Looking forward to AFL

In the first of a three-part series, AFL correspondent, Peter Argent, a more than two-decade veteran closely following the movements of the top level of our indigenous national football code, looks at all 18 teams competing for the 2024 premiership. Here are the first six.

West Coast Eagles 2023 result – 18th, three wins, 20 losses

INS – Tyler Brockman (trade, Hawthorn), Matt Flynn (free agent, Greater Western Sydney), Clay Hall (No.38 draft pick), Harvey Johnston (No.49 draft pick), Coen Livingstone (Category B rookie, Academy), Archer Reid (No.30 draft pick), Harley Reid (No.1 draft pick), Loch Rawlinson (Rookie Draft)

OUTS – Greg Clark (delisted), Luke Foley (delisted), Shannon Hurn (retired), Nic Naitanui (retired), Xavier O’Neill (delisted), Sam Petrevski-Seton (delisted), Luke Shuey (retired), Connor West (delisted), Isiah Winder (delisted)

Prognosis –  Backing in 2018 premiership coach Adam Simpson, with three big retirements – Shannon Hurn, Luke Shuey and Nic Naitanui – the Eagles must back in the young guns. The number one draft pick, Harley Reid is expected to excite and Tyler Brockman should add goal kicked ability to the forward structure.  Finding their brand again and playing with spirit are baseline goals, for the young group captained by Oscar Allen. A fit Liam Ryan in attack will help too.

Prediction – Bottom four still.

North Melbourne – 17th, three wins, 20 losses

INS – Wil Dawson (No.22 draft pick), Zane Duursma (No.4 draft pick), Zac Fisher (trade, Carlton), Taylor Goad (No.20 draft pick), Riley Hardeman (No.23 draft pick), Finnbar Maley (Rookie Draft), Colby McKercher (No.2 draft pick), Bigoa Nyuon (trade, Richmond), Toby Pink (delisted free agent), Tyler Sellers (SSP, North Melbourne VFL), Dylan Stephens (trade, Sydney).

OUTS – Aiden Bonar (delisted), Ben Cunnington (retired), Jacob Edwards (delisted), Todd Goldstein (free agent, Essendon), Aaron Hall (retired), Daniel Howe (retired), Jack Mahony (delisted), Ben McKay (free agent, Essendon), Flynn Perez (delisted), Phoenix Spicer (delisted), Kayne Turner (delisted), Lachie Young (delisted), Jack Ziebell (retired).

Prognosis –  A couple of the young guns at the Kangaroos under Alastair Clarkson took big steps last winter and are going to become generational footballers, especially Harry Sheezel around the ball and Nick Larkey in attack, who kicked 71 goals.

Also watch out for a couple of draftees Zane Duursma and 207cm big man from SA, Taylor Goad.

A lack of hardened AFL bodies may be an issue for the Roos.

Prediction – Will be aiming to win eight games in 2024, which will be a good result.

Hawthorn – 16th, seven wins, 16 losses

INS – Massimo D’Ambrosio (trade, Essendon), Mabior Chol (trade, Gold Coast), Calsher Dear (No.56 draft pick, father-son), Jack Ginnivan (trade, Collingwood), Jack Gunston (trade, Brisbane), Will McCabe (No.19 draft pick, father-son), Ethan Phillips (SSP, Box Hill VFL), Bodie Ryan (No.46 draft pick), Nick Watson (No.5 draft pick)

OUT – Lachie Bramble (delisted), Tyler Brockman (trade, West Coast), Fergus Greene (delisted), Emerson Jeka (delisted), Jacob Koschitzke (trade, Richmond), Ned Long (delisted), Max Lynch (retired), Josh Morris (delisted), Fionn O’Hara (delisted), Brandon Ryan (trade, Brisbane)

Prognosis – Called an aggressive rebuild by the Hawks hierarchy, they have brought in Jack Ginnivan as premiership player Jack Gunstan returns from Brisbane. Mabior Chol is expected to have a big impact after tenures at Richmond and Gold Coast.

The Hawks have already dealt with a couple of significant injury blows and will be without veteran Chad Wingard for the season. Of the recruits, their first pick Will McCabe is the son of former player Luke, who played 138 games across a decade-long career for the Hawks and moved onto the club’s board in ’22.

Prediction – The Hawthorn outfit will be around the same mark in 2024, somewhere between 10 and 16, hoping for a couple more wins than last season.

Gold Coast Suns 15th, nine wins, 14 losses

INS – Sam Clohesy (Rookie Draft), Will Graham (No.26 draft pick, Academy), Jack Mahony (Rookie Draft), Ethan Read (No.9 draft pick, Academy), Jake Rogers (No.14 draft pick, Academy), Will Rowlands (Rookie Draft), Jed Walter (No.3 draft pick, Academy)

OUTS – Jed Anderson (delisted), Connor Blakely (retired), Chris Burgess (trade, Adelaide), Mabior Chol (trade, Hawthorn), Charlie Constable (retired), Elijah Hollands (trade, Carlton), Brodie McLaughlin (delisted), Jeremy Sharp (delisted), Jake Stein (delisted)

Prognosis – After getting high profile coach Damien Hardwick last year, the Suns believe the man that resurrected the Richmond program and took the Tigers to three titles will be key ingredient in the club participating in finals.

The last couple of the foundation players – David Swallow and Sam Day – are finishing their respective careers, while they were productive with Academy players on Draft night.

Expect Jack Lukosius to further grow in stature as a forward. This playing group will still need to gel as a unit.

Prediction – Should play finals for the first time since they entered the AFL in 2011. A major round berth will be seen as an achievement in ‘Dimma’s’ first year. They are capable.

Fremantle 14th, 10 wins, 13 losses

INS – Jack Delean (No.60 draft pick), Odin Jones (Rookie Draft), Oscar McDonald (delisted free agent), Ollie Murphy (No.41 draft pick), Cooper Simpson (No.35 draft pick), Jeremy Sharp (SSP, Gold Coast), Patrick Voss (SSP, Essendon)

OUTS – Eric Benning (delisted), Travis Colyer (delisted), Joel Hamling (free agent, Sydney), Liam Henry (trade, St Kilda), Lachie Schultz (trade, Collingwood), Nathan Wilson (delisted)

Prognosis – Losing young Indigenous player Liam Henry and goal kicking forward Lachie Schultz in the trade period were brutal blows for the Dockerss’ coach Justin Longmuir, who has been at the helm since 2020.

There are concerns about whether they have the firepower up forward, and the age demographic of the Fremantle list.

Expect a big year from ruck/forward Luke Jackson, who will shoulder a big load and strong leadership from Alex Pearce.

Prediction – It is expected to be a tough year for the team from the Perth seaside suburb of Fremantle.

Richmond 13th, 10 wins, 12 losses, 1 draw

INS – Oliver Hayes-Brown (Category B rookie), Jacob Koschitzke (trade, Hawthorn), Liam Fawcett (No.43 draft pick), Mykelti Lefau (SSP, Richmond VFL), Kane McAuliffe (No.40 draft pick), Sam Naismith (delisted free agent)

OUTS – Kaelan Bradtke (delisted), Jason Castagna (retired), Trent Cotchin (retired), Bigoa Nyuon (trade, North Melbourne), Jack Riewoldt (retired), Ivan Soldo (trade, Port Adelaide), Robbie Tarrant (retired)

Prognosis –  It is a new era under former Melbourne player and long-time coach in waiting Adem Yze, He has been tasked with beginning a new era at the club. They have seen senior personnel and stars of the competition in Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt having moved into retirement. The Tigers will be looking for the experienced 100-plus game players like Shai Bolton, Daniel Roili and Jack Graham to replace them.

Big man Toby Nankervis, who’s 30 this year, will be the sole captain, after defender Dylan Grimes stepped down from the role.

Prediction – With a strong start, the Tigers can bounce back and play major round football in 2024.


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