Our team has spent much of the last three weeks sharing with the world their fearless predictions for each team in 2019, now it’s time to look at the competition as a whole. What are our 19 Fearless Predictions for AFL Season 2019.
1. Expect extreme reaction to rule changes.
Consider it as written that after Round One, the reaction to the new rule changes will be over the top. Whether the pundit is happy or angry with the new rules, expect the reaction to be disproportionate to their actual effect.
2. Lions will excite but finals are still some time away.
Chris Fagan has an enviable list of young players at his disposal and his team will be hard to beat in 2019, but their climb to finals and premiership contention still has some way to go.
3. We will hear a LOT about Sam Walsh.
While it’s not surprising that there is a lot of noise coming out of Carlton about their number one draft pick, that coming from some respected commentators has been quite extraordinary. If Walsh is half as good as we are hearing he will be some player, expect to there to a lot of talk about him and his progress in season one and those that follow.
4. West Coast will go winless in Melbourne.
A few years ago this would have been considered a given, but after the Eagles flag winning exploits in 2018 we think it’s a bold claim this year. Especially when they play Carlton at Marvel in August!
5. Pearce Hanley to remind us of his worth.
Since moving down the M1 as a prized recruit from the Lions, Hanley has managed just 16 of a possible 44 games for the Suns. A highly damaging rebound defender, the Irishman looms as an important and steadying force for Stuart Dew and the Gold Coast if he can get his body right.
6. Perennial Finalists to miss out.
Since 2006, either or both Hawthorn and Geelong has contested the AFL Finals in what has been golden eras for both teams. In the kind of prediction that has the capability to bite those that make it, we are predicting that this streak will come to an in 2019 with neither Geelong or Hawthorn to play finals this year.
7. Matt Parker to become a Saints favourite.
Given the Western Australian’s performances in the JLT Series this may no longer be a prediction but a statement of fact. A little more than two years ago, the 22-year-old was plying his trade in C-Grade in WA Amateur Football but now looms as an influential addition to the St Kilda squad. It might be a high level of expectation for a player yet to make his AFL debut but given his 2018 WAFL season, he may well exceed them.
8. Sydney to have another ‘Camry-like’ year.
With all due respect to the Camry, it is not the kind of car that will pop up in conversations about dream cars. Dependable and consistent it is not the kind of vehicle that sets hearts racing. The Swans are the AFL’s Camry, gets the job done the conservative way leaving the white knuckle journeys for other teams. Despite having one of the most exciting players in the competition in their team, you can expect the Swans to have another ‘Camry-Like’ year in 2019.
9. Grundy and Oliver set for Brownlow top three.
We aren’t sure who the third member of the top three will be but we are expecting big things from Brodie Grundy and Clayton Oliver. While it is a fools errand to predict what an umpire will think at any one moment in time, we expect these two players to be rewarded often by the match officials on Brownlow night.
10. Ross Lyon to remain scrutiny free.
Fremantle have been about as consistent as Melbourne’s weather in recent seasons. Good enough to rack up eight wins the last two seasons but their worst has been about bad as any team in the competition. For most coach’s this would see them under a certain degree of scrutiny, this is not the case for Ross ‘Teflon’ Lyon. Barring the Dockers finishing last, expect this to remain the case in 2019.
11. Former Suns to shine brightly.
It’s been an exodus out of Gold Coast in recent years, but the class of wantaway’s this year particularly talented. Headlined by former skippers Tom Lynch and Steven May, the expansion club also lost the services of Aaron Hall, Jack Scrimshaw and Kade Kolodashnij. While Gold Coast will struggle through another season, expect this quintet to shine in 2019.
12. GWS will contend.
After a disappointing 2018 and a few forced personnel changes in the off-season, there has been a rush to write the Giants off this year. Forget all about this talk, the Giants will be there or there abouts when the whips are cracking at seasons end.
13. Essendon to have a similar start to 2018.
Expectations are high a late season flourish last year, but with GWS, Melbourne, North Melbourne and Collingwood awaiting them in the first six rounds we could see the Bombers have an aborted take off in 2019.
14. The All-Australian selectors will nominate another ridiculous captain.
Oh how innocent we were when we ridiculed the All-Australian selectors decision in 2017 to name Alex Rance the captain of the AFL’s team of the year. As if proving that they felt they needed to prove that wasn’t as ridiculous as we thought, they outdid themselves and made Buddy Franklin skipper in 2018. Undoubtedly a champion, but not even a member of his club’s leadership group. At this rate of descent we should probably prepare for them to name a player not even in the team as captain in the not too distant future.
15. Paddy Ryder to relish Scott Lycett’s arrival.
Just what it will mean for Port Adelaide’s fortunes is yet to be seen, but you can imagine that Paddy Ryder was particularly happy to see West Coast Premiership Ruckman Scott Lycett arrive at Alberton this off-season. The extra help in the middle should help the former Bomber perform even better than he has in recent years.
16. Majak Daw to inspire us all.
As evident in the uplifting vision of North Melbourne teammates rejoicing in his running on a treadmill, the story of Majak Daw’s road to recovery is one all football fans can get behind and celebrate. Whether he manages to get back on the park or not, his efforts to do so are inspirational.
17. Crows to be in the news for the right reasons.
Having been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons for much of 2018, Adelaide will be doing all they can to get attention for their on-field exploits this year. They encounter a tough start to the season but should themselves much closer to their ladder position of 2017 than 2018 at seasons end.
18. Collingwood will struggle to rediscover 2018 form.
Two minutes away from a famous Premiership victory in 2018, many have pencilled the Pies in to go close again this year. With a tougher draw, and without the element of surprise, expect Collingwood to be a finallist but perhaps a little off the genuine Premiership race.
19. We are in for a hell of a season.
With five or six sides with genuine Premiership claims and a few young teams looking to improve dramatically, the 2019 season looks set to be a good one. Bring it on.