We love you, Josh Battle!
G’day Roarers! I seem to have a lot of spare time on my hands lately, probably because the 2018 AFL season is over.
Besides, it’s never too early for predictions, right? Did I ever congratulate the West Coast Eagles on winning the premiership? Congratulations on winning the premiership, and congratulations to Collingwood on finishing runners-up and rising out of nowhere to contend.
Over the next few months, I will be doing a round-by-round AFL ladder prediction with analysis on my prediction for each game of the 2019 AFL season.
Carlton v Richmond
The season looks set to kick off with a fizzer, with the Tigers set to unveil former Suns co-captain Tom Lynch in their already mighty forward line. The Blues also look like they’ll unveil Mitch McGovern into their attack alongside developing stars Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow.
No doubt there’ll be intrigue like always leading into the season opener, however; the Tigers will be too good for the Blues.
Prediction – Richmond by 43 points
Collingwood v Geelong
Collingwood will be entering the 2019 Season looking for redemption, while the Cats will be out to prove that they are still a premiership contender despite their big three in Joel Selwood, Gary Ablett, and Patrick Dangerfield getting older and slowly declining. Former Lions captain Dayne Beams will make his return to the Pies in this game and will almost certainly be an entertaining game for the football world.
Prediction – Collingwood by 29 points
Melbourne v Port Adelaide
The Dees are almost certainly an early premiership favourite following the recruitment of former Suns co-captain Steven May. They’ll be looking to prove their worth following a nightmare ending to their 2018 season despite a promising year. The Power will be aiming to make finals and prove that they made the right calls in their recruiting spree of 2017 where they got Jacks Watts, Steven Motlop, Tom Rockliff, Trent McKenzie, and Jack Trengove in the door.
However; that task will look harder after they lost Wingard and Polec among other over the off-season. I predict the Dees to kick off the season in nice fashion at the MCG.
Prediction – Melbourne by 18 points
Adelaide v Hawthorn
The Crows had a poor 2018 season following a reported psychologically damaging pre-season camp where the players were effectively tortured. Even McGovern wanted to get out to Carlton: that’s saying something. The Hawks went on a recruiting spree bringing in Chad Wingard, Tom Scully, and Jack Scrimshaw, however; with a tougher fixture in 2019 due to their top four finish, there are questions whether the Hawks will remain up there.
I’m predicting the Crows to kick off their season well with a win over the Hawks.
Prediction – Adelaide by 32 points
Western Bulldogs v Sydney
This game will be the first home-and-away game played at Docklands under the name of Marvel Stadium. Both the Dogs and Swans had a quiet trade period, with both clubs only picking two fringe players each from other clubs. The Swans have a history of starting the season poorly, and I don’t see 2019 being any different.
Prediction – Western Bulldogs by 10 points
Brisbane v West Coast
This game will be the Eagles first since winning the 2018 AFL premiership thanks to the impossible goal by Dom Sheed from the boundary that broke Pies fans hearts. This game will almost guaranteeably be the first game by Lachie Neale in Lions colours and will be his first against the old crosstown rivals.
The Lions are a time that I could see as being an outside chance to play finals next year. The Eagles will be aiming to back up their 2018 effort and go back-to-back. I can’t see the Lions winning, but I can’t see the margin getting over five goals.
Prediction – West Coast by 27 points
St Kilda v Gold Coast
The Saints had an interesting trade period that will be hard to evaluate until a couple years down the track. Dan Hannebery has gone off the radar in the past few seasons, and there are questions over whether he’s declining because of age or was struggling due to injury. Dean Kent has had an injury-plagued career at the Dees, however; and will almost certainly slot into the Saints’ best 22 when fit.
The Suns are basically back at square one and will be focusing on developing their younger players rather than getting wins, especially after losing many players in the past few trade periods.
Prediction – St Kilda by 55 points
GWS Giants v Essendon
The Bombers continued their recruiting spree of 2017 by picking up Giants midfielder Dylan Shiel. The 2017 All-Australian looks set to make his debut for the Bombers against his former side in Canberra.
Shiel was just one of a few quality players who were traded out of the Giants due to a salary cap squeeze, which does leave the question how the newest expansion team will go next year after losing a significant amount of talent.
Prediction – Essendon by 31 points
Fremantle v North Melbourne
Both the Dockers and Roos went on a recruiting spree, and both will be looking to make a return to finals in 2019. The Dockers finally found a replacement for Matthew Pavlich in former Demons spearhead Jesse Hogan, whilst also picking up Reece Conca, Rory Lobb, and Travis Colyer.
The Roos, on the other hand, built on their midfield and defence in their recruitments of Jared Polec, Jaspar Pittard, Dom Tyson, and Aaron Hall. Which team will give their recruits their first win at their new club? I say the Roos.
Prediction – North Melbourne by 22 points
Ladder after Round 1
1. St Kilda – 1-0
2. Richmond – 1-0
3. Adelaide – 1-0
4. Essendon – 1-0
5. Collingwood – 1-0
6. West Coast – 1-0
7. North Melbourne – 1-0
8. Melbourne – 1-0
9. Western Bulldogs – 1-0
10. Sydney – 0-1
11. Port Adelaide – 0-1
12. Fremantle – 0-1
13. Brisbane – 0-1
14. Geelong – 0-1
15. GWS Giants – 0-1
16. Hawthorn – 0-1
17. Carlton – 0-1
18. Gold Coast – 0-1
The Saints will finish Round 1 on top of the ladder after demolishing the Suns, and Saints fans will be hoping it’s a sign of things to come. The bottom two look like they would be at odds to remain there for the season. The big talking point is that none of the Swans, Cats, Giants, or Hawks will finish round one in the top eight.
Keep an eye out for Round 2 predictions.