For some, it’s premiership or bust, for others it’s showing a consistent game style.
Zero Hanger looks at every club’s list and expectations leading into season 2019!
Adelaide – Top four
Big ask for the Crows after finishing 12th after losing to the Tigers in the 2017 Grand Final, many have picked the Crows to pick themselves up in 2019, and going 2-0 in the Crows’ JLT series they have certainly shown us what they are capable of early.
Brisbane – Top 12
Looking at the Lions’ list they are no longer a bottom four side let alone a bottom six, gaining Lachie Neale in the off-season the Lions will certainly be wanting to challenge for a spot in the finals in 2019. Anything lower than 12th will be considered a season gone to waste.
Carlton – Six wins
The Blues certainly showed us the improvement Bluebaggers have certainly been waiting for in their two JLT clashes against the Bombers and Pies where they recorded an admirable nine-point win and five-point loss respectively. Can we see this sort of form when the Blues take on Richmond at the MCG this Thursday?
Collingwood – Premiership
The Pies fell short by five points to the Eagles in last year’s big dance, after having a breakout season under coach Nathan Buckley. It was quite a bitter-sweet ending to their season after making such an improvement on previous seasons. It’s a premiership-or-bust kind of season for the Pies.
Essendon – Top four
After an extremely underwhelming 2018 campaign, the Dons haven’t started off 2019 convincingly with losses to both the Blues and Geelong. Finishing 7th in 2017, Essendon were overrun by a rampant Sydney outfit in an elimination final, and many backed the boys from Tullamarine to go further in 2018 but failed to do so. John Worsfold will certainly be looking for more out of Essendon this year.
Fremantle – Eight wins
In what is set to be a huge year for the Dockers, it will almost be a line in the sand year for coach Ross Lyon, who will have to inspire his team to play consistent footy in 2019. After four consecutive mediocre years, the Dockers bolstered their forward line adding former Giant Rory Lobb as well as Rising Star winner Jesse Hogan. Eight wins feels like a bare minimum pass mark for Ross the boss.
GWS – Grand Final appearance
The Giants have hovered around the mark for the past few seasons now without seeing any real success. Zero Grand Final appearances for Leon Cameron’s men will start to make the playing group think about their performance on the big stages. Losing Shiel and Lobb to the Bombers and Dockers won’t help but if we know anything about the Giants is that they will always have great depth.
Geelong – Top four
Bowled out in the first week of the finals last year to a rampant Demons outfit, the Cats have struggled to appear in the big dance in recent years despite all their finals appearances. Chris Scott has one of the best teams on paper according to Champion Data who have them ranked at number six. The Cats will look for a second chance in this year’s finals but some are suggesting the Cats won’t be making an appearance at all in 2019.
Gold Coast – Eight wins
The Suns will look for any ray of hope in 2019, claiming second last on last year’s ladder with four wins, Stuart Dew’s boys will need to double their victories in order to be classified as successful in 2019, which is a big ask with AFL Champion Data dubbing them the worst list ahead of the 2019 season. The Suns kick off their ninth season in the AFL this weekend against the Saints.
Hawthorn – Top eight
Without Brownlow medalist Tom Mitchell it is a big ask but with the addition of talented forward Chad Wingard and gut-runner Tom Scully to the Hawks’ line-up Alistair Clarkson will certainly be licking his lips. The Hawks always seem to find a way to the finals, will this year be an exemption?
Melbourne – Premiership
Many experts’ choice to go all the way in 2019, The Dees went extremely deep in 2018 knocking off the Cats in the first week, straining the Hawks into a straight-sets exit from the finals before running into the well-drilled eventual premiers in West Coast. Simon Goodwin’s men will be striving for a second chance this year with a premiership on the agenda.
North Melbourne – Top eight
Many presumed the Kangaroos would linger at the bottom after finishing 15th in 2017 but were able to overcome their poor year by finishing ninth at the end of the 2018 season, one win out of the eight. Some have predicted North to make an appearance in September while some have them hovering around the middle of the ladder, watch for a fast starting Roos early in the year.
Port Adelaide – Top eight
Many presume this will be Ken Hinkley’s final year at the helm of Port Adelaide. Port fans still have belief Hinkley can return the Power to their 2014 form which saw them go down to the Hawks by just three points in a Preliminary Final. The Power is a proud club who will not accept mediocrity, it’s a finals or clean out your office type of situation for Ken Hinkley, who will certainly feel the heat in 2019.
Richmond – Premiership
The Tiger-train came to a screeching halt in their Preliminary Final loss to the Pies. Being the favourites to claim a back-to-back premiership, the Tigers had an irresistible game style that saw most teams break apart when facing Damien Hardwick’s men, expect the Tigers to be right back up at the top of the ladder come season’s end.
St Kilda – Ten wins
The Saints showed plenty of promise in their two wins against the Suns and Bulldogs in the JLT series. Alan Richardson has been dubbed the most under-pressure coach heading into the 2019 season by most experts, can we see a more exciting brand of footy from the Saints in 2019? A push for finals will be needed to see Richardson back at St Kilda next year.
Sydney – Top four
The Swans, like the Cats and Hawks, have had the ability to stick around in September for quite some time now, but John Longmire will look to push his team deeper into the finals after being knocked out in the first week by the Giants, with Buddy still uncertain whether he will play this weekend, the Swans’ top eight chances may rest on the superstar’s fitness throughout the year.
West Coast Eagles – Premiership
By achieving the greatest possible outcome in 2018 anything lower in 2019 will be considered a failure. The Eagles have shown early dominance in their JLT matches against the Cats and Dockers winning both convincingly. Watch for West Coast to come into Saturday night against the Lions full of confidence.
Western Bulldogs – Eight wins
The Bulldogs went zero and two in their JLT matches against the Suns and Saints, and still seem hungover from their 2016 premiership triumph. The Dogs certainly have a lot of talent in their side, but will we see the Dogs of old when they take on Sydney this weekend? Or will Luke Beveridge’s men back down into their Kennel? Eight wins certainly seems do-able for the young pups.