Season-Launch

We are right on the verge of what appears to be another exciting AFL season, and likewise at the peak period for season predictions and assessments for what lies ahead in 2014.

Who will make the top eight? Who will win the wooden spoon? Who will bolt up the ladder, or collapse down? Most importantly, who will win the premiership? These are questions asked frequently through the season, and we at BFGN wanted to collectively answer that.

So, much like we did last season, we asked our writers to give us their full AFL ladder from first to last, and their top five predictions for each of the Brownlow Medal, Coleman Medal and Rising Star Award. Each team was awarded points based on their placing, with 18 points awarded to first on the ladder through to one point to last, and each player was awarded five points for finishing first in their award through to one point for fifth.

These were then tallied together to give our cumulative prediction for the season ahead. First:

The 2014 Ladder

1. Hawthorn (331)
2. Fremantle (319)
2. Sydney (319)
4. North Melbourne (263)
5. Geelong (251)
6. Richmond (246)
7. Collingwood (220)
8. Essendon (201)
9. Carlton (174)
10. Adelaide (171)
11. West Coast (163)
12. Port Adelaide (162)
13. Gold Coast (134)
14. Western Bulldogs (97)
15. Brisbane (66)
16. Melbourne (61)
17. Greater Western Sydney (45)
18. St Kilda (26)

Though the top three was tight, Hawthorn was the most common tip to finish first, with it predicted by 58% of writers to record 331 of a possible 342 points. Remarkably, Fremantle and Sydney tied not far behind on 319. Sydney were more frequently placed first and third, however, and it suggests more ambiguity and room to move in their season ahead than the Dockers.

There was little indecision about the top three – every single writer tipped Hawthorn, Sydney and Fremantle in theirs – so there is a noticeable gap to bolters North Melbourne. However, they are closely followed by Geelong and Richmond in what shapes as an interesting contest over snaring the last spot in the top four. Six different teams in all were predicted to finish fourth in individual ladders.

Collingwood and Essendon were popular candidates to make it through to September, with a very tight range of teams down to the 12th-placed Port Adelaide following them. Gold Coast were also suggested to continue rising up the ladder but ultimately fell short of this group, as were the Bulldogs.

Closing out the bottom four were Brisbane, Melbourne, GWS and St Kilda, with over two-thirds of writers tipping a 27th wooden spoon to the Saints.

The Brownlow Medal

1. Scott Pendlebury (75)
2. Gary Ablett (73)
3. Trent Cotchin (35)
4. Patrick Dangerfield (31)
5. Nathan Fyfe (26)
6. Joel Selwood (20)
7. Jobe Watson (11)
8. Kieren Jack (8)
9. Dane Swan (4)
9. Daniel Hannebery (4)

The top two was difficult to split, but ultimately it was Scott Pendlebury tipped to take home his first Brownlow Medal in 2014, edging out last year’s winner Gary Ablett. Interestingly, more writers tipped Ablett to win a third Brownlow, but Pendlebury’s placings were what pushed him ahead.

Of the other contenders, Richmond captain Trent Cotchin led the way ahead of Patrick Dangerfield, Nathan Fyfe and Joel Selwood.

The Coleman Medal

1. Jarryd Roughead (70)
2. Travis Cloke (56)
3. Jack Riewoldt (36)
3. Josh J Kennedy (36)
5. Lance Franklin (25)
6. Jeremy Cameron (16)
7. Drew Petrie (14)
8. Kurt Tippett (11)
9. Jack Gunston (5)
10. Tom Hawkins (4)
10. Aaron Black (4)

Jarryd Roughead was the popular candidate to take home a second Coleman Medal after his efforts in 2013, kicking 72 goals for the season. Travis Cloke followed not too far behind, and considering he was the most targeted player inside 50 and had the most shots on goal last season, he is every chance to win if he can kick straight.

Names such as Jack Riewoldt, Josh Kennedy and Lance Franklin followed all on the back of consistent goalscoring in recent years, while the Giants’ Jeremy Cameron was another notable candidate after winning an All-Australia spot last season.

The Rising Star Award

1. Luke McDonald (62)
2. Jack Martin (52)
3. James Aish (30)
3. Joe Daniher (30)
5. Brodie Grundy (24)
6. Josh Kelly (19)
7. Tom Boyd (17)
8. Troy Menzel (16)
9. Jesse Hogan (12)
10. Luke Dunstan (8)

North’s Luke McDonald was the top pick to take home this season’s Rising Star Award. The tough half-back looks primed to slot into the Kangaroos’ round one side after a season in the VFL as an 18-year-old. Gold Coast’s Jack Martin closely followed him after being touted as better than last year’s winner and teammate Jaeger O’Meara.

Amongst the other candidates were James Aish of the Lions, who slid in last year’s draft to pick seven but looks ready for AFL, Essendon’s Joe Daniher who, despite only playing five games, looks to have cemented himself in as a key forward, and Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy, who will lead their ruck division this season.

 

Though the season is almost guaranteed to eventuate differently to what has been predicted above, it is always fun to gaze into the crystal ball and see what lies ahead. What can definitely be said is this: we are in for another exciting and competitive season.

1 COMMENT

  1. The sad part is, the number of votes Roughead received to win the Coleman this year could be more than the number goals he kicks to win the Coleman.

    Oh, for the days of the 100-goal-a-year forwards….

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