OPINION

The chase is on to catch the Melbourne Demons in 2022

CATCH THEM: The Melbourne Demons will remain the team to beat in season 2022. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

CATCH THEM: The Melbourne Demons will remain the team to beat in season 2022. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Melbourne claimed its long-awaited 13th premiership far away from its home at the MCG and the battle is on for the other teams to reach the Demons' high standards.

Here is an analysis of this year's finalists.

MELBOURNE (1ST)

Season summary: After 57 years and so many disappointments, the Demons broke through in the most emphatic fashion. They claimed the minor premiership, with skipper Max Gawn's kick after the final siren at Geelong, and thrashed their three opponents in the finals.

What the Demons are looking for in trade period/national draft: After finally reaching the top, they have secured a first-round draft selection and picked up former St Kilda midfielder Luke Dunstan.

WESTERN BULLDOGS (2ND)

Season summary: They were a top-two team most of the year. Having the competition's deepest midfield took the Dogs a long way, but the heavy grand final loss could haunt them.

What the Bulldogs are looking for in trade period/national draft: Alex Keath has done a sterling job as a key defender, but they have added former Hawk Tim O'Brien as an unrestricted free agent to provide key-position depth and will seek to replenish their ruck stocks.

PORT ADELAIDE (3RD)

Season summary: The Power produced their first Brownlow Medallist in Ollie Wines and appeared perfectly placed for a premiership tilt, only to capitulate badly in their second successive home preliminary final.

What the Power are looking for in trade period/national draft: The addition of former Giant Jeremy Finlayson will provide support for Charlie Dixon in attack, but gun opposition power forwards expose them down back. Need more midfield depth and run.

GEELONG (4TH)

Season summary: The Cats' consistency and durability during the qualifying rounds cannot be questioned as they reached another preliminary final, but came up embarrassingly short. Time is running out for them to snare another premiership with their ageing list under coach Chris Scott.

What the Cats are looking for in trade period/national draft: Must add pace to the midfield and address glaring weaknesses in the ruck and key defensive positions.

BRISBANE (5TH)

Season summary: Driven by a powerful midfield, the Lions managed to sneak into the top four on percentage, but ultimately injuries to tall forwards Eric Hipwood and Daniel McStay proved decisive as they lost both finals to the eventual grand finalists.

What the Lions are looking for in trade period/national draft: They will be searching for defensive cover, particularly to provide essential support for Harris Andrews and Darcy Gardiner.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (6TH)

Season summary: The Giants recovered from a sluggish start to make inroads in the second half of the season, despite being forced on the road. Overcame frustrating injuries and suspensions to key players to reach a semi-final.

What the Giants are looking for in trade period/national draft: They lack depth in the key positions at both ends of the ground and will be keen to fill those gaps.

SYDNEY (7TH)

Season summary: The one-point loss to GWS in the elimination final hurts, but the Swans made huge strides. They were attractive to watch, employing quick ball movement to service a potent attack spearheaded by veteran Lance Franklin. Appear to have several exciting future stars.

What the Swans are looking for in trade period/national draft: Tom Hickey was a key acquisition this season, but a back-up ruckman to help him out is crucial.

ESSENDON (8TH)

Season summary: The Bombers improved dramatically to grab a finals berth, adapting well to new coach Ben Rutten's methods and philosophy. Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish starred in the midfield and they unveiled several promising youngsters.

What the Bombers are looking for in trade period/national draft: Their finals loss against the Bulldogs exposed their lack of midfield depth and the need for a crumbing small forward. Another key defender is also a priority.

Jackson commits 

In more good news for the AFL premier, grand final hero Luke Jackson will sign a new deal with Melbourne soon. Jackson, who is contracted until the end of next season, will commit long-term to the Demons.

The West Australian believes his future is in Melbourne and he will be joined by his parents in Victoria.

SIGNING UP: Luke Jackson is set to sign a new deal with Melbourne. Photo: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

SIGNING UP: Luke Jackson is set to sign a new deal with Melbourne. Photo: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Nonconformist capable of upset

Incentivise deserves to be hot favourite for this Saturday's $5 million Caulfield Cup, but Nonconformist appears well suited to upset the Peter Moody-trained gelding.

Nonconformist finished a nose behind Probabeel in last Saturday's Might and Power (2000m) and the extra 400m might suit the five-year-old gelding, who drops a massive 7.5kg in the Caulfield Cup.

At his last start, Incentivise was impressive in winning the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. Young Werther provided a stern challenge, but Incentivise found something extra to record his eighth consecutive victory.

Delphi qualified for the Cup with his win in last Saturday's Herbert Power Stakes, but recent history is against the Irish import. Master O'Reilly is the only horse in the past 50 years to complete the Herbert Power/Caulfield Cup double.

Cup tip: Nonconformist 1, Incentivise 2, Delphi 3.

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