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cats the big improvers say AFL captains

The AFL has conducted its annual poll of the 18 club captains on the eve of the season and have declared that Geelong is the team most likely to jump into the final eight this season.

As per recent seasons, the club captains were confidentially polled on five key questions on the season ahead and the captains believe the Cats will return to September after missing last year’s finals, while last year’s Grand Finalists Hawthorn and West Coast are the teams to beat for the premiership.

The captains were asked which seven other teams, apart from their own, could make the finals and which other club, apart from their own, could make the grand final. A total of 12 different clubs were considered possible chances to contest the finals and six different clubs were considered for a grand final berth. Hawthorn, West Coast, Fremantle and Geelong were also the only unanimous choices by every other captain to qualify for finals action.

Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield was the choice of four captains to win the Brownlow Medal, with Gary Ablett, Nat Fyfe and Dan Hannebery each drawing three votes apiece.

Reigning John Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy received seven votes as the choice to lead the goalkicking this season and claim the John Coleman Medal while Sydney’s Callum Mills (seven votes) was the leading tip to win the Rising Star Award and claim the Ron Evans Medal. The full list of voting is:

Which seven other clubs do you think can make this year’s top eight? 

(18 times seven selections.)

Fremantle (17), Geelong Cats (17), Hawthorn (17), West Coast (17), Sydney Swans (14), Port Adelaide (12), Richmond (7), North Melbourne (6), GWS Giants (6), Western Bulldogs (6), Adelaide Crows (4), Collingwood (3)

Which other club is most likely to reach the Grand Final?

(11 Captains picked eventual premier Hawthorn in 2015)

Hawthorn (7), West Coast (5), Fremantle (3), Geelong Cats (1), Richmond (1), Sydney Swans (1).

Who do you think will win the 2016 Brownlow Medal?

(Four captains correctly nominated Nat Fyfe in 2015).

Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong Cats, four votes), Gary Ablett (Gold Coast Suns, three votes), Nat Fyfe (Fremantle, three votes), Dan Hannebery (Sydney Swans, three votes), Josh Kennedy (Sydney Swans, one vote), Tom Liberatore (Western Bulldogs, one vote), Dustin Martin (Richmond, one vote), Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood, one vote), Luke Shuey (West Coast, one vote).

Who do you think will win the 2016 Coleman Medal?

(One captain correctly nominated Josh Kennedy in 2015).

Josh Kennedy (West Coast, seven votes), Lance Franklin (Sydney Swans, four votes), Tom Hawkins (Geelong Cats, two votes), Taylor Walker (Adelaide Crows, two votes), Jeremy Cameron (GWS Giants, one vote), Charlie Dixon (Port Adelaide, one vote), Jack Riewoldt (Richmond, two votes).

Who do you think will win the 2016 NAB AFL Rising Star? 

(No captain correctly nominated Jesse Hogan in 2015).

Callum Mills (Sydney Swans, seven votes), Clayton Oliver (Melbourne, three votes), Darcy Moore (Collingwood, two votes), Jacob Weitering (Carlton, two votes), Callum Ah Chee (Gold Coast Suns, one vote), Wayne Milera (Adelaide Crows, one vote), Christian Petracca (Melbourne, one vote), Josh Schache (Brisbane Lions, one vote).

The AFL captains all gathered in Melbourne on Thursday March 17 for a full day of activities that included signing sessions, photography shoots, an open media session, lunch with the AFL Board and the season’s launch at Docklands Studio. A gallery of photographs from their big day is included below:

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Click here to see your club’s leadership group for the 2016 season.