Main content

Crystal ball: AFL.com.au's 2019 season predictions

Ask the Fantasy Coach Calvin, Warnie and Roy answer your questions

AFL.COM.AU reporters have peered into football's crystal ball and come up with their prognostications for season 2019 – read them and weep.

Damian Barrett

Premier: Adelaide
Runner-up: West Coast
Wooden spoon: St Kilda
Moving up: Fremantle
Set to fall: Hawthorn
Brownlow Medal: Josh Kelly (GWS)
Coleman Medal: Lance Franklin (Sydney)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Nick Blakey (Sydney)
Recruit of the year: Jesse Hogan (Fremantle)
Surprise All Australian: Tim Taranto (GWS)
Headline you'll see: Ablett bags eight
Headline you won't see: Illicit drugs policy catches player
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Four. Round five v Western Bulldogs.
Big call: Tim Kelly re-signs with Cats
Game-changer: Simon Goodwin to devise a centre-square strategy which bamboozles all opponents.

Ladder prediction
1. Adelaide
2. West Coast
3. Richmond
4. Melbourne
5. Collingwood
6. Greater Western Sydney
7. Sydney
8. Fremantle

9. Geelong
10. Essendon
11. North Melbourne
12. Hawthorn
13. Port Adelaide
14. Western Bulldogs
15. Brisbane
16. Gold Coast
17. Carlton
18. St Kilda

WHO MAKES FINALS? Do the 2019 Ladder Predictor

Paul Bastin

Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: Adelaide
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Brisbane
Set to fall: Sydney
Brownlow Medal: Dustin Martin (Richmond) 
Coleman Medal: Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Dayne Beams (Collingwood)
Surprise All Australian: Aaron Naughton (Western Bulldogs)
Headline you'll see: Tigers’ Lynch-pin worth the price
Headline you won’t see: No Mitchell, no worries for Hawks
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Twice. The first will be against St Kilda in round 10 at Marvel Stadium
Big call: The wooden-spooner will only win one game
Game-changer: The 6-6-6 rule provides space for a match-winner in a thrilling finish early in the season and get tongues wagging

Ladder prediction
1. Richmond
2. Collingwood
3. Adelaide
4. Melbourne
5. West Coast
6. GWS
7. Geelong
8. Brisbane

9. Essendon
10. North Melbourne
11. Port Adelaide
12. Hawthorn
13. Fremantle
14. Sydney
15. Western Bulldogs
16. St Kilda
17. Carlton
18. Gold Coast

Riley Beveridge

Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: Collingwood
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Sydney
Brownlow Medal: Dustin Martin (Richmond)
Coleman Medal: Tom McDonald (Melbourne)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Dayne Beams (Collingwood)
Surprise All Australian: Nick Vlastuin (Richmond)
Headline you'll see: Tribunal, MRO on different wavelengths after another successful appeal
Headline you won't see: Rival clubs follow Dogs' lead and announce superhero strips
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Three times. They'll break the drought against Gold Coast in round four.
Big call: Dusty does it again to claim another premiership, Brownlow, Norm Smith trifecta.
Game-changer: 6-6-6. Expect more momentum swings, more blowouts and more comebacks with teams unable to be thwarted defensively as consistently as they once were.

Ladder prediction
1. Melbourne
2. Richmond
3. Collingwood
4. West Coast
5. Adelaide
6. Greater Western Sydney
7. Essendon
8. Geelong

9. Hawthorn
10. North Melbourne
11. Western Bulldogs
12. Brisbane
13. Sydney
14. Port Adelaide
15. Fremantle
16. Carlton
17. St Kilda
18. Gold Coast

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game

Sarah Black

Premier: Collingwood
Runner-up: Richmond
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Sydney
Brownlow Medal: Rory Sloane (Adelaide)
Coleman Medal: Josh Kennedy (West Coast)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Dayne Beams (Collingwood)
Surprise All Australian: Jayden Short (Richmond)
Headline you'll see: Richmond breaks the 100,000-member mark before round two
Headline you won't see: Tim Kelly prefers bleak Geelong winters to sunny Perth after all
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Four times, round four against Gold Coast
Big call: Liam Ryan will take mark of the year and kick goal of the year
Game-changer: The 6-6-6 rule will lead to some nervous moments from fans of teams prone to losing leads late in matches, with comebacks much easier to achieve when opponents are unable to stack numbers behind the ball. 

Ladder prediction
1. Collingwood
2. Richmond
3. West Coast
4. Melbourne
5. Adelaide
6. Greater Western Sydney
7. Hawthorn
8. Geelong

9. Essendon
10. Sydney
11. North Melbourne
12. Fremantle
13. Port Adelaide
14. Brisbane
15. Carlton
16. Western Bulldogs
17. St Kilda
18 Gold Coast

The Tigers to hit 100,000 members before round two, says Sarah Black. Picture: AFL Photos

Mitch Cleary

Premier: Collingwood
Runner-up: Richmond
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Hawthorn
Brownlow Medal: Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
Coleman Medal: Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Zak Butters (Port Adelaide)
Recruit of the year: Lincoln McCarthy (Brisbane)
Surprise All Australian: Wayne Milera (Adelaide)
Headline you'll see: Moore and Elliott's faultless seasons lead Pies to flag.
Headline you won't see: Mitch McGovern turns Carlton into a scoring juggernaut.
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Twice. Rounds four and 18 against Gold Coast.
Big call: Stephen Coniglio joins Jaeger O'Meara and Tom Mitchell at Hawthorn in a midfield powerhouse.  
Game-changer:
 New 50m penalty rule that costs a team 100m in a crucial moment in a big game.

Ladder prediction

1. Collingwood
2. Richmond
3. West Coast
4. Melbourne
5. Adelaide
6. Greater Western Sydney
7. Geelong
8. Port Adelaide

9. Hawthorn
10. Essendon
11. Sydney
12. North Melbourne
13. Fremantle
14. Brisbane
15. Western Bulldogs
16. Carlton
17. St Kilda
18. Gold Coast

Ben Collins

Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: Collingwood
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Essendon, Adelaide
Set to fall: Hawthorn, Sydney
Brownlow Medal: Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
Coleman Medal: Ben Brown (North Melbourne)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Dayne Beams (Collingwood)
Surprise All Australian: Darcy Moore (Collingwood)
Headline you'll see: Eddie demands inquiry into manhandling of Cox
Headline you won't see: Loss of Mitchell insurmountable: Clarkson
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Twice. Their first will be against Gold Coast in round four.
Big call: It will be the first season since 2002 that Hawthorn, Geelong and Sydney all miss the finals.
Game-changer: The 6-6-6 rule will make for cleaner centre takeaways, faster ball movement, hopefully more pack marks and hangers, and ensures teams can't stack their backlines to protect their leads. Excitement plus.

Ladder prediction
1. Richmond
2. Collingwood
3. Melbourne
4. West Coast
5. Greater Western Sydney
6. Essendon
7. Adelaide
8. North Melbourne

9. Geelong
10. Hawthorn
11. Sydney
12. Port Adelaide
13. Fremantle
14. Western Bulldogs
15. St Kilda
16. Brisbane
17. Carlton
18. Gold Coast

FULL INJURY LIST Who's racing the clock for round one?

Adam Curley   

Premier: Collingwood
Runner-up: Richmond
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Geelong
Brownlow Medal: Josh Kelly (GWS)
Coleman Medal: Lance Franklin (Sydney)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Jordan Clark (Geelong)
Recruit of the year: Ryan Burton (Port Adelaide)
Surprise All Australians: Zac Williams (GWS) 
Headline you'll see: Cox does it again. Mason scorches Tigers to bring Bucks an American flag
Headline you won't see: Giants reeling after vice-captains Coniglio and Kelly jump ship
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Four times, their first against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium in round four.
Big call: After his NBL MVP win and a second championship with Golden State, Andrew Bogut returns to Melbourne and is sensationally picked up by Essendon in the mid-season draft.
Game-changer: Players such as Nathan Wilson and Brodie Smith use their booming kicks to take full advantage of the new rules and continually launch the footy over half way from kick-ins. Expect plenty of lightning quick, end to end goals. 

Ladder prediction
1.Richmond
2. Collingwood
3. West Coast
4. Melbourne
5. Greater Western Sydney
6. Essendon
7. Adelaide
8. Sydney

9. Port Adelaide
10. Hawthorn
11. Western Bulldogs
12. Geelong
13. Fremantle
14. North Melbourne
15. Brisbane
16. Carlton
17. St Kilda
18. Gold Coast

American Pie Mason Cox to bring the Magpies a flag, says Adam Curley. Picture: AFL Photos

RULES WASH-UP How your team adjusted in pre-season

Nat Edwards

Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: West Coast
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Hawthorn
Brownlow Medal: Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)
Coleman Medal: Ben Brown (North Melbourne)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Lachie Neale (Brisbane)
Surprise All Australian: Willie Rioli (West Coast)
Headline you'll see: Kick-in King: Shannon Hurn’s miraculous goal
Headline you won't see: Cyril Rioli makes shock return
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Four times. The first against Gold Coast in round four.
Big call: Hawks bring back star Tom Mitchell for final month of the season.
Game-changer: 100m penalties become a weekly occurrence as players find ways to manipulate the new 50m penalty rule.

Ladder prediction

1. Richmond
2. West Coast
3. Collingwood
4. Melbourne
5. Adelaide
6. Greater Western Sydney
7. Geelong
8. Essendon

9. Port Adelaide
10. Hawthorn
11. North Melbourne
12. Sydney
13. Brisbane
14. Western Bulldogs
15. Fremantle
16. Carlton
17. St Kilda
18. Gold Coast

LIKED THE LOOK Who impressed for your club in JLT2?

Lee Gaskin

Premier: Adelaide
Runner-up: Melbourne
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Hawthorn
Brownlow Medal: Josh Kelly (GWS)
Coleman Medal: Ben Brown (North Melbourne)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Steven May (Melbourne)
Surprise All Australian: Tom Doedee (Adelaide)
Headline you'll see: Co-captains drive Crows to drought-breaking premiership
Headline you won't see: Stephen Coniglio signs five-year extension with Giants
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Three times. Their first will be against Gold Coast in round four.
Big call: The Saints to part ways with Alan Richardson after Shanghai smashing
Game-changer: The change to the push in the back interpretation will frustrate defenders as forwards get away with blue murder in the forward 50.

Ladder prediction

1.Adelaide
2. Richmond
3. Melbourne
4. Greater Western Sydney
5. West Coast
6. Collingwood
7. Fremantle
8. Essendon

9. Port Adelaide
10. Geelong
11. Sydney
12. North Melbourne
13. Hawthorn
14. Brisbane
15. Western Bulldogs
16. Carlton
17. St Kilda
18. Gold Coast

Lee Gaskin says Tom Doedee will be a shock All Australian. Picture: AFL Photos

FUTURE PICKS Who you should barrack against in 2019

Ben Guthrie

Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: Melbourne
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Hawthorn
Brownlow Medal: Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood)
Coleman Medal: Josh Kennedy (West Coast)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Nick Blakey (Sydney)
Recruit of the year: Dylan Shiel (Essendon)
Surprise All Australian: Mitch Duncan (Geelong)
Headline you'll see: Jake Lever's mid-season return the boost Melbourne needs going into finals
Headline you won't see: AFL clubs reject mid-season draft mechanism
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Three times. The Blues' first will be against the Western Bulldogs in round five.
Big call: Dylan Shiel will become an All Australian for the second time, but his new club Essendon will miss the finals.
Game-changer: The 6-6-6 starting positions ruling will have a huge impact, particularly on scoring late in games. 

Ladder prediction
1. Richmond
2. Melbourne
3. West Coast
4. Adelaide
5. Collingwood
6. Geelong
7. Greater Western Sydney
8. Sydney

9. Essendon
10. Port Adelaide
11. Hawthorn
12. Western Bulldogs
13. Brisbane
14. Fremantle
15. North Melbourne
16. St Kilda
17. Carlton
18. Gold Coast

WHO'S LEFT YOUR CLUB? All the latest retirements and delistings

Travis King

Premier: West Coast
Runner-up: Richmond
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide  
Set to fall: Hawthorn
Brownlow Medal: Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)
Coleman Medal: Josh Kennedy (West Coast)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Jordan Clark (Geelong)
Recruit of the year: Jesse Hogan (Fremantle)
Surprise All Australian: Willie Rioli (West Coast)
Headline you'll see: Farewell to a Freo giant as Sandi hangs up the size 18s
Headline you won't see: No.1 pick Sam Walsh overawed in round one debut
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Twice. They'll break the drought against the Dogs in round five at Marvel Stadium.
Big call: Dom Sheed will finish top five in the Brownlow Medal.
Game-changer: Starting positions lead to more blowouts.

Ladder prediction
1. Richmond
2. Melbourne
3. West Coast
4. Collingwood
5. Adelaide
6. Essendon
7. Greater Western Sydney
8. North Melbourne

9. Geelong
10. Sydney
11. Brisbane
12. Hawthorn
13. Fremantle
14. Port Adelaide
15. Western Bulldogs
16. Carlton
17. St Kilda
18 Gold Coast

Jesse Hogan will be recruit of the year, according to Travis King. Picture: AFL Photos

Marc McGowan

Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: Greater Western Sydney
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Sydney
Brownlow Medal: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
Coleman Medal: Ben Brown (North Melbourne)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Jack Scrimshaw (Hawthorn)
Surprise All Australian: Jake Melksham (Melbourne)
Headline you'll see: Phil Davis is the glue that keeps GWS together
Headline you won't see: No AFL coach is sacked for the second straight year
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Two times. Round four against Gold Coast.
Big call: Alex Rance won't make the All Australian team
Game-changer: Ruckmen being able to take the ball out of the ruck with the benefit of no longer being regarded as having had prior opportunity. The dominant big men will be even more dangerous, especially in the forward 50.

Ladder prediction
1. Richmond
2. Greater Western Sydney
3. Melbourne
4. West Coast
5. Adelaide
6. Collingwood
7. Essendon
8. Geelong

9. Hawthorn
10. Port Adelaide
11. North Melbourne
12. Fremantle
13. Sydney
14. Brisbane
15. Carlton
16. Western Bulldogs
17. St Kilda
18. Gold Coast

Dinny Navaratnam

Premier: Greater Western Sydney
Runner-up: Richmond
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Essendon
Set to fall: Hawthorn
Brownlow Medal: Dustin Martin (Richmond)
Coleman Medal: Ben Brown (North Melbourne)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Dayne Beams (Collingwood)
Surprise All Australian: Aaron Francis (Essendon)
Headline you'll see: Howe did he get robbed of Mark of the Year, again?
Headline you won't see: Fans embrace the idea of a twilight Grand Final
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Round four, 2020. Sorry Blues fans, it's not happening this year.
Big call: Tom Mitchell to rack up 38 disposals in his round 15 return from a badly broken left leg.
Game-changer: Hands in the back being allowed will mean more confusion for umpires, causing plenty of consternation.

Ladder prediction
1. Greater Western Sydney
2. Richmond
3. West Coast
4. Collingwood
5. Melbourne
6. Essendon
7. Adelaide
8. Geelong
9. North Melbourne

10. Sydney
11. Fremantle
12. Port Adelaide
13. Brisbane
14. Hawthorn
15. Carlton
16. Western Bulldogs
17. St Kilda
18. Gold Coast

A lazy 38 disposals for Tom Mitchell on his round 15 return, says Dinny Navaratnam. Picture: AFL Photos


Callum Twomey

Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: Collingwood
Wooden spoon: Gold Coast
Moving up: Adelaide
Set to fall: Geelong
Brownlow Medal: Dustin Martin (Richmond)
Coleman Medal: Josh Kennedy (West Coast)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Lachie Neale (Brisbane)
Surprise All Australian: Jade Gresham (St Kilda)
Headline you'll see: Saints stand by coach - for now
Headline you won't see: Coaches say they never needed runners anyway
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Twice. The first time will be against St Kilda in round 10.
Big call: Josh Kennedy to kick his 100th goal in the Eagles’ preliminary final loss.
Game-changer: Starting positions. Load up your midfield with speed and watch the centre clearance goals flow. 

Ladder prediction
1. Richmond
2. Collingwood
3. West Coast
4. Melbourne 
5. Adelaide
6. Essendon
7. Greater Western Sydney 
8. Sydney 

9. Port Adelaide
10. Geelong
11. Brisbane 
12. Hawthorn
13. North Melbourne 
14. Western Bulldogs
15. Fremantle 
16. St Kilda 
17. Carlton
18. Gold Coast 

CAPTAINS' CALL Who will take out the major awards in 2019?

Michael Whiting 

Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: Melbourne
Wooden spoon: St Kilda
Moving up: Essendon
Set to fall: Hawthorn
Brownlow Medal: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
Coleman Medal: Josh Kennedy (West Coast)
NAB AFL Rising Star: Sam Walsh (Carlton)
Recruit of the year: Lachie Neale (Brisbane)
Surprise All Australian: Charlie Cameron (Brisbane)
Headline you'll see: Coaches unhappy with limiting runners' time on field
Headline you won't see: Dayne Zorko invites Touk Miller around for dinner ahead of QClash
How many times will Carlton score 100+ points and when will they break the streak: Five times. Their first will be against Western Bulldogs in round five.
Big call: Hawthorn and Geelong to both miss the top eight
Game-changer: The 6-6-6 rule will lead to cleaner centre clearances and a higher scoring average.

Ladder prediction
1. Richmond
2. Melbourne
3. West Coast
4. Collingwood
5. Adelaide
6. Greater Western Sydney
7. Essendon
8. Sydney

9. Hawthorn
10. Brisbane
11. Geelong
12. Port Adelaide
13. Fremantle
14. North Melbourne
15. Western Bulldogs
16. Carlton
17. Gold Coast
18. St Kilda

Clayton Oliver will be bringing Charlie home, says Michael Whiting. Picture: AFL Photos

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs