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2016 AFL season forecast: Where will your team finish?

Nat Fyfe was ruled out for most of last season with a leg injury. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Roar Rookie
11th November, 2015
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With the AFL’s fixtures having been released for 2016, attention moves towards the next season. Having seen each team’s draw, here are the best forecasts for next year.

Ladder

First: West Coast
The Eagles defied the odds last season, and have the highest number of quality players including Josh Kennedy, Matt Priddis, Nic Naitanui and Mark LeCras. They will continue to impress in 2016 as the most defensive side in the league.

Second: Hawthorn
Hawthorn are currently the premier side in the competition with plenty of class and will be aiming to reach their fifth straight grand final and possibly fourth straight premiership.

Third: Fremantle
They are a classy side but not quite in the same league as Hawthorn and West Coast. With the loss of Luke McPharlin, there should still be enough quality to create club history with the gaining of Harley Bennell.

Fourth: Sydney
The Swans will bounce back after a disappointing 2015 finals campaign and will have a similar year to 2014 by playing some good defensive football again. They will have to cope without Lewis Jetta and Adam Goodes, however.

Fifth: Port Adelaide
Another team that has plenty of class and will bounce back in 2016 as well producing a late season surge.

Sixth: North Melbourne
They had a wonderful season in 2015 making history by becoming the first team to advance to the preliminary finals from eighth. North Melbourne will play some great football with the likes of Nick Dal Santo, Jarrad Waite, Brent Harvey and Drew Petrie.

Seventh: Richmond
Richmond played some good defensive football throughout 2015, but were eliminated in Week 1 of finals by North Melbourne. However the same thing did also occur in 2013 against Carlton and also in 2014 against Port Adelaide.

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With a wonderful list featuring Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin, Tyrone Vickery and Jack Riewoldt, there should be enough for the club to break a 15-year finals drought.

Eighth: Collingwood
The Magpies were finals bound mid-season, but suffered an injury crisis towards the end of the year. With players like Scott Pendlebury, Travis Cloke and Dane Swan, there should still be enough chances to return to the finals after missing the last two.

Ninth: Western Bulldogs
They had a great season in 2015 under new coach Luke Beveridge and there is a lot to like about them. However they will drop off in 2016.

10th: Adelaide
This is another classy and defensive side that includes Eddie Betts and Taylor Walker. The Crows had a wonderful year in 2015 following the death of coach Phil Walsh but I still can’t see them in top eight for next season.

11th: Greater Western Sydney
The Giants were finals bound mid-season before injuries hit key players and they are still not ready to play in the finals.

12th: Geelong
Geelong had a disappointing end to 2015 and will also drop off in 2016. Gaining Patrick Dangerfield is a coup, and adds to the list of midfield class that also includes Joel Selwood and Steven Motlop.

13th: Essendon
It is very hard to place Essendon on the ladder; they will become a rebuilding side for 2016.

14th: Carlton
The Blues had a poor season in 2015 but will climb back up the ladder this year. They are undertaking a slow rebuild under new coach Brendon Bolton who has a brilliant record.

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15th: St Kilda
There is a lot to like about the Saints in 2016. They are a rebuilding side who showed signs of improvement during 2015 and they will continue on that path.

16th: Gold Coast
The Suns had a poor season in 2015 and won’t be a real threat in 2016.

17th: Melbourne
Melbourne had an average season in 2015 but will still drop off again. It will be Paul Roos’s final year as coach.

18th: Brisbane
Due to the loss of James Aish, Matthew Leuenberger and Jack Redden, they are certainties for the wooden spoon and are also still a rebuilding side. They will climb back up the ladder soon, but not this year.

Finals

Week 1
Qualifying final 1: West Coast def Sydney
Qualifying final 2: Hawthorn def by Fremantle

Elimination final 1: Port Adelaide def Collingwood
Elimination final 2: North Melbourne def by Richmond

Week 2
Semi-final 1: Sydney def Port Adelaide
Semi-final 2: Hawthorn def Richmond

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Week 3
Preliminary final 1: West Coast def Hawthorn
Preliminary final 2: Fremantle def Sydney

Week 4
Grand final: West Coast def by Fremantle

Awards
Brownlow Medal: Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn) or Dan Hannebery (Sydney)
Coleman Medal: Josh J Kennedy (West Coast)
Norm Smith Medal: Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)