There's nothing quite as exciting as putting it all on the line and making predictions in sport. Despite the risk of it backfiring spectacularly, the thrill of nailing a projection keeps us coming back.
Some make entire careers out of it, particularly in the AFL media. It's becoming more and more apparent that a 'hot take' or a 'big call' engages the audience like nothing else.
Eagles rocked: West Coast set to lose 12 players from Round 1 loss
Despite plenty of them being controversial or frustrating, there's no denying the impact. There's also no denying that no one always gets it right. Football is an unpredictable game of fine margins, so any sort of crystal ball gazing is high-risk, high-reward.
As this season gets underway in earnest, and with only one round of evidence to go by, it's probably not smart to be making bold forecasts. Yet that's exactly what we're going to. Here's what to expect from the weekend ahead.
Buddy to miss marvellous milestone
As much as we all want it to happen, Buddy won't kick his 1000th goal on Friday night. Despite a spectacular career, Geelong are somewhat of a bogey team for him.
Buddy averages just a goal per game against them dating back to 2015. Despite having not played them very often, to put it bluntly, the Cats have managed Buddy well over the years.
Between Mark Blicavs, Jack Henry and Tom Stewart, the Cats have plenty of options to cut off the supply to the spearhead. Couple that with the forecasted downpour of rain in Sydney and it's hard to see him kicking the four goals required. Having said all of that, we hope we're wrong on this one.
Suns set to press Dees
The Suns will be competitive against the Demons. Metricon is a tricky place to play, it's humid and slippery, which often brings visiting teams down a notch.
Gold Coast are by no means the finished article, but they tend to start the season competitively each year. In 2021, their average losing margin was just over 15 points while managing to get a win during their first month.
In 2020, they won three of their first four games. Likewise, in 2019 they won three during the opening month, with their only loss coming by a point. While Melbourne are a far tougher prospect, there's every chance the Suns will hold their own against them.
Bombers offer blunt bite on Brisbane
The Bombers won't have enough firepower to beat the Lions. To elaborate, they won't have enough in the forward line to overcome Brisbane. Despite the return of Jake Stringer, it's hard to see where enough goals will come from.
Expect Essendon to come out hard though, particularly at the stoppages. The Bombers will respond and win plenty of the footy. Their midfield is too deep and contains too much quality for them not to at least break even in that area.
However, they'll still find scoring tough against a dour Brisbane backline. Stringer's inclusion is massive, which will make this game a much tighter affair, yet it won't be enough to get the Bombers across the line.
Debuts to duel at the 'G
Nick Daicos and Josh Rachele will go head to head. Perhaps not in the literal sense, but look for them to cross paths enough on Saturday to send a jolt through footy fans everywhere.
The two favourites for the Rising Star will play the same end of the ground most of the game. There are going to be stoppages and throw-ins where these two will line up on each other. What happens next is anyone's guess.
What is absolutely certain is that it will send a wave of excitement through the football world, creating a talking point for the rest of the season.
Sinner the winner on debut
Josh Sinn will sparkle on debut. A line-breaking defender with explosive pace, Sinn has impressed at Alberton over the pre-season. While his debut is not a shock, it's perhaps a bit earlier than expected due to injuries.
A mature head, as highlighted by his captaincy of the Sandringham Dragons as a junior, Sinn will swim rather than sink. It's an exciting prospect for Port Adelaide fans after they traded up in the 2021 National Draft to snare him.
Given the club's phenomenal recent draft work, it's a safe bet that Sinn becomes another young gun off their production line.
Eagles struggle to light 2022 fire
West Coast won't be able to get their season on track against North. The Eagles have had a nightmare run leading into season 2022. Injuries and other distractions have caused the club plenty of headaches.
Despite being extremely undermanned last week against the Suns, the Eagles were competitive, only falling short in the last 10 minutes. Yet this week, they have lost 12 players to the AFL's Health and Safety protocols.
Most notably, star spearhead Josh Kennedy, key defender Tom Barrass and midfielder Jack Redden. All of this makes a trip to Victoria to take on a young North Melbourne outfit all the more difficult.
Despite regaining plenty of quality in the form of Jack Darling, Luke Shuey and Tim Kelly, it appears they're being rushed back early. All of this feels like a potential disaster waiting to happen for the Eagles.
Giants' engine room set to slaughter Tiges
The Giants will respond to last week's disappointing loss and get the win against an undermanned Richmond. While it's always best to beware a wounded tiger, it's more about the Giants.
They have the quality in the midfield to get first use of the ball and that will prove the difference. Last weekend, Tom Green looked every inch of a Patrick Cripps clone, while Tim Taranto ran riot. With Stephen Coniglio back to full fitness and Josh Kelly firing, it's a potent combination.
The Tigers can never be written off, given what they've achieved over the last five years, however the midfield battle shapes as crucial. GWS will be hard to stop in that area of the ground and will use the advantage to propel themselves to a win.
Absent Dockers not enough for Saints to shine
The Saints won't get the win they need. No David Mundy is a huge help for the battling Saints, Mundy's work at stoppages is difficult to stop. He averages 22.5 disposals and 3.5 clearances across his last seven games against the Saints.
Likewise Nat Fyfe, who averages 6.5 clearances a game against the Saints over their past five encounters. Both will be sorely missed by Fremantle.
It still won't be enough. The Saints should respond but the trip West has never been kind to them. Fremantle's backline will be able to cope with the Saints' dysfunctional forwards, while Sean Darcy will dominate the ruck.
Couple all of that with a rather weak response by St Kilda at the selection table and the same issues will continue to derail them this week.