Adelaide burst onto the scene in 2012 and after a turbulent off-season, the Crows will be looking forward to getting back to footy. Brisbane hosts one of the best groups of young players in the competition and has the potential to eye up a finals spot. Carlton’s year from hell that was 2012 is a distant memory as the Blues look to feature in finals once more.

 

Adelaide
2012 win/loss record: 17-5
2012 ladder position: 2nd
Projected ladder position: 1st – 5th

You can bet your bottom dollar that the Adelaide camp has been counting down the days until the 2013 season gets underway, looking to leave a tumultuous off-season in the dust.

After going down in thrilling circumstances against Hawthorn in their Preliminary Final clash, concluding what was a surprisingly outstanding season during which Adelaide finally ticked, things went from bad to worse for the Crows. Having lost a number of draft picks as well as Kurt Tippett for peanuts, as well as receiving a number of financial penalties, the Crows will be hungry to turn things around as soon as footy returns.

Despite only having a small number of picks in the 2012 National Draft, the Crows were able to snap up Sam Siggins and Rory Atkins with their late picks, two selections that have been touted as absolute steals. Both could easily be pushing for senior selection later in the year.

Prediction
Although losing Kurt Tippett for nothing is a bit of a slap, there is no reason to suggest the Crows will go backwards in 2013. Adelaide still has one of the most dangerous midfields in the competition as well as potent forward and defensive stocks to say the least.

The very worst the Crows could do with the current list is finish just outside the top four in fifth, though you would expect with names such as Scott Thompson, Patrick Dangerfield, Ben Rutten and Taylor Walker to name just a few, the Crows will be surging towards finals and will look to better their efforts of 2012 by making a Grand Final appearance.

 

Brisbane
2012 win/loss record: 10-12
2012 ladder position: 13th
Projected ladder position: 8th – 13th

2012 couldn’t have been a more straightforward year for the Lions; they won the games they were expected to win with a few added surprises and lost the ones they were expected to lose, the highlight coming during a shock win against West Coast at home.

Brisbane currently sits in a position where it is not expected to make finals nor expected to finish at the foot of the ladder, having not made finals since 2009. However, Brisbane is quite possibly the biggest wildcard to claim a top eight spot.

The Lions’ three best new coups in Sam Mayes, Marco Paparone and Michael Close are all very capable footballers. With the majority of Brisbane’s list being younger players, there is a great chance that all three of them could claim a senior playing gig.

Prediction
Writing off Brisbane for a top eight spot should be done so at your own peril. The Lions proved they could hang tough in 2012 and could very easily make a sharp rise up the ladder if the development of young players continues.

The Lions have arguable the best young brigade in the competition. With bigger outputs from the likes of Daniel Rich, Todd Banfield, Jack Redden, Claye Beams and Patrick Karnezis, combined with contributions from new senior recruits Brent Moloney and Stefan Martin as well as the established Brisbane senior players, 2013 could be anything for a promising Lions outfit.

 

Carlton
2012 win/loss record: 11-11
2012 ladder position: 10th
Projected ladder position: 3rd – 7th

There’s no way to disguise the disappointment the Blues would be feeling when reflecting upon 2012, though things have certainly taken a sharp turn during the off-season.

Carlton will field almost a new-look side in 2013, despite making no major adjustments to the playing group. New coach Mick Malthouse took little time getting to work to right the wrongs and ex-captain Chris Judd has stood down to focus on his playing output, something that has undeniably slipped since his West Coast/early Carlton days.

The introduction of new recruit Troy Menzel, who slid in the 2012 National Draft due to preview knee issues, could also offer a surprise and boost a Carlton midfield that has been potentially damaging for years but little more.

Prediction
You would expect that after the bitter failure that was 2012, the Blues will have a fire in their bellies. Top four certainly isn’t out of the question for a side that fields the names Chris Judd, Marc Murphy, Jarrad Waite, Kade Simpson and Heath Scotland but a drastic change, as well as a bit of luck with injuries, will need to be on show.

The potential to have a damaging list is there but in order to convert potential to results, the likes of Levi Casboult, Luke Mitchell, Jeff Garlett, Andrew Walker and Sam Rowe, who returns from a successful bout against cancer, will need to step up and fill the attacking void in Carlton’s line-up.