The 2009 AFL home and away season has now come to an end. Off the bat the big success story has been St Kilda while the huge disappointment has been Richmond. St Kilda has finished the season on top of the AFL ladder and looms as the big favourite to capture their first flag since their one and only came in 1966. Geelong are the most likely opponent to meet them in the AFL Grand Final. The Cats have had a great season – not as spectacular as reason years, but still good nevertheless with some fine AFL results.

The Magpies loom as the darkhorse to break up the party. They have been playing some great AFL football and are the form side of the competition. It is difficult to see the AFL premier coming from outside these three teams.

Hawthorn who overachieved in 2008 did it tough in 2009. They are the first Premier in 10 years not to make it in the finals the following year. The Hawks struggled with injuries and should be back bigger and better in 2010.

2009 was the fifth year of Terry Wallace’s grand five year plan but in the end it was all for naught. The Tigers were abysmal and their lack of success would be a concern at Punt Road. They last made the finals in 2001 and this drought doesn’t look like breaking. It’s hard to believe they were the better than the Demons.

One team who just broke their finals drought is Carlton. They were last in the finals in 2001 and face a tricky assignment up at the Gabba in a sudden death final. The Blues won at the Gabba earlier in the year so they know how to win up there. AFL betting has the Lions as a slight favorite.

Essendon should have more problems in Adelaide. Beset by injuries and suspensions, the Crows should run wild over the Bombers. Matthew Lloyd accepted his four week suspension and they travel to Adelaide without Patrick Ryder. This leaves the Bombers very light on and travelling isn’t their strong suit.

Again the Bulldogs are there or thereabouts but their biggest issue has always been the ability to win the big finals. They are also looking for just their second AFL Premiership and if they are to do so they will have to defeat Geelong and at least one of or both of St Kilda and Collingwood. Should be an intriguing AFL Finals campaign. My tips for the weekend are: St Kilda, Geelong, Brisbane and Adelaide.

David Wiseman writes about AFL and Horseracing. This year he hopes to correctly predict the winner of the Melbourne Cup.