Adelaide
Position: 11th
Win-Loss ratio: 5-7
Points: 20

Season so far:

After the promise of season 2012 where the Crows were the talk of the town and managed to snare third spot on the AFL ladder, they’ve taken a dramatic slide in 2013. After the Kurt Tippett off-field scandal rocked the club and star player Taylor Walker succumbed to a serious knee injury, the Crows have found it rather difficult to shift out of second gear. Whilst Adelaide sit on five wins, they have all come at the expense of weaker opposition in Brisbane, Western Bulldogs, GWS and North Melbourne. Besides the Roos, the other clubs that they have defeated are unlikely to feature in any finals action, and the much talked about comeback win against North Melbourne would surely have been a highlight in a relatively dark season thus far. The tone was set early with an uninspiring loss to the Bombers in round one, and unfortunately for the Crows, they haven’t been able to find any momentum in 2013 and will more than likely miss finals this season.

Biggest Improver: Richard Douglas

The damaging onballer and occasional forward target has lifted his game in 2013, so much so that many media commentators have touted him for an All-Australian spot. Despite the overall team’s indifferent form this season, Douglas has been able to lift his average disposal rate from 17 in 2012 up to 22 in 2013. He has also become more of a presence in front of goal this season, having already kicked 11 goals from 12 games, after converting only 11 goals from 19 appearances in 2012. Players are often judged not by when the team is up and about but rather when the chips are down, and while many other players have slid in form this season, Douglas has been one of the Crows’ shining lights.

Biggest slider: Jason Porplyzia

Ever since the infamous departure of Kurt Tippett and an unfortunate season ending knee injury to Taylor Walker, the Crows have lacked the forward-line potency that made them the envy of the league in 2012. While Essendon outcast, Josh Jenkins has thrived in a forward like devoid of big names, Jason Porplyzia has stagnated and, in many respects, has gone backwards. He is averaging five less possessions on average and has only kicked six goals in 11 matches. To put that into context, Porplyzia kicked 30 goals in 22 matches last season; a benchmark he is looking like falling well short of after 11 games so far this season. If the Crows are to resurrect their 2013 campaign Porplyzia must step up, as the side cannot expect to kick a winning scoreline with the paltry scoring output from a player of his ilk.

Prediction for the rest of the season:

It doesn’t get any easier for the Crows as they next head to Metricon Stadium to take on the resurgent Gold Coast Suns, before having to face the likes of Geelong, Fremantle and Collingwood in the closing stages of the season. In better news for them, a quirk in the fixture means that the Crows face the Eagles twice before the season is out, as well as come up against perennial strugglers Port Adelaide, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne. All is not lost for them as they are plenty of winnable matches to come, but if they are to cement an unlikely finals berth, they must reverse their form – and fast.

Carlton
Position: 8th
Win-Loss ratio: 6-6
Points: 24

Season so far:

Since the sacking of club legend Brett Ratten and subsequent recruitment of Mick Malthouse, Blues fans have remained optimistic as to how their 2013 season may play out. In the past couple of weeks Chris Judd and Robert Walls have both said that the Blues aren’t far away from a 17th premiership, but if we take a closer look at their season they may be further from the game’s greatest achievement than they may think. As we enter the mid-season byes, it remains a concern for the Blues that they have yet to dethrone a current top eight side; a major sticking point when it comes to talk about them being ranked in the top echelon of the competition. There is little doubt that Carlton are building something special in the years to come, but at this stage of the season it looks as though a lower finals position is an achievement they should be aiming for in 2013.

Biggest Improver: Andrew Walker

Perhaps known better for using emerging Essendon defender as a stepladder, Walker is arguably in career best form this season. The versatile part midfielder and forward has taken his game to a new level in 2013, averaging a career high 23 possessions per game over his 12 game season thus far. Walker is also becoming a potent forward, kicking 16 majors this season. The now 27 year old is entering the peak of his career at the perfect time. The Blues will be looking at make their mark in the years to come and if they are to win a premiership in the near future, Walker will need be a huge part of that.

Biggest Slider: Chris Yarran

If we look purely at the stats, Yarran is having a slightly below par season compared to his previous few. As a spark coming out of defence, it is vital he has the ball on numerous occasions, but in 2013 he is averaging just 11 possessions a game, compared to 15 last season and a career best 17 in 2011. While his KPI’s are down, it was his poor behaviour after being made the substitute against Essendon that looks to be his lowest point of the season. When he was subbed into the game, his lack of chasing, intensity and second efforts saw him dropped for Carlton’s next match against Hawthorn. There is no doubt that Yarran is a supremely talented footballer but he must start acting like a professional if he is to take his game to the next level.

Prediction for the rest of the season:

As the Blues look to claim a scalp for the first time in 2013, the new two weeks don’t get any easier with Sydney and Collingwood their next opponents. Looking at the fixtures to come, the only wins fans would pencil in are those against the Bulldogs and Port Adelaide. The likes of North Melbourne and Gold Coast will challenge the Blues but if they are to play finals this season, they must simply win those matches as well. They should make the top eight, but with tough competition for finals spots this season they could be in danger of missing out on competing if they make a habit of  dropping matches against opponents they’re expected to defeat – like their loss to St Kilda in round seven.