The Age‘s AFL 2020 season interactive includes expert ladder predictions, your club’s off-season ins and outs, chief football writer Jake Niall’s prediction for each club and why we think your club can and can’t make the finals.
It’s a split decision on which team our experts believe will finish on top. Three go for Greater Western Sydney and three think it will be West Coast. One has Richmond ruling the roost again in 2020.
All our experts, except for one, think GWS, Richmond and West Coast will make the top four.
If you’re looking for a rising force, you can’t go past the Western Bulldogs, who finished seventh last year and are the most popular pick to snap up fourth spot. “Query on experience and defence, but I’m buying shares,” says Niall.
It was the Giants who made a late charge to the grand final from outside the top four in 2020, only to lose it in a meek display against a rampaging Richmond.
West Coast dropped out of the finals in the second week, but have improved with the recruit of Tim Kelly from Geelong. The Giants, our experts tip, will improve given they are poised to regain injured stars like Stephen Coniglio and Callan Ward.
The Dogs finished 2020 in hot form and scraped into the finals but were battered in week one by GWS. They recruited Alex Keath and Josh Bruce in the off-season, a pair of bookends whom our experts obviously feel will add brilliantly to the natural development of their promising list.
Collingwood have made the top four in the past two seasons (with a runner-up and preliminary final finish in 2018 and 2019 respectively) but they won’t make the top half of the eight this season, according to the experts.
They’ve been tipped to finish as low as eighth and as high as fifth.
Geelong will finish in the bottom half of the eight according to the experts, although one has them missing the finals, while there are only two experts who think Melbourne will play finals, one who thinks St Kilda will break their finals drought and none who believe Essendon can back up their 2019 finals berth.
At the bottom of the ladder it’s almost unanimously Gold Coast – there is one tip for Fremantle to win the wooden spoon – while Carlton’s predictions hover between 17th and 11th for their first full season with David Teague in charge.
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.