THIS is the year Adelaide returns as a flag force.

That's the prediction of footy fans who have tipped a fourth-placed finish for the Crows, who crashed to 12th last year on the back of a nightmare pre-season.

The Crows are the 2018 non-finalists most widely expected to re-enter the eight by fans giving their predictions in's pre-season survey.

Eighty-five per cent of fans say Don Pyke's men will play finals. Sixty per cent are also backing Essendon to make the eight, following another off-season recruiting spree that landed star Giant Dylan Shiel.

Fans also predicted this seasons premier, wooden spoon winner, the team most likely to fall, the next coach to lose his job, the Coleman medallist's goal tally and the fate of two big-name trade targets. Here are the results.

Crows rise, Hawks fall, the big three slug it out

To create the predicted ladder we ranked fans' expectations for their own team's performance this year.

Taken individually, many fans were bullish, with 12 sets of supporters confidently tipping their team to play finals.

Thirty eight per cent of Eagles fans think they will back up their 2018 flag win by finishing top, though that is dwarfed by the 53 per cent of the Tiger army which expects another minor premiership.

Hawthorn topped the list of teams expected to fall, with 42 per cent of fans tipping the Hawks to tumble the furthest this season.

Fans' predicted 2019 ladder
PositionTeamLast year
2ndWCEWest Coast1st
10thPORTPort Adelaide10th
12thNMFCNorth Melbourne9th
15thWBWestern Bulldogs13th
16thSTKSt Kilda16th
18thGCFCGold Coast17th
It's Tiger time again

September's preliminary final defeat by a Mason Cox-inspired Collingwood was a blip, fans say, and the Tigers will again get their claws on the premiership cup.

West Coast is only third favourite for the flag behind Richmond and Collingwood. There is also significant support both for the Crows, and the rising Demons

Dark times ahead for the setting Suns

At the bottom of the ladder the view is clearer cut. Ominously for Stuart Dew's Suns, over two thirds of fans expect them to claim the wooden spoon. 

Even Gold Coast's own fans tip them to finish stone cold 18th. Carlton and St Kilda are the two other clubs in the reckoning. 

Will they stay or will they go?

As the trade and free agency speculation ramps up this season, two of the most hotly pursued targets will be Stephen Coniglio and Tim Kelly.

A slim majority of fans expect free agent Coniglio to remain at Greater Western Sydney beyond this season. The same is not true for pacy midfielder Kelly. He remains at Geelong after failing to force a move to his home state of Western Australia in October, and 84 per cent of fans think he'll get his wish in time for 2020.  

The Saint needing a miracle

Just 29 per cent of Saints fans were happy with Alan Richardson's performance when surveyed in September, so it's no great surprise that Richo is the senior coach most supporters expect to depart soonest. Ross Lyon remains under pressure at Fremantle, despite his confidence a premiership is only a matter of time for the club's purple army.  

Get set for a goalfest

A knock-on effect of the rules changes limiting congestion is expected to be higher scoring, and fans are predicting a healthy haul for this year's leading goalkicker.

Hauls of 65 and 69 were enough for Jack Riewoldt and Lance Franklin to claim the past two Coleman Medals, but over 70 per cent of supporters expect a player to kick 70-plus this year, and 32 per cent expect 80-plus.

Josh Kennedy, Ben Brown and Richmond's boom recruit Tom Lynch are among this season's favourites.

Wednesday: your burning questions for 2019

Read more

KNOW YOUR RULES CHANGES? 6-6-6, 50m penalties, kick-ins explained

'COMPETITIVE CARLTON' The headlines you hope to read