Carlton 7-4 5th
They started a little shaky losing to Brisbane and Essendon (after slaying Tigers, although its no coincidence Judd was out for those three) but since then it has been 2 wins followed by a loss. Quite simply they have had an excellent season thus far. The biggest concern preseason was how would they replace Fev goals. Well, the much maligned Ratten came up with a plan, and it was fantastic. Set up the ungainly Irishman, O'Hailpin, as a giant lump to bring the ball to ground and let the trio of Betts, Yarran and Garlett jump on all the spillage. Throw a fit and firing Waite into the mix for some genuine tall talent and class and a renewed Houlihan and suddenly you have a forward line of skill, speed and versatility. Thus far its probably the masterstroke of the season.
Amazingly they have beaten Geelong and St Kilda who anyone who didn't see the game through navy blue glasses would think was ridiculously unlikely at the start of the season. Of some concern are the 2 losses they have had since round 3, to the Pies and Hawks, both who smashed them.
They are an up and down side, but thus far there is a lot more up. If Judd stays fit (he is the key to this side really doing damage when it counts in the finals), Waite keeps his head screwed on and doesn't get suspended, and the youngun's don't tire, they have a real chance of shaking the 8 up. They've got a very good midfield, a good forwardline mix and a solid enough backline. If they hold together they'll do OK. Of course depth is possibly an issue and is yet to be really tested, and they wouldn't want it tested too much. They won't win the flag, but they may surprise and sneak into 4th, but they need to be able to extend their streaks from 2 wins to more. 4th-7th