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The new year is upon us, which means the 2019 AFL season isn’t too far away.
These are my predictions for the year’s finals contenders. You can read my prediction for the bottom ten on the ladder here ahead of what should be a tightly contested season of football.
8. Adelaide Crows
Adelaide had a shocking season, falling from being a 2017 grand finalist, albeit losing to Richmond on the big day, to a disappointing 12th-place finish on the ladder.
But you can expect Adelaide to bounce back after that nightmare 2018 season. With Ned McHenry, Chayce Jones, Will Hamill And Tyson Stenglebto joining the squad, they will replace Geelong or Sydney to rejoin the top eight.
7. Hawthorn Hawks
Many people expect Hawthorn to be sliders in 2019 after a bombastic trade period similar to Fremantle. But new recruits to the Hawthorn army, including Chad Wingard and others, will keep them in finals contention.
6. Greater Western Sydney Giants
Losing in Week 2 of finals was followed by a horrible trade period in which they lost Rory Lobb and Dylan Shiel to Fremantle and Essendon respectively, but expect the team to continue growing, even if only enough to move one place up the ladder.
5. Essendon Bombers
The Bombers have recruited nicely in the trade period, and newcomers like Dylan Shiel will rise the Bomber army back up into the finals for the first time since 2011.
4. Collingwood Magpies
It’s been a great run for the Pies, not unlike it was for Richmond, who went 13th to premiers in 2016-17. The key difference, unfortunately, was that Collingwood didn’t end its run with the flag last season.
3. Richmond Tigers
Damien Hardwick’s men will have another great year, but I don’t think they’ll win the minor premiership again.
2. Melbourne Demons
The AFL record has been broken, and Melbourne made history last season by qualifying for the finals for the first time in 12 years. They will make history again in 2019 by making top four for the first time since 2000.
1. West Coast Eagles
Who thought West Coast would be premiers in 2018? Even me, a West Coast supporter, didn’t see it coming, and despite Nic Naitanui being plagued by injury, they’ll do it again this season.
Grand final: West Coast Eagles vs Richmond Tigers
The winner? The West Coast Eagles!
Roarers, which grand final would you prefer — a West Coast vs Richmond decider or the reigning premiers taking on Melbourne for the 2019 flag?