Dusty done? Expert declares critics kidding themselves

    And after a game-changing trade period, massive draft and a return to pre-season, our reporters are doing just that. We know Round 1 is a long way away but we’ve asked the SuperFooty team for their premier, runner-up, top eight, major medal winners and biggest story predictions for 2023. Check out the results and let us know yours in the comments. MARK ROBINSONPremier and why?Geelong. Ask any coach, the Cats are the team to beat when the season starts.Runner-up: Collingwood Brownlow Medal: Clayton OliverColeman Medal: Charlie Curnow Top 8:GeelongCollingwood Brisbane Melbourne Sydney Richmond Carlton Fremantle Bottom 4:GiantsNorth Hawthorn West Coast Wooden spoon: West CoastWho is under the most pressure?JHF in footy-mad South Australia will be interesting viewing. Most anticipated moment of 2023?Player comes out as gay following recent announcement in the NBL.What will be the biggest story of 2023?See above JON RALPHPremier and why? It’s stupidly early so why not be stupidly optimistic. Pies for the flag with Nick Daicos taking his footy to the next level again.Runner-up: SydneyBrownlow Medal: Brodie GrundyColeman Medal: Tom LynchTop 8:CollingwoodSydneyRichmondGeelongBrisbaneFremantleMelbournePort AdelaideBottom 4:HawthornAdelaideEssendonNorth MelbourneWooden spoon: North Melbourne Who is under the most pressure? How can it not be Alastair Clarkson given he is fighting for his professional life and reputation? Most anticipated moment of 2023? Horne-Francis v Zurhaar. And it’s a blatant rip-off but Magic Round can be a real winner as the footy world descends upon Adelaide for a bonus weekend of footy.What will be the biggest story of 2023?Clarkson and Lyon. For varying reasons their honeymoons at new clubs will be non-existent. They have their doubters but proven track records of success.JAY CLARKPremier and why?Melbourne. The biggest punt of the trade period would burn hard for Collingwood if Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn lifted the cup together. The Demons just need to sharpen the forward cohesion and regain the hunger after a straight sets exit. Armchair ride beckons for the superstar midfielders.Runner-up:It’s been a long wait but Carlton has the cattle to have a 16-win season. Only concern is whether they have the belief and nerve to get it done in September. Need more luck on the injury front to keep the stars on the park. This is the year they make the leap.Brownlow Medal:An ankle injury hampered Marcus Bontempelli more than he let on last season. The bookies have written him off at $18, but in a battle for planet earth versus the aliens he could still be the first player picked. If Patrick Cripps can do it, ‘The Bont’ can, too.Coleman Medal: Harry McKay is going to fill his boots this year alongside Charlie Curnow in the Carlton forward line. Hope the set shot routine is down pat by March because there will be plenty of supply coming his way this year.Top 8:MelbourneCarltonBrisbaneGeelong SydneyRichmondWestern BulldogsPort AdelaideBottom 4:Greater Western SydneyHawthornNorth MelbourneWest CoastWooden spoon: West CoastWho is under the most pressure? How long before David Koch starts to get jumpy? A couple of early-season losses will surely prompt the Port Adelaide president to consider throwing coach Ken Hinkley under the bus on morning telly. Hopefully Hinkley lifts the Power, again. Most anticipated moment of 2023?Plenty of grudge matches on offer this year. Jason Horne-Francis versus North Melbourne. Alastair Clarkson coaching against Hawthorn. Brodie Grundy’s first bounce against Collingwood. Heat in the kitchen. What will be the biggest story of 2023?The greatest coach of the modern era, Alastair Clarkson, and Brisbane’s Chris Fagan are locked in the fight of their lives. The investigation into Hawthorn players’ treatment is a huge one for the game. And their reputations. Hopefully we get the truth. GLENN MCFARLANEPremier and why?Geelong. The Cats will be doubted once more, but they were almost flawless in the back-end of 2022, so why can’t they win it again? A retired Joel Selwood aside, Geelong has added more depth to its list in 2022 and can win back-to-back flags for the first time in just over 70 years.Runner-up: MelbourneBrownlow Medal: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)Coleman Medal: Tom Lynch (Richmond)Top 8:Geelong Melbourne CollingwoodSydneyRichmondBrisbane LionsCarltonFremantleBottom 4:West CoastHawthornGreater Western Sydney North MelbourneWooden spoon: North Melbourne Who is under the most pressure?West Coast. The time for excuses is over. You can’t solely blame Covid for the Eagles’ two-win 2022 season. This once-proud footy club won a flag four years ago, but is a shadow of its former on-field self. Adam Simpson still has a long-term contract, but the Eagles need to start a long, hard rebuild.Most anticipated moment of 2023?The official unveiling of a Tasmanian AFL team … Yes, we know they won’t play until 2026 or 2027, but it’s now time to give this proud footy state the green light.What will be the biggest story of 2023?On-field, a bloke called Dustin Martin re-establishes himself as one of the premier players in the game … and off-field, the spectre of concussion and its long-term impact casts a shadow over the game.Who is your premiership favourite for 2023?SAM LANDSBERGERPremier and why?Geelong. The premiers brought in Tanner Bruhn, Oli Henry, Jack Bowes and Jhye Clark after winning the grand final by 81 points with its 16th consecutive victory. Plus, the Cats have got the No. 1 wingman of the final two months of the season, Max Holmes, to fit back in. The cliff they were supposedly teetering over is now flat terrain. Impossible to tip against right now.Runner-up: Melbourne.Brownlow Medal: Andrew Brayshaw (Frem). Noah Anderson (GC) the smokyColeman Medal: Charlie Curnow (Carl)Top 8:Geelong Melbourne Richmond BrisbaneSydneyPort AdelaideFremantleCollingwoodBottom 4:HawthornGWS GiantsWest CoastNorth MelbourneWooden Spoon: North MelbourneWho is under the most pressure?Western Bulldogs. What happens if they don’t finish top four in 2023? That would be nine years for zero top-four finishes after the home-and-away season under coach Luke Beveridge, meanwhile Geelong could have seven in the same time frame. Gold Coast, too, needs to break through for finals football. Meanwhile in Magic Round the AFL would be hoping the collective playing groups deliver on the field with no games in Melbourne … and behave off it.Most anticipated moment of 2023?The final five minutes of every Collingwood game, and the final season of Lance Franklin. Hopefully there’s one puff of Buddy brilliance left, perhaps served in his 350th game.What will be the biggest story of 2023? The AFL has promised a “wider industry response” to racism. But will it really turn the microscope on the failings from head office, as Indigenous families who agreed to participate in the Hawthorn review requested? SCOTT GULLANPremier and why?Western BulldogsMany seemed to have forgotten the Dogs were 40 minutes away from a premiership two years ago before falling in a big hole. They were still in that hole last season but Rory Lobb and Liam Jones make the balance of the side look better. Runner-up: CarltonBrownlow Medal: Marcus BontempelliColeman Medal: Aaron NaughtonTop 8:Western BulldogsCarltonGeelongCollingwoodPort AdelaideFremantleMelbourneSydneyBottom 4:West CoastHawthornAdelaideNorth MelbourneWooden spoon: West CoastWho is under the most pressure?Good luck to the new AFL CEO. One way of looking at Gill’s long farewell is that they still don’t have anyone they deem worthy to follow in his footsteps.Most anticipated moment of 2023? Ross Lyon breaking his promise to be cuddly Ross and spraying the entire press contingent after yet another Saints loss.What will be the biggest story of 2023?The court hearing for the Brownlow Medal leak will be must-watch viewing, what else might it reveal?REBECCA WILLIAMSPremier and why? Melbourne. Expecting the Demons to bounce back after their straight-sets finals exit this year. They still pack one of the best one-two midfield punches in the competition with Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca and now will have Brodie Grundy helping feed them in the ruck. A fit Tom McDonald will fortify the forward line.Runner-up: GeelongBrownlow Medal: Clayton OliverColeman Medal: Tom LynchTop 8:MelbourneGeelongBrisbane LionsRichmondCollingwoodSydneyCarltonPort AdelaideBottom 4:GWSWest CoastHawthornNorth MelbourneWooden spoon: North MelbourneWho is under the most pressure?After a decade at Alberton, it could be a premiership or bust for Ken Hinkley. Contracted until the end of 2023, Hinkley will be entering his 11th season at Port, coming off a year when the team failed to make finals. Port has been to three preliminary finals in Hinkley’s time in charge, but his petrol tickets might dry up if he can’t get them in the premiership picture. Most anticipated moment of 2023?Ross the Boss 2.0 at St Kilda. His return to the club he walked out on has made headlines, but can he turn the Saints from mid-table battlers to contenders? And what sort of coach will he be at the club the second time around? It will be a fascinating watch.What will be the biggest story of 2023?Alastair Clarkson’s coaching comeback. Regardless of what happens with the AFL’s independent review into historical claims of racism at Hawthorn, the spotlight will be shining brightly on the four-time premiership coach to see just what he can do with the bottom-of-the-table Kangaroos’ list. SIMEON THOMAS-WILSONPremier and why? Brisbane. Yes they haven’t gotten it done in finals on the whole but the Lions have had one hell of an off-season. Josh Dunkley adds exactly what they need and watch out for Will Ashcroft. Runner-up: Melbourne Brownlow Medal: Andrew Brayshaw Coleman Medal: Max King Top 8:MelbourneBrisbaneFremantleSydneyPort AdelaideGeelongRichmondBulldogs Bottom 4:GWSWest CoastNorth Melbourne HawthornWooden spoon:Hawthorn Who is under the most pressure?The AFL is going to be under serious pressure to either ensure the integrity of the Brownlow or change the voting system after recent events. Most anticipated moment of 2023? The first time Cameron Zurhaar and Jason Horne-Francis go head-to-head. Surely if you are North Melbourne you put Zurhaar on the No. 1 pick at his first centre bounce. What will be the biggest story of 2023? The Hawthorn investigation will continue to be prominent in 2023, surely there is no chance any investigation can be finalised this year. And if results do come down it is bound to be huge.MATT TURNERPremier: BrisbaneJosh Dunkley, Jack Gunston and Will Ashcroft are great recruits to an already strong side. They now have plenty of finals experience, the main question is just whether Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood or both can stand up on the biggest stages. It feels like the Lions are primed.Runner-up: MelbourneBrownlow Medal: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)Coleman medal: Tom Lynch (Richmond)Top 8: Brisbane Sydney Melbourne GeelongCollingwoodWestern BulldogsRichmondPort Adelaide Bottom 4: West CoastGWSNorth MelbourneHawthorn Wooden spoon: HawthornWho is under the most pressure?Hard to see Ken Hinkley earning a contract extension if he does not at least win a final so the Port Adelaide coach will be under the pump from the outset to get his side back into contention. Most anticipated moment of 2023?The announcement on Tasmania. A heartland football state should finally get the team it deserves.What will be the biggest story of 2023? The outcome of the Hawthorn racism report will be significant and potentially have big implications for not only the Hawks but Brisbane and North Melbourne, depending on how things unfold. LAUREN WOODPremier and why?Sydney. Could be Buddy’s last hurrah and wouldn’t it be something to go out with a bang. Have retained their talent and young guns like Chad Warner and Errol Gulden will have another pre-season under their belts. Runner-up: Geelong Brownlow Medal: Clayton Oliver Coleman Medal: Charlie Curnow back-to-backTop 8: Melbourne Richmond SydneyGeelong BrisbaneCollingwoodCarlton Port Adelaide Bottom 4: Gold CoastHawthorn West Coast North Melbourne Wooden spoon: North Melbourne Who is under the most pressure?The league’s handling of umpires. Explosive reports in 2022 sparked some early changes but the Brownlow betting scandal rocked the post-season. Most anticipated moment of 2023?The unveiling of the Apple Isle’s identity when Tasmania’s stand-alone team being finally locked and loaded. The plans are one thing but a jumper, a name, a location – can’t wait to see it in full swing. What will be the biggest story of 2023? The Hawthorn racism report will continue to be front and square as Gillon McLachlan eyes the door. An industry-wide review of the issue at all clubs continues to be pushed for and could gain more steam. CHRIS CAVANAGHPremier and why?Melbourne. The Dees didn’t get it all right this year, but still have a strong list that has only got better over the off-season.Runner-up: Brisbane. No excuses not to take another step and make a Grand Final next year. Brownlow Medal: Marcus BontempelliColeman Medal: Jeremy Cameron Top 8: Melbourne Brisbane Sydney Geelong CollingwoodCarltonRichmondFremantleBottom 4: AdelaideHawthornNorth MelbourneWest CoastWooden spoon: West CoastWho is under the most pressure? Essendon. It has been a rocky off-season and the fan base is already very agitated. Brad Scott has some work ahead of him. Most anticipated moment of 2023?What the AFL does with the Grand Final entertainment. The bar was set high with this year’s Robbie Williams extravaganza.What will be the biggest story of 2023?Who knows. As we’ve seen this year, the world of AFL is full of surprises. Total Predictions

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