Saints great Leigh Montagna has declared that Melbourne and Richmond should share premiership favouritism in 2019.
The Demons are at risk of missing the top eight for a 12th straight year after being dubbed a flag fancy earlier in the campaign.
Despite their late-season blunder, Melbourne have looked undeniable at times and gotten by without a host of their big guns through key stretches, including Jake Lever, Jack Viney, Michael Hibberd, Jake Melksham, Bernie Vince and Jesse Hogan.
“I think they (Melbourne) should be equal premiership favourites with Richmond for next season,” Montagna told Triple M.
“They are close to being a juggernaut, they’ve got everything covered in their game. They just need that belief.”
Montagna added that the Bombers are right in next season’s premiership race too after dominating the second half of the season.
“I think Melbourne and Richmond are the two equal favourites for next years premiership with Essendon not far behind.”