Round 1 of the Australian Football League is underway in Australia. The league is hoping to get by without too many disruptions, but that’s inevitable given the situation at hand. They’ve already done that by shortening the season from to 17 games from 22 games per team. Quarters will be shorter than usual to speed the game up and get more games in while they can. Of course, the stadiums are closed so fans cannot support their team in-person. The AFL is a massive league in Australia and attracts crowds.
Attendance is comparable with the NFL in the US, for some of the top teams, at least. Collingwood and Richmond both averaged over 50,000 fans per contest in 2019. It’s an exciting game with non-stop action, and the No. 1 sport in the country. If you’re looking for a new sport to follow amid the coronavirus pandemic, the AFL is probably your best bet. It’s a superb opportunity for the league to grow the game.
Soccer might be too slow for you, and if that’s the case, Aussie Rules football is going to be right up your alley. It’s one of the most fast-paced sports in the world, minus say sports that involve motors or horses. There are no stoppages for each play like American football, so that might be something you might like as well. Aussie Rules football is actually more FOOTball than the American game.
Feet are used often in Australia, unlike its American counterpart where field goals and punting is the only time you are going to see players using their feet. That’s not the case in the Australian Football League, where the whole idea is to kick the ball through the uprights, all the while on the run without the action paused for the kicker to set up for a field goal attempt in the NFL.
Aussie Rules football is often compared to rugby, but there are a lot of differences. Forward passes are legal in the AFL, whereas lateraling the ball is the main way to move the ball in rugby. Rugby players are looking for trys, or touchdowns to Americans, to score their points, while Aussie Rules players are seeking to get close enough to the uprights for a clean kick for 6 points.
If you’re Australian or a fan of the AFL elsewhere, you could have just skipped that spiel, but Aussie Rules is a new venture for most people, so I thought I’d share a brief overview. If you’re a fan of the league, you probably saw Collingwood put a beatdown on the Western Bulldogs, 86-34. Impressive opening match for Collingwood after a decent showing in 2019. Heavy favourite, West Coast, will welcome Melbourne to Perth for their opening match on Sunday at Optus Stadium. Head below for our free West Coast vs. Melbourne pick in the AFL on March 22, 2020.
West Coast Eagles vs. Melbourne Demons Betting Odds:
West Coast Eagles vs. Melbourne Demons Prediction:
The West Coast Eagles, who are one of two AFL teams in Perth, will look to get back to 2018 form after regressing slightly in 2019. West Coast is a team that had a terrific 2018. They posted a record of 19-6-0 and won the premiership for the 4th time in club history. However, a record of 16-8-0 pushed them back to 5th in the league a season ago.
Still not a bad season for West Coast, though they certainly weren’t good enough to get the job done. That’s not to say West Coast can’t be a major contender again this year. They made a move by signing Tim Kelly, who played for Geelong in 2019. Geelong were a team that finished atop the ladder, along with Brisbane and Richmond last season with a record of 16-6-0.
West Coast believe they need an extra push to record their fifth premiership in 2020. That’s where the 25-year-old Tim Kelly comes in. Kelly has some awards to his name, including Best First Year Player in 2018 and Best Young Player Award in 2019. He was also a member of the All-Australian team in 2019. I don’t know if he’s going to give enough of a push to get the West Coast Eagles back to the top of the mountain, but they’re most definitely going to be back as a threat.
Joshua Kennedy and Jack Darling are back with West Coast this season. Between the two of them, Kennedy and Darling combined for 108 goals in 2019. Darling with 59 goals and Kennedy with 49 goals to lead the way for the Eagles. Throw in Liam Ryan and the Eagles had three top-30 scorers in the AFL last season. With Tim Kelly on West Coast, the Eagles have four top-50 scorers from a season ago.
Let’s not forget how physical West Coast was last season, too. Led by Elliot Yeo, the Eagles were one of the best tackling teams in the AFL. Yeo led the league with 167 tackles, while Luke Shuey, the captain of the Eagles, and Jack Redden were in the top-10 in tackles. The Demons are going to be better than their abysmal 5-17-0 showing last season.
That was not what was expected from them, though they failed to live up to expectations. West Coast won’t have their boisterous crowd to help them here, so that’s a plus for Melbourne. However, expect the talent of West Coast to be too much. I also don’t see Melbourne being too excited about having to travel to Perth amid the coronavirus crisis to play a superior opponent like West Coast. Look for West Coast to win and cover in Round 1 on Sunday.