Once again, 18 teams will be competing in 23 rounds of the home and away format with the ultimate goal of challenging for the illustrious Grand Final award, historically the last Saturday in September.
Running over 124 seasons, elite AFL was originally established as a state competition but has evolved into a vibrant national affair. Typically, the 10 current Victorian-based teams compete for bragging rights with some of the biggest clashes taking place at the internationally renowned MCG.
One such game is the annual Anzac Day (April 25) clash between Collingwood and Essendon, something on the bucket list for every AFL supporter.
Always a meeting of the highest calibre with over 90,000 die-hard fans cheering each team on while, most importantly, remembering our fallen war heroes, this year’s edition will take place under floodlights for the first time.
The Indigenous round where homage is paid to the wonderful players of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, past and present, celebrated by all teams and honoured by the general population with huge crowds and team jumpers adorned with aboriginal emblems and artwork.
“Dreamtime at the ‘G” pays homage to indigenous players in the annual game between Essendon and Richmond which brings home the true meaning of mateship and reconciliation.
Too many names to mention but the likes of Farmer, Burgoyne, Cable, Wanganeen, O’Loughlin, Krakouer, Goodes, Winmar, Dempsey and, of course Long are prime examples of players standing proud of their heritage and their team.
New players entering the foray and bringing their heritage to this wonderful game including Sudanese such as Daw, Aliir, Jok and Chol, all finding the highest level of skill to participate in this tough game.
Spectators playing their crucial role with over 6.8 million attending home and away throughout the 2019 season, culminating in over 100,000 at the September Grand Final.
Will Richmond remain favourites this season?
Can the newest franchise Greater Western Sydney pick up the pieces from their demoralising grand final loss in 2019?
Can Essendon make the final and finally triumph for the first time in over 15 years?
Can Brisbane bring the same attitude that garnished them with a such a fine result in 2019?
Can Sydney recover from a poor 2019 with the dynamic Buddy Franklin playing such a key role?
Can the lower teams such as Gold Coast, Carlton and Melbourne find their rhythm and cause a few upsets among the top order?
So many questions and potential scenarios, the answers to which will start to present themselves as we kick off the 2020 season next Thursday when two powerhouse clubs meet.
Frankly, I cannot predict a winner but am thoroughly looking forward to a season of enthralling footie action as the anthem that brings all supporters together rings in my mind…
“Up there Cazaly, in there and fight.
Out there and at ’em,
show ’em your might.
Up there Cazaly, show ’em your height.
Fight like the devil, the crowd’s on your side.”
Bring it on.