AFL captains predict Lions will get back to grand final

Oliver Caffrey |

The Brisbane Lions have been heavily tipped by AFL skippers to make their way back to the decider.
The Brisbane Lions have been heavily tipped by AFL skippers to make their way back to the decider.

Nine of the 18 AFL captains are predicting the Brisbane Lions will bounce back from their grand final loss and again make it to the decider.

With reigning premiers Collingwood, the Lions enter the 2024 season as the teams to beat after playing off in a classic grand final last September.

Six of the captains believe the Magpies can get back to the decider as they push to win back-to-back premierships for the first time since 1935-36.

The other three skippers think GWS can claim their maiden premiership after falling a point short in last year’s preliminary final.

Toby Greene.
Toby Greene reacts after GWS were beaten by Collingwood in last season’s first preliminary final. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

In last year’s captains survey, none of the 18 leaders picked Collingwood to reach the grand final.

Collingwood (17), the Lions (16), Carlton and GWS (both 15), Melbourne and Sydney (14) have plenty of support to reach the top-eight.

But a somewhat surprising 10 captains have Adelaide returning to the finals for the first time since 2017 as they continue their rise back up the ladder under coach Matthew Nicks.

After Lions star Lachie Neale won his second Brownlow Medal last year, 10 captains say this is the year Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli finally snags an elusive league best-and-fairest.

Seven captains believe Blues spearhead Charlie Curnow will become the first player since Gary Ablett Sr (1993-95) to win three-straight Coleman medals.

West Coast’s No.1 draft pick Harley Reid, who has received more attention than any first-year player in history, has six captains behind him to claim the Rising Star award.

North Melbourne young guns George Wardlaw (five) and Colby McKercher (two) have some support, as does Bulldogs whiz kid Ryley Sanders (three).