- Scroll down for Jake Niall’s ladder prediction
Could this be the year the blues get their swagger back? AgeJake Niall, senior football writer at , agrees, tipping Carlton not only to finish in the last eight after a decade in the wilderness but, when the stars are out over Ikon Park, to reach the grand final.
The Blues last played in the final in 2013, but only because Essendon was kicked out over the dietary supplement scandal. And before that there was 12 years of pain.
It’s a tall order, but as the Blues head into their second season under former Brisbane Lions champion Michael Voss, expectations are rising. They fell less than a percentage point short of the eight in 2022, but with more midfield support up front for Brownlow medalist Patrick Cripps and Coleman medalists Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow, Niall has them just outside the top four and able to inflicting the maximum damage on the Premiership favourites.
“I think Carlton will come up the ladder,” Niall said.
“They should have made it to the eight last year. I have them in fifth place and I think they will scare a lot of good teams to death. I think they will be right there and if everything goes well they could even be there on the big final day.”
Niall says half the teams in the competition are capable of lifting this year’s flag, making 2023 the most open season in recent memory, and he predicts Melbourne will be back in business to bolster Geelong’s hopes of a comeback to nullify.
Below, Niall puts his reputation on the line to predict this year’s Brownlow Medal and Promoted winners, the story that will dominate the season and explains why the Western Bulldogs won’t go away. His predictions have some similarities to Caroline Wilson’s – she also tips the Demons to win the flag – but Niall is more optimistic about Collingwood.
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/they-ll-scare-the-hell-out-of-sides-why-jake-niall-says-the-blues-could-steal-a-grand-final-spot-20230310-p5cqzy.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Why Jake Niall Says Carlton Blues Could Reach AFL Grand Finals