THE NAB Cup can produce only glimpses of what we can expect in the season proper.
Surely, we can’t be worried by Carlton’s inability to post a signifiant victory or Collingwood’s indifferent form.
Or surprised of Hawthorn’s impressive form, Melbourne’s rise, Greater Western Sydney’s struggle or Geelong’s versatility and new breed.
But one thing is for certain, this season will be far more interesting than any other simply because of it will be the first time the competition has 18 teams. And we may well be seeing some regular stars being rested on the sidelines because of the arduous season ahead.
It is already happening in the NAB Cup with teams ruling out some seasoned guns.
There has been some signs in recent NAB Cups that the premier or at least grand finallist will come from the NAB Cup winner.
Collingwood won it last year and finished runner up in the season proper.
Geelong has been the NAB Cup premier and the home and away season premier in a season.
Hawthorn is the favourite to take out the NAB Cup this season; perhaps a sign of things to come.
The worst of the NAB Cup this season has been injuries to some key players including more recently, Tom Williams from the Western Bulldogs and Jeremy Laidler from Carlton.
Both are key players to their defensive line-ups and are likely to miss at least the next month or two in a blow to both clubs.
Injuries can take a huge toll on clubs even at this time of year. Certainly Brian Lake’s return is far more valuable now than it ever was.
Collingwood’s Andrew Krakouer is another blow but considering his future was up in the air at the start of the season anyway – due to personal reasons – the loss is perhaps a little inclement.
May the best team win in the NAB Cup, but for that every team would need a full strength list out on the park. For it’s never going to be the best team that wins the NAB Cup because there is always at least one if not half of the competition resting many stars for the big one.
Clubs are now more cautious than ever. And so they should be, with more games, more scope for injuries and more exposure than ever before – that is if you have Foxtel.
By Brent Diamond
Tags: NAB Cup