The NAB Cup is always a difficult competition to read. A lot of it is fool’s gold but the form from the pre-season has a habit of holding up pretty well.
In the last three years, one of the NAB Cup grand finalists has gone on to make the grand final proper.
And if we go back a little further to the start of this century, of the 24 teams that have played in 12 NAB Cup GFs, 19 have gone on to play finals football later that year.
The one standout final that didn’t hold up was in 2007 when Brisbane played Carlton. Both teams finished out of finals, in 10 th and 15 th respectively.
In fact, as far as NAB Cup grand finalists are concerned, the Blues have given them a bad reputation by winning the preseason in ‘05 and ‘07 and then going on to finish with the wooden spoon in ‘05 and that 15 th place in ‘07.
What do we make of this year’s NAB Cup, remembering that it’s the first time in a while that it was round robin and not knockout?
Once the first weekend of three teams playing one another concluded, a number of clubs were probably looking at round one of the home and away season and focusing less on the pre-season competition.
In a nutshell, here’s a quick summary of each teams’ performance two days out from Saturday night’s grand final:
Adelaide: Big tick. Good results for a new coach and a win Saturday night would be a big boost to their season.
Brisbane: Clouded with the training injury to Jonathan Brown.
Carlton: 0-4 ouch! Still confident they will be a major player
Collingwood: Bit messy with injuries to Krakouer and Macaffer. Still a formidable force.
Essendon: Missed the bus but still full of promise.
Fremantle: An even effort from them. Expect them to challenge
Geelong: Hammered by the Tigers, but last year lost to Port Adelaide by 84 points in the NAB challenge. No need to worry
Gold Coast: Lost to GWS, that hurts.
Greater Western Sydney: Got to sing the song much earlier than we expected
Hawthorn: Seems like everybody’s favourite. Looked powerful with Buddy on fire
Melbourne: All on-field efforts overshadowed by Liam Jurrah.
North Melbourne: Two and two. A reflection of a team close to finals.
Port Adelaide: Encouraging. They just need to overcome a tough draw early.
Richmond: The Tigers are roaring after playing the Cats. Seen it all before but they are making progress
St Kilda: Hard to assess with no game at Wangarrata and a trip to Perth to play in 40 degree heat.
Sydney: Seemingly took the Cup more seriously and good signs.
West Coast: Didn’t leave home and have a powerful squad with the advantage of the draw
Western Bulldogs: Bit like North Melbourne and Richmond, Close to top 8.
As for the final, Adelaide will probably start favourites with the bookmakers against West Coast, and even though the Eagles have a higher rating when it comes to the 2012 season proper I think Adelaide’s resurgence with a new coach at home will get them over the line.
Adelaide by 14 points.