2011 AFL Crystal Ball

By Domenic Favata

Yes the NAB cup’s only just begun, yes some might say that it’s too early to call and yes some people will call me ridicule my projections. But the AFL season is near, its time to put our serious hats on and think about the long haul. Whether they are ambitious (like mine- a Richmond supporter) or right on the money, it’s what we do when we can’t wait for the season to begin.

Here are my predictions for the 2011 season.

Ladder at season’s end:

1st Collingwood– It kills me to say it but they will go back to back in my opinion and may possibly emulate the famous four premierships of the 1930’s which they won. Powerhouse club in all aspects off the field for a long time (thanks to Eddie), they are now a powerhouse on the field and will only go from strength to strength with a young side hungry for more success.

2nd Geelong– All this talk about the end of an era has bemused me. After all, they only lost one player (albeit the best in the competition) and an ‘exhausted’ coach. This signals a refreshed Geelong led under new coach Chris Scott who will hope to emulate his diehard style of play into the Geelong fold. Some say that losing Ablett and Thompson will only make the cats better; I agree with them, they’ll still be there deep into the finals campaign.

3rd Hawthorn– With all the talent in the world, its time the Hawks recover from their premiership hangover and prove that they are not just a bunch of individuals with raw talent, but a team of greatness. Cameron Bruce should slot in nicely down back and with David Hale providing a big body around the ground, the Hawks should propel up the ladder once again.

4th Western Bulldogs- They’ve got one last chance at glory in my opinion. They’ve dodged a bullet in signing three players in the last few years under the father-son rule (Cordy, Wallis & Liberatore) which has stopped the in-evitable re-building phase, for now. All three have what it takes to propel the dogs towards another crack at glory, with the addition of new captain Matthew Boyd and new recruits Vespremi & Sherman, the Dogs have played it smart in time for the 2011 season.

5th St Kilda– They say that AFL teams are able to just shut the off-field drama away, bottle it and toss It out to sea. The scandals will affect St Kilda in the early parts of the season, but with the likes of Riewoldt, Goddard and Hayes, they should finish nicely and maybe… have a 4th crack in 3 years at the flag.

6th Sydney– Under new coach John Longmire, the swans will be a force to be reckoned with as enter a new era, led by the likes of Kieran Jack, Lewis Jetta and Garry Rohan. A hiccup against Gold Coast will not worry Longmire, they will be hoping to emulate the Sydney of 05/06 and push towards another long stint in the top four

7th Fremantle– I fear for Fremantle. They have two possible outcomes this season, they fail horribly and are known as a one hit-wonder like Hawthorn, or they progress in their re-building phase and make it back to back finals campaigns . I believe they can make the eight, but everyone knows that in football, things can change very, very quickly. Look out for the rise of Mzungu this year.

8th Gold Coast– I know this is a big call, but why not? Why can’t Gold Coast make the eight in their debut season? They’ve proved on the weekend they will certainly be competitive and with the inclusion of Ablett, Bock and Brennan, they will push many of the sides all the way. All this talk about taking time to ‘gel together’ is rubbish, this side is 12 months in the making and the players coming in are ready-made AFL stars.

9th Carlton– They have a solid side all round the park, can beat anyone on their day, but the fact of the matter is, their day can be very random which I’m sure all Carlton supporters would agree with. We’ve seen it so many times, one week they’ll beat Geelong and be known as the excitement machine, the next they’ll lose a game they’re expected to win (Like the North game last year) and will be called the ‘pretenders’. Until Carlton gets this out of their game, they will struggle to make the eight. Look out for the sacking of Brett Ratten if things don’t go his way.

10th Melbourne– The Demons will keep improving as the depth in their young list increases. Full of talent, but with talent comes expectation. It will be an interesting year for the Demons, a lack of experience may see a mentally fragile team fall to expectation or it could be team of young-stars that increase in confidence week by week. Should improve on last year, but I’m sure Demon fans will want results after four years of priority draft picks.

11th North Melbourne– I really don’t believe that North Melbourne have that x-factor that will take them from that workman like team to a finals contender. Wells and Thomas are inconsistent, Anthony and Zielbell injury prone; they may not have that extra gear to defeat the really good sides. A year similar to last is on the cards for the Kangaroos I’m afraid.

12th Richmond– As a Richmond supporter this prediction could end up in two ways, we defy all odds and finish 9th or we collapse terribly and finish last. I’ve gone for a safe spot in between. Richmond has the squad to improve on last year and the power to improve faster than people expect. It showed last year, we were tipped to go winless and ended up winning 5 out of 6 games towards the end of the year. Hailed the excitement machine of the AFL, Richmond’s bold style of play could see them advance far quicker than people think. The additions of Houli & Grigg, as well as Nathan Foley who is virtually a no 1 draft pick, the depth to the Richmond team is as strong as ever.

13th Adelaide- Invaluable experience was lost late last year and with the departure of Nathan Bock, Adelaide may not have the experience to take the team forward. They should be able to string a few wins together with their home ground superiority, but im afraid it may be a lacklustre year for the Crows.

14th Essendon– Yes, the two prodicle sons have returned but let’s be honest, Mark Thompson is doing the coaching, not James Hird. His questionable coaching methods were put on show against a terrible Brisbane and under-strength St Kilda, at one stage having 16 players on the field and 8 on the bench. I don’t think that an all star coaching panel will lead an average list to glory, just not yet.

15th Port Adelaide– They boast talent, lots of it, but the simple fact is they’re too hot and cold to make a real fist of it . Port Adelaide fans will have to wait for another tilt at glory as they enter a new era under Matthew Primus. The departures of Warren Treadrea & Nathan Krakouer are setbacks, but the Power has stocked up their list with young talent that as everyone knows, takes time.

16th West Coast– They’re on the right track, but the train has experienced heft delays, so to speak. They’ve picked up lots of young talent that look good, Sheppard, Scott Selwood and the Nic Nat, just to name a few. But the Eagles have had to re-figure themselves after the loss of Judd, Cousins and co, it’s taken a while but they will get back to where they once were. Skill errors has been a major disappointment in the team, they will have to emulate that out of their game if they want to progress any quicker than what they are.

17th Brisbane– A complete failure, complete disaster, whatever you want to call it, Brisbane made the biggest mistake of giving away their picks for recycled players like Fevola, Raines, Mc Guire, Staker & X.Clarke. Albeit Mc Guire and Staker have turned out as serviceable players, Brisbane’s next premiership was never going to be built on these sorts of players. The losses of Brennan, Rischitelli and Sherman will not help in their quest to re-establish themselves and with their three best players in the twilight in their career (Brown, Black, and Power), I’m afraid it’s going to be a long hike back to being a finals side once again .


Premiership- Collingwood

Runner’s up- Hawthorn

Brownlow- Brendon Goddard & Jimmy Bartel tied

Rising Star– David Swallow

Coleman Medallist– Jack Riewoldt & Lance Franklin tied

Surprise packet– Gold Coast


  1. What was that ‘Smiths’ (Morose English rock band) song Dom?

    ‘Panic on the streets of Melbourne….rabble on the streets of Collingwood’.

  2. Dom, very good predictions here, I think you are pretty close to the mark.

    In my opinion, though, I think you’ve overestimated St Kilda (a bit) and Hawthorn (a lot), while I’d have Richmond pushing for a finals berth and Essendon look almost guaranteed to make it to at least the second week in September (still early days, though).

    And, naturally, as a completely unbiased supporter of the sport we call football, I am hoping Geelong bring home the silverware this year.

  3. Peter Schumacher says:

    Seems to be a pretty good analysis to me. Damn it!

  4. John Butler says:

    Once again the Blues are not rated. Probably suits us.

    Oh please let that Magpie bandwagon roll on!

    Nice effort Dom, but for my money you underrate the Crows and overrate Gold Coast.

    It’s good fun speculating though. :)

  5. Steve Healy says:

    Well written Dom, although like the others I have to say Gold coast will finish 13-16th. And the Bombers may finish 10-11 judging by their good early-season form. I also think Port Adelaide will be further up and that Freo may just miss out

  6. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Well done Dom,

    part of the fun at this time of year is the speculation. We all live in hope. I’d have Melbourne and Carlton in the 8 at the expense of Gold Coast and Sydney. Essendon could rise on emotion, Freo could go either way and Hawthorn are primed for a big tilt.

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