With the 2015 AFL season starting in just under two months’ time, let’s have a look at some of the best predictions for the year.
1. Fremantle to become the best fourth-placed side since 2006
They may have the oldest list in the competition, but Fremantle will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2014 finals series. They will also be aiming to break their St Kilda hoodoo and beat Hawthorn interstate for the first time since 2001.
2. Hawthorn gunning for a fourth-straight grand final appearance
Hawthorn are currently the premier team in the competition, and will be looking for three flags in a row. They are favourites for the 2015 flag.
3. Richmond to advance to the semi-finals
The Tigers have a favourable draw between Rounds 1 and 4, as well as between Rounds 19 and 22. Richmond will be aiming for their first finals victory since 2001. They did make the finals in 2013, but Carlton were far too strong during the second half in the elimination final. Richmond also made the finals in 2014, but were eliminated by Port Adelaide.
4. West Coast to be most improved for season 2015
West Coast will be looking to bounce back after being squeezed out of the top eight by Richmond last year, despite winning in Rounds 21 and 22. They have a favourable draw in Rounds 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8.
5. Essendon to miss the top eight
Still caught up in the long-running supplements saga, the AFL is hoping to end the ASADA case by the start of season 2015, which could see Essendon players suspended and ending their finals chances.
Key games to watch during Round 1
Richmond versus Carlton
Richmond have won nine out of their last 10 games, which saw them reach the finals despite being 3-12 after 13 rounds.
Fremantle versus Port Adelaide
Both sides will be top-four contenders this season and will be aiming towards that Holy Grail.
Hawthorn versus Geelong
The Kennett Curse was broken during the 2013 preliminary final when Hawthorn finally beat Geelong by five points after losing the last 11 match-ups. Last time these two sides played in a home and away match, Hawthorn were down by 33 points at half-time, but stormed home by 23. These two sides met a fortnight later and Hawthorn won again, this time by 36 points.
2. Port Adelaide
5. North Melbourne
8. West Coast
10. Gold Coast
15. Greater Western Sydney
17. St Kilda
18. Western Bulldogs