and the Crows missed their window? Pic: Sarah Reed
Has Tom Lynch and the Crows missed their window? Pic: Sarah Reed

 

ADELAIDE

WE SAY: 1 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 10 o'clock

Total rebuild. Gave the established core another chance after the 2017 disaster, then after another stinker decided it was all about the kids. Have some young talent in Darcy Fogarty, Wayne Milera, Chayne Jones and still have strong key position stocks but with six picks in the top 50 it's all about the new breed.

BRISBANE LIONS

WE SAY: 9 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 5 o'clock

Primed to strike. The perfect position given they are not only close to a flag, they have a window beckoning to achieve it given the age of their kids. What will Cam Rayner, Hugh McCluggage and Eric Hipwood be like at 25? It's going to be fun watching that journey. Stacked with talent and play such a watchable brand.

CARLTON

WE SAY: 7 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 3 o'clock

Show us what you have got. For all the hype and all the talent this is still a seriously underperforming list. If they made finals next year it would be a serious achievement let alone pushing for a flag. But have elite midfield weapons and star key position talent entering their prime, which is the recipe for flag success.

COLLINGWOOD

WE SAY: 10 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 11.30

Despite two years where they just came up short in finals, they aren't going anywhere with Scott Pendlebury in peak form despite hitting 31. Dayne Beams is 30 in February while Jeremy Howe is 29 and Steele Sidebottom 28. But there is so much youthful talent and the brand stacks up that Pies fans would expect 2-4 years of competing for a flag.

 

Lions coach Chris Fagan has quickly turned into his team into a legitimate premiership contender. Pic: Getty Images
Lions coach Chris Fagan has quickly turned into his team into a legitimate premiership contender. Pic: Getty Images

 

ESSENDON

WE SAY: 8 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 11 o'clock

How would you know? Haven't won a final since 2004 and while they have so many exciting younger players, Joe Daniher is an enigma, Cale Hooker is 31 and Michael Hurley turns 30 next year. Need to win one while Hooker and Hurley are still around. Not many will predict that flag coming in John Worsfold's last year.

FREMANTLE

WE SAY: 4 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 6 o'clock

The Dockers have put four years of growth into the kids and have recruited wisely, only to lose Lachie Neale, Brad Hill and Ed Langdon in the space of two seasons. Much better placed having invested in the kids and were 9-10 before a trio of losses to end 2019. But still some time from a genuine flag tilt.

GEELONG

WE SAY: 10 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 9 o'clock

Last roll of the dice before the clock ticks past midnight, or still building? If it's all about landing one while the likes of Dangerfield, Selwood and Hawkins are still a force - and that bloke named Ablett can still contribute - then the Cats must strike now. They still think they can, which isn't surprising given they led the Tigers by four goals at half-time in the prelim.

GOLD COAST

WE SAY: 2 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 1 o'clock

Still a long way to go for the Suns. They won three of their first four last season before 18 straight losses. This team will be built around the likes of Ben King, Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine, so it's as much about keeping those high-end picks happy up north as it is the wins this year. They'll aim to build on their win tally in 2020 with a view towards finals in the following seasons.

 

GWS GIANTS

 

WE SAY: 11 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 9 o'clock

Have to be rated a massive chance in 2020. We weren't sold on GWS heading into 2019 after Dylan Shiel walked and questions remained on the futures of several big names. But a maiden grand final berth has quashed any doubts. With Callan Ward back and with an ounce of injury luck for their other big stars next year, they should be pressing hard to go one better.

 

 

HAWTHORN

WE SAY: 7 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 9 o'clock

Always hard to assess the Hawks. If we look purely at on-field personnel it's tough to put a case forward they can seriously challenge in 2020, but that's discounting one crucial element: Alastair Clarkson. James Worpel looks a star in the making, we like what we saw from Mitch Lewis this year and then there's Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell's return. The rebuild-on-the-run is going nicely.

MELBOURNE

WE SAY: 9 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 11 o'clock

The big rebounder in 2020? That's what we thought about Adelaide in 2019. The Dees are a big watch. Have been handed a very tasty-looking fixture, but are they actually that good or was 2018 the aberration? Gawn, Oliver, Viney and Brayshaw is a more-than-handy midfield and if key defensive pillars Steven May and Jake Lever stay fit and out of trouble, there'll be no excuses this time around.

NORTH MELBOURNE

WE SAY: 6 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 8 o'clock

Not sure the Kangas, under Rhyce Shaw, will go backwards but how far forward can they progress? The recent query on genuine star power remains, although Tarryn Thomas could be anything. Shaun Higgins and Todd Goldstein are elite but both turn 32 next year. Hard to see them challenging the very best week in, week out.

PORT ADELAIDE

WE SAY: 7 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 7 o'clock

Where is the Power at? Went all-in two years ago and finished 10th, reset with youth this season ... and finished 10th. Lots of talent on the list with Rozee, Duursma and Butters entering year two and more high picks this year, but need to strike now before Gray (31), Boak (31), Westhoff (33) fade. Lost Dougal Howard, Paddy Ryder and Billy Frampton in the trade period. Fun year ahead for Ken Hinkley.

 

Will it be Tiger time again next year? Picture: Michael Klein
Will it be Tiger time again next year? Picture: Michael Klein

 

RICHMOND

WE SAY: 11.30

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 11.30

The Tigers missed out on a three-peat but couldn't be better placed to go back-to-back - good luck kicking a winning a score against a defence featuring All-Australians Alex Rance, Dylan Grimes and Bachar Houli plus the rock solid Nick Vlastuin and David Astbury. There are lots of contenders for Brandon Ellis's spot led by Sydney Stack, Jack Ross, Patrick Naish and Riley Collier-Dawkins, who all played in a VFL flag this year along with Noah Balta and Mabior Chol. Houli is the oldest player on the list at 31 but he just had a career-best year. Jack Higgins' comeback could the feel-good story of the year. The team to beat.

ST KILDA

WE SAY: 6 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 4 o'clock

One of the most intriguing teams of 2020, and hardest to predict. How will the five trade recruits - plus last year's draftees Max King and Jack Bytel, and a new coach, change the way the Saints play? Should be a lot quicker and more attacking but King (0 games) has to make an immediate impact after letting Josh Bruce (36 goals last season) go. Have traded away most of their draft hand too so need this group to end an eight-year finals drought.

SYDNEY SWANS

WE SAY: 4 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 7 o'clock

The Swans missed the finals in 2019 for just the third time since 2000 (pause for a moment to consider how incredible that is) but are in rebuild mode - or at least Sydney's version of that - after the retirements of stalwarts Jarad McVeigh, Nick Smith, Kieren Jack and Heath Grundy. Some super young talent - Nick Blakey could be a superstar - and Josh Kennedy will always put up a fight, but a return to finals seems a year or two away.

 

Tom Hawkins and Nic Naitanui are eyeing Pic: AAP
Tom Hawkins and Nic Naitanui are eyeing Pic: AAP

 

WEST COAST

WE SAY: 11 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 11.30

One of the AFL's most powerful midfields adds Tim Kelly, who will be happy in his home state. Losing Willie Rioli isn't ideal but Nic Naitanui (five games last year) is a handy inclusion. The Eagles have weapons all over the park. Right in the premiership window.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

WE SAY: 9 o'clock

LAST YEAR WE SAID: 7 o'clock

Their 2019 fairytale came to a bruising end at the had of GWS in an elimination final but the Dogs are capable of going much deeper in 2020. The midfield gets more footy than anyone and they added Josh Bruce and Alex Keith to strengthen their key-position stocks. The ruck is a weak spot but all their stars are coming into their prime; Jack Macrae is a relative veteran at age 25, Lachie Hunter is 24, Marcus Bontempelli and Toby McLean are 23 and Aaron Naughton is 19. Scary!

- compiled by Jon Ralph, Ben Broad, Al Paton

News Corp Australia


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