It’s been a frantic few days here at FTS HQ. Already, our trash-talking, dim-witted, sometimes-mercurial “experts” have cast their votes as to what the AFL’s top 8 ladder will look like come season’s end.
I know what you’re thinking: “Why believe these guys? What makes them so special?”
Well, take it on good authority that many of these blokes have no lives outside of sport.
Blake Gray, a now-irritating Swans supporter, has watched the 2012 Grand Final no less than 15 times since September.
Jackson Baker is hopeful that Jack Viney can lead the Demons to September, whilst equally ambitious, Mitchell Wood is talking up Richmond’s chances of making the 8, or beating Carlton in round 1 … whatever is more important to Tigers fans.
Oh, and Jordan Witte was apparently heard whinging that North keep getting overlooked, or are irrelevant … or something.
So without further ado, our sharpest brains have sorted our amalgamated top 8s, to compile what we agree is, the Super Top 8 Prediction.
1st – West Coast
2nd – Hawthorn
3rd – Collingwood
4th – Sydney
5th – Adelaide
6th – Fremantle
7th – Geelong
8th – Carlton
West Coast (1st) – After falling short in the previous two seasons, we expect the Eagles to emerge as the minor premiers in 2013. Although they have a number of injuries, they proved in 2012 they were able to overcome adversity despite the loss of their three highest goal kickers from the previous season. The Eagles have a young list that is ready to go deep into September once again under John Worsfold.
Collingwood (2nd) – Much is expected of the Pies in Nathan Buckley’s second year as coach, and barring any serious injury concerns, Collingwood should comfortably play deep into September. This list is stacked with star players and they will be tough to beat behind arguably the leagues best midfield in Swan, Pendlebury, Beams and Sidebottom. Expect Travis Cloke to have a big season following his disappointing year in 2012.
Hawthorn (3rd) – The stinging defeat in the 2012 Grand Final should have the high flying Hawks playing with a chip on their shoulder as they hope to make amends for what was a poor end to a tremendous season. Question marks still linger over their ruck stocks and suspect defence, but make no mistake, this side knows how to win, reaching two grand finals in the past 5 years. Behind a blue collar midfield and the flamboyance of Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli, expect big things from this Hawthorn side.
Sydney (4th) – The reigning premiers should continue to produce at the level they reached in 2012, and the added inclusion of Kurt Tippett after Round 11 should only help bolster their chances of achieving another finals berth. Anything less than a top four position would be unacceptable for the Swans, who expect and demand success from their side. With a healthy list and their current midfield depth, expect them to be a guaranteed finalist.
Adelaide (5th) – We expect the Crows to forget their off-season and build on 2012. Kurt Tippett is an obvious loss up forward but they do have cover in Josh Jenkins who will almost be a regular this year. Taylor Walker is at short odds for the Coleman and Brad Crouch only adds to an already stellar midfield. Look for Patrick Dangerfield to string together consecutive game-winning performances which he perhaps didn’t do enough of last year.
Fremantle (6th) – The Dockers are always a gamble when it comes down to ladder predictions, they’re one of the most inconsistent teams to play away from home. In Perth however, they should be strong enough to string together enough games to sneak them in. They have the players, and Ross Lyon is well and truly settled, so expect the Purple Army to finish in the 8.
Geelong (7th) –
Write off a champion team at your own peril and with three of the last six premierships, Geelong have proven they know how to go deep in September. Their ageing brigade of Stevie Johnson, Jimmy Bartel, Paul Chapman and Joel Corey provide a winning core to this team seldom seen across the rest of the league. The Cats also have an extremely handy fixture including eight of their final ten matches in Victoria. Geelong’s crop of emerging youngsters will only get better, such as Mitch Duncan, Allen Christensen and Steven Motlop, while their goliath Tom Hawkins provides a dominant focal point from which to build a spine. Frighteningly, the Cats may yet have reached their full potential.
Carlton (8th) – The Blues should just do enough to sneak into the 8, with the feeling around FTS that they should just edge out the competition in Essendon, Richmond, Brisbane and North Melbourne. Chris Judd having given up the captaincy takes a weight off his shoulders, whilst a solid pre-season with coach Mick Malthouse is being talked up down at Princes Park. They under-performed last year, and with enough luck, they should be finals bound.
Funnily enough, our boffins also concluded that Richmond only just missed out, meaning, once again, they are predicted to finish 9th.
From The Sideline is a group of second-year Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) students at La Trobe University.