The AFL season is on its way and we’ve casted an eye forward and gone the early crow on some bold predictions.
Can Richmond go back-to-back and solidify their dynasty? Will the Demons recover from a disaster 2019, or will Simon Goodwin face the sack? Who will do a 2019 Brisbane, if anyone?
No one knows but we’ve looked into our crystal ball and have made our way-too-early 2020 season predictions.
Premiers – West Coast
The Eagles will win the 2020 premiership.
They look set to make the biggest improvement out of all contenders out of 2019. Tim Kelly is a priceless addition who will make their midfield unstoppable, while Richmond lose Alex Rance and with no obvious replacement. Yes, the Tigs won it without him last year but not against this West Coast outfit.
Wooden Spoon – Gold Coast
Yes, the Suns will improve – any team would improve when adding Matt Rowell.
However, this is a side that lost 18 in a row last year. They simply don’t have the talent yet to rise up the ladder and will hold up the rest once again.
Brownlow Medal – Patrick Cripps
The Carlton skipper is arguably the best player in the competition. A third-placed finish last year could’ve been more had he not missed two games mid-year.
With a stronger supporting cast around him, Cripps will get the chance to look after his body a touch more as well as win a few more games and claim the games highest individual honour.
Rising Star – Matt Rowell
If the number 1 draft pick doesn’t claim the Rising Star then something has gone seriously wrong.
Seen as a pickup equivalent to that of Sam Walsh a year prior, Rowell is a class above the rest. Just watch his 2019 TAC Cup grand final performance if you have any doubts.
Coleman Medal – Tom Lynch
Tom Lynch ended 2019 as every bit the player Richmond were paying for.
He was incredibly influential in the preliminary final and arguably the reason they got through to the decider.
The star forward got better as the season went on, and he will pick up that form and carry it all the way through 2020. A full pre-season and with Jeremy Cameron distracted by contract negotiations, Lynch will be a runaway winner.
Biggest improvers – Carlton
The Baggers finished with seven wins last season, with six of those came under David Teague.
It was a rapid improvement and add some good recruits (Eddie Betts and Jack Martin) and natural development of the plethora of young talent at Ikon Park and the Blues stand to take some giant steps in 2020. Don’t forget they get co-captain and defensive general Sam Docherty back.
The Blues may not make finals but stand as the biggest improvers in 2020.
Biggest decliners – Brisbane
This is harsh, but we’re in the business of making big calls!
While the Lions won’t fall off a cliff like Melbourne did in 2019, it’s hard to see them making the top four again.
A young list that teams will be extra wary of and a game plan set to be more scrutinized than before. Brisbane will find 2020 harder with a tougher fixture and the hunters becoming the hunted.
They may even drop out of the eight altogether if not careful.
First coach to be sacked – Ken Hinkley
If any coach is going to get shown the door, it’s Hinkley.
Considering finals were the pass mark in 2019, he is lucky to still be in the job. The Power are nowhere near consistent enough to make the eight and that will be clear by the halfway point of the season.
Recruit of the year – Tim Kelly
When West Coast win the flag it will automatically make Tim Kelly recruit of the year. An obvious won maybe but one that can’t be argued if it leads to ultimate success.
Jack Martin may come close especially given he cost Carlton nothing, but if Kelly helps deliver the Eagles a flag, that would be tough to compete with!
Biggest Headline – ‘Zac Williams squeezed out of GWS’
GWS rate Zac Williams incredibly highly and rightfully so.
Best on ground in the 2019 preliminary final against Collingwood, he showed his ability to play as a gritty inside mid as well as his accustomed role as a dashing half back.
However, with Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio and Lachie Whitfield all signing big-money, long-term deals, there can’t be much left over.
Jeremy Cameron is priority number one for the Giants and if they re-sign the reigning Coleman Medalist that may force Williams to look elsewhere for his asking price.
Star on the move – Joe Daniher
Make no mistake about it, Joe Daniher does not want to play for Essendon. He will depart as a free agent at the end of 2020 and land at the Sydney Swans.
This ironically may lead to Tom Papley eventually joining Carlton, but Daniher is the bigger story. His desire to leave appears much stronger than Papley’s.