So here they are, a little later and shorter than planned, but thankfully just as inaccurate as previous years. I wasn't entirely happy with the statistical analysis of last year, so I've gone back to the completely subjective approach of 2014. Realistically I think 5 teams are in with a shout this year, and unfortunately my Smugglers aren't one of them. So, in alphabetical order, my 2016 previews below (to be released over the next couple of days): Ararat Armadillos I wrote off the Armadillos last year, thinking that @insider had pulled the trade trigger too many times to be competitive. A second place finish after the regular season, with only 4 losses certainly proved me wrong. And he’s been heavily involved in the trade period again, moving on some quality and potential in Wallis and Lonergan. However, these losses have been more than compensated for by the arrival of Gibbs (the steal of the trade period), Rich, and Parish in the draft. Gibbs adds to the significant depth in the Armadillos midfield, and when combined with Treloar and Steven mean that not many teams will be outpointing Ararat there. The loss of D2 Hibberd hurts, and Insider will therefore be relying on Luke McDonald and Adam Tomlinson to get more game-time, as Ararat are now a little light-on down back. The forward line is exciting, with the Chad and Dahlhaus the standouts. And as both a Norf fan and FU owner, Insider will be hoping that Wells can rediscover some of his magic. Throw in the huge-headed Gawn in the ruck and there aren’t many weaknesses to the Armadillos. If they were an AFL team/conclusion: Geelong - after a down year by their own lofty standards in 2015 the addition of a quality midfielder sees them as real contenders. Bangchang Barcrawlers I’m as big a fan of having forward depth as anyone, but the BarCrawlers’ list takes it to a whole new level, with 11 players having forward eligibility. The problem for @choppers is that around half of these guys are borderline/or not best 22 at their clubs. This puts Bangchang in the interesting position that despite having over 40% of their team capable of playing up front, they actually lack depth there. Joey Montagna, and new recruit Sam Gray will provide the bulk of the scoring in that line, with Walters hopefully pushing his scoring closer to a 90 average rather than 80. Captain Selwood is the standout of a decent midfield with Gaff, Adams and Newnes the understudies. The ruck is a concern though, with Choppers desperately hoping that Big Willy Style can find himself back in favour at the Dogs. Otherwise there will be half-points aplenty coming out of Thailand. If they were an AFL team/conclusion: Brisbane – some definite quality in the mids, but there’s not much scoring potential up front. Not the year for the BarCrawlers. Blanchetown Bunyips @martyg went hard in the trade period to secure veterans Mitchell and Swan, as well as the bullocking Ziebell. Unfortunately this boldness was punished by the SC gods with Swan and Ziebell losing forward status. If those 2 slot into the Bunyips forward line, they’re close to flag favourites, but instead they’ll have to settle with merely being a lock for the 8. Dependlebury and Robbie Gray make up one of the best 1-2 midfield combinations in the League. While the depth in that line sees a No.1 draft pick in Lachie Whitfield likely to spend most of the season on the bench. 2014’s Giant tap winner Sam Jacobs is the only playing ruckman at the club, so it’s a good thing that he’s Mr Durable, in the last 4 seasons playing 21, 22, 22 and 21 games. Draftee swingmen Brown and Varcoe add much needed depth to Defence and Forward lines that are solid, but not spectacular. But when you have one of the best midfields, overflowing onto your interchange in the FU, other positions are somewhat redundant. If they were an AFL team/conclusion: Sydney – a perennial contender who should be there when the whips are cracking in 2016. Christmas Island Smugglers The FU’s best looking coach gave up early picks to strengthen the Smugglers weakest lines of Defence and Ruck, by securing Hodge and Maric. Unfortunately Hodgey then went and irresponsibly lost (I’m not ruling out the involvement of alcohol) Def status. However this paled in comparison to the damage done by WADA, with the Smugglers best midfielder – Dyson Heppell - being rubbed out for 2016. The Smugglers have always been a team that have struggled to compete with the better midfields in the FU, so this loss put even more pressure on what has always been CIFC’s strength – the forward line. The Smugglers nabbed the steal of the draft in forward Daniel Menzel, who if fit, allows Dusty Martin to spend more time in the midfield. Brett Deledio, Kurt Tippett and Mark LeCras round out the competition’s best forward line. Christmas Island will employ a 2 ruck strategy this year, with the Mullet supporting Matty Kreuzer around the stoppages. In defence, coach Damo is taking a punt that Trent McKenzie can knuckle down and return to his 2013 form, and so he has first shot at the D4 position. If not, tall timber Jake Lever slots straight in, and Trent will probably be looking for a new home come the MSD. If they were an AFL team/conclusion: Richmond - winning a final is the goal. Unfortunately it won’t happen.