PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 30: Jacob Weitering of the Blues celebrates the win on the siren during the 2019 AFL round 15 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Carlton Blues at Optus Stadium on June 30, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

2021 is finally here and the footy season cannot come soon enough, football will likely return to its spiritual home in Melbourne and fans will return in their thousands.

The lead up to round one is filled with hot takes and speculation, not to mention everyones predictions. But how often are those predictions on the safe side of the fence?

In this series we will be going out an a limb and make some fearless predictions for the upcoming season, everything from free agency moves to premiers and award winners.

40. Brayden Sier gets his turn and makes a mark

Sier has long been seen as the inside midfielder Collingwood need, but has been unable to get a crack at it.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 08: Brayden Sier of the Magpies juggles the ball against Nathan Vardy of the Eagles during the AFL Second Qualifying Final match between the West Coast Eagles and the Collingwood Magpies at Optus Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

With Collingwood showing the door to Adam Treloar and Tom Phillips, as well as casting half an eye to the future, it seems Sier’s time is now. He will get the midfield minutes he’s craving and will become the Pies’ number one contested ball winner.

39. Ben King solidifies himself as the better of the twin towers

Max King had a terrific first year for St Kilda in 2020, he was one of the games best young players and garnered a lot of love from the public.

Meanwhile, up on the sunny Gold Coast his brother Ben was doing his work for a second year and was just as good. Ben King is playing in a worse side than Max and with more improvement from the Suns midfield, Ben will only get better opportunities in 2021. Huge year for Suns gun.

38. Luke Jackson takes huge weight off Gawn

Max Gawn has long been the soul carrier of the Melbourne ruck division. The Demons have attempted to lend him support but have yet to find a suitable dancing partner for their skipper. Enter, Luke Jackson.

AFL Rd 9 - Melbourne v Port Adelaide
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 30: Luke Jackson of the Demons makes a handpass during the round nine AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Port Adelaide Power at The Gabba on July 30, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Jackson is primed for a massive second season and will see a lot more game time in 2021, playing mainly as a forward he will learn and develop his ruck craft from the game’s best and by season’s end Melbourne will be a two-pronged threat in the ruck.

37. Jeremy Cameron find his form and reclaims the Coleman Medal

2020 and hub life was a disaster for Jeremy Cameron. The 2019 Coleman medallist was a shadow of his best. Now trading orange and charcoal for blue and white hoops, Cameron will have every chance to re-find his best form.

Paired with Tom Hawkins, Cameron will get the support the Giants lacked and will find it much easier to get on the end of a few in a team playing much faster and expansive football.

36. Jacob Weitering gets his blazer

Jacob Weitering was as stiff as they come last year not to receive an All-Australian blazer. The Blues backman beat all that came before him and was a key in Carlton’s rise up the ladder.

He had the better of some of the game’s best forwards week in and week out and looked destined for a maiden All-Australian jacket, but was however beaten out. That won’t happen this year, he will get his blazer as he leads Carlton to another jump up the ladder.

35. Brisbane fall short of Grand Final once again

The Lions have been stellar the last two seasons, in 2019 they made the finals but bowed out in straight sets, despite two home finals.

2020 was an improvement as they won the qualifying final but once again fell short of the big dance, and 2021 will be no different. The top four is as competitive as ever and the Lions will be sure to make it thanks to their record at the Gabba, but unfortunately they will not reach the season decider once again.

34. Ben Rutten’s gameplan doesn’t take shape early

Ben Rutten takes the reigns of Essendon in 2021 and there’s already a lot of pressure on the new coach. His game plan looked flat at times in 2020 as he ran the on-field operations for the Bombers and that will roll on into 2021, with the Bombers falling out of finals contentions in the early stages of the season.

AFL Rd 17 - Port Adelaide v Essendon
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 12: Ben Rutten, Senior Assistant Coach and Team Defence of the Bombers during the 2020 AFL Round 17 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Essendon Bombers at Adelaide Oval on September 12, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Matt Turner/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

33. Bont joins millionaires club

Marcus Bontempelli is out of contract in 2021 and he will be keen to sign his career deal at the kennel. This year we will see the Bont’s prime and a deal where he cashes in.

In 2021, Bontempelli will join the millionaires club as he signs a long-term deal worth more than a seven-figures per season.

32. North go into the bye with just one win

Another new coach facing a tough gig, David Noble will have his work cut out for him in 2021 and at the half-way point of the season the Kangaroos will have a solitary win to their name.

AFL Rd 7 - Richmond v North Melbourne
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – JULY 18: Jack Ziebell of the Kangaroos leave the field after losing the round 7 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Metricon Stadium on July 18, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

However that won’t be all doom and gloom, as finals won’t the priority for North Melbourne, but one win will be hard to take for fans.

31. Hawthorn have end of season clear out

The Hawks at this point will have acknowledged they need to rebuild and now it’s time to clear out the dead wood.

The Hawks have many experienced players who will need to be moved on, whether they retire or they are traded for a stronger draft hand.

Shaun Burgoyne has already announced he will retire and we’re tipping he will be joined at the exit door by several others as the Hawks finally commit to the youth policy.