Do not expect a finals finish from these clubs, although they boast some strong candidates for individual awards such as the Brownlow Medal and Coleman Medal.
North Melbourne Kangaroos
Probably the best team from this batch of six, the North Melbourne Kangaroos are hoping for a change of fortune under their new head coach, Rhyce Shaw.
The Roos have fallen down to the bottom six in the AFL Premiership betting markets as they enter a new era, but they could still have a sniff at finals this season.
Their biggest issue is the back half of the ground, where the aging Robbie Tarrant remains the standout player.
An excellent core of tough youngsters highlights the brand of footy Shaw wants to implement, with players such as Cameron Zurhaar, Tarryn Thomas, Jy Simpkin and Jed Anderson all hard as nails in the contest.
We still rate Ben Brown very highly and see the lanky full-forward as a sound selection for the Coleman Medal this season.
Ben Brown to win the Coleman Medal
When you think of the Carlton Blues, the first word that comes to your head would be ‘potential’.
Patrick Cripps is a superstar of the competition and finally has some support in the midfield with Sam Walsh and Paddy Dow developing nicely.
A massive issue will be the absence of Charlie Curnow, who will miss the season due to complications with his recovery from a patella injury sustained back in October.
Jack Martin looked the goods in round one against the Tigers, bringing the Blues back into the game with four goals in the third quarter.
If the Carlton list can stay relatively free of injury from here on, we might even see the Baggers push for a finals spot.
Patrick Cripps to win the Brownlow Medal
Similar to North Melbourne, the Adelaide Crows have started fresh this season with a brand-new head coach in Matthew Nicks.
You could write a series of novels about what has gone on at Adelaide since they lost the 2017 AFL Grand Final, but the club looks ready to forge ahead after a massive cleanout late last year.
The Crows will hub on the Gold Coast after their clash with Port Adelaide in round two, a situation that poses a whole heap of challenges both on and off the field.
The Crouch brothers and Rory Sloane will ensure that Adelaide remain competitive in midfield, but there is a real danger this team will finish in the bottom three on the ladder.
We can see the Crows going to the draft for the next few years in a complete rebuild, meaning this season might well be a write-off.
Adelaide for least wins
Also sporting a new head coach are the Fremantle Dockers, who appointed Justin Longmuir after parting ways with Ross Lyon towards the end of the 2019 campaign.
While there is plenty of upside about the Freo list, it may take a season or two for their young guns to start firing with any regularity on the big stage.
One to watch is Sam Sturt, who earned a Rising Star nod with three goals on debut in a narrow loss to Essendon in round one.
Key forwards have been hard to find since the great Matthew Pavlich retired, but there is still some hope that Jesse Hogan can get it all together and become a star for the Dockers.
Nat Fyfe is possibly the best player in the competition and could win back-to-back Brownlow Medals in a midfield he will need to carry every week.
Nathan Fyfe to win the Brownlow Medal
There was a whiff of optimism about the Sydney Swans until the latest setback for Lance Franklin, who will miss the majority of the season with a hamstring injury.
Franklin’s absence means the Swannies will have to rely on Isaac Heeney and Nick Blakey in the air up forward, with Tom Papley and Will Hayward covering at ground level.
John Longmire has built a strong midfield around consistent performers such as Luke Parker and Josh Kennedy, but they are starting to age and need support.
Everyone will be watching to see whether the Swans have another crack at signing Joe Daniher in the trade period, as they couldn’t quite get the job done last time.
We can’t see the Swans making the finals this season without Franklin playing at least 10 matches.
Sydney Swans to miss the top eight
Gold Coast Suns
It has been a tough ride for the Gold Coast Suns, as they are yet to make the finals after nine seasons in the AFL.
This will be another year where you can marvel over the brilliant young players the Suns have drafted, but whether they can keep them is another story.
If Gold Coast utilises its home ground advantage and wins a few matches early in the season, maybe there is a chance the team can avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.
Matthew Rowell, the 2019 no.1 draft pick, already looks like he has played 100 games in the midfield, so he is our choice for the 2020 AFL Rising Star award.
Matthew Rowell to win the Rising Star
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