Why I’m tipping Collingwood to miss the eight: Caroline Wilson’s AFL season crystal ball

Who will make the eight? Can Geelong go back-to-back? Who will be the Brownlow medallist and Rising Star? What will be the story of the season? Our experts put their reputations on the line to answer these questions and more.

  • Scroll down to see Caroline Wilson’s season predictions

Collingwood were the surprise package of 2022, taking a magic carpet ride from 13th all the way to a preliminary final under new coach Craig McRae. But Caroline Wilson is predicting a reality check for the Magpies in 2023.

“Just a short-term hiccup,” says Wilson, in tipping Collingwood will slip to 10th. “The Magpies will become a target this season with injuries and personnel changes bringing them back to the pack.”

Caroline Wilson (inset) doesn’t expect Collingwood and its star midfielder Scott Pendlebury (main image) to have such a successful run in their second year under coach Craig McRae.Credit:The Age

There have big some big ins and outs at the Magpies. Brodie Grundy and his monster contract have joined the Demons, Ollie Henry has left to join his brother at Geelong, and the irrepressible Jack Ginnivan will be missing for the first two rounds of the season after he was caught in the bathroom of Torquay hotel with an illicit drug on Australia Day.

Incoming are Tom Mitchell, to lift the Magpies at the coalface, Bobby Hill, who will slot into Ginnivan’s spot, and Dan McStay, to add firepower up forward.

Wilson is backing Richmond, who have topped up to stay in contention, to finish as high as second as Damien Hardwick tries to extend the glory years while Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt and Dustin Martin are still around.

Caroline Wilson

Brownlow: Clayton Oliver (Melbourne). The champion midfielder looks ready to lead Melbourne back into the top four this year.

Rising Star: Aaron Cadman (GWS). The No. 1 draft pick has done everything right, will break the mould of No.1 picks in recent years and justify the Giants’ faith in him from day one.

Story of the season: Gillon McLachlan will remain at the helm long enough to announce the birth of a 19th AFL team in Tasmania.

On the rise: Port Adelaide. Creating yet another intriguing chapter in the relationship between coach and president.

On the slide: Collingwood. Just a short-term hiccup, but the Magpies will become a target this season with injuries and personnel changes bringing them back to the pack.

Fans’ biggest gripe: Another gratuitous debate about the start time to the grand final.

  • Kane Cornes’ season predictions
  • Jake Niall’s season predictions

Footy coverage coming up in The Age

Monday: Ins, outs, and what to expect from each club in 2023 Real Footy podcast Crystal ball predictions from all our experts.

Wednesday: Expert tips and teams.

Thursday: Follow our live blog for news and expert insights from the Richmond v Carlton season opener at the MCG

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