North Melbourne

Ladder Position: 14th
Win/Loss ratio: 4-7
Points: 16

Year so far

North Melbourne have been unconvincing, to say the least. In most matches, North have shown glimpses of what they are capable of when they play their best footy. However, this has been matched and somewhat negated by their frustrating inability to close out games, culminating in losing 30-point leads when up at three quarter time. The bye has come at a good time for North – it should allow them to assess where they are at, and find players capable of playing four decent quarters of football.

Biggest improver: Aaron Mullett

There are a number of players who fit this criterion, but Mullett has been a standout for the Roos this season. Very much a fringe player before the beginning of the year, unable to cement a spot in the side, Mullett has made a spot off half back and into the midfield his own. In his 11 games this year, he has averaged 20 disposals, five marks and two tackles a game. At just 21 years old, North look to have found a genuine player for many years to come.

Biggest slider: Lachlan Hansen

In a North Melbourne side vying for a finals berth this year, Hansen has been nothing short of disappointing. He has faded in and out of games, often having little to no impact. He has the ability to be a talented player, but so often fails to perform when North needs him to. With fellow forward Aaron Black being in good form, Hansen may soon find himself forced out of the team.

Prediction for the rest of the season

North has shown this year that they have the list and the talent to make the finals. However, their success in the latter stages of the season will depend on their ability to run out games. Do that, and they stand a good chance of making finals. However, the close losses they have had so far this year may prove a step too far for them to overcome.

 

St Kilda

Position: 16th
Win/Loss ratio: 2-9
Points: 8

Year so far

2013 is shaping up as a disappointing one for the Saints. On the rebuild after coming so close to winning premierships in 2009 and 2010, the Saints have taken the chance to inject some much-needed youth into their team. They have been competitive in all bar two matches this year, but the young team lacks polish and execution, and the ability to run out games. They would be disappointed with only two wins at this stage of the season, after dropping winnable games against Gold Coast in round one and the Western Bulldogs in round nine.

Biggest Improver: Dylan Roberton

Roberton has been a shining light in defence for the Saints since crossing from Fremantle at the end of last season. In the absence of Sam Fisher and Sean Dempster for parts of the season, Roberton has marshalled the Saints’ inexperienced backline. His ability to read the play, and his calm demeanour under pressure has seen him thrive.

Biggest Slider: Nick Dal Santo
The silky smooth midfielder has had a year to forget. Whilst averaging a similar disposal, mark and tackle output to last season, Dal Santo has lacked the same effectiveness and influence on games that has made him such a dangerous player in previous seasons.

Predictions for the rest of the season

It is hard to see the Saints finishing much better than their current position. They are still yet to play Hawthorn and Geelong, and seem to lack to the polish and skill to match it with the better clubs. However, their endeavour should see them win at least two more games for the season, against Melbourne and GWS, giving them some way to save face.