With the footy about to finally start, a mate of mine asked me what my top 8, premiership and wooden spoon predications are.
Good question Bifrost.
Let’s start with the Premiership
With Fremantles stunned mullet grand final appearance behind, they will be out to prove (and redeem) themselves to the fans. What could also be the final years of Pavlich, Sandilands and McPharlin, there will be a huge push to send them off with the deserve Grand Final win. Speaking of Sandilands, how good is he playing after , what looks like, finally getting over the dreaded Turf Toe. I also see a Grand Final rematch happening.
Premiership Flag goes to Fremantle.
The wooden spoon
Not really a tough prediction here. GWS are improving and as long as they stay fit and have shaken off the 2nd year blues, they should be more competitive throughout the year. St Kilda would be the only contender outside GWS for the spoon. I do not see many wins from the Saints as they rebuild from the large retirements and/or trades from last year. It will be a long year for the Saints faithful.
Wooden Spoon goes to GWS Giants
This was tough. The top 3 was easy and you can mix them around but it will still be Sydney, Fremantle and Hawthorn. But who will fill in the other 5 possies of the 8.
Collingwood will still be a force with Swan, Pendles, Beams, Adams and Ball as an engine room, how could they not be. Richmond and North Melbourne are in similar places, high expextations from clubs, fans and the AFL. The Tiges are looking great with again another powerful midfield. The Cotch in NAB looked fantastic, Ellis is ready to take the next step in his game and ‘Don’t Argue” Martin will again make his presence known. For North, the draw is a big factor with the Lions, Bulldogs, Crows and Demons played twice. They will look flat at first while they still adapt not having Swallow but this will force Ziebell and Cunnington to step up. The backline is looking its strongest especially with the addition of Father/Son McDonald.
Geelong may not be the powerhouse they were a few years ago but you cannot write them off. Some astute pick ups have made a very strong young team. Players like Caddy, Hunt, Horlin-Smith and Guthrie coming through, they will be a dominant force again sooner than we would like. Essendon, yes Essendon. Last year they made the eight despite the media witch hunt and ASADA hovering around them. They were stripped of some of the points and missed the finals. Expect them to play hard this season, with less distraction and something to prove.
That would be the eight but the next 3 teams have cases to push themselves in there. Port Adelaide making the finals has given them a tough draw with Fremantle and Carlton to be played twice and Away games versus Sydney, Richmond, Collingwood, West Coast and Fremantle. Tough run, tough ask. Gold Coast will be a big mover this year. They have the right mix of experienced players with players like Bennell, Swallow, O’Meara and Prestia ready to go up another gear and add Jack Martin in their with evergreen Ablett, they will not be a walk over team and should win more than the tiptsers expect. Carlton is a team I can’t quite work out. Low possession football is very different to this age of football. With Cinderella Ankle Thomas in the mid, will that help the heavily tagged Murphy.
These next teams will be a frustrating team to follow. There will be highs and more lows in the year. For Melbourne though, it will all be positive. Roos has already started to work his magic and with the new look midfield of Vince, Dyson, Michie to help the older gaurd of Jones and Cross, there is much to be excited about. West Coast is another team that I struggle to say why they wont be in the 8 but I know they wont. Western Bulldogs will be exciting to watch with the likes of Liberatore, Dahlhaus and Macrae running about. Hey if Higgens stays off the stretcher they may prove my prediction for them wrong. Adelaide lost a lot of players in the draft period, they have key players injured and they will need time to recover.
The bottom 3. I have already talked about GWS and the Saints so that leaves the Brisbane 2nds. Another team to have a mass exodus last year they will be a long time coming to put pressure on other teams.
So there you have it. My ladder prediction, wooden spooners and flag bearers. Lets see who this looks mid way through the year.
- Fremantle Dockers
- Hawthorn Hawks
- Sydney Swans
- Collingwood Magpies
- Richmond Tigers
- North Melbourne Kangaroos
- Geelong Cats
- Essendon Bombers
- Port Adelaide Power
- Gold Coast Suns
- Carlton Blues
- Western Bulldogs
- West Coast Eagles
- Adelaide Crows
- Melbourne Demons
- Brisbane Lions
- St Kilda Saints
- GWS Giants