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  1. #1
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    AFL 2022 previews: Predictions for the upcoming season for the Western Bulldogs

    AFL 2022 previews: Predictions for the upcoming season for the Western Bulldogs



    The Western Bulldogs realise — outside their final 45 minutes on the field — last year was a brilliant season. But it’s those last 45 minutes which will empower them to go one better.

    A fairytale season with a 45-minute horror show at the end of it. That‘s the best way to sum up the Bulldogs resurrection in 2021.

    After being one of the best performers throughout the home and away season, the wheels fell off over the last three rounds with the trio of losses seeing the Dogs fall out of the top four.

    But Luke Beveridge‘s team then evoked memories of their 2016 premiership run by beating Essendon in Tasmania, Brisbane Lions at the Gabba and then flogging Port Adelaide in the preliminary final at the Adelaide Oval.

    And then midway through the third quarter in the Grand Final they led Melbourne by 19 points. We all know what happened next but it shouldn‘t detract from a brilliant season.

    Captain Marcus Bontempelli was unlucky not to win the Brownlow Medal, while Bailey Smith became a cult hero after a stunning finals series.

    COACH: Luke Beveridge

    CAPTAIN: Marcus Bontempelli

    WHERE DO THEY FINISH IN 2022
    The Bulldogs aren‘t going anywhere and are a top four lock in ’22.

    The list demographic is very appealing with most of their guns in a sweet spot of their careers regarding age and games played.

    While the ruck situation continues to be the elephant in the room, Tim English is a big talent who will only get better while fingers will again be crossed that veteran Stefan Martin can hold up more than he did in 2021.

    No. 1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan got a taste and will add plenty in his second season while the Dogs will get another top pick with father-son selection Sam Darcy who is an elite mobile tall.

    The midfield, which was already scary good, should be even more frightening next year given boom recruit Adam Treloar and his bestie Josh Dunkley both missed half-a-season through injuries.

    BIGGEST IMPROVER
    Going left-field here for a player who hasn‘t even pulled on a Dogs jumper yet.

    Tim O‘Brien arrived at the Whitten Oval from Hawthorn as an unrestricted free agent after eight seasons and 97 games, mainly as a key forward.

    However, in the second half of 2021 O‘Brien, 27, played in defence and came into his own with his high leaping aerial skills shining out.

    The Dogs are crying out for another big tall to help out Alex Keath and O‘Brien’s athleticism fits into the way Beveridge likes his team to play.

    And the timing proved more than fortuitous given the surprise retirement of Easton Wood.

    X-FACTOR
    Beveridge‘s decision to hold back the No. 1 draft pick will be rewarded.

    A full pre-season coupled with more of an understanding of what is required at AFL level will see Jamarra Ugle-Hagan accelerate dramatically.

    There were plenty of small signs during his five games (he kicked 7 goals) in 2021 to show the kid has something special but is a long way off physically.

    That moment when he led out from full-forward and received a beautiful right-foot pass from Bontempelli to kick a crucial goal late in the Round 19 victory over Melbourne is burned into the minds of all Dogs fans.

    COACH STATUS
    Has the job for life if he wants it.

    Put any sorts of criticism which may have built up after the 2016 premiership let-down behind him with some brilliant coaching to get his team to an unlikely grand final berth.

    Beveridge is signed until the end of 2023 but there has been some shuffling in the coaches‘ box with his long-time assistant Steven King leaving for the Gold Coast and Ashley Hansen moving to Carlton.

    WHO IS IN LAST YEAR OF CONTRACT
    Some interesting potential free agents with midfield maestro Jack Macrae and Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen both eligible as they‘re coming out-of-contract at the end of 2022.

    The Dogs have a bit of fancy accounting to do with a number of other rising stars also requiring new deals.

    Young gun Bailey Smith, ruckman Tim English, midfielder Josh Dunkley and All-Australian defenders Bailey Dale and Caleb Daniel need to be re-signed. Premiership heroes Zaine Cordy and Toby McLean are also out-of-contract.

    INS
    Tim O’Brien (free agent – Hawthorn), Sam Darcy (pick two), Arthur Jones (43), Luke Cleary (61), Charlie Parker (rookie), Robbie McComb (rookie), Cody Raak (category B rookie)

    OUTS
    Ben Cavarra (delisted), Will Hayes (delisted), Lin Jong (retired), Patrick Lipinski (traded – Collingwood), Sam Lloyd (retired), Easton Wood (retired), Lewis Young (traded – Carlton)

    FIRST SIX GAMES
    Rd 1: Melbourne @ MCG (L)

    Rd 2: Carlton @ Marvel Stadium (W)

    Rd 3: Sydney @ Marvel Stadium (W)

    Rd 4: Richmond @ MCG (W)

    Rd 5: North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium (W)

    Rd 6: Adelaide @ Mars Stadium (W)

    BEST 22
    B: Duryea, Cordy, Williams

    HB: Dale, Keath, Daniel.

    C: Smith, Liberatore, Hunter

    HF: Treloar, Naughton, Dunkley

    F: Weightman, English, Ugle-Hagan

    R: Martin, Bontempelli, Macrae

    IC: Vandermeer, O‘Brien, Johannisen, Hannan

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  3. #2
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    Re: AFL 2022 previews: Predictions for the upcoming season for the Western Bulldogs

    Top 4 finish a must.
    FFC: Established 1877

    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  4. #3
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    Re: AFL 2022 previews: Predictions for the upcoming season for the Western Bulldogs

    I agree with O'Brien, think he can have an immediate impact with his intercept-making ability. He is also a nice kick too always handy when coming out of defense under pressure.

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  6. #4
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    Re: AFL 2022 previews: Predictions for the upcoming season for the Western Bulldogs

    We win round 1.

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  8. #5
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    Re: AFL 2022 previews: Predictions for the upcoming season for the Western Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMahatma View Post
    We win round 1.
    I wish I was confident about this but I’m not. 50/50 call. If we do win I sure hope we then win a few more straight after as, if I recall correctly since ‘16, we’ve had a habit of not being able to keep up good form after a big win or a string of 2 to 4 wins in a row.

  9. #6
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    Re: AFL 2022 previews: Predictions for the upcoming season for the Western Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by josie View Post
    I wish I was confident about this but I’m not. 50/50 call. If we do win I sure hope we then win a few more straight after as, if I recall correctly since ‘16, we’ve had a habit of not being able to keep up good form after a big win or a string of 2 to 4 wins in a row.
    2021 was the first time winning the 1st three since Bevo took the reins.

    I think we win round 1, but it does depend on player availability.

    Player availability might be the main determinant for 2022
    Life is to be Enjoyed not Endured

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  11. #7
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    Re: AFL 2022 previews: Predictions for the upcoming season for the Western Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    Top 4 finish a must.
    Will be a challenge again but for us to have a greater chance of premiership success top 4 is very important. Unlucky not to finish top 4 last season.

    We need to hit the ground running Round 1 and maintain that consistency. Hoping for not many injuries.
    AFL PREMIERS 2016

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