The preseason is over and now the start of the 2009 AFL season is just moments away. Let’s take a look at the crystal ball to see what may pan out. Will there be a repeat of last year’s AFL grand final? Geelong and Hawthorn look like they are still the teams to beat but as we saw last year, being the best doesn’t guarantee AFL results. In addition to skill, a huge slab of luck is involved. The Cats have already lost Josh Hunt for the year after he did his knee. He is a big loss.

Can the West Coast Coast Eagles return to top of the AFL ladder? 2008 was a horror year for the 2006 Premiers who plummeted to second last. John Worsfold will not tolerate another sloppy year. How much are they still missing Ben Cousins and Chris Judd? The AFL fixture pits these two former team-mates against each other first up in what should be a fascinating game between Richmond and Carlton.

Someone who will be desperate for a good year is Demons’ coach, Dean Bailey. The side is struggling both on and off the field and AFL odds have them as the favorite to win the wooden spoon.

In other AFL betting, Sydney appears to be an outsider to make the finals. For a team which has made the top 8 every year since 2003, this looks to be a bit strange.

Essendon and Carlton will both be eager for a good 2009. Carlton hasn’t made the finals since 2001 which is an eternity for a former power-house of the competition. Likewise, Matthew Knights will be keen to guide the Bombers through to the semi finals.

Truth is that there is optimism now at all 16 clubs. Everyone is at 0-0 and confident that this year will be there year. Only one of them can be right though. Finding out who that is will once again be captivating.

David Wiseman is a sports journalist, who writes about all team sports for Betfair Australia. As well as the afl season, he is particularly looking forward to following some afl football betting.