The predictions that were out on the full

SILENCING THE CRITICS: Jack Watts has been one of the big improvers of 2016.
SILENCING THE CRITICS: Jack Watts has been one of the big improvers of 2016. TRACEY NEARMY

THOUGH still a month out from the finals, it's time in a season to put your hand up and admit you were wrong.

The crystal ball was clearly a little hazy in March.

Thinking Richmond could actually win a final

YOURS truly was one to predict the Tigers to finish at least fifth - which meant they would win their first final since 2001 following three successive elimination final defeats.

With a seemingly mature list, which had learnt from past mistakes, Richmond had been considered a flag outsider, paying $14 with some betting agencies.

The Tigers will end the season as a team suddenly in need of a rebuild - and probably a new coach, though that is unlikely considering the potential payout figure.

Thinking we would have the first Fremantle-West Coast grand final

BOTH teams had been spurred on by recent grand final defeats, the Dockers in 2013 and the Eagles in 2015, and were seemingly still very much a force.

The Dockers, which had welcomed the untapped potential of Harley Bennell, have had their reasons - namely Nat Fyfe, Aaron Sandilands, Michael Johnson and Bennell hardly getting a look in due to injury.

The Eagles, however, have arguably been the biggest underperformers this season. Their list, which had seemingly only been boosted by the arrival of Jack Redden and Lewis Jetta and return of Eric McKenzie, has gone backwards, while game plans have gone out the window.

Thinking Adelaide couldn't become a flag threat without Dangerfield

THE Crows had just lost their best player in Paddy, so to it seemed their spot in the top eight, let alone status as a premiership fancy.

Before round one they were back on the 11th line of betting, paying as much as $34 with some betting outlets.

Ironically, the premiership-Brownlow double of Adelaide- Dangerfield is paying as little as $8, with the Crows now fourth favourite as the likes of Rory Sloane and Brad Crouch have gone to another level and the attack continuing to fire.

Thinking Carlton could 'beat' Essendon for the wooden spoon

EVEN without their 'suspended 12', the Bombers looked a class above the Blues when they met in the pre-season NAB Challenge, winning by 10 goals.

Carlton had undergone another summer clean-out and with Tom Bell, Eddie Betts, Jarrad Waite, Jeff Garlett and Chris Yarran now all missing from the attack you just wondered how they would kick a score.

But we all underestimated the skill of coach Brendon Bolton to at least stop opposition sides kicking goals with a well-organised defence that helped see the side rise to 10th after 11 round. They've still only won six games ... but five more than Essendon.

Thinking Jack Watts was a dud of a No.1 draft selection.

We have all been guilty of slamming the 2008 top pick, who was chosen by the Demons ahead of Nic Naitanui. But in 2016, Watts has finally come of age for the Demons. Better late than never.

He's still no Luke Hodge or Nick Riewoldt - top picks in 2001 and 2000, respectively - but he's become a damn fine player, a terrific third tall who is averaging career-highs of almost two goals a game (34 in 18) and seven marks.

Topics:  adelaide crows carlton blues patrick dangerfield richmond tigers

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