K rock Football

Captains back Cats for grand final

Geelong players celebrate with the 2022 premiership cup. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

REIGNING premiers Geelong will again reach the grand final, according to eight AFL captains who rate Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver as the Brownlow Medal favourite.

The annual survey of 18 club captains reveals Brisbane is most heavily backed to make the finals – 17 skippers picked the Lions, the maximum votes possible.

Geelong and Richmond were favoured to reach the finals by 16 captains when they were asked which club other than their own will make the top eight.

Sydney and Melbourne polled 15 votes, followed by Fremantle (12) and Collingwood (11).

At the other end of the spectrum, no captains believe North Melbourne, West Coast, GWS or Essendon will make the finals, while Adelaide and St Kilda received just one vote.

When asked which other club will reach the grand final, eight captains nominated Geelong, while Melbourne and Brisbane received four votes, and Richmond and Sydney polled once.

Melbourne midfielder Oliver was rated by five captains as the likely Brownlow medallist, with Brisbane’s Lachie Neale and Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw getting three votes.

Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli and Gold Coast co-captain Touk Miller received two votes, while last year’s medallist Patrick Cripps polled one vote, along with Christian Petracca and Sydney’s Callum Mills.

Geelong’s attacking ace Jeremy Cameron and Richmond spearhead Tom Lynch topped favouritism to lead the league’s goalkicking with six votes each.

And Brisbane’s highly rated newcomer Will Ashcroft was the overwhelming favourite to claim the Rising Star award – he received eight votes, with the Bulldogs’ Sam Darcy next-best with two.

(C) AAP 2023