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2021 AFL Season Preview & Betting Tips

March 12th 2021, 2:12pm, By: PuntingInDanger

2021 AFL Season Preview

The 2021 AFL season is nearly here! Thursday, the 18th of March sees the Tigers and Blues do battle in their annual season opener from the MCG and once again this season, we will be bringing you a dedicated preview for EVERY game of the season!

Today, however, we’ll be taking a look at the season on the whole by breaking down some of the top premiership contenders as well as a few of our favourite team future props.

2021 AFL Season Preview & Betting Tips

The Contenders

Richmond ($4.50 at Sportsbet)

Draftees: Samson Ryan (40), Maurice Rioli Jnr (51)

Departures: Derek Eggmolesse-Smith (delisted), Luke English (delisted), Jack Higgins (St Kilda, trade), Oleg Markov (Gold Coast Suns, trade), Fraser Turner (delisted), Alex Rance (retired)

Arrivals: Mate Colina (category B rookie)

How can you look past the back to back reigning premiers? The Tigers will be hunting their 3rd straight flag and their fourth in five years this season when they line up in the season opener against Carlton on Thursday night. They didn’t do a lot in the off-season in terms of departures and arrivals but why would you when you have been the dominant force in the league throughout the past five years. Jack Higgins is the only notable departure, while the Tigers picked up an exciting youngster in Maurice Rioli Jr. with the 51st pick.  Regardless of a quiet offseason, the Tigers will no doubt still be one of the forces in the competition after retaining all of their premiership winning side.

Geelong ($5.50 at Sportsbet)

Draftees: Max Holmes (20), Shannon Neale (33), Nicholas Stevens (47)

Departures: Gary Ablett (retired), Nakia Cockatoo (Brisbane Lions, trade), Lachie Fogarty (Carlton, trade), Jacob Kennerley (delisted), James Parsons (delisted), Blake Schlensog (delisted), Jack Steven (retired), Jake Tarca (delisted), Harry Taylor (retired)

Arrivals: Jeremy Cameron (GWS Giants, trade), Shaun Higgins (North Melbourne, trade), Isaac Smith (Hawthorn, free agent), Paul Tsapatolis (basketball, category B rookie)

The Cats made it all the way to the Grand Final last season but were defeated by the Tigers. They will be looking to go one step further in 2021 after having one of the highest turnovers of any club in the off-season. They waved goodbye to club champions in the likes of Gary Ablett and Harry Taylor but more importantly, they secured the services of star forward Jeremy Cameron from the Giants. They also recruited veteran stars in Isaac Smith and Shaun Higgins, which should keep their premiership window well and truly open for at least the next year.

Brisbane ($7.00 at Sportsbet)

Draftees: Blake Coleman (24), Harry Sharp (43), Henry Smith (48), Grant Birchall (15 - rookie)

Departures: Jacob Allison (delisted), Allen Christensen (retired), Cedric Cox (delisted), Matt Eagles (delisted), Mitch Hinge (Adelaide, delisted free agent), Corey Lyons (delisted), Stefan Martin (Western Bulldogs, trade), Sam Skinner (delisted), Alex Witherden (West Coast Eagles, trade), Toby Wooller (delisted)

Arrivals: Nakia Cockatoo (Geelong Cats, trade), Joe Daniher (Essendon, free agent), Deividas Uosis (category B rookie)

The Lions also had a fair turnover in the off-season and were also involved in one of the highest profile deals of the summer after they recruited forward Joe Daniher from Essendon. Their young core should continue to develop and after a heartbreaking preliminary final loss last season, they will be hungry to go one step further. Many are picking the Lions to be the real contenders to the Tigers dynasty this season, but until they prove themselves in a big final, we still have our reservations.

Port Adelaide ($7.00 at Sportsbet)

Draftees: Lachlan Jones (16), Ollie Lord (49), Tyson Goldsack (16 - rookie), Taj Schofield (37 – rookie)

Departures: Joe Atley (delisted), Wylie Buzza (delisted), Tobin Cox (delisted), Brad Ebert (retired), Riley Grundy (delisted), Jake Patmore (delisted), Cam Sutcliffe (delisted), Jack Watts (retired), Justin Westhoff (retired)

Arrivals: Aliir Aliir (Sydney Swans, trade), Orazio Fantasia (Essendon, trade)

Port Adelaide were defeated by the Tigers in the preliminary final in what was an absolutely thrilling contest. Like the Lions, they will be looking to take their young core to the next level. Look to see improvement from the likes of Zak Butters, Connor Rozee, Zavier Duiursma and Mitch Georgiades. They also secured the services of Aliir Aliir and Orazio Fantasia, which should add good depth at either end of the ground.

West Coast ($9.00 at Sportsbet)

Draftees: Luke Edwards (52), Isiah Winder (57), Zane Trew (12 – rookie)

Departures: Hamish Brayshaw (delisted), Tom Hickey (Sydney, trade), Lewis Jetta (delisted), Mitch O’Neill (delisted), Nic Reid (delisted), Will Schofield (retired), Anthony Treacy (delisted), Francis Watson (delisted)

Arrivals: Zac Langdon (GWS Giants, trade), Alex Witherden (Brisbane Lions, trade)

The fifth and final real contender that we see for the AFL Premiership this year is the Eagles. They will be grateful to be back playing the majority of their home games at Optus Stadium this season after the hubs ruined their massive home-field advantage last year. They also gained the services of some prized recruits in the likes of Zac Langdon and Alex Witherden without losing a whole lot.


I have to be honest, I really like the look of the Cats this year. The departures of Gary Ablett and Harry Taylor aren't as significant as they seem on paper, with both playing pretty limited roles in the team last season. However, their additions are massive. Jeremy Cameron is arguably the best forward in the league and he will combine with the reigning Coleman Medallist Tom Hawkins to provide a lethal 1-2 punch. 

Isaac Smith and Shaun Higgins will provide the Cats with something that they desperately lacked last season, outside pace and silky skills through the midfield. They have plenty of in and under midfielders in the likes of Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield and Cam Guthrie, but now they have some outside class to replace the loss of Tim Kelly last year. 

The Cats have gone all in to try to win a premiership in the next two years and we think they are definitely talented enough to get the job done in their first attempt.  

Geelong Cats Premiers


Dark Horses

St Kilda ($12.00 at Sportsbet)

Liking what the Saints have done in the off-season with the additions of Brad Crouch and Jack Higgins. They are one of the fastest teams in the league and playing every 2nd week on a lightning Marvel Stadium pitch will play right into their hands. Expect their young guns to take the next step this season and the Saints should be firmly cemented inside the top eight. 

Saints Top 8


Western Bulldogs ($10.00 at Sportsbet)

The Doggies are in a similar mould to the Saints. They have a great young core and they made some impressive moves in the off-season to make their team stronger. The depth of their midfield is astounding but whether they can stay healthy is the real key. They should make the top eight this season but we still have some reservations on their chances. 

Bulldogs Top 8


Melbourne ($21.00 at Sportsbet)

Melbourne made some interesting moves in the off-season headlined by the addition of key forward Ben Brown. There's no doubt that they still have one of the most talented lists on paper in the league but will they finally stop teasing us this year and will their youngsters in the likes of Sam Weidman and Jake Lever finally live up to their potential?

Demons Top 8


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