It may only be the start of November and a mere five weeks after the Tigers won the Grand Final but it doesn’t feel like the world of AFL ever comes to a standstill. Teams are slowly beginning their pre-season preparations so that they can hit the ground running come the opening round of fixtures in March. So even if it is four months until the 2020 AFL season gets underway, as we have seen, it is never too early to preview the favourites.
Journey of a lifetime 🏆💛 pic.twitter.com/lcsVN7iAtB
— Richmond FC 🐯🏆 (@Richmond_FC) September 29, 2019
There isn’t anywhere else to start really other than with the defending Grand Final champions Richmond. Two Grand Final wins in three years make the Tigers the outright favourites during the 2020 season and who can argue with that. This a well-settled team that hasn’t tried to fix what isn’t broken by going wild in the 2019 draft.
The key to Richmond’s success is their work ethic and unity within the team. Damien Hardwick is the man responsible for that after proving the doubters wrong by becoming an AFL great. Many of the Tigers’ fans wanted him out after they missed the 2016 finals but the board stuck by him and that turned out to be a crucial decision in the history of the club.
The Tigers’ odds of 7/2 to win another Grand Final in the Aussie Rules betting is completely warranted. Watch out for them as they set out to maul the opposition yet again. The West Coast Eagles swoop in as the closest competitor to Richmond’s hopes of making it three Grand Final wins in four years, despite finishing fifth in 2019. The Eagles eventually lost to Geelong in the semi-final but will be looking to be a bit more streetwise this time around when it comes to the knockouts so that they can go all the way as they did in 2018.
ROUND ONE LOCKED! 🔒
We will take on Melbourne at home for our first AFL clash of the year!
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) October 29, 2019
The Giants are priced as the third favourites to claim the 2020 Grand Final and after the disappointment of losing to the Tigers at the MCG in 2019, you feel that they will come back a hardened outfit because of it. Failure is never fatal and Leon Cameron’s men now have a taste of what is required to go all the way.
Those are the top three shouts that will no doubt be there or thereabouts but if you are looking for a Grand Final winner that will provide value then St Kilda is the team for you. At a massive 50/1, the Saints clearly need a lot to go right for them but they have done the best business in the 2019 draft, and look to be a club that is more than aware of their 2019 shortcomings as well as how to fix them. It all depends on how new additions like Bradley Hill, Paddy Ryder, and Dan Butler gel but if they enjoy a productive pre-season this might be the team to keep an eye on in 2020.
There will be plenty more second-guessing and discussion over the next four months as the AFL fanatics try and pass the time and who knows how this could turn out given the quality on show in the AFL. A mere four points separated first from fifth last year and it is likely to be that close again. For now, these are the four teams that catch the eye at this early stage.