The 2019 season is fast approaching; this is Penny Dredfell filling in for Longggey; he has gone to Queensland droving with no mobile phone, GPS nor any other tracking device; he says he is up there working on the spiritual aspect of footy – how to play the game now like it will be played in the year 2030. Hopefully, we here from him soon.

Meanwhile, I will fill in for him and help you out a little with the 2019 season. Firstly, let me say that I hate making predictions at this time of year. To illustrate my point, in March 2018 almost nobody tipped the Pies to make the finals except for celebrity tipster Dane Swan.

And nobody east of the Nullarbor showed any interest in the Eagles at the same time.

When you read prospectuses (prospectii?), there is generally a disclaimer stating that past results do not guarantee future performance. It’s the same with the AFL – only ore so this year. There have been changes to the rules and some teams will adapt better (or be more naturally suited to the new rules) than others.

Something I like to look at is the coaching changes – including assistant coaches – and administration. Look at Richmond as an example. The club was struggling off the field 10 years ago (a mixture of financial problems and other things thrown into the mix). Then in comes Brendon Gale and Peggy O’Neal – plus new coach Damien Hardwick. All this led to 3 consecutive finals appearances – then a horror year when they finished 13th in 2016. Multiple assistants coaches went and also Neil Balme crossed from Collingwood to Richmond (with life at the Pies suddenly becoming difficult for him).

Virtually ignored until late in the finals (everyone downplayed their chances after 3 decades of failure) the Tigers were a class above all their finals opponents and put the Crows away with ease on Grand Final day.

So I will review the off-field status of the teams some time soon.