2017 AFL Season Preview 5 minutes

The AFL’s premiership lock was cracked for just the second time in 28 years when the Dogs joined the Crows as the only team to win the flag from outside the top four. Hopefully that that inspires an open 2017. However, the market is less optimistic showing an early three horse race. Last year’s finalists are there, leapfrogged by the Giants, who are short priced favourites. GWS will have to contend with heavy expectations, but after drafting (and trading) 29 first round picks, they look irrepressible.

The Banker

For consistent performance, it’s the Swans. They have unbelievably made the top four in six consecutive seasons. The Bloods culture, Lance Franklin and their midfield depth will see them there again. They seem to regenerate like Wolverine, finding A grade replacements for past champions. If Geelong and Hawthorn can’t do the same then looks to be a gap between the top teams and the meat in the middle. Despite the grand final loss, we should not forget that Sydney won the minor premiership in 2016 with a whopping for and against of 151%.

The Premier

The orange bandwagon is full but you still want to be a part of it. The Giants went within a Callan Ward injury of beating the Dogs, and then presumably the Swans. Few anticipated 2016 coming but the market expects a GWS 2017. Their best 22 reads like an All Australian team and after some mature trades their list is now the second oldest in the competition. There are no excuses for the Giants. You could do worse than make a small investment each week on the AFL’s Frankenstein.

Rising Fast

Can you win the flag and still be rising? Yeah, we think so. The Bulldogs fairy tale started from seventh place at the end of the regular season. Between Tom Boyd, Stewart Crameri and Travis Cloke they played one good game for the Dogs last year. And Jake Stringer only added a handful more. That powerful forward line with an equally talented engine room should see the Pups primed for a title defence. Luke Beveridge’s men might start a little slow but they will build into September thanks to premiership confidence and list depth. You won’t be getting big odds on a Bontempelli Brownlow.

On The Up

The Demons historically love butchering first round draft picks but their last few crops have been bumpers. Add Jordan Lewis and their midfield bats a dozen deep. Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw will be household names soon enough, just as Jack Viney became one last year. Up front, Jesse Hogan can get even better. If Simon Goodwin can keep Melbourne focused, it’s not impossible for them to sneak past the power clubs, the likes of Hawthorn, Geelong, Adelaide & West Coast) for the top four at a big price.

The Slider

The Kangaroos are poised for the biggest humbling. They could go from finals footy to the spoon. They’ve been the worst club at blooding youngsters, with 16 listed players yet to debut. And their draw isn’t easy. They might start underdogs in eight of the first ten games. Half way through the year the ‘shinboners’ will be hoping for high draft picks rather than spirited wins.


The Crows are on the third line of betting and got as short as $4.00 for the flag last year, but 2017 will be tougher. In 2016, they only played 29 players, which made them the healthiest and most stable team in the competition. This year the injuries have already started piling up, mostly in the midfield, which will make it hard for their dynamic forward line to get the pill. A soft draw and strong culture will offset some of the pain but the Crows are a lay in 2017.

The Spoon

The ‘Bad News Bears’ are back in Brisbane with comfortably the youngest list in the AFL. They deserve to be favourites but where is the value in their current quote? Essendon were odds on last year and they only fell in, so beware the spoon shortie.On pre-season form, you could step into Carlton. Just beware of North Melbourne. And don’t rule out Ken Hinkley’s men from hitting rock bottom.

The Draw

The AFL must be trying to repair the Essendon relationship. And so they should. The Bombers play four non-finalists twice, which is the equal most of any club, and they don’t play a 2016 top four team for eight rounds. Plus they only travel interstate once during the last nine rounds. The AFL have done their bit, let’s see what Essendon are made of.

Early Season Angle

The Bulldogs are too short to start the season. They’re priced like premiers with momentum. If Tom Liberatore’s photos are anything to go by, they will be hungover. And let’s not forget that they finished with a percentage of only 115% last year. The Pies are a great bet for round one and you’ll find similar value in the following weeks, particularly if you get on early. Then get back on the Dogs in futures markets when they’re no longer the talk of the town.

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