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With the Crows’ season about to get underway, here’s a rundown of the most important stories heading into the first week of the AFL season.
The Bulldogs are going to be one of the best teams in the AFL this season.
The Bulldogs are one of just a handful of teams in this year’s AFL ladder with a top-four record and will have two new recruits joining the club.
Jack Ziebell and Jarryd Lyons have joined the club this season and will provide quality depth to the midfield.
The Bulldogs’ record is pretty impressive at 12-0 and they’ve won four of their last five games.
They have a bye in round two.
It’s easy to see why the Bulldogs are so high up the ladder.
They’ve got a strong squad that is going to provide quality to the Bulldogs midfield and their defence.
Bulldogs recruit Tom Hawkins will be in the backline for a long time.
Hawkins will be a key member of the Bulldogs’ midfield this season, with veteran defender Nick Suban returning from injury to partner Josh Kennedy in the middle.
He will be joined by midfielder David Mundy and veteran halfback Michael Walters.
They’ll also add forward Mitch Duncan to the mix.
Hawkins has been in the team’s senior team since he was 16 and was a member of their premiership team in 2015.
He’ll be joined in the halves by the experienced midfielder Tom Mitchell and his brother Luke.
Mitchell has been an important part of the Brisbane Lions’ success this season in the VFL and was voted best young player in the country by the VLFC on Sunday.
The Tigers will be the dominant force in the midfield this year.
In their first season in Melbourne, the Tigers have taken a huge step forward this season with a strong midfield and an impressive backline.
The Tigers will play their first match of the season against Richmond at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.
They’ll need to be a little more patient this year but have a great chance to surprise the Demons at the SCG.
It’s the Suns who have the best chance to win the top four.
Despite the Suns’ early exit from the finals, they have a lot of work to do.
The Demons are in a similar position but they have the better squad and will get the better of the Tigers this season at least in the form of Luke Hodge and Jack Billings.
It will be interesting to see how the Hawks perform in the first round.
After the first game of the first matchday of the match, the Hawks will play three straight games, against Gold Coast, Port Adelaide and Hawthorn.
They play five of those games against teams currently in the top eight.
But it will be tough to predict which team will be crowned champions of the competition.
The Suns will be looking to bounce back from their crushing loss in the grand final and have a tough first match against Geelong.
The Crows are likely to get a couple of injuries.
Bryce Gibbs, Luke Henson and Travis Cloke have all missed out on the first three games of the year.
Gibbs is likely to be sidelined for two weeks with a groin injury while Henson has a hamstring issue.
They’ll be back in the mix against Richmond but with only one game left until the end of the round, they’ll need a lot more than a handful to be crowned the best team in the league.
The Hawks will have to rely on Mitch Duncan.
If you haven’t watched the Hawks’ match against the Saints, it’s worth a watch.
Duncan has been fantastic for the Hawks this year and has been one of their key performers.
He’s played 40 games for the club and is the best player on the ground at the moment.
And he’ll need plenty of games to prove his worth at AFL level.
Geelong has been the biggest surprise of the regular season, but is it really a surprise?
Geelong was a surprise last year and their performance in the preliminary final against Hawthorn was their best result since 2015.
They won four games and had the best record in the competition at the time.
Geelong’s biggest issue in 2017 was the absence of key forward Daniel Wells, who suffered a serious knee injury in round 11 against Richmond.
Wells had surgery on December 17 and will be out of the game until at least the end