Easter means many things to a vast array of people, but to footy fans it means the season is finally back!
Some of the AFL’s fiercest rivalries feature in round one of competition, but it’s not just the rivalries that will have the footy fraternity licking their lips … there’s the return of superstar Buddy Franklin from personal dramas, a Bombers team decimated and demoralised by drug-related sanctions and the history-making Hawks hoping to equal the 1930 ‘Pies with a fourth straight premiership.
As for the round 1 on-field action … here’s the best of a very good bunch.
Thursday, March 24, 18:20 pm (AEST) @ Melbourne Cricket Ground
The odds suggest a tearaway win to Damien Hardwick’s Tigers, and based on last year’s effort by the Blues, it’s difficult to imagine anything other than a thumping Richmond win.
UBET customers favour the blues to continue for the Princes Park patriots. However, with a new coach and a revamped roster, Carlton would be optimistic about improving on last year’s wooden spoon.
The Tigers were just one win shy of eventual premiers, Hawthorn after 22 regular season matches, so anything but a comprehensive win would be viewed as disappointing by the improving club.
Saturday, March 26, 18:25 pm (AEST) @ SCG
The highly anticipated return of superstar forward Lance Franklin for the Swans highlights what should be an intriguing and spiteful clash.
Both teams will be disappointed with their 2015 seasons. The Swans’ straight sets exit from the finals minus Buddy would be driving the entire squad to improve this year.
Collingwood’s 2015 started with immense promise, having won eight of their opening 11 matches but Nathan Buckley’s men crashed hard in the second half of the year. They lost nine of their remaining 11 matches (including six home games) to miss the finals for the second successive season.
Monday, March 28, 2:20 pm (AEST) @ Melbourne Cricket Ground
The Easter Monday clash is one of the most anticipated matches on the AFL calendar, so the fact it falls on round 1 is a big win for the AFL.
The two most successful clubs of the last decade, the Hawks and Cats have developed a bitter rivalry. Even though Geelong has the advantage over that period, Hawthorn has the wood in recent years (and more premierships to boot!).
Amazingly, since the 2007 grand final, only one decider has not featured either Geelong or Hawthorn; the 2010 decider between St Kilda and Collingwood (which was played twice because the first showdown was a draw).