OVER the next 18 days SuperFooty and Fox Footy will count down to the 2014 AFL season by taking the blowtorch to every club’s list.
We’ll list every player and rank them into one of five categories: Guns (in the elite of the competition); stars (very good players who aren’t quite superstars); foot soldiers (regulars who get the job done each week); crossroads (fringe players who are playing for their career or are yet to cement a spot in the side); and who knows (too early to make a call).
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We’ve seen Richmond and Geelong and continue the series with the Western Bulldogs.
After a promising finish to 2013, the Dogs are looking to climb the ladder in Brendan McCartney’s third season.
New captain Ryan Griffen leads an elite midfield but the club’s forward line is where the most development is needed.
Is recruit Stewart Crameri the answer?
27 years old, 183 games. Position: Midfield
The newly minted Bulldogs captain was nigh untaggable at times in 2013. Griffen averaged 28 touches, four tackles per game and 116 SuperCoach points. Don’t expect his output to diminish with the added responsibility.
SUPERCOACH SPECIAL: Griffen went on an eight-week tear mid-season when he averaged 138 and scored 140+ four times. He will cost you $627k this year but will return the investment.
24, 57. Position: Forward
Crameri’s move to the Bulldogs is set to boost his AFL standing - don’t be surprised if he’s in the Guns category this time next year. The former Bomber has the versatility to offer a target in attack and move into the midfield. He averaged 4.4 marks and two goals a game last year at Essendon and the Bulldogs hope those numbers will increase. His arrival will also take the pressure off the club’s other talls.
28, 201. Position: Midfield
Cooney returned to an elite level in 2013 after four years battling a knee injury (averaging 25 disposals per game at 73 per cent efficiency). The Bulldogs will hope he continues to improve and provide outside run and carry to complement the team’s outstanding inside ball-winners.
31, 249. Position: Defence
The wily veteran returned to defence in 2013 – where he was All-Australian in 2011 – and provided much needed experience and some valuable run and carry as he ranked No.1 at the club for rebound 50s. Murphy will miss the start of the season after suffering an elbow injury .
31, 220. Position: Midfield
Boyd endured a difficult season as injuries and poor form took their toll. The former captain played only 13 matches but still managed to average 29 touches a game and Brendan McCartney will hope the tough midfielder can lead the Bulldogs’ midfield group again in 2014