It may still only be February but Zero Hanger yesterday revealed the nine AFL clubs that we believe will battle it out for a spot in the finals in 2021.
And now, Richmond legend Matthew Richardson has made his own big predictions on the upcoming season.
Speaking on Sportsday, the 282-gamer named the six clubs he believes are locks to make finals, his bottom six teams and his four sides that will be fighting to make the eight.
As for his top sick locks, Richardson expects Richmond, Geelong, West Coast, Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Brisbane to retain their spots from last year.
The Tigers and Cats are coming off a thrilling grand final clash as Richmond went on to win its third premiership in four years, including back-to-back feats.
However, Geelong did not rest on their laurels in the off-season, acquiring Jeremy Cameron, Shaun Higgins and Isaac Smith during the trade period.
The Lions loom as another big threat to Richmond’s quest for a three-peat after securing the services of Joe Daniher.
Richardson believes the aforementioned six sides are ‘almost certainties’ to feature in September again.
“They are almost certainties to play finals,” he said on Sportsday.
Richardson predicts the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, Collingwood and GWS will all be in the finals mix and that Carlton and Fremantle will continue to improve.
The Blues are coming off their own successful trade period, landing Zac Williams in free agency and Adam Saad from arch rivals Essendon.
Richardson is bullish about the Blues’ and Dockers’ prospects moving forward.
“If Zac Williams comes in and plays well and (Adam) Saad in the back half, Carlton can really improve,” he said.
“As can Fremantle. I think they’re on the right track with their game style.”
Lastly, the three-time All-Australian has Adelaide, Hawthorn, Sydney, Gold Coast, North Melbourne and Essendon in his bottom six.
Did he get it right?