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23 Early AFL Predictions for 2023


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The Gawn-Grundy combo works like a charm

It’s the pairing that has everyone wondering just how it’s going to actually work, but as Simon Goodwin told AFL 360 earlier this year, “We wouldn’t have had these discussions if we didn’t think it would work.” Add to Goodwin’s comments the fact Max Gawn played a big part in selling Brodie Grundy on the move to the Dees and there is clearly immense buy-in and an idea as to how this dynamic will function. If it works, it’ll work big, with Melbourne’s spluttering forward mix potentially becoming supercharged as a result. It was a down year for Melbourne but there are plenty of reasons for optimism in 2023 and we’re tipping ‘Gawndy’, ‘Grawn’ or whatever you want to call it will be one of them.

Pickett becomes the competition’s prized signature

He became a Demons’ premiership player at just 20 years of age and has the composure to win games off his boot. And at just 22 years of age, Kysaiah Pickett will come out of contract with around 80 AFL games under his belt – making him the perfect candidate for a big trade deal. Given Melbourne already lost Pickett’s fellow 2019 draftee Luke Jackson, they’ll be keen to hang on to their livewire forward. But can they afford it? With ample cap space already committed to the likes of Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca, Pickett may have to sacrifice a big payday to stay at Melbourne. Will the lure of family see him move interstate? Rival clubs reportedly showed interest in Pickett in 2022. Then there’s other Victorian clubs who surely would circle the proven match-winner. Pickett’s signature will be the one to watch in 2023.

Harry Petty proves himself … as a forward

The Demons struggled to find avenues to goal in 2022. It took until the final quarter of their semi-final loss to Brisbane for Melbourne to uncover a possible solution: Harrison Petty. The key-position player showed he has the ability and composure to be the big target they need to support the likes of Ben Brown and Bailey Fritsch. Tom McDonald is also due back after struggling with an ankle injury and taking no part after Round 10, giving coach Simon Goodwin plenty of tall options in attack. The Demons already have a strong backline with the experience of Steven May and Jake Lever, so can they shift Petty into a role forward in 2023? It’s worth a look.

... and just for a little bit of schadenfreude

The Luke Jackson trade doesn’t solve Freo’s forward line woes … but a fit Fyfe does

It’s no secret Fremantle haven’t found that big game forward who can turn a game off his boot since Matthew Pavlich retired. And while the Dockers went all-in to secure Demons premiership young gun Luke Jackson, he won’t be the player to fill that void in 2023. Fremantle footy boss Peter Bell says Jackson will play “a large proportion forward” as Sean Darcy takes the lead role in the ruck. But without Rory Lobb, and Matt Taberner’s run of soft tissue woes, the Dockers need someone to step up and kick bags if they are to progress past the semi finals. Enter Nat Fyfe — the real football unicorn, not Jackson. He’s the only two-time Brownlow Medallist currently in the AFL and a player who can turn a match in a matter of minutes. And now, he’s no longer needed to do that in the midfield. Fremantle have recruited a mighty midfield with the likes of Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong and Will Brodie. Throw Jackson into that midfield mix and it will allow Fyfe to play predominantly forward. If the superstar can solve his accuracy yips – look out 2023 as Fyfe has some of the best hands in the AFL.

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Just now, Deebauched said:

Who replaces Petty if he goes forward?

Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

He'll stay put at chb.

Tomlinson or Turner would need the best preseason of all time for that move to happen naturally 

OR T Mac & BBB both cop medium/long term injuries at the same time

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