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Bombshell: Post Essendon Ban 2016 Season Projections

The supplement scandal that will see 17 players (12 from Essendon, 2 from Port Adelaide and 1 each from Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and St Kilda) ruled out for the 2016 Premiership season has changed the shape of our 2016 AFL Season Projections originally published in the first week of 2016.

The obvious loser is Essendon who we originally forecast to be a contender to return to finals action. The updated TipBetPro projection has made the assumption that no top-up player brought in to the Bombers line-up is of better quality than anyone currently on their list (an assumption that may be challenged once the top-up players are known). Essendon are now clear wooden spoon favourites with TipBetPro, averaging just 0.2 wins and avoiding the spoon in just 15 of our 5,000 simulated seasons.

Port Adelaide was originally forecast to be a genuine premiership threat, however the loss of Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries has tempered those expectations somewhat. Port Adelaide originally had the 2nd highest average wins over our 5,000 simulated seasons but they have now dropped to 7th with the loss of two key players. However, TipBetPro remain bullish on a far stronger showing from Port Adelaide than 2015 with 35% of our simulated seasons still seeing Port Adelaide in the Top 4 and 87% of simulated seasons having the Power making the Top 8.

So who are the big winners compared to our original projections? Well, unsurprisingly, the answer is those sides that play Essendon twice, with Geelong, Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and Carlton all benefiting from double-up matches against the depleted Bombers.

From a 2016 premiership perspective - Hawthorn and West Coast have seen their premiership hopes boosted due to the reduced rating of their original highest rated rival Port Adelaide. Hawthorn are projected to finish in the Top 4 in 92% of simulated seasons whilst West Coast finished Top 4 in 81% of our simulations. The remainder of the Top 4 should be a tough battle with TipBetPro finding it hard to split the claims of Collingwood, North Melbourne, Geelong, Fremantle and Port Adelaide.

A clear "Top 7" outlined above has now emerged in the TipBetPro projections, however predicting a remaining finalist is tough. Gold Coast (38% of projections in Top 8) enjoy a dream fixture, the Western Bulldogs (37%) have the best scope for improvement and Richmond (35%) have the strongest squad outside the "Top 7" whilst lesser claims are made by Adelaide (23%), Sydney (13%) and GWS (7%).

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