With the 2024 AFL pre-season all done and dusted, all eyes turn to Opening Round.

Despite the summer games meaning close to nothing, it allows clubs and fans to establish where they stand heading into the new year.

Young draftees were unveiled in their quest to forge an AFL career, and a host of familiar names were seen in fresh colours.

St Kilda and Brisbane were the strongest performers during February and March, with the latter hoping to rectify their heartbreaking four-point loss to Collingwood in the Grand Final.

The reigning premiers flexed their muscles in the inaugural Charity Shield match against Richmond while West Coast battled, which is to be expected.

But what else can be taken from the 2024 pre-season?

Who impressed? Who disappointed? Has any club changed their potential over the past few weeks?



After being robbed of a finals appearance by a goal-review blunder, the Crows are setting their sights on a return to September action for the first time since 2017.

Coach Matthew Nicks said recently to AFL.com.au that he's "sick" of missing out

"We don't want to finish up in August. You get sick of watching finals footy … as do our players the longer they're in the game. So we'll embrace the expectation," Nicks said on Monday.

But where will that jump come from?

Young guns Josh Rachele, Izak Rankine and Luke Pedlar have been touted as big improvers in season 2024, with more midfield minutes on the agenda.

The trio have combined strongly in the past fortnight against arch-rivals Port Adelaide and the Eagles.

Rachele and Rankine combined for seven goals in the last tune-up before the year kicks off and look primed to help their club rise into premiership contention.