NORTH Melbourne fans, look away now.
The Kangaroos are in a massive pickle going into the 2018 season after falling seriously short during last month’s trade period.
The Roos failed to drag a single player to their club during the trade frenzy and traded star defender Sam Gibson to the Crows for Pick 91 in November’s Draft.
The struggling side, which placed 15th in this year’s premiership ahead of Carlton, Gold Coast and Brisbane, has a mountain to climb in the off season if they are to avoid another season of chasing its tail.
Former AFL midfielder and coach Terry Wallace sounded the doomsday siren for the Kangaroos with an almighty reality-check on SEN Thursday afternoon.
Wallace praised coach Brad Scott’s effort thoughout the season to pull off a few shock wins, including a massive 22.13 (145) — 13.8 (86) thrashing over first-placed Adelaide in May, but said the future looked bleak for the boys in stripes.
“They have got the least talented list at the moment in the competition, bar none,” he said on The Run Home.
“I don’t like to be absolutely pessimistic, but when you’re having a look at this squad, I’ve got to give credit to their coaching staff last year, because for what they’re putting on the park and what performances they put in, they were far more competitive than what I thought they could possibly be.
“It is going to be a real battle and a real struggle. I know the way they go about it is very professional, so they’ll want to fight the fight, but I think this is one fight they cannot really get a hold of.”
Wallace said North will be kicking themselves after failing to capitalise on making two preliminary finals before slumping to their current form.
“They did what Port Adelaide have done this year,” he said.
“When they made those two preliminary finals, they stacked up with older blokes. They tried to have a go, it didn’t work and they’re paying the consequences for having a whole heap of old blokes there at the one time. It hurts your football club. It’s just a long build to get yourself back up there.”
North Melbourne’s woes continued Thursday after former skipper Andrew Swallow announced his retirement.
“He saw the writing on the wall, given the way that they are going, clearing out all the old blokes and going to play the kids,” former AFL star Adam Cooney said.
“When you’re on your way down the ladder and you’re rebuilding your club, the first two to go are the old and the slow.
“Unfortunately for Andrew Swallow at the moment, given his age and the fact that he can’t cover the ground that well on the outside, players can spread on him now, he fits both of those.”
CLOUDS HANG OVER ABLETT HOMECOMING
Geelong superstar Gary Ablett returned home after years of speculation over his future at the Gold Coast.
Fans were treated to the good news during last month’s AFL trade period as the 34-year-old put pen to paper for the Cats. Ablett told Channel Nine Thursday he would be chasing a premiership for his home club — but questions surround the fairytale return as critics bring to light a harsh truth about the veteran midfielder.
“He’s no spring chicken … he hasn’t put a full season of footy together for four or five years now,” Adam Cooney said.
“That would be the main concern with me. He’s started to get some soft tissue stuff in the past couple of years, he’s had shoulder issues which he hasn’t been able to get on top of.
“At 34 it is really hard to come back and play your best footy… I do have question marks whether he will be able to get back to that level.”