AFLW Season 8 predictions: Who wins the flag, biggest riser, best and fairest, and more

With just days until the AFLW Season 8 opener, it's time we look into our crystal balls and attempt to predict the season ahead.

Who will win the premiership? What are our BIG calls of the year?

Our football experts have answered these questions, and many more, ahead of the home and away season.

Marissa Lordanic

Premier: I had Melbourne as my way-too-early prediction for the premiership and I am standing by that call. Get ready for FlagDees 2: electric boogaloo.

Runner-up: I genuinely believe this is the year North Melbourne hit that next level but unfortunately they won't be able to get past the Demons.

Biggest riser: I expect Fremantle to bounce right back up the ladder and for season seven to be more of an apparition than an indicator of long-term form.

Biggest slider: I think Brisbane will still play finals but I do think they will slide right down the ladder.

Wooden Spoon: Sydney will nab their first win this season but I don't think it'll be enough to get them off the foot of the table.

Best & Fairest: It's Jas Garner's year.

Leading Goalkicker: Kate Shierlaw's move to North is going to bring with it a flurry of goals.

Rising Star: Alana Gee is the name on everyone's lips, especially the AFLW captains, and I'm joining that chorus.

BIG call for the year: No team will go through the season undefeated and no team will go through the season winless.

Imogen Evans (Collingwood)

Premier: It's hard to go past reigning premiers Melbourne as the favourites for the 2023 AFLW flag. The squad has remained relatively the same over the off-season, which is an encouraging prospect for the side's success.

Runner-up: Adelaide have dominated the AFLW since inception, but I don't think they'll get over the Dees this year.

Biggest riser: From finishing 17th last year, to winning both preseason matches against the Giants and Saints, Port Adelaide have had a promising start to their Season 8 campaign.

Biggest slider: Brisbane has been top of the table every year. They'll definitely still see success in Season 8, but I think their chokehold on the competition will loosen significantly.

Wooden Spoon: Despite the inclusion of Chloe Molloy and Lucy Mcevoy over the preseason, I think this season is going to be another year of learning for the young Sydney side.

Best & Fairest: Coming so close to the top last year, I think Mon Conti will enter the competition with fire in her belly and something to prove.

Leading Goalkicker: Following Melbourne's expected dominance this year, Tayla Harris is going to have the best opportunity to consistently score this year.

Rising Star: I've been on the G-train since being Alana Gee's teammate through the talent pathway, after having last year off to recover from a back injury. I have no doubt she will take the competition by storm in Season 8.

BIG call for the year: Season 8 will see the highest scores in history of AFLW.

Isadora McLeay (GWS)

Premier: Melbourne looks just as strong this year despite losing Daisy Pearce, which only gives more room for other players step up. The depth in this Demons side is unmatched.

Runner-up: Last year North Melbourne managed to beat the lower teams out of the park but struggled to finish off the close games against the higher teams. A preseason of fine tuning and adding versatile forward Kate Sheirlaw to the mix should give them an extra boost against those better teams.

Biggest riser: Port Adelaide has looked very strong in their two preseason victories. Having more time to develop as a team has benefited their young stars, with less reliance on their more experienced players such as Erin Phillips, teammates such as Abbey Dowrick could be set for a big year.

Biggest slider: Despite a top four finish on the ladder, during finals we saw Richmond go out in straight sets. Although just a practice match, I don't think many predicted a Giants victory over a fully fit Tigers side. Containing superstar Monique Conti will be key for opposition teams.

Wooden Spoon: With such a young side and a core of future stars, there's no doubt West Coast will be a force in the future, but I believe this year will be a year of learning.

Best & Fairest: Jasmine Garner starred last season for North Melbourne, and what I believe will be a better season for North will be off the back of some more Garner magic.

Leading Goalkicker: Kate Shierlaw's marking ability and great kick at goal will be hard for opposition to control.

Rising Star: Jas Fleming speeding through the Hawthorn midfield last year was a beautiful sight, and with a full preseason under her belt and no year 12 exams to worry about, It will be exciting to see what she can produce this year.

BIG call for the year: Fremantle will be back in the top eight.

Elly McNerney

Premier: Melbourne

Runner-up: North Melbourne

Biggest riser: Port Adelaide

Biggest slider: Brisbane

Wooden Spoon: Carlton

Best & Fairest: Monique Conti

Leading Goalkicker: Ashleigh Saint

Rising Star: Jas Fleming

BIG call for the year: Port Adelaide will make the AFLW finals for the first time in club's history.

Jesse Robinson

Premier: Melbourne

Runner-up: North Melbourne

Biggest riser: Hawthorn

Biggest slider: Richmond

Wooden Spoon: Sydney

Best & Fairest: Monique Conti

Leading Goalkicker: Kate Shierlaw

Rising Star: Jas Fleming

BIG call for the year: Ash Saint and Jesse Wardlaw's most goals in one season record will be broken and set at at least 25 goals.

Jarryd Barca

Premier: Is this the year North Melbourne finally do it? They're solid across the park, and in addition to their star-studded midfield, the Roos have now added Kate Shierlaw to an already potent forward line just to give more headaches to opposing defences.

Runner-up: Melbourne isn't going anywhere, and will be ready to strike again after their maiden premiership win last season.

Biggest riser: Fremantle were really disappointing last season but that was largely to an unfortunately large injury list. They will be ready to bounce back this year with a midfield led by Kiara Bowers and Hayley Miller.

Biggest slider: Richmond made the finals last season and it wouldn't shock to see them there again, but are they really a top four team? With the amount of list turnover they've endured, and improvement in other teams, I'm not so sure.

Wooden Spoon: Sydney is another team with plenty of change from the list that went winless in Season 7. And although Lucy McEvoy and Chloe Molloy are more than handy inclusions, it's going to be another season of learning for the Swans.

Best & Fairest: Georgie Prespakis announced herself as a star of the competition the first time she stepped foot onto an AFLW field, and this year, I think she's going to explode for a Cats team who should improve from their fifth-placed finish last season.

Leading Goalkicker: Kate Hore booted 17 goals last season and had multiple scoring shots in nine of her 13 games played, and it's not as if the Dees aren't going to get a lack of supply in Season 8...

Rising Star: Jasmine Fleming played nine games last season and in every one she gave us an indication she will develop into a star very quickly. She'll play a key role in that Hawks midfield again, and only benefit from the inclusion of competition best and fairest winner Emily Bates.

BIG call for the year: Two seasons in the competition and still zero wins for the Swans, as the AFL's decision to rush expansion comes under fire.

Matt Walsh

Premier: We've seen teams in the AFLW able to win multiple premierships in a dynasty before (looking at you, Adelaide), so seeing Melbourne go back-to-back wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. They're a deep, talented team across the board.

Runner-up: North Melbourne are primed for a deep run. Key forward duo Kate Shierlaw and Emma King will worry other teams, and the midfield led by Jasmine Garner is ready to compete with the best.

Biggest riser: The Swans have added too many classy additions to not rise up the ladder. Winless last year, some further leadership has come into the club with Chloe Molloy and Lucy McEvoy.

Biggest slider: Man, the Lions have lost a lot of star power in the past couple of seasons, including best and fairest winner Emily Bates and last season's competition leading goalkicker Jesse Wardlaw. I'm not saying they won't make finals, but making a Grand Final may be a stretch!

Wooden Spoon: West Coast might get the men's and women's double - an unwanted claim no doubt!

Best & Fairest: If I'm backing North to make the Grand Final, I'm backing Jasmine Garner to win the Best & Fairest.

Leading Goalkicker: Could Jesse Wardlaw go back-to-back? Might be a bit tough in a new team, but the Saints have some prime movers in the midfield and the hole left by Kate Shierlaw leaving means it's primed for Wardlaw.

Rising Star: Imogen Evans hasn't stopped talking about Alana Gee all preseason, so I'm backing the Suns' youngster!

BIG call for the year: The CBA comes in with some welcomed news - a 17-round season in 2024, and investment in women's footy which means a liveable full-time wage for all players.


Premier: Melbourne (6), North Melbourne (1)

Runner-up: North Melbourne (4), Melbourne (1), Adelaide (1)

Biggest riser: Port Adelaide (3), Fremantle (2), Sydney (1), Hawthorn (1)

Biggest slider: Brisbane (4), Richmond (3)

Wooden Spoon: Sydney (4), West Coast (2), Carlton (1)

Best & Fairest winner: Jas Garner (3), Mon Conti (3), Georgie Prespakis (1)

Leading Goalkicker: Kate Shierlaw (3), Jesse Wardlaw (1), Kate Hore (1), Ashleigh Saint (1), Tayla Harris (1)

Rising Star: Jasmine Fleming (4), Alana Gee (3)