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AFL 2019 team-by-team preview: Part 1

Roar Rookie
17th November, 2018
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Roar Rookie
17th November, 2018
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The season of player movement is almost over and the draft is just around the corner.

However, the playing list and coaching list including other things are just about finalised and teams have started their pre-season training. Each team has expectations, risers and fallers and this article will preview each team and how they should go and players to watch out for.

Adelaide Crows

2018 season
After the success of 2017, it was a season to forget for the Crows who finished a disappointing 12th. While there were some successes with Rory Laird continuing his red-hot form and the outbreak of Tom Doedee as one of the best defenders in the club, there were many failures.

From injury-plagued stars and the controversial Collective Minds Program to inconsistency on the field, it all led to a failed season down at West Lakes where they finished with 12 wins and 10 losses.

Expectation for 2019
It will be expected that the Crows will be able to return to the heights of 2017. They will be hoping to get skipper Taylor Walker back fit and firing for 2019 and will be needing a 40-plus goal year from him to ensure some form of success.

They will also be hoping to get star Rory Sloane back fit and injury free after his injury-cursed 2018 season. The captain and vice-captain will be looking to get this team back into 2017 form and bring back finals to West Lakes. It will also be looking to reunite the Crouch brothers back together, after older brother Brad’s season out with injury.

They will also be looking to ease Brodie Smith back into the squad after playing two games last year after his ACL injury in 2017. It is an expectation that the club will make the top eight no matter what, considering the talented list they possess. The Crows should aim to make top four, but gaining a spot anywhere in the top eight next season could lead to the Crows doing some damage come September.

Emerging talent for 2019
Darcy Fogarty. The number 12 pick in the 2017 draft showed potential in his ten games in 2018. An accurate kick for goal kicking nine goals and only three behinds. He will be aiming to play more games this year and make a potential move into the midfield and show his potential as one of the future stars of both the Crows and the competition.

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It will also be interesting to see the continuing rise of Jordan Gallucci, who will also want to continue his regular selection in the side. In addition, the acquisitions of Tyson Stengle and Shane McAdam will also be an exciting prospect as we will want to see what they can add to the Crows’ strong forward line.

Darcy Fogarty

(AAP Image/David Mariuz)

Season draw
Everyone at the Crows would have been reasonably pleased with the draw they received. They play all four of last year’s top four sides of Hawthorn, Richmond, Collingwood and West Coast at home at least once, which will give the Crows a good chance of beating all four of these very good sides at home.

However, they will be disappointed in only playing one game at the MCG and will face tough away games against Melbourne, Geelong and West Coast.

Brisbane Lions

2018 season
Although they only finished with five wins, it looked like a season of improvement down in Brisbane. With impressive wins against the Hawks (twice), Carlton and Fremantle it showed Brisbane’s potential.

There were also many respectable losses which showed that the Lions could almost push it all the way with some teams. It looked like improved football and showed a sign of what could come.

Expectation for 2019
Although the Lions will miss Dayne Beams, they have adequately covered him with ball magnet Lachie Neale joining Brisbane from the Dockers. In addition, they also picked up Jarryd Lyons as a delisted free agent, who also has shown his potential averaging 25 disposals over the past two years.

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Eric Hipwood, who will be going into his fourth season of AFL football will be looking for a 40-goal or even a 50-goal year after kicking 37 majors in 2018. While Cameron Rayner will be looking to move to a new level in 2019 after having an impressive debut season.

While the Lions will be looking forward to having speedster forward Charlie Cameron back in the side after he was injured for the second half of 2018, the Lions have put together an impressive young list that will show promise next season and in the future.

While sneaking into the top eight is a possibility for this young side, they should aim to get eight to 12 wins to show the competition what they can do in the future.

Emerging talent for 2019
Cameron Rayner. While I think the forward midfielder had a good and solid debut season, playing every game and kicking 20 goals and averaging 14 disposals and two tackles a game, he will want to go to another level in 2019. He will be looking to push into the midfield more and be one of the Lions future midfield leaders.

He will want to continue kicking goals on a regular basis but will also be wanting to increase his average disposals and tackles per game. If he keeps progressing the way he has, he could be the key to success at this football club.

Season draw
When looking at Brisbane’s fixture for 2019, it seems to be a mixed bag of game. There are a mix of home games against both last season’s top eight and bottom ten clubs, while they have many tough away games including games against the Giants, Power, Bombers and Tigers all away from home.

They will be looking to win as many games at home as possible next year and eventually turn the Gabba into a home ground fortress.

Carlton Football Club

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2018 season
While for many players, individually they impressed in 2018, as a team Carlton disappointed many with only two wins and 20 losses. Patrick Cripps, Ed Curnow and Charlie Curnow all impressed in a very tough season. While they had two very good wins, they had many bad losses.

Nine losses were over 50-point defeats and three of them were over 100. While they did have some impressive losses, such as Round 1 against Richmond where they played good football and were in the game up until the last quarter, overall it was a season of disappointment for the Blues.

Patrick Cripps

(Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Expectation for 2019
The Blues will be looking forward to having new co-captain Sam Docherty back and will be hoping that he and Patrick Cripps can lead the team confidently and show the competition that the Blues will be a team to watch in the future. Cripps, along with Ed Curnow, will be looking for another good individual seasons along with Charlie Curnow who will be looking to increase his goal tally after this year’s career best of 34 goals.

Mitch McGovern will be a good addition with his excellent marking ability an attribute the Blues could use down in defence or forward. Although I don’t think Carlton will make the top eight, they should aim to slowly improve, stop the horrible 50-point plus losses and win more games and not to finish bottom. From the way I see it, there is only one way for the Blues and that is up.

Emerging talent for 2019
Harry McKay. The 200 cm forward impressed in 2018 kicking 15 goals in 13 games including hauls of four against West Coast and two three-goal games against the Crows and Giants. He will be looking to play a full season in 2019 and will be looking to have a 30-goal season.

He and other promising forward Charlie Curnow will be looking to create a formidable duo that will strike fear in the minds of defenders in the future.

Season draw
Its hard to consider how good Carlton’s fixture is considering how they went in 2018. They only have two night games, which the fans and the board are probably not totally satisfied about. They only have to travel outside of Melbourne five times next season, but trips to Adelaide (against Port) and Sydney (against both the Giants and Swans) will be tough away trips.

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The Blues will be looking to win their home games against teams that are at a similar skill level to them and looking to get more than two wins next season.

Collingwood Magpies

2018 season
It was a very impressive season for Collingwood in 2018 where Nathan Buckley showed his worth to the club as a coach. They had impressive midfielders in Steele Sidebottom, captain Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams and Adam Treloar, who all had strong seasons and were key to their success.

Their forward line was superb with Jordan De Goey and Will Hoskin-Elliott having 40-goal-plus years and Josh Thomas and Jaidyn Stephenson both kicking 38 goals. They were only five points away from winning it all and were unlucky in the end to not win the Premiership after a fantastic grand final.

Expectation for 2019
Their fantastic defence, midfield and forward line in 2018 and all players in those positions will be looking to continue their fantastic form. Players like Pendlebury, Adams, Sidebottom, and Treloar will all be looking to continue their 2018 form into 2019 and many of their forwards will be looking to break the 50-goal barrier in 2019 in what will become a formidable forward line in the future.

Brodie Grundy will be looking to continue his All-Australian form into 2019 as it will be key to the Pies success in 2019. While they have the hardest fixture according to champion data, Collingwood have the squad capable of making the top eight, possibly the top four and even going one better and taking out the Premiership.

Brodie Grundy celebrates kicking a goal

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The fans got their first taste of finals action since 2013 and will not be wanting their team to be leaving the top eight any time soon.

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Emerging talent for 2019
I have picked two players in their promising forward line who I reckon will be big improvers in 2019, Brody Mihocek and Mason Cox. Mihocek was impressive in his debut season kicking 29 goals from 16 games and if he has a full preseason under his belt and plays a full 22 game year, he could be looking for a 40-goal-plus year.

While Cox showed how good he could be in the Preliminary final against Richmond where he impressed with his marking ability and his ability to change the game in the Pies favour. He will be looking to repeat his Preliminary final form in many of his games and could be an emerging talent for the Pies in 2019.

Season draw
Collingwood, as mentioned, arguably have one of the hardest draws for next season. They play the other three preliminary finalists from 2018 twice, in Richmond, Melbourne and West Coast in what will be entertaining matches for the viewers, but tough matchups for the Magpies.

They also play possible top four contender Essendon twice in what will also be a tough game. They play five games away from Melbourne, but overall it is a reasonably tough draw for the Pies, but with their talented list, this should not affect them and they will look for another impressive season.

Essendon Bombers

2018 season
It was a mixed season for the Bombers where they lost six of their first eight games but won ten of their last 14 matches. They were one of the form sides of the competition in the latter half of the year, however, and if they played better in those first eight rounds the Bombers would have made the finals easily.

Small forward Devon Smith was one of the recruits of the season averaging 22 touches and 8 tackles a game and making the 40-man All-Australian Squad.

Expectation for 2019
It looks like a promising season for the Bombers in 2019. The acquisition of Dylan Shiel will boost the impressive midfield of Zach Merrett, Dyson Heppell and David Zaharakis in what could turn into a tough midfield quartette for teams to face. Their impressive backline featuring Michael Hurley and Adam Saad will want to continue their impressive form, and young defender Aaron Francis will be wanting to cement his spot in the best 22.

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While they will be hoping that Joe Daniher will return to his 65-goal 2017 season form and that forward Jake Stringer will return to kicking 40 or more goals next season, as he did in the Bulldogs’ successful 2015 and Premiership 2016 season. Things are looking up for the Bombers in 2019 and many are expecting that they will make the top eight and even the top four with the promising list they have put together.

Joe Daniher

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

They will be a tough team to beat in both 2019 and in future seasons.

Emerging talent for 2019
Aaron Francis. The 21-year-old defender has only been able to get ten games under his belt since making his debut in 2016 due to personal problems. While he didn’t look out of place in the five games he played in 2018 he will be looking to cement a spot in the best 22 and show the competition why he was selected as number six in the 2015 national draft.

He will be wanting to show his impressive marking ability and talent in 2019.

Season draw
Essendon’s fixture for 2019 has both its strengths and weaknesses to it. It only plays one top four side twice in Collingwood in what will be two entertaining fixtures, especially the ANZAC Day clash. While they also play GWS, North Melbourne, and the Swans twice, three teams who will be fighting it out for a top eight spot.

They have tough trips to Adelaide, Perth and Sydney, and they get a mix of matches at the MCG and at Marvel Stadium. They will be looking to win as many of the games in Victoria as possible and show why they could be one of the form teams in 2019.

Fremantle Dockers

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2018 season
While the Dockers didn’t make finals, there were games where they did impress, however, there were games that Docker fans would rather forget. They had impressive wins against both South Australian sides and had impressive wins against Carlton, the Bulldogs and Bombers.

There were also horrible games such as the 133-point loss to Geelong which fans will be hoping performances like that won’t be repeated in 2019.

Expectation for 2019
While the Dockers have Brownlow Medalist Nat Fyfe in their midfield, he will need backing up from other midfielders to ensure the Dockers have some success in 2019. After the departure of ball magnet Lachie Neale to Brisbane, players like Brad Hill and Veteran David Mundy can pick up what Neale did so well and fill that gap in the Dockers midfield.

They will be hoping that the acquisitions of Reece Conca, Rory Lobb and star forward Jesse Hogan, will be able to provide something new to the Dockers. Hogan will be looking to have a 50-goal-plus season and create a strong forward trio with young Cam McCarthy and the emerging Brennan Cox.

Goals were something missing from the Dockers last year with their top scorer being Michael Walters with 22 goals, and the Dockers will be hoping that Hogan can fill in the spot of a regular goal scorer. While I don’t think the Dockers will make the finals, I see them improving and trying to make Optus Stadium a fortress.

Nat Fyfe

(Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

An aim for ten wins at least should be the expectation for the Dockers as they have a list that is possible of doing that. The Dockers need to play more consistent and better footy in order to show the competition that they could be a good team in the near future.

Emerging talent for 2019
Andrew Brayshaw. In his debut year, the number two pick impressed averaging 16 disposals and 4 tackles a game. His season was cut short after his injury picked up as a result of the Andrew Gaff hit, and he will be looking to bounce back to even better form in 2019.

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He will be wanting to continue playing regular AFL games, and the Dockers without a doubt will be hoping that he can turn into a ball magnet, and fill the void left by Lachie Neale.

Season draw
The Dockers have a reasonably tough fixture in 2019. They play Premiers West Coast twice as a result of playing them in the Western Derby and the Dockers will find that matchup twice. Other teams they play twice include the Power, Bombers, Bulldogs and Saints, all teams the Dockers beat in 2018 and will be hoping to repeat that in 2019.

They face tough road trips to Adelaide and Sydney and hard games at the MCG against the Magpies and Demons. The Dockers will need to win as many games at Optus Stadium next year to make sure that they don’t fall to the foot of the ladder.