Premier to Brownlow Medal: Bold predictions for season 2020
Our AFL experts Niall Seewang, Jake Michaels, Matt Walsh and Jesse Robinson look into their crystal balls to predict the 2020 season.
Who will win the premiership?
NS: The Tigers will complete their dynasty era with another flag this year, despite worthy challengers in West Coast, Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs. Too many match-winners and a gameplan few clubs can counter.
JM: With the addition of Tim Kelly, plus a fit and firing Nic Naitanui, the Eagles will be even harder to beat in 2020. I’m picking them to win the minor premiership before going on to land their second flag in three years.
MW: I’m not normally one to advocate for back-to-back flags as it’s so hard to do, but this Richmond side has the look of a dynasty about it. No Alex Rance was no worries last season, and by keeping the core together for another year, it’ll be hard to stop the Tigers in 2020.
JR: The Giants fell spectacularly at the final hurdle in 2019 but enter 2020 with one of the best midfields in the AFL, the reigning Coleman medalist and a very strong draft crop. They overcame their preliminary final hoodoo last year and will learn a lot from their Grand Final defeat.
Richmond has won two of the last three AFL premierships. Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images
NS: Patrick Cripps finished equal-third in last year’s count, in a team that finished 16th. The Blues should rise several rungs this year and Cripps will be their inspiration, earning him a Brownlow.
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JM: With Tim Kelly departing the Cats, a major hole has been left in Geelong’s midfield. Chris Scott is going to have to deploy Patrick Dangerfield in the middle, where he belongs, and I’m tipping a monster season from him which culminates in his second Brownlow.
MW: Could Adam Treloar polish up his disposal enough to win the Brownlow? He has the numbers and will be the Pies’ premier midfielder this season. If he spent time in the off-season working on his kicking, he may give it a shake.
JR: Lachie Neale should be able to replicate his form from last year in a Lions team that has no reason to go backwards in 2019. Neale will be very much on the umpires’ radar after establishing himself as a genuine superstar last season.
Patrick Dangerfield show off his Brownlow Medal after winning the award in 2016. Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
NS: Yes, a bit of a smokey, but I’m predicting Jack Darling to benefit from a dominant West Coast midfield to win the Coleman. He booted 59 goals last year and I can see him comfortably bettering that this season.
JM: Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt will be fighting for goals at the Tigers and Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling will be doing the same at West Coast. Just like last year, I can’t see anyone kicking more than Jeremy Cameron as the Giants march back into the finals.
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MW: Ben Brown was (again) snubbed for an All-Australia blazer last year, so watch him put it beyond doubt this season by winning the Coleman. After all, according to Champion Data, he’ll have the competition’s No. 2 ranked midfield kicking the ball to him.
JR: I’m going Ben Brown too. It should finally be the year he wins the Coleman Medal. The big forward has kicked 60 plus goals in the last three years and came agonisingly close in 2018. I’m tipping he can replicate that form again and finally take the medal home.
North Melbourne’s Ben Brown has kicked 60 goals in each of the last three seasons. Dylan Burns/AFL Photos
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NS: It’s boring backing a favourite but I can’t go past last year’s No. 1 pick, Matthew Rowell. He looks a Sam Walsh-clone (possibly better!) and is a safe bet to win the award.
JM: Last year, Sam Walsh slotted into Carlton’s team and made an instant impact from Round 1. I expect Matthew Rowell, one of the most AFL-ready juniors we’ve seen in recent years, to do the exact same at the Suns this year.
MW: Izak Rankine is one of the league’s best young prospects and we are all worse off for not having seen him in the AFL last season. He can do some truly astounding things, and may shade his younger teammates to take out the Rising Star.
JR: The No. 3 pick in the 2018 Draft, Izak Rankine was touted as the next Dustin Martin but injuries last year restricted him to only three NEAFL games. A season in the gym should have Rankine primed to launch into a Suns team which has plenty of young talent.
Sam Flanders, Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson should help drag the Suns up the ladder. Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images
NS: It’s impossible to go past the Suns here, as much as I want to see them improve. They’re building a strong list but it’ll take several years before they’re competitive week in, week out.
JM: There’s plenty of young talent at Gold Coast but it’s going to take some time before they rise up the ladder. Pencil in another spoon for the Suns.
MW: The Suns are still in the rebuilding process and will struggle to get off the bottom, though that’s not to say they won’t improve. Look at the teams above them . which of Melbourne, Carlton, Sydney and St Kilda is is going to go backwards in 2020?
JR: Despite a strong draft and free agency period, the expected improvements of the rest of last year’s bottom four in Sydney, Carlton and Melbourne could see the Suns stuck at the bottom of the table. The Suns should add more than three wins, but not enough to see them escape the spoon.