AFL & NRL 2013 under achievers
28 August 2013 12:57 PM
It's always delicate writing negative sentiment about footy teams. We've all got our own team, we love them and we are willing to go any lengths to support them and their reputation. Here's the test - if we have singled out your team below as the under achievers of the year just ask yourself these questions:
Did you expect them to do a lot better than they have in 2013? Did you think they were absolute certainties of making the finals at the start of the year?
If you answered Yes and Yes then we are probably in violent agreement.
The AFL under achievers award for 2013 goes to the West Coast Eagles with the NRL under achievers award going to the Brisbane Broncos.
Why West Coast?
In 2011 the Eagles had resurrected their form from the bowls of the 2010 ladder to make the preliminary finals. Then last year, after an injury ridden season to big names like Andrew Embley, Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras, they put in a very gutsy effort to make the semi-finals. In 2013, with their 2012 injury list back to full fitness it was expected that they could only do better or at least not much worse than their 2012 effort. Coming into the final round of the season they sit 15th on the ladder with a miracle needed to make the Top 8. It is probably some defense to site the injuries that have haunted the Eagles again this season with Naitanui missing a good part of the season, Daniel Kerr with ongoing injuries, Shannon Hurn suffering a season ending ankle injury amongst others. But in light of their 2012 efforts it is fair to say that they should have been a leg-in to make the final series.
Why the Broncos?
With Scott Prince joining the Broncos this year it was touted at the start of the year that they had all they needed to make a good go of the NRL premiership in 2013. With a strong list of Queensland representatives that took NSW through the cleaners again this year and several rising stars like Jack Reed and Andrew McCullough becoming consistent solid performers, no one was challenging these claims.
Although they have a mathematical chance of making the Top 8, facing the Knights and Bulldogs in the final rounds may prove to be a challenging task for them even with a home ground advantage.
So what went wrong for the Broncos this year? The State of Origin series would have played it's usual part but nothing more than it has in past years. There is the ongoing query about ageing players like Corey Parker and Ben Hannant but the injection of youngsters like McGuire and McCullough should have balanced this out. Or was Darren Lockyer just that big an influence on the team to the point that they are now in a tail spin?
For a club that made eighteen consecutive appearances in the final series between 1991 and 2010 the prospect of missing them in 2013 may just be the alarm bell they need to find the answer to a disappointing year.
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