Nick Dal Santo has posed the biggest questions that he is asking of the 18 AFL clubs leading into the 2020 season.
These are questions that we hope to have answered and will watch with interest over the course of the year.
The former All-Australian midfielder has asked the following of the Swans, Eagles and Bulldogs.
1. How much football does Lance Franklin play?
“As simple as that. How much footy does he play this year and at what level?
“He played 10 games last year and kicked 27 goals, 18 behinds so he’s had 45 shots at goal. Not bad from 10 games.
“He’s so important and pivotal to their forward line. Everything operates around him.”
2. Can the youth release the pressure on the older stars?
“(Oliver) Florent, (Nick) Blakey, (Jordan) Dawson, (Tom) McCartin, (Will) Hayward – these boys need to develop and take over the reins that have been held by others before them – (Luke) Parker, (Josh) Kennedy, (Heath) Grundy, (Jarrad) McVeigh, Kieren Jack.
“2020 is a development year for the Swans. Last year was and we probably weren’t expecting it to be so drastic. This year will be the same again.
“I want to see these boys star to take more responsibility and release the pressure on same of the mainstays that have been there for so long.”
__3. What will Isaac Heeney and Callum Mills deliver this year? __
“McVeigh, Jack and Grundy are all gone. They’ve been stalwarts for that football club and I love the ‘Bloods Culture’ and it was led so strongly by McVeigh and Jack in particular.
“I’m looking at Heeney and Mills now. We mention their names all the time, we ask questions about them.
“This Bloods Culture that has rolled on from (Brett) Kirk, (Adam) Goodes and (Michael) O’Loughlin. Those guys aren’t there so who is next in line?”
1. Do they need to finish top two?
“Do they have to have home finals? Can they get themselves into a position to get home finals?
“They stuffed up by losing to the Hawks in Round 23 and putting themselves in fifth position then ultimately getting rolled (by Geelong) the week after.
“Do they have to be in that position to give themselves a huge advantage for September?”
2. Does Tim Kelly continue on his merry way?
“Is it just new club, new year, new jumper, same Tim Kelly?
“What do we see from him?”
__3. Can Oscar Allen be the new mobile forward? __
“West Coast supporters love Oscar Allen and what he is doing.
“He ticks all the boxes – courageous, goes after the football, does some uncanny stuff that others can’t. He’s working around (Josh) Kennedy and (Jack) Darling.
“Can he be the third piece to that tall puzzle? Could he be the new mobile forward for the Eagles?
1. Are Alex Keath and Josh Bruce the two pieces that put them in flag contention?
“A big key forward, a big key defender and the growth and development of everybody else around them.
“Can they get it right?”
2. Where is Marcus Bontempelli’s best position?
“The easiest answer is anywhere you want him.
“You’d love to have him up forward because he kicks goals, he gets mismatches and gets the job done.
“But can you afford to take him out of the midfield where he is just breathtaking at times?
“Where’s his best position?”
3. Is Tim English ready to step up?
“He’s going to be a really good player. We know ruckmen develop a little bit slower. They need to be big and he’s got a lot of weight to put on.
“But he’s going up against the likes of (Brodie) Grundy, (Max) Gawn, Stef Martin, (Shane) Mumford, (Sam) Jacobs.
“Can he hold up and is he ready to step up?”