THE festive season is upon us and clubs have been furiously writing to Santa about what they'd like most in 2022.

While a premiership cup is high on the agenda for most teams, others would simply love nothing more than a healthy list heading into next season.

Will your club's Christmas wish come true?

It's time for the Crows to unwrap a breakout midfielder. Captain Rory Sloane has been the club's leading clearance winner for three of the past five years, and when it hasn't been him it has been Rory Laird and Matt Crouch. Harry Schoenberg is a young inside midfielder with the attributes to have an impact next season. Luke Pedlar is also big-bodied but has burst out of stoppages. If not both, then the Crows would be thrilled with one of the two stamping themselves as a future star in 2022. - Nathan Schmook

Harry Schoenberg fends off Robbie Gray during round 21, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Metricon Stadium was an injury graveyard for the Lions in 2021, so they'd love a clean bill of health any time they play on the Suns' home turf next season. Cam Rayner ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament at the ground during the pre-season, and then Eric Hipwood did likewise in a re-arranged game against St Kilda in round 17. Daniel Rich suffered a similar fate at the ground way back in 2014. Some Lions fans think the venue is cursed for their club. – Michael Whiting

Metricon Stadium doesn't look THAT scary. Picture: Getty Images

It's pretty simple for the Baggers and it comes from the top. "Our expectation, based on the list that we have, we are looking to make finals in 2022," was the dictum laid down by incoming president Luke Sayers when he came to power last August and not long before he installed Brian Cook as his new chief executive and Michael Voss as coach. Based on those remarks, Voss won't enjoy the traditional new coach honeymoon, but in his second go around in the job, and after a decorated playing career, supporters hope he will embrace the pressure and have a plan to deal with it. - Ashley Browne

Michael Voss at a Carlton training session on December 6, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

All of Collingwood's Christmases came last month when father-son prodigy Nick Daicos officially became a Magpie. It's hard not to get excited about the prospects of the gifted teenager, who dominated at NAB League level. Pies fans will be hoping the son of Peter can live up to the hype and be the face of the club's new era as they put a nightmare 12 months on and off the field behind them. The club's No.1 wish of a scandal-free summer was dashed when Jordan De Goey was arrested in New York, but if that is dealt with appropriately and the club stays out of the negative headlines under new president Jeff Browne and rookie coach Craig McRae then Pies fans will be happy. - Ben Sutton

Collingwood's Nick Daicos poses for a photo after being drafted. Picture: AFL Photos

A finals win. Just kidding. Not sure how it'll fit into a Christmas stocking, but the Dons desperately need a big season from another tall forward. Peter Wright needs a chop out, and if the Bombers are going to break their finals hoodoo they're going to need another big man who can kick plenty of goals. Harrison Jones will continue to develop into a star, but untried forward Kaine Baldwin has plenty of promise and could provide extra firepower if he gets in a big pre-season, while a full-strength Aaron Francis might also do the trick. Getting a taste of finals fever in 2021 should have lit a fire in the Bombers' bellies, and with a strengthened forward line they could finally go deeper into September action in 2022. – Sophie Welsh

Essendon's Peter Wright and Jake Stringer celebrate a goal against the Western Bulldogs in R21, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dockers have been waiting three seasons for their first two selections in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft to get a clean run with injury and show their potential. Talented forward Sam Sturt has played four games and midfielder Luke Valente is yet to debut. Both would be very handy in 2022, with the forward line missing a versatile aerial option like Sturt, who can complement the two key targets, and the midfield looking for depth after Adam Cerra's departure. Both are building towards pre-season games early next year, when the Dockers will find out if Santa has delivered. - Nathan Schmook

Luke Valente during a Dockers training session in December, 2021. Picture:

A special reverse ageing serum will no doubt be at the top of the Cats' wish list as they head into 2022 with one of the oldest lists in history desperately clinging to their premiership window. But more realistically, Chris Scott will be hoping for an injury-free summer for his star-studded squad. Prized recruit Jeremy Cameron was plagued by hamstring injuries in his first season in the hoops, while Patrick Dangerfield missed nine games through suspension and injury and best and fairest winner Tom Stewart was sidelined for the entire finals series. If 'Dad's Army' can stay fit and healthy over summer and through the season then maybe there will be an even better present come the end of next year. - Ben Sutton

Tom Hawkins, Shaun Higgins and Joel Selwood leave the field after Geelong's loss to Port Adelaide in a preliminary final in 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Suns would love Ben King, Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine to march in to the first training session of 2022 and announce they've signed contract extensions. As unlikely as it might be to happen so soon, the conjecture around the out-of-contract young trio, and the lure to head back to their home states for 2023 and beyond, will follow the players and club until pen is put to paper. Big seasons from all three could pilot Gold Coast up the ladder and make their decisions very easy. – Michael Whiting

Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine and Ben King after joining Gold Coast in 2018. Picture: AFL Photos

It wasn't that long ago co-captain Stephen Coniglio was rated one of the best two-way midfielders in the competition, but form and continuity have eluded him the past two seasons. Nothing would make the Giants smile more than seeing their former No.2 draft pick hit the ground running with a big pre-season and start to the premiership matches. It would not only quieten the outside noise about his future and place in the team, but help the Giants retain their aggressive edge as they push for a premiership. – Michael Whiting

Stephen Coniglio gives the thumbs up after Greater Western Sydney's win over Sydney in an elimination final on August 28, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

At least in the pre-season, new coach Sam Mitchell is less concerned with comparisons to other clubs and more about the Hawks being the best version of themselves. If that mantra continues into the season proper, then the scoreboard might not always be pretty for supporters and the interest and excitement might come from a new, attacking gameplan and watching the kids continue their progress. It would be nice to see Will Day play a full season, James Sicily to return as good as new and for Josh Ward to be as good as advertised. A Hawthorn membership in 2022 might still make for a good Christmas present. - Ashley Browne

James Sicily during a Hawthorn training session on November 29, 2021. Picture:

'Another year just like 2021' pretty much ticks every box for the no-longer-suffering Demons faithful, but a lot of that hope for repeated success starts with a fit and healthy playing list. If new fitness boss Selwyn Griffith can build on his track record at both Brisbane and Melbourne, and deliver coach Simon Goodwin a resilient group of players ready to perform, the reigning premiers will be very hard to beat. - Michael Rogers

Melbourne players show the 2021 cup to the fans during the Demons' premiership party at the MCG on December 5, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

For a team coming off its first wooden spoon in almost half a century there is a great deal of optimism surrounding North. The Kangas nailed their choice of coach, are settled off the field and are entirely debt-free. Jason Horne-Francis is embracing the club and all the trappings that come with being the No.1 draft pick. So what the club and its fans want for Christmas is for the upwards trajectory to continue. Their kids can play, the coach can coach, so it follows that more wins should come. Their fans might need directions to the MCG, having not seen a game there since 2019, but they have every reason to think they can start the season with a win over Hawthorn. - Ashley Browne

North Melbourne's Jason Horne-Francis poses at Adelaide Oval on November 25, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Port would love to find some dependable midfield help for Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines and Travis Boak under the tree. Wines and Boak were relentless in 2021, but despite the best efforts of their teammates, when it came to the crunch against the Western Bulldogs in the preliminary final, they fell short. An injury-free run for Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma and Connor Rozee might help, as would the continued development of Miles Bergman and Willem Drew– Michael Whiting

Port Adelaide's Travis Boak (left) and Ollie Wines celebrate after a win during round 23, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Robbie Tarrant's elusive All-Australian blazer would look nice under the Tigers' Christmas tree. Overlooked by selectors most notably in his 2016 best and fairest season with North Melbourne, Tarrant is among the best AFL players without All-Australian status after 174 games. It's a big ask at 32, but a career-best season from the new Tiger would go a long way to wrenching the Tigers' premiership window back open, especially after the retirement of triple premiership hero David Astbury. - Nathan Schmook

Robbie Tarrant at Richmond training on November 22, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

A year like Melbourne. While every club will have a premiership cup at the very top of their Christmas lists, St Kilda is uniquely positioned to follow the Demons' trajectory. In 2021, the Dees bounced back after a thoroughly disappointing 2020 and promising 2019. The Saints, fresh off their own subpar season following a commendable finals tilt the previous year, will be hoping to follow Melbourne's meteoric rise to Grand Final glory. With the Demons breaking their 57-year premiership hoodoo, the Saints now hold the record for the longest time between drinks from the premiership cup, and will no doubt feel that it's their turn for September success. – Sophie Welsh

St Kilda's 1966 premiership cup sits alone at Moorabbin HQ. Picture: AFL Photos

This is straight from Horse's mouth. He wants a fountain of youth in the backyard of Buddy's house and he wants the superstar forward to drink and drink and stop drinking from it precisely when he hits 22 years of age. He also wants Josh Kennedy to have a cheeky pint from the fountain, Chad Warner to turn into Dustin Martin, and James Rowbottom to become Christian Petracca. And no more finals against Greater Western Sydney EVER again. Hmmm ... not sure the fountain works like that, Horse. – Cameron Noakes

Is this Horse's fountain of youth? Picture: Getty Images

An injury-free midfield was on the Eagles' wish list last year, but Santa didn't deliver. It's the No.1 request again after a nightmare run with availability for Elliot Yeo and Luke Shuey, leading to a disjointed season in the middle that never got going. Hit harder than any club with injuries to their top-end players in 2021, the Eagles are due for a change of luck and know how strong they remain on paper if fully fit. Yeo's pre-season has been impressive early, while Shuey appears to be easing into the program after two seasons dogged by soft tissue injuries. - Nathan Schmook

Luke Shuey at West Coast training on December 6, 2021. Picture: @westcoasteagles Twitter

As much as the Bulldogs would love a chance at Grand Final redemption in 2022, perhaps of equal importance to them is the health of emerging star Bailey Smith. The 21-year-old has vaulted to the top of fan popularity around the League and was a major reason behind last season's stunning finals run, but has had to take care of his own mental health recently. A happy Bailey is good for him, the Bulldogs and the AFL. – Michael Whiting

Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith poses for a photo in 2021. Picture: AFL Photos