Best side outside of the 8 - and finals bound 2021

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Gavin Excell

Hall of Famer
Apr 22, 2007
AFL Club
Who is the best side out of the 8 in 2020 and the one most likely to be playing finals next year?

According to ladder position Melbourne as the 9th placed side is best but in such a weird and disrupted year there may be an argument for other teams

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Better Than You
May 13, 2007
Heading home
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Kalgoorlie Roos, Subiaco
I see the Crows, Roos, Swans, Hawks and Bombers as the likely sides to stagnate or fall in 2021.

The remaining sides outside the 8 all have the lists that can improve on this year for various reasons.

With a run of luck, injuries and a decent draw either could find themselves as genuine top 8 sides.

Unlikely that Freo and Suns make that transition to top 8 in 2021 as I believe that 2022 will be their year when they have a side mature enough to last out a full season.

That's my take after watching this year unfold.


Premium Platinum
Mar 10, 2007
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
Charlton Athletic, Roys FFC
On capability, it's GWS - but there does seem to be a few issues there. Perhaps they need some change to deliver on their potential.

In terms of heading in the right direction, Carlton and Freo are to two that spring to mind. Melbourne have the capacity to deliver more, but cannot seem to utilise it...


Premiership Player
Jun 19, 2017
AFL Club
West Coast
Pretty clearly GWS. Their problem is literally too many good players and not enough role players. They need pressure forwards and defensive running mids. No other side would have so many players in the top 50 in the comp.
Their problem is a spud of a coach.

A side that talented and only 1 in the AA.
Clearly not playing for him.


Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 4, 2007
AFL Club
GWS - have a few holes to fill - Rucks will be a concern, Shaw down back will be a huge hole in terms of onfield leadership, plus zac williams. Could be a different look for them

Freo & Blues for mine to push into 8 next year

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Brownlow Medallist
Sep 7, 2005
AFL Club
Other Teams
Dallas Mavs, West Ham
I rate Carlton and think Williams will be a great get. Cripps was clearly playing injured this year, they will hopefully get Charlie Curnow back, there's big upside with the likes of Weitering/SPS/Fisher/McKay/Walsh. If they can stop those run ons where opposition teams kick 5+ in a row against them, I expect them to play finals next year.


Senior List
Jun 16, 2012
AFL Club
You’d think GWS with their ridiculously underachieving list but I can only see it getting harder for them at this point. Something is seriously wrong at that club.

If Melbourne can secure a decent addition to their forward line and pull their finger out I’d say them. There’s a lot of talent there with the likes of Gawn, Oliver, Trac, May, Langdon, Viney, Salem etc. Some promising up and comers like Rivers and Pickett. Fritsch is a handy forward and will continue improving but not really someone you’d build a forward line around, while Weideman is still too inconsistent. If they can manage their recruiting well and get a solid preseason into the group I can see them taking the next step.


Brownlow Medallist
Feb 21, 2009
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
Ferrari, Chicago Bulls
Freo, Sydney and GC heading in the right direction.

Other teams are yo-yos

Carlton the easiest to join them, think a mid or two and their much better

GWS, Melbourne and Essendon are head fu**s.

Hawks, North and Adelaide to spend some time at the bottom.


Club Legend
Jun 10, 2007
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
GWS, Blues, Freo, GC

Rest are flawed football teams but the above teams at least either have youth, class coming through and a structure/game plan that everyone can see


Aug 8, 2020
AFL Club
yikes people over rate gws going into 2021 they have lost 4 players who are best 22 already let alone camreon an co who are question marks

freo for me they nailed last years drat big time young will be a star


Brownlow Medallist
Nov 14, 2012
The Sweet Potato is not ready yet.
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
If you use Goals as a measure then Melbourne (155) already finished eight this year replacing Collingwood (139) and to be honest there does need to be some of the hard questions asked at Melbourne.

2020 Goals Ladder: Sponsored by Tradie Body Spray (fresh pits and bits).

Geelong: 182
St Kilda: 171
Port Adelaide: 168
Brisbane: 165
Richmond: 164
West Coast: 162
Western Bulldogs: 159
Melbourne: 155

Hawthorn: 147
Carlton: 146
GWS Giants: 145
Gold Coast: 142
Collingwood: 139
Essendon: 136
Sydney: 128
Fremantle: 127
North Melbourne: 124
Adelaide: 116

Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Adelaide all kicked more Behinds than Goals in 2020.
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Brownlow Medallist
Sep 21, 2004
Adel - SA - Aust - Earth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Norwood & Liverpool.
Its hard to see anyone from the bottom 8 replacing the top 8 but every year it happens.

Melbourne and GWS probably the most likely with Bulldogs and StK most likely to fall out if I had to pick.

Also despite a great season Port can be flaky and are just as likely to finsh 12th next year.

Rich, Geel, WCE, Coll, Bris seem set for a few finals campaigns yet

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