As the 2016 AFL season approaches, plenty of noise will come out of each team’s pre-season camp. “Best pre-season ever”, “carving up the track” and “training the roof off” will be terms commonly used as each team spruiks their list, both players new and old. But when push comes to shove, only a few teams will be fighting it out at the business end of the season. UBET takes a look at those most likely to be contenders in season 2016.
I bet you didn’t see this one coming! The back-to-back-to-back champions will once again start season 2016 as the favourites, and it’s hard to argue against it. Apart from David Hale, Brian Lake and Matt Suckling, they’ve managed to retain their team from last year’s final and even though those 3 names were key parts of their list, the class spread across the squad should allow them to continue performing. The likes of Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli and Jordan Lewis will go around once again and will look to lead from the front. Couple that with a favourable fixture and only a single trip to Perth in the whole regular season and the Hawks are primed for another shot.
Premiership Starting Odds: $4.25
The beaten Grand Finalists of last year should still be there abouts come 2016 and would love the opportunity to get one back on their 2015 nemesis. They’ve traded Matt Rosa and Callum Sinclair from the team that lost the decider, plus they lost Scott Selwood to Free Agency and Beau Waters finally pulled the pin on his career. To fill the void, they have added some quality in former Essendon ruckman Jonathan Giles, speedster Lewis Jetta from the Sydney Swans, as well as want-away Brisbane midfielder Jack Redden. The release of the fixture wasn’t too nice to them, with 8 x 6-day breaks throughout the year (the equal most in the competition) as well as 2 games against each of Hawthorn, Fremantle and Adelaide.
Premiership Starting Odds: $5.50
After promising so much, the Dockers fell short once again in 2015 and some may argue 2016 will be their last chance this premiership window. Despite Matthew Pavlich announcing he’ll be continuing on for another year as he chases that elusive premiership, they’ve still lost the likes of Ryan Crowley, Paul Duffield, Luke McPharlin and Colin Sylvia. The addition of troublesome Harley Bennell could go either way, but he has plenty of upside with the best case scenario being he becomes one of the competition’s elite goal-scoring midfielders. With the likes of Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe, tall timber Aaron Sandilands, serial pest Hayden Ballantyne and stalwart Michael Barlow, this is still a list that can produce results. They received an average draw for next season, with trips to Launceston, Darwin, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Canberra, but they should still have the quality to be there abouts.
Premiership Starting Odds: $8.00