‘Bad to disaster’: Kane Cornes’ AFL crystal ball spells doom for Ross Lyon’s St Kilda
Who will make the eight? Can Geelong go back-to-back? Who will be the Brownlow medallist and Rising Star? What will be the story of the season? Our experts put their reputations on the line to answer these questions and more.
- Scroll down to see Kane Cornes’ ladder predictions.
It was the bombshell no one saw coming, not least Brett Ratten himself. One week the St Kilda coach was watching and interviewing draft prospects at the AFL draft combine; the next he was out of a job.
Former Port Adelaide premiership player and Age football columnist Kane Cornes says the fallout from decision to woo Ross Lyon back to Moorabbin will be a major talking point this season, and that if the Saints don’t make the finals it could come back to bite them.
Ross Lyon needs to guide St Kilda to the finals in the first year of his second stint as club coach to justify the board’s ruthless coaching coup at the end of last season.Credit:Getty Images
Cornes said the Saints fell into the trap of overrating their list when they re-signed Ratten only three months earlier, and has tipped them to slide to 15th this season.
“They feared getting stuck in the six-to-10 zone on the ladder. Trying to lower expectations on new coach Ross Lyon, they have since distanced themselves from those comments, explained Cornes, predicting Lyon’s second coming as St Kilda coach would be the storyline of the season.
“However, anything but a top-eight finish will make the brutal call on Ratten go from bad to disaster.”
Cornes is not as bullish about Carlton as colleagues Caroline Wilson and Jake Niall, tipping the Blues to narrowly miss the eight for the second year in a row.
While most of our experts have backed sons of guns Will Ashcroft (Brisbane) or Sam Darcy (Western Bulldogs) to win the Rising Star award, Cornes has picked a young Giant to explode.
His tip is Finn Callaghan. He reckons the youngster will get extra time in the GWS midfield because of the departures of Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper to Tigerland.
Brownlow: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne). Oliver has polled 56 votes in the past two seasons and is primed for another year leading Melbourne’s dynamic midfield. He kicked just five goals last year; if he pushes into the front half more this season, he will be impossible for umpires to ignore.
Rising Star: Finn Callaghan (GWS). Callaghan is a prototype, athletic, big-bodied midfielder with a weapon of a left foot. With the departure of Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper, he will get maximum opportunities through the Giant’s midfield. Injury disrupted his first season, but the third pick in 2021 is fit and ready to break out.
Story of the season: St Kilda sacked Brett Ratten three months after extending his contract, believing that their list was better than it had shown. They feared getting stuck in the six-to-10 zone on the ladder. Trying to lower expectations on new coach Ross Lyon, they have since distanced themselves from those comments. However, anything but a top-eight finish will make the brutal call on Ratten go from bad to disaster.
On the rise: Adelaide.
On the slide: St Kilda.
Headline you won’t see: Cameron Zurhaar has last laugh in online feud with ex-teammate Horne-Francis
Fans’ biggest gripe: Holding the ball. The league is set to be red-hot on holding the ball, giving ball-winners less time to dispose of the footy. This is problematic as it disincentivises players from winning the ball and rewards those who sweat off to tackle. It will result in an inconsistent interpretation of the rule and drive the fans mad.
Jake Niall’s season predictions
Caroline Wilson’s season predictions
Footy coverage coming up in The Age
Monday: Ins, outs, and what to expect from each club in 2023 Real Footy podcast Crystal ball predictions from all our experts.
Wednesday: Expert tips and teams.
Thursday: Follow our live blog for news and expert insights from the Richmond v Carlton season opener at the MCG
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