With the 2018 trade period completed and the 2019 fixtures released, the drafts and delisted free agency periods are still to take place.
But with the picture for 2019 starting to clear up, let’s have a look at how I predict the ladder to look at season’s end.
1. Richmond Tigers
They are an awesome side and were best team of 2018 until Week 3 of the Finals. However, they will go one better in 2019 and make the grand final.
2. Collingwood Magpies
When the Pies started 2018 zero and two, nobody thought they would make the finals in 2018. However, they went on to finish third and lost the grand final by under a Kick. Will have a similar year.
3. West Coast Eagles
A team nobody thought would make the eight in 2018, but they went on claim their fourth flag and will succeed even more in 2019.
4. Essendon Bombers
My bolter for 2019. They will recover from last year’s drop and fire up next year.
5. Melbourne Demons
An outstanding team who made the final four for the first time since 2000. They include some younger talented players and always seem to have an immediate impact on the game.
6. Port Adelaide Power
With the loss of players such as Chad Wingard, I still see them bouncing back with plenty of talent across their line-up.
7. Greater Western Sydney Giants
They have a young and exciting group of players. Their best can certainly take them all the way.
8. Hawthorn Hawks
Defied the odds and finished fourth, however, I think they will just take the last spot in the 8.
9. North Melbourne Kangaroos
Had one of the fastest rebuilds in AFL History and will have a similar year to 2018, missing out on finals by percentage.
10. Geelong Cats
I believe Geelong will dip down the ladder in 2019. The next few years will be development time for most of their players.
11. Sydney Swans
May have one of best forward line-ups, but I think they will drop out of the eight.
12. Fremantle Dockers
The final year of the four-year rebuild and have performed very well in the trade period gaining Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb. I can see them causing a few upsets.
13. Adelaide Crows
I can’t see them bouncing back in 2019 after a shock drop out of the eight in 2018.
14. Western Bulldogs
Since winning the 2016 premiership, they have evolved into a rebuilding side but should be back to their best soon with plenty of talented players.
15. Brisbane Lions
A young and upcoming side – they should be looking very exciting again in 2019.
16. Carlton Blues
Will improve a bit. Plenty of their players should develop strongly this year.
17. St Kilda Saints
Very inconsistent, a lot of pace, but extremely sloppy. However, they will be back to their best soon.
18. Gold Coast Suns
Will need to continue to improve on the depth of the team if they want to see any improvement.
Now, here is how finals will play out next season
Qualifying final 1: Richmond vs Essendon
Qualifying final 2: Collingwood vs West Coast
Elimination final 1: Melbourne vs Hawthorn
Elimination final 2: Port Adelaide vs Greater Western Sydney
Semi-final 1: Essendon vs Hawthorn
Semi-final 2: Collingwood vs Port Adelaide
Preliminary final 1: Richmond vs Port Adelaide
Preliminary final 2: West Coast vs Essendon
Grand final: Richmond vs West Coast
2019 AFL Premiers: Richmond.