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Aussie Rules: Contenders for the 2023 premiership

The 2023 AFL season is almost upon us and it is time to take a look at the contenders for the Premiership and whether anyone can stop Geelong going back-to-back.

2022 was a very exciting campaign at the top of the ladder and there was little to separate the top six sides in the competition.

Geelong were the stand-out side throughout the season and in the finals campaign and there can be no argument – the best side won the grand final.

However in 2023 it could be a wide open affair once again as Melbourne look to win back the flag they claimed in 2021 before letting it go. Brisbane are always there or thereabouts and will be again this season, while the Richmond Tigers look well placed to return to the top.

Sydney will be out to put their disappointing grand final loss behind them while Collingwood will be keen to build on the progress they made last season. As always there could also be one or two dark horses so let’s take a look at the contenders as the season fast approaches.

Geelong (9/2)

The Cats dominated in 2022 when winning 18 of the 22 matches played in the regular season, before cleaning up in finals. They smashed the Sydney Swans in the grand final and look sure to kick on again in the season ahead as they have a list packed with quality and will be full of confidence.

Skipper Joel Selwood may have retired but they still have plenty of experience with the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and Jeremy Cameron in the ranks. Then they have the up-and-coming stars like Max Holmes and Sam de Koning so Geelong look set for another big year.

Melbourne (13/2)

The Demons swept aside all that was put before them in 2021 when marching to grand final glory and were expected to be big hitters again in 2022.

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However despite a very strong start it did not pan out that way as they were hit by injuries and one or two issues away from the field that resulted in a disappointing campaign on the whole.

They will be keen to prove a point and bounce back in the new season. They still have a list packed with quality including Clayton Oliver, Max Gawn and Christian Petracca so are capable of regaining the flag in 2023.

Brisbane (7/1)

The Lions have an outstanding record of playing finals in recent years and despite slipping down the ladder slightly in 2022 to finish sixth they should be pushing higher in the season ahead.

They have a list packed with quality and a good mix of youth and experience. Captain Dayne Zorko has been struggling with a niggling hamstring injury but it is nothing serious and he will be ready to fire for the new season. The skipper will be crucial to their chances of having a good year.

Richmond (8/1)

After winning three flags in four seasons and then dropping out of the top eight completely in 2021, the Tigers showed signs of improvement when playing finals in 2022.

They are all set to improve again with three-time Norm Smith Medallist Dustin Martin expected to be fully fit and firing again following a disappointing 2022.

They have also recruited well when snapping up Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto from GWS. The experience is still there with Jack Riewoldt and Trent Cotchin while they have plenty of exciting young players like Shai Bolton, Noah Cumberland and Josh Gibcus.

Sydney (8/1)

The Swans will have gone away and licked their wounds following the humiliating grand final defeat but they have the potential to get back there in 2023.

The legend that is Lance Franklin will be leading the line in what could be his last year in the game and there are plenty of young guns that will give coach John Longmire plenty of reason to be optimistic.

They include Chad Warner, James Rowbottom and Dylan Stephens, while the Swans also have one of the best midfielders in the comp in the form of Luke Parker.

Collingwood (9/1)

The Pies were very much the surprise package under the leadership of first-year coach Craig McRae who took them from the lower regions of the ladder and into finals. They made the top four winning 16 games and a number of those were close encounters that went their way.

It could be a tough ask for Collingwood to do the same again this season but they will be out to prove the doubters wrong once again.

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