Captains make the call: Flag, best and fairest, most goals, Rising Star, more

JUST days out from the 2020 AFLW season, North Melbourne has been installed as overwhelming favourites to break through for a maiden premiership.

The Kangaroos were tipped by eight of the 14 club captains to make this year's Grand Final in just their second season in the competition in a survey released on Tuesday as part of the NAB AFLW season launch.

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Melbourne received the next highest tally with three votes, with reigning premiers Adelaide receiving two and newcomers Richmond one.

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"We've been really open as a club that we want to win a premiership and we feel like we've got the team to do it," North captain Emma Kearney said.

"Now it's just about backing up those words with our actions.

"We've done the work, like everyone, but we feel like we're a bit more settled in our second year and have built that cohesive game plan which will hopefully help us (get there) this season."

Kearney, the 2018 AFLW best-and-fairest medal winner, was favoured by her peers to take the award again.

 She received three votes, ahead of Anne Hatchard (Adelaide), Kiara Bowers (Fremantle), Daisy Pearce (Melbourne) and Jasmine Garner (North Melbourne), who all garnered two votes.

Western Bulldogs forward Brooke Lochland (three votes) is tipped to win the goalkicking award this season, while four skippers tipped recent No.5 draft pick Georgia Patrikios of St Kilda to win the Rising Star award.

Bulldogs star Brooke Lochland poses for a photo. Picture: AFL Photos

The 2020 AFLW season, the fourth since its inception in 2017, gets under way on Friday night when Richmond host Carlton at Ikon Park.

It will be the first campaign for expansion clubs West Coast, St Kilda, Gold Coast and the Tigers.

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In launching the new season, AFLW boss Nicole Livingstone spruiked new figures that show participation rates amongst women and girls grew to approximately 587,000 last year.

She said that ultimately the league would like to expand to mirror the men's league, with Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Essendon and Sydney awarded licenses.

But that scenario appears some years away.

"There's plenty of examples of leagues going too big, too quickly and not surviving," Livingstone said.

"I think it's really important for us to embed these new clubs.

"What we found going from eight to 10 (last year) is that there are some things the clubs need to get used to, the players need to get used to ... these are professional environments.

"The other clubs are very keen to get involved in AFLW and we continue that dialogue with them, but it's important for us to get these 14 clubs thriving and firing and the 2020 season to be successful."

The full survey results below ...
(captains polled: Adelaide Crows – Chelsea Randall; Brisbane Lions – Emma Zielke; Carlton – Katie Loynes; Collingwood – Steph Chiocci
Fremantle – Kara Antonio; Geelong Cats – Melissa Hickey; Gold Coast Suns – Leah Kaslar; GWS Giants – Alicia Eva; Melbourne – Daisy Pearce; North Melbourne – Emma Kearney; Richmond – Katie Brennan; St Kilda – Rhiannon Watt; West Coast Eagles – Emma Swanson; Western Bulldogs – Ellie Blackburn):

Which other team apart from your own is most likely to reach the Grand Final?
8 – North Melbourne
3 – Melbourne
2 – Adelaide Crows
1 – Richmond

Who will win the competition Best and Fairest?
3 – Emma Kearney (North Melbourne)
2 – Anne Hatchard (Adelaide Crows)
2 – Kiara Bowers (Fremantle)
2 – Daisy Pearce (Melbourne)
2 – Jasmine Garner (North Melbourne)
1 – Karen Paxman (Melbourne)
1 – Monique Conti (Richmond)
1 – Dana Hooker (West Coast Eagles)

Star Roo Emma Kearney has been tipped to win the AFLW's Best and Fairest award. Picture: Getty Images



Who will kick the most goals in the competition?
3 – Brooke Lochland (Western Bulldogs)
1 – Danielle Ponter (Adelaide Crows)
1 – Stevie-Lee Thompson (Adelaide Crows)
1 – Jessica Weutschner (Brisbane Lions)
1 – Darcy Vescio (Carlton)
1 – Roxanne Roux (Fremantle)
1 – Renee Garing (Geelong Cats)
1 – Tegan Cunningham (Melbourne)
1 – Katie Brennan (Richmond)
1 – Kate Shierlaw (St Kilda)
1 – Dana Hooker (West Coast Eagles)
1 – Kirsten McLeod (Western Bulldogs)
 
Who will win the NAB AFL Women's Rising Star?
4 – Georgia Patrikios (St Kilda)
2 – Lucy McEvoy (Carlton)
1 – Madison Newman (Adelaide Crows)
1 – Lily Postlethwaite (Brisbane Lions)
1 – Roxanne Roux (Fremantle)
1 – Denby Taylor (Geelong Cats)
1 – Serene Watson (Gold Coast SUNS)
1 – Sophie Molan (Richmond)
1 – Gabby Newton (Western Bulldogs)
1 – Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Bulldogs)

Big things are expected of No.5 draft pick Georgia Patrikios. Picture: AFL Photos


 
 Who will be the best player from another sport?
4 – Ash Brazill (Collingwood)
2 – Chloe Dalton (Carlton)
1 – Erin Phillips (Adelaide Crows)
1 – Aisling Sheridan (Collingwood)
1 – Sarah Rowe (Collingwood)
1 – Nina Morrison (Geelong Cats)
1 – Cora Staunton (GWS GIANTS)
1 – Sinead Goldrick (Melbourne)
1 – Niamh Kelly (West Coast Eagles)
1 – Danielle Marshall (Western Bulldogs)

In 2019, three captains correctly nominated the Adelaide Crows as the eventual Premiership team and NAB AFL Women's Rising Star winner Madison Prespakis from Carlton was also correctly nominated by three leaders in the build-up to last season.

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