It is some time off before the Toyota 2019 AFL Premiership competition bounces, but it is never too early for predictions.
Well, maybe it is too early to start tossing out predictions for 2020 and beyond, unless it were something along the lines of, “The Brisbane Lions will continue to improve.”
That prediction may or may not be true, but it seems safe, as Brisbane has plenty of room to move up and only a little on the downside.
Premature, though 2019 predictions might be, a couple of experts predict that it will be a tough season for the Hawthorn Hawks, even though they finished 2018 in the top four and added top players Tom Scully and Chan Wingard to their list for next season.
Brad Johnson told Trade Lowdown that the Hawks were overachievers last season, which to us, sounds like a good thing, but Johnson has tipped the Hawks to finish 15th and he rates their efforts during the trade period B+.
Said Johnson, I think they (Hawks) drop off, with the draw they may have, a top-six draw, straight out in the finals, I think this is a team that may drop away before we see some growth away when some of the ageing players move on over the next couple of years.
Nick Dal Santo was more generous, by a narrow margin, predicting that the Hawks would finish 14th.
It would seem that Hawthorn would have to do quite a bit of overachieving next season.
The main issue with the Hawks?
They will have nine players older than 30 next season.
That equals old legs and reduced leg speed. In a game that is increasingly going to the swift, half a step can be the difference between fourth and 14th on the ladder.
Coach Alastair Clark would publicly and privately dispute the predictions of Dal Santo and Johnson.
The thing that could potentially rise to bite the Hawks is their draft position.
They will not select until number 53, and then again not until number 90.