2020, What the pundits say

It might be fun to hold these self appointed "experts " to account, ( if you can be bothered ).

Do they form their own opinion, or do they just look at list quality according to Champion Data, or try to make an assessment on things like, how did they go in the last 5 games in 2019 ?

With 8 weeks to go, plenty are dusting off their crystal balls, no doubt some will have theirs shattered by the end of the season.

Lets kick off with Fox Footy.

Rise, fall or hold: The definitive verdict on every AFL club’s list for the 2020 season

The Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn and North Melbourne are well placed for a surge up the ladder.

But Geelong’s grip on the top four seems shaky — as does Essendon and Adelaide’s fortunes.

Foxfooty.com.au analyses where every club’s list is ranked by Champion Data and assesses whether they’ll hold, rise or fall in 2020.


Average age: 24.0 (13th)

Average games played: 59.2 (13th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 15th

It’s hard to see the Crows rising in 2020 – and it may even be tough to finish around the same position they did last year (11th) – after the club lost an array of players during the trade period. We must remember most of the players that left in October were on the fringes of the best 22, but the fact Champion Data has ranked the Crows’ list as the 15th-best for this year is an indication that there’s limited depth. New coach Matthew Nicks will undoubtedly play a big role in changing the vibe at the club, but the significant list turnover makes it hard to justify a rise up the ladder.

Rise, hold or fall? Fall


Average age: 23.6 (15th)

Average games played: 56.2 (15th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 11th

The pessimist would say the Lions might struggle to replicate their surprise top-four achievement from 2019. Their 2020 fixture will be harder, they’ll be without a key on-field leader in Luke Hodge and a few teams will threaten to overtake them. Plus they had an excellent run with injuries last year. But the optimist – and there are plenty in the AFL – would suggest Brisbane only scratched the surface in 2019 and have an array of improvement left in them. Chris Fagan’s men are healthy and supremely motivated after their straight sets finals exit last year.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 23.8 (14th)

Average games played: 64.3 (9th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 16th

With six wins from their final 11 games in 2019, it was tough to ignore the Blues-Teague train hype. With a young yet relatively game-hardened list, the Blues could take their late season momentum into 2020 and push for their first finals appearance since 2013. Carlton finished 16th last year, so expect a rise in 2020. But a rise of at least eight places to make the top eight? Not this year.

Rise, hold or fall? Rise


Average age: 25.0 (1st)

Average games played: 75.9 (4th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 3rd

The Magpies were one of the quieter teams over the off-season – and for good reason. With strong depth yet an array of A-graders that still have room to improve, Collingwood’s list appears to be one of the AFL’s more balanced. After a Grand Final loss and a preliminary final loss in the past two seasons, Nathan Buckley’s men will be gunning for a third-time-lucky result. And they’re every chance.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 24.1 (9th)

Average games played: 59.7 (12th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 9th

Yes the Bombers made the finals in 2019, but their shaky percentage of 95.4 – ranked 13th in the league – and poor elimination final exit at the hands of West Coast suggested they may have been lucky to be there in the first place. And when you consider a few players have encountered interrupted pre-seasons – Dyson Heppell, Cale Hooker and David Zaharakis to name a few – as well as the potential for uncertainty around the coaching structure and some players that may want out again at season’s end, it’s hard to see the Bombers making finals again.

Rise, hold or fall? Fall


Average age: 23.6 (16th)

Average games played: 54.1 (17th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 17th

It’s easy to see why the Dockers might polarise pundits over the coming months as they start to put their predictions together. The Dockers lost several players after the 2019 season, including talented wingmen Bradley Hill (St Kilda) and Ed Langdon (Melbourne), as well as veteran ruckman Aaron Sandilands (retired). Yet the Dockers picked up three young stars in the top 10 of the draft (Hayden Young, Caleb Serong and Liam Henry) that could play senior footy early, while they also have the league’s easiest fixture, according to Champion Data , and the reigning Brownlow Medallist in Nat Fyfe. And if Jesse Hogan and Alex Pearce can play lots of footy, there’s potential for a mini ladder surge. But it’s hard to look past that overall list ranking …

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 24.7 (4th)

Average games played: 80.7 (1st)

Champion Data overall list rating: 7th

Fans keep thinking a Geelong fall will come, but the club keeps on defying its critics. But 2020, in particular, will be a fascinating case study. The Cats were the best home and away team last year with a 16-6 record and an awesome percentage of 135.7, but their preliminary final exit seemed to be appropriate when you consider the form of Richmond, Collingwood and the Giants heading into – and during – the finals. Trade acquisition Jack Steven already looks to have trimmed down and looms as a genuine trade steal. If he can somewhat fill the chasm left by Tim Kelly and recapture his best form, the Cats will be a major threat again. But the rivals are coming — and after three preliminary final appearances in four years, a mini dip is on the cards.

Rise, hold or fall? Fall


Average age: 23.4 (18th)

Average games played: 51 (18th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 18th

A lot of 18s here: 18th for average age, games played and list quality. They finished 18th on the ladder last year, so they can’t fall anywhere. There’s no quandaries over the potential of the young talent they’ve assembled via the drafts over recent seasons – and now most of them are signed up long-term. Brandon Ellis and Hugh Greenwood bring much-needed wisdom, while Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson and Sam Flanders all have the potential to play Round 1. Plus don’t forget Izak Rankine, whose talent seems limitless. But like the past two seasons, the Suns could again fade during the second half of the season and make it four consecutive bottom-two finishes.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 24.7 (5th)

Average games played: 68.9 (6th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 4th

List-wise, the Giants sit in a lot of sweetspots. Their average age and games played reflects a team with a premiership profile, while the quality ranking of fourth means there’s still ample improvement left. Remember the likes of Harry Himmelberg, Jacob Hopper, Tim Taranto, Brent Daniels and Sam Taylor are all aged 23 and under. Also, we’ve barely seen top draft picks like Jackson Hately, Jye Caldwell and Xavier O’Halloran to date, while they added two top-10 picks in Lachie Ash and Tom Green last November. Expect to Giants to be in flag contention again.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 24.8 (3rd)

Average games played: 80.3 (2nd)

Champion Data overall list rating: 10th

Of all the teams that finished outside the eight last season, Hawthorn – which has the second-most experienced and third oldest list in the AFL – is arguably the best placed to make finals in 2020. A fit Jon Patton is exactly the player they need to take the next step offensively, while the addition of Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell from a broken leg will give the Hawks an exciting dynamic at stoppages. Mitchell, Patton, Chad Wingard, Jaeger O’Meara and James Sicily are all either 26 or 25 years old – the stage where footballers should be coming into their peak. We’re not just thinking finals, we’re pondering a top-four finish.

Rise, hold or fall? Rise


Average age: 24.1 (11th)

Average games played: 60.6 (11th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 12th

Three-time All-Australian Nick Dal Santo on Thursday declared Dees coach Simon Goodwin was the AFL coach under the most pressure in 2020 – and he makes a good case. Melbourne’s 12-month drop from preliminary finalists to 17th left many stunned, rather than angry, last year – probably because 2020 will be the judgment year. No club will be scrutinised more than the Demons across the first six rounds of 2020 as the footy world finds out whether Melbourne’s disastrous 2019 campaign was an aberration or a genuine reflection of where the club’s at. List-wise, the Demons still have a strong profile – but not as strong as this time last year. They rise, but into the finals? Probably not.

Rise, hold or fall? Rise


Average age: 24.6 (6th)

Average games played: 67.4 (8th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 6th

A big chance to feature in finals this year. You can understand the optimism around Rhyce Shaw’s Kangaroos after eight wins from their last 13 games in 2019. Their list is well balanced, highlighted by the fact their average age is just under 25 and average games played is just under 70. Expect more improvement from Bailey Scott, Cam Zurhaar, Tarryn Thomas and Nick Larkey, while a full season from the recommitted Shaun Higgins is a tantalising prospect. Converting talent into a winning formula isn’t always a sure thing — and then you have to consider whether last year’s strong finish was an aberration considering the emotion around the coaching situation. But we’re backing the Roos to bounce.

Rise, hold or fall? Rise


Average age: 24.0 (12th)

Average games played: 68.8 (7th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 8th

If Simon Goodwin isn’t the coach under the most pressure in 2020, then Ken Hinkley would be. With just one finals appearance from the past five seasons, Hinkley’s Power will undoubtedly be heavily scrutinised. Port has a sustainable on-field, territory-based brand it’ll take into 2020, plus a friendly fixture that includes playing Gold Coast twice and only one top-six team (West Coast) once. And from a list perspective, they have an array of top-end players that can turn games and a host of early picks from the past two drafts with ample promise. But can they break the trend of under-delivering over the past couple of years? We’re doubtful at this stage — and that spells trouble for Hinkley.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 24.1 (10th)

Average games played: 68.8 (7th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 1st

How scary is this: Richmond, which has won two of the past three flags, has the best list in the AFL yet it’s also the eighth-youngest. Alex Rance’s shock departure is obviously a big blow, but we all know the Tigers have (overwhelmingly successful) experience with filling his void. We know what to expect from Jack Riewoldt, Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards and Bachar Houli, so for the Tigers to remain among the top echelon of teams, improvement must come from the younger and less experienced brigade. So imagine if it all clicks for Shai Bolton, Marlion Pickett and Noah Balta – three players with untapped potential – this season? What if one, or all, of Jack Ross, Patrick Naish and Riley Collier-Dawkins can cement a spot in the best 22? Yeah, they’re not going anywhere.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 24.4 (7th)

Average games played: 62.2 (10th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 13th

St Kilda clearly recruited for the now, adding Bradley Hill, Dougal Howard, Paddy Ryder, Zak Jones and Dan Butler to its list. But can they translate the jump in class on paper onto the footy field and make finals for the first time since 2011? Saints coach Brett Ratten has admitted it’ll take some time for the best 22’s synergy to click, but added the club’s tried hard to accelerate the process. For St Kilda to make the finals jump, it must get significant improvement from players aged 19 to 23. But we think that leap is probably another year off.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 23.6 (17th)

Average games played: 55.6 (16th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 14th

The Swans last year missed finals for the first time since 2009, but fans arguably look back on the season fondly as they watched Nick Blakey, Jordan Dawson, Will Hayward, Ollie Florent and Tom McCartin all emerge and the team finish with a healthy percentage of 97.7. But with an array of club greats retiring last year and uncertainty around Lance Franklin’s output for 2020, it’s hard to see a Swans finals return occurring immediately in 2020.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 24.9 (2nd)

Average games played: 78.9 (3rd)

Champion Data overall list rating: 5th

Despite the significant elimination final win, it felt as if the Eagles ran out of puff during the final six weeks of their 2019 campaign. Yet the top -end talent remains supreme at the Eagles, who have the weaponry to add another flag to their arsenal. The addition of Tim Kelly to an already elite on-ball brigade is a scary proposition for 17 other sides. Jeremy McGovern’s interrupted pre-season is a slight concern, but Nic Naitanui’s relatively full summer is a massive reason for Eagles fans to be excited. It feels like injuries will dictate how deep West Coast can go in 2020, but it’s hard to see them dropping out of the top six at least.

Rise, hold or fall? Hold


Average age: 24.2 (8th)

Average games played: 59.0 (14th)

Champion Data overall list rating: 2nd

When Champion Data released its list quality ladder late last year, the Bulldogs were the clear bolter. Luke Beveridge has added Josh Bruce, Alex Keath and a ready-made small forward Cody Weightman to a team that looks destined for success in 2020, with Champion Data estimating that only Richmond’s list is better. All signs point to a top-four push – and the Bulldogs should be able to match it with the likes of the Tigers, Giants, Magpies, Eagles, Lions and Hawks.

Rise, hold or fall? Rise


I love how age is still a continuing measurement when the range over 18 clubs is only 1.6 years lol


Next, that pesky Port Adelaide hero, and sometime radio personality, Kane Cornes has a different way of doing it. Instead of explicitly predicting rise and fall, presumably on the basis of gut feel he has listed each club on the basis of a stockbrokers assessment: Buy, Sell, Hold.

Interestingly he recommends selling off all your Essendon stock. How many of us will sell our stock. Really. Diggers? Well not necessarily, Kane Cornes says sell Sydney stock. It puts Diggers in a difficult position.

Stocks to sell: Adelaide, Essendon, Hawthorn, Sydney
Stocks to Hold: Brisbane, Freo, Geelong, North, Port, GCS,
Stocks to buy: Carlton, Collingwood, Melbourne, Richmond, West Coast, Bulldogs, GWS, StK

LOL does anyone want to have shares in GCS other than the AFL


Its interesting how Champion Data adapt their assessments. The year before Richmond won in 2017 their list was very average according to Champion Data . Finally, somehow, Richmond after 2 premierships in 3 years has the best list in the comp, whereas after finishing as minor premiers, Geelong are 7th best.


It’s almost like Champion Data is garbage or something. If only someone had raised this with you earlier?!


Exactly. I am waiting for someone who actually does a real prediction, rther than regurgitating the Champion Data rankings based on the past as the basis of their prognostication.
Virtually none of the pundits picked the 2016 Bulldog flag or the Richmond 2017 flag. After all, Champion Data did not rate them the year before.


Two more teams will rise than fall. The rest will hold.
Something doesn’t had up here…


It’s the worst metric in the AFL. It’s a nice indicator that the journo writing the article is a space cadet.

Average age is more useless than Champion Data.

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Thats not entirely accurate.

They rated Richmonds list as 8th best at the conclusion of their premiership year in 2017.

That would be inline with their 40 game rolling 2 year period.

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Now we look at Squiggle, this is summed up in this table. Some of the pundits probably look at this.

They predict Hawthorn winning 13 games and finishing top 4. Thats absurd.

Good. Lower the expectations. We’ve done ■■■■ all with people talking us up as top 4 material across 2018-19. Hopefully everyone think we will be ■■■■ and we surprise.


I’m not sure how I’m gonna handle things if Hawthorn win 5 odd premierships, rebuild and go back to top 4 before we can win a final in 20 years.


Crows, Dons, Cats fall

Hawks, Dees, North, Blues, Dogs Rise

and the rest hold position

I wouldnt be Investing in Carlton, Melbourne and Saint Kilda improving that much.


Yeah but did they deal with a saga through that period as well?

Beat that Hawthorn!


Can happen. Imagine the premier finishes last. 1 team falls, 17 rise.

In this case, whilst it is possible for 3 to drop and 5 move up, I’m not sure if it makes sense. Given Carlton and Melbourne rise, that means one of Crows/Dons/Cats finish 17th. (If you assume its us or Crows, then the Cats have to drop to at least 7th.)

And one of Hawks, Dees, North, Blues, or Dogs finish on top (based on the round 23 ladder) or 3rd (if you use the post finals ladder).

I think this is a classic case of looking at clubs in isolation and not thinking about how it all works together.

(Edit: I incorrectly had 2 teams having to drop to 16th & 17th - its possible that only one team drops to 17th).

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I think alot of pundits may be over rating Carlton and Hawthorns finish to last season.

I think pundits just write/say things to get paid.

Don’t rate their opinions any higher than most here, and find they are not just not worth the waste of precious time to read or listen to.

Again, … who TF is Ben Waterboy?..

And in what way is he experienced or qualified to have an opinion & get paid to do so, let alone taken any notice of?

Never heard of him.

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I think with the Hawks they are just assuming Tom Mitchell rolls in and is back to Brownlow medal winning form. And Jonathon patton rolls in and is a gun KPF, plus super coach Clarkson.

Im not confident on Mitchells comeback especially early in the season.
And still not that confident in Pattons body holding up,