The 2018 AFL season isn’t too far away now and for us it couldn’t come sooner.

It’s been another busy off-season for us with many hours spent into model development once again. In terms of the model itself, no drastic changes have been made from the previous two seasons.

The player ratings approach that we have applied has proven to consistently find an edge against the market, and is a significantly better approach than any team-based methodology out there. We have played around with some model inputs, and now have the benefit of a wider range of advanced statistics on which to base our player ratings calculations.

We are always looking for ways to improve the model and this doesn’t change after a winning season no matter how much we profit.

As such, we’re confident that we’re in a very good position to take advantage of the value presented in the market from the commencement of the season once again.

Looking forward to the season outlook for 2018; from a glance it looks like the changing of the guard will continue in the year ahead.

After a long period of domination by the likes of Hawthorn and Sydney, the last few years have seen the emergence of some clubs haven’t been as exposed to the limelight in recent history. The Western Bulldogs picked up their first premiership in over 60 years in 2016 before Richmond took the honours last year for the first time since 1980.

After a very active trading season for the league as a whole, a few teams in particular made obvious moves towards a premiership attempt in 2018. We’ll go through some of the higher profile moves below and discuss their possible implications.

Adelaide

Ins: Bryce Gibbs, Sam Gibson
Outs: Charlie Cameron, Jake Lever, Harrison Wigg

Bryce Gibbs is a huge in for the Crows, who will again be right in the mix for the flag this year after finishing the regular season in 2017 as minor premiers only to go down in the Granny against Richmond.

Gibbs will definitely have an immediate impact at the club and will improve an already dangerous midfield combination. The loss of Jake Lever down back however will definitely leave its mark on the defensive unit at Adelaide.

Brisbane

Ins: Charlie Cameron, Luke Hodge
Outs: Josh Schache, Tom Rockliff

Two big moves for Brisbane in the trade period this year with ex-captain Rocky departing for Port Adelaide. His place in the leadership group should be more than adequately filled by the arrival of Luke Hodge, who captained the Hawks to three premierships from 2013-15.

Whilst Brisbane will be in no position to contest the flag this year, his inclusion in the club should greatly help the playing group and add some much needed experience to the Brisbane roster.

Geelong

Ins: Gary Ablett
Outs: Darcy Lang, Steven Motlop

Look no further than the return of Geelong’s favourite son Gary Ablett. A deal that had been in the works for a long time and no doubt the fans at Cardinia Park will be relishing the return of one of the best players of this generation.

The addition of Ablett to the Cat’s midfield makes it an even tougher proposition to face up against, joining other stars in Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood. With those three alone Geelong will be a threat to tear apart practically any team this year, and as such they will certainly be in the conversation for the flag in 2018.

Melbourne

Ins: Harley Balic, Jake Lever
Outs: Jack Watts

As mentioned previously, Jake Lever is a quality addition to this Demons side. They showed glimpses of brilliance last year and will ultimately be looking to take their game to the next level in 2018. With the current list they have at their disposal they are certainly in a position to give it a good crack.

Losing Jack Watts was a tough call to make but it did show that they are willing to make the ruthless decisions to get ahead in this competition. They are well poised to make a run at the finals and could even find themselves competing for a spot in the top 4 come the end of September.

Port Adelaide

Ins: Steven Motlop, Tom Rockliff, Jack Watts
Outs: Brendon Ah Chee, Logan Austin, Jarman Impey, Matthew Lobbe, Jackson Trengove, Aaron Young

Whilst parting ways with a lot of players that have been regulars in the starting 22 for Port over the last few seasons, it can’t be denied that Port Adelaide fared very well, if not the best of all clubs, in the trade period.

Whilst it remains to be seen how the incoming trio will perform in the coming season, their addition to the Power side makes their current list look extremely dangerous. The forwards and midfields are looking particularly strong, packed with potential All Australian players come the end of the season.

Only time will tell but Port obviously have their eyes set on a run for the Premiership this year, and with the quality of players on this list it is definitely possible.

After running season simulations off the back of our preseason analysis, we have found several value bets in the futures markets at extremely lucrative odds. These tips will be released to subscribers later this week when we release our full preview for the season ahead.

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