So much has gone on

It feels like it an eternity since giving my last thoughts on the footy world in September.

Hawks the prime example of blending great attack and strong defence

Some big clubs in danger of missing finals series

Since then, Hawthorn, pictured, stamped itself as the AFL's best team for 2013.

Australia went from being a cricket team with little to offer, to a real force with the old aggression and confidence under captain Michael Clarke and coach Darren Lehmann.

Gai Waterhouse’s Fiorente has won three major races, including the Melbourne Cup, to the best horse in the country.

But back to footy. 

2014 looms as yet another huge year, with Fremantle as the main danger, especially after showing a new flair for scoring heavily as it did against Collingwood.

The expansion teams, GWS Giants and Gold Coast Suns, had huge wins in round one against Sydney and Richmond respectively.

There's the possibility that some very big clubs will miss finals action.

It is always risky at this time of year, but I thought I would give my top three predictions for things to watch out for in the AFL in 2014.

Teams will focus on attack as much as defence. 

At times, media, coaches and supporters always roll out the old line "defence wins premierships".

 I don’t totally disagree, but not without a balanced approach to be just as effective when in possession. 

Hawthorn for me is the prime example.

It has a complete defence across the ground but always endeavour to score quickly through its tall and small forwards.

We will have our first year in a very long time the 18 coaches who start the year, finish the year – and may even continue on in 2015.

Mark Thompson and the Essendon situation is the obvious talking point here, but my feel is Thompson will not only see out September if Essendon make the finals, but also 2015 as pressure builds on the club.

Big clubs will miss out on playing finals, and they have reasonable years. 

Any ladder predictions this year will have a mix of 15 clubs, with only Greater Western Sydney, St Kilda and Melbourne definites to miss finals action. 

The end result last year had Essendon and North Melbourne outside the eight.

Both clubs playws exceptional footy at times.

Adelaide had a horror run with injuries and will rebound.

The West  Coast Eagles will be on an up curve with a new coach in Adam Simpson.

We know Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs are coming, but can they squeeze in.

Although I doubt Brisbane is good enough, the Lions did finish off 2013 reasonably well.

However the final eight settles, we know we are in for a cracking finals series as we had last September.

I predict a back-to-back across the board.

A Hawthorn and Fremantle grand final. 

The Hawks to win.  

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