Geelong:

Ladder position: 1st

Win-loss ratio: 10-1

Points: 40

 

Year so far:

They’re back again. After being knocked out in the first week of the finals last season in convincing fashion, the Cats have redemption on their minds, and have raced out to a sensational 10-1 record. It is truly remarkable to see a team remain so competitive for a number of years, without the luxury of high draft picks, and marquee free agents. While Geelong has by no means obliterated their opposition, they have found ways to win, and not drop easy games that other top sides may do. Their week-to-week consistency is something to be marvelled at.

Biggest improver: Steve Johnson

It’s hard to go past Steve Johnson this year. Known primarily as a goal-happy magician, ‘Stevie J’ has spent more time up the ground this year, and his form has been remarkable, averaging over 28 disposals a game. At 29 years of age, he still has plenty of good football left in him. An honourable mention goes out to Mathew Stokes, who has averaged 11 disposals more than he did last year, and seems to have found career-best form, just a couple of years after his off-field indiscretions.

Biggest slider: Josh Caddy

In a champion team such as this, it almost seems unfair to pick out a player that has not performed, as there have been so many players that have done their job, and played great team football. However, if there was to be a player who hasn’t put his stamp on this season, it’d have to be Josh Caddy. It may seem harsh for a third-year player, but the hype surrounding his arrival at the Cattery has far exceeded his on field output, with Caddy struggling to find a spot in the senior rotation.

Prediction for rest of the season:

It’s hard to imagine the Cats dropping off the pace for the remainder of the home and away season. Their overall consistency and their incredible depth has put them in great stead for another serious shot at a fourth flag in seven seasons; a remarkable possibility.

Ladder prediction: 2nd

 

Melbourne:

Ladder position: 17th

Win-loss ratio: 1-10

Points: 4

Year so far:

In stark contrast to Geelong, the 2013 season for the Demons has been a complete, unmitigated disaster. Right from their round one disaster against Port Adelaide, many football fans could sense a disaster about to unfold. Their sole win of the year so far has come against GWS, and in that game they trailed at three quarter time. With injuries to key talls in Mitch Clark and now Chris Dawes, the Demons’ firepower has diminished further. Key players have gone backwards in their development, highlighting the dire on-field situation the club now faces.

Biggest improver: Colin Garland

Despite the Demons’ current woes, there have been a few players who have played good football and given the fans hope for the future. Colin Garland has played well nearly every game, showing plenty of care on the field, and providing plenty of run from defense. As one of the more senior players, he has led by good example. Honourable mentions to first-year players in the likes of Matt Jones and Dean Terlich, who have used their mature bodies to effective use.

Biggest slider: Colin Sylvia

There could be many candidates for this title, but ultimately, you’d have to say that Colin Sylvia has been the biggest disappointment this year. For a player who was taken with pick three in the 2003 draft, you would expect that in times of despair and tribulation, he would take a stand and set the example. Instead he has embodied many things that are wrong with Melbourne this season, most notably work rate and attitude. He simply doesn’t look like he wants to be playing for the jumper right now, which is very concerning. A great talent, but a very lazy player when not getting his way.

Prediction for rest of the season:

It’s hard to imagine much of an improvement for the Demons this season. On paper, you would only back them to beat GWS, and even that seems like an uncertainty, given their round 19 clash with them is played up in Western Sydney. However, it is likely that they will play a couple of good games after their break, and notch up about three to four wins this season, and escape an embarrassing wooden spoon. The club can only go up from here. The worst simply has to be over.

Ladder prediction: 17th