The Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide have moved in notably opposite directions this season, as exemplified by the Bulldogs 64-point win against the Power on the weekend. At the end of 2014 these rankings considered the Power to be a seven goal per game better side than the Bulldogs, with Port being ranked third, and the Bulldogs fourteenth. As of Round 19 this season though, the rankings say that the Bulldogs have improved by five goals per game. They now sit in seventh on the rankings, though are basically equal fifth. Port, on the other hand, have dropped off by three and a half goals per game, and now sit outside the top eight clubs.
have a bunch of players that have significantly improved in 2015. This
bunch includes Luke Dahlhaus, Liam Picken, Marcus Bontempelli, Mitchell Wallis,
Easton Wood, Koby Stevens, and Tory Dickson – compare these players’ average SuperCoach
scores in 2015
to their scores in 2014.
The improvement from these players has more than offset the Bulldogs’ loss of
Tom Liberatore to injury, and former captain Ryan Griffen to the Giants. These
players are young, so some improvement might have been expected, but
perhaps the change of coach (and/or departure of some older players) has
helped a bit as well.
As for Port, the cause of their decline seems to
be that several players have dropped off a tad – again, compare their average
SuperCoach scores in 2015
Some of these players, including Robbie Gray, Ollie Wines, Hamish Hartlett, and
Matthew Lobbe, made huge strides from 2013 to 2014. Perhaps Port’s current situation
is a reminder to the Bulldogs that it is not a given that young players, even
after huge leaps forward, will keep on improving.