Everyone has high expectations ahead of the 2018 AFL season.
Those expectations are the result of optimism, as every player, coach and fan carries the belief that this will be their year to achieve deserved glory.
The Richmond Tigers expect to repeat as premiers. The Adelaide Crows expect to break their finals duck after two seasons of dominating the home-and-away season, only to fall on their backsides during finals play.
The Geelong Cats and Greater Western Sydney Giants have spent the off-season plugging gaps and searching for ways to overcome the deficiencies that kept them just short of the ultimate outcome.
The other teams that managed to finish top eight, only to falter, the Port Adelaide Power, the Sydney Swans, the Essendon Bombers and the West Coast Eagles, all expect to kick that one goal, make that one disposal, or that one tackle that could spell the difference between going out in an elimination or surviving to the next round.
The Melbourne Demons, Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn Hawks expect to find the formula that will take them from just outside to playing finals in September.
Even the bottom two from last year’s competition, the Gold Coast Suns and the Brisbane Lions, expect to improve over last year, although expectations of rocketing from 17th and 18th respectively must be tempered by the reality that they both have difficult tasks in front of them.
With Stuart Dew taking over at Gold Coast and Chris Fagan for Brisbane, both expect to be able to build on the positive experiences they bring after being exposed to the positive environment of Hawthorn, where the culture was one where the expectation of winning was built in.
The reports from Queensland are that Dew and Captain Dayne Beams have taken steps in the direction of transforming the culture at Gold Coast from one of dreary resignation to one of optimistic expectation of growth. Much the same can be said of Brisbane.
Key to the resurrection of the Suns and the Lions will be the ability to limit the size of the losses that are inevitable, in order to provide the belief that winning close games is a reasonable expectation.