Cats the team to beat in 2009: captains - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats the team to beat in 2009: captains

By Sam Lienert 19/03/2009 04:20:14 PM Comments (0)

Geelong's 2008 AFL grand final defeat has cost them nothing in respect from their rival captains, who overwhelmingly rate the Cats as the team to beat this season.

Fourteen of Geelong's 15 rivals voted them the team most likely to make this year's decider, with last year's premiers Hawthorn receiving the other two votes, including that of Cats' skipper Tom Harley.

The annual poll of the 16 clubs' captains also installed Geelong champion Gary Ablett as the standout choice to win this season's Brownlow Medal.

Ablett, who finished equal third in last year's count, was the tip of nine skippers.

Carlton captain Chris Judd, who won the award in 2004, received three votes as the only other player with multiple nominations.

The league's oldest player, Richmond star Matthew Richardson, who tied with Ablett for third place last year, received one vote, as did Geelong's Jimmy Bartel, Hawk Lance Franklin and North Melbourne captain Brent Harvey.

No one tipped last year's winner, Western Bulldogs midfielder Adam Cooney, to go back-to-back.

Geelong and Hawthorn were unsurprisingly unanimous tips to make the top eight.

But the more interesting result was that every captain expects Carlton to be the big risers after coming 11th last season, as the only other club to receive maximum votes.

Even the Western Bulldogs, who pushed the top two teams all the way last season, fell one vote short of a full round of support.

Last year's finalists Sydney and North Melbourne are tipped to head the other way, each receiving only three of a possible 15 votes to make the eight.

Adelaide was another club widely expected to drop, garnering just six votes.

Last year's two bottom sides Melbourne and West Coast were the only clubs not to receive a single nomination as top eight material.

Carlton spearhead Brendan Fevola is the captains' clear Coleman Medal favourite, despite finishing runner-up to Hawks star Lance Franklin last season.

Fevola, who kicked 99 goals in 2008, notched 10 votes, with Franklin, who last year became the first 100-goalkicker in the home and away season in a decade, picking up five, with the other vote going to fellow Hawk Jarryd Roughead.

The Rising Star award was a more open field, with Brisbane recruit Daniel Rich picking up five votes ahead of North Melbourne's Jack Ziebell (four), with Collingwood's Dayne Beams (two) the only other player to receive multiple nominations.

Neither of the top two picks from last year's national draft, Melbourne key forward Jack Watts and West Coast ruckman Nick Naitanui, received a vote.

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