2019 AFL Season Preview & Predictions
We look into our crystal ball to find the premiers, Brownlow medalist and which team will disappoint in 2019.
Richmond are obviously primed for another tilt at the premiership after being the dominant team in 2018 and are rightly premiership favourites. But with natural improvement and a Grand Final defeat to drive them, we think the Pies could go one step further in 2019. The midfield was already elite and the addition of former favourite son Dayne Beams only makes it more imposing for opposition teams.
The Pies’ premiership window looks to have just opened after their first finals appearance in five seasons but head into the season with the second oldest list in terms of age (24.8) and games played (78.9). That stat shouldn’t be cause for alarm with key players like Grundy, Treloar, Adams, De Goey, Phillips, Sier and Stephenson all currently 25 or younger. Their forward line was versatile and dangerous with the emergence of Mason Cox and Stephenson’s brilliant rookie season and will add a healthy Jamie Elliot in 2019.
The one concern is their tall defenders with Dunn and Scharenberg suffering ACL injuries last season but both are expected to return this season and barring any further major injuries, should definitely be finishing inside the top four and again challenging come the last day in September.
Best Bet: Collingwood ($7)
The Giants are almost the forgotten team heading into 2019 and despite losing Dylan Shiel and Rory Lobb, they certainly have the depth and talent to be there abouts again this season. The Giants were only a couple of kicks away from a third straight preliminary final and overcame a mountain of injuries last season to still earn a finals win.
Full seasons from Josh Kelly, Toby Greene, Zac Williams and Brett Deledio will help their cause in a big way and should have a fit and firing Jonathon Patton to look forward to in the back half of the season. If they can overcome there ruck issues, the Giants loom as a great smokey to keep your eye on in 2019.
Value Bet: GWS Giants ($21)
The Giants are still firmly in the premiership window for all the reasons mentioned above. They still have an elite midfield, all of which can hit the scoreboard regularly and a rock solid defence led by co-captain Phil Davis. There’s more opportunity for youngsters Tim Taranto, Zac Langdon and Daniel Lloyd to continue their upward projection and as we know are very well coached. They look a great bet to make the top eight and really push for higher honours.
Best Bet: GWS Giants @ $1.75
Last season was the most the competitive in recent history with four teams finishing on 12 wins and missing finals. This season looks to be a very similar story and while all 12 of those teams will be firmly in the mix again, there seems to be one team to make a sharp jump. In the last two seasons we’ve seen the team finish 13th make the Grand Final the following season (Richmond and Collingwood) and we think Brisbane could be the team to make the quantum leap in 2019. They still be a season away from fulfilling their potential but at the current quote, they certainly look the best value bet to push for September action.
Value Bet: Brisbane @ $4
Even with a star studded midfield consisting of Selwood, Dangerfield and Ablett, Geelong are our tip to miss the top eight this season. The Cats limped into the finals series last year, bullying lowly Fremantle and Gold Coast at home in the final two rounds of the season to sneak into an elimination final against Melbourne where they were soundly beaten.
Despite finishing 2018 with the top ranked defence and second best percentage in the league, they still only managed 13 wins to finish 8th, with the gap between their best and worst a real concern for Chris Scott’s troops. They will again be exposed in the ruck and other than Tom Hawkins, the only Cat to kick 25+ goals last season was Daniel Menzel (27) who’s been traded to the Swans.
Geelong @ $2.10
Without declaring it an absolute certainty, the Gold Coast Suns to finish on the bottom of the AFL ladder in 2019 is everything but. The current quotes on offer are still over the odds and if you’re keen to anchor something into a futures multi, this is it. The Suns won only four games in 2018 and have lost their co-captains (arguably their two best players) as well as Aaron Hall and Kade Kolodjashnij. We’ve predicted the Suns to fall under their win line of 2.5 which would assure them their second wooden spoon in club history.
Gold Coast @ $1.45
The new Carlton co-captain is coming off a career best season and finished equal 4th in last year’s Brownlow Medal with 20 votes despite his team only winning two games. Carlton will surely improve on that on return this season and even if it’s only a 5-6 win season, it could be enough for Cripps to take home Charlie. We know he’s not going to have votes stolen off him like many of top chances from other clubs and could spend more time forward where he will become a real weapon.
Best Bet: Patrick Cripps @ $13
Another contested bull, Oliver was one of the leading contender’s going into last year’s Brownlow medal count but was dramatically upstaged by teammate Angus Brayshaw. Oliver has a natural ability to find the footy and his disposal by hand is elite and is sharply improving by foot. He will continually be under the umpires eye and perhaps will be looked upon more favourably this season after not polling as well as expected last year, a trend from recent Brownlow Medal. Melbourne is certainly going to top four or thereabouts team meaning there’s an opportunity for many 2 or 3 vote games.
Value Bet: Clayton Oliver @ $29
Josh Kennedy only played 14 of the possible 25 matches for the reigning premiers last season but still booted 43 goals, with a league high average of 3.1 per game. Jack Darling’s breakout season took the workload off the two-time Coleman Medalist and both mean were able to flourish, but with Naitanui missing for the majority of the season, Darling may have to pinch hit in the ruck, which would allow Kennedy to remain closer to goal and remain the focal point in a forward line that’s going to see plenty of ball.
Best Bet: Josh Kennedy ($5)
Reigning Coleman Medalist Jack Riewoldt has his own tall forward foil in the forward line this year and we think it will only help the star full forward. With the new 6-6-6 rule, Riewoldt will play closer to the goal square this season where he is at his most dangerous and allow Lynch to roam more up the ground and play a traditional centre-half-forward role. Lynch’s addition will also mean Riewoldt could potentially draw the second key defender. We’re bullish on Riewoldt kicking at least 60+ goals again and at his current price, is way over the odds.
Value Bet: Jack Riewoldt ($19)