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2016 Season Projections Take 3

Take 3 of the TipBetPro pre-season projections. With the Essendon top-up players now named, and plenty of experience amongst the top-up group, TipBetPro are no longer predicting the catastrophic win-less season per our Projection update post the Essendon 12 being banned.

However, the Bombers, whilst no longer considered complete easy-beats, still stand out as the weakest side in the AFL and thus there remains a healthy benefit to Geelong, Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and Carlton who all get to face off twice against Essendon.

These final pre-season projections also take into account known suspensions and injuries and thus players such as Jarryd Roughead, Chris Yarran, David Swallow and Chris Masten have been removed from the projections for the early part of the season.

So, what do these final projections tell us? Well, even with Jarryd Roughead removed for half a season, our 5,000 simulated seasons still have Hawthorn as the premier team in the competition. The Hawks have the highest average wins over the 5,000 simulated seasons, finish top 2 in 69% of our simulated seasons and top 4 in 90% of our simulated seasons. The Hawks don’t quite have the enviable depth as they have boasted in previous seasons but if they can stay fit it is going to take a special effort by any other side to stop a Hawks 4-peat.

2015 Runner-ups West Coast stand out as the 2nd highest rated side and, importantly, are rated considerably closer to Hawthorn than in previous seasons. Whilst the Eagles don’t have the elite talent of Hawthorn, they do now have stronger depth and a higher proportion of their list expected to peak throughout the 2016 season and if it comes down to a war of attrition, West Coast are the best placed to challenge the might of Hawthorn.

The remaining top 4 contenders are likely to come from Collingwood, North Melbourne, Geelong, Port Adelaide and Fremantle. Certainly Collingwood and Geelong are the two stand-out teams to be bolters in season 2016 with big name recruits Adam Treloar and Patrick Dangerfield improving the rating of those teams considerably. North Melbourne and Fremantle remain experienced outfits with sufficient elite talent to challenge for Top 4 spots whilst Port Adelaide, even with the absence of Patrick Ryder and Angus Monfries, are far too good a side to repeat their disaster of 2015.

We expect Western Bulldogs, Richmond, Gold Coast and Adelaide to fight out for possibly the last spot in the Top 8 (assuming no slumps from any of the above 7). Sydney and GWS are possibilities but as discussed in our initial TipBetPro Projections back in January, we see too many gaps in their list to be a strong contender for finals action.

There won’t be too many surprises that it will be a development season for St Kilda, Brisbane, Carlton, Melbourne and Essendon with the Bombers our hot favourites to take out the spoon.

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