I know, I know, you’re probably all sick to death of reading predictions for the upcoming AFL season. I haven’t read many myself, however, so I’ve plonked in my own. Take a look, and feel free to laugh at me on October 2nd when you see how wrong my predictions were.
- West Coast
- W Bulldogs
- GWS Giants
- N Melbourne
- Gold Coast
- Pt Adelaide
- St Kilda
The top four, as most are predicting, are West Coast, Hawthorn, Sydney, and Fremantle. The Dockers are last there because their ageing list makes it look like this is their last chance at success, and the Swans should recover from the poor form of last year, now they won’t have things like Goodes being booed and Franklin’s mental health to distract them. West Coast’s list looks pretty good, and so does Hawthorn’s. If I had to choose between the two, it depends on where the game is being played, but since there’s one home and one away for each of them, I’m tipping Hawthorn on percentage for first.
Geelong will recover from their poor season last year and easily make the eight, but I think there’s still a gap between their best and the best of the previous four. The Western Bulldogs and Richmond will finish around where they did last year, and the final eight will be rounded out by the GWS Giants. The Giants played really well last year, and their fresh young players will overrun a few teams in the final quarter, so expect them to make the eight.
Adelaide will just miss out on the finals this season, and will be considered rather unlucky. This will be contentious, but I have my doubts on North Melbourne for this season, and have picked them to finish tenth. The big improvers, no doubt, are Melbourne, who will hopefully have things go right for the first time in ten years. Collingwood impressed during the NAB Challenge, but I can’t see them getting over the logjam of sides above them.
I think that Gold Coast will also struggle this year. The Giants have a better list than them, and they tend to play poorly without Gary Ablett, who you can’t see playing all 22 games this year. Port Adelaide was iffy last year, and I expect them to continue their decline.
I like St Kilda, I really do, but out of all the teams with a legitimate chance, they probably have the lowest one. The St Kilda rebuilding phase is almost over. And that leaves our bottom three of Brisbane, Carlton, and Essendon. Brisbane will finish sixteenth; they may be bad, but they can hardly be worse than our bottom two. It was a tough choice between the Blues and Bombers, but Carlton will definitely improve a bit, where Essendon will not.
Nat Fyfe will have another brilliant season, and I’ve got him going back to back, but he’ll be pushed all the way by Patrick Dangerfield, who will definitely win matches for the Cats. Dan Hannebery will be a fair way back in third.
Another back to back this time. Josh Kennedy will score at least three goals a game during West Coast’s brilliant year. Lance Franklin will come second, followed by Taylor Walker a dozen goals back.
The Rising Star will be Darcy Moore, the Collingwood father-son recruit who will help the Pies become a finals force again in a few years. He has some serious potential.
Only one coach will be sacked this year, on my predictions. Justin Leppitsch will end up with a dissatisfied board after another poor season, and will get the chop late in the year. Alan Richardson of the Saints could be if the board becomes a bit trigger happy, and Damien Hardwick would be on the block if Richmond didn’t win a final, I reckon.
Under my ladder, the first week will be Hawthorn v Fremantle, Geelong v GWS Giants, W Bulldogs v Richmond, and West Coast v Sydney. Hawthorn and Geelong will easily win, Richmond will win for the first time in fifteen years*, and the Swans will upset West Coast.
In week two, Geelong will go to the west and comfortably knock off Fremantle, and something similar will happen in the West Coast-Richmond game.
The preliminary finals will be Hawthorn v West Coast and Sydney v Geelong. Hawthorn will do what they do best and smash the Eagles by a lot more than we predicted, and Geelong will be out of energy and be overrun by Sydney.
And the Grand Final, on October 1, 2016, will result in Hawthorn making history, becoming the first team in 85 years to win four consecutive premierships, and consolidate their position as the greatest team of all time.
And I hope to god that doesn’t happen.