(Last year finished 1st)
Predicted Average: 1755
Hutchings and Vandenberg as forwards are helpful and welcome additions but the Titan’s weren’t as blessed as some with the positional changes received. However, unlike the other top 4, last year’s premiers avoided any fallout from the Essendon Saga and, with the resurrection of James Kelly, were actually helped by it! Titans further boosted their chances in 2016 by recruiting Leigh Montagna. The return of a fit Gary Ablett will see Titans installed as favourites to win this year’s flag.
Breakout Player – Daniel Howe
Recruited after a quarter of a game late in 2015’s round 9 draft, Daniel Howe might turn into the best pick of the bunch. He’s been embracing Hawthorn’s uncontested possession game and loves to mark and kick. If he can cement a best 22 spot then he could easily average 78 or more.
Time to Slide – Dane Swan
An unfortunate strength of the Titan’s list is that they don’t have any obvious candidates for sliding so this has to go to Swanny. Swan as a forward is still good but with such a young midfield brigade at Collingwood it looks like he’s destined to return to the forward/mid role he had in 2014. Injuries also hampered him that year but I expect him shave at least 10 ppg off his average in 2016.
Make or Break – Todd Goldstein
Goldstein was outstanding in 2015, increasing his average by a lazy 26, and easily outscored opponent’s entire ruck divisions. However, Goldstein has only ever previously averaged over 89 in one season and, even if his form continues, the scrapping of the sub rule looks like it’s going to have a negative effect on him. Teams will likely employ two rucks against him and he may even have to share ruck duties with Brown and Daw during the season. Thankfully most other ruck divisions are a shambles but will Goldy remain the game breaking, soul destroying ruck he was in 2015?
That’s a Bold Strategy Cotton, Let’s See If It Pays Off For ‘Em…
Electing to delist Rischitelli in the off season raised a few eyebrows but Ryan Bastinac may prove to be a solid replacement with a few more years up his sleeve and, let’s face it, with a premiership tucked away the Titans have licence to do whatever they want for the next nine years.
Annoyingly for premiership favourites the Titans don’t look like their premiership window is shutting any time soon. Titans are fairly strong across each position but, like most teams, are reliant on their top two rucks being available. Should Maric or Goldy go down during the year it will hurt Titans more than most. Titans have shown that they are willing to trade away top draft picks for good players and, due to nailing some late round draft picks, this strategy has paid off thus far as they also have a decent group of young players developing in the wings. If Gary Ablett is able to stay fit then 2016 is Titan’s premiership to lose.