Everyone loves making their predictions. Few enjoy looking back at them, warts and all.
But with the 2022 home and away season in the rear view mirror, Foxfooty.com.au has gone back and analysed the pre-season crystal ball tips from our 24 experts.
And it’s safe to say some teams made everyone look a bit silly. Read on for our 2022 crystal ball review.
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WHO’LL PLAY FINALS?
24 votes (out of 24) – Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, Brisbane Lions
21 — Geelong Cats
18 — Richmond
17 — Essendon, Sydney Swans
9 — GWS Giants
5 — Carlton
2 — Collingwood
1 — St Kilda
Actual finalists: Geelong Cats, Melbourne, Sydney Swans, Collingwood, Fremantle, Brisbane Lions, Richmond, Western Bulldogs
Many thought Port Adelaide would slide in 2022 but after back-to-back home preliminary finals, no-one saw them slipping out of the top eight entirely. They’re the big miss for this year.
All agreed Melbourne, Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs would make it – though with 90 seconds left in the second-last game of the season, that latter tip was wrong too – while three tipsters including AFL 360’s Mark Robinson had Geelong missing the eight.
The most popular pick for a 2021 finalist who would drop out of the 2022 top eight was GWS, despite their elimination final win – and the 15 experts who made that call were proven right.
The main thing we saw in the top eight predictions was incredible conservatism. Every year at least two teams drop out of the eight, and the average is closer to three – yet most experts only tipped there would be one change.
This year we hit three, with Port Adelaide (2nd in 2021), GWS (7th) and Essendon (8th) replaced by Fremantle (11th), Richmond (12th) and Collingwood (17th).
Three-quarters of our tipsters believed the Tigers would return to the finals while just two – ex-Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley and Collingwood AFLW star Chloe Molloy – tipped the Magpies to make it, suggesting black and white lenses actually helped. No-one tipped Fremantle to make the eight.
Only Foxfooty.com.au’s David Zita correctly tipped multiple teams who missed the eight, projecting the Bombers and Giants to drop out, while the aforementioned Chloe Molloy correctly picked the Tigers and Magpies to both bounce back in.
17 votes — Melbourne
3 — Western Bulldogs, Brisbane Lions
2 — Port Adelaide
Only two tipsters are eliminated from this one, with Nick Dal Santo and Jason Dunstall both picking Port Adelaide as their premier.
The others who boldly went against the reigning champs Melbourne will be nervous given the Bulldogs and Brisbane are both coming from outside the top four.
Nobody tipped current premiership favourite Geelong to win it all.
9 votes — North Melbourne
6 — Hawthorn
5 — Adelaide Crows
2 — Gold Coast Suns
1 — West Coast Eagles, Collingwood
A plurality of the tipsters correctly called the Kangaroos going back-to-back for the wooden spoon – Nathan Buckley, Nick Dal Santo, Jason Dunstall, Max Laughton, Jordan Lewis, Kath Loughnan, Garry Lyon, Chloe Molloy and Mark Ricciuto.
Everybody else was wrong to a certain degree but a special (and friendly) shoutout to Mark Robinson’s pick, Collingwood.
We don’t know how far the Magpies will go in September but for now, Robert Walls’ 2018 tip of West Coast for the spoon remains the most infamous.
8 votes — Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)
6 — Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
4 — Christian Petracca (Melbourne)
3 — Lachie Neale (Brisbane Lions)
2 — Jack Steele (St Kilda)
1 — Josh Kelly (GWS Giants)
Like with the premiership, we don’t yet know who’s right, but we can say who seems closer than everyone else.
Lachie Neale is the $3.25 favourite with Pointsbet, with Nathan Buckley, Max Laughton and Leigh Montagna all opting for the 2020 winner in the pre-season.
But Clayton Oliver, the most popular pre-season pick, is just behind him at $4 after backing from Dermott Brereton, Kath Loughnan, Garry Lyon, Jon Ralph, Mark Ricciuto, Mark Robinson, Ben Waterworth and David Zita.
Christian Petracca ($8) remains a dark horse chance but Marcus Bontempelli ($501), Jack Steele ($501) and Josh Kelly ($1001) appear out of the running.
6 votes — Jeremy Cameron (Geelong Cats), Tom Lynch (Richmond)
4 — Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
3 — Aaron Naughton (Western Bulldogs)
2 — Joe Daniher (Brisbane Lions), Lance Franklin (Sydney Swans)
1 — Bayley Fritsch (Melbourne), Harry McKay (Carlton)
It’s safe to say nobody saw Charlie Curnow’s return going as well as it did, the Blues spearhead claiming the Coleman after teammate Harry McKay’s 2021 triumph.
But the top three vote-getters finished second, third and fourth. Tom Lynch kicked four fewer goals than Curnow but played four fewer games, so you’d suspect if the Tigers gun played the full season he would’ve won it.
Likewise if Jeremy Cameron had played the final round against West Coast, he could’ve certainly kicked the five goals he needed to draw level with Curnow’s winning total of 64. Tom Hawkins finished level with his Cats teammate on 59 goals.
12 votes — Jason Horne-Francis (North Melbourne)
9 — Nick Daicos (Collingwood)
1 — Finn Callaghan (GWS Giants), Jake Bowey (Melbourne), Josh Rachele (Adelaide)
No.1 pick Jason Horne-Francis had a rollercoaster season, both on and off the field, whereas Nick Daicos – viewed by many as the best player in their draft class – played a key role in Collingwood’s shock top four finish.
Congratulations to Nathan Buckley, Ben Cotton, Brad Johnson, Drew Jones, Chloe Molloy, Cameron Mooney, Mark Robinson, Ben Waterworth and David Zita who all tipped Daicos.