The first bounce of the 2013 AFL season is only just around the corner and for fans that have dealt with enough drama to last a decade, having the real footy back can’t come soon enough.
As is the case every year, there are clubs that are expected to make the top eight, clubs that are expected to struggle against the rest of the competition, players expected to perform well in the Brownlow Medal count and players expected to kick enough bags of goals to have them in contention for the Coleman Medal.
Rather than having one or two people provide their thoughts for Bound for Glory News’ season predictions, we’ve had 15 members of our team contribute, submitting their predicted ladders, Brownlow Medal and Coleman Medal winners.
The predicted orders have been determined by a voting system. Each writer has submitted their predictions with a numerical value next to them. For example, if a writer believes Hawthorn will finish on top of the ladder, they would put ‘18’ next to Hawthorn, going through their predicted ladder right down to the very bottom. The numbers, or votes, next to each team or player are then tallied up and put in an overall order.
In the makeup of the ladder, each team can earn a maximum of 270 votes. All tallied up, the Bound for Glory News predicted ladder looks like this:
1. West Coast – 250
2. Collingwood – 249
3. Hawthorn – 232
4. Sydney – 229
5. Adelaide – 199
6. Carlton – 190
7. Fremantle – 188
8. Geelong – 163
9. North Melbourne – 152
10. Richmond – 149
11. Brisbane – 123
12. Essendon – 119
13. St Kilda – 83
14. Port Adelaide – 75
15. Melbourne – 58
16. Gold Coast – 37
17. Greater Western Sydney – 37
18. Western Bulldogs – 32
It came down to just one vote separating our predicted minor premiers West Coast and the second-placed Collingwood. With both clubs set to have great years, don’t be surprised if it happens to be the Eagles and Magpies scrapping it out for that top spot.
It comes as no surprise to see Hawthorn and Sydney round out the top four. 2012’s Grand Finalists are sure to still have plenty to give in the new season, especially the Hawks who, after the disappointment of a Grand Final loss, will be looking for redemption.
Adelaide, Carlton, Fremantle and Geelong round out our predicted top eight. The Crows will certainly be up there in the scrap for top four, the Blues are expected to make finals and some under new coach Mick Malthouse, the Dockers are poised for another finals appearance and the Cats will show that there’s life in the old legs yet.
Basic mathematics will tell you that 12 can’t go into eight. The four teams hanging just outside the top eight, North Melbourne, Richmond, Brisbane and Essendon, could all mount a strong case for why they could claim a top eight position for themselves. It will certainly be interesting to see which team can climb on top of the competition.
St Kilda and Port Adelaide sit just outside the group of teams pushing to make finals and teams that will struggle. An aging St Kilda list with a plethora of young players coming through is unlikely to be pushing for finals this season but will surely challenge in the near future. Port Adelaide still has a lot to prove before it could even be considered as a top eight chance.
The bottom four of Melbourne, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs may not surprise many but what may come as a shock is seeing the Bulldogs glued to the foot of the ladder. It is hard to see exactly where the improvement is going to come from for the Bulldogs whilst Melbourne is knocking on the door of the next step up and Gold Coast and GWS, two clubs that tied on 37 votes, have a host of young talent that will be pushing their respective clubs forward in the future.
With so many great players that possess the ability to win the Brownlow Medal, not all 15 of our writers are going to have the same top five. To be as accurate as possible, each writer submitted their top 10 list of players which was then cut down to a top five. Although a lot can happen over the course of the season, here is our predicted top five for the Brownlow Medal:
5. Trent Cotchin – 115
4. Gary Ablett – 99
3. Scott Pendlebury – 96
2. Sam Mitchell – 93
1. Patrick Dangerfield – 82
Richmond’s Trent Cotchin was the top pick of our writers to win the 2013 Brownlow Medal, having already proven that he possesses great ability whilst still being only a youngster. With so much upside, it’s hard to not see Cotchin featuring in this year’s Brownlow count and many to come in the future.
Gary Ablett, Scott Pendlebury, Sam Mitchell and Patrick Dangerfield all competed for the remaining top five spots. 2012 Brownlow Medallist Jobe Watson deserves a special mention for sitting just outside the top five with 78 votes.
As is the case with the Brownlow Medal count, our writers are sure to have many variations of who they think will win the Coleman Medal. Having cut down the initial lists of top 10 players in a top five, here is our prediction for who will feature in the Coleman Medal race:
1. Taylor Walker – 133
2. Lance Franklin – 121
3. Jack Riewoldt – 114
4. Tom Hawkins – 92
5. Travis Cloke – 85
5. Matthew Pavlich – 85
Although Lance Franklin looks to be in great form, our writers like the look of Adelaide’s Taylor Walker to step up and become a dominant force in the AFL. Showing up on the scene in 2012, Walker now has both the luxury and responsibility of being the number one target inside Adelaide’s forward line.
Regular goalkickers in Jack Riewoldt, Tom Hawkins, Travis Cloke and Matthew Pavlich round out the top five Coleman predictions with Cloke and Pavlich tying for fifth place.
The 2013 season is sure to pan out differently than to what most believe will happen. Considering the large amount of teams and players ready to take the next step up and becoming prominent after quieter times, we are in for a treat.