Author Topic: ESPN's way-too-early 2019 predictions  (Read 235 times)

Offline one-eyed

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ESPN's way-too-early 2019 predictions
« on: December 17, 2018, 05:34:39 PM »
All 3 have us finishing top of the ladder next year.

AFL 2019: Our way-too-early predictions 2.0

Niall Seewang, Jake Michaels and Matt Walsh
ESPN
17 December 2018


You may remember ESPN's AFL writers putting way-too-early 2019 ladder predictions together just hours after West Coast were crowned premiers of the 2018 season.

Well, after a hectic trade period and a fascinating draft, plus the fact next year's fixture has been released, we've revisited and revised our ladders, explaining what led us to make our changes.

So without further ado, here are our way-too-early ladder predictions (2.0) for 2019.

Niall Seewang

Richmond (-)
Collingwood (-)
Melbourne (+1)
West Coast (-1)
Essendon (+1)
North Melbourne (+1)
GWS (-3)
Adelaide (+5)
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Sydney (-1)
Western Bulldogs (-1)
Hawthorn (-1)
Geelong (-1)
Brisbane (-1)
Fremantle (+3)
Port Adelaide (-1)
St Kilda (-1)
Carlton (-1)
Gold Coast (-)

It's a bit boring retaining the same top four from my initial predictions but it's difficult to see any of Richmond, Collingwood, Melbourne or West Coast tumbling too far next season. I have Melbourne edging past West Coast, primarily thanks to the addition of Steven May (while Kade Kolodjashnij might be a more-than-handy set of 'steak knives' too) but the Tigers and Magpies appear to have the standout lists in my opinion.

Essendon's addition of Dylan Shiel will have the Bombers right on the leading quartet's heels, and I really like North Melbourne's recruits over the off-season. Rounding out my top eight is Adelaide - I've had second thoughts on the Crows' prospects for 2019 and have them jumping back into the finals after a disastrous 2018.

The big sliders for me are GWS after the loss of Shiel, Tom Scully, Rory Lobb (trades) and Ryan Griffen (retirement). They still boast enough quality in their list to be finals-bound but I can't see them producing a genuine premiership tilt.

Towards the bottom of the ladder, Freo jumps a few rungs after finally snaring some key forward talent in Jesse Hogan and Lobb, while I'm still expecting Port, St Kilda and Carlton to struggle ... but not as badly as the Suns will.

Jake Michaels

Richmond (-)
Melbourne (-)
Collingwood (-)
West Coast (+1)
Essendon (+3)
GWS (-2)
Adelaide (-)
Geelong (-2)
----------------------
Sydney (-)
Hawthorn (+1)
Port Adelaide (-1)
Brisbane (-)
Western Bulldogs (+1)
North Melbourne (-1)
Fremantle (-)
Carlton (+1)
St Kilda (-1)
Gold Coast (-)

I may have been a fraction too harsh on West Coast in my initial prediction. The premiers deserve to be in the top four again and it's hard to see them falling out. Adam Simpson's side takes GWS's place who have lost a significant amount of talent with the departures of Dylan Shiel, Tom Scully, Rory Lobb and Ryan Griffen.

On the other side of the coin, Essendon's signing of Shiel combined with the likely return of spearhead Joe Daniher is enough for them to jump a few places and challenge for a top four finish.

I still feel Sydney and Hawthorn will struggle to play finals. Crazy, I know, but the Swans' superstar players are getting on and the Hawks are going to have a much tougher draw in 2019.

I made a few tweaks towards the bottom of my ladder with the Bulldogs leapfrogging the Kangaroos and St Kilda dropping below Carlton. I think the Blues had a strong draft and although Sam Docherty has suffered another season-ending ACL injury, there are enough promising signs to suggest that it won't be all doom and gloom. Gold Coast remain at the bottom of the ladder despite enjoying arguably the strongest draft of anyone.

Matt Walsh

Richmond (-)
Melbourne (-)
West Coast (-)
Collingwood (-)
Essendon (-)
GWS (-)
Geelong (+2)
Adelaide (-)
---------------------
Hawthorn (-2)
Sydney (-)
Western Bulldogs (+1)
Port Adelaide (-1)
Brisbane (-)
North Melbourne (+1)
Fremantle (+2)
Carlton (-)
St Kilda (-3)
Gold Coast (-)

Like the others, I'm still pretty content with the top six that I chose back in October; I think the addition of Tom Lynch to Richmond will be enough for them to secure the minor premiership, while Melbourne, West Coast and a healthy Collingwood outfit should round out the top four. GWS will be able to cover the loss of Shiel, Scully, Lobb et al., and the Bombers are surely ready to feature in September.

The middle of my ladder is where the changes begin. As I said in my previous ranking, I felt Hawthorn overachieved in 2018, and they could slip out of the to eight in 2019. The Cats jump into the eight as I believe it's a crunch year for Chris Scott and a midfield which boasts names like Dangerfield, Selwood, Kelly, Dahlhaus and Duncan.

I'm bullish on the Dogs considering a number of their A-grade movers are now hitting their prime years, while Port's offseason was less than ideal, and they might miss finals again.

I still have the Lions finishing 13th, while North Melbourne have risen one spot. I said if North could land a big fish the club's future might be brighter, but Jared Polec, Aaron Hall and Jasper Pittard aren't world-beaters and expectations should be tempered accordingly.

Carlton will improve on last year but will remain a bottom-four team, while it's hard to get excited about St Kilda despite the acquisition of a banged-up Dan Hannebery, and the Suns are starting from ground zero.

http://www.espn.com.au/afl/story/_/id/25496154/afl-espn-2019-way-too-early-ladder-predictions-20

Offline mightytiges

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Re: ESPN's way-too-early 2019 predictions
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2018, 06:46:57 PM »
History says at least one of the top 4 sides will crash out of the Eight the following year. Injuries, a harder draw, list changes, complacency/lack of the same hunger, ... bus trips  :snidegrin ...., etc can really affect a team's year.

Will the Eagles be as hungry?
Will the Pies perform to the same level with the oldest list and a harder draw?
Will the Dees be contenders without Hogan?
Will we cope with lesser midfield depth and needing Nank once again to carry the ruck load with no clear and true  2nd ruck option?

The Hawks finished top 4 ladder wise but would be the most suspect given they went out in straight sets in the finals. Could easily see them dropping out as their veterans aren't getting any younger. Geelong and GWS would be the other suspect two given their lists have got older and weaker.

As for the rest, Essendon is always pumped up to finish top 4 at this time of the year  :sleep.

Brad Scott needs North to make the finals otherwise it's bye-bye for him. That's why they've paid through the roof to top up with Polec and co.

My smokey is the Dogs to jump into the Eight. They finished strongly towards the end of this year.
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Offline lamington

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Re: ESPN's way-too-early 2019 predictions
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2018, 08:00:31 AM »
I think the bombers will crack the 8. Purely from the addition of Shiel and having a fit Daniher returning. I don't think they'll go deep into Sept though. Hawks and Cats at a big risk of bombing out of the 8

Online Slipper

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Re: ESPN's way-too-early 2019 predictions
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2018, 09:02:14 AM »
For the life of me I don't get the love for Adelaide.