Giants, Eagles tipped for AFL grand final

Shayne Hope
A poll of AFL captains has picked Carlton star Patrick Cripps to win the 2020 Brownlow Medal

Greater Western Sydney and West Coast have been tipped by rival club captains to dethrone AFL kings Richmond in 2020.

In the AFL's annual poll of on-field leaders, the skippers also picked Carlton's Patrick Cripps to win his first Brownlow Medal and installed Gold Coast teenager Matt Rowell as a raging favourite to win the Rising Star award.

Captains were asked to pick which opposition club was most likely to reach the grand final, rather than who would win it.

Seven opposition skippers believed the Giants' horror 89-point grand-final thrashing at the hands of Richmond last September would put adequate fire in their bellies to see them reach the season decider again.

Five picked 2018 premiers West Coast to be there, while only four thought Richmond would continue a period of dominance that has reaped two flags in the past three seasons.

Collingwood (two votes) were the only other side to rate a mention in grand-final reckoning this year.

"I still think Richmond are the (team to beat), I had them as my No.1," Giants captain Stephen Coniglio said.

"More than anything, our expectations of ourselves are high and they've always been high.

"In terms of saying top-two or top-four or anything, I'm not really about that.

"As a team we know what we're capable of and we know our best is right up there with the best in the competition."

All 17 rival captains predicted the Giants, Eagles and Tigers would reach the finals.

Collingwood (16 votes), Brisbane (15) and the Western Bulldogs (13) were also popular picks for the top-eight, as were Port Adelaide, who scored 10 votes despite finishing 10th last year.

Five captains tipped 2018 preliminary finalists Melbourne to bounce back from last year's horror five-win season to reach the top-eight.

But little is expected of Adelaide, Fremantle and bottom clubs Gold Coast and Carlton, who were all unanimously tipped to miss out again.

In the individual awards, Blues co-captain Cripps garnered five votes in Brownlow Medal voting ahead of Brisbane ball-magnet Lachie Neale (four) and Fremantle's two-time winner Nat Fyfe (three).

Richmond forward Lynch (six votes) was picked ahead of last year's winner Jeremy Cameron in Coleman Medal voting.

Gold Coast's No.1 draft pick Rowell (nine votes) was the most popular Rising Star pick, with Giant Tom Green and St Kilda's Max King (two votes each) also fancied.

Plenty is expected of King this season after injury kept the key forward sidelined for most of his first year at the Saints.