Who can beat the Tigers in 2020

The Tigers stormed home in the second half of the 2019 AFL season to claim their 12th premiership.

Richmond knocked off Brisbane and Geelong in the finals to march on to the big dance before tearing apart GWS to claim the silverware. It capped off a 12-game win streak for Damien Hardwick’s team to look as good as they have during their modern resurgence.

The Tigers go into the 2020 season as the favourites yet again and will be the team to beat. Can anyone stop the reigning premiers from going back-to-back? We take a look at the chief contenders.

West Coast

The Eagles are tipped as the biggest challenger to Richmond in 2020. The 2018 premiers endured an indifferent 2019 campaign, blowing their round 23 clash against the Hawks and a top four spot with it.

Missing the double chance proved to be a huge blow to Adam Simpson’s side, bowing out of September in a semi-final loss to Geelong at the MCG.

However, West Coast look as good as any in 2020. This team was already elite and they just got even stronger, adding star midfielder Tim Kelly after he requested a trade back to his Western Australia.

Kelly will help round out arguably the best midfield in the competition, joining the likes of Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo and Dom Sheed in what certainly has the potential to be a premiership engine room. Bet on Australian sports here.  

If Nic Naitanui can stay on the park next season he will provide a big boost, while father time is catching up to Josh Kennedy and they will want to maximise his pairing with Jack Darling. It will be interesting to see who takes over the Eagles captaincy in 2020 and lead this group forward after Shannon Hurn stood down. Shuey, Gaff and Jeremy McGovern loom as the likely candidates.

Collingwood

The Pies fell agonisingly short of a premiership in 2018 and a grand final in 2019. They will be hoping that it’s third time lucky with this group as they enter 2020 as primed as before to go all the way. And they’ve shown they can beat the Tigers on the big stage before.

The Pies are filled with stars on every line but bat particularly deep in the midfield, boasting names like Scott Pendlebury, Brodie Grundy, Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams. They will be hoping to get a bigger return from Dayne Beams after he missed most of last season with injuries and off-field issues.

Maybe the biggest obstacle for Nathan Buckley’s side in 2020 is ensuring that the situation with their off-contract players does not become a distraction. Pendlebury, Grundy, Darcy Moore and Jordan De Goey all come off their deals at the end of the season and the club will be desperate to retain the quartet.

Reports recently emerged that Grundy had agreed to a new blockbuster seven-year deal with Collingwood but there is still plenty to play out with the others, who could undoubtably get bigger pay days elsewhere. Alas, the Pies figure to be a big threat to the Tigers in 2020.



GWS

The Giants ultimately proved to be the biggest challenger to the Tigers in 2019. But can they back it up next season?

Leon Cameron’s side has been in contention for several seasons now and the talent on this list has never been questioned. It feels like now might be as ready as they’ve ever been with regards to the age profile, experience and star power.

Their midfield group including newly-named skipper Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper stacks up to any and a preliminary final win over Collingwood at the MCG ended a hoodoo that haunted them in recent times. Throw in the reigning Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron up forward and this team is deadly dangerous.

This team has all the tools to win the flag in 2020 in what could shape as the year when the stars align for the AFL’s newest expansion side. However, things can go either way for clubs that’ve got smashed on the grand final stage the following season. It can be the making of them, or break them. Giants fans will be hoping for the former and for Leon Cameron to finally drive this Ferrari into the sunset. 

 

 

 

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