AFL: On the Couch take a look at the alarming numbers that the Western Bulldogs have been putting up this season.
MELBOURNE fans are more confident than they have been in years, Richmond and Collingwood fans not so much. And Geelong supporters are just plain cocky about their return to the top.
They are the early findings from the 2016 AFL Footy Fans Survey which asked fans which rebuilding club is closest to a flag, and how confident supporters are about their own prospects.
The groundwork laid by master coach Paul Roos and the rise of young stars Jesse Hogan, Jack Viney and Christian Petracca has Dees fans dreaming of a first premiership since 1964.
FANS SURVEY: HAVE YOUR SAY ON FOOTY’S BIG ISSUES FOR A CHANCE TO WIN 2 AFL GRAND FINAL TICKETS
After almost a week — the survey is open until 11.59pm on June 29 — the Demons are the clear leader in the question of which of Melbourne, Richmond, Collingwood, Essendon, St Kilda and Carlton will win a flag first.
When asked if their own team will contend for a premiership in the next four years, 91 per cent of Melbourne fans say yes.
Bulldogs fans are even more confident of breaking an even longer drought, with 99.5 per cent of fans taking the survey saying they can contend before 2020.
But they can’t match the supreme confidence of Geelong fans. Riding a Patrick Dangerfield-led wave, of 1186 Cat fans to take the survey so far just four said they didn’t expect another cup at the Cattery in the next four years.
The news isn’t so good for Collingwood and Richmond coaches Nathan Buckley and Damien Hardwick.
Both teams were tipped to fight for a spot in the top eight this year if not higher, but both find themselves all but out of finals calculations halfway through the season. And fans don’t see a quick turnaround.
Just 62 per cent of Richmond fans say their team will challenge in the next four years — when Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt and Alex Rance are in their prime. At Collingwood the figure is 66 per cent — both well below the AFL average of 84 per cent.
In other early survey results, Dangerfield is streets ahead in the vote for best player in the competition, 76 per cent of fans want footy on Good Friday, 69 per cent want a return of State-of-Origin and 71 per cent prefer a day Grand Final, although a growing 21 per cent select twilight as their preferred GF timeslot.
Take the survey now to have your say and a chance to win two AFL Grand Final tickets.