Ross Lyon – Fremantle: A
Let’s be honest, Fremantle being up there in the top four makes you feel all nice on the inside – whether you’re a supporter or not. There’s nothing like a once-lost team finding its feet and there is no doubt Ross Lyon has allowed the Dockers to shine like they’ve been threatening to for the past couple of seasons.
With a winning percentage of 64 over almost seven seasons, Lyon is still chasing his first premiership. Known for the discipline and defensive principals he instils in his players, many are looking forward to what he brings to the table this September.
Top effort Ross – gold star for you.
Guy McKenna – Gold Coast Suns: B+
Another year of improvement for McKenna’s men.
They beat Collingwood, won road games, and have finally moved on from being just ‘The Garry Abblett Show’. The Suns now know what winning tastes likes and hopefully they take that hunger into 2014. They have established a strong home ground record, which is a sign of sturdy team. Making the finals next season is an achievable goal McKenna should put on his list of ambitions.
Future looks optimistic if McKenna keeps his eyes on the prize.
Ken Hinkley – Port Adelaide: B
Port Adelaide’s first ‘outsider’ coach since Fos Williams in 1950 has worked wonders with a club that only managed five wins last term. They may have only just scrapped through to the finals after a strong start, but Hinkley has certainly proved to be a breath of fresh air at Alberton. He has improved the culture and introduced a solid competitive nature amongst his players. This philosophy has seen them prove their worth against top teams in Sydney, and the almighty Collingwood (Saturday night’s big loss to Fremantle aside, of course).
Sitting on a winning percentage of 57 percent, there is room for improvement when it comes to fine-tunning his team’s on-field skills, but he has certainly encouraged all those Port supporters who have been in hiding. Cheers for that Ken.
Michael Voss – Brisbane Lions: C+
Ok so Voss isn’t technically part of the Class of 2013 anymore, but his devotion to the Brisbane Football Club definitely deserves an honourable mention. Unfortunately for Michael, his start to the year wasn’t convincing, but since then him and his team’s confidence only grew. But alas it wasn’t enough; the club had made up their mind – perhaps in pursuit for a seemingly more valued student in Paul Roos. Put the Lions poor start aside, Voss’s men where on the rebound but it was too little too late. Regrettably no longer a member of the Class of 2013, Vossy will be highly remembered as a passionate, one-club man.
In one word- unlucky.
Brenton Sanderson – Adelaide Crows: C
For many Crows supporters, 2013 has been the Year of Frustration. Sanderson was the Class of 2012’s overachiever and it seems to have been to his detriment.
Sanderson has admittedly had to handle losing key players this season to injury, and the Tippett saga didn’t get the club off to the most desirable start. But too many mistakes have been made in 2013; namely the Johncock and Tambling debacles; as well as playing out of form players in Thompson and Porplyzia when so many young guns were more than capable of doing the job.
The ‘moment you lost your cool at Etihad’ was what fans finally wanted to see. Get angry Sando! Because Crows supporters have been for a while now and it’s about time you showed some character.
Good luck this upcoming draft selection, you’re going to need it.
Mick Malthouse – Carlton: C
Turning the big 6-0 earlier this year, Malthouse is arguably the most experienced coach in his class. Carlton posed no limitation on what it was capable of entering the season or turmoil, and Malthouse was brought in to take an underachieving team to its rightful place. Yet, sitting in 9th spot, not much has gone to plan.
So has Carlton really improved under Mick? Doesn’t seem so. Last year when Brett Ratten was at the helm, the Blues finished with 11-11; now they sit at 10-11.
There were amplified expectations of Mick coming into 2013 but fans are suffering a case of déjà vu (2012) and unfortunately for their supporters, Mick’s Midas touch didn’t work.
Malthouse said he’s ‘‘not one little bit interested” if Carlton do or do not make the finals depending on the Essendon situation; but you should be Mick, you should be very interested in this – it’s pathetic and horrible coaching not to be.
Delivering a big ball of nothingness this year earns Mick a below-average mark.
James Hird – Essendon: C-
Oh James, what are we going to do with you? Just over a month ago your team were second on the ladder and preparing for a top-of-the-table clash against Hawthorn. Hird showed resilience and a cool head in the face of immense pressure earlier that would have seen a more impressive report card, but then it took a turn for the worst as something seemed to crack.
I hate to pull the guilty-until-proven-innocent card, but I honestly have no idea which one he is, or which verdict he’s declaring. Whichever it may be, Essendon are no longer a 2013 finals side, which is disappointing given the talent the team possess.
Regrettably, suspension is on the cards.
Scott Watters – St Kilda: D
To state the obvious, going from 12 wins last year to 3 this season will not get you in the teacher’s good books. While many of St Kilda’s veteran players are on their last legs and their team list is sporting a large age gap, Watters must throw everything at draft selection and try his absolute hardest at getting the best picks. Rebuilding this list is vital. Scott can remain optimistic about his chances of a contract extension past 2014, but another year like this and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a call for change.