The question on every AFL fan's lips in February: 'Can our mob go all the way this year?'

Irrespective of yesteryear's peaks or troughs, belief always manages to start anew before the fresh season begins, and 2024 is no different.

Whether you're a Magpies fanatic refusing to stop revelling in last September's triumph or an Eagles tragic reeling from last year's abhorrent campaign, a new season is upon us. And with it, 18 premiership aspirations.

However, in spite of the blind optimism synonymous with footy fandom, not all 18 clubs enter the upcoming season with symmetrical expectations.

Thus, we examined the extent to which your club's premiership window is figuratively 'open', ranging from wide open, open, ajar, opening, closed, and locked shut.

A lot of different extents, I know, but such is the case with these exercises.

With all of that said, here are our quick takes on every club's flag hopes heading into the season:

Adelaide: Opening

Justifiably, Adelaide supporters will still feel wronged by the AFL following last season's score-review debacle that assisted in rendering the club's season September-less. However, 2023 represented a promising 11-win campaign for Matthew Nicks' men and, after adding West Australian talent Dan Curtin to a burgeoning defending contingent, another step forward should be on the horizon for the Crows this year.

Adelaide, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 5: Jordan Dawson of the Crows celebrates a goal during the 2023 AFL Round 21 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Gold Coast SUNS at Adelaide Oval on August 5, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Brisbane: Wide Open

Brisbane's premiership-contending situation is fairly self-explanatory. After falling devastatingly to Collingwood in last year's big dance, the Lions, having compensated for multiple unfulfilled finals campaigns in years past, are on the cusp of ultimate footballing glory and figure to push close again this year.

Carlton: Open

If last year's resurgence taught us anything about the Blues' steely resolve under Michael Voss, it proved they can go just as far, if not further, again this season. After falling one win short of a big dance berth last year, a wired Carlton side shapes to challenge again.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Michael Voss, Senior Coach of the Blues looks on as his team leave the field during the 2023 AFL Second Preliminary Final match between the Brisbane Lions and the Carlton Blues at The Gabba on September 23, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Collingwood: Wide Open

After a 2022 season filled with tantalisingly close victories, the Magpies proved the naysayers wrong last year and won the ultimate prize. The reigning premiers made further trade (Lachie Schultz) and draft (Harry DeMattia and Tew Jiath) additions in October and November, putting the Magpies in terrific shape to defend their title in '24.

Essendon: Closed

If the 'vibes' are anything worth going by this pre-season, the Bombers seem to have started Brad Scott's second season on the front foot. Will they bear the fruits of their pre-season U.S. trip, or will they be resigned to a similar fate as in 2023? We'll soon see. In any case, a challenge for this year's title seems unlikely, as a long-awaited finals win will be the first thing Dons fans will want to check off their list.

Fremantle: Closed

Whispers about the supposed tentative nature of senior coach Justin Longmuir's tenure have formed a grey cloud over the Dockers this pre-season. After a disappointing regression in 2023, Fremantle fans are hoping for a substantial rebound this year. However, the club's off-season movements didn't exactly inspire motivation that a resurgence is on the menu; exporting Lachie Schultz and welcoming very little in the way of replacement. If the Dockers struggle again this season it's probably the end of Longmuir in Cockburn.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 13: Dockers coach, Justin Longmuir speaks to his players during the round nine AFL match between Sydney Swans and Fremantle Dockers at Sydney Cricket Ground, on May 13, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Geelong: Ajar

After basking in the glory of proving the critics wrong in '22, the Cats regressed beyond the expectation of most. While the majority of their 2022 flag squad remains intact, these gritty Cats continue to age and, at least in 2023, were surpassed by hungrier clubs. Geelong possesses the talent to go again this year, but does it have the drive?

Gold Coast: Closed

It's hard to dispute that an injection of Hardwick-flavoured hope this off-season has provided a positive outlook at Carrara this year. While a fresh game style seems to have excited Gold Coast's core of youngsters, it remains difficult to see the Suns challenge for a top-eight spot, let alone for a shot at the ultimate glory in 2024.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 21: Damien Hardwick speaks at a Gold Coast Suns AFL press conference announcing his signing as the new coach at Heritage Stadium on August 21, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

GWS: Opening

Adam Kingsley's maiden season coaching GWS couldn't have gone much more according to plan, registering a preliminary final berth and pushing the eventual premiers to the brink. It's hard to say with complete certainty that their premiership window is wide open, thus 'opening' seems more appropriate until the Giants substantiate their 2023 effort.

Hawthorn: Closed

The youthful Hawks pose a chance to ascend to finals contenders this season under revitalising coach Sam Mitchell. Hawthorn nabbed numerous wins against formidable opposition last year, inspiring confidence the next step could be taken in 2024. While a 7-16 record in '23 suggests September football remains a ways away, it's tough to oppose the notion that the brown and gold are trending the right way.

Melbourne: Ajar

Shortcomings centred on both on-field results and off-field culture have Melbourne in a tenuous spot entering this season. In particular, the circumstances surrounding Clayton Oliver and Joel Smith place the Demons in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, with the blowtorch firmly on standby. On-field - despite the presence of salivating talent all over the field - the Dees were shunted from last year's finals in straight sets; applying all the more pressure on Simon Goodwin, Gary Pert and Co.

Clayton Oliver during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

North Melbourne: Locked Shut

Alastair Clarkson's debut season as North Melbourne's senior coach didn't go according to plan; departing for indefinite leave after allegations of racism during his time at Hawthorn surfaced. The four-time flag mastermind was absent for the majority of last season, and after a short-lived positive start to the '23 campaign, the Roos' season went off the rails en route to a second-last ladder finish.

Port Adelaide: Ajar

Despite notching a record-breaking winning streak during the year, Port Adelaide's 2023 season ended in bitter disappointment; eliminated from the finals in straight sets after disenchanting losses to Brisbane and GWS. Long-standing senior coach Ken Hinkley penned a contract extension, though, and a top-four finish remains something to build on entering the new season.

Richmond: Closed

Richmond's Adem Yze era officially begins on March 9 when the Tigers travel to play Damien Hardwick's Suns in Carrara. Following a relatively unceremonious season that saw the club manage just one win from its first seven outings en route to a 13th-place finish, Richmond's 2024 prospects appear tentative. The Punt Road club arguably needed a regenerative voice, though doubt remains over its short-term prospects.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Adem Yze poses for a photo after being announced as Richmond coach during a Richmond Tigers AFL press conference at Punt Road Oval on September 22, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

St Kilda: Closed

St Kilda was mostly impressive during Ross Lyon's return to the head-coaching helm, though a disappointing finals exit at the hands of GWS left a sour taste in the mouths of the starved Saints faithful. The club's young core is ascending, and acquisition Liam Henry poses as a sparkplug for Lyon to utilise, but the Moorabbin club still doesn't appear prepared for a premiership push in the short term.

Sydney: Ajar

Despite qualifying for the finals last year, the Swans looked uninspiring for large portions after managing a grand final berth in 2022. While Lance Franklin's retirement hurts, Sydney possesses a plethora of younger talent that should guide the Harbour City club for the foreseeable future. While it's difficult to see the Swans reach their 2022 heights again this year, it's definitely not impossible.

West Coast: Locked Shut

Despite it eventually netting them Harley Reid, the Eagles' repugnant 2023 campaign means their prospects this year are particularly grim. Senior coach Adam Simpson earned a reprieve at Lathlain, though West Coast farewelled veterans Luke Shuey, Shannon Hurn and Nic Naitanui; ushering in a new era of youth at Mineral Resources Park. Ultimately, this year shapes as the next in a string of rebuilding seasons for the Eagles.

Bulldogs: Ajar

Intrigue surrounds Whitten Oval this year pertaining to the future of senior coach Luke Beveridge, who this pre-season has been linked to Fremantle's top job. The Bulldogs, after capitulating against Melbourne in 2021 and disappointingly missing the finals last season, are under considerable pressure entering a crucial campaign, particularly following a review into the club's football department late last year. The Dogs have the talent to challenge this year, though question marks remain regarding coaching, as well as the squad's motivation.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Luke Beveridge, Senior Coach of the Bulldogs is seen during the 2023 AFL Round 02 match between the Western Bulldogs and the St Kilda Saints at Marvel Stadium on March 25, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)