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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Annual Captains' Predictions

March 18 marked the AFL's official 2010 season launch. Among the activities was the annual survey presented to all AFL club captains who gathered at the MCG for photographs. The majority believed that Geelong would be seriously challenged by Saint Kilda and the Western Bulldogs. Ten of the captains predicted the 2010 Rising Star Award would be won either by West Coast's Nic Naitanui or by Kangaroo Jack Ziebell whose 2009 season was cut short due a broken leg. Geelong's Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood (the 2007 Rising Star) were widely fancied to take out the Brownlow Medal while Barry Hall, Brendan Fevola and Lance Franklin were favorites to win the Coleman Medal for the leading goalscorer.

The questions posed to the captains and the result are listed below.

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

Collingwood (15), St Kilda (15), Western Bulldogs (15), Brisbane Lions (14), Geelong Cats (14), Adelaide (13), Hawthorn (12), Port Adelaide (five), Essendon (two), North Melbourne (two), Sydney Swans (two), West Coast (two), Carlton (one), Fremantle (nil), Richmond (nil), Melbourne (nil)

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

St Kilda (6), Western Bulldogs (6), Geelong Cats (3), Collingwood (1)

Who do you think will win the 2010 Brownlow Medal?

Gary Ablett, Geelong (3), Joel Selwood, Geelong (2), Nick Dal Santo, St Kilda (2), Chris Judd, Carlton (2), Simon Black, Brisbane Lions (1), Adam Goodes, Sydney Swans (1), Barry Hall, Western Bulldogs (1), Brent Harvey, North Melbourne (1), Lenny Hayes, St Kilda (1), Leigh Montagna, St Kilda (1), Dane Swan, Collingwood (1)

Who do you think will win the 2010 Coleman Medal?

Brendan Fevola, Brisbane Lions (5), Barry Hall, Western Bulldogs (4), Lance Franklin, Hawthorn (4), Daniel Bradshaw, Sydney Swans (1), Jonathon Brown, Brisbane Lions (1), Nick Riewoldt, St Kilda (1).

Who do you think will win the 2010 NAB AFL Rising Star?

Nic Naitanui, West Coast (5), Jack Ziebell, North Melbourne (5), Jack Trengove, Melbourne (2), Ben Cunnington, North Melbourne (1), Dustin Martin, Richmond (1), Andrew Moore, Port Adelaide (1), Anthony Morabito, Fremantle (1).

Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release

Hawks Ruck Woes

Hawthorn suffered a major blow to their ruck stocks when former Bulldog Wade Skipper was ruled out for eight weeks with a severe hamstring injury requiring surgery. Skipper, selected by the Hawks via the rookie draft, was injured during Hawthorn's final practice match. The Hawks lost Robert Campbell to retirement at the end of 2009 and his backup Simon Taylor is virtually out for the season after breaking his leg in an early practice game. He will miss eight months. Max Bailey, who has played a total of four games since his 2006 debut due to knee injuries, is again in rehab after yet a third knee reconstruction.

Luke Lowden, who was picked up by the Hawks in the recent draft, is currently on the long-term injury list as well. This means the ruck load will fall to Brent Renouf, who played in Hawthorn's premiership in his first season. Renouf is still relatively inexperienced having played just 23 games. His only possible support will come from the just drafted Sam Grimley.

Source: ABC Grandstand Sport

Article last changed on Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 11:10 PM EDT

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