The 2018 AFL premiership season is upon us with just four more sleeps until the season opener. It’s been a lonely six months without the elite level game but the women’s competition has been putting on a show and more than keeping us busy.
More importantly, the AFLW has been far more competitive this season with a number of teams still in the finals race. But as we turn our attention to the AFL premiership season, it’s certainly going to leave a few heads wondering.
There are a few questions that are on everyone’s mind at this stage of the season.
Can Richmond back up their fairytale year and challenge again for the premiership?
Who will make finals this year with Melbourne, St Kilda and Collingwood all just missing out last year?
And, can Nat Fyfe return to form and be fighting it out at the top for the prestigious Brownlow medal?
This and much more will be answered across the next six to seven months as the teams battle it out for the Toyota AFL premiership.
We’ve got a quick look at round one and all the predictions on who will perform, the final ladder placings and who’s got what it takes to make it to the Holy Grail and take on the premiership cup.
Round 1: (all times are local times)
Thursday, March 22
Richmond vs Carlton, 7:25pm MCG
Essendon vs Adelaide, 7:50pm Etihad Stadium
Saturday, March 24
St Kilda vs Brisbane, 3:35pm Etihad Stadium
Port Adelaide vs Fremantle, 4:05pm Adelaide Oval
Gold Coast vs North Melbourne, 6:25pm Cazalys Stadium
Hawthorn vs Collingwood, 7:25pm MCG
Sunday, March 25
GWS vs Western Bulldogs, 1:10pm UNSW Canberra Oval
Melbourne vs Geelong, 3:20pm MCG
West Coast vs Sydney, 4:20pm Optus Stadium
It is likely that the same teams will once again be challenging for the AFL Premiership in 2018 with GWS, Sydney and Adelaide all expected to once again be the league’s top performers. Despite Essendon’s recruits, I am expecting little movement from them as they learn to gel as a team in the early stages of the season.
Richmond is expected to drop a little but the raw power of Dustin Martin and another pre-seaosn in some of their younger players will be helpful. The addition of Gary Ablett will have a limited impact on Geelong’s output.
Down at the other end of the table, Brisbane and Carlton should both improve their win-loss ratios from last year but with such a tight battle for the eight, I don’t see them moving up too far. It will be a tight battle once again for St Kilda and Melbourne to make the eight but I’m tipping at least one of them to.
- Port Adelaide
- St Kilda
- West Coast
- Western Bulldogs
- North Melbourne
- Gold Coast
AFL Premiership: GWS Giants
Runner-up: Sydney Swans
Brownlow Medal: Tom Mitchell
Coleman Medal: Lance Franklin
I’m expecting Tom Mitchell to put in another stellar season for the Hawks and with some added midfield help he may be able to get on the end of a few more kicks and find the umpire’s eye.
Of course, if the Swans are to make it to their fourth grand final in seven years it will be off the back of an impressive season from Lance Franklin as he earns another AFL All-Australian honour and takes home the Coleman Medal.