With the calendar moving from 2019 to 2020, our attention now moves towards the countdown towards the 2020 AFL season.
Here are my crystal ball predictions for 2020.
1. Richmond Tigers
They may have lost Alex Rance to retirement, but this team has now become one of the best modern-era sides, having won two premierships in three years.
2. Geelong Cats
They defied the odds to finish as minor premiers in 2019, but I don’t see that happening in 2020 despite a huge amount of elite players.
3. Greater Western Sydney Giants
They’ll be stronger in 2020 than in 2019, when they were lucky to make the grand final and were annihilated as Stephen Coniglio, Lachie Whitfield and Phil Davis all fit and returning.
4. West Coast Eagles
The Eagles will also be stronger in 2020 than last season, when they were denied another top-four finish and were eliminated in the semi-final, with the addition of Tim Kelly and an elite line-up of players such as Nic Naitanui and Josh Kennedy.
5. Collingwood Magpies
They’ll be a great side in 2020 but will drop off despite a list full of gun players.
5. Brisbane Lions
After an impressive 2019 they’ll have a harder draw in 2020. With the loss of Luke Hodge, I think the Lions will drop a few places despite a wonderful young side.
7. Hawthorn Hawks
They’ll bounce back with the return of Tom Mitchell after a disappointing 2019, having nearly made the finals.
8. Western Bulldogs
They have a great line-up of midfielders, with Marcus Bontempelli and co and with Tim English improving even more. I can see the Dogs producing a follow-up season to 2019.
9. North Melbourne Kangaroos
With a great new coach, the return of Majak Daw and talented midfield and forward line-ups, especially including Ben Brown, the Roos will just fall short of a finals berth.
10. Essendon Bombers
With their reliance on star players and John Worsfold heading into his final year as coach, I cannot see this team following up from 2019.
11. Melbourne Demons
Mark my words, the Dees are on the up in 2020. They may not make the eight, but they will have their midfield issues resolved. Their defence line, which includes Steven May and Jack Lever, should help them have a stronger year than 2019.
12. Fremantle Dockers
With the return of Jesse Hogan, the loss of Bradley Hill and a new coach, the Dockers will show some improvement on recent years to win a large number of home games and some away games.
13. Port Adelaide Power
They’ve lost a few elite players, such as Patrick Ryder, and will enter a rebuilding phase.
14. Sydney Swans
This team features Buddy Franklin and a few young kids and will continue to rebuild. Aliir Aliir is a gun, but the loss of Zak Jones as well as some veteran players will see the team continue languishing outside of finals contention.
15. Carlton Blues
More improvement will come in 2020 under David Teague with a decent young team all around with Mitch McGovern, Charlie Curnow and Cade Simpson.
16. Adelaide Crows
A rebuild will be coming along in 2020 with the loss of Eddie Betts. Taylor Walker also appears to be out of form.
17. St Kilda Saints
With the loss of Jack Stevens and Josh Bruce and the gaining of Bradley Hill, I can’t see this team improving further in 2020
18. Gold Coast Suns
Woe continues for the Suns, but they should rise in coming years.
Qualifying final 1: Richmond vs West Coast
Qualifying final 2: Geelong vs Greater Western Sydney
Elimination final 1: Collingwood vs Western Bulldogs
Elimination final 2: Brisbane vs Hawthorn
Semi-final 1: West Coast vs Western Bulldogs
Semi-final 2: Geelong vs Brisbane
Preliminary final 1: Richmond vs Brisbane
Preliminary final 2: Greater Western Sydney vs West Coast
Grand final: Richmond vs Greater Western Sydney
Premiers: Greater Western Sydney
Brownlow Medal: Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
Coleman Medal: Ben Brown (North Melbourne)